Enabling Flexibility of Business Processes Using Compliance Rules. The Case of Mobiliar

Thanh Tran Thi Kim, Erhard Weiss, Christoph Ruhsam, Christoph Czepa, Huy Tran, and Uwe Zdun

Situation faced: Insurance case work can follow established procedures only to a certain degree, as the work depends upon experienced knowledge workers who decide the best solutions for their clients. To produce quality documents in such a knowledge-intensive environment, business users of Die Mobiliar, the oldest private insurance company in Switzerland, were guided by a wizard application that enabled them to compose insurance documents from predefined building blocks in a series of pre-defined steps. As these steps were hardcoded into the wizard application, the processes could not adapt quickly enough to accommodate new insurance products and associated documentation. Rapidly changing insurance markets produce new types of documents daily, so business users must react flexibly to client requests. Although fully automated processes can be defined when sufficient process knowledge exists, they seriously hinder the innovation and business agility that is critical in insurance markets.

Action taken: To overcome this problem, Die Mobiliar uses the Papyrus Communication and Process Platform (http://www.isis-papyrus.com/e15/ pages/software/platform-concept.html) as the basis for its customized “Mobiliar Korrespondenz System” (MKS, Mobiliar Correspondence System), with full functionality for online interactive business document production (ISIS Papyrus). Our approach combines automatically executed business compliance rules with process redesign to provide the flexibility that is essential for insurance processes. The original processes are split into reusable sub-processes, accompanied by a set of ad hoc tasks that the business users can activate at runtime to meet clients’ emergent requirements. A set of compliance rules guarantees that the process conforms to corporate and regulatory standards.

Results achieved: The business compliance rule approach has two primary benefits: (i) company management has a process that is well-documented and provably compliant, and (ii) the business users can respond flexibly to their clients’ needs within the boundaries of defined compliance rules, thus improving the customer experience. The flexibility achieved by this approach allows business users to adapt their insurance processes, an advantage from which the whole insurance industry can benefit. The redesigned process with few reusable core elements, combination with a set of ad hoc tasks, decreases the number of process templates (wizard processes) that are required to handle unpredictable situations. A smaller template library also reduces maintenance efforts for business administrators.

Lessons learned: Rigid process modeling is not suitable for highly dynamic business domains, like the insurance industry, that are moving into the digital era. Instead, a hybrid of declarative and imperative modeling is best suited to such domains. Our approach provides a maximum of flexibility within mandated constraints, enabling businesses to adapt to changing market requirements with minimal involvement by IT departments. In order to set expectations properly, the use of the two modeling types should be transparent to business users. The adoption of the new approach happens gradually to cope with business considerations like the integration of compliance checking into Die Mobiliar’s production system.

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