In-Depth

AMS turns to Versata

Like many vendors in the business rules technology market, Oakland, Calif.-based Versata Inc. targets both ISVs and corporate IT with Versata Logic Suite.

''Logic Server has two engines, one for transactions and one for processes,'' said Shannon Lynd, director of product marketing at the company. ''Versata automatically takes business rules and applies them to business transactions and processes. With a traditional rules engine, a developer codes a rules-free transaction, like transfer of funds; then the application developer has to determine which process needs business rules, and writes code to call the rules, which react in a request/response. With Versata, business rules are automatically applied to the transaction; our Logic Server can determine which rules need to be applied to which business transaction. It still enables the separation of business rules logic from the presentation and data layers.''

Lynd said customers use Versata in two ways: as an infrastructure layer for accessing back-end systems, and for new application development.

AMS, a consulting and technology company in Fairfax, Va., embeds the Versata Logic Suite within its Advantage management suite which is targeted at government customers. The goal was to enable AMS customers to be able to quickly modify e-business applications as business requirements changed.

''Our process is built around business rules so, irrespective [of whether] we have a tool, we deal with business rules,'' said Mike Griffin, state and local solutions product engineering manager at AMS. ''In the past, we had to make a translation to procedural language, so we wanted to find a tool that would make that translation process easier.''

Griffin said AMS uses Logic Suite as the integrated development environment, as well as the runtime environment and a rules engine for Advantage.

The value for AMS is twofold, he said. ''You can express your requirements in a way that can be directly expressed in the tool, so the translation is minimal; that alone saves work. It also reduces the chance of error, so when a rule is written in Versata you can implement it faster and have a higher quality process. Before, work had to be done with a programmer; in some cases, now it can be done with a business analyst.'' Griffin said 80% of the code in Advantage is Versata-generated.

The fact that Versata is a J2EE-compliant solution was important to AMS. ''The application is sizable so the scalability features of J2EE were important to us.''

AMS has already reaped benefits from the use of Logic Suite. ''The time-to-market value is pretty significant, saving 30% to 40% of our time in a typical schedule. We also had productivity enhancements for our staff; someone with no J2EE experience can be up in running in weeks and proficient in months; its faster than just using raw J2EE because Versata takes away some complexity.''

Versata recently announced an agreement with Mountain View, Calif.-based Ilog to build a connector between Versata Logic Server and Ilog JRules, which will add deductive rules for decision handling to Versata's business process automation technology.

For more information, see the associated story, 'Business rules are back.'

About the Author

Colleen Frye is a freelance writer based in Bridgewater, Mass.

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