New trails for Blaze Advisor 5.0

Fair Isaac Corp., San Rafael, Calif., has unveiled Version 5.0 of its Blaze Advisor business rules management software. Designed to combine data-driven analytics with human reasoning and logic, the Java-based product can now create graphical representations of decision trees, supports IBM WebSphere 5.0 and SunONE Application Server 7, and includes a repository to manage and track multiple versions of rules and components.

"There's just so much information available now that the hard part's not getting the data, it's figuring out what to do with it," said Ken Molay, Fair Isaac's director of strategic marketing. He said the new interface lets non-technical users work with data and update rules without having to write code. "If you can separate that out, it gives you much clearer visibility into how your company is operating, and it gives you the ability to make changes as your business conditions change," he noted.

Best known as a provider of scoring and analytics tools, Fair Isaac is said to provide the mathematics behind the credit assessments used by many of the world's major finance companies. And while financial services remains a core element of the company's and the product's customer base, Molay said Blaze Advisor is also being used in telecommunications, healthcare, government and manufacturing applications at about 200 Fortune 100 and Global 500 companies.

First released in 1997, Blaze Advisor now competes with offerings from Pegasystems and Computer Associates, as well as resistance from potential customers who might prefer to build their rules management systems in-house. But Molay said this preference could be a costly one, given Blaze Advisor's enhanced ability to communicate and integrate.

"All of our rules in the repository are expressed in an XML format, and we have complete facilities for reading XML information and writing to it in external documents," said Molay. "So if you have SOAP messages coming in through an XML basis, we can read those in our rules and publish a rule service as a Web service. For instance, 'Should I approve this application or decline it?' And then that could be accessed as a Web service from an application running anywhere."

Fair Isaac


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