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Ilog engine targets compliance

Sarbanes-Oxley (SarbOx) compliance spans the organization and, consequently, can span the gamut of software in the organization. Some viewers suggest that one of the natural focal points for compliance-related software may be business process management (BPM) tools. We spoke recently with Nicolas Robbe, director of business solutions at component and BPM player Ilog, who looked at the reasons for SarbOx interest on the BPM side.

Ilog offers a Solution Accelerator for such purposes. Robbe said he has seen a shift in the audience for Solution Accelerator for compliance, as companies have gone through a series of compliance projects of which SarbOx is just the latest. The move has been from CFO to project manager and now, said Robbe, to an ''architecture audience.'' Ultimately, business analysts will also join the effort.

The SarbOx effort tends to uncover ''leaky pipes'' and auditors find ''a number of things that need to be fixed in the business process,'' Robbe said. They also locate places where a company may want to introduce automation and control points.

Why BPM? The answer is that SarbOx and the like are about policies, hence rules engines and BPM systems. ''At the end of the day it is about enforcing policies on data stored in financial systems and CRM systems; [it is also about] making sure that the data complies, and that how you handle data complies with policies,'' said Robbe.

Solution Accelerator is three things, he said. First, source code sits atop a rules engine, and includes specific domain models and supports various kinds of reports; second, is a set of project management resources that include reference architectures and project plan templates; finally, there are connectors to accelerate integration of the various system elements via JMS, MQ and legacy adaptors.

Changes in Ilog's evolving product line show some of the ways in which compliance requirements can change the rules engine business. Implementing compliance in source code prevents you from having the degree of observability that you need, so high-level interfaces are in order.

''Some business logic is in data; it is in databases and can be found,'' said Robbe. ''But decision logic is in source code.'' With improvements made to Ilog's offering, users can get readable, English-like descriptions of the rules. This helps as business analysts and other non-programmers look to fill new roles in corporate compliance and IT governance.

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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