First Look: Sapiens DECISION update

May 16, 2013

in Business Rules, Decision Management, Product News

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I last got a briefing from Sapiens last year and I recently got an update on Sapiens DECISION release 3.2. Obviously Sapiens DECISION is focused on a robust and complete implementation of The Decision Model as described by KPI.

Governance has seen a major update in the recent release. Users create a Business Change Request to describe a change to a decision model. This describes the change from an external perspective – what do people “outside” the model think needs to be done. This is described (optionally with a document) and assigned to a person (with roles defined in the tool) who will act as the lead for the request. Communities can have additional custom properties that are filled out. Once assigned it shows in the user’s work queue for approval.

The change request can use text associated with the request and run text analysis to see what terms and synonyms defined in the model are recognized. The text is saved with the change request, can be marked up and additional synonyms can be added directly during the review. This analysis generates a list of terms and these are then fed into a query that returns model elements (decision views, fact types rule families) that might be impacted.

Individual change documents can be created for a request, allocating the work for the change request to the various communities. Tasks can be created and assigned to target releases (Releases are also a new feature to package up changes). Workflow is created from available, customizable, templates and then assigned to specific users (though group assignment is coming). Elements identified as needing to be changed can be assigned to the white board for the task at this time but in practice this happens when modelers start performing their assigned work. Either way, elements copied to the white board can then be edited using the tools.

Support for all the principles in The Decision Model has been added – so new ways to determine completeness, new contradictions between rules (like intersected rows) are defined. As the rule families are edited and extended these new principle checks are applied in-situ.

Testing has also been extended in this release. A quick test can do a single test while a Test Group can be defined that imports test data or the system can generate test data from fact type test data (valid and invalid), from the domain values for the fact types or from the values used in rule families. For instance all the persistent fact types can be identified and all the test values identified for these automatically. Additional ones can be defined and added. Of course the number of test cases typically explodes as the Cartesian product so the user can decide how many test cases to generate in absolute terms or percentage. For each generated case the user can say it expects it to resolve and pick an expected result. This then becomes the basis for the test cases. Test cases that fail to match are shown and a view of the Decision Model is used to display the conclusions drawn in the test case for rapid understanding of the test though the user can drill into complete execution detail. These tests can accommodate functional testing as well as regression testing.

Once all the work is complete it runs through the approval process and approved elements are associated automatically with the release that was described in the original request. These releases can be deployed and this requires a deployment descriptor that has effectively dates for instance. Different deployment environments can be selected from the installed adaptors (currently Sapiens eMerge, Drools, ILOG, Blaze Advisor, Java, SQL, XML). These generate executable code or rules from the Decision Model (they are not intended to be managed in the target environment, just executed, with all management taking place in Sapiens DECISION). This ability to deploy business logic to various business rule engines allows enterprises to use multiple business rules engines while the ability to generate XML allows for integration with home-grown execution engines.

Other features:

  • New in this release is a formal mapping of fact types to target data models (such as ACORD or MISMO standard models). Values can also be mapped (Yes to 1, No to 0 for instance).
  • Communities have been added also with support for each community to have its own language or vocabulary as well as settings and permissions, user roles, workflow templates etc.

Sapiens is one of the vendors listed in our Decision Management Systems Platform Technologies report and continues to develop new capabilities.

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