Loan Underwriting Demo - Part 7

ODM Rules and Automated Business

Continuing our series on Digital Business Automation and how we can help make a business more efficient and effective, I’m going providing a few articles about a project our team recently put together. This was a proof of concept (POC) project in the loan industry. As we move through this series, I will highlight some finer details of features and design. This particular project was completed using IBM Business Process Management (BPM) and Operational Decision Manager (ODM), along with some external API integration. This video focuses on the mortgage industry; however, we’ve used the tools and methods described here to successfully implement solutions in the financial, manufacturing, retail, medical and many other varied business sectors.

Business rules are a critical but often unseen factor in your work processes. In our loan underwriting demo, we use IBM’s ODM to manage and automate many of the business decisions that speed the approval process and ensure decisions are in compliance with those rules. ODM allows the business rules experts within your company to manage the rules implementation without the need to have expensive programming cycles make changes. It helps you stay current with new rules, regulations, policies or legal changes surrounding your work.

ODM rules are written in Business Action Language (BAL) which is a simple, English-like system, friendly to non-programmers. The ODM and BPM systems can talk to each other through connectors so that your Business Processes can take advantage of these up-to-date rules changes immediately. This is a very empowering approach to handling rules and automating the decision process.

Think of the kinds of business rules which regulate an industry. In the pharmaceutical world, there are a variety of test phases that have to be completed, each of which has ethics reviews, statistical significance hurdles, and a variety of protocols which need to be complied with. In banking, there are guidelines for what interest rates are applicable based on risk analysis and how much underwriting is available for various types of loan applicants. Any mature industry is going to have a maze of rules and regulations to navigate, and offloading that to an easily manageable automated system means you can get your decisions made faster, and can scale the process more easily using technology.

ODM lets you offload this work to a reliable, repeatable processing tool. This video shows you a very simple example, but hopefully it will be self-evident how useful this technology is. We use simple rules language and boolean logic. As we make changes, the system lets us keep versions so we can undo our change or look back at the original version if we need it. Looking at the history of the rules, we can go back through every iteration of change to the rules through the life of our application. We can compare rules versions, highlighting the differences. Also, we can set expirations for our rules. Hopefully this quick overview will give you some idea of how granular and comprehensive business rules can be.

If want to learn how Apex can help your company experience a Digital Business Automation makeover, contact us at or (947) 282–6026.

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Blake Smith

Blake Smith