Where we'll look at three more common system services: Workflow, Documents and Business Intelligence.
Workflow can be provided via a decoupled workflow management process, based on Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC) Standards. Workflow enables users to define rules that govern the way processes are executed, to define who is responsible for the work, and to control the identification, management, assignment and resolution of processing exceptions. Blaze Advisor® can provide workflow rules support. Rules can be versioned, with user I.D., time and date stamping of all additions, changes and deletions.
Why Workflow functionality is important:
To meet the SOX / MAR control requirements, a company must determine if it is adequately controlling employees' job duties and data access authority to eliminate the possibility of employees committing material fraud, or misrepresenting financial data. Of equal importance, a company must ensure that:
- any problem is quickly identified,
- the magnitude of the problem can be determined, and
- the impact of the problem can be clearly communicated and dealt with.
Using workflow and workflow rules, an organization can codify and automate those routine processes that can be automated, and the points at which a user must intervene to take action. In addition, the defined processes identify inaction and generate notification of it. Finally, the rules themselves document the relevant processes, thereby providing the process documentation required by SOX/MAR. If graphical decision flows are available as part of the rules development process, company auditors and the board of directors can see the processes without having to read a document.
Documents is a system-wide common correspondence tool, supporting inbound, outbound and attached electronic media files across all components. Documents can be rendered with production controlled via rules established in a rules engine (like Blaze Advisor). Third-party document (Imaging/Production) tools should be supported.
Why Documents functionality is important:
SOX / MAR require that an organization maintain “… records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of assets.”
By using a document production component integrated with workflow and business rules, a company can demonstrate that financial and non-financial transaction documents are produced when appropriate, and produced consistently. The organization can produce a document, create a copy which can be indexed, capturing document type, date, time, etc., and place the document into an image system, creating a permanent document artifact. Documents can be stored as required to meet business needs and compliance requirements.
Business Intelligence can be a powerful common service for capturing data used to report on and analyze the performance of an organization. It’s a data capture service that operates across all system components.
This service creates operational data stores and data marts that act as history data repositories. These repositories are accessible via query and enable the production of detailed analytical reports. In addition, graphical dashboards can be used to provide summary views of important company functions, with standard reporting, ad-hoc querying and data extract capabilities included.
Why Business Intelligence functionality is important:
SOX / MAR require that an organization maintain “… records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of assets.” Of equal importance, a company must ensure that any problem is quickly identified, that the magnitude of the problem can be determined, and that the impact of the problem can be clearly communicated and dealt with.
Business Intelligence enables a user to quickly review summary data to identify anomalous situations, drill down to the relevant detail, and then take appropriate action.
This concludes our review of the common functions that should be found in SOA-based platforms, and how they can enable compliance with regulatory requirements. As you may have guessed, StoneRiver is preparing a new suite to meet not only today’s processing and control requirements, but also to accommodate changes to market needs that will no doubt arise in the future.
Thanks for taking the time to read these posts. I trust they have been informative. If there are questions or comments, please send them along – I’ll try to provide a useful reply. Please remember that we’ve not touched on the features and functions of the main business components themselves – those are subjects for another time.