Information Technology systems have grown exponentially over the past few decades. As much as technology has brought flexibility, automation and mobility in businesses, it is not surprising to see how dependent business entities are on technology. Soliciting and gathering business requirements is a critical first step for every project. The task of requirement gathering and transforming these business requirements into technical specification can be really challenging due to the following reasons:
- Conflicting business priorities
- Dynamic requirements from business stakeholders
- Obscurity of success criteria
- Inaccurate assumptions and ambiguity of information
Historically, one of the major obstacles with the task of requirement gathering has been bridging the gap between technology and business and getting both the Business User and the Technical Developer aligned.
Besides this demerit, there is a heavy dependability on the technology team to create, update, test and validate the business rules. Moreover, too many oscillations between the technology team and business as well as multiple coordinators in between can be a bottleneck and an overhead.
So how can we get the Business User and Technical Programmer aligned?
Is it possible for a Technical Programmer to perform the duties and responsibilities of a Business User? The answer is Yes and No
Is it possible for a Business User to perform the role of a Technical Programmer? Definitely Yes, in the Ab Initio World!
Ab Initio has made a successful attempt through one of its advanced features -Express>IT to make this possible for a Business User to wear the hat of a Technical Ab Initio Programmer. The Express>IT product of Ab Initio offers an environment which is conducive for a Business User to get into technical profile of an Ab Initio Programmer and get the desired results by eliminating the dependency on the Ab Initio resource.
In addition, the Business User sitting outside the technology environment can contribute to coding in the form of writing business rules, testing it and implementing it to get the desired output as per his understanding and leveraging his domain expertise.
Ab Initio Express>IT Architecture
To leverage the benefits of Express>IT, first let’s understand the architecture and the components of this product with the help of an example.
If a business wants to tap the reporting of all the employees in the organization having a salary greater than $100K p.a., the Ab Initio technical user needs to use the Ab Initio ACE component to set the framework where sources will be defined in the form of an Employee Payroll table, required datasets, reference tables, target table file and the relevant fields required. As a result of this an ACE Template is set.
Subsequently, the business user can access these tables, fields and elements through this ACE template using the Ab Initio BRE component. The business user can select additional desired fields he wants to use along with the business rule of salary > 100 K which gives the desired output.
Furthermore, the BRE puts the business user in the driver’s seat when it comes to verifying the business rules. The business users are not only able to put the rules directly into the system, they are also able to immediately see the results of applying those rules to the test data. If they don’t like what they see, they can instantly change the rules, saving enormous amount of time.
How Bitwise can help?
Bitwise has built an integrated component framework on top of Express>IT which complements the Express>IT functionality and aids the business user to play in an environment conducive to producing speedy output. The framework offers a complete suite of Rule Management & Governance system.
Let’s dwell deeper to understand the flow and how it works:
- Rule Generator Utility
- A business user creates a text/excel file with the rules that he has to implement. After analysis of the text file by the generator, build transformation is imported by BRE
- Validation Template
- It’s a GUI based tool which enables business users to compare the output results from Express>IT against any source of data i.e. table/file. This utility provides a reconciliation facility to reconcile against data from the legacy systems
- Publishing results on the forum
- It’s a graphical User Interface UI based utility which provides business user the flexibility to post their output along with their Ruleset on any given portal/ forum
- Upload Utility
- The feature enables businesses to upload files from either Windows or Unix and helps the user to create their own version of the file to be used in the code
- Test Bed
It’s an automated process to slice the production data. It enables:
- Flexibility to run the business rulesets multiple times with a snapshot of the production data
- Availability of ample number of months’ data at any given point in time
- Email notification feature to be sent to business users
- Backup and Recovery
- This feature provides businesses a way to maintain results along with rule sets and helps the user to not run the same rule if it’s already being run earlier
- It’s also a centralized data repository for O/P and rulesets
As much as the world has become a smaller place, technology is also giving opportunities for people with diverse skill sets to come together and work for a common objective. Ab Initio in the form of Business Rule Engine has given this platform for a business user to “Express IT”.
Indeed language for business has been made easy by Ab Initio !!!!
- Rule Generator Utility