As a Citizen, I Don’t Mind Paying for Rules
Cecile Poyet 270002RD4N CPOYET@US.IBM.COM | | Tags:  taxes business-rules government health-and-human-services social-services efficiencies citizens websites modernization web-based-portals eligibility-determination e-government social-security service regulations
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About this time last year (March 23, 2010 to be exact), President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, which extended health care coverage to an estimated 32 million uninsured individuals and made coverage more affordable for many others. Politics aside, imagine adding an additional 32 million customers and having to process them through legacy or semi-manual systems!
I work with public sector clients as part of my job at IBM, which is why I wasn’t surprised to see that a part of the HHS recommendation was about the adoption of business rules (a decision management technology) in order to help “enforce new policies, make decisions and infer new data from existing data” (from Appendix D). I’ve seen the advantages first hand of using business rules to automate decision points within processes, such as eligibility determination – reducing eligibility determination time from 10 days to 7 minutes, in some cases. Processes based on business rules take much less time to update and require less IT intervention, which means, as a citizen, I can get 24/7 access to my information and determine my eligibility for social services within a matter of minutes.
From a business of government standpoint, it’s a great way to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. But as a citizen, wow, it’s the kind of service time we expect from our tax dollars. And I wouldn’t mind seeing more of my tax dollars going directly to fund business rules projects, because business rules are the underlying, active intelligence behind our organizations, including for governments; meaning, they take relatively passive data, managed by other decision management technologies such as business events and analytics, and put it into action to streamline processes or assist humans in making time-sensitive decisions. They are a critical part of the infrastructure to ensure things run well. If we could only specify where we’d like our tax dollars to go.
In Europe, government agencies have already adopted business rules to improve service to citizens and increase the efficiency of their operations. This is the case with Castilla y León, one of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions. You can learn more about their project by reading this case study. To learn more about what business rules can do for government agencies, take a look at this guide!