InRuleREVIEWER: Matt Lyon, business development manager for Cornerstone Appraisal Services.

BACKGROUND: Cornerstone Appraisal Services specializes in high-value home appraisals and loss control for the insurance industry. Cornerstone provides their customers with detailed replacement cost valuations and precise risk analysis.

PLATFORMS: We run .NET clients and servers.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Cornerstone's appraisers are dispersed across the country. They needed an application that could track appraisal requests from receipt to completion, which all the members of the field staff could access. In addition, Cornerstone's original appraisal forms, in Word and Excel format, were difficult to manage. Cornerstone wanted the ability to design unique forms and to easily add to or change the rules used by the forms.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: InRule gives Cornerstone the ability to author, manage and test their appraisal rules without custom programming. InRule removes programmers' dependency on having the rules completely defined: it lets programmers work in parallel with business users who are authoring rules and reduces the amount of time it takes to complete a project. Using InRule, a developer can deliver a working application even though the rules are still being defined, allowing the logic to evolve over time. In Cornerstone's case, business users are continuously enhancing and adding new rules to the production application, without the need to go back to the programmers. Cornerstone implemented new appraisal forms using InRule, which include checkboxes for special items in a home, such as a pool or spa. Based on the boxes checked, the rules build a narrative for the home using grammatically correct sentences. Other forms and rule engines we tried couldn't do this.

STRENGTHS: The product is easy to use for nontechnical people. It gives companies flexibility in implementing business rules.

WEAKNESSES: It is initially tough to get started writing rules. A simplified builder would help in allowing novice users to write complex rules. On the other hand, with several hours of training, we were up and running on rule writing.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We evaluated Quick Rules. InRule was less expensive and easier to deploy and use.

DELIVERABLES: We use active reports as an output product in conjunction with the rule engine to produce reports in HTML, TIFF format and PDF. We also supply some customers with the raw XML from the rule engine.

VENDOR SUPPORT: InRule has done an excellent job supporting the product. If we needed changes made, they would usually implement a new release within a week. The vendor continues to make enhancements to meet our changing business needs.

DOCUMENTATION: InRule provided our developers with excellent documentation. We did run the product with the documentation provided.

InRule Technology
242 North Des Plaines
Suite 603
Chicago, IL 60661

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