TUCON: Architecting for Success

In an afternoon breakout session, Larry Tubbs from AmeriCredit talked about using TIBCO to automate their contract processing workflow, that is, the part between loan origination/approval and the contract administration system. Their business case was similar to that I’ve seen in many other financial and insurance applications: visibility into the processes, appropriate management of the resources, and ever more stringent regulatory requirements. They did a product evaluation and selected TIBCO, using iProcess Suite, BusinessFactor, BusinessWorks, and EMS as the underlying service bus. They implemented really quickly: for their initial release, it was a matter of months from initial design to rollout to five branches handling 1600 cases simultaneously (the system is designed for a peak load of 7000 cases).

Nimish Rawal from TIBCO, who was involved in the implementation, described some details of what they did and the best practices that they used: use iProcess engine for process orchestration and BusinessWorks for integration; put application data in a separate schema (they had 583 instance data fields and 257 metadata fields); create a queue/group structure according to business divisions; and allow the business to control the rules to allow for easy changes to the process flow or any changing regulations. They used master and slave iProcess servers hitting against a common database to distribute the load, and used clustering for high availability although the failover process is not automatic (which surprised me a bit since clustering software or hardware can automate this). They also planned for disaster recovery by distributing nodes between two physical locations and sending archive files from the master to DR site about once every five minutes; again, the failover is not automatic, but that’s less expected in the case of a total site loss.

Rawal also went through the TIBCO professional services engagement model. On the AmeriCredit side, they had four core developers to work with the TIBCO team (which went from five to seven to two), and now the TIBCO people only do mentoring with all development being done by AmeriCredit’s developers.

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