Web Services Messaging Using ACORD standards

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					Web Services Messaging
Using ACORD standards

  A Practical Implementation Viewpoint

  Steve Betts
  Chief Information Officer, Aon Re Global

  May 2006
     Business Context
        Web services messaging using ACORD standards is central to
         Aon Re Global’s trading partner integration strategy
    Characteristics                        Benefit to Aon Re Global
     Exchange of structured data         Reduced operational costs through
     Documents embedded in the            the elimination of less efficient data
      messages or retrieved through        exchange methods
      embedded references                 Reduction in number of queries
     ACORD standards cover both           and other delays (due to improved
      technical interoperability and       linkage between data and
      business message definition          supporting documents)
                                          Reduction in the number of data
                                           errors (due to elimination of the re-
                                           keying of unstructured data)
                                          Better services to clients – faster
                                           and more accurate                    2
Evolution of Data Exchange in
Reinsurance Industry
                                                       EDI
                                               (Edifact Messages)
                                                                                 ACORD
                                                                                  XML
                                                                  Daily         Messages
 Paper
                  Fax            E-Mail                          Image
(Mailed)
                                                                  File

  Level 1       Level 2            Level 3       Level 4         Level 5          Level 6
Documents     Documents          Documents     Accounting     Daily extract     Accounting
printed and   output to a        e-mailed to   and claims     of all            and claims
mailed to     fax server         trading       transactions   transactions      transactions
trading       (rather than       partners      sent via EDI   and               sent via
partners      a printer)                       (Supporting    associated        ACORD
                                               documents      documents for     standard
                                               are not        a given trading   XML
                                               included in    partner (Can      messages
                                               EDI. Must be   supplement        (includes
                                               obtained       EDI or be         supporting
                                               separately).   primary           documents)
                                                              channel)

                                                                                               3
                             Integrated Trading Partner Portal
Sample Message
                                    Tech Account and Claim Movement Messages with
                                     asynchronous retrieval of attachment using DRI.



Flow
                                              Aon Re                                          Trading Partner


                                   Create/Send PostRq
                            Attachments referenced (but not included) with
                             a unique Document ID and a communication         PostRq
                            channel of “repository_download”. Documents
                                                                                              Receive PostRq
                             are also referenced in the Business Message
                                        Supporting Information.




   Message flow id                   Receive PostRs
                                                                             ( PostRs)
                                                                                            Create/Send PostRs


    asynchronous except
    for SOAP Post                                                                         Process Business Message



    Responses                        Receive PostRq
                                                                             PostRq          Create/Send PostRq
                                                                                             RepositoryOperation:
                                                                                              DownloadRequest
                                                                                          with specific DocumentIDs.
   Same basic flow for
    all message types:            Create Send PostRs
                                                                             PostRs
                                                                                               Receive PostRs


       Placement
       Technical Account   Process RepositoryOperation:
                                 DownloadRequest                                              Receive PostRq
                                                                                     Rq
                                                                                 o st
       Claim Movement           Create/Send PostRq
                                 RepositoryOperation:
                                                                             P

                                 DownloadResponse

       Settlement               Attachments included
                                      “in_stream”
                                                                                                    Store
                                                                                                  Documents



       Business                                                             PostRs
        Acknowledgement              Receive PostRs                                         Create/Send PostRs


                                                                                                                       4
     Lessons Learned – Key Considerations
    Consideration                            Implication

    Degree of automation and               Some trading partners receive
     integration by receiving party          messages but do not integrate data
                                             to core systems leading to an
                                             erosion of benefits case

    Degree of business process change      Business process change can be
                                             underestimated and can impede the
                                             implementation process


    Alignment of development and           A mix of waterfall and iterative
     implementation approaches               approaches can lead to significant
     between trading partners                problems being identified late in the
                                             implementation process


                                                                                     5
     Lessons Learned – Challenges
    Challenge                                     Implication

    Involvement of multiple parties (e.g.,      Difficult to gain agreement of
     involvement of an intermediary such          message content from all parties
     as a servicing bureaux)                     Difficult to test end-to-end message
                                                  flows effectively

    Alignment of cross reference data           Significant data clean up required to
     and reference codes                          ensure integrity of cross reference data
                                                 Data load required to enable UUID
                                                  references between transactions
                                                 Potential for disputes and challenges
                                                  when mapping to “standard” codes

    Different logical definition of a           Creates complexity in maintaining
     transaction (e.g., one invoice may           cross references between
     map to multiple invoices at a trading        transactions and complicates the
     partner)                                     message flows
                                                                                         6
     Lessons Learned – Enablers
    Enabler                                   Implication

    Existence of a recognized standard      ACORD standard is the key enabler
     and a trusted organization for          ACORD clarifies interpretation of
     mediation of disputes                    the standard when required

    Support multiple versions of the        Trading partners do not adopt
     standard                                 standards at the same pace – it is
                                              critical to support multiple versions

    Identify trading partners using a       Integration work can be leveraged
     common IT system                         across multiple trading partners very
                                              quickly if they use the same IT system

    Begin testing early in the              Early testing helps trading partners
     development / implementation cycle       find major problems early and helps
     and conduct parallel runs prior to       them quickly understand the
     implementation (comparing results        business process impact
                                                                                      7
     with the existing channel)