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
                                               (Edifact Messages)
                                                                  Daily         Messages
                  Fax            E-Mail                          Image

  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)

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

                                              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
                                                                                          with specific DocumentIDs.
   Same basic flow for
    all message types:            Create Send PostRs
                                                                                               Receive PostRs

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


       Settlement               Attachments included

       Business                                                             PostRs
        Acknowledgement              Receive PostRs                                         Create/Send PostRs

     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

     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
     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
     with the existing channel)