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50 Smartest Companies of the Year 2019

An Interview with Sapiens Decision Leadership: ‘We Work With Global Organizations across the Financial Services, Insurance, Capital Markets, Corporate, and Retail Banking Sectors’

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“We maintain a level of flexibility and responsiveness that allows our clients to be extremely responsive to change.”

Within financial services organizations, there are thousands of steps – or decisions to be made – within a myriad of different processes and systems. The challenge is gauging the impact of every single decision throughout the organization. This is made more difficult due to a range of issues evident to finance: a) huge reliance on complex, interconnected platforms and systems to operate, b) regulations that are so complicated that no one inside your organization can predict the extent of their impact, and c) the people who understand your products are not the ones who understand your systems, and vice-versa.

In light of the foregoing, we’re thrilled to present Sapiens Decision.

The company empowers the translation of fully validated business change in a format that accelerates your IT implementation and operational deployment. Its solution uses innovative, disruptive technology, and a patented methodology that is in production and producing results for many of the world’s leading financial services companies.

Regardless of where you are on the journey of change, implementing Decision will reduce deployment time and resource requirements by up to 70 percent, and deliver up to 80 percent in cost savings, whilst significantly reducing your risk.

Harold Westervelt (CEO & GM) and Larry Goldberg (SVP & Evangelist), Sapiens Decision Leadership, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Could you elaborate on the nature of your services?

We drive change by creating the ability for the business to formulate and manage the logic underlying all their processes as a business asset structured in the form of Decision Models. This allows the business to test and validate the logic within their processes, providing transparency, confidence, and agility to the business. This logic can then be generated directly into code, ensuring that the business systems accurately reflect the business’ requirements and allow the business to remain in control of their business strategies, supporting IT in rapidly transforming and modernizing systems to real business needs.

Many ancillary benefits flow from this: reduction in the cost of change, improvement in the quality of business processes, reduction in operational error rates, and above all improvements in speed to market.

Q. Can you talk about your company's first project?

During the financial crisis, a large financial institution was looking for ways to improve the management and responsiveness to changing market conditions. They needed to change business policy and regulations quickly without reengineering their entire infrastructure. It was critical to find a manageable process that provided flexibility and transparency that was scalable.

By implementing Sapiens Decision, they were able to create automated and scaled decision models with governance and flexible deployment where the business could thoroughly test and deploy business changes to IT quickly. The repeatability and consistency of the models gave them the confidence to leverage the models as the business requirements for rapid deployment, increasing the speed of change, contributing to cost and risk reduction in the change management process, enhanced productivity and efficiency and improvement in reliability and accuracy of their results.

Q. What were the initial challenges?

The adoption of Decision Management requires a change in culture and behaviour both by the business and IT; there has to be a very significant level of trust between the organizations and amongst all stakeholders. We were challenged to develop methods and processes to enable the rapid deployment of these advanced capabilities while promoting the critical shared values amongst all.

Q. What motivated you to get into the insurance industry?

In our inaugural years in business, with the introduction of our revolutionary product Sapiens Decision we achieved very significant success in the banking and mortgage markets, acquiring several of the top five banks in the U.S. and the world, as well as capturing a very significant portion of the major players in the mortgage space. It became evident to us that Sapiens Decision would prove to be equally effective in the insurance market, particularly given our parent company’s strengths in that market. So we began tackling that market in earnest in 2018, and to our surprise managed to land a top-five carrier in our first year. Hopefully, the rest will be history!

Q. Are your software services only limited to the insurance and finance sector?

No. In fact, we fit well with any organization that has complex business processes that incorporate multiple decisions – and when you think about it, that would encompass most organizations and ventures! We have a range of clients from financial services, insurance, and even a large international sporting brand client.

Q. Does artificial intelligence play a role in your company’s offerings?

Absolutely, we leverage artificial intelligence into the Decision Model Framework that is business-friendly leveraging structured language processing. Our future developments include extracting logic out of legacy code, documents, or unstructured language. This will enable creation of business models from legacy systems, regulatory, and policy documents in an automated manner which will allow clients to manage and control faster and easier than ever.

Q. Customers are demanding more sophisticated services. How do you deal with the increasing demand?

Because we can fit within many parts of an organization and solve complex business problems, we solution collaboratively and find ways to meet the clients’ needs leveraging our knowledge and business decision models. We maintain a level of flexibility and responsiveness that allows our clients to be extremely responsive to change.

Q. Does your company have a roadmap for the future?

We have an extensive roadmap that sees the automated development and implementation of extremely transparent and flexible business systems that are responsive to new ideas and business models.

Leadership | Sapiens Decision

Harold Westervelt, CEO and General Manager: Harold Westervelt joined Sapiens in September 2017. Prior to his position with Sapiens Decision, he held several senior management positions, including president of INVeSHARE. Harold started in sales and possesses over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, including senior-level sales management positions at Standard & Poor’s and Thomson Reuters. Throughout his career, Harold has excelled at building strong companies focused on meeting the needs of clients in the financial services industry.

He has a degree in Business Communications from Missouri State University and an MBA in Finance from California State University, East Bay.

Larry Goldberg, Evangelist and Senior VP: Larry Goldberg has more than forty years of experience in building technology-based companies in which the focus was rules-based technologies and applications. He is Co-author of The Decision Model: A Business Logic Framework linking Business and Technology (Taylor & Francis, 2009), a Co-editor of The Business Rule Revolution: Running the Business the Right Way (HappyAbout.info 2007), the holder of multiple patents in the field of knowledge management. Larry was formerly a Managing Partner and Co-founder of Knowledge Partners International (KPI), and PowerFlex Software Systems, Inc.

“The adoption of Decision Management requires a change in culture and behaviour both by the business and IT; there has to be a very significant level of trust between the organizations and amongst all stakeholders.”