ABO’s Human Intelligence
Whereas the ABO Calculation Engine is where we apply machine intelligence. The ABO Benefits Management System is where we apply human intelligence. There are dozens of public and private benefits available to low-income families in every state, each of which operates under a different set of eligibility requirements. Local, state, and federal eligibility information is rarely clearly defined or published for public use. The regulations that are published involve hundreds of pages of extremely complex and obtuse language.
We employ a team of dedicated benefit analysts who do forensic analysis and research to uncover and articulate rules. Through exhaustive research, the ABO research team tracks changes to local, state, and federal requirements, capturing important details that can affect the most vulnerable of families. All of this information is captured and documented in the ABO Benefit Management System (ABMS). The ABMS allows our analysts to organize and categorize Information in the best possible fashion to allow it to be both comprehensive while easy to record and understand.
ABMS and the ACE
Many rules engine expert systems provide facilities for managing and testing rules programming. A key innovation of the ABMS is that it is not merely a generic rules management system but it is a benefit management system. This greatly facilitates all communications between the analysts and the programmers which ensures the highest level of accuracy in the benefit calculations. Once the benefit data has been entered into the ABMS, the interaction between the analysts and the programmers begin. The specifications put into the ABMS are what allows the programmers to quickly and accurately program the ACE rules. Along with the specifications, the analysts develop an array of test households which facilitates programmer-analyst communication. The tests quickly and easily measures the accuracy of the programmers implementations and also helps expose mis-communications in the specifications. The benefit is not made available to ABO until all test households are passing. Moreover, all the tests in the ABMS are run on a nightly basis to ensure that changes in programming have not adversely effected other benefits.
Another advantage of the ABMS working at the benefit level is that it allows the ACE to “understand” aspects of the benefits domain such as household membership, poverty level or client assets. This in turn allows our benefit analysts to automatically push out changes in benefit requirements related to these aspects, without programmer intervention. Using ABMS, information can be researched, confirmed, and deployed in ABO in a matter of hours. In this way ABMS vastly reduces the time it takes to maintain complex and rapidly changing eligibility information, while maintaining an extremely high level of accuracy. ABMS often allows ABO to incorporate updates to rules before state portals!
Similarly, by focusing on the benefits level, ABMS allows us to roll out benefits to new states in a relatively short period. Specifications for similar benefits are copied in the ABMS from one state to another. The analysts and programmers only need to focus on the differences between the states and make changes accordingly.
Finally, the ABMS can and has been used by customers to specify benefits in their own state or local level, should they have more direct access to the government agencies involved.