KARMA: Managing Business Rules from Specification to Implementation

Jacqueline Sobieski, Srinivas Krovvidy, Colleen McClintock, Margaret Thorpe

Fannie Mae is a congressionally chartered, shareholder-owned company and the nation’s largest source of conventional home mortgage funds. Fannie Mae purchases and securitizes loans and is considered the leader in the secondary mortgage market. Because of its strong leadership role, Fannie Mae’s policies for loan eligibility set the standard in the mortgage industry and applying these policies consistently and effectively is critical to Fannie Mae’s mission and profitability. Fannie Mae’s policies for selling and servicing mortgage loans span the business functions of the secondary mortgage market and therefore are contained in many different software applications. Managing policy across multiple business applications became increasingly complex. To meet these demands, Fannie Mae developed KARMA (Knowledge Acquisition and Rule Management Assistant) and the Business Rule Server to allow policy changes to be implemented quickly throughout its software application environment and to provide business users with direct ownership and management of Fannie Mae’s policies in a way that seamlessly integrates policy into the software applications. KARMA is designed to support the management of these policies independent of the applications in which they are embedded. KARMA generates executable business rules which become part of the Business Rule Server. As a result, policy is managed centrally and no longer embedded in multiple applications. KARMA and the Business Rule Server have been running in production supporting the Cash Delivery application since July, 1995.


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