Building Business Algorithms

“It’s our company policy, afraid I can’t help you with that Sir”

We have all been there. This always reminds me of the “Computer says No!” phrase popularised by Little Britain. What you are experiencing is an “edge-case” of a business algorithm, more commonly referred to as an internal process or a policy.

Codification of business activities is nothing new. It has played a key role in globalization, allowing businesses to scale effectively by localizing decision making while decentralizing execution. As in the computing world, once a design decision has been made, business algorithms allow for consistent execution irrespective of when or where the subsequent action is taking place.

While business algorithms have proven to be very effective in manufacturing and retail, they prove to be somewhat ineffective in financial services. Why? The type of product being sold. In manufacturing or retail, the product/benefit is available for inspection at the point of purchase. You can kick the tires of your new car, walk in the new shoes you just bought and so on. With financial services, you are buying a promise – a promise of interest and returns (investments) or peace of mind (insurance).

Challenge for Financial Services

Unlike writing business algorithms for manufacturing, where the features of the end-product are clearly defined,  has always been – how do you


The sweet spot

for that is the intangible nature of the service which results in more edge-cases.






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