The RMEx Story

Several years ago, we believed that changes in the collection industry called for a new and innovative approach to dealing with old problems. The challenge of defying conventional wisdom combined with technical vision and innovation, motivated Quantrax Corporation to design and build a new collection system incorporating the concepts of artificial intelligence and knowledge-based technology. This groundbreaking idea has resulted in a proven product, that since 1991, has been successfully installed in collection operations in over 35 states and Canada.

RMEx (formerly known as Intelec) is an integrated, full-function receivables management system – the only system that can be described as being intelligent. To be described as “intelligent”, a system must be capable of making decisions in the same way a human would, taking both rules and exceptions into consideration. The level of intelligence of the machine would be measured based on how difficult it was to differentiate between decisions made by the machine and the human. RMEx is a system that can be trained to think, understand, evaluate complex situations and make decisions in the same manner that a human expert would. The result is a system that offers operational flexibility, automation, management control and levels of productivity that cannot be approached using conventional data-based systems. All of this is accomplished without the need for users to have any programmers or similarly-qualified technical personnel within their operations.

Quantrax Corporation Inc. is an IBM Software Solutions Developer, and RMEx runs exclusively on the popular IBM iSeries (AS/400) hardware platform.

The information contained in this document will help you to understand why RMEx is so different from the other collection systems available today. As you review this material, do remember that RMEx will allow you to operate a collection operation in a variety of ways, without the need for custom modifications. If you feel that allowing a computer to make certain decisions will be too radical a change to be implemented today, you can continue to let those decisions be made by individuals, as they currently do. Where you feel comfortable, the decision-making capabilities of RMEx will assist you in managing a business that has become increasingly more difficult to control. A tool such as RMEx has now become a basic requirement in a business where management is unable to make its collectors work every account in a manner that is appropriate and consistent, taking the numerous rules and exceptions into consideration.

WHAT IS RMEx?

RMEx is an “intelligent” receivables management system, the original version of which was designed in 1990, to run on the IBM AS/400 family of computers. If you are currently automated, it will replace your existing software. If you operate as a collection agency, it is a complete system that will automate your collection process, from account input through remitting monies to or billing clients. If you do not operate in an agency environment, there are some areas of the system that you may not utilize.

What is an “intelligent” system? It is a computer system that can be trained to think and react like a human expert, making decisions that are otherwise routine and time-consuming. Since the function of decision-making has traditionally been entrusted to humans, allowing machines to make decisions is an unusual concept. While data-based systems continuously require user input for their operation, intelligent software evaluates circumstances based on information and rules stored in a “knowledge base.” Decisions are made by a complex set of computer programs referred to as an “inference engine.”

WHAT IS A KNOWLEDGE-BASED SYSTEM?

Conventional systems (i.e. systems other than RMEx) are “data-based” systems. Data-based systems are made up of data and programs that act on the data. There is a very close link between the data and programs. To change the way you do business, modifications to the programs are often necessary. In a knowledge-based system, we deal with knowledge (organized information and rules) and programs that act on the knowledge. Each can be changed independently of the other. A knowledge-based system manages stored knowledge that is accessed, updated and reasoned with. With this type of system, you change the way you do business by changing the knowledge stored in the system, instead of changing the programs. This result is often referred to as “artificial intelligence”, and software products built using these concepts are called “Expert Systems”. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines an expert system as “an advanced computer program (instruction set) that mimics the knowledge and reasoning capabilities of an expert in a particular discipline. Its programmers strive to clone the expertise of one or several human specialists to create a tool that can be used by the layperson to solve difficult or ambiguous problems. A chief advantage of expert systems is their low cost compared with the expense of paying an expert or team of specialists.”

To help you gain a better understanding of RMEx’s capabilities, a comparison of knowledge-based and data-based systems follows –

With a data-based system, you are usually forced to adapt your business procedures to accommodate the system. With a knowledge-based system, you adapt your software (by changing the knowledge base) to accommodate your business procedures.

With RMEx’s knowledge-based system, you have the ability to train the system to make decisions in almost every aspect of how your business is operated. With a data-based system, this ability is very limited.

With a knowledge-based system, the same action (e.g. a broken promise or a debtor contact via a telephone call) could result in completely different decisions being taken, depending on the circumstances. As a result, users can work each account in the same way, regardless of the client, type of account, balance, age, payment activity, etc. Although different accounts are “worked” in the same way, different decisions could be made by the system, based on the type of account and the circumstances.

With RMEx’s knowledge-based system, users can be allowed to decide on a course of action or can design the system to make some of those decisions for the users. In general, the more decision-making capabilities the system has, there is less decision-making that is needed by the user. Based on how your want to manage your business, you need to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of automating some of the decision-making processes and design your system accordingly.

Because of the flexibility of a knowledge-based system, you can quickly adapt the system to meet your changing business requirements without costly custom program modifications.

As already mentioned, to make changes with data-based software, you are normally forced to make costly program changes, procedural changes, notify the employees and hope they will adapt. With a knowledge-based system, you can make and implement changes that are immediate and transparent to the user.

Once you have set up the knowledge base, you have actually “documented” how you operate your business. The value of this “documentation” will be apparent when key employees leave the company or are not available for extended periods of time.

In general, a knowledge-based system forces you to think about your business in a different way. It gives you the potential to manage a traditionally labor-intensive business more efficiently, and with less effort.