Push technology has been around since the earliest days of the Web. But until now, users have been unable to act on the information collected and delivered to them by the push product.
Transactor from Microstrategy Inc. makes that last step possible. It collects information from back-end databases, Web servers and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, according to predefined criteria. It then pushes that information out as actionable content in eXtended Markup Language (XML) format, so a desktop Web browser, a personal digital assistant and even a telephone enabled with the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) subset of XML can receive it. A user who has received this information can send back an action request to Transactor, which in turn prompts a back-end system to complete a transaction.
Robert Trenkamp, Microstrategy's director of product marketing, claims that Transactor can work either as an add-on to the company's core Microstrategy business platform or as a standalone application. Within Microstrategy version 7, Transactor can provide automatic notifications and alerts to wireless devices based on predefined customer activity. On its own, it can be used to extend existing Web applications such as inventory systems to wireless devices and to aggregate content from various sources.
Transactor can also help organizations build on existing investments in information systems by extending those systems to others in the value chain. Health Risk Management Inc., a healthcare management firm in Minneapolis that offers services including employer-managed and self-insured healthcare plans, uses Transactor with the Microstrategy BI platform to automate the exchange of information with its various constituencies, which include physicians, hospitals and medical testing labs.
To improve speed of payment, HMRI is developing a system to transfer the time-consuming claims adjudication process from mail, fax and phone to an automated process encapsulated in the business logic required to make quick decisions. The goal is to pay the providers faster.
Historically, says Ken Buchanan, vice president of information reporting at HMRI, customers receive what he calls "noisy" information, which includes an audit trail of mistakes and corrections. Transactor can catch these mistakes as they happen and correct them in real time to send only relevant, actionable information. eliminating pages of corrective paperwork. It also can ask the recipient of a message sent through the system to take immediate action such as supplying corrected information.
At present, it costs approximately $35 to adjudicate a typical claim. With Transactor, all transactions occur electronically, so the cost of paper forms is eliminated and the information is timelier and more accurate.
Although Transactor is available as a standalone product, its real strength is its close ties to Microstrategy's core tools, according to Jack Gold, vice president for Web and collaboration strategies at the Meta Group in Westboro, Mass.