- Artificial Intelligence
- Collection Software
- Reporting Tools
RMEx is a complete collection system that can replace your existing system. Quantrax will develop a data conversion to map your information from your present system to RMEx. Quantrax will also assist you in converting some of the custom programs you may have developed, to work with RMEx. Many users find that RMEx will provide most of the required functionality, but there is always the possibility that you have some special processing that will need to be analyzed, and potentially handled through a custom modification
Can we keep our database and use RMEx’s knowledge-based technology to add “intelligence” to our system?
RMEx’s “thinking” and intelligent features require access to RMEx’s data base. Circumstances are evaluated and decisions are made based on information stored within RMEx. Converting this technology to work with another system is extremely complex and could be compared to developing a new system. Once an organization understands the design and features of RMEx, they usually have no concerns with converting from their existing system to RMEx.
Setting up and changing the knowledge base goes on as long as your business needs change. We initially recommend setting up basic Smart Codes with logic to move accounts to different people, and logic to close accounts. Other rules can be developed as you learn more about RMEx and how you want to manage your business. Remember, it is easier to make good plans and then set up RMEx than to set up the system quickly and change everything because you did not plan correctly. We recommend that a company allocates about 6 to 8 weeks for the initial setup of the system.
A typical conversion usually consists of a “data conversion”, management and operator training, and setup of the new system (knowledge base, letters, rules, collector options etc.) The data conversion refers to programs that map the data from your existing system to RMEx’s format – It will be simple or complex, depending on your ability to provide file layouts, test data etc. as well as the complexity of your present system. Since you may want to use the conversion to “clean up” some of the data you have, you may need to understand the options available within RMEx prior to providing us with specifications. E.g. Some clients may wish to separate “newer” accounts from the “older” accounts at the time of conversion, so they can be separately grouped and worked. In a well-planned conversion, a thoroughly tested conversion could be developed in about 30 – 45 days.
With regard to the time taken to set up the system, this can vary significantly depending on the client. Quantrax will usually provide 3 – 4 days of high-level management training shortly after the hardware has been installed and key management personnel have had an opportunity to review some of the on-line training modules. Some companies like to start with a well-planned, feature-rich knowledge base with many automated processes. We always suggest starting with a relatively simple system that can be built upon as users become more familiar with the knowledge-based concept. Provided management devotes the necessary time to the conversion effort (about an hour a day at the early stages and 3 – 4 hours towards the latter stages), a functional system can be set up on about 6 weeks. At this time, you would be “ready to convert”. During the time prior to conversion, the on-line training modules would be used to make collectors and accounting personnel more familiar with the system. Quantrax would also be available to respond to questions with regard to operational or system issues. At the time of conversion, Quantrax would usually be on site for 4 – 5 days to provide training and support in the different areas of the system
The iSeries is arguably one of the finest systems with regard to security. The following is reproduced from the IBM security manuals.
By using security level 50 and following the instructions in the Security – Enabling for C2, SC41-5303-00, you can bring a Version 4 Release 4 iSeries® system to a C2 level of security. C2 is a security standard defined by the U.S. government in the Department of Defense Trusted System Evaluation Criteria (DoD 5200.28.STD). In October, 1995, iSeries formally received a C2 security rating from the United States Department of Defense. The C2 rating is for V2R3 of OS/400, SEU, Query/400, SQL, and Common Cryptographic Architecture Services/400. The C2 rating was awarded after a rigorous, multi-year period of evaluation. iSeries is the first system to achieve a C2 rating for a system (hardware and operating system) with an integrated, full-function database.
In 1999, iSeries received a C2 rating for Version 4 Release 4 of OS/400 (with feature code 1920), SEU, Query/400, SQL, TCP/IP Utilities, Cryptographic Access Provider, and Advanced Series Hardware. A limited set of TCP/IP communication functions between iSeries, attached to a local area network, were included in the evaluation. To achieve a C2 rating, a system must meet strict criteria in the following areas:
- Discretionary access control
- User accountability
- Security auditing
- Resource isolation
RMEx has many features that allow a user to control or restrict access to accounts and information within those accounts based on what access level a user is assigned. This allows you to meet your internal security objectives as well as requirements mandated by your clients.
RMEx automatically encrypts key information relating to credit cards, bank information and a all social security numbers. When information is backed up, it is the encrypted data that gets saved. Complete backups (all data) can also be encrypted using different 3rd party products (there are hardware and software-based solutions).
We offer 128-bit encryption (which is very very strong). Key size can indicate how weak or strong the encryption is. As a general rule, the greater the key size, the better the data is protected (e.g., a 256-bit key generally provides better protection than a 128-bit key). However, this is not always true. For example, data encrypted with the RSA algorithm using a 256-bit key is not as safe as data encrypted using the AES algorithm using a 128-bit key.
The algorithm used within RMEx is the Rijndael Algorithm in Counter mode of operation. Important features of this algorithm are as follows:
- Supports key lengths of 64 bits,128 bits or 256 bits.
- Symmetric Algorithm (Same key is used for encryption and decryption)
- It is free and not patented
- It is the algorithm that is considered the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
- It is a block cipher which encrypts 64 bits blocks at a time.
- Counter mode of operation allows the block cipher to work as a stream cipher. Thus the input length does not have to be a multiple of block size.
The system allows users to accept and store credit card information for one-time and recurring payments. What about real-time credit card authorization?
Our system will allow a collector to set up a credit card and get a payment authorized for that day, while the debtor is on the phone. This takes a few seconds and greatly reduces the amount of administrative work needed to complete the transaction and have the funds placed in your account.
There is a great deal of focus on PCI certification. How do Quantrax and its partners help companies with regards to these requirements
Our responsibility is to provide technology that is safe and secure. We believe that security and compliance requirements will change with time. We will respond accordingly to the different types of security requirements. In addition to the requirements within your software (e.g. encryption of sensitive data), each agency has to meet certain requirements based on their volumes. This will be the responsibility of each company. While we will work with any merchant service provider selected by our clients, we have created and tested interfaces with the provider BillingTree. These include batch processes, real-time credit card authorization and interfaces for electronic checks. We have had our clients ask about what they should look for in a company that provides merchant services. While the choice of vendor is yours, following is the type of information provided by Billing Tree with regard to their qualifications to provide services to our clients. ‘BillingTree is a Best Practices member of NACHA which ensures security compliance while operating in the ACH Network. Regarding Credit Card Security, BillingTree is finalizing a Level 1 PCI DSS certification, which will occur annually, and is also pursuing ISO 27001 certification. BillingTree understands the need for diligence and best practices concerning information data security. We endeavor to comply with industry best practices ensuring the security of our data systems as well as the continuance of our business in the event of a disaster. We are pursuing these certifications through third-party audits in order to provide these assurances to our partners and clients. When necessary, we verify our partners continued adherence to the appropriate data security standards (PCI, NACHA compliance) and their third party certification(s).”
RMEx is a multi-company system. On a single database, RMEx can maintain up to 99 different companies. Each company is separate and distinct, with its own security, clients, collectors, accounts and rules. Some companies will convert different locations or business entities into separate companies. In some cases, some lines of business (Student loans, early out operations etc.) can be worked in separate companies.
There is security for the access of each company. Even though accounts do not link across different companies you have the ability to allow certain users to display accounts from the different companies when an account search is performed. This can be used in an area such as payment entry.
During normal operations, the only time that RMEx requires users to be off the system is during the dedicated portion of Nightly Processing. (With a correctly sized system, you will probably require less than a 30-minute window for this process.) There is an optional feature within the purge to reorganize files and free up the space used by deleted records. If selected, this operation requires a dedicated system. Even during month-end processing, other users can work. You should not “post” new business or payments until the month-end reset has been completed, since this may place some statistics in incorrect processing periods.
RMEx was designed for the IBM AS/400 (now called the IBM iSeries) The iSeries offers a complete line of powerful, scalable, easy to manage servers. Most users will opt to attach their server to a PC network, thus obtaining the reliability and security of a midrange computer combined with the range and flexibility of the PC. RMEx is written in RPG/400 and ILE/400. Several graphical user interfaces are available for iSeries applications, offering access to the application through a variety of methods including dial up and the web. The hardware, operating system, database and communications software are all supplied and supported by IBM. This results in very strong integration of the different components, and a reliability that can not be matched
The IBM iSeries is best described as a “midrange system”. While it is an attractive option for a smaller company, it can also replace a mainframe at the higher end of a product line that offers amazing scalability. While many confidently forecast the “death of the mainframe” in the early 1990′s, PC’s have not taken over the world as was predicted at the time. Mainframes as they existed in 1990 are almost extinct, but many corporate users have accepted the advantages and value of centrally controlled, very predictable and reliable computing systems. That is exactly how the IBM iSeries would be described. Recent excesses and irresponsible spending on technology have resulted in many companies being burdened with several unconnected and poorly-performing applications and computer systems. Today, IBM is well positioned to provide the broad range of services that are being demanded from a single provider in a very technical workplace. The collection environment is no exception, calling for high interactive use, extremely reliable hardware, very stable system software and large volumes of data. Our choice of the iSeries as the hardware platform for RMEx was directly related to the unresolved weaknesses of PC-based systems, IBM’s successful long-term midrange strategy, their growing list of satisfied customers and their dominant position as the greatest technology company in the world.
Since this technology is so promising, why have other vendors not endorsed it and redesigned their products?
Our opinion is that other vendors have accepted the value of this technology. Unfortunately, creating an expert system calls for a new product to be designed and built. In addition to the very large costs involved in engineering a new product, the industry and the end users are not demanding more from their software vendors. These are probably the reasons that the major vendors have no plans to rewrite their products even though they were designed nearly 20 years ago! As an alternative, many of them have incorporated some limited “thinking” into their products and are advertising this as strategies, tactics, workflow management etc. In spite of these attempts, it is a fact that none of these systems can be described as an expert system. Compare what has to be done with these systems to create some of the automated environments and processes that are easily created using RMEx. The difficulty in setting up and using the “thinking” features in these other systems is directly related to the fact that unlike with RMEx, these features were not incorporated into the original design of the product but were added much later on in the life of the product. The results obtained from these competitive systems are different, and for any collection software vendor to claim that a conventional data-based system can compete with an expert system is both irresponsible and inaccurate.
Over and above Quantrax’s standard reporting, is there a reporting package that offers more flexibility and selection options?
Quantrax’s I-Biz product suite is a powerful business intelligence (BI) platform for the RMEx collection system. Developed using state-of-the-art relational and dimensional database technologies, the I-Biz platform will transform the way in which you manage your collections and portfolio performance. No longer will you be constrained by plain paper reports or one-dimensional and time-consuming data exports: I-Biz replicates your collections data to a Windows-based SQL Server database and OLAP cube to offer you near-instantaneous report run-times with a high degree of interactivity for data exploration (filtering, slicing, dicing and drill-down).
Hotels and Lodging
Hotels tend to be expensive in the Bethesda area. If you plan to rent a car, we could suggest more economical hotels that would be a 15 – 20 minute drive from our offices. Some of the areas to consider are Rockville and Silver Spring.
Some of the hotels below are within one mile of the office. Some offer a shuttle service. Otherwise, it should be a very short taxi ride or an opportunity for a very short but nice walk. The only parking available is at a public parking facility across the street from our office, in case you are driving. There are a few visitor parking areas outside our building. Please check with us.
Actual rates will be higher or lower, depending on season, day of the week and demand. Expedia hotel rating is indicated by the stars.
6711 Democracy Boulevard
Bethesda, MD 20817
(129.00 plus on weekdays 249.00 plus weekends)
No Shuttle – Will require Taxi or car 15 minutes from office
5151 Pooks Hill Rd
Bethesda, MD 20814
(120 per night)
Four miles from our office
7335 Wisconsin Ave
Bethesda MD 20814
(140+ per night)
Very short walk from the office. Across from Bethesda Metro
5701 Marinelli Road
Bethesda, MD 20852
(140+ per night)
Three miles from office, close to White Flint Metro station.
8120 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814
(150+ per night)
Has shuttle – 7 blocks from office
8130 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814
(100+ per night)
Has shuttle – 7 blocks from office
1 Bethesda Metro Center
Bethesda, MD 20814
(140+ per night)
No shuttle – 4 blocks from office, at Bethesda Metro station
Bethesda Court Hotel (also called Golden Tulip Bethesda Court)
7740 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814
(169.00 standard – 195.00 luxury)
Has shuttle, but please confirm – 4 blocks from office, very close to Bethesda Metro station
7301 Waverley Street,
Bethesda, MD 20814
(130.00 standard and up)
Very short walk from the office. Across from Bethesda Metro.
9600 Newbridge Drive,
Potomac, MD 20854
(70.00 standard and up)
Is fairly close to the office by car. Converted post office, not in commercial area. Rooms are small.