Enhancing Efficiency and Consumer Protection at the Better Business Bureau

Enhancing Efficiency and Consumer Protection at the Better Business Bureau

Published By : Cydney McCollum June 26, 2024

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The Client

Better Business Bureau (BBB)


Established over a century ago, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been a cornerstone of consumer protection and business assessment in North America. The BBB’s primary objective is to promote ethical business practices and provide consumers with reliable information to make informed decisions. One of the key revenue streams for the BBB is its business accreditation program, which serves as a trusted seal of approval for businesses meeting specific criteria.

However, the path to accreditation is not straightforward. The licensing requirements vary significantly depending on multiple factors, including the type of business, its size, and geographical location. This variability creates a complex landscape for BBB agents, who often struggle to quickly and accurately identify the necessary information to guide businesses through the accreditation process.

The Challenge

The main challenge for the BBB was the difficulty in navigating and retrieving pertinent licensing information quickly and efficiently. The complexity and variability of the requirements made it a time-consuming task for agents, leading to delays in processing and potential frustration for businesses seeking accreditation. This inefficiency impacted the BBB’s operational effectiveness and its ability to uphold its reputation for providing timely and reliable services to consumers and businesses alike.

The Solution

To address these challenges, the BBB partnered with Salient Process, a consultancy specializing in business process management and digital transformation. Together, they leveraged advanced technology from IBM to streamline the accreditation process and enhance the efficiency of BBB operations.

The key technologies implemented were IBM watsonx Assistant and IBM Operational Decision Manager (ODM). These tools were chosen for their ability to manage and simplify complex decision-making processes and provide intelligent, real-time access to crucial information.

IBM watsonx Assistant is an AI-driven tool designed to understand and respond to natural language queries. It enables BBB agents to quickly retrieve specific licensing information by simply asking questions in a conversational manner, eliminating the need for manual searches through extensive documentation.

IBM Operational Decision Manager (ODM) is a comprehensive decision automation solution that helps manage the logic used to make decisions. It provides a clear and accessible way to handle complex rules and regulations, ensuring BBB agents can easily and accurately find and apply the appropriate licensing requirements.

Implementation and Impact

The implementation of IBM watsonx Assistant and ODM was remarkably swift, taking only one week to deploy. This rapid deployment demonstrated the agility and effectiveness of the chosen solutions and the collaborative effort between the BBB and Salient Process.

Key Benefits

  1. Time Savings: BBB agents experienced significant time savings, as they no longer had to spend hours searching for licensing information. The new system provided immediate access to the necessary data, freeing up valuable time for agents to focus on other critical tasks. This operational efficiency translates to hundreds of hours saved daily across the organization.
  2. Financial Impact: The improved efficiency is projected to save the BBB hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. By reducing the time spent on manual searches and minimizing errors, the BBB can allocate resources more effectively and improve its overall financial performance.
  3. Rapid Deployment: The swift implementation of the solution in just one week highlighted the flexibility and speed of the technology and the partnership with Salient Process. This rapid deployment ensured minimal disruption to BBB operations and allowed the organization to realize the benefits of the new system quickly.
  4. Optimal Access: The system provides seamless access to valuable information for both internal and external users. BBB agents can efficiently guide businesses through the accreditation process, while external users, such as business owners and consumers, can benefit from timely and accurate information provided by the BBB.


The integration of IBM watsonx Assistant and Operational Decision Manager (ODM) represents a transformative step for the Better Business Bureau. By leveraging advanced technology to streamline complex processes and enhance operational efficiency, the BBB has reinforced its commitment to consumer protection and business integrity.

This case study underscores the importance of embracing innovative solutions to overcome organizational challenges. The BBB’s proactive approach in partnering with Salient Process and IBM not only improved its internal processes but also strengthened its role as a trusted resource for businesses and consumers in an ever-evolving landscape.

The success of this initiative sets a precedent for other organizations facing similar challenges, demonstrating that with the right technology and partnerships, significant improvements in efficiency, cost savings, and service quality are achievable.

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