Friday Nov 18, 2011

Oracle Tutor: Document Audit and Maintenance

Perhaps the most critical phase in the process of documenting policies and procedure -- and the greatest challenge to owners -- is the maintenance of published documents. Documents must reflect current practice and they must be accurate. The most effective way to ensure this is through the regular audit of documents.

In the Tutor environment, a Document Owner must audit each of his/her documents once every 6 to 12 months to verify that the document reflects actual practice. If it does not, the document is updated or employees are retrained (depending on the nature of the discrepancy).

If a document update is required, the Tutor system enables the owner to modify and redistribute the document within one work day. This is possible because:

  • Documents contain a minimum of detail, thereby reducing the edits.
  • Document format and structure are simple, so changes are easy to identify
  • The Tutor Author software tool enables the Document Owner or the Document Administrator to update the file quickly.
  • The Document Administrator verifies the document format and integration, publishes the document, and distributes it to all affected employees, thereby freeing the Document Owner of the more tedious tasks.

Learn More

For more information about Tutor, visit Oracle.Com or the Tutor Blog.
Post your questions at the Tutor Forum.

Emily Chorba
Principle Product Manager Oracle Tutor & UPK

Wednesday May 18, 2011

Oracle Tutor - Throwing Technology at a Problem

You’re reading a blog about two products – Oracle Tutor and UPK – that produce outputs that tell people how to do their job. What does this say about you? It probably indicates that you’re disciplined, and that you’ve found that a disciplined workplace is a more productive (and hopefully happier) workplace.

Ah, but imposing discipline on others is not so easy, is it? Just try getting a teenager to keep his or her room clean. Try getting an employee to keep a log of every outgoing call he or she makes. Try getting a manager to document all of the procedures in his or her department as well as how to use the application system to perform tasks.

At this point, many people will want to throw technology at the problem. It sure would be nice to have a robot to clean up that teenager’s room every day, and a database can certainly log an employee’s calls along with a date stamp, length of call, and number that was called. There are consultants who are willing to write the procedures for the manager.

But that robot can’t determine the best location for an item that it doesn’t recognize, so when the teen comes home with new clothes or an iPod, the robot needs an update to its programming. The database can log information about the call, but not the content of the call, which is critical information for decision making. And, if a consultant has written all of the procedures, what is the manager going to do when one or more of the procedures are out of date in three months?

So, if technology can’t substitute for discipline, what can you do? It’s all about making compliance easy.

Knowing that the teen will never hang up clothes and doesn’t care if they are rumpled means you might simply invest in a series of colorful laundry baskets. All of the teen’s clean clothes are in the yellow baskets, and the dirty clothes are in the green ones. The only choice the teen needs to make is whether an item is clean or dirty. Laundry day means the teen tips the entire basket into the washer, and, knowing this, they only get to use cold water to prevent the colors from bleeding.  It may not be the solution the parent would prefer, and in three months all of the teen’s clothes are gray, but it does get the clothes off the floor. And it’s easy.

Enabling the employee to make phone calls via VOIP means that the data about the call is logged automatically, and, if you provide the employee with a list of call topics on the screen that can be chosen while he or she is on the call, you will be able to capture basic information about the content of the call. Employees comply when it’s easy.

And if you make it easy for the manager to write the procedures – give her model procedures to edit instead of starting from scratch, use Microsoft Word which she already knows rather than a new program, capture system information by recording  her actions as she moves through a transaction – you will see compliance. And you will see those procedures and UPK topics get updated because it’s easy.

And that’s the way technology will solve a problem – if it makes life easier for the person who needs to use it.

Your comments on how you used technology to solve a problem are welcome!

- Mary R. Keane
Senior Development Manager
Oracle Tutor & Oracle Business Process Management Suite


Friday Oct 29, 2010

Oracle Tutor 14 - Converting Visio files to Tutor procedures

Note - the toolbar button is titled "Import Model," not "Convert" as is described below.

Visio diagrams provide the greatest opportunity for time saved in redeveloping BPM oriented content into Oracle Tools because there are so many of them in the organizational environment. At the same time, Visio diagrams are the greatest challenge to convert because templates may not resemble BPMN or may not be used at all, and the flexibility inherent in Visio allows for non-standard model development. A customer maintained mapping file has been provided which improves the ability to map from non-standard symbols used in Visio diagrams, but models to be converted should be reviewed carefully to assure a clean and efficient conversion.

Source Model Preparation
Make sure the Visio Model conforms to the following rules:

  • Ungroup all model objects
  • Flow connectors are placed between all appropriate model objects, and are connected to the symbol
  • Symbol text is associated with the symbol and is not a Text Box grouped to the symbol
  • Symbols created with non-standard templates have been mapped to OBPC (See Customizing OBPC below)
  • All process symbols contain text
  • Swimlanes contain named roles or actors

General Conversion Issues
Some symbols, which are BPMN 2.0 compliant, will not be converted, especially if they are dropped on tasks to turn them into different types of tasks or sub processes. The table VisioMasterMap.xml is provided and can be maintained by the customer. See Appendix 2: Visio Import technical Details for more information. Excluded Master symbols which map to null currently include:

  • Ad Hoc processes
  • Loop processes
  • Detail
  • Title Block
  • Guide
  • Activity Looping
  • Multiple Instance

Incoming Visio models may contain undefined symbols, which appear to map to process objects but do not. If these objects are placed within the sequence flow they will be converted to tasks. If these objects are erroneously converted to tasks, the customer can add the objects to the mapping file. If the customer has licensed BPA or BPM, a more efficient approach is to import the Visio files into BPA or BPM, clean up the resulting models to valid BPMN standards, and then export them to Tutor.

Visio Model to Tutor
How to Use this Feature
Open a Tutor Document, and click on the Convert button on the Tutor toolbar. From the Tutor Convert dialog, browse to the folder containing the desired Visio file and click OK to convert the file. Note that the Convert button is the same for both Visio and XPDL files, and the .vdx or .xpdl file extension drives the conversion.


Expected Results
Visio models contain a wide variety of symbols, which conform to a varying degree to BPMN notation. The general symbol conversion rules found in Appendix 1 will apply, but customers can map their own symbols as described in the Customizing OBPC section.


Model Converted to Tutor Procedure
Below is the task section of the procedure. The conversion notes and opening sections are not shown.

Conversion Issues
Some models use complex numbering schemes for task identification. When converted to Tutor, only Tutor numbering will be provided, unless the task number is part of the task name. In that case, revision of the content in Tutor is advised.
Tutor currently cannot present text associated with Start or End events, and this text will not be converted.

This information is from the Oracle Business Process Converter user manual and was written by Chuck Jones, Consulting Director, Oracle Tutor.

Friday Mar 12, 2010

UPK & Tutor Customer Roundtable Discussions

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The authors of this blog are members of the UPK product development, management, and marketing teams. On this blog, you'll find UPK news, tips/tricks, upcoming events, and general information on UPK - the easy-to-use, comprehensive content development, deployment, and maintenance platform for increasing project, program, and user productivity.


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