Monday Oct 22, 2012

The Best BPM Journey: More Exciting Destinations with Process Accelerators

Oracle Open World (OOW) earlier this month has been a great occasion to discuss with our BPM customers. It was interesting to hear definite patterns emerging from those conversations: “BPM is a journey”, “experiences to share”, “our organization now understands what BPM is”, and my favorite (with some caveats): “BPM is like wine tasting, once you start, you want to try more”. These customers have started their journey, climbed up the learning curve, and reached a vantage point that allows them to see their next BPM destination. They see the next few processes they are going to tackle and improve with BPM.

These processes/destinations target both horizontal processes where BPM replaces or coordinates manual activities, and critical industry processes that the company needs to improve to compete and deliver increasing value. Each new destination generates value, allowing the organization to reduce the cost of manual processes that were not supported by apps/custom development, and increase efficiency of end-to-end processes partially covered by apps/custom dev.

The question we wanted to answer is how to help organizations experience deeper success with BPM, by increasing their awareness of the potential for reaching new targets, and equipping them with the right tools. We decided that we needed to identify destinations, and plot routes to show the fastest path to those destinations. In the end we want to enable customers to reach “Process Excellence”: continuously set new targets and consistently and efficiently reach them.

The result is Oracle Process Accelerators (PA), solutions built using the rich functionality in Oracle BPM Suite. PAs offers a rapidly expanding list of exciting destinations. Our launch of the latest installment of Process Accelerators at Oracle Open World includes new Industry-focused solutions such as Public Sector Incident Reporting and Financial Services Loan Origination, and improved other horizontal PAs, including Travel Request Management, Document Routing and Approval, and Internal Service Requests. Just before OOW we had extended the Oracle deployment of Travel Request Management, riding the enthusiastic response from early adopters among travelers (employees), management and support (approvers). “Getting there first” means being among the first to extract value from the PA approach, while acquiring deeper insights into the customers’ perspective. This is especially noteworthy when it comes to PAs, a set of solutions designed to be quickly deployed and iteratively improved by customers.

The OOW launch has generated immediate feedback from customers, non-customers, analysts, and partners. They all confirmed that both Business and IT at organizations benefit from PAs when it comes to exploring the potential for BPM to improve their business processes. PAs help customers visualize what can be done with BPM, and PAs are made to be extended: you can see your destination, change the path to fit your needs, and deploy.

We're discovering new destinations/processes that the market wants us to support, generic enough across industries and within industries. We'll keep on building sets of requirements, deliver functional design, construct solutions using Oracle BPM, and test them not only functionally but for performance, scalability, clustering, making them robust, product-quality. Delivering BPM solutions with product-grade quality is the equivalent of following a tried-and-tested path on a map.

Do you know of existing destinations in your industry? If yes, we can draw a path to innovative processes together.

Tuesday Oct 02, 2012

OpenWorld Session: Oracle Unified BPM Suite Development Best Practices

Blog by David Read

Earlier today,  Sushil Shukla, Yogeshwar Kuntawar, and I (David Read) delivered an OpenWorld  session that covered BPM development best practices.  It was well attended.  Last year we had a session that covered end-to-end lifecycle best practices for BPM.  This year we narrowed the focus to the development portion of the lifecycle.  We started with an overview of development process best practices, then focused on a few key design topics where we’ve seen common questions from customers and partners.

  • Data Design
  • Using EDN
  • Multi-Instance Activity
  • Using the Spring Component
  • Human Task Integration

We wrapped up with an overview of key concepts for effective error handling, including error handling within the process design, and using declarative fault policies.

We hope you found the session useful, and as noted in the session, please be sure to try to attend Prasen’s session to see more details about approaches for testing Oracle Business Rules:

CON8606  Oracle Business Rules Use Cases, 10/3/2012, 3:30PM  

Monday Oct 01, 2012

Oracle OpenWorld Session: “Business Driven Development with BPM: Lessons from the Real World”

One of key values that BPM promises is “Business Empowerment”. People closest to the processes, who participate in the process every day, are the ones who know most about the process. These are the people who run day-to-day operations, people who triage customer issues, people who envision improvements and innovations. It is, therefore, imperative that when a company decides to use BPM technology to automate their business processes, business people take the driver’s seat. BPM is not an IT only project.

Oracle BPM suite has been designed keeping this core tenet of BPM, Business Empowerment, in mind. The result is business user centered design of Process Composer. Process Composer is designed to let business users document their processes, analyze them using simulation, create web forms, specify business rules and even run them in testing mode using process player, to see if the designed process meets their needs.

This does not mean that IT has no role in this process. In fact, Oracle BPM Suite has made it very easy for Business and IT to collaborate. The same process can be shared among business, and IT stakeholders and each can collaborate to create model-driven, process based executable applications. A process may need to integrate with multiple systems via various mechanisms, and IT leads system and data integration effort. IT helps fine tune the performance of process applications and ensures that the deployment of process application meets scalability and failover standards.

In this session, we saw Harish Gaur and Satya Narayanan from Oracle demonstrate roles Business and IT play in BPM projects and how Oracle BPM Suite enables business and IT collaboration to design and automate process based applications. They also discussed real life customer stories.

Some key takeaways from this session:

  1. There are no IT projects, only business initiatives, requiring IT support
  2. Identify high impact processes – critical, better BPM ROI
  3. Identify key metrics to measure process performance
  4. Align business with IT layer
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