Friday May 24, 2013

Part III - Managing the Unstructured, the Flexible and the Adaptive

In business, they say only predictable thing is unpredictability and the only thing certain is uncertainty. In the earlier parts of this series I wrote about “Adaptive” and “Case” part of Adaptive Case Management. In this part, I will discuss the “Management” part.

In situations where we need flexible handling of work, Adaptive Case Management capabilities in Oracle BPM Suite lets case workers or knowledge workers do that.

So what are some of these management capabilities? These include processing of case, monitoring the case progression and adding the work or stakeholders when needed, without any design changes. Let’s look into some of the management features on case overview screen.

  1. Monitoring milestones – To determine which guided process activities are in progress or are completed
  2. Case Stakeholders – View all the case stakeholders, their role and ability to add stakeholders at runtime as and when required
  3. Activity Streams – History of all the milestones and activities that have been completed or updated etc.
  4. Case Artifacts – View all the data, documents or collaborative discussions related to the case. You can integrate with any document management system and route documents along with the case.
  5. Activity Ratings -. Unlike structured and repeatable processes, in adaptive case management the relative importance and priority of activities can vary from case to case. For this purpose Oracle BPM Suite lets you rate activities at runtime.

Adaptive Case Management is a built-in feature in the new release of Oracle BPM Suite 11g (Check out the webcast to learn more about the new release. ) If you need to undertake flexible work, you do not need a separate product, the BPM suite can do it for you. Moreover, ACM and BPM work together, any process fragment can be included as a part of the case and processes. One of the things that make Oracle BPM Suite a complete suite.

Thursday May 09, 2013

Part II - Perry Mason and the Case of the Unstructured Process

Can we create a system that can solve mysteries, as Perry Mason would do? Can there be a single method that can solve all mysteries that Perry Mason solved? No, we cannot design such a process because each case is different, participants are different, evidence is different, and conditions are different. If we cannot design a process for just 82 mysteries, how can we hope design a process that can solve, let’s say, 1000 new mysteries every week or each day!

We need Perry Mason for that. That is what knowledge workers are; Perry Masons of claims management, health care or fraud management departments.
In the first part of blog I discussed the “Adaptive” part of Adaptive Case Management. Here, I’ll talk about “Case”.


Well, not this brief ”case” but maybe related to it. So if, this were briefcase of Perry Mason, what would it include? It might contain notes on some clues, interviews of witnesses, a bullet shell, photo of blood stained shirt, and may be a magnifying glass(ok no magnifying glass, that is Sherlock Holmes). The “Case Folder” is similar. It contains all the information collected while the case is being processed and required to solve a case. It may contain documents, pictures, notes, history and data.

Once the case is created it is routed to the person with best skills to solve that case. There may be collaboration required at each stage of the case. The knowledge worker may determine what should be the next step in case, he may start related cases or initiate other necessary processes to resolve the case. There may also be certain service level agreements (SLA) or metrics associated with the cases.

There are also rules and policies associated with cases and case types that determine the constraints or actions in certain conditions. For instance, if a customer is VVIP, claims agent cannot see the personal information and has to settle the case within 1 hour, or escalate it.

The cases can be of different types, they can be investigative like insurance claims, they can be service requests like employee calling helpdesk reporting slow running server or can be incident reporting like when a citizen may report a suspicious activity to local police station.

So we use this concept of case when there is no pre-determined path that can be followed to get to the resolution, or permutations and combinations of paths from start to finish are so numurous that it is impractical to create a process diagram for it.

 Now that we have seen what “Adaptive” is and what a “Case” refers to, in the next part we’ll bring these together and discuss management aspect of adaptive case management.

Oracle BPM Suite added Adaptive Case Management capability in the new release. Check out the webcast to learn more about new release.

Wednesday May 01, 2013

Part I - Manage Processes, the way Octopus does

 

Octopus is one of the smartest beings under the water. After all, it has been picking soccer winning teams better than some pros outside water. That is not the only reason they are smart. They are remarkably adept at adjusting to their surroundings, and that may be one of the reasons that they have been on earth for many thousands of years.

Mimic octopus, for example, can move its arms to take the shape of other sea creatures, can camouflage when sense danger, release ink when threatened and even capable of autotomy – self amputation of tentacle (don’t worry it grows back again). This is one creature that can certainly adapt to its environment and use that skill to thwart threats or to exploit it to capture a prey.

This intelligence and adaptiveness make it a real impressive invertebrate.

Is this not particularly close to what we want in our business processes? We want them to adapt to ever-changing business environment and manage opportunities and threat in an intelligent way.

In this 3 part series, I am going to talk about how adaptive case management ensures success for your business and may be a factor in long term success of your business.

First let’s tackle the word “ADAPTIVE”. Why adapt? How a process adapts? What does adapting provide? Let’s quickly list down each of these.

Why Adapt?

Political, Economic, Social and Technological (PEST) changes to our business warrant the business and processes that form the backbone of the business, to adapt. This may include new product introduction, new competition or new government regulations. These changes can be long term that reflect the design changes to the processes, others can be more dynamic and need to be done in real time.

Situations where processes need to adapt in real-time, that is where dynamic or adaptive case management helps. The reasons could be:

  • Sequence of steps cannot be pre-defined and process needs to be built as it progresses
  • Too many rules, case types, or decision points to include in a single process design
  • Difference in types of process stakeholders that need different treatment

Like octopus, business needs to detect these variables and adapt accordingly.

How a process adapts?

The adaptation can be at various levels. You may need to change following in the process to adapt to certain business situation:

  • Process flow – add, remove activities in different situations
  • Adjust Business rules or include different set of rules for different instances
  • User Interface that changes dynamically and in context

What does adapting provide?

Dynamically adapting to changing business situation provides:

  • More contextual and personalized customer experience
  • Managing unforeseen activities in the process
  • Flexibility to knowledge worker to work on special-case scenarios
  • Responding to changing regulations quickly to avoid fines, penalties
  • Improving the bottom line by responding to opportunities and threats in changing market

In the next part of the blog, we’ll tackle the “Case” component of adaptive case management.

Oracle BPM Suite added Adaptive Case Management capability in the new release. Check out the webcast to learn more.

Monday Apr 15, 2013

Accelerate BPM in your Industry with Oracle’s New Launch

The convergence of vertical domain expertise with the most comprehensive BPM Suite to date - this is the resounding message of Oracle’s latest BPM launch. Oracle Process Accelerators, which are pre-built end-to-end businesses processes with industry best practices, can help you hit the ground running to transform your business. Watch this screencast that articulates the value of Oracle Process Accelerators.

To find out more about the latest Oracle BPM launch, join us in the upcoming webcast: New Directions with Business Driven BPM

Call for Nominations: Oracle Excellence Awards for Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation 2013

Oracle is pleased to announce the call for nominations for the 2013 Oracle Excellence Awards: Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation. Jointly sponsored by Oracle, OAUG, QUEST, ODTUG, IOUG, AUSOUG and UKOUG, the Oracle Excellence Awards for Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation honor organizations using Oracle Fusion Middleware to deliver unique business value. This year, the awards will recognize customers across 8 distinct categories:

  • Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud
  • Oracle Cloud Application Foundation
  • Oracle Service-Oriented Architecture & Business Process Management
  • Oracle WebCenter
  • Oracle Identity Management
  • Oracle Data Integration
  • Oracle Application Development Framework and Fusion Development
  • Business Analytics (Oracle BI, Oracle EPM, and Oracle Exalytics)

If you consider yourself a pioneer using these solutions in innovative ways to achieve significant business value, submit your nomination for the 2013 Oracle Excellence Awards for Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation by Tuesday, June 18th, 2013, for a chance to win a FREE registration to Oracle OpenWorld 2013 (September 22-September 26) in San Francisco, California.

Top customers will be showcased at Oracle Open World 2013, get a chance to mingle with Oracle executives, network with their peers and be featured in Oracle Publications.

To submit your nominations, please follow the following steps:

  1. Download and complete the Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation Awards nomination form for SOA/BPM with as much detail as possible. Please do not leave any information blank.
  2. Submit completed form and any relevant supporting documents to Innovation-Middleware_us@oracle.com.
    • Email subject: <Category_CompanyName_InnovationAwards2013> when submitting your nomination.
    • Name all supporting documents with “companyname_solutionname_filename.xyz”

To maximize your selection chances, please have a look to this blog article.

For additional details, go HERE.

Friday Apr 12, 2013

Just in ‘Case’…

Just in case you have processes that cannot be easily defined at the design time….

Just in case you need to add ad-hoc activities or performers to your process.…

Just in case you want to monitor processes milestones and not individual activities….

Just in case you want provide guided path to your knowledge workers….

For all such cases, Oracle BPM Suite has added Case Management capabilities in the new release.

Just in case you are wondering what Case Management is all about, Mark Foster describes it here.

Just in case you want to know what people are saying about new Oracle BPM Suite and Case Management check the links below:

An Introduction to Oracle Case Management - Leon Simers

BPM 11g PS6 the support for Adaptive Case Management that Oracle has added to Oracle BPM Suite in this latest release means a breakthrough – Lucas Jellema, Amis

New Case Management Functionality - By Danilo Schmiedel  Opitz Consulting

Oracle BPM 11g Release, blog by Manoj Das capturing feedback from early adopters

Just in case you want to know more about new capabilities of Oracle BPM Suite, including case management, join us for the webinar on April 17.

BPM Webcast

Tuesday Apr 09, 2013

A Chance at a New Life for Financial Institutions

The rapid pace of globalization, mobile & data revolution, and a flattening market brings a chance at unprecedented innovation and expansion for financial institutions. Business processes that are often at the heart of organizations are the basis for differentiation between financial institutions and are core to capitalizing on this innovation. However, often these business processes are rigid and built on outdated systems, making it impossible for organizations to keep up with a competitive edge.

Business Process Management (BPM) holds the promise of agility, business visibility and greater efficiency encouraging financial institutions to move towards rewiring core and critical business processes. However the fear of change and risk associated with gutting mission critical business processes can hold back organizations from adopting BPM.

Oracle has the advantage of experience in delivering best-in-class products for financial industry solutions that address complex business processes: 20 of the top 20 world banks and insurance companies run Oracle.

Oracle has leveraged this experience in building out BPM solutions to kick-start your strategy. The BPM Resource Kit for  Financial Services includes the top concerns financial institutions can address with BPM. It gets you started with Oracle Process Accelerators: pre-built, end-to-end implementations of business processes specific to Financial Services such as Loan Origination and Business Account Opening. This lowers your risk in getting started with BPM and can put you back on the competitive edge riding the train of innovation.


On a related note, Oracle recently unveiled enhancements to the Oracle BPM Suite including an expanded portfolio of Oracle Process Accelerators for Financial Services: Webinar: Oracle BPM Suite Enhancements.

Thursday Apr 04, 2013

Oracle BPM Suite New Release: Business Driven. Complete. Best Practice.

The first time I had a look at this release, I immediately fell in love with it. Everything was right where it belongs and worked as I expected. I am talking about the new release of Oracle BPM Suite 11g. The official release name is 11.1.1.7 and some call it PS6, but I call it best one yet.

A fully Business Driven suite that lets business users in discovery and design of process models as well as creating web forms and data with quite an ease. My favorite feature here is the Process Player that lets users fully run the process, in composer itself, before moving to testing or production environment. You can use it for validations, collaborative discovery sessions or users training. The animated view tells you how the process is flowing while invoking all the rules and forms, just as it would do in production.

Oracle BPM Suite is a Complete process management platform. With it, you can define any type of process - system or human, rules or events, decision or document - no matter how simple or sophisticated. It brings the business process management and adaptive case management capabilities together in a single platform. Now you can manage structured and unstructured processes with equal ease - another one of my favorite capability.

Business process management is as much about principals and methodology as it is about the tooling. Even with the best tooling some early adopters of BPM are challenged with determining right constructs and patterns. This is a key difference in companies where BPM remains a single process solution to companies that have adopted BPM as an enterprise wide program. Oracle BPM suite offers you such Best Practices in the form of Oracle Process Accelerators. These have been designed keeping in mind our years of application design experience. Built with Oracle BPM Suite these pre-built process applications can give you a head start in your BPM implementations. To check the currently available accelerators and request downloads go to Oracle Technology Network page for Process Accelerators.

See what some of the early evaluators had to say about this release of Oracle BPM Suite:

Capgemini is pleased to see that case management is now added to the Oracle SOA and BPM stack. This small addition broadens the already rich BPM architecture, making it possible to combine BPM processes into cases based upon lifecycle, milestones and events in a very fast and agile way.

When implementing our processes, Capgemini needs tooling that supports design workshops and plays a part in closing the loop between analysis and development. Oracle Process Composer is the browser-based business analyst tool used in workshops to design processes. Oracle developed this tool spectacularly with human task form design capabilities, simulation, and, process player, which permits running processes in situ in the browser. Leon Smiers, Capgemini

[ipt] is convinced that these two features will significantly reduce the development life cycle and create solutions of higher quality.  The adaptive case management solution will put skilled end users in the position to decide which steps they will have to take next in the process based on the current contextual information. This is a common requirement in the public insurance and health sector. Richard Schaller, [ipt] Innovation Process Technology AG

Joins us for the webinar where we will discuss more about this release and also show you a quick demo..

Wednesday Apr 03, 2013

BPM 11g Update Released

The Oracle BPM product team is happy and excited to announce that BPM 11.1.1.7 is now publicly available. This is a major update to BPM 11g and makes it easier for business to design, run, and improve business processes. See the press release here.


While there are many new features and enhancements in this release, in this blog, I will highlight the 2 features that I am most excited about: Web Forms and Adaptive Case Management. You can read about all the other new features and enhancements in the What's New in BPM 11.1.1.7.0 document.


Web Forms

Web FormsWeb Forms enables a business analyst to design forms (the user interfaces needed for process to interact with participants) from within Process Composer. Business analysts can go top down and start from a blank canvas and create the form by dragging and dropping controls. In this case the business object is automatically inferred based on the form. Or if there is an existing business object, the analyst may choose to create a form based on it by simply dragging and dropping the business object or its elements on the canvas. Web Forms enable behavior to be specified using declarative properties; it also supports a developer adding standard Javascript rules for more advanced behavior.


Web Forms are based on standard HTML, CSS, and Javascript technology and provide built in AJAX behavior.


Web Forms along with related features such as Business Object editor and Player, no enables a business analyst to model, simulate, implement, play, and deploy the process from within Process Composer. Of course there will be scenarios, such as when new services need to be developed or complex data transformation needs to be done, where a developer will need to refine the process in BPM Studio, and we continue to support collaborative development across Composer and Studio.


Adaptive Case Management

Case Management

While we have always supported Case Management as a use case and many of our customers are doing Case Management scenarios with Oracle BPM 11g, in this release, we introduce Case Management as first class feature of BPM 11g. What that means is that we are introducing the notion of Case, Case Activities, Case Policies, Case Events, and Case Stakeholders and a case engine to manage their execution.


To summarize these features, it is useful to explain the difference between case activities and BPMN activities. While a BPMN activity is created when the process reaches a modeled state and then process waits for the activity to be performed, case activities are available as a menu of choices to the appropriately privileged stakeholders. The stakeholders apply their judgement and discretion in deciding which activities to perform and in which order. This enables a broad spectrum of knowledge worker driven use cases, where a traditional process may be too restrictive.


Case policies can be used to constrain or guide the freedom allowed. Based on case data, state, and events, they can enable, disable, or require certain activities or fire new case events.


Case management is a component of the BPM product and case can be added to any existing BPM projects. Case and BPMN processes and sub-processes interoperate seamlessly. A case activity can cause a BPMN process or sub-process to be invoked or it can communicate to an active process instance via event. This means that you can expand the boundaries of your existing BPM processes very easily leveraging this new capability.


Feedback from Early Adopters

Many of our customers and partners have been using Beta version of this release, and feedback from some of them is included here:

Leon Smiers, Capgemini

Capgemini is pleased to see that case management is now added to the Oracle SOA and BPM stack. This small addition broadens the already rich BPM architecture, making it possible to combine BPM processes into cases based upon lifecycle, milestones and events in a very fast and agile way.

When implementing our processes, Capgemini needs tooling that supports design workshops and plays a part in closing the loop between analysis and development. Oracle Process Composer is the browser-based business analyst tool used in workshops to design processes. Oracle developed this tool spectacularly with human task form design capabilities, simulation, and, process player, which permits running processes in situ in the browser.

Blog Twitter LinkedIn


Jon Petter Hjulstad, e-vita as

BPM PS6 brings us closer to the power of BPM! One of the focus areas in this release is making it simpler for business people to draw the process, design input forms, test the process out in Process Player, to do simulations - all in a web interface. All this will give IT a better base for further refinement - the result will be fewer iterations before the process is ready to deploy. The other thing I am looking forward to is OEP PS6 - The NoSQL-integration will be very useful!

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Richard Schaller, [ipt] Innovation Process Technology AG

[ipt] is pleased to see that Oracle added compelling new features to the new release of the Oracle BPM  Suite. This release is another milestone for closing the gap between the business and IT in the domains of collaboration and ease of use. The new Web Form feature will allow business users to see how the human task form will look like during the design workshops. The web-based process player enables business analysts to simulate, test and validate the processes in order to ensure that business needs are fulfilled.

[ipt] is convinced that these two features will significantly reduce the development life cycle and create solutions of higher quality.  The adaptive case management solution will put skilled end users in the position to decide which steps they will have to take next in the process based on the current contextual information. This is a common requirement in the public insurance and health sector.

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Lucas Jellema, Amis

"Depending on the industry, organization and type of business process and its actors, a process can be iron clad and straightforward to capture in a BPMN definition. However, in many environments, the business process - or part of the process - is not fixed. Which steps are to be executed and in which order: it depends on the situation. Typically a an experienced professional makes the call as to how to proceed through the process - using predefined process activities and sub-process. This type of business process is indicated with the term 'case management'. The role of BPM and the BPM engine is somewhat different because in this approach each process instance can be in part a predefined flow and in part a sequence of activities determined by a knowledge worker or even by (real time decisions based on actions from) consumers. The support for Adaptive Case Management that Oracle has added to Oracle BPM Suite in this latest release means a breakthrough in the support for (partially) unstructured business processes. AMIS is very keen on using this feature for a wide range of organizations structuring, streamlining and optimizing their business processes."

"The BPM Process Composer brings business users and analysts closer together with designers and developers of BPM processes. The browser based user interface of Process Composer shows the same information that the technical specialists work on. With the latest release of Oracle BPM 11g, the Process Composer allows users to simulate a business process - even before it has been fully implemented - in order to find bottlenecks and discover optimization opportunities. Improvements to the process - documentation, annotations as well as real process enhancements - can be made through the Process Composer. Two new features are especially interesting to AMIS and our customers: The new Process Player option allows users to validate, test and playback the business process in an easy way within the composer. Note that all process activities need not have been implemented yet to already play the process, ensuring that its design meets the business and customer needs. The new WebForms option in Process Composer allows the creation of simple and effective user interfaces for human tasks in the business process that do not require rich and complex pages leveraging data from backend data sources. This feature will facilitate the rapid prototyping of business processes including human-process interactions for example for quick decisions."

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Mark Simpson, Griffiths Waite

Griffiths Waite are delighted with the improvements in BPM 11gPS6, this is not a small incremental release but a big step for BPM technology at Oracle. The BPM Product Management team have really listened to feedback with the introduction of Case Management activities, improved business modelling experience, a design environment that allows the modeller to play the process in a simulated context and a better way to build simple web forms. In addition to these major enhancements, Oracle have also rolled out a large number of smaller improvements that fill gaps and bring increased functionality in comparison to other BPM tools; such as better working calendar functionality, more complete api’s, an improve  d user workspace and better support for business users to define their BPM data. When you add this to the already mature and stable integration to SOA Suite, we have an impressive end to end suite for process and service design and execution which has had a huge focus placed on usability for designers, developers and end users based on partner and customer feedback.

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Torsten Winterberg, OPITZ CONSULTING

OPITZ CONSULTING is already using Oracle BPM Suite 11g in several successful projects. We were very pleased to see the investment Oracle is putting into this tooling, with PS6 being more a major release than just a patch set. We took part in the PS6 beta program and therefore had the chance to test all the new functionality in detail. Greatest things are the improved web based development experience with process composer, which became much more mature. Player is a great feature to quickly understand modeling consequences. Most important for us are the new case management features. A bunch of customers is waiting for this new level in bpm projects – interesting times are ahead.

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Andrejus Baranovskis, Red Samurai Consulting

"Very excited about Adaptive Case Management in BPM PS6. This will make ADF interfaces implementation for BPM tasks and processes more natural and business oriented. I believe this will help to increase BPM PS6 adaption across different projects."

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Wednesday Mar 27, 2013

Looking forward to Meeting you at Gartner BPM Summit

Oracle is proud to sponsor Gartner BPM summit happening April 2-4 in National Harbor, Maryland. I am truly looking forward to the event this year. We have a number of our customers joining us for the event, and I personally am excited to meet them face-2-face and learn more about their innovative implementations.

Also, this year San Joaquin County won BPM Excellence award, and they will be presenting their case study at the show. I want to congratulate the San Joaquin County on this achievement and look forward to attending their session.

In our booth stations,  we are going to showcase some cool product capabilities. So if, you are there, do visit us at Booth #314.

On April 3rd 7:10am Manoj Das, VP of Product Management will also lead a breakfast session talking about “High Value BPM Patterns for Business Success”. Manoj will discuss some high value process patterns that will not only make the business more efficient but also help create process solutions much faster.

Oracle BPM team is extremely excited to be at the event and wish all attendees to have an enjoyable show!

If you want to learn more about Oracle BPM Suite before the show, we have many resources available for you.

Tuesday Mar 12, 2013

Surround strategy is the sound strategy.

Over the years, companies have acquired various applications to run their business. Companies started with accounting and financial systems, then went ahead and implemented ERP and then jumped into CRM and many others like SCM, HRM along the way.

Soon companies realized that these applications need to exchange information and started “integrating” them, which primarily meant updating data across systems. Such point to point integration of applications works for some time and then business changes and companies need to make “customizations” to the applications. That starts another six months to a year cycle of changes, updates, customizations and testing of applications. Application capabilities have always lagged behind the business needs. Business changes at a much faster rate than applications can.

What if all these updates could be done in days, not months? What if we could separate out a layer of business logic that is dynamic, from the layer that remains constant for a long time? What if making changes to applications and extending applications did not take months and years? Can we do that?

Yes, we can, with a Business Process Management System. Surround enterprise application with BPM layer. One of the key values that BPM delivers is extending your applications and providing an agile layer of business logic that can be changed as quickly as your business changes. This strategy of surrounding all your enterprise applications has 4 key benefits:

  1. Fill the process whitespaces created by disjointed applications.
  2. Move customizations to business process management layer for agility.
  3. Extend applications with new business logic.
  4. Extend legacy applications with new capabilities like social, mobile etc.

Let the applications do what they were designed to do. If you need to add capabilities, make customizations, add processes, do that in BPM. BPM will orchestrate the activities across the applications in a unified process without making unnatural and persistent changes to the enterprise legacy applications. When there comes a time to change, model driven BPM process is much simpler to change than, for example, changing the logic inside an ERP system.

Check out the webcast discussing how BPM helps extend enterprise applications.

Tuesday Mar 05, 2013

How fast is the process? Why does it matter?

Processes consume data, processes generate data. Some need a lot of data, like claims or loan, some generate a lot of data like online shopping. And data is generated at a different rates in different processes. Faster the process, faster is the rate at with they need data and generate data, in addition, response times of decisions in the process need to be adjusted accordingly. Some processes need a quick response, like when some highly caffeinated trader presses B instead of M while trading and takes the whole market down or algorithmic trading with a mind of its own. Some processes need continuous feed of data from many sources for continuous course corrections, like managed health care.

In any process, we make decisions along the way. The decisions are based on rules that we have learned and put in place, information generated from historical data, data currently being generated and also events and event patterns emerging. Depending on the type of decision and when that decision is being made in the process we either need to rely on rules, predictive analytics, fast data analytics or complex event processing.

Depending on the required response times and customer expectation we need to utilize these technologies at our disposal to make right decisions at the right time with as much certainty as possible. Whether it is about an up-sell opportunity during an online sales process or it is a fraud management process or a loan origination process, delivering results at the right speed is critical.

Thursday Feb 21, 2013

BPM renews marriage vows with Big, Fast Data

Business Process Management (BPM) and data management have been attached at the hip for eons. A sound BPM solution cannot succeed without guaranteed and secure data management. And converting data to actionable insight requires human interaction and automation. BPM is what makes data meaningful.

Data has been scrutinized more in recent times than ever before. Big Data and Fast Data are two relatively new terms which have gained significance due to the unprecedented volume of information being generated in recent times. When you look under the covers, both are two ends of the same stick, one side static: somewhat more accepting of delayed reaction and the other very dynamic: requiring reactions on the fly.

Big Data is massive volumes of varied data collected in repositories and analysed for trends such as in data mining and predictive analysis. Business process improvements can be advocated in the organization based on the trend analysis of Big Data. For example, with Big Data and BPM, a retailer can discover how demand increases for specific products at specific periods of time, combine that with social media responses to understand customer preferences, and match that need in the future by appropriate inventory management. This gives the ability to look in the rear-view mirror and make predictions based on history.


Fast Data on the other hand is large volumes of varied data arriving at very high velocity that requires contextual processing in real-time. In most cases, the data becomes meaningless as it ages. BPM brings the facet of adding human interaction and process improvement, making the business process highly dynamic and the data meaningful. For example, a large mobile operator has millions of subscribers and handles tens of thousands of SMS messages per second. Fast Data gives the provider the ability to identify and predict trends based on real-time subscriber events from mobile devices. A reaction to this insight could be suggesting targeted services and location based offerings to the mobile subscribers. Adding BPM to Fast Data would give the mobile operator the ability to make business process improvements to support the trends generated on the fly. Rather than simply study a bottleneck or an opportunity, the operator could actually deploy more resources where needed and capitalize. In addition, cases can be opened to handle any eventualities that require human interaction. And lastly, with BPM in place, the operator could take one step further and analyze if the business process improvement actually made a difference to the operations in real-time. This is like driving with your eyes on the road, making judgement calls to drive optimal and improving your driving skills, all together, in real-time.

An upcoming Oracle Webcast, “Fast Data—Turning High Velocity Data Into Value", will focus on the emerging topic of fast data and the products, solutions, and services Oracle offers to help your organization implement a fast data strategy.

Webcast: Fast Data - Turning High Velocity Data Into Value

Wednesday, February 27, 10am PT Join us for an exclusive event featuring Executive VP of Oracle Fusion Middleware and Java, Hasan Rizvi, and other Oracle Fast Data experts.

Thursday Feb 14, 2013

Oracle Process Accelerators Release 11.1.1.6.3 Now Available

The new Process Accelerators Release (11.1.1.6.3) includes Previews for Employee Onboarding (EOB) and of Business Account Opening (BAO), as well as customer-driven updates to all existing PAs.

PA previews showcase functionality that Oracle BPM customers and prospects can explore, thus matching their requirements to upcoming PAs. Two previews are available in this release:

  • The new Business Account Opening (BAO) preview enables financial services providers to streamline the deposit account opening process for small and medium size businesses. It provides sample customer facing web pages with a guided user interface for entering and submitting a new product application, including services selection, document submission, and funding details. BAO moves the application through the documentation review, identity verification, background checking, account opening, funding, and activation stages. A BAM operational dashboard is also available as part of this preview.
  • The new Employee Onboarding (EOB) preview enables the provisioning process required to make new hires productive when they arrive at their first day of work. The process scope of the EOB preview includes a new hire acceptance of an offer; a hiring manager provisioning using templates of services mapped to job. Services such as office assignment and IT system provisioning, are then provisioned by the Internal Service Request (ISR) PA. The hiring manager can track the status of that request including escalations to meet the hiring date requirements.

All existing PA have been enhanced for this release. Major improvements include:

  • Travel Request Management has new cost elements, Departure and Destination locations, driven by maintainable tables, providing more accurate travel analysis and auditing. These improvements have been driven by customer requirements, including those driven by the extended deployment footprint within Oracle.
  • More out-of-the-box configuration has been added to Document Routing and Approval, to match approval patterns in use at different organizations.
  • Public Sector Incident Reporting has been enhanced with mobile application skins for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry, Web Center integration for enhanced collaboration between case workers, Geospatial Search and proximity calculation capability for more effective map based incident pattern analysis, and NIEM reporting.
  • Enhancements to the Financial Services Loan Origination (FSLO) PA include selection of preferred notification policies by loan applicants, a dynamically generated checklist to simplify the document collection process by a loan officer, and optional electronic acceptance of loan agreements.

Monday Feb 11, 2013

Do You Know the Risk of Shadow Processes?

In order to do business, companies need to buy and develop many applications. These applications help companies perform various functions. Usually, employees may need to access multiple applications to perform an end-to-end function or what we call a business process.

Take, for example, Order Management. In order to take and complete an order, you may need to access CRM system, Inventory Management, Fulfillment, Shipping and Accounting systems. Most of the times these applications are standalone or at best have point-to-point integration. There may be many activities that you need to perform while processing an order that may not be covered with any of these applications. These activities are called process whitespaces, the steps that are not covered with any of your applications. Usually such activities are performed using emails, phone calls, memos, exchanging spreadsheets etc. These are the shadow processes in your organization - the undocumented, unaudited, non-traceable activities. So where is the problem, you may ask. Problem is that these manual activities cause inefficiency in the organization. In the example above, you may not have visibility into the status of an order at any given point in time, and you’ll tend to run business using dated reports. If a customer calls in to check order status, your employees have to access multiple systems to provide that information to the customer. This leads to waste as well as leads to employees taking decisions based on outdated or incomplete information.

In some cases, your company may also be exposed to compliance risks for not having traceability for all required activities. Using manual procedures means that your compliance and audit costs go high, hitting your bottom line and exposing your company and employees to fines or penalties.

One of the key values of BPM is to fill these process whitespaces and make your business more efficient. The idea is not to replace your existing systems or applications. The idea is to leverage your applications (CRM, ERP, SCM) and define an end-to-end efficient process that fills the whitespaces. Let the applications do what they are best at. Do not make unnatural customizations to COTS applications to fit your processes. Use BPM to bring application together and create custom processes. Any activity that is performed in BPM based application is auditable, efficient and enhances visibility across your business. Check out this demo that talks about using BPM to create efficient processes on top of your applications.

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