Monday Sep 30, 2013

Oracle Open World Redux: A Manifesto for Adaptable yet Out-Of-the-Box BPM Business Solutions

I had conversations with 0.3% of the 60,000 Oracle Open World in-person attendees. Clearly in-person communication is not that scalable, yet it remains the best way to have conversations that enlighten all parties involved (I’ll be happy to be proven wrong by the threads started by this blog).

Oracle is not only delivering a complete BPM suite to build solutions, but also Process Accelerators, or BPM solutions for high-value industry and horizontal business processes. We demoed at OOW working examples of PAs such as Loan Origination, Employee Onboarding, eForms management, Insurance Claims Management, Incident Reporting, and many others. Judging from the reaction we received, there’s nothing like seeing a working solution to understand what’s possible.

BPM’s potential is best expressed when “adaptable business solutions” need to be quickly built and evolved to support business processes for which packaged (COTS) apps are not available, not a good fit, or otherwise not convenient. The best BPM opportunities hide behind processes with a lot of manual activities, supported via emails, paper, or Excel: an indication that COTS apps can’t be customized to cover them.

BPM is applicable to many business processes that are no “one-offs”, only useful in a specific context for a specific organization. At any given time there are many enterprises and organizations that are experiencing similar issues and would be willing to start the BPM journey to address them; that is, if only they knew BPM could help them deliver a solution that supports them!

If we identify the right classes of BPM “sweet spot” business processes we can maximize the value of BPM solutions “working out-of-the-box”. “Working” means including all components that are necessary to support the business process: centered on a business model and including user interfaces for the different users to perform tasks, business rules, dashboards. When properly designed, these solutions maintain the intrinsic agility of BPM and can be modified and extended based on the specific customer process requirements. Evolving working high-quality solutions – rather than building something from scratch – has cost, risk, and time advantages; that’s why we call them process accelerators. Yet arguably the biggest advantage of all is their role in helping visualize to-be processes, and understand how BPM can help. Can this make BPM more pervasive in enterprises?

BPM is one of those disciplines with strong believers that “have seen the light”, yet it has not become a “bandwagon” where everybody wants to jump on board and enjoy the ride. Rather, it’s more of a taxi which you’re going to take if you know your destination. With process accelerators we want to show destinations and how to reach other similar destinations, with the intent of replicating or even generating new BPM success.

In order to do that, it’s important to identify classes of “BPM sweet spot” processes, and target them appropriately. I will attempt here a simple classification based on a key element: the “white space” that BPM-supported processes fill:

  • Transactional: these are process extensions on the fringe of processes like quote-to-cash, opportunity-to-order, mostly supported by COTS apps like ERP, CRM, etc., where the end-to-end process is mostly automated, but where portions remain manual. Think about the workflow to cleanse invoices or orders received from trading partners. A substantial number of BPM customers actually use BPM to deliver value with process extensions. While the validation logic changes from enterprise to enterprise, these might be great candidates for Cloud BPM, especially since the Cloud facilitates moving the responsibility for validating transactions where errors are introduced.
  • Cross-department/cross-app “end-to-end” processes: here the white space is in the process integration (system, but more importantly human integration) to bring together in a cohesive whole the sub-processes served by different departments and/or COTS apps, yet that need BPM to make the end-to-end process truly efficient by enabling end-to-end visibility and management.
  • Strategic excellence processes: these are customer-specific processes that embody the unique characteristics and value-add of leading organizations. Only BPM allows adhering to the value generation processes that are most differentiating for an enterprise. This is a case where generic process accelerators may not cover the process, yet provide patterns, services, and inspiration that enables higher levels of excellence and increase speed and agility of these strategic processes.
For some BPM believers process accelerators may take away the sense of adventure of taking a path towards the unknown, of starting with a white sheet of paper and ultimately invent a unique solution. However we also have the responsibility of delivering more value for more organizations, of evolving and expanding the BPM industry, and most of all of helping customers maximize BPM’s value. Understanding how to endow BPM with a more repeatable model is a mission we can’t ignore: one-off successes are personally rewarding, but firefighting is not the best way to expand a sustainable business.

Friday Sep 27, 2013

Oracle OpenWorld Session: 5 Easy Ways to Modernize Applications with BPM

With time, gap between the enterprise application and the business need widens.  How can we make sure that enterprises are able to leverage their existing enterprise investments while offering new and unique capabilities that the Business requires?

This session discussed 5 ways BPM can help bridge the gap between what your business demands and what applications can provide.

In this session, Fred Stern from Flextronics discussed how BPM helped them stay current and competitive in their business by applying value driven approach to automate, streamline and standardize global business processes.

Some of the challenges discussed included standardizing processes, limited visibility, slow responsiveness, multiple ERP’s, high costs, audit and compliance.

With Oracle BPM Flextronics was able to create a global standardized view of the different business processes integrating over 15 different ERP systems. This allowed them to reduce the average time to process transactions by 4X times reduce the cost to process invoices by 10 times and importantly ensure zero audit findings since the process was implemented in BPM all while managing continuous process improvements.

To make BPM initiative successful Mr. Stern suggested getting executive buy-in early and keeping focused on the end state of your BPM initiative. Collaboration and communication are essential. Make sure you include end users in the process.

Oracle BPM helps you to modernize and extend your existing applications in following 5 ways:

  1. Enhance visibility into the end-to-end process across applications
  2. Improve the business responsiveness – like faster time to market and quicker response to customer issues
  3. Eliminates the need to do brittle customizations in an application, you can do those in the BPM layer and keep your organization agile.
  4. Create and deliver effective customer experience that may also include including the Mobile and Social engagement as a part of your process.
  5. Last but not least, improve end user experience by providing unified dashboards, tasklist and UI

To learn more visit Oracle BPM Resources and Oracle AppAdvantage webpages.

Oracle Open World Session: Managing Knowledge Worker Processes

Case Management as an approach to managing unstructured processes has been gaining of lot of interest. Drivers for this increased interest stems from the desire to improve knowledge worker productivity  by providing a 360-degree view of a case while providing automation where possible without constraining the knowledge workers by using predefined process flows. This type of work has typically been left out of BPMN-based implementations and therefore has not been able to leverage the benefits such as audit trails, management and monitoring and governance and control.

With the addition of support for Adaptive Case Management to their Oracle BPM Suite, Oracle has added full support for building comprehensive case-based applications for managing unstructured processes.


I, along with Danilo Schmiedel from Opitz Consutling in Germany, presented a session  on Managing Knowledge Worker Processes at the Oracle Open World 2013  on Thursday, Spetember 26. I gave a brief overview of case management and compared it with traditional structured processes to explain when traditional process modeling may not suffice. I also presented Oracle's ACM features and how this new addition to the Oracle BPM Suite addresses unstructured processes.

Danilo Schmiedel, presented a customer case study where they used Oracle's BPM Suite with ACM to implement an Insurance Claims Management application that provides a fair degree of flexibility to the claims processors without losing control of the overall process.  Danilo explained the methodology and approach they used in analyzing and designing an adaptive case management application. He also showed how they were able to reuse the existing user interface of the legacy system and integrate it with the new ACM application thereby avoiding the need to retrain the end-users on using a completely new user interface.

Thursday Sep 26, 2013

Open World Session: Ensure BPM Success with the Right Methodology

Today morning (10/26/2012 between 11:00-12:00 pm PST), Monique Albrechet, Accenture BPM Practice Lead, Manas Deb, Senior Director and I (Meera Srinivasan) will be delivering an Open World session on how to ensure BPM Success with Oracle BPM Methodology. A key goal of BPM is to align processes with business strategy and objectives, identify ways to improve those processes and then enable tracking and monitoring performance for continuous improvement and optimization. The traditional water fall model of development does not work well for BPM which is all about iterative and agile development. Over the past several years, Oracle has gathered lot of experience helping customers implement BPM solutions. With this experience we have seen a pattern emerge of an ecosystem for building and deploying enterprise-wide BPM solutions.

Those patterns and lifecycle have been captured in Oracle BPM Method and mapped to the Oracle BPM Suite platform. The Oracle BPM Method is a customisable framework containing detailed procedures for practical use of the Oracle BPM platform to analyse, design, deploy, monitor and improve business processes. The presentation will cover these 5 distinct phases eac of which can be iterative:

  1. Process Selection – Identify process candidates that produce the maximum ROI for business process automation and optimization
  2. Definition and Refinement - The initial definition is the one-time adjustment needed to introduce the selected business process into the continuous improvement cycle; the refinement portion is the part that needs to be repeated for iterations.
  3. Technical Design and Composition – This is where BPM meets SOA and process requirements drive the generation and design of Business Services. It I also the phase where the different BPM Application artifacts such as process, UI and dashboards are wired together to produce a complete and ready to deploy BPM Application
  4. Testing, Deployment and Approval – This is similar to the traditional development lifecycle and covers aspects such as functional testing, integration testing and usability testing.
  5. Monitoring and Optimization – BPM is all about continuous process improvement and this phase covers identifying improvement opportunities for the next iteration.


We hope that you are able to join us for this session, and please do try to attend Prasen Palvankar’s session on dynamic case management:
Managing Knowledge Worker Processes, Moscone West 2020, Thu 3:30-4:30 PM

Tuesday Sep 24, 2013

Oracle Open World: The Path to Process Excellence: Notes from the Trenches

We always say that BPM is not just a one-time application development project but about continuous process improvement. Organizations that have success with BPM have evolved their BPM initiatives from a single project to an enterprise-wide program.

In this session, we heard from three industry leaders and Oracle Unified Business Process Management Suite customers who have traveled the path to process excellence. These customers shared their experiences and best practices for developing a successful BPM program.

First up was Seven Butz from Siemens AG, Germany accompanied by Benjamin Huskic from Opitz consulting. They talked about 30 human resource processes that they developed, and integrated with ERP system, to have better visibility and transparency for HR processes. Currently they have approximately 140,000 users in Germany and with 200,000 process instances initiated in a year.

Next we got to hear from Alejandro Alba joining from the leader in contract manufacturing and business process leader Flextronics from Mexico. Working with hundreds of suppliers, manufacturing units, and customers requires processes to be highly efficient. Since the business changes constantly, processes need to be agile. With many acquisitions, it becomes a challenge to consolidate systems and create consistent and efficient processes. Oracle BPM helps them in creating such agile and efficient processes reducing the processing costs and ensuring compliance.

Last but not least Shakir Awan from San Joaquin County took the stage and spoke about modernization of Law & Justice applications at San Joaquin County (SJC) using Oracle BPM. They won “BPM Excellence Award” from Gartner for being “Best BPM Organization”. Today SJC is processing 240,000 court cases electronically and managing 500 daily citation payments on-line. They have also realized quick time to develop applications with new Interfaces built in 1/6 the time saving 20 weeks per Interface and developing applications in 3 months versus 12 months with traditional tools. They are also deploying Oracle Process Accelerators like travel request management.

Some key takeaways from the session:

§ Think big but start small.

§ Get top management sponsorship, ensure business alignment.

§ Plan data modeling, design patterns and testing strategy.

§ Measure your results, revisit or establish KPIs early in the project.

§ If your organization has six-sigma methodology in place, align BPM with it

§ Different layers of the architecture change at different pace, design accordingly. Keep process, rules, integrations, data objects independent so that if you have to change one you do not have to change all.

To learn about more BPM sessions at Open World check out Focus On document

San Joaquin County: The Path to Process Excellence

San Joaquin county presents their award winning BPM solution with Siemens and Flextronics to showcase that BPM is far more than a one-time application development project. Come and share notes from the trenches on continuous process improvement and analyze with us how successful BPM evolves from a single project to an enterprise wide initiative. You will hear from customers who have traveled the path to process excellence by adopting Oracle BPM to manage the business processes across the organization. Learn best practices and participate to develop your own successful BPM strategy. 




Title: The Path to Process Excellence: Notes from the Trenches

Date: Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013

Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Location: Moscone North - 130 CON8227  

More on San Joaquin County: 

San Joaquin County leverages Oracle to deliver better services to 650,000 residents

“BPM Excellence Award” from Gartner for being “Best BPM Organization”.

Monday Sep 23, 2013

Alliance Data Creates Smart Process for Capital Expenditure Request

Open World Session: Achieving End-to-End Business Visibility with BPM and Business Intelligence

In this session Harish Gaur, Director Product Management discussed how dynamic enterprises are beginning to forge links between processes and data, particularly in the areas of operational BI and decision-intensive processes.

Bringing together BI and BPM can deliver holistic visibility to an organization across three dimensions: real-time monitoring, historical insight, and prescriptive analytics.

 Harish invited Brigette Vinton - Director of Corporate Accounting, Alliance Data to discuss how they are using BPM and BI to manage their capital expense reporting process. Alliance data processes required complex authority verification for the capital expense requests and needed the authorizations to be pulled from PeopleSoft system.

The process is flexible so that only required authorizations and approvals are initiated and process owner can also add more people to the process in case additional approvals are required.

Once the expense is approved, it is not the end. The system monitors actual versus approved expense and if there is 10% more expense than was approved, it decertifies it and initiates the process and puts the capital expenditure back into approval chain. The application had email notifications, mobile capabilities as well as well designed reports for transparency of the process. A great story on how Oracle BPM works with Oracle BI and PeopleSoft ERP.

OpenWorld Session: Oracle Unified Business Process Management Suite: Development Best Practices

Authored by : David Read, Oracle Product Management

Earlier today, Sushil Shukla, Yogeshwar Kuntawar, and I (David Read) delivered an OpenWorld session that covered BPM design best practices.  It was well attended.  We’ve varied the content over the last few years to cover both lifecycle development process as well as design topics.  This year we narrowed the focus to a number of design topics that frequently come up in discussion with customers and partners.

We started with an overview of several general but important areas:

  •  Data handling, specifically avoid selection failures a runtime
  • Common questions about multi-instance activities
  • Common questions and suggestions around conversations and correlation

Yogesh then covered importance concepts around error handling and recover.  In particular:

  • Types of errors and suggestions for best practice in deciding when to use BPMN constructs and when to leverage the SOA fault framework
  • How transaction rollback impacts running processes and how to perform message recovery.
  • Suggestions for avoiding transaction rollbacks

Sushil closed the session with a discussion about the importance of identity service integration design.  Key points included:

  • What happens during authentication
  • Which BPM features utilize LDAP 
  •  Options and suggestions for integration with external directories

Friday Sep 20, 2013

Oracle Open World: Listen from Our Customers

Oracle OpenWorld is also the time when we celebrate success of our customers. This is when many of our customers join us and share their success stories and retrace the path that led to their success. There is always so much to learn from their experience – challenges, traps to avoid, best practices and how to measure success.

Here, I have picked some of the sessions where you can hear directly from our customers, interact with them and gain valuable insights. Click on the links for details on the sessions and speakers. Make sure to add these to your schedule.

Transform the Enterprise—Optimize Applications Investment with Middleware

Sep 23, 2013 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Moscone West - 2002/2004

Speakers from: Pella Corporation, World Fuel Services, McAfee

Oracle Fusion Middleware: Meet This Year’s Most Impressive Innovators

Sep 23, 2013 4:45 PM - 5:45 PM YBCA - Lam Research Theater

Building a PaaS for Oracle Unified Business Process Management Suite 11g

Sep 23, 2013 10:45 AM - 11:45 AM Moscone West – 2012

Speaker from: Thomson Reuters

Achieving End-to-End Business Visibility with BPM and Business Intelligence

Sep 23, 2013 1:45 PM - 2:45 PM Moscone West – 2022

Speaker from: Alliance Data

BPM Customer Panel: The Path to Process Excellence: Notes from the Trenches

Sep 24, 201310:30 AM - 11:30 AM Moscone North – 130

Speakers from: San Joaquin County Information Systems Division, Siemens AG, Flextronics

Controlled, Collaborative Approach to Managing Financial Processes with the Oracle BPM Platform

Sep 25, 2013 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM Moscone West - 2020

Speakers from: Sicredi

Five Easy Steps for Modernizing Business Applications with BPM

Sep 26, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Moscone West - 2014

Speaker from: Flextronics

Hope you will enjoy all these sessions!

Tuesday Sep 17, 2013

Inside the OOW Session: 5 Easy Steps to Modernizing Business Applications

Author: Tanu Sood, Principal Product Director, Oracle

Let’s face it – our applications map in the company isn’t clean. We have multiple applications, some homegrown, some acquired, a few other purchased. Chances are there is some overlap in what these applications do for us. We are in a constant state of motion with our applications. Add to that changing business needs, technology disruption with social, mobile, analytics and big data and the ever-evolving regulatory landscape, and we are far from achieving Nirvana with our applications infrastructure.

The question then is how do you extend your applications and enhance the value you provide to your application users, especially customers without having to sneak in brittle customizations within your applications and adding to your application development, maintenance and upgrade cycles?

5 steps! Yes, at Oracle OpenWorld next week, we will walk you through 5 easy steps to modernizing your existing business applications to meet your evolving business needs without having to re-code your applications. Make sense of it all in a scalable, sustainable way.

To prove it, we will have Fred Stern from Flextronics joining us on stage to discuss his very successful implementation and the business impact of doing it the AppAdvantage way.

Join Fred Stern, my colleague - Ajay Khanna and I at Oracle OpenWorld as we discuss this some more. Be sure to add this session to your Schedule Builder.

CON9284: Five Easy Steps for Modernizing Business Applications with BPM
Thursday, Sep 26, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Moscone West - 2014

We will see you there!

Learn about this and other Oracle AppAdvantage sessions at OpenWorld in the Focus on AppAdvantage Guide.

Monday Sep 09, 2013

Business is Changing, Can Your Applications Keep Up?

To do business organizations depend on various kinds of enterprise applications. Over time organizations acquire many such applications including ERP systems, CRM systems, SCM applications, Contact Centers, Customer Service applications. They may also have many home grown applications, and some of them are even running in the main frame systems!

It is not uncommon for businesses actively pursuing mergers and acquisitions to end up with several of applications for the same purpose. They accumulate many ERP, CRM, HRM systems.

While applications are getting dated business environment is changing, regulations are changing, and customer needs are changing. How can we make sure that we can keep our applications agile and equip our businesses with most advanced technology without rip-n-replace of legacy systems?

In this webinar “Business is Changing, Can Your Applications Keep Up?” on Sep 12th 2013, I am going to discuss some of the challenges that organizations face due to aging applications and how Business Process Management (BPM) Suite helps address those challenges. I will discuss how organizations can use BPM to do more with their applications including:

  • Make processes more consistent by removing whitespaces between applications
  • Eliminate the need of brittle customizations
  • Enhance business visibility into transactions across applications
  • Enhance customer experience
  • Improve end user experience

Oracle AppAdvantage strategy helps enterprises to leverage their existing enterprise investments like legacy applications while offering new and unique capabilities that the business requires. It is not a rip-and-replace strategy. With Oracle BPM Suite, enterprises will be simultaneously delivering short term business value and begin the journey to create the next generation intelligent process applications. 

Oracle Fusion Middleware: Meet This Year's Most Impressive Customer Projects 2013 Oracle Excellence Award Ceremony for Fusion Middleware Innovation

If you are planning to attend Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco or plan to be in the area, we hope you will join us at our Award Ceremony for Fusion Middleware Innovation. These awards honor customers for their most innovative and cutting-edge solutions using Oracle Fusion Middleware. This was a highly competitive year with record numbers of nominations. This is their opportunity to be recognized for this great achievement and be honored by their industry peers. You are invited to attend and join in the celebration.

Oracle Fusion Middleware:
Meet This Year's Most Impressive Customer Projects
2013 Oracle Excellence Award Ceremony
for Fusion Middleware Innovation.

Session ID: CON8082
Monday September 23, 2013 @ 4:45 pm (PST)
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Lam Research Theater (next to Moscone North)
700 Howard St., San Francisco, CA, 94103


Oracle OpenWorld Badges are required to attend this event. You can register for this event through the Schedule Builder on the Oracle OpenWorld website or if you are not attending but will be in the area and would like to join the celebration – please RSVP HERE and we will provide a complementary Discovery Pass code that you can use to register, pick up your badge and attend the Award Ceremony session.

We hope to see you there.

Tuesday Sep 03, 2013

Oracle BPM 11g books

Here is the list of books you certainly want to be familiar with:

1. Getting Started with Oracle Business Process Management Suite 11g

http://www.packtpub.com/getting-started-with-oracle-bpm-suite-11gr1-hands-on-tutorial/book

It can be purchased from Amazon at:

http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Started-Oracle-Suite-11gR1/dp/1849681686

This is the first Oracle BPM 11g book that got published and it provides comprehensive coverage from modeling to implementation to work management and monitoring. It is written by Oracle BPM Product Management team and built around an iterative tutorial, using a real-life scenario to illustrate all the key features. It is a handy book to refer to build your first BPM application using the Oracle BPM Suite 11g.

2. Oracle Business Process Management Suite 11g Handbook

http://www.mhprofessional.com/product.php?isbn=0071754490

It can be purchased from Amazon at:

http://www.amazon.com/Oracle-Business-Process-Management-Handbook/dp/0071754490

Written by Oracle Business Process Management experts, this book covers best practices, in-depth look at usage of BPMN constructs, exception management, event handling, business rules and a detailed look in to all the powerful features and functionality of the Oracle BPM Suite 11g. Additionally, this book lays out the BPM Methodology and best practices that lead to a successful project and how to scale to enterprise wide BPM adoption.

3. Oracle BPM Suite 11g: Advanced BPMN Topics

http://www.packtpub.com/oracle-advanced-business-process-management-suite-11g/book

Written by Oracle consultants who have deep expertise in Oracle BPM, this book covers advanced topics such as inter-process communication, working with collections and handling of exceptions in practice that are not addressed by the official Oracle BPM 11g documentation.

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