Wednesday Jul 03, 2013

Improving Quality of Health Care with BPM

The U.S. health care industry is in a period of rapid transition as both public and private organizations respond to the far-reaching implications of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). This progressive legislation brings sweeping changes to payers and providers at the federal, state, and municipal levels, with a consequent impact on the fundamental business processes that these organizations depend on to provide services to patients. Among other things, the legislation requires each state in the U.S. to build or adopt a health insurance exchange (HIX) to broker and manage insurance plans, measure eligibility, automate enrollment, and transfer health care information electronically among participating organizations. Each HIX must integrate with a number of existing social services systems and handle myriad details related to billing, collections, reconciliation, taxation, reporting, and customer service.


Coordinating all of these processes and information is an ongoing challenge—and there are significant monetary incentives associated with doing it properly. For example, health plans can reduce costs by simplifying the claims approval process by automating the workflow.

 Figure: Automating Claims Approval Process

BPM for Big Data Management in Health Care: BPM technology helps health care organizations to synchronize and improve their big data processes. For example, public health officials can study trends in flu vaccinations by monitoring citizen compliance on a national scale, and combine that insight with aggregate claims data to monitor the impact of various vaccines on that years most troublesome strains of influenza. This knowledge can help officials predict future needs for additional vaccines based on population health statistics. Big data analytics can also help individual patients who have agreed to let disease management companies closely monitor their chronic conditions on a constant,real time basis.

BPM for Apps in Health Care: One of the key values of BPM is to forge links among critical information systems, fill process white spaces and make the entire business more efficient. The idea is not to replace existing systems or applications but to leverage those systems to define end ­to ­end processes that fill the gaps between applications.Any activity that is performed in a BPM application is auditable, efficient and enhances visibility across the continuum of care. In health care this becomes particularly valuable as several applications emerge and are accepted to fasten the process of complying with the new health care imperatives. Filling in the white spaces with BPM can save costs, improve operational efficiency and provide visibility.

Learn how BPM can help your healthcare organization capitalize on all changes. New Whitepaper: Increasing the Quality, Efficiency, and Accountability of Care

Saturday Jun 29, 2013

Oracle Process Accelerators Release 11.1.1.7.0 Now Available

The new Oracle Process Accelerators (PA) Release (11.1.1.7.0) delivers key functionality in many dimensions: new PAs across industries, new functionality in preexisting PAs, and an improved installation process.

All PAs in Release 11.1.1.7.0 run on the latest Oracle BPM Suite and SOA Suite, 11.1.1.7. New PAs include:

  • Financial Reports Approval (FRA): end-to-end solution for efficient and controlled Financial Report review and approval process, enabling financial analysts and decision makers to collaborate around Excel.
  • Electronic Forms Management (EFM): supports the process to design and expose eForms with the ability to quickly design eForms and associate approval processes to them, and to then enable users to select, fill, and submit eForms for approval
  • Mobile Data Offloading (MDO): enables telecommunications providers to reduce congestion on cellular networks and lower cost of operations by using Oracle Event Processing (OEP) and BAM to switch devices from cellular networks to Wi-Fi.

By adopting the latest PA release , customers will also be able to better identify and kick-start smart extension of their processes where business steps are supported by Apps: PA 11.1.1.7.0 includes out-of-the-box business process extension scenarios with Oracle Apps such as Siebel (FSLO) and PeopleSoft (EOB).

Tuesday Jun 25, 2013

Detect, Analyze, Act – Fast!

In fast changing business environment, it becomes crucial to identify business opportunities and business issues as soon as possible. If identified at the right time, business managers can address issues before they escalate to serious problems and can take advantage of the new opportunities before the competition does. Moreover, they have to be efficient to do this at the right cost.

Success depends on how responsive organization is to emerging events and changing environment. These events can be customer issues, competition moves, changes in regulations, or changes in company policies.

In order to be responsive in such situations, organizations need to first identify and track these situations. They can do that via business activity monitoring (BAM) and complex event processing (CEP). A unified monitoring dashboard helps put together a comprehensive picture of the situation in hand and provides deep insight to take proper actions. With CEP, businesses can connect all the relevant events, detect event patterns and take immediate actions using Business Process Management system.

 

So to be responsive we need:

Real-Time Visibility with Business Activity Monitoring

You can use BAM technology to monitor progress, track performance, meet service-level agreements (SLAs), manage exceptions, and issue alerts to an employee or application when a process is not functioning properly—all in real time. A unified monitoring dashboard helps you maintain a complete picture of each situation so you can take action effectively. BAM works hand in hand with BPM software to discover the significant activities that drive business success.  

Real-Time Sense and Respond

An event-driven BPM solution enables each step in a business process to be informed not only by the previous step, but also by any other step, data, and pattern of behavior deemed relevant to that step. This gives the company the ability to “sense and respond.” You can describe interesting event patterns and event correlations and monitor the business in real-time. Whenever a pre-defined pattern emerges you can take actions like raising alerts, notifications, or kicking off another business process.

This synergy possible by integrating activity monitoring, event processing, and BPM makes it possible for managers to keep a finger on the pulse of their business. Business managers can now respond to customers faster, respond to competition faster, reduce fraud and do more cross-selling.

Read more about being responsive in the whitepaper “The Instantly Responsive Enterprise: Integrating BPM and Complex Event Processing” in BPM Resource Kit.

Wednesday Jun 05, 2013

Stop messing with your applications!

Now I have seen this too many times. Organizations spent months evaluating and procuring a commercial application and then bring in business consultants to “customize” the application to fit their “unique” business needs. Ok, I give you that; you have truly unique business needs. Following is what typically happens.

The application implementation project starts with requirements gathering. Business consultants capture business needs, as-is processes, to-be processes and generate volumes of documentation, for which rain forests will never forgive them. Finally, every one signs off the design documents, in triplet. Generally this is followed by a small kick-off party. How do I know, you ask? Because I’ve been to those parties.

Now that we have all the requirements, the development starts. The “unique” needs of organization require 124 new forms, UI with corporate look and feel, new data objects, new data model, new roles, new state-transitions, new status, different priority types, new rules, new functionality and of course integration with 9 other applications. Let the coding begin. Eight months down the line, testing commences, user training happens, and we are ready to go to production. Of course, only after another well-deserved go-live party.

All is well for few months but then the new version of the application arrives. IT decides to skip that version, after all we just went live after a yearlong implementation. Moreover, we should wait for the next stable version. IT waits for a couple of years, beyond that they start getting too much pressure from business to “upgrade”. The evaluation starts again, and to everyone’s surprise the upgrade does not seem that easy. Initial estimate is six months and essentially most of the customizations need to be re-done. Consultants come in and discover the implemented application now is not even close to out-of-box version that was purchased. Over time, the company has created a totally different application with all new UI, rules, code and barely recognizable data model. Migration tools will not quite work. We need additional scripts to move to the new version.

Sounds familiar? This happen more often than we would like to think. So what is the alternative for companies which want to use functionality and domain best practice that applications provide but creating their own unique value on top of it?

The answer is BPM suite. Use the application for what it does best. Configure the application to your business needs but move all customizations to BPM layer. New UI, new processes, rules, integrations can be moved to BPM layer. This considerably reduces your requirement gathering time, customization time, and time-to-solution. Your processes become agile, and you can change those as frequently as business demands. You can have go-live parties every other week, if you want to. Importantly, when the time comes, you can easily upgrade your applications.

See why University of Adelaide uses Oracle BPM Suite to manage customizations to PeopleSoft application.


Tuesday Jun 04, 2013

Last Call for Nominations: Oracle Excellence Awards for Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation 2013 submissions - Only 2 weeks to go

You have less than 2 weeks left (June 18th) to submit Oracle Excellence Awards for Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation 2013 nominations.

As a reminder, these awards honor customers for their cutting-edge solutions using Oracle Fusion Middleware.

Either a customer, their partner, or an Oracle representative can submit the nomination form on behalf of the customer.

Please visit www.oracle.com/us/corporate/awards/middleware/index.html for more details and nomination forms.

Our Oracle Service-Oriented Architecture & Business Process Management” category covers Oracle SOA Suite, Oracle BPM Suite, Oracle Event Processing, Oracle Service Bus, Oracle B2B Integration, Oracle Application Integration Architecture (AIA), Oracle Enterprise Repository...

To submit your nomination, the process is very simple:

For more information, please refer to previous blog article: Call for Nominations: Oracle Excellence Awards for Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation 2013

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 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.

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