Using Oracle BPM to Extend Oracle Applications

Author: Srikant Subramaniam, Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle Fusion Middleware

Customers often modify applications to meet their specific business needs - varying regulatory requirements, unique business processes, product mix transition, etc. Traditional implementation practices for such modifications are typically invasive in nature and introduce risk into projects, affect time-to-market and ease of use, and ultimately increase the costs of running and maintaining the applications. Another downside of these traditional implementation practices is that they literally cast the application in stone, making it difficult for end-users to tailor their individual work environments to meet specific needs, without getting IT involved. For many businesses, however, IT lacks the capacity to support such rapid business changes. As a result, adopting innovative solutions to change the economics of customization becomes an imperative rather than a choice.

Let's look at a banking process in Siebel Financial Services and Oracle Policy Automation (OPA) using Oracle Business Process Management. This approach makes modifications simple, quick to implement and easy to maintain/upgrade. The process model is based on the Loan Origination Process Accelerator, i.e., a set of ready to deploy business solutions developed by Oracle using Business Process Management (BPM) 11g, containing customizable and extensible pre-built processes to fit specific customer requirements.

This use case is a branch-based loan origination process. Origination includes a number of steps ranging from accepting a loan application, applicant identity and background verification (Know Your Customer), credit assessment, risk evaluation and the eventual disbursal of funds (or rejection of the application). We use BPM to model all of these individual tasks and integrate (via web services) with: Siebel Financial Services and (simulated) backend applications: FLEXCUBE for loan management, Background Verification and Credit Rating.

The process flow starts in Siebel when a customer applies for loan, switches to OPA for eligibility verification and product recommendations, before handing it off to BPM for approvals. OPA Connector for Siebel simplifies integration with Siebel’s web services framework by saving directly into Siebel the results from the self-service interview. This combination of user input and product recommendation invokes the BPM process for loan origination. At the end of the approval process, we update Siebel and the financial app to complete the loop.

We use BPM Process Spaces to display role-specific data via dashboards, including the ability to track the status of a given process (flow trace). Loan Underwriters have visibility into the product mix (loan categories), status of loan applications (count of approved/rejected/pending), volume and values of loans approved per processing center, processing times, requested vs. approved amount and other relevant business metrics.

Summary

Oracle recommends the use of Fusion Middleware as an extensions platform for applications. This approach makes modifications simple, quick to implement and easy to maintain/upgrade applications (by moving customizations away from applications to the process layer). It is also easier to manage processes that span multiple applications by using Oracle BPM.

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