Thursday Dec 12, 2013

Going Mobile?...ORACLE is!

If you didn’t hear about it at Oracle Open World, if you didn’t read our Press Releases … if you didn’t see our homepage banner, OR EVEN IF YOU DID .... you definitely need to register for our Oracle Mobile Strategy Update - to get the latest on what Oracle's Mobile Strategy. Mobile is hot and it is here to stay … but today the complexity is no longer just about how to develop mobile apps, it is also about how to integrate, secure, deploy and manage with the backend systems.

In this video webcast, Gartner, leading industry analyst, will provide an overview of the current mobile landscape, the challenges and opportunities for enterprises, then our top Oracle executives will discuss how Oracle is simplifying enterprise mobility and demonstrate how you can easily develop, integrate, secure, deploy and manage .

Let’s chat  or tweet #OracleMobile during the webcast at Dec. 12, 2014 at 10:00AM (PT) and be sure to visit: www.oracle.com/mobile

Friday Oct 11, 2013

Oracle OpenWorld 2013 - Real-World Cloud Integration Session Highlights

Rajesh Raheja
It was a great week at Oracle OpenWorld 2013 in San Francisco. There are other blog posts that cover the overall themes, general SOA and Cloud sessions, so in this post, I would like to present my thoughts on two of my sessions focused on hybrid cloud integration.

The Monday evening Birds of a Feather session "Using Patterns to Simplify Integration of Cloud Services with On-Premises Applications" was a reminder of how important cloud integration was to real-world practitioners. We had 3/4 of the room filled with attendees at 7:15pm, with more than 80% actively engaged in cloud integration projects. What followed was a lively discussion around various topics of interest, which not only gave us great inputs from the product side, but also allowed attendees to learn from each other. The panel consisted of our product management and architecture team, including myself, Vikas Anand, Simone Geib, Ravi Sankaran; and also a last minute surprise entry by Dave Shaffer (Middleworks), who engaged the attendees with deep, probing questions.

Some insights from the attendees:
  • Number of Integrations: 5 or more cloud apps typically with a variety of SaaS apps including Cornerstone, E2Open, Eloqua, NetSuite, Oracle Fusion Applications, Oracle OnDemand, Salesforce.com, Servicenow. One customer had 19 different SaaS instances (one per country), and another had 30+ cloud based applications!
  • Business Processes: Sales and Marketing (Quote to Cash) and also ERP (Record to Report, Procure to Pay). Interestingly, while most used on-premises systems as "systems of record", in many cases, a a hybrid approach was preferred. Interesting implications for MDM and data governance in the days ahead.
  • Integration Styles: Most used all types of integration including real-time, bulk, batch and files. There was significant interest in Managed File Transfer (MFT) for monitoring file based interactions within the enterprise and to the cloud.
Challenges faced by the attendees in cloud integration:

  • Connectivity: Connection pooling, number of concurrent sessions, timeouts/limitations on usage of API callouts
  • Granularity: Too granular service operations
  • Reliability: Reliable message ordering and sequencing, reliability when cloud apps not available, handling retries automatically, traceability and audit in case of "lost" messages
  • Flexibility: Impact on API changes on point-to-point integration with cloud apps
  • Protocols: Plethora of protocols that don't necessarily simplify cloud integration: as one attendee put it ... "nowadays, everyone with an open HTTP port claims to be a cloud provider"

The session was a great lead-in for the Wed morning cloud integration session "Real-World Cloud Integration Simplified with Oracle SOA Suite" with myself, Vikas Anand and Raghu Kadirvelu (from Bristlecone Inc.).

I covered the general challenges faced with cloud integration, followed by Vikas who introduced new cloud adapters that simplify some of those challenges. Raghu then gave a live demo of Salesforce.com to Oracle E-Business Suite Opportunity-to-Quote integration. A prominent SOA architect has put a detailed blog post on the session, and here is what he had to say.

Best SOA Presentation at OOW13!

The reason I mention his quote is not to encourage you to read that blog post (ok, maybe that IS one reason :), but to highlight the fact WHY the message resonated so well with the audience. As the Birds of a Feather session indicated, the cloud integration challenges are real, and pandemic. Customers are frustrated with SaaS application vendors treating the problem superficially, confusing "connectivity" with "integration",  and claiming victory with YouTube videos show casing "10 minutes to integrate with <your favorite SaaS app>".

cloud integration challenges

This session highlighted the real challenges, what it takes to solve them, and gave a live working demo of how we believe Oracle SOA Suite can help. Overall, it was a fantastic session and a great pleasure meeting many of you personally.

Tuesday Oct 02, 2012

Recap: Why Fusion Middleware matters to Oracle Applications and Fusion Applications customers?

Did you miss this general session on Monday morning presented by Amit Zavery, VP of Oracle Fusion Middleware Product Management? There will be a recording made available shortly and in the meanwhile, here is a recap. Amit presented 5 strategies customers can leverage today to extend their applications.


Figure 1: 5 Oracle Fusion Middleware strategies to extend Oracle Applications & Oracle Fusion Apps

1. Engage Everyone – Provide intuitive and social experience for application users using Oracle WebCenter

2. Extend Enterprise – Extend Oracle Applications to mobile devices using Oracle ADF Mobile

3. Orchestrate Processes – Automate key organization processes across on-premise & cloud applications using Oracle BPM Suite & Oracle SOA Suite

4. Secure the core – Provide single sign-on and self-service provisioning across multiple apps using Oracle Identity Management

5. Optimize Performance – Leverage Exalogic stack to consolidate multiple instance and improve performance of Oracle Applications

Session included 3 demonstrations to illustrate these strategies.

1. First demo highlighted significance of mobile applications for unlocking existing investment in Applications such as EBS. Using a native iPhone application interacting with e-Business Suite, demo showed how expense approval can be mobile enabled with enhanced visibility using BI dashboards.

2. Second demo showed how you can extend a banking process in Siebel and Oracle Policy Automation with Oracle BPM Suite.Process starts in Siebel with a customer requesting a loan, and then jumps to OPA for loan recommendations and decision making and loan processing with approvals in handled in BPM Suite. Once approvals are completed Siebel is updated to complete the process.

3. Final demo showcased FMW components inside Fusion Applications, specifically WebCenter.

Boeing, Underwriter Laboratories and Electronic Arts joined this quest and discussed 3 different approaches of leveraging Fusion Middleware stack to maximize their investment in Oracle Applications and/or Fusion Applications technology. Let’s briefly review what these customers shared during the session:

1. Extend Fusion Applications

We know that Oracle Fusion Middleware is the underlying technology infrastructure for Oracle Fusion Applications. Architecturally, Oracle Fusion Apps leverages several components of Oracle Fusion Middleware from Oracle WebCenter for rich collaborative interface, Oracle SOA Suite & Oracle BPM Suite for orchestrating key underlying processes to Oracle BIEE for dash boarding and analytics. Boeing talked about how they are using Oracle BPM Suite 11g, a key component of Oracle Fusion Middleware with Oracle Fusion Apps to transform their supply chain.

Tim Murnin, Director of Supply Chain talked about Boeing’s 5 year supply chain transformation journey. Boeing’s Integrated and Information Management division began with automation of critical RFQ process using Oracle BPM Suite. This 1st phase resulted in 38% reduction in labor costs for RFP. As a next step in this effort, Boeing is now creating a platform to enable electronic Order Management. Fusion Apps are playing a significant role in this phase. Boeing has gone live with Oracle Fusion Product Hub and efforts are underway with Oracle Fusion Distributed Order Orchestration (DOO). So, where does Oracle BPM Suite 11g fit in this equation? Let me explain. Business processes within Fusion Apps are designed using 2 standards: Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) and Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN). These processes can be easily configured using declarative set of tools. Boeing leverages Oracle BPM Suite 11g (which supports BPMN 2.0) and Oracle SOA Suite (which supports BPEL) to “extend” these applications. Traditionally, customizations are done within an app using native technologies. But, instead of making process changes within Fusion Apps, Boeing has taken an approach of building “extensions” layer on top of the application.


Fig 2: Boeing’s use of Oracle BPM Suite to orchestrate key supply chain processes across Fusion Apps

2. Maximize Oracle Applications investment

Fusion Middleware appeals not only to Fusion Apps customers, but is also leveraged by Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Siebel and JD Edwards customers
significantly. Using Oracle BPM Suite and Oracle SOA Suite is the recommended extension strategy for Oracle Fusion Apps and Oracle Applications Unlimited
customers. Electronic Arts, E-Business Suite customer, spoke about their strategy to transform their order-to-cash process using Oracle SOA Suite,
Oracle Foundation Packs and Oracle BAM. 

Udesh Naicker, Sr Director of IT at Elecronic Arts (EA), discussed how growth of social and digital gaming had started to put tremendous pressure on EA’s existing IT infrastructure. He discussed the challenge with millions of micro-transactions coming from several sources – Microsoft Xbox, Paypal, several service providers. EA found Order-2-Cash processes stretched to their limits. They lacked visibility into these transactions across the entire value chain.

EA began by consolidating their E-Business Suite R11 instances into single E-Business Suite R12. EA needed to cater to a variety of service requirements, connectivity methods, file formats, and information latency. Their integration strategy was tactical, i.e., using file uploads, TIBCO, SQL scripts. After consolidating E-Business suite, EA standardized their integration approach with Oracle SOA Suite and Oracle AIA Foundation Pack. Oracle SOA Suite is the platform used to extend E-Business Suite R12 and standardize 60+ interfaces across several heterogeneous systems including PeopleSoft, Demantra, SF.com, Workday, and Managed EDI services spanning on-premise, hosted and cloud applications.

EA believes that Oracle SOA Suite 11g based extension strategy has helped significantly in the followings ways:

- It helped them keep customizations out of E-Business Suite, thereby keeping EBS R12 vanilla and upgrade safe

- Developers are now proficient in technology which is also leveraged by Fusion Apps. This has helped them prepare for adoption of Fusion Apps in the future


Fig 3: Using Oracle SOA Suite & Oracle e-Business Suite, Electronic Arts built new platform for order processing

3. Consolidate apps and improve scalability

Exalogic is an optimal platform for customers to consolidate their application deployments and enhance performance. Underwriter Laboratories talked about their strategy to run their mission critical applications including e-Business Suite on Exalogic.

Christian Anschuetz, CIO of Underwriter Laboratories (UL) shared how UL is on a growth path - $1B to $2.5B in 5 years- and planning a significant business transformation from a not-for-profit to a for-profit business. To support this growth, UL is planning to simplify its IT environment and the deployment complexity associated with ERP applications and technology it runs on.

Their current applications were deployed on variety of hardware platforms and lacked comprehensive disaster recovery architecture. UL embarked on a mission to deploy E-Business Suite on Exalogic. UL’s solution is unique because it is one of the first to deploy a large number of Oracle applications and related Fusion Middleware technologies (SOA, BI, Analytical Applications AIA Foundation Pack and AIA EBS to Siebel UCM prebuilt integration) on the combined Exalogic and Exadata environment. UL is planning to move to a virtualized architecture toward the end of 2012 to securely host external facing applications like iStore


Fig 4: Underwrites Labs deployed e-Business Suite on Exalogic to achieve performance gains

Key takeaways are:

- Fusion Middleware platform is certified with major Oracle Applications Unlimited offerings. Fusion Middleware is the underlying technological infrastructure for Fusion Apps

- Customers choose Oracle Fusion Middleware to extend their applications (Apps Unlimited or Fusion Apps) to keep applications upgrade safe and prepare for Fusion Apps

- Exalogic is an optimum platform to consolidate applications deployments and enhance performance

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