The Oracle BPM product team is happy and excited to announce that BPM 188.8.131.52 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 184.108.40.206.0 document.
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
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.
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!
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."
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.
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.
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."