Saturday Feb 21, 2015

Automating Financial Processes in PeopleSoft, E-Business Suite By Tanu Sood

At Oracle OpenWorld earlier this month, I had the opportunity to moderate a customer panel to discuss how to automate financial processes for Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle PeopleSoft in a scalable, efficient manner.

The panel was aimed at Application IT as well as Line of Business attendees who are looking to undertake similar implementations. With that in mind, our invitclip_image002ations to speaker panelists were rather deliberate. Not only did we have representation across industry and geography, our panelists' roles within their organizations were different enough to provide  both technical and business perspectives. For our panel, we had Michael Stevens who is the Financial Services Initiative Lead at Lend Lease Corporation based in Australia, Doris Wilson from National Express Corporation (NEC) who represented the Application IT side of the house on our panel and Michael LaPlante, Director of Business Process Improvement at National Academy of Sciences (NAS) based in Washington DC.

The business drivers for the three were industry centric. Lend Lease has offices all around the world and because of their business, they need to ensure expedient processing of supplier invoices. Different geographies for Lend Lease meant different invoice templates so it was important to find a solution to reconcile structured and unstructured data. The company went with Oracle WebCenter Capture to scan the invoices, WebCenter Forms recognition to reconcile structured and unstructured data from the invoices while storing the electronic content with WebCenter Content complete with data sync with Oracle E-Business Suite. To enable integration and smoother process management, the company has implemented Oracle SOA Suite. Michael is currently globe-trotting to take these regional implementations live, keeping in mind the regulatory nuances for each region.

Doris did confirm that the implementation request and the solution selection was directed by her finance team counterparts. But to ensure that the implementation was consistent with Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) and the rest of the applications infrastructure at NEC, Doris and her team got involved. The company needed to minimize paper invoices and automate invoice processing so they could free up their resources to do more meaningful work. The company uses Oracle E-Business Suite extensively for most of its operational needs. Oracle WebCenter Suite and Oracle SOA Suite were the obvious choices given the interoperability and proven integration. With the implementation, NEC was able to automate one of the most tedious processes in their company's finance operations, eliminating the nclip_image004eed to even have handwritten signatures and GL account coding. The digital invoice images were then clipped to invoice in EBS making tracking and processing faster and relatively easy while giving visibility to AP liability dollars at month-end. And final resource investment count: 5.5!

NAS is not your typical organization with a not so typical vendor and customer model. True to its distinction, Michael LaPlante and team approached this project quite scientifically. A thorough analysis helped them select which financial processes when automated would provide the most (and near term) return on investment. Invoice processing won hands down. NAS implemented Oracle Webcenter and Oracle BPM Suite to automate invoice processing for PeopleSoft. The project took 13 months to implement with the company hitting the break-even point within 11 months, savings coming in the form of time investment of 8 full time employees! The biggest hurdle for them - change management. Once they got their users on the standardized approval process flow, it was relatively smooth sailing from there on. The ROI increases with every workflow process they now add after AP. Aside from savings in disk storage and offsite storage costs, the company is realizing significant efficiencies in searches, reporting and of course having better visibility. With that under their belt, the NAS team may be looking at tackling the HR processes next.

The three customers on the panel discussed leveraging middleware technologies to complement with EBS or PeopleSoft implementation to automate financial processes and extend the value of their existing investments. That's AppAdvantage; that's technology at work.

The panelists experiences were rather rich and the session provided valuable insights. Hope you found the summary useful as well. If you need more information and have follow up questions, do reach out to use and we will aim to get you answers as quickly as possible.

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Internet of Things (IoT) 12c Demo update

clip_image002We updated our famous Malta IoT demo use-case with our fusion Middleware 12c solutions. At our SOA Community Workspace (SOA Community membership required) you can download the updated demo material:

· FMW IoT Workshop Lab Guide OOW 2014.docx

· raspian-3.10.25-armhf-Aug2014OOW.img

· IotServerVM-12c-OOW2014HOL.ova

For more IoT material please visit the SOA Community Workspace here.

SOA & BPM Partner Community

For regular information on Oracle SOA Suite become a member in the SOA & BPM Partner Community for registration please visit www.oracle.com/goto/emea/soa (OPN account required) If you need support with your account please contact the Oracle Partner Business Center.

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Friday Feb 20, 2015

B2B Event Queue Management for Emergency by Shub Lahiri

Executive Overview

clip_image002Many customers face a crisis in production system when, for some reason, they end up with several B2B messages stacked up in the system, that may not be of a high priority to be processed at that point in time. In other words, it would greatly help many customers if, in such critical situations, they had an option to flush the backed-up messages from the system for later resolution and simply continue with processing of the current messages.
A-Team has been involved with different customers worldwide helping them implement such a solution for emergency use. Without getting into too much technical details, a high-level approach for such a solution is discussed here. The methodology accomplishes two key tasks, that are of primary importance during an emergency crisis within a B2B production gateway:

  • Allows to flush the event queue while the gateway is down, so that the gateway can be brought up quickly
  • Introspect the messages created from the event queue for resubmission or rejection

The primary objective of this framework is to allow the B2B engine to come back up quickly after flushing the messages from the event queue. The recovery or resubmission of messages is usually reviewed manually by the operations and business teams off-line and takes a longer cycle to complete. But this should not affect the down-time of the production system after the fast removal of the messages from the event queue. The downtime, thus encountered, is only driven by the first task, as listed above.

Solution Approach

Overview

The solution consists of immediate cleanup of messages from the system. The entries will be stored in files. After the files are created, the gateway will be ready for normal processing without any impact of messages that were previously present in the system.
After the gateway is opened for normal business, the analysis of the file contents can be carried out, in parallel, to decide which messages will be resubmitted or discarded. This analysis can be done via scripts to extract relevant pieces of business data for the messages removed. The scripts are decoupled for various types of transient message data and built on basic query utilities. The basic building blocks for data introspection are typically custom scripts, that are created based on specific business needs for analysis.
The analysis will create 2 lists of message IDs – one for resubmission and the other for rejection. Existing command-line utilities can be invoked to resubmit the messages in a scripted loop with configurable delays in between the resubmissions. For rejection, there is typically no processing required. However, the list of IDs will be used to update the database to reflect a final state for the appropriate messages.

Tasks and Activities

The following sections describes the tasks in greater detail. Sections I and II cover the activities that need to be completed while the gateway is down. Sections III and IV include the post-mortem phase for analysis of messages removed from the system.
The flowchart below can be used as a reference for the critical cleanup tasks covered in Sections I and II.

I. Preparation of Environment Read the complete article here.

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OSB12c: Errorhandling in REST by Martien van den Akker

clip_image002Yesterday, I had an OSB consulting day at a customer. We looked into a REST service that was to be extended with update functionality. Since calling an update service of an EIS (Enterprise Information System) can go wrong with all sorts of errors, it is important to be able to return a fault-message with the errors, jason format.
Now in OSB12c it's very apparent how you define possible fault-messages and even how the should be formatted in JSON:

In this sample case we created a more or less simple xsd for faults (dutch: fouten). To test with different fault messages we simply duplicated the 'fouten' element in the xsd to 'fouten2'. You can assign different HTTP-status codes to the different fault.
So this is configuration is pretty simple and straight forward. But it is not quite clear in the documents how you would return a specific fault within your error-handlers in the pipeline.
Internally OSB works not only 'XML'-based but actually SOAP-based. So the trick in the end is to replace the body with a soap-fault message and the selection of the REST/JSON errormessage is done based on the structure of the document in the details-section of the SOAP-Fault. In the screen above, you would define for each fault message an xsd-element and apparently it validates the soap-fault-details content against each XSD defined, and the xsd against which the detail-content is valid points to the returned fault, with the corresponding HTTP Status.

Read the complete article here

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Thursday Feb 19, 2015

Patching the Service Bus 12.1.3 unknown protocol deployment error by rubix

clip_image002If you (already) created your first Oracle Service Bus 12c application/project with SOAP webservices and tried to deploy it to your IntegratedWeblogic server you might be familiar with this error.

Lucky for us Oracle quickly released a solution on their support website and also various blogs picked it up and posted a solution. The earliest reference I found was posted by Link. The solution to your problem was either:

  • Add felix.service.urlhandlers=false to the Init properties of OSGi frameworks bac-svnserver-osgi-framework factory implementation class
  • Remove the default server as a target for the framework

This worked like a charm and I was able to play around with my 12c Service Bus. However since it was stated that the solution could result into problems with BPM on your domain I reminded myself that I wanted to dive deeper into this when I had the time.

Google helped me out, and I discovered this information on the Apache Felix framework website.

Felix installs the URL Handlers service by default. If you do not want this service you can disable it, by setting the felix.service.urlhandlers property to false in the config.properties file. It is not recommended to disable this, but the main reason for doing so it because the URL Handlers implementation invokes methods to set the singleton factories for URL stream and content handler factories. Assuming that you want to use URL Handlers service, you must configure it if you aren’t running on the standard Sun JRE.

The URL Handlers service extends the standard Java URL stream and content handler mechanism to work in an OSGi environment. The way that built-in URL protocol and content handlers are discovered is by probing packages for the appropriate classes to handle the protocol/content. ……….. The value of these properties is a list of “|” delimited package names to be searched for protocol and content handlers, respectively. See the Java documentation for stream and content handlers for more information.

So disabling the URL handler service is not recommended and you should be able to extend the list of package names used for handling content and protocols. So after poking around the world wide web I finally discovered that Oracle already released a document on this with Doc ID 1903573.1. Read the complete article here.

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Service Bus 12c – Series of Articles by Siva

Published following series of articles related Service Bus 12c. Hopefully it helps the people who want to get hands dirty.

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Using OSB 12.1.3 Resequencer by Derek Kam

clip_image002Resequencer feature has been added to Oracle Service Bus 12c (12.1.3), it utilises the same resequencer engine as Oracle Mediator.  The objective of this feature is to provide you with the ability to resequence the incoming messages that arrive in random order and send them to the target services in an orderly manner.  In this blog, I will give you a bit more information about this new feature in OSB and how to debug if you encounter an issue.

As mentioned in the official doc, the resequencer doest not support any XML and any SOAP service type, you need to define a WSDL in order to use the resequencer feature in OSB, and this WSDL must be only one-way, and must not contain any response elements.

The OSB Resequencer Strategies work in the same manner as Oracle Mediator;  it supports Standard, FIFO and Best Effort.  The differences between the resequencer implementation in Oracle Mediator and OSB are the ways in which both dispatch the message.  In OSB, pipeline acts as a Resequencer component. User cannot configure resequencer at any other OSB component.  After resequencing, the ordered messages will be processed further in the pipeline.  As soon as the message is pushed to the resequencer, caller will get a successful response. Though resequencer is part of the pipeline configuration, it will be invoked just before the pipeline is invoked.

Just like the Oracle Mediator,  OSB Resequencer also relies on the database for processing messages.  The database tables are automatically created when you run the repository creation utility (RCU) while creating the OSB domain.  The JNDI name used by the OSB resequencer is jdbc/SOADataSource.  The tables used by the resequencer are shown below:

You can use the Enterprise Manager to configure the throughput for resequenced messages.  Following are the properties specific to OSB resequencer:

  • Resequencer Maximum Groups Locked : Maximum number of groups locked by Resequencer in each attempt it makes to obtain locks on the groups. Locks are obtained on the groups so that only one managed server node processes the group at a time.
  • Resequencer Locker Thread Sleep : The number of seconds the Resequencer would pause between each iteration to obtain locks on the groups.
  • Purge Completed Messages : Delete message after successful execution. The default value will be set as true.

Read the complete article here.

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Wednesday Feb 18, 2015

Service Bus: Obtaining a list of exposed SOAP HTTP endpoints by Maarten Smeets

The Oracle Service Bus is often used for service virtualization. Endpoints are exposed on the Service Bus which proxy other services. Using such an abstraction layer can provide benefits such as (among many other things) monitoring/logging, dealing with different versions of services, throttling/error handling and result caching. In this blog I will provide a small (Java) script, which works for SOA Suite 11g and 12c, which determines exposed endpoints on the Service Bus.

How to determine endpoints?

clip_image001In order to determine endpoints on the Service Bus, The Service Bus MBeans can be accessed. These MBeans can obtained from within a local context inside the Service Bus or remotely via JMX (when configured, see http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1013916/how-to-enable-jmx-on-weblogic-10-x). In this example I’ll use a remote connection to a Weblogic Server instance which runs on the same machine (JDeveloper IntegratedWeblogicServer). To browse MBeans, you can use jvisualvm (http://docs.oracle.com/javase/7/docs/technotes/guides/visualvm/) which is distributed as part of the Oracle JDK. JVisualVM has a plugin to browse MBeans.

When connected, the Service Bus MBeans are located under com.oracle.osb. The proxy services which define the exposed endpoints, can be recognized by the Proxy$ prefix. In order to determine the actual endpoint, you can look at the ResourceConfigurationMBean of the proxy service. Under configuration, transport-configuration you can find a property called url. The script also filters HTTP SOAP services since the url field is also used for other transports. A replace of // with / is done on the combination server:host/url since the url can start with a /. This causes no difference in functioning but provides better readable output. If you want WSDL’s, you can add ‘?wsdl’ to the obtained endpoint. Read the complete article here.

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Tuesday Feb 17, 2015

API Manager available for download

Description of subscribe.png followsThis is the initial release of the Oracle API Manager 12c. Please see the Documentation tab for Release Notes, Installation Guides and other release specific information. You can also view the Oracle SOA Release Notes Page provided for this release.

For more information please visit

SOA & BPM Partner Community

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Reducing the Cost of Operating

Enterprise Scale Middleware Environments by Pique Solutions

clip_image002A Customer Study on the Benefits of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c for Managing Large Middleware Environments Powered by Oracle WebLogic Server and Oracle Service - Oriented Architecture (SOA

Get the report here.

SOA & BPM Partner Community

For regular information on Oracle SOA Suite become a member in the SOA & BPM Partner Community for registration please visit www.oracle.com/goto/emea/soa (OPN account required) If you need support with your account please contact the Oracle Partner Business Center.

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