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Process Application Platforms 2016: Oracle

Blog: MWD Advisors

 
This report assesses the capabilities of Oracle’s Process Application Platform, and also examines the partners and intellectual property that Oracle can offer customers exploring associated technology implementations. This assessment report forms part of a series of reports from MWD Advisors which assesses business process application technology offerings – technology-related capabilities which support organisations wanting to design, develop, deploy, monitor and optimise partially- or wholly-automated business processes.
We strongly encourage you to read this report in conjunction with our accompanying Assessment Framework report at https://www.mwdadvisors.com/2016/10/25/process-application-platforms/

Summary

Oracle’s process application technology heritage may be principally in automating application integration flows, but in recent years the breadth of applicability of its process application platform has increased significantly. Now, the Oracle Process Cloud Service (PCS) is where Oracle is focusing most of its attention: it uses the same underlying technology as the on-premise Oracle BPM Suite, but is packaged and delivered in a way that significantly simplifies the experience of designing, building and deploying process applications. Recent months have seen further investment in design simplicity and quick-start capabilities, particularly for PCS. We’d now like to see some more cross-fertilisation of capabilities across PCS and Oracle BPM Suite.

Support for different types of work

Automated work: Automated work is Oracle’s heritage in the process application space, and the ease of combining with the Oracle SOA Suite (on-premise) or the Oracle Integration Cloud Service makes for a strong foundation. Sophisticated error handling rounds out the picture.

Transactional work: Separation of process management from model-based task management makes for a sophisticated platform for transactional work. The ability to drive data definition from form definition, and vice versa, is a nice touch; ‘Business Process Guides’ are another bonus, for Oracle BPM Suite customers at least.

Exploratory work: Oracle’s design-time and runtime features for Case Management applications create a very capable foundation for these kinds of work scenario. Oracle has some impressive capabilities here, although right now Oracle BPM Suite provides much more packaged, ready-to-use support in this area than PCS does.

Rapid prototyping / quick-start

The Oracle Process Cloud Service (PCS) now includes a rapid prototyping/quick start capability called QuickStart Apps, which enables developer teams to build and manage libraries of ‘master’ applications that can be very quickly customised to suit particular process needs.

Change management

Oracle provides an environment for process automation projects that goes a long way to helping you minimize the costs associated with designing, deploying and changing processes. Although the tools available with Oracle BPM Suite and PCS are different, both platforms provide very solid capabilities.

User experience options

The user experience options offered by Oracle differ a little depending on whether you choose to use Oracle BPM Suite or PCS. Both platform alternatives provide the web-based Workspace user experience as the default, as well as supporting the native mobile app Oracle Process Mobile. However where PCS supports embedding of process application functionality through a set of jQuery components as well as a REST API, with Oracle BPM Suite only the REST API is available. There’s also more sophistication in the use of email for action with PCS than there is with Oracle BPM Suite today.

Deployment options

As mentioned briefly above, Oracle offers two variants of its Process Application Platform: Oracle Process Cloud Service (PCS) and Oracle BPM Suite. PCS is built on the same underlying technology foundation as BPM Suite, but currently goes significantly further in terms of simplified tooling and packaging.

Inside Oracle’s platform

Oracle’s BPM technology offering spans the Oracle Process Cloud Service and the Oracle BPM Suite product bundle.

Key tools and capabilities

If you choose to work with the current version of Oracle BPM Suite (12c) you’ll receive:

By purchasing Oracle BPM Suite, customers will also gain access to the following:

If you choose PCS, the toolset you use will be significantly simplified. There are just two separate environments:

User experience options

As mentioned above, the default user experience for your process applications, whether you’re using Oracle BPM Suite or PCS, will be the responsive HTML and Javascript-based Workspace interface (though the details of how your applications look will be slightly different).

For mobile process application use, Oracle delivers a generic mobile client for your Oracle BPM Suite or PCS applications called Oracle Process Mobile; it’s available on iOS and Android phones and tablets. This provides task list and form user interfaces, integrates with devices’ native capabilities (cameras, geolocation etc) and also – crucially – provides an ‘offline mode’ that enables process participants to launch and complete tasks even when there’s no mobile connectivity.

As well as Workspace and Oracle Process Mobile, you have a couple of other options:

Deployment options

Rather than offering the on-premise Oracle BPM Suite as a cloud-based service, Oracle’s principal cloud push for process application platforms is a separate (but related) offering. Leveraging much of the Oracle BPM Suite technology under the covers, nevertheless Oracle Process Cloud Service (PCS) is significantly streamlined and simplified in how developers, administrators and process workers interact with it and the applications you create with it. PCS is delivered via the Oracle Cloud Platform, which today is available in 22 regions across North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region.

Oracle now cites ‘hundreds’ of PCS customers. The majority of customers using an Oracle Process Application Platform currently use the on-premise Oracle BPM Suite, but PCS deployments are growing much faster.


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