Sunday, November 29, 2009

Is There Life After Oracle BPM Studio 10g?

Let me begin with the answer, which is: absolutely!

After a Thomas Kurian discussed the positioning of Oracle BPM (fka ALBPM) a year ago (is it that long? Yes it is!), I must admit I was worried about the strength of Oracle BPM being properly appreciated. For quite some time focus seemed to be solely on the Oracle BPA with BPEL (from the SOA Suite) combination only.

But times (and vision?) have changed since then. Recently I was in a conference call in which a preliminary version of BPM 11g was demo-ed. And I was surprised in a positive way. Oracle BPM 11g seems to preserve all the good of 10g, while at the same time it is really integrated with the rest of the product stack.

Some Things That Struck My Eyes

With BPM 11g Oracle managed to continue the ALBPM "experience" of easy process modeling and implementation. In a series of short iterations you transform the BPMN 2.0 process you collaboratively modeled with the business analysts in an executable one, without a paradigm shift like you for example would have when going from BPMN to BPEL. For me this always has been one of the major strong point of BPM. What has been added to this is a so-called zero-code environment of developing screen and including external resources (like services).

Some of the more technical features that I found appealing were:
  • Usage of the common adapter framework, as is already available in the SOA Suite,
  • Support for easy (ADF-Faces) development of rich task forms with AJAX support (without bothersome JSP development),
  • A web-based UI for modeling processes by business analysists,
  • Native integration with Oracle BAM,
  • A composite (SCA) view on business processes, which (among other things) supports native integration with BPEL,
  • Native integration with Oracle Business Rules,
  • Unification of the BPM and BPEL worklist,
  • With all this, an improved support for true Business Process Management.

What About The BPA Suite?

The positioning of BPA has not changed, but became more clear instead. BPA is typically for a more enterprise approach to business analysis, including a top-down approach to business process modeling, including BPMN. When you have a human-centric business process, you can decide to export these to Oracle BPM 11g. Otherwise, BPEL is the obvious choice.

Boy, I can't wait to get my hands dirty with BPM 11g, which hopefully will be somewhere in March 1010!

Friday, November 27, 2009

OUM 5.3 Has Been Released

November 13 there has been an announcement that the Oracle Unified Method version 5.3 has been released. As explained in a previous posting, we do offer OUM to our customers.

What's New?

Although the increase in version number (from 5.2 to 5.3) seems to suggest this to be a minor upgrade, some of us will receive as a major upgrade.

For example, this version includes an initial support for Business Intelligence (BI) and Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) implementation. We also added a view for Software Upgrades, which will help in in quickly determining which tasks to consider for an upgrade of Oracle software products, including middleware, database, enterprise application products and Business Intelligence solutions.

Regarding the other, existing views, a lot of improvements have been applied. Especially Envision (the focus area of OUM covering enterprise / business level aspects) has been upgraded, and is rapidly reaching a "mature" state. Two of the topics that I would like to point out are IT Governance and IT Portfolio Planning, mainly because I have been personally involved in that (sorry, too hard to resist)!


Perhaps even more important than having a comprehensive method, is being able to provide training on that, and assist in applying the method. In the last year The Oracle Methods Team therefore has put considerable effort in creating various training modules, from high-level overviews that make you understand what OUM is all about, to more task-oriented modules around requirements gathering or analysis and design.

Customers won't find them in the curriculum of the Oracle University (yet) but don't let this keep from for asking for it, as we can deliver customer training.

See you in class!