Oracle Closes the Business-IT Gap with the Latest Oracle BPM Suite 11g Upgrade

In today’s competitive landscape, businesses face great pressures to streamline their processes and increase their agility. TEC principal analyst P.J. Jakovljevic takes an in-depth look at how the latest features of Oracle Business Process Management Suite 11g enable business users to seamlessly and rapidly design and implement their business processes, without having to rely on overstretched IT resources. Download the report.

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Constantly changing market conditions and trends, increasing competitive pressures, globalization, and rapidly evolving customer needs are some of the factors placing greater pressure on businesses to streamline their processes and increase their agility. Oracle’s journey into the business process management (BPM) space started in earnest via Fuego, one of the first pure BPM players with a focus on human-centric processes. Former BEA Systems acquired Fuego in 2006, and Oracle acquired BEA Systems in 2007 and rebranded the product as Oracle Business Process Management Suite (Oracle BPMS) (which was also transiently branded as BEA AguaLogic BPM). Contrary to some pundits’ expectations and speculations at the time of these transitions that Fuego might get lost in this slew of acquisitions by Oracle, the renowned BPM product suite appears to have made its way as a process management core within the Oracle Fusion Middleware (OFM).

Oracle BPM Genesis

Fuego was one of a few vendors on the human- and business-centric end of the business process management system (BPMS landscape that aimed to empower businesspeople to play a more involved role in process implementations. The “B” in BPM stands for “Business,” and these are the people who interact with the process on a regular basis, who understand the operational limitations, and who should have real ideas for improving the process. Lombardi Software (now part of IBM), Savvion (now part of Aurea Software after being divested by Progress Software), Pegasystems, and Appian were the other similar BPMS providers. Their software featured a model-driven process design based on the Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) standard for graphical representation of business processes in a business process model. They have encouraged a new agile iterative design style based on the collaborative work of the line of business (LoB) and the information technology (IT) department, rather than “throwing the business requirements over the wall” to the IT department to deliver the system. Today’s BPMSs should support the entire process improvement life cycle—from process discovery, definition, and design to implementation, monitoring, and analysis, to ongoing process improvement and optimization.

But Fuego’s human-centric BPM nature was not enough to cater to all of the possible BPM needs of today’s users, as real-world processes do not fit neatly into a single type of process. Even heavily human-centric processes need some kind of integration with other systems and processes, and vice versa—primarily systemcentric processes might occasionally need some human intervention. To that end, another major part of Oracle BPMS came from the 2004 acquisition of Collaxa, known today as Oracle BPEL Process Manager. This product is about performing system-centric BPM or process integration in a service oriented architecture (SOA) manner (BPEL stands for business process execution language). In addition, today’s business processes can also be document-centric and decision-centric (rules and knowledge based, in the latter case). Document-centric processes can now be handled via Oracle WebCenter Content, which came from the 2006 acquisition of Stellent.

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