Cloud based Human Workflow and Business Process automation – PCS, BPM Suite on the Cloud, BPM Suite on Premises

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Image result for oracle pcsOn premises BPM Suite has been Oracle’s flagship product for business process automation for many years. Based on the industry standard of BPMN and tightly integrated with SOA Suite for integrations, it has been widely used to implement complex and typically long running business processes. The recent addition of Adaptive Case Management to BPM Suite has extended its functionality with support for less structured workflows, loosely based on the CMMN standard. Oracle has not offered – and will not offer – a BPM Suite CS; the only supported way to run BPM Suite in the Oracle Cloud is by installing it into a JCS instance.

For the business user, Oracle introduced the Process Cloud Service (PCS). PCS was originally introduced for fairly simple human workflows that may integrate documents (using Document CS) and collaboration (leveraging Oracle Social Network).

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Workflows designed in PCS can exported to BPM Suite; however, BPM projects created in BPM Studio (JDeveloper) cannot be lifted and shifted to PCS, and long running instances are of course not lift and shiftable at all.

Over the last year, a similar development has taken place as with ICS: PCS is rapidly becoming the premier offering from Oracle for automating business processes, far beyond the reach of the business user. Instead of a citizen developer’s tool for simple human workflows, PCS is growing into what could have been the next generation of BPM Suite, while BPM Suite will not evolve any further. See this image from the documentation for BPM Suite 12.2.1.2.0 – October 2016:

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My colleague Lykle Thijssen wrote an excellent article about the most recent PCS release, the richest yet. PCS integrates with ICS for integration scenarios (Virtual Data Connect) and with BI CS for handling process analytics. PCS now leverages Oracle JET technology for task user interfaces that are declaratively designed.

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PCS supports out of the workflow patterns and quick start process templates, actionable emails – that allow users to handle process tasks by responding to an email – and has introduced much needed correlation and event support. Quick Start Apps help business users (and others) to very rapidly get going – based on a predefined structure and with reusable template elements. Developers can now create business objects from a JSON schema, which is especially useful when creating REST integrations.

PCS processes can easily be embedded in other web applications through smart URLs and a JavaScript library. Mobile apps are available to manage and monitor process instances and to handle user tasks in running instances.

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The next big thing on the PCS roadmap in 2017 is support for adaptive case management, this time truly based on the CMMN 2.0 standard and with visual modeling support.

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Other notable plans are a Decision Modeling microservice (based on DMN) – a standalone, widely reusable capability for designing and executing business rules – and integration with Application Builder CS for developing the user interfaces for process tasks.

Pay per use(r)

The subscription metrics for PCS are a little puzzling.

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What would make sense to me would be the number of process instances – with perhaps processes classified in three categories of light, medium and heavy, depending on the number of activities and maybe the duration. Users are a very vague metric it would seem.

Content and Experience Cloud

PCS is included in the Content and Experiences Cloud – together with Sites CS, Content Management aka Document CS and Oracle Social Network. Integration with especially these latter two is very tight.

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Download the AMIS OOW16 Highlights for an overview of announcements at OOW16.

About Author

Lucas Jellema, active in IT (and with Oracle) since 1994. Oracle ACE Director and Oracle Developer Champion. Solution architect and developer on diverse areas including SQL, JavaScript, Docker, Machine Learning, Java, SOA and microservices, events in various shapes and forms and many other things. Author of the Oracle Press books: Oracle SOA Suite 11g Handbook and Oracle SOA Suite 12c Handbook. Frequent presenter on community events and conferences such as JavaOne, Oracle Code and Oracle OpenWorld.

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