Dynamic Assignment of Human Task to a User, Application Role, and/or a Group by Dan Atwood

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Oracle BPM tasks can be dynamically assigned to an individual user, application role, and / or an LDAP group depending on the human task’s incoming data. 

They did not have to be separate strings, but for clarity these three human task data elements have corresponding process data objects mapped into the human task in this Oracle BPM 12.2.1.2 application.  Based on which one(s) is populated, the task’s assignment is made.

These are set in the activity’s input data association from corresponding process data objects.

The process data objects are set in the output data association of an activity upstream of the activity in the process. Read the complete article here.

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Migrating Oracle BPM customers to PCS – never say never by Andre Boaventura

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Some of you might recall this blog post at Migrating your Oracle BPM assets into Oracle Process Cloud Service (PCS) that I published last year for those customers like Grupo Ultra in Brazil that wanted to move their assets to Oracle Cloud. However, as you likely can recall too, this was only targeted for customers that were only using BPM Composer for modeling and documentation purposes only.
Early this year, a new BPM customer in Brazil called Unimed, a health insurance company, that automated their business process on top of Oracle BPM came up with the same request, that was essentially to take all their assets to Oracle PaaS. However, this time, the challenge was much bigger than before, since more than just translate Oracle BPMN process to their respective notations in Oracle PCS, I had to deal with many other concerns like integration with legacy systems (EBS, Oracle DB) running on their datacenter, OSB services being called by their Oracle BPM processes on-premises, business KPIs used by Oracle BPM for integration with Oracle BAM, security issues around being needed to expose their OSB services to the internet to be able to be consumed by PCS, etc.
Initially, I thought that this could be an impossible task given all the very known restrictions and caveats for this kind of job, but even so, I decided to embark on this journey, since I knew it that I could go further, given everything I had done so far for other customers around this topic, and also due to a life lesson that I learned from my parents: "never say never".

That said, now I am coming to you to share the outcome of that POC that I successfully finished two months ago for Unimed. Happy to share the great news that I managed to figure out how to migrate Oracle BPM for process automation in a smoothly way to our Oracle PaaS services, since I could improve my BPM conversion framework(more details in my blog post) to be able to deal also with scenarios used by process automation in Oracle BPM(that weren’t covered in my original blog post), that turned the BPM migration process to PCS into an even more ease and streamlined task, even for more complex scenarios where automation and integration with backend systems are needed similar to what I had to do in my POC at Unimed.

As such, I have decided to share all steps used to take that BPM application integrated with OSB, BAM and documents to our respective blueprint on Oracle PaaS.  I have recorded a series of 6 videos describing in details on how one can perform that migration to Oracle PCS and take advantage to leverage other key solutions to make a more comprehensive PaaS architecture by using other PaaS services like ICS, CEC, and SOACS(in order to support business metrics originally implemented with BAM by using Real Time Integration Business Insight with PCS), and thus cross-selling other products of our portfolio to deliver a more robust solution.
These are the videos I have recorded for this migration task:

Design Time

  • Part 1 – BPM to PCS Migration: This is the first step towards generate the first BPM project to be imported into PCS. It walks you through the original Oracle BPM application(BPM Composer and Studio) and shows how to create the first migratable project on Oracle PCS by leveraging the migration framework available at my blog.
  • Part 2 – ICS: This step demonstrates how to install and setup ICS connectivity agent to be used by integrations that require access to customer’s Oracle database tables. Also, it shows how to build an integration from scratch in ICS to access customer database tables and then expose them as REST services to be consumed by Oracle PCS.
  • Part 3 – PCS & ICS Integration: This video demonstrates how to leverage services created in ICS to replace those from the original process created with Oracle DB adapter within a SOA composite. Also, it showcases how to link those ICS services to PCS service call activities and how to map inbound and outbound data. Also, it shows the first deployable version to be tested and run on PCS.
  • Part 4 – Integration Analytics: This video guides you on how to create a Business Insight model with milestones, business metrics(measures and dimensions), assign them to their respective milestones and finally expose those milestones APIs to be consumed by Oracle PCS.
  • Part 5 – PCS-Business Insight Integration: This video shows how to enable and link Business Insight within PCS and also deploy the final version to be used and tested in run-time.

Run Time

This video walks you through all products described earlier like PCS, ICS, Business Insight and CEC, but now looking from the run-time perspective. It starts showing a process instance kicked-off through a PCS web forms, then an approval by a Mobile app, integration with Content experience cloud. Also, it guides you through all default and custom dashboards created on Business Insight as well as how to monitor integrations and track process integration instances in ICS. This is a comprehensive and seamlessly integrated demo that highlights how these 4 PaaS(PCS, ICS, CEC, and Business Insight) services can work together and bring more value and benefits for customers that have the same or a similar use case.

I will be doing voice recording to provide details over video is playing, but for now, once I didn’t have enough time to do it yet,  I have put a couple of songs to not get boring 🙂 Anyway, if you don’t like my music playlist, I have put all videos with no audio together into this folder, so that you can create a version with your favorite songs or just simply play the video with no audio 🙂

In spite of that, what really matters is that these videos are to be used for any opportunity where you find Oracle BPM customers that want to move to Oracle PaaS(like a BPM "lift-and-shift"), and from now on, it doesn’t matter if they are only using BPM for process modeling or even for process automation, since any of these use cases are now suitable to be done if following the steps showed in my videos above.
For now, just use these videos for internal reference and please don’t share them since they have customer logo and data, but it is fine to show(only) to outside audience if you need to educate them on what is possible to do for migrating Oracle BPM to Oracle PCS and other PaaS services.  I will be updating my blog to reflect all my findings with a generic example, then you will be able to share with anyone it is required, and please do so, and help me to spread the word. Also, I will be updating my migration framework available at https://github.com/aboavent/BPM-to-PCS-Migration/ with the latest version used in the POC mentioned earlier above. Anyway, you can take a look there to understand the principles used if you will 🙂

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Adding a Link using the New PCS Web Form Tool by Dan Atwood

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There is an issue you need to be aware of when adding link fields to Oracle’s Process Cloud Service (PCS) web forms using the new web form design tool.  This blog provides a fairly simple workaround to the problem.

At runtime, the problem is that the value stored in the link’s data element is lost once the form is submitted.  This means that the process data object cannot then map or use the element in the process downstream.

Follow these steps to workaround this issue.  In this example, the data element that actually contains the desired URL is called uRL.  First open the form in the web form design tool, and create a new element named uRLCalculated by dragging Link from the Basic Palette tab onto the form.

Instead of using the original uRL element for the field’s data binding, use uRLCalculated as the Value Binding for the field on the form.

So that the correct link will displayed to the end user at runtime on the form, set the Label property to Dynamic and set the binding to use the original uRL data element for the field’s Label Binding property.

Under the Value Binding property, click the Computed Value checkbox -> click the Edit button beside it. Read the complete article here.

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Month End Close by Avio

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The power and water division of a major industrial manufacturer sought to bring sorely needed order and efficiency to a lengthy and chaotic month-end closing process.

Our Client’s Needs

Our client’s four-day month-end closing process required manually running ten to fifteen different programs for each subledger and each general ledger set, for each organizational unit configured in EBS. This meant that all these programs had to be run nearly 150 times times for each month-end close. It was a labor-intensive undertaking, driven by phone calls, emails, and trust. The six people required for its completion worked very long hours for several days each month while spending the remainder largely idle. Moreover, a lack of visibility meant that there was no way to identify process bottlenecks or performance issues.

With a plan to roll in additional organizational units, our client was also preparing to add over $10 billion in revenue to their existing $22 billion, which promised to expand an already inefficient process. They wanted to meet that increase without adding personnel, while also shortening the closings from four days to three. They needed a process that would more efficiently coordinate their people and systems, with the visibility necessary to track progress and to pinpoint and resolve issues.

AVIO’s Solution

We used Oracle SOA Suite to create an accurate and reliable process for orchestrating the numerous program executions. We automated most of these, and harnessed Oracle BPM to both route exceptions to the appropriate individuals for resolution and to provide a single location for accessing and addressing them. Read the complete article here.

 

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Putting BPM Change Management into the Hands of the Business by Mark Peterson

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Business Process Management (BPM) is an important part of many organizations. Many experts agree that BPM is not only important for business operations, it is a necessary component for handling change. There can be changes in assignments, changes in back-end systems and changes in workflow are just some examples. However when changes occur, it has been up to IT to implement and up to the business managers to manage the fallout. We all know change is painful, and the more we can place change control in the hands of the business managers, the better the organization can manage change.

AVIO has developed a framework that gives managers control over changes to their business processes.  To see how this works, let’s first characterize the types of changes we typically see within an organization and their business processes.

Process Changes

  • A new assignment (for example, approving a work item) is added or removed to an existing task.
  • New decision points are added or removed that branch the process in different ways.
  • A new back-end service is added, removed or changed.
  • A new sequential or parallel activity is added or removed.
  • A new sub-process is added or removed.

Business Data Changes

  • A business parameter (such as the amount of the invoice) is added that changes the path in the process.
  • A new business parameter (such as region) or value for a given parameter (such as a new region) is added that changes the process flow.

Notice that not all changes involve process changes. Some changes are data-related.  Whether process-related or data-related, these changes can cause problems within your organization.  Typically, a one-size fits all solution, is applied to the problem. New process versions are developed and deployed, and the business is faced with the fallout. Read the complete article here.

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An Introduction to Oracle Internet of Things by Kashif Manzoor

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Internet of Things (IOT) is the internetworking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices“), buildings, and other items-embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.(source Wikipedia).

If you have not watched movie I.T, must watch it today and you will get to the feelings of Smart-Home concept and how heavily used IOT is showing in the movie.

Oracle is also offering namely Oracle Internet of Things (IoT) Cloud Service product as a part of Platform as a Service (PaaS) category that enables customers to connect devices to the IOT cloud, analyze data and alert messages from devices in real time to make critical business decisions and this can be integrated back to any other application through web services, or with other Oracle Cloud Services, such as Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service, etc.

Started exploring IOT so this is 1st post on voyage to connect “things” with “Internet”, started from official documentation of Oracle Internet of Things and flow of the overall IOT is as below:

Typical Workflow for Using Oracle IoT Cloud Service

  1. Register the device models that are implemented by your devices.
  2. Create an IoT application.
  3. Register device
  4. Configure device to connect to Oracle IoT Cloud Service server.
  5. Activate previously registered gateway device
  6. Develop device software using Oracle IoT Cloud Service Client Software
  7. Develop enterprise applications that use the Oracle IoT Cloud Service REST API

Overall representation or architecture of IOT is as per below image. Read the complete article here.

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An Introduction to Oracle Stream Analytics and Stream Processing Kafka Data by Robin Moffatt

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Oracle Stream Analytics (OSA) is a graphical tool that provides “Business Insight into Fast Data”. In layman terms, that translates into an intuitive web-based interface for exploring, analysing, and manipulating streaming data sources in realtime. These sources can include REST, JMS queues, as well as Kafka. The inclusion of Kafka opens OSA up to integration with many new-build data pipelines that use this as a backbone technology.

Previously known as Oracle Stream Explorer, it is part of the SOA component of Fusion Middleware (just as OBIEE and ODI are part of FMW too). In a recent blog it was positioned as “[…] part of Oracle Data Integration And Governance Platform.”. Its Big Data credentials include support for Kafka as source and target, as well as the option to execute across multiple nodes for scaling performance and capacity using Spark.

I’ve been exploring OSA from the comfort of my own Mac, courtesy of Docker and a Docker image for OSA created by Guido Schmutz. The benefits of Docker are many and covered elsewhere, but what I loved about it in this instance was that I didn’t have to download a VM that was 10s of GB. Nor did I have to spend time learning how to install OSA from scratch, which whilst interesting wasn’t a priority compared to just trying to tool out and seeing what it could do. [Update] it turns out that installation is a piece of cake, and the download is less than 1Gb … but in general the principle still stands – Docker is a great way to get up and running quickly with something

In this article we’ll take OSA for a spin, looking at some of the functionality and terminology, and then real examples of use with live Twitter data. Read the complete article here.

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Add client certificate for outgoing OSB call by Hugo Hendriks

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Simple use case……you want to connect to a customer system over the internet. The customers system has an API but requires 2-way SSL. This means we have to send a client certificate along to make sure the SSL handshake can be completed. If your server has already a server certificate installed, it will send this one along by default but the customers system won’t accept it as it is different then what it trusts. In the next section, I will explain how to add a client certificate to an outgoing OSB call.

Let’s say I want to connect to my favourite climbing shop http://www.mountaingear.com as they have a nice backend api to take orders. The guys from mountaingear.com created a certificate for me to send along with the call.

First I am going to generate a keystore with a private key in it, to simulate the certificate which the third party gave to me. Read the complete article here.

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When Oracle SOA Database Pollers Collide by Aaron Dolan

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Oracle SOA Database Adapters provide a polling mechanism that will periodically query a table to see if a there is a new or changed record.  If so, it can trigger a BPEL process.  This is enormously useful.  However, on one client I ran into a series of issues with database pollers in a clustered environment when they … collided.  (queue dramatic music)

The issue began one quiet morning early in the project after I started my WebLogic Admin Server and 2 SOA 11g Managed Servers.  I then deployed my process with my shiny new database poller.  I was very excited to see it work in the Development Environment.  I had tested it the night before in my local VM and it worked great.

I won’t bore you with the details of what the overall process did, but suffice it to say, I was not excited with the database error I received when the pollers fired.  You heard me right … pollers.

I did NOT anticipate that SOA would have a separate database poller for each managed server for the same process.  However, after consulting with colleagues, I found that they too had seen this rather odd and seemingly illogical behavior.

Luckily after a bit of sleuthing, I found a nice solution – the Distributed Polling flag.  As usual, the A Team came to the rescue with an outstanding article that nicely explained the inner guts of how this works: DB Adapter – Distributed Polling (SKIP LOCKED) Demystified.

In short, this flag doesn’t allow more than 1 server to issue a lock on a table at a given time.  In effect, this ensures that you end up with 1 database poller for your process and not 1 per managed server (however, there is a twist to this that I’ll discuss in a moment). Read the complete article here.

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Oracle SOA Suite: Want performance? Don’t log so much and clean up your database! by Maarten Smeets

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The Oracle SOA Suite infrastructure, especially composites, use the database intensively. Not only are the process definitions stored in the database, also a lot of audit information gets written there. The SOA infrastructure database, if not well managed, will grow and will eventually have detrimental effects on performance. In this blog post I will give some quick suggestions that will help you increase performance of your SOA Suite infrastructure on the database side by executing some simple scripts. These are some suggestions I have seen work at different customers. Not only do they help managing the SOA Suite data in the database, they will also lead to better SOA Suite performance.

Do not log too much!

Less data is faster. If you can limit database growth, management becomes easier.

  • Make sure the auditlevel of your processes is set to production level in production environments.
  • Think about the BPEL setting inMemoryOptimization. This can only be set for processes that do not contain any dehydration points such as receive, wait, onMessage and onAlarm activities. If set to true, the completionpersistpolicy can be used to tweak what to do after completion of the process. For example only save information about faulted instances in the dehydration store. In 12c this setting is part of the ‘Oracle Integration Continuous Availability’ feature and uses Coherence.

Start with a clean slate regularly

Especially for development environments it is healthy to regularly truncate all the major SOAINFRA tables. The script to do this is supplied by Oracle: MW_HOME/SOA_ORACLE_HOME/rcu/integration/soainfra/sql/truncate/truncate_soa_oracle.sql

The effect of executing this script is that all instance data is gone. This includes all tasks, long running BPM processes, long running BPEL processes, recoverable errors. For short everything except the definitions. The performance gain from executing the script can be significant. You should consider for example to run the script at the end of every sprint to start with a clean slate. Read the complete article here.

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