In 2009, Oracle launched Fusion Middleware, representing a vast array of integration capabilities. Notable additions this year include a major update to Oracle Business Process Management Suite 11g. The software is said to better enable businesses to model their processes and automate activity using BPM.
The software includes a native implementation of BPMN 2.0 and a browser-based Process Composer for process modeling. BPMN 2.0 tools are integrated with BPEL tools, which Oracle has been producing for some time now. BPMN 2.0 is a standard for process modeling carried forward by the Object Management Group (OMG).
In the Oracle suite is software that simplifies rules making. The software also marks an effort to better align BPM with SOA methods. But the potential of its end-to-end BPMN-based modeler is perhaps one of its most interesting features.
BPM and Fusion Middleware 11G were part of user discussions at the recent Oracle Open World 2010 event in San Francisco, where Oracle Senior Vice President Hasan Rizvi claimed more than a third of existing Oracle Fusion Middleware customers upgraded to Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g over the past year.
DoD does BPMN
Many organizations are undergoing organizational re-engineering these days, putting process front and center. Include among these organizations the U.S. Dept. of Defense. That department recently set out on a quest to look for ways to cut some expenses.
"We spend more than $40 billion a year on IT. If there is a cut, some of it has to come from IT," said Dennis Wisnosky, CTO and Chief Architect for DoD's Office of Business Transformation. "That means we have to change our business." Creating useful business models via BPMN is a part of that.
Wisnosky said his group has been using Oracle's Process Modeling tools supporting OMG's BPMN 2.0 spec. The BPMN models better allow non-IT personnel to discuss processes with the IT-side, he indicated.
"People can understand them. Before, the models were all different. Now they are all going to look the same," said Wisnosky. Ultimately, he said, his department hopes to build models with BPMN that are executable in runtime software.
Oracle's integration of BPMN 2.0 and BEPL components is a step in just such a direction.
Oracle's BPM Version 11g software combines two formerly alternative paths of BPM solution development - one based on BPMN and the other on BPEL - according to independent BPM expert Bruce Silver, principal, Bruce Silver Assoc.
This unified architecture "looks like a game-changer in the BPMS marketplace," Silver writes in a recent "First Look" at Oracle BPM Suite 11G.
Silver also notes that this suite runs on a strong SOA platform. With the suite, both BPM and SOA composites are described using the Service Component Architecture (SCA) standard. In the report, he writes that, "unlike other BPMSs, Oracle makes the linkage between BPMN shapes and their SOA component implementations explicit and configurable in the process model."