Using Oracle Technologies for Developing Applications with Frequently Changing Requirements

oracle_200x200Imagine you have an application with dozens of different forms that need to be updated several times a year, sometimes several times per month. Now apply a fluid process to this environment and imagine that you need to anticipate this process behavior and be able to optimize it on short notice. If you work in certain government organizations you don’t need to imagine this, you already live in this situation. How could Oracle technologies simplify your life and life of your customers?

Akira Technologies has developed a platform that leverages Oracle technologies such as Business Process Management Suite, Oracle Policy Automation and Business Activity Monitoring and delivers unprecedented speed of controllable modifications to a business process. With this platform almost all modifications to your services, forms and applications do not involve developers. All changes made to the initial requirement documentation can be materialized in the application interface in under 5 minutes with a few button clicks. We have developed code that seamlessly glues BPM, BAM and OPA together and gives you unprecedented performance in application development and modifications.

akira-opa-bpm-bam-integration

In this platform your process modification starts with new set of requirements, such as “In order to certify A the customer now needs to provide B and not C like in the previous set of requirements”. Let us follow the process of materializing this change in the web application:

  1. You put these requirements into the project document such as a Word file, possibly add a few diagrams as an illustration, refer to an excel file with different parameters of B and C and so on.
  2. Formalize the requirements so Oracle Policy Automation can understand it. Typically this includes some rewarding and resolving ambiguities you need to do anyway, but frequently postpone till developers come back with tons of questions.
  3. Validate the logic of your changes. Since the requirements are formal now there is a mathematical way to verify that they will work fine with the existing process, nothing is missed and old functionality is not broken. OPA offers integrated tools for regression testing that simplify this task down to couple mouse clicks.
  4. Optionally adjust the presentation of your changed process in the process. The default implementation looks and works just fine, but OPA offers almost endless aesthetics enhancements via multiple menus.
  5. Build your package. For user this is clicking exactly one menu item, but the programming Oracle did behind the scene is actually awesome. You can include multiple files into your projects and reuse requirements as libraries simplifying and standardizing your process. the build process gathers all files in your project, presentation configuration and creates a single .zip file.
  6. Upload that .zip file to the server. Typically system administrator does this using arious deployment tools and sticking to the deployment process, but it is actually so simple anyone can do it.
  7. Done. You new process is deployed to the server and people working with your web application will immediately use new process. The entire process in steps 1-6 frequently takes less than it took you to read this text and can be further automated.

To illustrate how this works in our demo lets take a look at two pictures:

OPA_specification

On step 6 you will receive something like this:

BPM_web_application

Isn’t this amazing?

To make Akira’s approach even more attractive lets see how it solves another problem: seeing the big picture. In the web application above you can see the input field for preparation time where the user can log the activity time. Gathering information like this will help to understand where the most time is spent, improve your business process simulations, help to find bottlenecks and do root cause analysis for slow processes. Unfortunately human mind typically is not very capable of analyzing huge arrays of numbers and this is where some visualization would be helpful.

Fortunately Oracle offers another fantastic tool called Business Activity Monitoring. It offer a very convenient interface for building very powerful dashboards. For instance the dashboard you see on the following picture was created in under 1 hours and it shows different statistics about the process described above in the Word document:

BAM_dashboard

It is important to note that all all functionality you see above comes out of the box with minimum configuration changes. The only two pieces added to standard Oracle BPM, OPA and BAM installation are the two plugins developed by Akira to integrate all three technologies together and Akira’s rich experience in implementing enterprise architecture.

If you’re interested in learning more about this technology please contact Akira Technologies at info@akira-tech.com.