Tuesday, November 10, 2020

#807 Oracle Integration (OIC) - an holistic view

The focus of my posts is usually on the Integration component of OIC. But sometimes it's better to emerge from the details and take a more holistic view of what is on offer. I may be preaching to the converted, but just in case...

OIC is THE toolkit for connecting your apps, extending your apps, creating net new apps/mashups on top of your app apis and, finally, providing insight into your business processes

Let's start from the bottom up - OIC runs natively on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). It's one of many services that does so. Others, such as the one's I have listed above may be very useful from an OIC perspective, e.g. processing streaming data from the OCI Streaming Service. OIC already has an OCI Streaming Adapter. What about event driven scenarios? The OCI Events Service can respond to resource changes in your tenancy. Orchestration business logic can be implemented in Oracle's Functions as a Service platform. This is a big value add in respect to our competitors. Please note the OCI Services list in my slide is not exhaustive, other services such as OCI Logging are not listed, purely for space reasons.

Next level - a couple of months ago we released the File Server component. Now you have your own sftp conform server within your OIC environment. Currently you have an allocation of 500GB of space for processing / storing your files. Leveraging File Server is a no-brainer, considering how many ERP and HCM integrations are still file based. 

Our recently released B2B component supports bi-directional integration with your trading partners. By that I mean the ability to transform B2B documents (e.g. X12 850 Purchase Orders) into an XML format that can be processed within OIC, as well as the ability to transform XML payloads into B2B documents. It also includes a B2B Schema editor where you can amend the standard B2B document format to reflect your business needs.

When it comes to Connectivity Adapters - we provide Native Adapters for Oracle apps e.g. Fusion ERP, HCM, EBS. These adapters are function rich and are kept in sync with new functionality in those apps. We also provide adapters for other non-Oracle apps, both on premise and in the cloud; for example - SAP, SFDC, Concur, Workday, Ariba. Our adapter set also includes DB adapters, both Oracle and non-Oracle, technical adapters - JMS, File, FTP, REST and SOAP, as well as RPA adapters - Automation Anywhere and UI Path.

Naturally many OIC customers also run Oracle SaaS or Oracle on-premise apps, however the platform is also used for many non-Oracle integrations - from an adapters perspective we are agnostic.

Now to the core capabilities of OIC - 

Application Integration is naturally the most used component. The rich set of adapters, the intuitive design time which focuses on the business task to be done and NOT technology, make this a very compelling offering. Patterns supported include synchronous request-response, fire and forget, asynchronous scheduled jobs, FBDI, responding to business events etc. A universal component that can be used to feed enterprise data to mobile apps as well as batch processing of files.For many integration is seen as a necessary evil - something that has to be in place in order to connect the stovepipe apps organizations use. However, OIC Application Integration can be your digital enabler, opening your enterprise data assets for use in innovative ways, for example - creating POs via chatbots, enabling blockchain apps to go off-chain - if required etc.

Process Automation, our BPM component, allows you to create your own human-centric process workflows as well as to create workflows extending your SaaS or on-premise app functionality. For example in an HCM context - Employee Rewards, Vacation Request etc. Within Process Automation we have support for structured and un-structured (case management style) processes. This component also includes Decisions - OIC's Rules Engine.   



Visual App Builder - to quote from a colleague's presentation - Visual Builder allows you to...

Rapidly create and extend enterprise apps using a visual development environment with integrated agile collaborative development, version control, and continuous delivery automation.

Visual Builder has tight integration with the OIC Application Integration component, thus making it very easy to create net new native mobile or web apps on top of your enterprise application apis.

The following slide from my colleague JT, succinctly describes what's on offer -

Visual Builder has tight integration with the OIC Process Automation component, allowing you to easily create your own Workspace/worklist apps. This is very compelling for those who do not like the default Workspace app which ships with OIC. It also makes it very easy to embed Process Automation driven workflows in other party apps, be they from Oracle or other vendors. 

Integration Insight - provides us with OOTB business user facing dashboards on top of our business processes. Just think of a typical employee onboarding use case. The new employee data may be entered in Oracle HCM, but is that the end of the business process? What about paying the person? We will need an integration with a Payroll system. What about other benefits, such as health insurance? What about procuring a new laptop for the employee? What about getting a company email address for the new employee? Is HCM the single source of truth or is there a corporate directory out there that needs to know about our new employee? These are just a couple of examples of what may need to be done, as part of an onboarding process. Just consider all the business users impacted in such a scenario. Typically such an integration, or set of integrations, would be a blackbox for them - enter the data in HCM and let's hope it reaches those target systems. Now, with Integration Insight, they can have their own dashboards focused on business KPIs, dashboards that are constantly being updated for them as employees get onboarded. Insight works on the principle of Milestones - e.g. Recruitment in Taleo, Employee Created in HCM, Employee data inserted into EBS Payroll etc. Data shown in the dashboard can either be of type - Dimension (how you want to slice the data e.g. employees by Country) and Measures (data points such as employee salary etc.) The mapping of Integration actions to Insight Milestones is trivial, making this OIC component a no-brainer - you've just got to leverage it!
Thanks to my colleague Simone for the screenshots below - 



You can, of course, drill down form the aggregates to individual instances, in my case, employees -

Insight also allows you to create your own custom dashboards, using a rich set of visualisation components.

August 2020 saw the embedding of Recipes and Accelerators in OIC. I have already blogged about these, but a short recap - 

Recipes are best practice implementations of particular integration use cases e.g. an opportunity to order scenario between SFDC and Netsuite. Think of them as templates - providing you with a very quickstart for implementing such use cases.

Technical Accelerators - as the name suggests, technical answers to issues such as re-sequencing (Orders need to be processed in a particular order, but do not arrive so). 

Again, just more ammo for you as OIC user, making you more productive and increasing the business value add of adopting OIC.

So I hope this short excursion into OIC has broadened your horizon somewhat. Check out my other blog posts on the components I have mentioned - all the detail is there.

The OIC November release is imminent, so expect more posts from me soon.


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