Oracle BPM Review

Process modeling supports the BPMN 2.0 palette of tasks, gateways and events, for business and technical users.


What is our primary use case?

We have used Oracle BPM on projects involving, financial customer on-boarding, accounts payable, loan origination, and capital expenditure approval.

How has it helped my organization?

On a recent project, we were able to seamlessly integrate multiple ERPs into a process. On the same project, we integrated content images and metadata from Oracle's WebCenter Content into the process and its user interfaces. Using BAM, the customer now sees key performance indicators they need to make decisions (e.g., revenue saved through discount achievement for AP invoices).

What is most valuable?

Oracle BPM is easy to use for both the business and developers.  Both personas design process models in a common format, tailored specifically to their skills.

Often overlooked in software evaluations, the integration to underlying databases and applications is an essential element on almost every BPM application. Oracle BPM's tool for service and application integration is the best on the market to accomplish this.

Being able to view and manage the environment is essential during the entire lifecycle of a project. Oracle BPM makes it easy for process stakeholders to manage and optimize their processes.

Oracle BPM Suite is based on the widely used industry standards that both the business and technical people are already familiar and comfortable with.

Specific features that we have found valuable include:

  • Process modeling - fully supports BPMN 2.0 palette of tasks, gateways and events for both the business and technical sides.
  • Business rules - Business rules can either be embedded as an integral part of a BPM process or are invoked by the process.
  • Integration - Oracle BPM is layered on top of Oracle's SOA platform, a proven standards-based approach to exposing and integrating databases and backend services using Java EE Connector Architecture (JCA) adapters.
  • Metrics Reporting - a key aspect of Oracle BPM is its ability to gather key performance indicators as work items flow through the process. These metrics are easily surfaced in dashboard reports in both the out of the box end user Workspace tool and its greatly improved Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) tool that comes with the product.

What needs improvement?

Although it is a robust product, its learning curve can be steep without having the proper training and mentoring on the first project.

As with most BPM projects interaction with people is a key element. Creating user interfaces the end users see and interact with as work item instances travel through process can be challenging. If ADF is used, most companies struggle due to its complexity, steep learning curve, and the need to tune it for performance. The web form design tool in Composer (currently an OEM product from Frevvo) is simple to use for citizen developers, but can be lacking in the functionality most projects need.

To get around these issues, the architecture is flexible enough to allow the use of other UI technologies. On new projects we now create and edit forms using Angular JS using REST services. This has made our developers much more productive and the forms perform better.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Version 12c of Oracle BPM, which came out in 2014, took a while to gain maturity. We have now worked through the initial bugs and 12.2.1.3 is a robust release. Oracle BAM that comes with the product has been greatly improved in this version of the product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Oracle BPM's runtime architecture scales quite well. Each Oracle BPM project is deployed as a composite EAR file that runs in a compiled manner. The environment can be clustered.

How is customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service is good overall. The escalation procedures work and when they say "7/24" support they mean it.

Technical Support:

Other than the issues encountered in 12c initially, the issues have been handled well by customer support. When the need to escalate has occurred, tickets were escalated and resolved.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup requires the knowledge of someone familiar with Oracle SOA Suite and WebLogic.

What about the implementation team?

On an initial project, consider getting outside mentors to work with your team. These mentors can be in-house or outside consultants. The vendor is not required in most cases.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I am an Oracle ACE specializing in BPM, SOA, BAM and integration solutions.
2 visitors found this review helpful
3 Comments
Mario Treviño SalazarReal UserTOP 5LEADERBOARD

In 2016 we were using BPM 12C and as you mentioned in your article it wasn't very mature, It had a lot of bugs, for example integration with LDAP wasn't working, and It took about a month to oracle to fix the bug. Other thing that we saw was that if you try to transfer native comments (BPM has a native sectoin for comments) you lose the comments entering between sub processes. The other thing with this tool is that you need technical skills to construct the integrations between BPM and other tools and to construct workflows, so IT has to be involved for the implementation of new processes.
Thanks for your post.

15 March 17
Dan AtwoodResellerTOP 20LEADERBOARD

Thanks Mario for your comments. Agree it took some time for Oracle BPM 12c to stabilize. Might have been something environment specific, but LDAP integration is working now. There's a trick to getting inter-process comments functioning that someone should have filled you in on.

16 March 17
Mario Treviño SalazarReal UserTOP 5LEADERBOARD

Thanks for your comments Dan.
LDAP is working now and we migrated to the versión 12.2.1 that is a Little more stable than 12C.
Talking about the comments, we talked a lot with Oracle, but they told us that passing comment between subprocesses wasn't a feature included and if we wanted that we had to request for that functionality. We had to make a development to do that. If you have an article about the trick you mentioned it would be great.
Thanks again.

16 March 17
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