The current buzz word these days seems to be cloud and AWS for cloud services. We seem to be going toward the Everything as a Service (EaaS). I even read recently in LinkedIn about a company offering Employee as a Service (EaaS), a very novice way of providing Staff Augmentation. When some in the industry is finding innovative way of spinning the age old problems like providing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service(PaaS), we took a tangential approach of taking simple and common business problems such as Travel Authorization, Expense Approval, Leave Approval and such common workflows and embarked on a journey to provide and support them in the form of Business Process as a Service (BPaaS). Let’s embark on one such journey and evaluate the Agility of one such commercially available BPaaS.
For our proof of concept, we took a simple Order Entry Process that requires a simple workflow of a Manager Approval for orders over a certain $ value. To make our POC interesting, we took the services provided by Industry Leaders in their respective fields. For CRM, the undoubted industry Leader is SalesForce. So, we left the order entry job to SF. The job of backend order processing and supply chain is a sweat spot for Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS). Both of these are in their respective Platform as a Service (PaaS) environment. Now the only 2 components left are:
- Integrate SF to Oracle EBS Cloud. This is the topic of a blog written by me, and can be viewed at the following site:
- Automate a Business Process Flow. One possible product we can use is the Oracle BPaaS. This Blog explores the use of Oracle BPaaS to solve this simple, yet common flow that occurs daily in many companies worldwide.
Have you ever wondered what it would take for you to develop and maintain a simple process automation in an enterprise environment? Take the example described above. A manager needs to review and approve any orders whose value is over $10,000. The traditional way of handling this, which happens even today, is for the Sales Rep to enter the order into SF, print it out, and hand carry or email it to the Manager. The Manager then signs it, some physical signature and some electronic, and then sends it off to the order fulfillment group where someone enters them into the system and the order gets fulfilled. In most cases, the reconciliation offers outside the 2 systems between order entry and fulfillment, in a third financial system. Some technically advanced companies spend the time, money and energy to hire technical resources to develop and maintain the code either in Java or .Net that provide the services to transfer data between the 3 systems. Here are some of the actions you would have to do to maintain the systems:
- Business Requirements – Product Owner, SME, Architect
- System Analysis – Architect, Senior Developer
- System Design – Archtect, Senior Developer
- Data Design – Data Architect
- Develop and Unit Test – Developers
- Systems Testing – Product Owner, Testers
- Data reconciliation – Data Architect
- Deployment – DevOps Engineer
- Production Support – System Engineer
- Bug Fixes – Developer
I would venture to guess good 70% of the corporations that have this problem are still performing the workflow either via email or manually and only 30% of the companies have the financial wherewithal to hire, build and maintain the automation for the process. I would also estimate building such an integration is a 3 month process end to end.
What if I were to tell you that using Oracle BPaaS is such an easy task that you leave the technology to the pros, and you simply worry about your process, the roles of those who perform the sales function and those who have the authority to approve the process. Let’s take a quick look at the steps that one would have to go through to accomplish the process
- Define Business Process – Product Owner, Business Analyst
- Build, Test, Deploy Business Process – Business Analyst
- Debug and Support – Business Analyst, Systems Engineer
Rest of the effort is left to the Cloud Provider in this case, Oracle.
Ok, Ok, I know it is time for a picture. The end result of this Business Process flow in Oracle BPaaS will look like the following picture:
And do you know how long this Oracle BPaaS process took us to build and test end to end? About a week, considering the rest of the things equal.
Automating such small and mundane network processes increases the response times and productivity.
Taking this approach has the following benefits to the businesses:
- Faster time to market, reduces the time by at least 50%.
- Increased Productivity
- Improves Accuracy and reduces errors
- Corporate Risk is shifted out of non-core technology areas to the core business, and the mitigation and management of these risks becomes easier.
- Changes can be made easily without having the traditional overhead of redeploying the application.
- Leave the technology nuances to the pros
- Support and maintenance cost is negligent.
Did I not say, Drag it…. Drop it…. Deploy it….. Forget it…. With Agility.