Walsh Construction Company is a Chicago-based general contracting, construction management, and design-build firm. Walsh is recognized as the largest construction firm in Chicago according to Crain’s Chicago Business. Sofbang helped Walsh with an entire ERP modernization and optimization initiative, lowering operational costs and enhancing productivity.
This post provides an overview of how Oracle BPM can be used with PeopleSoft to gain more out of your ERP. It also covers how to go about separating the process and personalization/customization layers from your ERP, to encourage leveraging more vanilla, out-of-the-box ERP functionality, rather than an over customized, costly to maintain version. Oracle BPM takes out the process inefficiencies associated with your ERP. It provides you with a range of different governance and workflow capabilities, which allows you to efficiently operate in your ERP with robust drill down features. This enables your process users and key stakeholders to uncover operational gaps that may be hindering your business from attaining efficiency gains or untapped revenue channels.
Sofbang’s Accelerated Oracle Fusion Middleware Reference Architecture for PeopleSoft optimization
Time after time, we have seen various lines of businesses come up with ad-hoc requirements needing to hook or connect other systems with PeopleSoft to push and/or pull information between those other systems. To accomplish this, there are some options available within PeopleSoft which allow you to make the successful connections to these external systems and make publications. Using the Integration Broker within PeopleTools, PeopleSoft Applications can integrate with other PeopleSoft modules or with other third-party applications using messages or web services. However, typical integrations built between PeopleSoft pillars are point-to-point, meaning that they are tailored to meet the needs of the two applications rather than a general interface or common integration layer available for many. Businesses today are required to adapt quickly to their customers’ challenges and are looking to IT for a differentiator. PeopleSoft applications with Integration Broker are great for point-to-point integrations and building reusable web services, but critical components that make up a more comprehensive enterprise integration platform are missing. Technology and application connector support is limited and there is no process automation layer that can span over several applications within your enterprise, including cloud-based applications. As depicted in the diagram above, a comprehensive solution such as Oracle SOA Suite can be the missing piece to an organization’s enterprise integration strategy. Oracle BPM runs on Oracle SOA Suite, creating business-driven process based integrations with PeopleSoft applications. Oracle BPM works with the Integration Broker to serve as a connector to PeopleSoft applications, creating seamless integrations and processes across your enterprise; not just within PeopleSoft.
Often times, we have seen enterprise customers over customize their PeopleSoft processes and screens to adjust to their organizational policies and procedures using Component Interfaces. It starts out by making one small field change or screen change and continues into a downward endless spiral. The end result is a hugely customized PeopleSoft ERP environment. On one hand, it definitely helps the users to use the system in the way they want to. However, on the other hand, enterprises do not realize that these over customizations drive up maintenance and upgrade costs exponentially. Due to the customizations tailored to the organization, it is difficult to map data elements and the metadata when upgrading to a new version. With each version, you have to go back and make those custom changes again, which can create an upgrade nightmare, especially if those changes were not appropriate documented in the first place. This is why Sofbang recommends a “sticking with vanilla” approach to PeopleSoft implementations. Stay vanilla as possible and externalize your business logic layer with Oracle BPM, where process and screen customizations can be created and managed. Let Oracle BPM help you in handling all personalization requirements, taking care of the actual dependencies. Moreover, the underlying integration layer (Oracle SOA Suite) can be used as a middleware platform to integrate with other on-premise and cloud based applications. Keeping your ERP as vanilla as possible can significantly reduce your overall total cost of ownership, making things simplified and a lot more manageable in the long run. You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream. PeopleSoft vanilla, sprinkled with Oracle BPM and Oracle SOA Suite for me please. Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Scalability means different things to different people. It’s like a group of blindfolded people touching an elephant on different sides. Each person will have their own explanation and individual experience. Similarly, in the Oracle SOA Suite world, expansion and scalability of an Oracle SOA Suite environment means different things for everyone. For Administrators, it’s about adding more managed and admin servers to the existing Oracle SOA environment. For SOA Developers, it means adding more services and BPEL processes in the existing service repository. For IT Management, it is about how they can expand their initial Oracle SOA footprint to add more systems, attain further ROI and truly expand to a service oriented architecture framework for their enterprise.
From an Oracle SOA Suite middleware perspective, a detailed analysis of your current environment should be done. Ask yourself some of the following, when planning for Oracle SOA Suite scalability and expansion:
- How much additional traffic can my current Oracle SOA Suite instance handle?
- How easy is it to add more storage capacity?
- How many more transactions can be processed?
In this series of 3 blog posts, I will focus on a few different components from service design, infrastructure setup and management/governance, which can be used as reference when you are considering scaling out your Oracle SOA Suite environment.
When designing a service, think about decoupling first. The more decoupled the services are, the better scalable they are.
- Avoid dependencies between services: Services must be designed for appropriate granularities that offer greater flexibility to service requestors without impacting performance and security.
- Use Enterprise Bus: Use Enterprise Service Bus or a Mediator to achieve service virtualization rather than interacting with end services directly. An ESB acts as a message broker between consumers and services.
- Think of reusability: Reusability is also another aspect that should be considered when designing the granular services to implement generic and reusable logic.
- Asynchronous vs synchronous:
a) Services invocation must be independent of the state of other services and each service invocation has all the required information from one request to another. This is acceptable as long as it occurs in the background and the principle can still be upheld for the specified service and its contract. By reducing resource consumption, the service can handle more requests in a reliable and scalable manner.
b) Do not call an asynchronous service from a synchronous service which may cause timeouts, thread blocks, etc.
- Oracle event delivery network (EDN): Use EDN if possible which provides maximum decoupling between participants.
In the next post, I will cover another important aspect: Sensible Oracle SOA Suite Infrastructure Setup, which plays a key role when considering scalability and expansion of your Oracle SOA Suite environment.
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