Book Review: Operational Decision Management for Dummies

ODM for Dummies BookBusiness rules and validations related to an automated Business Process are generally hidden deep within the application source code and configuration settings. They are not openly accessible, easily to change or review. They might be duplicated several times across the source code.

Operational Decision Management (ODM) systems try to remedy this situation by providing a central repository for business rules. This repository acts as a single source of truth for users as well as systems. Rules are generally specified in the form of Decision Tables or Trees.

ODM complements BPM (Business Process Management) systems well, as BPM is also metadata driven with a focus on business process workflows and SOA (Serice Oriented Architecture) for integration.

Operational Decision Management for Dummies is a free booklet sponsored by IBM which provides a nice and quick definition of ODM systems. It is recommended for anyone interested in understanding what ODM is, what are its use cases and potential pay offs.

You can also check out this article for some concrete examples on how operational decisions (business rules) are automated by any ODM system.

A survey of BPM Suites

Following is a brief survey of some of the popular Business Process Management Suites available in the market.

BPM Suite Platform Open Source / Free trial Cloud / On Premises Recognition
PegaSystems No – Tops the chart in Forrester in BPM Suites 2013 Q1 publication
– Tops the chart in
Gartner 2010 BPM publication
IBM No Both – Tops the chart in Forrester in BPM Suites 2013 Q1 publication
– Tops the chart in
Gartner 2010 BPM publication (just behind Pega)
Appian No Both – Positioned as Leader in Forrester in BPM Suites 2013 Q1 publication
-Recognized as Leader in Gartner Intelligent BPM 2012 Magic Quadrant
– Positioned in Leaders quadrant in Gartner 2010 BPM publication
Software AG No (Freeware Process Modeling tool) Both – Positioned as String Performer in Forrester in BPM Suites 2013 Q1 publication
– Positioned in Leaders quadrant in Gartner 2010 BPM publication
Cordys No (Free trail of cloud based ‘Process Factory’, a separate offering from BPMS) Both – Positioned as Strong Performer in Forrester in BPM Suites 2013 Q1 publication
– Positioned in Visionaries quadrant in Gartner 2010 BPM publication
Oracle BPM Suite Java Pre-built VM is available for download for non production use On Premises – Positioned as strong performer by Forrester in BPM Suites 2013 Q1 publication
– Positioned in Leaders quadrant in Gartner 2010 BPM publication
bizagi Available on both .Net & Java -Process Modeler is freeware
– BPM Suite is available for download for evaluation
On Premises – Positioned as strong performer by Forrester in BPM Suites 2013 Q1 publication
– Positioned in Visionaries quadrant in Gartner 2010 BPM publication
– Acknowledged as Cool Vendor by Gartner in 2010
– Evaluated by Forrester in BPM Suites 2010 Q3 publication
Tibco No (Free trail for cloud based ‘formvine’, a basic tool for creating simple forms) Both – Positioned as Strong Performer in Forrester in BPM Suites 2013 Q1 publication
– Positioned in Visionaries quadrant in Gartner 2010 BPM publication
AgilePoint .Net Free version called AgilePoint Genesis available for limited users – Positioned in Visionaries quadrant in Gartner 2010 BPM publication
– Evaluated by Forrester in BPM Suites 2010 Q3 publication
K2 .Net Online trial version available – Positioned in Visionaries quadrant in Gartner 2010 BPM publication
– Evaluated by Forrester in BPM Suites 2010 Q3 publication
intalio Java Open Source (Enterprise also available) – Evaluated by Forrester in BPM Suites 2010 Q3 publication
– Positioned in Visionaries quadrant in Gartner 2010 BPM publication
ProcessMaker Curl, Javascript, PHP Open Source(Community and Enterprise editions are available) Both (Cloud version available on 30-day trial) 15,035 downloads in May-13 on sourceforge
BizFlow Java No Both – Positioned as strong performer by Forrester in BPM Suites 2013 Q1 publication but below rest of the vendors
– Gartner evaluated BizFlow in Nov-2012 in ‘BPM Vendor Insights: HandySoft BizFlow’ publication
– Positioned in Niche Players quadrant in Gartner 2010 BPM publication
Bonitasoft Groovy, Java, Javascript Open Source(Community and Enterprise editions are available) – 1,384 downloads in May-13 on sourceforge
– Evaluated by Forrester in BPM Suites 2010 Q3 publication
– Acknowledged as Cool Vendor by Gartner in 2011
joget Java, MySQL, Apache Tomcat, GlassFish, Spring Framework, Hibernate, Apache Felix, Enhydra Shark, JPEd, JQuery Open Source
(Community Edition is open source. Enterprise edition is also available for download).
Both
(Cloud version available on 30-day trial)
4,671 downloads in May-13 on sourceforge
Activiti Java Open Source (Enterprise support also available)
uEngine BPM Java Open Source -896 downloads in May-13 on sourceforge

 

Links:

RepMonitor: Oracle Replication Error Monitoring Tool

I had an assignment to rectify the Oracle data replication implementation between multiple Oracle databases connected over a wide area network. The replication was throwing a large number of errors and I needed an efficient tool to monitor the replication process. The standard tool provided by Oracle had certain limitations so I decided to quickly write something which could fill in the gaps. That’s how I got into writing RepMonitor which I am sharing here.

RepMonitor is capable of doing the following:
1- list replication errors
2- analyze them by comparing original and current data values at different sites
3- Re-execute replication transaction
4- Remove replication transaction from pipeline
5- Generate reports and serialize replication transaction data

Following are the tasks which can be done more efficiently in RepMonitor than Replication Management Tool that comes with Oracle Enterprise Manager:
1- Search and filter transaction errors by date and other criterias.
2- Load data on-demand only to provide better performance.
2- Generate transaction error reports.
3- Save/Serialize selected transactions and all related info in xml format.

Just to briefly elaborate on point # 2 i.e. loading data on-demand. Oracle Enterprise Manager loads all the transaction error data at start up so if you have a large number of errors, it would take ages to load. Similarly any refresh reloads everything. RepMonitor overcomes these problems by loading data on-demand.

If you want to know more about Oracle Advanced Replication, go to Oracle.com. Here is an introductory whitepaper from Oracle.

RepMonitor is developed using Visual Studio 2005 and programming language is C#.Net. The source code can be downloaded from here.