Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fusion Applications - What You Need To Know: Business Architecture

The first of what I intend to be a short series on the basics of Fusion Applications…

An Incremental Release - Look What We Learned!

If nothing else, Fusion Applications version 1.0 represents an incremental release of a massive learning effort by the Oracle Fusion Applications Development teams. That learning consisted of:

1. Reviewing the best stuff from all of Oracle's extensive catalog of existing applications-related products (Applications Unlimited, Fusion Middleware, etc.)

2. Extensive requirements gathering, but not in the classical sense. This was more about finding out about the processes and steps people used to do their work (my friends on the Oracle User Experience team played a huge role in this effort).

3. A significant design effort focused on simplicity and flexibility, with an intent on supporting the best of the work processes explored in Step 2.

It's All About The Business Process

As part of the design effort for Fusion Apps, Oracle utilized the best business processes they observed in the learning stage to build a set of best practices known as The Business Process Model ("The BPM" - not to be confused with the Business Process Management Suite, known as "BPM".)

Fusion Applications uses The BPM as the model for tying code components to functional activities (logical business objects - see Note 1 below) and organizing the user interface flow (taskflows and activities).

The BPM structure is organized according to levels, ranging from Level 0 to Level 4:

0 - Industry
1 - Business Area
2 - Business Process
3 - Activity
4 - Task

Levels 0 through 3 are software agnostic - they're really Business Process Engineering designs. Level 4 provides detail specific to Fusion Apps. An example:

0 - Construction
1 - Project Portfolio Management
2 - Initiate Project
3 - Define Project
4 - Define Project from Template

This is the business process framework followed for all the functions of all Fusion Applications…over 12,000 tasks (I think). It's important to note that, despite my example content, Fusion Apps V 1.0 has only a generic "industry" Level 0. More are forthcoming as incremental versions are released.Now for the fun part: remember how I differentiated earlier between "The BPM" and "BPM"? Well, as is true with many of the Fusion Middleware components, you can use BPM to extend The BPM for your own needs.

Up next…Product Families in Version 1.

Note 1: A logical business object encapsulates data, business operations and rules governing adding, changing, or removing its data. A logical business object presents information and business operations from the business user's perspective. Logical business objects do not directly access the underlying database. Instead, they use services provided by the physical business object to read, update, and delete business data.

Note 2: The XML And More blog I referenced in the task flows link above has some outstanding stuff. Stanley Guan is writing some great posts - technical, yet understandable. Definitely worth a read.

Note 3: I have a new tool in my Fusion Applications kit. The book Managing Oracle Fusion Applications - Best Practices for a High-Performance Enterprise Application Management Strategy is turning out to be a great reference as I work with Fusion Apps. Helpful with my blogging as well...I've borrowed liberally from the book lately. Kudos to author Richard Bingham (Richard, I owe you a burger). I'm hoping this will come out on Kindle soon, so I can carry it with me to client sites.

Note 4: If you want the real skinny on the latest developments with Fusion Apps, check the updates from the skinny Debra Lilley here. Debra, while generally an Oracle advocate, has no problem with calling 'em as she sees 'em.


Dreamer said...

Wow. Thanks for the load of information. I have been excited for Fusion. Hoping its going to be a hit.

Gaby said...


We have developed some apps leveraging fusion technology and scalability has been shaky for us.

It will be interesting to see how fusion handles loads of data... Any word from Oracle on stress tests they have done with fusion?

fteter said...

@Gaby: Sorry to hear that you're having scaling issues. Are you getting help from Oracle on the issues?

I've not heard anything on stress tests, but I'll be asking. Thanks for the suggestion!

@Dreamer: Glad you liked the info...more coming.