BPEL for Oracle E-Business Automation?
Working with many Oracle E-Business Suite customers, I often get asked why UC4 is a better solution than BPEL for automation. This is a common question because Oracle often times recommends BPEL as the solution for automating processing and integrating across applications. But is BPEL the right tool for automation? Let’s look at some of the challenges that come with BPEL implementation.
Designed For Transaction-Based Processing
BPEL is great for real-time, transaction-based processing, which is what it was designed to handle. When a transaction takes place, BPEL is able to perform real-time updates on all systems that store data related to that transaction. For instance, as customer information in your CRM system is updated, BPEL pushes the data in real time to customer information in your accounts receivable system. However, BPEL doesn’t handle batch processing effectively—and batch processing is a far more efficient approach for many types of processes.
Expensive to Implement
Using BPEL is expensive, for several reasons: the cost of the product itself, the high-level skill set required to manage it, and the demands it makes on computing resources. For processes that don’t need real-time processing, batch processing is a much better choice. It not only requires a lower skill set to implement, but it also reduces infrastructure capacity requirements, as it can be performed when resources become available. And pure batch processing can be accomplished at a relatively low cost, provided that you’ve implemented a highly integrated batch solution across the enterprise.
No Scheduling Capabilities
BPEL has no scheduling capabilities, so it can’t initiate processes based on factors such as date, time, or calendars. With BPEL, you either have to manually initiate processes or else write wrapper code (plus code to provide notifications of failures) and then use CRON or another scheduler to initiate the processes. Aside from the time required to write the code, this approach generates islands of automation, with no ability to create dependencies between processes on an enterprise-wide basis and no visibility of processes across the enterprise. True workload automation solutions, in contrast, offer all the necessary functionality—and have done so for more than 25 years.
No Native Event Initiation
As processing becomes more on demand and less planned, event initiation is becoming the required initiation method for more and more processes. BPEL doesn’t support native event initiation, so you have to initiate processing manually when the event occurs. In fact, as we’ve learned through years of IT processing, any IT activities that require manual intervention are inefficient, resulting in errors and causing highly skilled staff to spend time on low-value tasks. A key value of automation is that it eliminates the need for manual intervention.
Requires Custom Development
BPEL is a solution you have to build yourself: it doesn’t come with a complete set of integrations to applications and tools. Rather, it’s designed to run against Web services to which you need to code integrations. This means that automating tasks requires custom development. In contrast, if you buy a solution that comes with templates for common business processes, you’ll significantly reduce both implementation time and time to value—even if you have to customize those templates to meet your specific business needs.
UC4 is the right tool for Automation.
UC4 and BPEL are complementary tools that can work in conjunction with each other to provide your enterprise with tightly integrated data exchange solutions. The key is to choose the right tool for each step in the business process. For data integration that must be performed in real time, BPEL is the tool of choice. For processes that can be delayed slightly, UC4 can automate your processes at a lower cost with proven technology.