Oracle Fusion SaaS applications, such as HCM and ERP, provide the ability to approve certain transaction before they are committed. The rules behind these approvals are exposed to customers through Transaction Console or BPM worklist applications. If necessary, customers can modify conditions of approval rules or add new rules to the rulesets for a transaction. Customers can also configure various aspects of approvals, such as the approval groups, approval exceptions and notifications.
Approval capabilities in Oracle Cloud Applications, on purpose, do not include complex BPM capabilities. For example, approval rules can use data accessible within the SaaS application, but are not allowed to an external API to fetch data from another application. They also do not permit complex logic such as iteration. Also note that certain SaaS applications, for example, Oracle Sales Cloud, do permit more complex BPM processes through application composer. Refer to product-specific documentation for more information.
An example approval process in Oracle application cloud.
Occasionally, customers might need to externalize approval processes, either because of the complexity of the desired approval processes or because of other reasons such as dependency on external approvers who cannot be granted access to customers’ SaaS applications.
Oracle cloud Infrastructure (OCI) offers tools and platforms to easily extend the capabilities of Oracle SaaS applications. Oracle Integration Cloud on OCI provides business process management capabilities. It is also possible to deploy 3rd party BPM platforms such as Camunda BPM on OCI easily, either directly on OCI compute instances or on Oracle Kubernetes Engine (OKE).
This blog will explain a use case for extending SaaS approvals on a BPM platform and outline the steps to implement such an extension.
Given a valid business case to extend approvals, customers now grapple with multiple choices of platforms and tools for implementation. These options range from generic platforms such as WebLogic on OCI or Oracle Visual Builder, to full-featured BPM platforms.
It can be tempting to choose a tool and platform that customers’ developers are well-versed in, for quick initial results. However, it can cost a lot more in time and resources to even match the capabilities of the approvals provided by Oracle cloud applications, let alone to exceed them.
For example, these are approval capabilities of Oracle applications cloud that would be tedious to implement on a generic platform:
With the choice of a Business Process Management (BPM), all the above features above are available out-of-box, which frees the developers from having to develop these capabilities from scratch and, even harder, having to maintain them. In addition, here are some additional benefits that BPM platforms can provide:
It is common for enterprises to augment their workforce with specialized talent needed on a temporary basis. These workers are typically treated as Contingent Workers on Oracle HCM cloud. It is also common for such workers to be employed by other firms that provide staff-augmentation services.
Let’s consider a scenario in which a contingent worker submits timecards in Oracle HCM time and labor application. These timecards are approved by their supervisors within the enterprise.
Additionally, these employees might also need to record their time with their employers and obtain approvals from their direct managers at the staff-augmentation firm, before the work is billed back to the enterprise. This is typically done through manual and automated processes disconnected from approvals and payables within Oracle applications.
These disconnected processed can be connected together to provide a more seamless experience in processing timesheets and submitting invoices, by modifying approval rules and by implementing a simple approval process on OCI accessible to external approvers. Here is the high-level flow:
High-level view of extension to approvals
Here are the high-level steps on Oracle HCM Cloud Time and Labor and on OCI.
The BPMN process will perform these tasks.
BPMN extension process.
Refer to documentation for Oracle ERP or HCM cloud for more information about approval capabilities for each product. Depending on the BPM platform chosen, refer to relevant documentation. Oracle Integration Cloud Process provides stellar BPM capabilities. In another follow-up blog, I’ll delve into details of the implementation.