Certus Solutions. Our Journey Using PaaS to Extend Oracle Cloud Applications

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1 Certus Solutions Our Journey Using PaaS to Extend Oracle Cloud Applications Debra Lilley, ACE Director UKOUG, Certus Solutions Certus Solutions are committed to Oracle Cloud Applications (Fusion), but through our growing customer base have identified gaps or organisation specific functionality, which needs to be addressed. We believe what makes Oracle different is the User Experience of Fusion and thus we announced plans to extend using PaaS. this is the story of our journey to date, what that means, how to extend, how we approached it and how Oracle helped. Not just a simple project but how we became a customer of Oracle PaaS and entered the brave new world of Fusion Ready Apps. Debra Lilley: I have been an Oracle User, Practitioner and Partner for almost 20 years, a passionate Usergroup advocate for 15 and Oracle ACE Director for 8 years. I won the Oracle Magazine Usergroup Advocate of the year in 2008 and SOA Community Award in Introduction Oracle announced PaaS at Oracle Open World 2014; my organisation saw this as the way to extend our footprint with the SaaS or Fusion Applications. This paper is how I approached my understanding and then my validation of PaaS in the way we at Certus want to use it. Five benefits of PaaS: 1. Like in SaaS you have no hardware or datacentre to worry about you just get on with using PaaS. 2. This also means 'faster time to value 3. Most PaaS is on a consumption model, like buying gas, you fill up and when you have used it, you top it up. You only pay for what you use. 4. PaaS is exciting a lot of customers, not just those who want to switch what they do today to cloud, but also those who see this as a way to adopt technology for the first time, I am particularly seeing a lot of interest from people who want to introduce Business Analytics to their organisations. 5. Continuous innovation, not just from the vendor in regular automatic upgrades, but that also leads to you being able to continuously innovate yourself. Best Practice in PaaS 1. Extend, not only SaaS but your on premise solutions, build outside in PaaS and integrate, no customization of delivered product 2. Great place to start for small or bespoke solutions, is in my opinion one of Oracles undiscovered jewels, APEX, this no cost addition to the database (read FREE) is very under- appreciated, and I have seen some very large amazing solutions written in APEX. 3. Utilize native Java, especially in mobile applications, from the Java Cloud PaaS offering or use the frameworks such as ADF. Copyright by Certus Solutions. All rights reserved. Page 1 of 5

2 4. Oracle PaaS is allowing people to build their own applications in the Cloud, and then if they want they can sell or rather license for use, to their own customers, the final product as a SaaS solution through Oracle s own Marketplace. 5. If like me you are extending SaaS and you want the extensions to be seamless you need the same design and development principles as Oracle used. SaaS4PaaS I work for Certus-Solutions, who lead in Oracle Cloud implementations in EMEA, and we concentrate on ERP and HCM Oracle Cloud Applications, SaaS. This means we are interested in PaaS4SaaS, the ability to extend the Oracle delivered cloud applications, with our own mini applications and have them seamlessly operate, or co-exist together. SaaS cannot be customized. Now I need to be very clear here, that doesn t mean they cannot be extended, there are lots of things you can do and clever use of configuration and tailoring means they are still quite flexible, but you cannot amend the code delivered. Is this a bad thing? I don t think so, we traditionally heavily customized our on-premise applications and have had to live with the difficulty of maintaining and upgrading these applications ever since. Solutions evolved that meant we could keep our extensions separate from the standard applications, and the introduction of technologies such as Service Orientated Architecture, SOA meant that you could build your own apps to supplement what you are doing in the commercial solution and orchestrate them to work together. The discipline enforced in the Cloud is actually good practice for all our applications. Fusion User Experience UX I was very privileged to lead a team from the International Oracle User group Community, IOUC, representing all user globally, working with Oracle Development throughout the full development cycle of Fusion Applications, now Cloud Applications, and from very early on it was clear that what makes the applications so attractive was not just the functionality but also the user experience, UX. The UX is continuously being improved and includes the introduction of the Simplified User Interface. When Certus delivers PaaS to our customers it will have the same experience. An extension is just that, the ability to move from the delivered SaaS to a specific extension with the same experience. Oracle launched PaaS prior to Oracle Open World 2014 and I liked what I saw. The examples shown were not extensive but showed promise. Simply based on what was demonstrated and the roadmap they talked about I would have scored PaaS 10/10 as a potential solution. I then went back home from OOW to peel back the onion. I have worked with Oracle applications for almost 19 years and within the IT industry for a lot longer and understand that if we take a product early there will be a journey but that is what is so exciting. I needed to learn how we can use the innovation, not just learn the technology; we had to understand the limitations today. Copyright by Certus Solutions. All rights reserved. Page 2 of 5

3 When I looked at the constraints, the elements not available and the examples shown which were mainly for the Customer Experience Cloud, which has a different set of rules around what can be done to the Human Capital Management and Enterprise Resource Planning applications that we are interested in, I would have remarked PaaS4SaaS as a 6/10. Oracle Development also launched their Simplified UI Rapid Development Toolkit, for use with ADF. This gives ADF developers, artifacts for Simplified UI patterns that they use in their applications. These are available for everyone to use, and can be downloaded from their web pages, simply search for useable apps. UX Development Partner Workshop One of the reasons the UX team are so successful is because they the constantly watch people working, design solutions and seek feedback. I am also an advocate the UX team, sharing their work with user groups worldwide, so when they heard Certus wanted to adopt PaaS they invited us to a three-day workshop to assess the offerings. Certus are not a development house and we looked for a partner who shared the same commitment to UX as we do, and in turn we invited them, eproseed to join in the workshop. The workshop was held in London at the end of January 4 people from each of Oracle Development, Certus and eproseed, a major investment from each organisation. We took a Certus use case that currently exists in another technology. It provides governance over an HR policy, in a very controlled and secure stand-alone application. We worked through the standard UX methodology. Everyone observed what happens today, Analyzed what was wanted, a wireframe was created to show how it could be done, and a prototype was developed in ADF using the Rapid Implementation Toolkit. We are now working within our organisations to finalize the build. The PaaS Java Cloud gives us what we need to develop good applications, however we would need the Process Cloud to allow complex processing or process integration with SaaS. Copyright by Certus Solutions. All rights reserved. Page 3 of 5

4 We were able to extract basic person data from HCM Cloud, and call the PaaS application from within the SaaS welcome page, all using standard SaaS functionality. Within PaaS we started the process, populated our small database with the seed data, entered and maintained additional data and finally prepared the extract data to go back into SaaS. Returning data from PaaS is not quite as simple but achievable, although the integration Cloud will make this easier. 5 Strategies we will adopt for PaaS 1. Use the UX philosophy on how to build application extension 2. Use the UX provided rapid development tool kit 3. Get ready for even more PaaS, integration, process etc 4. Keep up to date via announcements, blogs, your usergroup, and cloud days 5. Share our experience, and help build a new community. I will be sharing our experience at Collaborate in April, Kscope in June and many other conferences this year. Workshop Conclusion Jan 2015: This Workshop validated our understandings and determined what we really can do today. The roadmap will give us continuous improvement but we are confident that we can deliver today value to our customers. So having worked through the build of our actual use case, I would now give Oracle 8/10. There s always room for improvement, but definitely useable and worth a look. Follow-up: Oracle Fusion Middleware Partner Symposium Budapest 3-6 March 2015 In depth classes and access to Product Managers re Integration Cloud Process, clarifying some constraints: We are looking at ERP & HCM. CX has an Apps Composer and can do so much more. 1. PaaS4SaaS allows us to punch out, run a standalone extension but not true orchestration across, to and from SaaS. 2. Process Cloud Services does NOT allow us access to amend the processes embedded within SaaS 3. Each process is a series of services orchestrated by BPM/SOA When using Fusion Apps on Premise, you could amend the process, i.e. remove or add new services (provided they were in the service catalogue), using the Process Composer. In SaaS there is no access to the Process Composer, you CANNOT use it, with one exception, we can access the Approvals Process via AMX (Applications Management Extension), but what we do is limited to variables, i.e. how many levels, what hierarchy etc. Copyright by Certus Solutions. All rights reserved. Page 4 of 5

5 A&C Award I awarded my first SOA Community Outstanding Contribution for Cloud to Debra Lilley of Certus Solutions and Lonneke Dikmanns of eproseed because they not only took on board the messaging of PaaS 4 SaaS from the last Oracle Open World, but also their collaboration between an Applications partner and a Middleware partner, sought out answers and training and with Oracle Development giving feedback and validating their approach in this area. All good things but bringing that back to the community and sharing is the outstanding contribution. Jürgen Kress, Oracle EMEA Fusion Middleware Partner Adoption Conclusions as at March 2015: 1. Get Data out of SaaS The BI Publisher Service is a back door, it allows us to extract any data from SaaS 2. Call PaaS We cannot call PaaS as part of a SaaS process, BUT using Page Composer we can add a link to PaaS, and call it using manual navigation 3. Sign into PaaS Currently we need to do so once per session, as we do for OIM & AMX however single sign on is coming, there is a work around using a token 4. Work in PaaS Either using navigation or a process (depending on what PaaS components are used. 5. Return Data to SaaS Only possible if a relevant API exists, and this will be much easier with ICS (integration Cloud Service) but possible now lack of APIs is biggest constraint in HCM & ERP 6. Next Step in SaaS Unless the API updates a field that triggers next step in an existing SaaS process, you have to manually navigate to next service. End of Contact Details: Copyright by Certus Solutions. All rights reserved. Page 5 of 5

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