We (Oracle) provide several tools within the business process design & development area. Also, with the acquisition of BEA we got even more tools to add to our product stack. At a first glance this might be a bit confusing and it also might appear as there are some overlaps between the different tools, however, if you look a little deeper you will find that there is a place for each of these tools within your arsenal for creating business processes.
Let's start by have a quick glance at the players, whom they are and what they are do before we do a more throughout comparison between them.
To start with, the players are: Oracle Business Process Analysis Suite, Oracle BPM Suite.
Oracle Business Process Analysis Suite
This is the architects' tool. It includes support for process modeling and simulation which makes this a key component of the business process lifecycle. It provides a graphical modeling environment for defining process maps and detailed process flows consisting of both human and automated steps. It also supports data modeling, organizational modeling, impact analysis and rich report generation. Through simulation, you can quickly determine the performance of the process under certain hypothetical conditions. The Business Process Architect Quick Start Guide is a good place to learn more about this tool.
Oracle BPM Suite
This is a software suite that integrates all phases of the BPM lifecycle (modeling, implementation, execution and monitoring). It will provide the user with an end-to-end tool for all aspects of the business process lifecycle. It is also very suitable to process development according to agile ideas.
Oracle BPEL Process Manager
The Oracle BPEL PM tool will enable to user to create processes that adhere to the BPEL standard. It consists of both a design time and a runtime environment. The design time environment is integrated into Oracle JDeveloper and the BPEL PM runtime is highly performing and can be installed on top the most common application servers.
So, after introducing the players, let's have a deeper look into when to use each of these tools by using some examples.
Acme Inc. is entering the world of SOA. They will replace or integrate all their current processes into a single SOA strategy. Ron is an architect that has been given the task to model this new SOA strategy. Which of the above tools would be most appropriate for Ron to use?
Karen is a department manger who also is quite technical. She work for a company that promotes empowerment quite heavily, and she has quite lot of flexibility of how she runs the day to day business of her department. Today she manually handles the holiday requests of her staff using mail and a spreadsheet; however, she would like to automate the process somehow. The company does not have a generic holiday approval process; it is up to each manager to handle, which is in line with their ideas on empowerment. Which of the above tools would be the best for Karen to use to automate this process?
John is a software engineer that has been given the task to implement an order entry process. The process has already been designed and he has been given the blueprint. The process is very crucial to the business of the company and needs to be available 24*7, thus it will be deployed in a HA environment. Which of the above tools would be the best for John to use?
Well, the answers might be obvious to the you, however, they should give you an idea on where each of the tools in the Oracle BPM stack can help you with various aspects of your process modeling & creation.
Oh, I almost forgot, the answers. In Example 1 the Oracle BPA Suite is the obvious choice. In Example 2, most people would go for Oracle BPM Suite as this will help with all phases of the BPM lifecycle. Example 3 would be an example on where to use Oracle BPEL Process Manager as you have High Availability requirements.