Business process as a service lets Oracle partners and customers focus on what they do best.
by Aaron Lazenby, August 2013
The Oracle Business Process Services (Oracle BPS) Program enables trusted program partners to provide process services to customers with terms that closely match the way they charge for their services.
“The kind of processes customers contract for are most commonly not their core competence and competitive differentiator. They contract for things they have to do, like accounts receivable, transportation logistics, and payroll processing,” explains Mike Schnoll, senior director in the Oracle BPS Program office. “By using a partner, customers can reverse that age-old 80/20 rule, where 20 percent of resources goes to innovation and 80 percent goes to keeping the lights on.”
Here, Schnoll explains how the expanding Oracle BPS Program works and how its unique model benefits both partners and customers.
Profit: Why do customers want business process services?
Schnoll: With the rise of software as a service [SaaS] and cloud, customers can decide not to own a business process license—and avoid setting up a data center for themselves. We believe the next step is to contract the entire service from a specialist, an expert with the best available tools and technology to get that job done. These services can also connect to a hybrid environment—where some of the IT is still in-house, tightly integrated with externally delivered services that a provider may host or that are hosted on Oracle Cloud.
Most SaaS vendors create a siloed IT environment, with hooks that you can theoretically access—but they don’t have the full-service approach. For example, when the environment changes, staff must test all integration points. Since many SaaS vendors push new releases to all their customers every three to four months, this creates a big problem. Who is testing those integrations every three months? If multiple SaaS partners are each delivering changes on a different schedule, you may be in a continuous battle to keep your systems tested, integrated, and updated.
On the other hand, with Oracle’s business process service partners, you get a professional, responsible party who includes this maintenance as part of the service.
Profit: What other advantages do program partners bring to customers?
Schnoll: In many cases, our partners have a prebuilt integration stack, so they don’t have to create a new integration environment for each customer. They have invested in that infrastructure already, so customers get accelerated time to benefit and have staff to create additional integrations as needed.
If multiple SaaS partners are each delivering changes on a different schedule, you may be in a continuous battle to keep your systems tested, integrated, and updated.
Take, for example, a customer who is looking for a sophisticated, global learning management environment: our business process partners use Oracle iLearning as the core product for employee training, adding prebuilt enhancements and extensions. The partner will have a prebuilt integration allowing the learning management system to communicate back and forth with the core human capital management [HCM] system. Partners also have a prebuilt integration with an analytics environment, so the customer will get very sophisticated reporting capabilities.
Profit: What benefits do customers get once the services are up and running?
Schnoll: When you think about the challenges of a hybrid environment, you think about having a common security framework across all the different instances. Our partners understand those challenges and provide secure, scalable data environments addressing all of the regulatory compliance requirements such as patient data privacy, HIPAA, and the financial services industry’s data security mandates.
They will also take responsibility for handling other challenges, such as making sure the user interface is consistent; providing user support; and creating a consistent analytical environment, so you get good business intelligence as you view data across multiple platforms.
Profit: What role does Oracle play in all this?
Schnoll: We provide a link between our process expert partners and Oracle product development, so partners can provide input about what features would be useful in the next release of the product.
Additionally, we’ve made Oracle products available to partners on a subscription basis that mirrors the way their cash flow comes in from customers. This reduces their risk and makes Oracle more attractive. Our revenue comes in as our customers’ revenue comes in. And it scales as theirs scales.
Profit: How is the Oracle BPS Program evolving?
Schnoll: The breadth of what we’re tackling in BPS has accelerated. Six years ago, the core processes were in HCM and finance and accounting. Now, in the Oracle BPS partner community, we have 80 companies delivering a whole variety of process services, including knowledge processes such as analytics and clinical trials data management, supply chain, data cleansing and mastering, order processing and fulfillment, customer experience, and more. We are seeing action in every area of applications technology that Oracle delivers. Our goal is to make sure customers looking for a business process service provider anywhere in the world for any business process have an Oracle option.
Aaron Lazenby is editor in chief of Profit.