Oracle Policy Automation 10.4.x: One Year Review

Oracle Policy Automation (OPA) 10.4.3 was released in May 2013. This post reviews the changes introduced by Oracle since the initial 10.4.x release.

Possible Oracle Policy Automation architectures: on-premise and CloudContrary to common analyst creed that Oracle buy products and quickly stops innovation on them, Oracle have been pushing out new releases of its 10.4.x Oracle Policy Automation (OPA) offering. The 10.4.x line was initially released in June 2012 and its latest update is 10.4.3, dated May 2013.

These releases have not only added functionality, but also allowed Oracle to deliver a strong business rules management solution on-premise and on the Cloud (starting with the February 2013 availability of the Oracle Policy Automation Cloud Service).

The OPA 10.4.x on-premise product line added the following functionality (from the 10.4.3 release notes):

What-if Analysis in Excel

Policy modelling outcomes can now be analysed and compared directly inside Microsoft Excel.

Coverage Reporting

Policy models can be analysed to find gaps between test scripts and the rules that have been defined.

Modules

Policies may be modelled across multiple rulebase modules, easily sharing common polices across projects, divisions and systems.

Database Batch Processing

The Data Source Connector has been re-envisaged as the Oracle Policy Automation Batch Processor. Database integration has been added to supplement the existing CSV processing.

Bulk Test Case Generation

The Oracle Policy Automation Batch Processor can create test cases from the input data it processes.

Translated Help for Oracle Policy Modeling

This is available in French, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Simplified Chinese and Spanish.

Inferred Entity Instances

Use rules to dynamically create new instances (such as benefits plans, tax years, or opportunities) to provide more intelligence assessments.

Interview Portlet

Deploy interviews to any supported JSR 286-compliant portal server

Share and Hot-deploy Modules

At runtime, compatible modules can be hot-swapped without the need to recompile the parent rulebase, minimizing maintenance overheads for commonly used modules.

Rulebase Version & Timestamp

Users may choose to apply a label to the compiled rulebase that can be retrieved by the runtime components.

This builds on top of OPA’s already quite comprehensive list of features, from which we highlight:

  • Natural language rule modelling, especially well-suited for complex and frequently updated source material that includes legislation, regulations or policy;
  • Separation of rule modelling from rule execution, crucial in maintaining a clean enterprise architecture;
  • Use of Microsoft Office tools, familiar to policy modelers;
  • Ability to provide rules as web services or web questionnaires, which are particularly useful for providing online advice and guidance tools, much in demand in current Customer Experience trends;
  • Ability to explain to end users why a certain outcome was reached, with the aim of reducing unnecessary complaints and requests for explanations of complex rules;
  • Auditing of rules execution;
  • Ability to perform “temporal reasoning”, for when attributes or outcomes change over time;
  • Use of open standards (web services), but also providing connectors for Siebel and SAP implementations.

Sources:

Boxfusion Consulting has in-depth expertise in Oracle Policy Automation, having worked with it across a number of versions. If you are interested in understanding more about how Oracle Policy Automation could help you in your business, or require support with an implementation of OPA, we’d be happy to help – simply email us on [email protected] or call us on +44 203 283 4315.