What’s key with that integration stuff?!

After a week at the Oracle Partner Summer Camp with good talks, new contacts, deep insights and hands-on labs using the latest and greatest cloud services from Oracle, it’s time to recap and evaluate how the input can be used for the customers and the daily life. While talking about the simple term integration, you will soon realize that there is a huge variety in terms of integration types and complexity. So basically integration can be addressed on the service level, than we talk about the SOA Cloud Service, the Integration Cloud Service and the Process Cloud Service. And on the other side, there is data integration, that can be done through the Oracle Data Integrator, Golden Gate or even more database centric replication techniques. The complexity in each domain determines the choice of service. Fortunately now, since Oracle introduced the Universal Cloud Credits, it’s a matter of what should be achieved and thus which service is needed. So you buy some credits and than use WaaS – Whatever as a Service.

From Digitization to Automation

With that in mind, plus the big advantage Oracle has in comparison to others, which is the broad portfolio and the interoperability between the single service offerings, let’s see how this fits together under the quite abstract term “Digitization”. So first, there was a customer that wanted to digitize its HR processes in order to achieve cost savings. By using the Process Cloud Service the costs could be reduced by around 10%. The nice part about the Process Cloud Service is that the Web-Forms that are needed to process the human interaction can be easily embedded in other web-based applications. So the end-user can stay within his or her familiar environment rather than switching to another application.

The customer could have stopped right there, but they didn’t. So the next step was to reduce the human interaction by introducing Machine Learning in order to automatically approve similar standard requests and thus no longer require human approval for straight forward inquiries. The example shows nicely that the whole digitization and automation stuff can be done in an evolutionary way. No need for a big bang and still being extendible for further innovation and improvements.

Contract-First Approach with Integration Cloud Service

Last but not least I’d like to bring up another real life scenario where the customer is using a contract first approach, based on WSDLs and XSDs. The challenge is pretty common, i.e. external services should be offered (in this case a whole industry agreed to common external interfaces, so the communication among them is standardized) and mapped to internal services. By using the Integration Cloud Service, this is straight forward. First offering all external interfaces through the Integration Cloud Service by creating SOAP-Connections (Trigger) based on the industry-standardized WSDLs and Schemas. Than downloading and installing the so-called Connectivity Agent on the customer site. The Connectivity Agent is Oracle’s approach to deal with communication, security and message reliability, etc. – basically everything that comes to your mind when you start thinking about how to make the connection to the on-premise land. Because all communication is initiated from the agent to the cloud, no ports need to be opened, all communication is secured and the internals don’t get exposed. So finally the connections to the internal services can be created (using the Connectivity Agent) and the actual integration can be done by mapping the external to the internal world.