Oracle Policy Automation
|Stable release||10.4.5 / April, 2014|
|Written in||Java & .NET|
|Website||Oracle Policy Automation|
In computing, Oracle Policy Automation (abbreviated OPA) is a suite of software products for modeling and deploying business rules within enterprise applications. Oracle Corporation acquired OPA in December 2008 when it purchased Australian software company RuleBurst Holdings, then trading as Haley. Oracle Policy Automation was designed by RuleBurst to transform legislation and policy documents into executable business rules, particularly for the calculation of benefit entitlements and payment amounts. Although OPA was originally developed for and sold to the public sector, it can be used in other industries.
Oracle Policy Automation continues to be available as a standalone offering and an integrated rules solution for SAP and Siebel.
Features and Components
Oracle Policy Modeling is a Windows desktop application for transforming legislation and policy documents into executable business rules. Rules are written in Microsoft Word and Excel documents using phrases in languages such as English, Chinese and French. These rule documents can be shared amongst business and information technology stakeholders, and commentary can be added into the documents without affecting the structure of the rules themselves. Other features of Oracle Policy Modeling include integrated test case execution and debugging capabilities, and the definition of interviews for interactive rule-based assessments. Interview screen order and branching logic can be defined using visual flow diagrams.
The Oracle Policy Automation runtime comprises three technologies:
- Oracle Web Determinations: An interview application that uses screens, rules and flows defined in Oracle Policy Modeling to deliver Internet- and intranet-based interactive assessments. Data entered is used in combination with backward chaining to determine which screens need to be shown to the user in order to reach a decision.
- Oracle Determinations Server: A WS-I Basic Profile compliant SOAP-based web service that exposes decision-making endpoints for deployed policy models. By passing data to Oracle Determinations Server, and receiving responses in return, enterprises can integrate rule-based decision-making with other applications and BPM solutions. Examples include Oracle's Siebel, or BPEL-orchestrated business processes. If insufficient data is provided to reach a decision, Oracle Determinations Server is able to explain what additional data may be required.
- Oracle Determinations Engine: The engine used by both Oracle Web Determinations and Oracle Determinations Server, it is also available as a native Java and .NET API. Oracle Determinations Engine provides both full forward chaining and backward chaining capabilities, as well as low-level access to the interview engine.
Both Oracle Web Determinations and Oracle Determinations Server are supported on a wide variety of application servers, including Oracle WebLogic Server, Microsoft IIS, IBM WebSphere AS and Apache Tomcat.
Connectors for enterprise applications such as Oracle's Siebel and SAP are also available.
The product now known as Oracle Policy Automation has been sold under several different names, including Haley Office Rules and RuleBurst.
RuleBurst 7.0 was the successor to STATUTE Expert. Although customers of STATUTE Expert were able to upgrade to the later versions, RuleBurst 7.0 was the first version of the product that has become known as Oracle Policy Automation today.
Oracle has released several versions of Oracle Policy Automation (OPA) since it was acquired:
|10.0||A major release with significant enhancements for both policy modeling and deployment.|
|10.1||Update release with several minor enhancements, including ability to build and continue in the rule debugger while retaining session data.|
|10.2||Major release. New features included translation support for interview content, and ribbons for Word 2007 and Excel 2007 for marking up rule documents.|
|10.3||Incremental release. Added ability to use Oracle BI Publisher to define documents to generate during an interview. New syntactic language parsers were also added for Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Russian.|
|10.4||Major release. New features included what-if analysis, a new batch processor and modules.|
Applications and Academic Interest
The Oracle Policy Automation software has been publicly deployed within several government web-sites. Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship uses it for visitors to check their eligibility for visas. The UK Revenue and Customs agency uses it for their Employment Status Indicator assessment tool; the UK government's old online portal for businesses also used OPA for over 60 interactive tools, while the United States IRS uses the software for guidance on tax law.
Oracle Policy Modeling's controlled natural language approach to rule authoring has been the subject of some research. [clarification needed] The product was also used to help establish the viability of the Legal Knowledge Interchange Format standard developed by the Estrella Project
Acquisition and Product Confusion
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2010)|
RuleBurst acquired the assets of Haley Systems in November 2007. At the time, RuleBurst and Haley were both marketing "natural language business rules" software and were considered competitors. Prior to being acquired, Haley Systems had licensed its HaleyAuthority rules product to Siebel Systems. HaleyAuthority was made available in Siebel 8.0 under the name Siebel Business Rules. When RuleBurst acquired Haley, it adopted the better-known Haley name for both its company and product branding. HaleyAuthority then became known as Haley Expert Rules and the RuleBurst product became known as Haley Office Rules. When Oracle acquired RuleBurst, Oracle also began jointly marketing OPA with the Siebel CRM solution. The plurality of names has led some commentators[who?] to incorrectly refer to Oracle Policy Automation and Haley products interchangeably as Haley or Haley Rules. However, the two products are separate and distinct offerings.
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