Model-based design

Photo: Steve MirandaSteve Miranda of Oracle discusses how metadata is making a difference in managing human workflow processes.

Interview conducted by Vinod Baya and Bo Parker

Steve Miranda is senior vice president of Oracle Application development for Oracle. He is responsible for the development of all enterprise applications including financials, HR and payroll, procurement, corporate performance management (CPM), projects, customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM), and the functional architecture group.

Miranda has been with Oracle since 1992, holding a variety of leadership positions within the development organization. Prior to Oracle, Miranda worked at GE Aerospace. Miranda holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and computational sciences from Stanford University.

In this interview, Miranda shares how model-based design of applications will address the completeness of end-to-end processes and the need for a tight coupling between models and execution.

PwC: Enterprise applications have done a great deal to bring value to transactional processes. Where is the next big area of opportunity for applications?

SM: The area that we see beyond transaction processing is the blending of transactions and business information. We call it embedded business intelligence. Today, good ERP [enterprise resource planning] systems have automated a lot of the process and have moved us from clerks to knowledge workers and then to knowledge workers dealing with exceptions. When staff are dealing with exceptions, there’s a lot of data warehouse and business intelligence [BI] systems involvement to support exception resolution.

Going forward, we think you’ll see much more of a blend of transactional applications with exceptionbased navigation, role-based UIs [user interfaces], role-based navigations, and then business intelligence to tell you what you need to know and do.

PwC: If you look at another dimension, applications have provided a lot of support in the automation and improvement of transactional processes. What role do they have or how will they influence human-driven processes?

SM: Two classes of activities fall into that category. One is where you lack systems entirely to do the job or integrate a system, and you must capture it online. For example, in talent management you have a talent review process, which is exactly that kind of offline activity. It’s a management team room type of use case, at the end of which you capture some outcome and bring it back online to the system. So one class is the offline where there’s no application to serve the purpose.

The second class of offline processes is where the activity is closely associated with a traditional transactional system, meaning you communicate Model-based design 37 with people for simple approval workflow and whatever process you want, and you go offline to figure out whether you should approve that process. Today when you go offline, you’re calling, e-mailing, texting, or IMing somebody, and all of that has to happen outside the context of the transaction system. Going forward, we think we’ll each have a contextual action that is directly embedded in the transactional system. The system tells you not only what you need to know to help you make that decision, but also who you need to know—who are the right people that you need to be in touch with to do that. And we do that through our collaboration capabilities or through the openness of integration with others’ collaboration technology.

“Going forward, we think we’ll each have a contextual action that is directly embedded in the transactional system.”