Achieving effortless customizations in Oracle PLM Cloud

Jul 29, 2022
Oracle PLM Cloud | 4 min READ
With low and no-code services like Application Composer and Oracle Integration Cloud, PLM customizations enable business transformation
In an ideal world, the technology that enables businesses to excel in their operations would be ready to go out-of-the-box. Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, which drive the core of the business operations are frequently subjected to such dreams. While it is possible for small and medium-scale businesses with relatively simple processes to simply provision, configure, and deploy a PLM solution, it isn’t, and never will be for large scale organizations. Why? because large organizations across different industries bring their own unique process models and requirements, which are simply impossible to accommodate in a PLM system that is not customizable. Moreover, organizational practices are constantly evolving, which makes a rigid PLM system a nightmare for large organizations.
Venkata Kamma
Venkata Kamma

Sr. Solutions Architect

Oracle Agile PLM & Cloud PLM


Side effects of Oracle Agile PLM customizations
Customizations are simply an inevitable reality for large organizations, and may even help them retain their competitive advantage if they are built to accommodate processes that serve as a differentiator for the business. What also follows, however, are the side-effects of these customizations:
  • Customizations are expensive to build and maintain.
  • They can increase implementation times to months and even years.
  • Make the business dependent on large teams of developers.
  • They reduce upgradeability, and act as accrued technical debt.
Under the hood of PLM customizations
PLM customizations have led businesses to fall into 8-12 years upgrade cycles, thereby adding future digital security challenges to the list of IT concerns. Moreover, deploying and executing custom code to automate applications required extensive database, infrastructure, and programming skills in addition to dependency management. Developers depended on Java IDEs, legacy Application Programming Interface (APIs), and Software Development Kits (SDKs) to develop software code for Agile PLM customizations. This would be tested thoroughly in non-production instances and then deployed on the production server. While server-side script-based customization in legacy Oracle PLM eliminated the need for IDEs, it could only be used to build small and simple customizations, which nonetheless incurred significant costs and effort to maintain.

While customizability and extensibility determines the worthiness of a PLM solution for a large organization, it also detracts the underlying business from its ultimate objective.
Low and no-code redefine SaaS customizations
While cloud PLM solutions brought their fair share of promises to businesses in the form of lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), the ability to stay current, reduced IT burden, and greater agility and flexibility, they also brought new challenges to the deal. Integration was one of these major challenges, leading 1 in 2 businesses to abandon a cloud app in 3 years and causing 54% of missed project deadlines. This also hampered the ability to automate cross-platform workflows, leading businesses to resort to point-to-point integrations and weeks-long custom code development.

However, the advent of intelligent automation and low and no-code platforms have redefined the outlook on customizations in enterprise technology, whether on-premise, cloud-based, or hybrid. In the Oracle ecosystem two key services have led to this shift: Oracle Integration Cloud (OIC), and Application Composer.
Application Composer
In Oracle PLM Cloud – the back-bone module within the Oracle SCM cloud SaaS suite, application composer enables non-developers to make key changes such as data model modification, action buttons creation, and application display logic changes to the system.
Oracle Integration Cloud
Oracle Integration Cloud makes it possible to deploy custom code within minutes. An intuitive UI that enables non-developers to create reliable cross-platform connections and integrations in minutes, OIC lets users automate workflows involving non-Oracle and non-SaaS applications.
Achieving effortless customizations in Oracle PLM Cloud
Oracle Integration Cloud: a closer look
Consisting of an extensive library of pre-built connectors to integrate enterprise technology systems, OIC helps businesses accelerate automation and support unique workflows with easy-to-build customizations. It enables users to build integrations with a drag-and-drop interface, and provides inbuilt triggers to build exhaustive automation scenarios. OIC is leveraged by Oracle PLM Cloud to let users automate workflow processes, send custom email notifications, integrate 3rd party applications, and use existing data to update their PLM deployment based on business criteria.

OIC provides two types of triggers for building automation – Scheduled Orchestration, which triggers automation routines within specified intervals, and App-driven Orchestration, where an action outside of OIC triggers the automation. In addition to its process automation capabilities that let users automate workflows with a selection of connections from its catalogs, OIC also empowers development of high quality web applications with a Visual Builder. Lastly it closes the loop with in-built integration insights that are delivered through a dashboard, helping teams identify causes of failures in addition to key operational metrics.

So, how does OIC simplify customizations in Oracle PLM Cloud? Take a look at an actual scenario.
A real-world customization scenario with OIC
Consider that an organization wants to automate the addition of approvals in an engineering change workflow based on the change attributes and its type, that is not achievable via OOTB configuration due to the given business criteria.

Such functionality can be easily achieved by capturing the event from the SaaS application along with its information, and sending the event info to OIC for further processing. After this, the processed information can be routed back to the application. To build such a routine which entails event reception, processing, and output delivery to a SaaS application, one would leverage App-driven Orchestration in OIC.

Scheduled Orchestration can be useful in scenarios where one needs to transfer product-record information to other downstream systems at specific intervals. This eliminates the need for any manual intervention for inter-system data transfer.
What next?
Customizations are, and will remain the key to driving business value with PLM deployments. However, solutions like Oracle PLM Cloud retain the extensibility that is essential in a large-enterprise Oracle PLM arena and at the same time, also ease automation development via low- and no-code mechanisms. This enables teams to fit the platform to their business needs instead of depending on extensive developer teams to unleash innovative propositions at the core of business logic. Large scale enterprises that are stuck with legacy Agile PLM deployments and 12-year upgrade cycles should strongly consider running their business core in such an ecosystem to realize the complete potential of digital transformation.
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