3 Oracle Imaging and Process Management

Oracle Imaging and Process Management (Oracle I/PM) provides organizations with a scalable solution upon which to develop process-oriented imaging applications and image-enablement solutions.

This chapter covers the following topics:

Oracle I/PM is documented in the following manuals:

Also see the Oracle Fusion Middleware Installation Guide for Oracle Enterprise Content Management Suite and the Oracle Fusion Middleware Enterprise Deployment Guide for Oracle Enterprise Content Management Suite for additional information.

3.1 Oracle I/PM Overview

Oracle I/PM combines multiple Oracle technologies, providing a streamlined document imaging platform on which numerous business solutions can be built by leveraging image enablement, application extension, and long term archiving. Oracle I/PM adds a metadata-focused document management model, a powerful viewer tool, image annotation capabilities, high volume ingestion and storage of data, and advanced searching tools to these solutions.

Oracle Document Capture (ODC) and Oracle Distributed Document Capture (ODDC) can be added to automate image collection and categorization. Oracle I/PM leverages the Content Server as the document repository which allows the use of Oracle Universal Records Management to manage the life cycles and dispositions of Oracle I/PM content.

An easily configured integration with Oracle BPEL services injects Oracle I/PM document content directly into automated core business processes to reduce manual steps and increase efficiency. Organizations can quickly extend these solutions by integrating with Oracle enterprise applications such as Oracle E-Business Suite and PeopleSoft Enterprise. Customers thus benefit by having a single source for all transaction-based content.

Oracle I/PM manages documents through the entire document life cycle, from image capture to archiving. A document is uploaded into Oracle I/PM either singly by individual users or in bulk via a background agent. After uploading, a document becomes part of an application, which is a type of container for documents that defines metadata, storage information, and BPEL process configuration for all documents within it.

Applications are defined by the system administrator based on a specific business need. For example, an Invoicing application may track invoice number, date sent, date due, status, and any other metadata required by an accounting department.

Depending on how your repository is configured, uploaded documents can be stored within an Oracle database, on a file system, or in storage-specific hardware for retrieval. Security is applied to an Oracle I/PM document based on its application, ensuring access only by authorized users. In addition, Oracle I/PM can be configured to initiate a business process instance within Oracle's BPEL server.

Predefined searches are created to find documents based on document metadata and full-text indexes. With the proper permissions, users can:

  • View documents in a standard web-browser

  • Print, download, or e-mail the document to others

  • Annotate documents

  • Upload documents and initiate a BPEL process if one is defined in the application

  • Delete, copy, or move documents

The following graphic shows the general workflow of an Oracle I/PM process.

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3.2 Oracle I/PM and Content Server

Oracle I/PM resides within WebLogic Server, connected to a database. Oracle I/PM events are routed through WebLogic Server using Java Messaging Service (JMS) to communicate with its background agents.

Custom applications can interact with Oracle I/PM through its set of application programming interfaces (APIs). Custom applications wishing to integrate with an Oracle I/PM system can communicate with Oracle I/PM through the Oracle I/PM public API. The API is available in two forms:

  • through standard web services generated with the Java API for XML Web Services (JAX-WS)

  • through Oracle I/PM Java APIs, a set of portable Java class files

Oracle I/PM provides architectural features designed to help business managers simplify the process of building imaging solutions. Features such as applications, searches, and inputs provide convenient constructs that can be used to organize data, apply security to user groups, and facilitate the movement of those constructs between systems such as a development and production instance.

Oracle I/PM agents operate in the background to perform tasks not associated with immediate requests from users. The Input Agent facilitates high volume ingestion of document content and the Workflow Agent handles any interaction with the BPEL server as required by document activity.”

Standard Java Management J2EE Beans (or MBeans) are used to configure the operation of Oracle I/PM's business logic as well as its agents. The values of these MBean configuration objects can be manipulated through Oracle Enterprise Manager and WebLogic Scripting Tool, allowing you to choose the best system management tool for your needs.

3.3 Oracle I/PM Integration with Oracle Technologies

Oracle I/PM integrates with several other key Oracle Technologies:

  • Oracle I/PM integrates with Oracle Document Capture and Oracle Distributed Document Capture to allow you to convert physical documents into an electronic format to be uploaded to Oracle I/PM.

  • Oracle I/PM leverages Content Server as a repository for document storage and retrieval. Content Server supports both out-of-the-box content management services and open, customizable integration options that can manage a broad range of enterprise content such as emails, documents, and images from different content sources. Content Server supports Oracle and SQL Server databases to allow indexing and storage of content in a variety of ways. Depending on the database and configuration, documents and metadata can be stored within the database, on a file system, or a combination of both. Flexible search options allow you to configure the repository to support either metadata searching or full-text searching as configured within the Oracle I/PM application to provide the most applicable search capabilities.

  • Oracle I/PM is designed to leverage many of the features of Oracle WebLogic Server including its standard J2EE architecture, integrations with Oracle security components, scalability including clustering, system management tools like Enterprise Manager, WebLogic Scripting Tools, and Fusion Middleware Control.

  • A connection to a BPEL server is used to initiate a BPEL process when documents are uploaded to Oracle I/PM, allowing for business process integration across the enterprise.