I have an approach to OPA policy models.  I follow the guidance from Oracle on OTN.  I create design documents, etc...


But, then I do something more.  After my first draft design, I have a list of OPA Strengths that I check against my design.  I ask myself, has the design optimized for all of these strengths of OPA? 


Up until now, this has been a private list I check against my design and approach.  This is my way to check my own quality of deliverable.  I make sure the client gets as much on this list as possible.  I would challenge all the blog readers to do the same.


As you can see, OPA HAS A LOT OF STRENGTHS!  But, I go through them all, every single time.  Many of these strengths are not totally Out of the Box (OOTB) but require that they be accounted for.  They are easy to achieve, but only if the proper OPA patterns are followed.



AuditorsComplete Audit ReportsWhile workers / clients can get custom decision reports, auditors can get more complete audit reports saved in the system.
AuditorsHistorical decision recreationIt is possible to deploy OPA rules in a fashion that allows auditors to go back in time and re-run rules from a previous point in time.
AuditorsMatured ProductOPA has been developed as a product for over 20 years.
AuditorsTransparency and Traceability across all decisionsAudit reports and personalized advice can be generated (saved) for all decisions
AuthorAbstract Policy Logic from Application CodePolicy logic developed and maintained outside of application code
AuthorAlternate conclusions are automaticThere is no need to code else statement on a true/false determination in OPA
AuthorAttribute discoveryOPA can be used to document variables needed by an application team in support of a determination.
AuthorClear delineation of goalsOPA helps orient rules towards achieving actual "goals" (as opposed to rules interspersed in an app where the final goal of the rule is "fuzzy" at best.)
AuthorCollaborative Modeling and VersioningThe policy hub handles rule versioning and collaboration among rule authors.  A collaborative development lifecycle is provided.
AuthorConflict / Redundency IdentificationOPA will notify authors of conflicts / redundant rules as opposed to traditional coding where the rules will compile and conflicts may move to production.
AuthorConsistent TerminologyThe use of OPA encourages consistent terminology as a mechanism for linking rules together.   This is a good thing as it removes ambiguity in a project.
AuthorEasy Forms, Letters, and Summary documentsBI Publisher integration allows for easy forms and other documents to be generated during interviews using Word templates.  The output can be word, pdf, etc…
AuthorEasy GUI Interview DesignerOPA will create interviews without intervention, but organizing questions together, changing headings, etc, is all graphical and easily managed.
AuthorExtremely Agile Software DevelopmentThe primary development artifacts are the word and excel documents.   Rules can be created or changed and deployed in minutes.  Hot deploys are an easy option.
AuthorGranular deployment modelSubsets of Policy can be changed independently allowing for many more teams to work independently on Policy.
AuthorModel rules in many languages (25+ languages)Rules may be modeled in the language of the policy
AuthorOPA documentationWith over 20 years of advancement, OPA provides well-documented help for every feature.
AuthorOver 20 Sample ProjectsSample projects from licensing, to healthy eating, to insurance selection provided.
AuthorQuestions built from source materialQuestions, positive, negative, uncertain, and unknown forms of attributes are determined from the rule as written in OPA.  These can be overridden if desired.  If you have not yet seen this, this is very cool.
AuthorRemoval of need to track rule linkagesOPA links rules together (as opposed to code techniques where after one rule is fired, code must determine a process of next steps, data reuse, etc.)
AuthorRule AssistantOPA provides assistance in Word for new rule authors to quickly create rules.
AuthorRules Related to SourceOPA provides an ability to relate rules directly to the source material such as legislation
AuthorSimplify Complex Decision LogicDecision logic can be created in bite-size chunks that are encapsulated and abstracted
AuthorStrong / Fun OPA CommunityOracle Forums, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs, Youtube, etc…
AuthorTemporal ReasoningChanges over time of Policy, Circumstance, and User Environment are easily incorporated into the logic. 
AuthorTranslations in Excel (Strong Multi-Lingual Capability)A simple Excel method of providing translations for client interviews is provided.  This includes support for custom languages.
AuthorWord / Excel ModelingTools familiar to BA's (Word and Excel) are used for authoring. Original policy is likely in Word and/or Excel.
ConsumersAccessibilityAccessibility achieved via WAI-ARIA 1.0 standard support
ConsumersAuto substitution of proper nouns, etc…Names of who, what, when, where are automatically substituted into future questions and screens once the information is known.
ConsumersAutomatic defaulting of answersOPA has multiple mechanisms for defaulting answers, from connecting to other datasources, to deriving the answers from previous knowledge gained.
ConsumersCross-Channel ConsistencyConsistent experience, consistent determinations...  The elimination of decision silos where workers in one environment create different determination.
ConsumersEvidence CollectionEvidence (various files, photographs, documents, etc) can be collected by OPA during interviews.
ConsumersFormsForms can be created and saved or printed during interviews
ConsumersOnly relevant questions are askedQuestions not needed are not asked as determined relevant by OPA (can be overridden)
ConsumersOPA has ability the to handle "I don't know"OPA has ability the to handle "I don't know" answers to questions and still determine outcomes if OPA later determines a path that can make the question no longer relevant.
ConsumersPersonalized AdicePersonalized Advice is provided to each client via Intelligent Interviews.  Client names, and situations can all be easily incorporated in the advice.
ConsumersPersonalized ExplanationsPersonalized Explanations (each client gets their own explanation) for either a "decision" or "indecision."
ConsumersRule performance20 years of rule inferencing algorithms + only asking relevant questions generall make OPA much faster than traditional code for complex determinations.
ConsumersShortest # questions to get the decisionOPA can be structures so the fewest questions are asked.
ConsumersSubstitution of gender pronounsOnce the sex of an individual is known, gender pronouns may automatically be utilized.
IntegratorsBatch capabilitiesPolicy can be implemented in a local batch processor or via a batch REST API
IntegratorsCAPTHA controlsCAPTHA functionality is included as part of OPA interviews.
IntegratorsCollection of evidence (file uploads)During interviews, the ability to upload files (PDF, Images, audio, video, etc) is included as part of OPA.
IntegratorsCollection of signatureElectronic signatures in OPA generated forms can be collected (for instance as evidence.)
IntegratorsData object mapping to RightNowSimple integration with Rightnow CRM data objects is provided
IntegratorsDeployment workflow for rulesetsRulesets lifecycles can be fully managed in the Oracle hub
IntegratorsEasy attribute mapping to a web service data sourceDrop-down mappings exist for web service end-points.
IntegratorsEasy mobile deploymentMobile device deployment is simple with iOS and Android app support in the stores.
IntegratorsHot-updating of business rulesNew or changed rulesets may be deployed anytime without impacting current users.
IntegratorsInterviews available as a web service (SOAP)All OPA services are available as SOAP web services
IntegratorsPublic/Private Cloud rule migrationRuleset are not coupled to either the public or a private cloud. The same rulesets can be deployed in either or both locations.
IntegratorsRightnow database mappingsDrop-down mappings exist for Service Cloud database integrations.
IntegratorsSubmit button perform REST invocationsInterview actions can redirect (with data) to invoke RESTful services.
IntegratorsTargeted Goals for ProcessesOnce policy is coded in OPA, the team has a “target” goal to develop processes against.  In government, processes usually support policy goals.  Many policy goals can be in OPA.
IntegratorsWeb Service IntegrationBefore during and after an interview OPA can synchronize with any web-service enabled enpoint.
IntegratorsWeb, Mobile, Portal, or Desktop interviews.Out of box support for multiple channels, including a mobile toolkit to integrate OPA into mobile apps.
Policy AnalystCentralized Policy ManagementPolicy rules can be maintained in a central repository reducing rule duplication in code.
Policy AnalystEasy Ability to Share PolicyRules are easily reused.  When policies impact more than one application, the policy logic does not need to be recreated.
Policy AnalystExisting population impact analysisOPA can aid authors in identifying the population that will be impacted by a rule change.  This is vital to preventing strong push-back after production rule implementation.
Policy AnalystIncreased Rule VisibilityActual rule implementation is not hidden in code. This helps protect individuals from ramifications of incorrect rule implementation.
Policy AnalystNatural Language RulesRules are in natural language allowing review by non-OPA staff.
Policy AnalystPolicy Scenario Capabilities (What-If?)Impact Analysis is enabled via both In-Memory Analytics and Excel testing in OPA.  Since all rules can be fired as appropriate this is generally more accurate than other methods.
Policy AnalystRegression TestingRegression testing is easy via Excel tests.  If modeled, new OPA outcomes can be verified against legacy system outcomes.
Policy AnalystRetroactive Rule Change SupportA typical problem in IT systems is a retroactive rule change and having to correct the  impacts.  OPA can be used to identify impacted clients on retroactive rule changes.
Policy AnalystRule Coverage AnalysisCoverage Analysis techniques can be used to find rules that have minimum and maximum impacts.
Policy AnalystRule Discovery SupportWhere legacy base data and decisions exist, but rules are difficult to determine, OPA can aid in recreating or validating expected business logic. 
Policy AnalystRule MiningOPA is great as an assistant when working though policy documents to discover rules.
Policy AnalystRule TraceabilityChanges introduced by new policies and legislation can be quickly linked to the Policy Rules in OPA to aid in change management.
Policy AnalystTime per Screen StatisticsHub provides how much time users are spending on average on each interview screen.  This can be used to optimize interviews.
Policy AnalystVerify Policy Changes ConvergePolicies changes can be evaluated for their completeness in OPA.  In some scenarios, new legislative policy can be analyzed in OPA while being authored.
QA TeamInterview accessibility checksAccessibility checks for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) levels are part of OPA.
QA TeamTest Cases are in excelTest cases in Excel allows for a quick and easy way to add test cases.
WorkersAbility to organize interviews into "Stages" and save via CheckpointsLong interviews can be broken up, saved, and returned to at a later time.
WorkersAccurate DeterminationsDeterminations are less subjective and less prone to human error.
WorkersChat WorkspaceWith Service Cloud, client chats and rule determination have been integrated together for better worker / client collaboration.
WorkersExplanations with every decision (fewer client complaints) Every decision comes with an explanation workers and clients can view.  Note this aids initial deployments as workers can help troubleshoot any unexpected rule impacts.
WorkersOffline InterviewsInterviews can occur in the field offline and uploaded the results uploaded at a later date.
WorkersReduced training timeWorkers do not need be trained in policy nuances to create accurate determinations.
WorkersWorker GeneralizationWorkers do not need to be as specialized in support of detailed policy understanding