2015 was really a Cloud year for Oracle; Not only on Oracle Open World, but also in all other communications there was really only message: “Cloud”. But when comparing these cloud solutions with their on-premises predecessors you might think: ‘what’s the real difference?’ This blog will explain you the difference between the on-premises Oracle BPM12c and Oracle Process Cloud Service(PCS) as PCS is the new Cloud based version of BPM. Both products will be compared on architecture, capabilities, development speed and pricing.


Although PCS is based on the same software and engine as BPM 12c there is a real big difference in architecture of the both solutions.

Run time aspect

Biggest architectural change is of course the movement into the cloud. The cloud enables PCS to be more scalable and infrastructure, security and server management are all managed by Oracle. This reduces the amount of expertise required by the IT organization. Upgrades and patches of PCS will also be executed by Oracle. So you will get ‘free’ extra functionality every three months.

User interface

In BPM12c you would also need to use ADF for the development of your screens and BAM for dashboarding. In PCS the development of screens and dashboards has been standardized and moved into the product.


Where BPM12c requires a local JDeveloper development environment you can build everything in the cloud when looking at PCS. Big difference is also that development in PCS requires less technical knowledge and can be done by one person whereas BPM and ADF development is often done by different persons.



When comparing the capabilities of BPM 12c and PCS you can still see PCS is a new product. It has less functionality then BPM 12c and can better be compared to BPM 11g.

·         BPM 12c has extensive case management functionality.

·         BPM 12c also allows the business user to create strategic models with KPI’s, which can be mapped to processes.

·         BAM and ADF also provide developers to opportunity to create more custom dashboards and frontend applications.

PCS is still more basic and standardized in this respect. The big difference that is in the advantage of PCS is that it has much faster release cycles. Where BPM had release cycles of a few years, PCS will have a major update every 3 months and when needed extra updates monthly. The focus of the development team of Oracle is also on PCS as cloud really is the future for this product line. Oracle even stated that all new functionality will first go to the cloud and later to on-premises. Because of this priority we are confident that PCS will have more capabilities than 12c really soon. Another large benefit of cloud solutions is that the vendor, in this case Oracle, is able to get much more information about how the product is used. This will allow Oracle to be even more able to align the roadmap to the customer requirements.

Development speed

When comparing BPM 12c and PCS on development speed the biggest difference is the amount of complexity. In PCS the focus is really on non-technical development of processes. Most things like creating forms, webservices mappings and processes are done with drag-and-dropping.

In BPM 12c development is more complex as clients often chose for custom ADF forms. These custom screens get closer to the requirements of customers, but of course reduce the development speed greatly compared to PCS as you are building functionality that’s already available at PCS.

Pricing and cost of maintenance

Both products have different pricing models, but overall you can say PCS is much cheaper when you don’t have that many users. With a pricing of 100$ per user per month and a minimum of 10 users you can have PCS up and running for only 12K per year. Pricing for PBM 12c is based on CPU’s and often costs 4 to 8 times more than PCS per year. There is however no limitation on the amount of users. When using PCS with users that only use the application once per year there can be made special agreements about pricing with Oracle but that’s case specific. When more users are required the comparison becomes more interesting. As with PCS you only pay for the license and for BPM 12c you also have to pay for maintenance and servers. Because of this complexity it really depends on the situation which one costs less.


When comparing PCS and BPM 12c you can see that cloud is really making the difference.


BPM 12c

Process Cloud Service


More flexible, local development

Cloud-based, more scalable


More standard capabilities

Less capabilities, but expanding

Development speed

Slower, but more possibilities

Faster, because of less complexity


Comparable with many users, but also cost for servers and maintenance

Cheaper with less users


Despite there is still less functionality available in PCS, the cloud availability provides you the scalability you need and new functionality is being delivered every few months. So if you really need the extra functionality that BPM 12c provides you then you should chose for BPM 12c. Otherwise you should start with using the basic PCS functionalities and you will be able to do more and more using the process cloud.