OPA – The Influence of inference

Policy Automation – The Influence of inference

The Oracle Policy Automation training spends little time discussing the Inference Engine. This is entirely normal since we have a very tight schedule to keep. But the Certification Examination to achieve the Certified Specialist logo has some nasty twists and turns in the question bank – they love to give our brains a workout. Of course I am not going to give you any actual questions from the Examination, but I am going to get you in the mood. Over the next few posts as you probably have already noticed we are going to be focussing on areas that might trip you up.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that the Examination is not all about the product (although of course there are lots of questions about functionality and tools). Some of the questions need you to think like a rule writer, not like an OPA Operator (I’m quite proud of that phrase!). So without further talking, here is the third in our series of Quiz Questions. This one broadens our fireside chat into a discussion of Inference in Interviews.

The underlying subject of the Quiz Question, and indeed of the video as a whole, is the Screen Order concept.

OPA - Screen Order

I would wager that there are a few people who have never really paid much attention to the Data Review Screen in the section referring to Screen Order. Unless otherwise specified the order of the Question Screens will be that specified in the…Question Screens folder. That phrase was slightly counter-intuitive but think of it like this:

OPA - Screens File

When you look at a Screens File, you will see a Folder called Question Screens. This is where you can create folders and order your Question Screens. And that same folder is referenced by the Data Review Screen. But it doesn’t have to be. If you have a complex set of Question Screens you can adjust the order in the Data Review Screen by dragging and dropping from the Oracle Policy Modelling Window (which itself is a pretty unintuitive action!).


OPA - Drag Drop Order Screens

Notice how you (or OPM) can exclude Folders and Screens in the lower part of the Data Review window.  So, all fine and dandy. We can create our custom Screen Order, and our new order will be respected. Except, as we show in the video, it will not be. Probably. Perhaps. It depends entirely on the Inference Engine. If a Question Screen does not have a Question on it that needs to be asked. then it will be skipped entirely. Inference means skipping questions that are not needed, if the answer to the goal question can be inferred another more efficient way. Watch the video to get a nice example.

Until next time

Richard Napier

Author: Richard Napier

Richard Napier joined Siebel Systems in 1999 and took up the role of managing the nascent Siebel University in Southern Europe. He subsequently was Director of Business Development and Education for InFact Group (now part of Business & Decisions) for 8 years. He now runs his Consulting and mentoring company, On Demand Consulting & Education Ltd and has run ODCE since 2010. Owner of the OPA Hub, he also is Co-Founder of the Siebel Hub.

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