Friday Jan 11, 2013

When it comes to Content and your business - Go Big or Stay Home!

Happy Friday everyone!  Yesterday I wrote briefly about the importance of honing your personal skills along with improving the way you use technology to manage content in your organization. Today, I want to focus on an old adage that serves as a great resolution to use almost any time, whether it be in your professional life or your personal life.

ECM Resolution #4:  Go Big or Stay Home!

I am sure you've heard that saying, or something close to it before.  My grandmother had a few variations of this one herself, some of which I probably cannot post in an Oracle blog!  :) But one of her oft-quoted reminders that stuck with me was that "any job worth doing is worth doing right".  A corollary of this might be "if you are going to manage your content properly and get maximum value, go with a proven and tested industry leader".

While my grandmother certainly never uttered those words about managing content, it's hard to argue with the idea of investing in the best technology that will deliver the best results.  It's especially true when it comes to technology that is at the fundamental core of your business!  One of the best ways to evaluate and recognize who the leader is in any business is via third-party analysts.  Gartner Research recently announced the results from their Magic Quadrant research on Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions and for the 5th straight year, the Oracle WebCenter ECM solution is again honored to be in the Leaders quadrant, recognizing the completeness of the Oracle WebCenter's product vision and our ability to execute.

As we talked about in previous blog posts, content and the proper management of it is (or should be) at the core of your business.  Your important content should never be stored in an information silo, in fact that is the last thing you want!  To make the most of your valuable information you also want powerful connected systems.  In addition to our strong history of being a leader in the ECM market, Oracle WebCenter is also recognized as a leader by Gartner Research in their Horizontal Portal and Web Content Management Magic Quadrants.

We are once again proud of this recognition from Gartner and similar recognition that we have received from other leading analyst firms around the world. But even more important are the testimonials we get from satisfied customers.  Recently, the Alberta Ministry of Agriculture was kind enough to describe the value of their WebCenter Content implementation in a short video. Check it out for yourself here.  Short video testimonials from other customers such as BDO , AIA and the Chicago Public Schools offer additional, valuable insights into real-life business scenarios enhanced with WebCenter enterprise content management.

Realizing a rapid return on any investment like this is essential, especially in the economic environment of today.  Embry-Riddle recently worked with us to proudly showcase the ROI they have realized by using WebCenter that is also worth taking a few minutes to view. All this brings us back to our final resolution of the week. Admittedly the above is certainly an abundance of "tooting our own horn" but when it comes to making resolutions that directly effect the direction your business is taking when it comes to content management, you want to know you are going with the best available technology solutions.  Go Big or Stay Home.  You are not seriously going to consider doing the latter - so make sure you do the former! 

We hope these resolutions throughout the week have given you food for thought as you evaluate your approach to content management and how it is really put to use within vital business processes across your company.  Thank you for taking the time to read the WebCenter blog and stay tuned next week for another valuable series of posts about WebCenter Sites.

Thursday Jan 10, 2013

ECM Resolution #3: Improve your information management skills to better drive business objectives

Hello again and welcome back to this series of blog posts covering achievable resolutions that you can make this year to improve the way you manage documents, files and all types of information used by your company. In the first post, we talked about planning for increased growth and in the second post, we talked about putting content to work more effectively and within the context of real business applications. But today, we are going to change our focus a little bit and zero in on the personal.

ECM Resolution #3:  
Look out for Number One!

As the use of content within business continues to expand and be utilized in a more holistic fashion, the expectations for technology professionals are also changing.  In a recent survey conducted by AIIM (and sponsored by Oracle), nearly 60% of 321 respondents viewed the role of Information Professional as vital to the future growth of their business. Traditional roles like "Records Manager" and "Technology Specialist" are being superseded in terms of perceived value by roles that are more encompassing and that can address the broader operational demands of the business.

Guess what?  This means that it is time to take a fresh look at your own skills and achieve the certifications necessary to meet changing job market demands. That might mean taking additional online training and if you are already an Oracle WebCenter user that might mean taking advantage of the classes at the Oracle University. More broadly, it can mean taking advantage of professional certification opportunities such as the AIIM Certified Information Professional program. Oracle recently sponsored a whitepaper and webcast on this topic to help drive more awareness around the importance of taking a business-wide approach to content and information management. Oracle WebCenter is designed to do exactly that, as we discussed in yesterdays' blog post.  But for you personally, adding certifications to your list of job skills can only enhance your standing in your current organization and can only enhance your resume.

A manager I had long ago once told me "no one is going to look out for #1 like #1".  When it comes to being an information professional, someone that can see the strategic potential of integrating content management across a variety of organizational needs, you can add real value to your companies use of ECM, but only by continually investing in the skills needed to stay ahead of the game.

See you back here tomorrow for another ECM Resolution worth striving for!

Tuesday Jan 08, 2013

ECM Resolution #2: Getting content where it is REALLY needed

Welcome back to our conversation about resolutions we can set that will help us manage information more effectively and make our entire business more productive.  Yesterday, we discussed ECM Resolution #1 - Planning for both content growth and expanded access to that information. Today's resolution is a variation on a seemingly simple cliché that for many businesses around the world, is something they have not truly addressed.

ECM Resolution #2:  Put information in your work.

OK, really?  That's it?  Yes - but let me explain.  For most companies, information is captured or created in a repository, used briefly and then allowed to die a long, slow death without ever being used again.  Microsoft SharePoint is famous for this, though it is not the only technology out there that perpetuates this problem.  The concept of the "information silo" has been discussed for years and yet still companies find themselves with valuable information that cannot be easily found or used where it is needed most.  

Think about your own situation.  Are important documents like contracts, invoices, forms or scanned images stored in a way that they can be easily found and used within the context of your business applications?  Probably not.  Too often, when it comes time to find that important file, you find yourself searching across multiple locations.  The biggest problem of all, you have to know where to look before you even begin searching!  And in many cases, you get frustrated and resort to sending an email to one or more colleagues, asking them if they have the document to send to you.  Now you have multiple copies, multiple versions - basically, a real mess that can result in the wrong information being used or communicated.

When your content is centrally managed, it can be used across applications and communities more securely and effectively.   Need to locate a contract under dispute from within the context of your intranet portal environment?  Done!  Need to collaborate around the very latest version of an upcoming customer presentation?  Done!  Need to have access to a scanned invoice within the context of your e-business applications?  Done!  Need to be able to confidently send the latest proposal document to a business partner?  Done!

OK, you get the picture. Content is only of value when it can be used within the immediate context of the business use case - whatever that might be. Having files and documents scattered across network drives, file sharing solutions and repositories is often at direct odds with this.  When you resolve to manage your information properly and integrate it within the scope of your business processes, you shorten the time it takes to resolve issues, address customer concerns and meet deadlines.

Many Oracle WebCenter Content customers are doing this already and realizing some significant cost savings and other benefits.  It's worth taking a look. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is one such customer, and Brian Skapura from the AIA was kind enough to sit down and record a video describing what they have done.  You can view it directly via this link.  

As with the first resolution, this is one worth taking the time to consider and implement in a way that addresses one process at a time. Taking one bite at a time ensures that you will address the most important processes first and be successful along the way.  You can get a more thorough understanding of how you can effectively put your information to work by checking out one or more webcasts that we have recorded on the topic.  Click here to register and watch them at your convenience. 

We will see you back here tomorrow for ECM Resolution #3!

Monday Jan 07, 2013

ECM Resolutions for the New Year you can actually achieve!

Hello everyone and welcome to 2013!  It's the first full work week of the new year and around this time each year, the tech press and blogosphere is full of predictions and prognostications about what will happen in the coming 12 months.  Some of them are, shall we say, more likely than others but usually these lists are entertaining and it is always fun to look back after the year is complete to see which of them were accurate.

What is of even more value however is setting resolutions we can actually achieve.  We all know that around New Years, people set personal resolutions for themselves and if they are not reasonably achievable, those same resolutions will be back on next year's list and maybe the year after that.  When they are overly grandiose, they end up getting scaled back, or in many cases, they simply never get off the launchpad.  We all have likely experienced this in our personal resolutions, but the same can happen in business.  We know there are things we can do and resolutions that we can set to improve the way we do business, but turning them into reality can sometimes be a challenge.  

With that in mind, over the course of this week we are going to focus on achievable resolutions related to Document and Content Management that can help your organization be better organized, more efficient and more successful.

ECM Resolution #1: Begin to deliver better information access.

We've all seen the reports about how information is growing exponentially each year.  While these reports are usually published by companies selling high-end storage, the fact remains that content of all types is being gathered and used within our organizations at an alarming rate.  Couple that with the increasing demand for expanded access to select content via mobile devices and the need to integrate content more completely into important business processes and you have what appears to be quite a challenging resolution but fortunately, it is one that is achievable. When your company takes a more holistic view about how information is being used, accessed, captured and stored, you will almost certainly find opportunities to eliminate redundancy and centralize the management of your content.

For many organizations, the best resolution is to focus on moving towards a single repository for most information.  Now I hear you say... wait a minute! I thought we were focusing on achievable resolutions here!  I understand that this appears challenging given that most organizations already have content scattered across multiple repositories or locations.  And in many cases, migrating all of that information along with its associated metadata and classifications can be anywhere from daunting to impossible.  The trick to success is to zero in on specific applications, often one at a time and take your success in increments, learning along the way.  For example, you may begin by integrating ECM with your HR system and then once that is done, tie in your Accounts Payable process and so on.  Overtime, you have simplified your approach to information and are delivering simplified,easier access to a primary repository.  Your corporate information is more easily managed and controlled within in a single repository while also being made available within a growing variety of business applications and users across the enterprise.

As you might have guessed, Oracle WebCenter is uniquely positioned to help you achieve this resolution. Because it is developed by Oracle as part of the Fusion Middleware platform, it is easily integrated with key business applications like Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel CRM and more including (gasp!) business applications from other companies.  The WebCenter Content repository is also uniquely designed to take advantage of the unmatched power of the Oracle database, including the SecureFiles functionality offered by the latest releases. Performance and scalability of such a repository is obviously critical and Oracle WebCenter delivers the goods here as well.  Check out the Performance and Scalability Whitepaper on our website for much more detail. 

Moving towards a single repository lets you address your security, compliance and content management requirements while providing seamless workflow and content access within multiple business applications while allowing for a variety of access methods depending on the use case.  If you want to learn more right away, be sure to check out the informational webcast available here.

Hopefully this first resolution is an idea that you can seize on as you focus on the year ahead.  Throughout the rest of this week, we will focus on other content management resolutions that can help you and your business cut costs and be better positioned to manage future growth.


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