Wednesday Jan 18, 2012

Beware Marketers Bearing Segmentation

Christian Finn is back again today with some more insights on marketing segmentation. Read on! And don't miss him on today's webcast!

Webcast: Do More with Oracle WebCenter - Expand Beyond Portals 
Date: Thursday, January 19, 2012
Time: 10:00 AM PST
Register today!


In a few hours, I'll be leading a webcast highlighting a variety of ways you can get more value from Oracle WebCenter by expanding beyond portals.  And that whole notion of expanding beyond software solution categories, got me thinking about how marketing segmentation of software can help—and hurt—customers.

On the one hand, clearly identifying a need there’s demand to solve — and the offering the product that solves it is the essence of great entrepreneurship and product management.  And for marketers competing in crowded marketplaces, segmenting markets creates niches in which vendors can compete and win by attracting customers through differentiation from the competition.  When most successful, the niche becomes a category in which the vendor can be defined — by market share, by revenue, and by analysts — as the leader. So, there is value in segmentation for vendors, and to the extent that segmentation enables customers to focus on and find the solutions they need, segmentation can benefit those customers as well.

Yet, segmentation can also be a detriment.  The marketer’s comfortable niche can easily become the customer’s restrictive silo for a customer, driving up cost and complexity while limiting flexibility and agility.

Let’s look at a few examples, starting with content management.  Content management is a market that is replete with segmentation: enterprise vs. web, document vs. transactional content vs. records management.  All have their uses and specific requirements, yet customers who end up with many different systems and repositories to address each of these needs individually pay far more in licenses, operation, maintenance, support, and integration.  By consolidating to a single repository, the American Institute for Architecture saved over 75% annually in content management costs—more than $3 million.

And the worst consequence may be the impact to users.  How can you find, and be sure you have, the correct and most recent version of a critical document?  If you have copies duplicated across repositories, it might be very hard to tell which version or copy is the master.

Another example is intranet portals vs. web site systems.  If you really think about it, the needs of employees, customers, constituents, and partners are not very different.  All of them want relevant targeted content for their information needs,  the ability to process transactions, to participate in workflows, and to have their own say by generating their own content. Now, the objects of each of those interactions may be different. Take transactions as an example:

  • a customer may want to purchase a product
  • an employee may need to change her retirement account investment selections
  • a citizen needs to be approved for a remodeling license, and
  • a partner to order more inventory
Each of these users is trying to conduct a different transaction, but the core technology underlying all of these process interactions could be the same.  In situations like these, buying one platform to engage all audiences, rather than different platforms for each, can make a lot of sense—and save a lot of dollars.

 

And as this is the blog of a leading vendor in many technology markets, this isn’t just idle musing. Since we have added the class-leading web experience management solution, Fatwire, to the Oracle WebCenter family as WebCenter Sites, we’ve given this particular area a lot of thought.  Over time you will see integration guidance and then technology from us that will enable you to blend web experience management with classic portal frameworks and applications to deliver the best of both worlds to the audiences you need to engage, whether they are inside or outside your organization.  In fact, we’ll talk more about this in the upcoming webcast - Do More with Oracle WebCenter: Expand Beyond Portals.

Given that there’s a software company famous for the mantra of “no software”, maybe it is also time for a mantra of “no silos.”  In any case, I hope you enjoy the webcast and share your thoughts and questions with us.

Tuesday Jan 17, 2012

Personalization: A Key Tenet of User Engagement

Today's guest post is from Alakh Verma, Director or Platform Technology Solutions at Oracle.


In today’s constantly changing and competitive business environment, consumers are seeking more personalized care and services for any engagement enter into prior to committing to any transaction. Relationships begin with humble greetings and a smile, progresses to a natural conversation and eventually evolves to understanding the needs and behavior in the process.

User engagement involves a mixture of quantitative and qualitative analysis. Quantitative analysis offers useful patterns and is generally more scalable and easier to conduct. User engagement also involves contextual study and ethnography. These provide information about the people, what their routines are in daily life and what their needs are for which they have visited the electronic website, physical store or workplace.

A few weeks back, I walked into a Wells Fargo branch in San Jose, to conduct a normal banking chores of depositing  a check. I was overwhelmed by warm greetings from the store manager, Robert Borcherding, and he offered to fill out the pay-in-slip while I was waiting in the queue for the teller. Realizing it might take longer, he came by again to offer assistance and accept my check for the deposit by personal banker. He kept talking and displaying his humility to offer the best care he could while I stayed in the branch.

Last week, when I walked in his branch again for some other banking transaction, I was pleasantly surprised to receive his personal greetings where he greeted me by name with smiles and again offered to assist with humility. I could see his urgency to satisfy me the fullest. This time, I was in his branch to meet his banking manager, Rosa S. Aguirre, regarding a refinance. When he saw that she was still busy with another customer, he offered to help speed up the process by making all the necessary photo copies of my documents that she might need. While he was doing this act of an extended personalized service, he was winning my trust and my heart in the process. By then, Rosa was free and ready to meet with me with all my documents in hand. I would categorize this act as a clear display of personalization that would go a long way in building trust and gaining, growing and retaining business for his store and for Wells Fargo in general. On the other hand, I have receive numerous aggressive and disturbing call center calls from a competitor bank for their services and I refuse to take those calls. I am sure many of you have encountered similar situations in your lives and we can all appreciate the significance of personalization and personalized care in business settings.

Customer services have been widely used and misused and now businesses need to re-evaluate the paradigm shift of customers’ needs and expectations. With recent technology and tools, we can easily build and deploy virtual web stores to deliver consumers near real-time, personalized user experiences.

Personalization implies that the content and experience are changed for each user based on implicit data, such as items previously purchased or pages recently viewed. On an intranet or B2E enterprise Web portal, personalization is often based on user attributes such as department, functional area or role.

There are three categories of personalization: a) profile / group based ; b) behavior based; and c) collaboration based. Web personalization models include rules-based filtering, based on "if this, then that" rules processing, and collaborative filtering, which serves relevant material to customers by combining their own personal preferences with the preferences of like-minded others. Collaborative filtering works well for books, music, video, etc.

There are three broad methods of personalization: a) implicit; b) explicit; and c) hybrid. With implicit personalization, the personalization is performed by the web page based on the different categories mentioned above. With explicit personalization, the web page is changed by the user using the features provided by the system. Hybrid personalization combines both two approaches to leverage the best of both worlds.

Personalization is also being considered for use in less overtly commercial applications to improve the user experience online. Facebook introduced Instant Personalization recently.  This new technology is different from Social Plug-ins, which many B2B and B2C sites are already using.  Social plug-ins include things like Facebook live streams and “Like Buttons” and are intended to drive user engagement and make a website more ‘social’.  With Instant Personalization, Facebook shares data with a handful of non-Facebook websites. 

Have you taken a look at your web site recently and thought about if you’re delivering a personalized experience to your users? Oracle WebCenter personalizes the online buying experience with a comprehensive, highly scalable user engagement platform and applications. Built on a foundation of proven capabilities, including personalization, business user control, cross-channel support, and a flexible platform, WebCenter boosts cross-channel business growth by helping customers quickly find desired products, learn about new offerings, comparison shop, register for gifts, preorder products, redeem coupons, and easily complete their purchases. For more information, visit oracle.com/webcenter.

Thursday Dec 22, 2011

The Scoop on WebCenter Evangelism

A lot of exciting changes have happened this year, and we're really psyched about next year. One exciting thing that happened this year was the formation and addition of our WebCenter Evangelism team, headed up by Christian Finn.. Jake from his team gives an overview of the group over on theappslab.com, reprinted here for your convenience. 


You may have seen recently that Noel (@) and I joined a brand-spanking, new team called WebCenter evangelism. You might also recall that the team’s mission is:

. . . to raise the profile of Oracle in all of the markets/conversations in which WebCenter competes—social business, collaboration, portals, Internet sites, and customer/audience engagement.

WebCenter has undergone a metamorphosis recently, and it now encompasses a much larger set of capabilities than it did years ago when I first joined the team.

From the source (@):

Oracle WebCenter is the user engagement platform for social business—connecting people and information. It brings together the most complete portfolio of portal, web experience management, content, social, and collaboration technologies into a single integrated product suite, and it provides the foundation for Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle Fusion Applications to deliver a next-generation user experience.

Here’s a picture to help:

Not specific enough for you, check out this Q&A with Andy MacMillan (@), the head of WebCenter PM, and the WebCenter strategy and product roadmap shown at OpenWorld last year. Maybe you caught the keynote announcing Oracle Social Network at OpenWorld.

Did you know that OSN is a member of the WebCenter family? Did you notice theFatwire acquisition back in June? That’s another WebCenter family member, now called WebCenter Sites.

So, yeah, a lot has changed.

What will this new evangelism team do?

Glad you asked. We will be everywhere talking about WebCenter, answering questions, extolling virtues, instructing, building cool stuff, propagating, enlightening, researching and listening. Noel P and I will be focused more on talking to developers, but for the most part, we’ll all be out there (and here) talking WebCenter. It’s that simple.

This is new territory for a development team and for each of us. So, it’s a bit of a moving target. No worries though, we’ll get it sorted as we go. The biggest piece of the puzzle is you.

As we spin up this new team, we’re looking for people outside Oracle who are interested in learning about WebCenter, testing and extending its capabilities, discovering its features. If that’s you, find the comments, hit us up on Twitter (@, @, @, @, @, @), Facebook, G+ or email webcenter dash evangelism underscore ww at oracle dot com.

Or we’ll come to you. We’ll be at conferences like COLLABORATE, Kscope, and OpenWorld. So find us in person if you’re interested in conversating about WebCenter.

We’d love to chat with you. And watch this space for more about what we’re doing.

Wednesday Dec 21, 2011

How Critical is an User Engagement Platform for Social Business?

Today's guest post is from Alakh Verma, Director of Platform Technology Solutions at Oracle. 


The Internet has changed our lives - flattening the Earth (Tom Friedman) and connecting people and information without regard for age or location by bridging the digital divide so that content and information can be easily shared and accessed by anyone from anywhere.

We are witnessing some paradigm shifts and major changes in the computing landscape at the same time. E-Business platforms are rapidly moving towards mobility, cloud and social. Communication and collaboration channels interchangeably used via Web, mobile and social and the consumer world are driving innovation with mushroom growth of unstructured data in the form of text, videos, chat and conversation giving birth to Big data (Hadoop).


Social Business Transformation

While smart phones and tablets have a wider reach and larger penetration, social media has already challenged email. Irrespective of age and location, the world is using social networks and other social media-based services such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype, Foursquare, and Yelp to stay connected, communicate, and collaborate. Oracle Fusion CRM, the next generation suite of applications integrates a social platform for user collaboration and communication.

What is the next big thing in Social Business software?

A recent report from Comscore revealed 70 percent of shoppers begin their buying process browsing on the Internet not only for product and services information but also to engage, collaborate and seek feedbacks. They look for ratings, feedback and recommendations before making decisions.

Almost 50 percent of shoppers who begin their search on Internet make a purchase in the physical store, while 40% transact online. Pew Research found that 87% of college grads and 88% of those earning $75,000 or more each year head online to research products or services

User Engagement Platform: Portal, Content, Web Experience Management and Social Computing

“Organizations are seeking ways to boost customer loyalty and improve business performance by maximizing engagement with internal and external constituents. The latest evolution of Oracle WebCenter represents the convergence point for all products under the Oracle Enterprise 2.0 portfolio making it easier for customers to achieve that goal. By bringing our entire portfolio of portal, web experience management, content, and social technologies into a single, integrated platform, Oracle WebCenter provides the power to transform organizations,” said Andy MacMillan, vice president, Product Management, Oracle.

User engagement platforms offer a simple user interaction interface that provide great web experiences in terms of navigation, search, conversation via chat, VOIP, feedback, recommendations and more, and cumulatively enable a social business. While social computing and social media are still evolving in the enterprise space, major vendors like Oracle have already started evangelizing and building software stack to address the social computing business needs.

Learn more about Oracle WebCenter and how it offers a complete, open and integrated portfolio of portal, web experience management, content and social computing technology in a single product suite.


Wednesday Dec 07, 2011

Q&A: Andy MacMillan on Oracle WebCenter Strategy and Roadmap

As vice president of product management for Oracle WebCenter, industry veteran Andy MacMillan recently spearheaded the move from the former Oracle Enterprise 2.0 to Oracle WebCenter. Now that the dust has settled, we asked MacMillan to shed light on the future strategy and product roadmap for Oracle WebCenter.

How are user expectations driving Oracle WebCenter strategy?
In the age of Amazon and Facebook, there has been a major shift in people's expectations as they interact with Web and mobile media. Both our customers and our customer's customers are expecting rich engagement, including personalization, ubiquitous mobile access, ease-of-use, real-time information, and more.

In short, our goal is to build all these things into the DNA of our products. And that means not just for our customer's customers, but also for their employees, partners, and suppliers as well.

Can you explain Oracle's overall approach to the next-generation customer experience platform?
It all comes down to what we are calling the "connected experience." As a user of a Website, I want the site to know who I am, and I want it to use that information to personalize my experience—as if I were having a one-to-one relationship.

For this to work, you have to have a strong content management solution in place, like Oracle WebCenter Content. But you also have to go to the next

 step, which we have done with our acquisition of FatWire. Oracle WebCenter Sites (formerly FatWire), together with Oracle Business Intelligence tools, ensures that the best, most effective content is being delivered.

Finally, we are working to leverage CRM, retail, and commerce systems to provide real-time information and transactions to drive the richest experience possible.

What challenges do organizations face when implementing point solutions on one hand, and one-size-fits-all solutions on the other hand?
A true customer experience platform involves bringing together an awful lot of moving parts—content management, portal technologies, back-end systems, social media, and much more. In short, it requires solutions that are broad and deep and integrated.

A point solution can provide depth of function, but what is the value if it takes Herculean efforts to make it integrate with all the other pieces? At the same time, a one-size-fits-all solution leaves too many potential gaps. Customers don't expect you to remember some of their interactions with you—they want you to remember every single one.

How does Oracle WebCenter help customers avoid these pitfalls?
Our recent acquisitions, including FatWire, make us deep but also wide—no one else on the market can deliver on both dimensions like we can. Thanks to Oracle WebCenter Content, we are leaders in content management. Thanks to Oracle WebCenter Portal, we are leaders in portals, composite applications, and mashups. Thanks to Oracle WebCenter Social and Oracle Social Network, which is part of the WebCenter family, we are leaders in enterprise social software. And now, in the wake of our acquisitions, Oracle WebCenter Sites is a leader in Web experience management.

In short, we don't just have best-of-breed products, but also a vision for how all of these things come together into a single platform.

Can you explain some of the key strategies and initiatives Oracle expects to pursue going forward?
We have an amazing opportunity to leverage Oracle enterprise applications and data sources—all the stuff organizations use to run their business—and bring that into the context of a true social enterprise. This means richer experiences for employees and partners. But perhaps most exciting of all is the opportunity to bring all that rich information in our CRM and retail applications to drive richer, real-time online experiences.

Find out more about the strategy and product roadmap for Oracle WebCenter.

This content is intended to outline our general product direction. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract. It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for Oracle’s products remains at the sole discretion of Oracle.

Monday Dec 05, 2011

WebCenter Provides Intuitive Experiences for Land O'Lakes

With Oracle WebCenter, Land O'Lakes gives employees, customers and partners a dynamic self-service order management system, with an online experience that is personalized, intuitive and integrated with JD Edwards and other back-end systems.

Friday Nov 18, 2011

Oracle WebCenter at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference

We had a great week at the E20 Conference, presenting in four sessions – Andy MacMillan gave a session titled Today’s Successful Enterprises are Social Enterprises and was on a panel that Tony Byrne moderated; Christian Finn spoke on a panel on Unified Communications Unified Communications + Social Computing = Best of Both Worlds?, Mark Bennett spoke on a panel on The Evolution of Talent Management.

The key areas of focus this year were sentiment analysis, adoption and community building, the benefits of failure, and social’s role in process applications. Sentiment analysis. This was focused not on external audiences but more on employee sentiment. Tim Young showed his internal "NikoNiko" project, where employees use smilies to report their current mood. The result was a dashboard that showed the company mood by department. Since the goal is to improve productivity, people can see which departments are running into issues and try and address them. A company might otherwise wait until the end of the quarter financials to find out that there was a problem and product didn’t ship. This is a way to identify issues immediately. Tim is great – he had the crowd laughing as soon as he hit the stage, with his proposed hastag for his session: by making it 138 characters long, people couldn’t say much behind his back. And as I tweeted during his session, I loved his comment that complexity diffuses energy - it sounds like something Sun Tzu would say.

Another example of employee sentiment analysis was CubeVibe. Founder and CEO Aaron Aycock, in his 3 minute pitch or die session talked about how engaged employees perform better. It was too bad he got gonged, he was just picking up speed, but CubeVibe did win the vote – congratulations to them.

Internal adoption, community building, and involvement. On this topic I spoke to Terri Griffith, and she said there is some good work going on at University of Indiana regarding this, and hinted that she might be blogging about it in the near future. This area holds lots of interest for me. Amongst our customers, - CPAC stands out as an organization that has successfully built a community. So, I wonder - what are the building blocks? A strong leader? A common or unifying purpose? A certain level of engagement? I imagine someone has created an equation that says “for a community to grow at 30% per month, there must be an engagement level x to the square root of y, where x equals current community size, and y equals the expected growth rate, and the result is how many engagements the average user must contribute to maintain that growth.” Does anyone have a framework like that?

The net result of everyone’s experience is that there is nothing to do but start early and fail often. Kevin Jones made this the focus of his keynote. He talked about the types of failure and what they mean. And he showed his famous kids at work video:

Kevin’s blog also has this post: Social Business Failure #8: Workflow Integration. This is something that we’ve been working on at Oracle. Since so much of business is based in enterprise applications such as ERP and CRM (and since Oracle offers e-Business Suite, Siebel, PeopleSoft, and JD Edwards, as well as Fusion Applications), it makes sense that the social capabilities of Oracle WebCenter is built right into these applications.

There are two types of social collaboration – ad-hoc, and exception handling. When you are in a business process and encounter an exception, you immediately look for 1) the document that tells you how to handle it, or 2) the person who can tell you how to handle it. With WebCenter built into these processes, people either search their content management system, or engage in expertise location and conversation. The great thing is, THEY DON’T HAVE TO LEAVE THE APPLICATION TO DO IT. Oracle has built the social capabilities right into the applications and business processes. I don’t think enough folks were able to see that at the event, but I expect that over the next six months folks will become very aware of it.

WebCenter also provides the ability to have ad-hoc collaboration, search, and expertise location that folks need when they are innovating or collaborating. We demonstrated Oracle Social Network. It’s built on our Oracle WebCenter product to provide social collaboration inside and outside of your company. When we showed it to people, there were a number of areas that they commented on that were different from the other products being shown at the conference:

  • Screenshots from within the product
  • Many authors working on documents simultaneously
  • Flagging people for follow up
  • Direct ability to call out to people
  • Ability to see presence not just if someone is online, but which conversation they are actively in

Great stuff, the conference was full of smart people that that we enjoy spending time with. We’ll keep up in the meantime, but we look forward to seeing you in Boston.

Wednesday Nov 09, 2011

Attend the AIIM/Oracle Executive Social Business Seminar in Los Angeles

Attend an Exclusive Seminar on Social Business

AIIM/Oracle Executive Social Business Seminar

Learn How Social Business Can Improve Operational Performance and Drive Innovation

Act Now

Request your complimentary invitation by contacting Oracle at +1.800.820.5592 ext. 9949

The seminar will be held at:

Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles
Weds., November 30, 2011
10 a.m.–2 p.m. (includes lunch)

Business executives worldwide are using social collaboration technologies with employees, customers, and partners to dramatically improve operational flexibility and responsiveness, driving business growth and innovation.

For the last three years, AIIM and Oracle have analyzed how 65,000 community members are using social technologies. At this seminar, you’ll hear the latest research findings conducted with MIT Professor Andrew McAfee and 18 industry thought leaders.

Get valuable information that you can apply to your business, including:

  • Use cases for social technologies in sales and marketing, innovation and product development, and organizational responsiveness and knowledge
  • How companies such as Alcatel Lucent, Land O’Lakes, Balfour Beatty, and Canadian Partnership Against Cancer have implemented systems that are driving collaboration with employees, customers, and partners
  • The advantages of Oracle’s social business platform, Oracle WebCenter

You’ll also have the opportunity to network with early adopters and thought leaders regarding best practices and strategies.

Agenda

10:00 a.m. How Social Business Is Driving Innovation
Presented by Atle Skjekkeland

11:00 a.m. Solving the Innovation Challenge with Oracle WebCenter
Presented by Brian Dirking

12:00 noon Lunch and Networking
Table Discussions on Case Study Challenges

1:00 p.m. Strategies for Success Case Study—Alcatel Lucent
Presented by Keste

1:45 p.m. Final Remarks

Register Now

Contact Oracle at +1.800.820.5592 ext. 9949

Presented by:


Atle Skjekkeland

COO, AIIM

Brian Dirking
Principal Product Director, Oracle

In association with our partner


Wednesday Nov 02, 2011

It's About the User Experience!

We talk a lot about delivering a superior user experience because the effectiveness of your employees is directly impacted by usability of the user interfaces they engage with. And your company's ability to attract, retain and convert prospects into paying customers is directly impacted at their experience with your brand - in store, on the web, on mobile devices, and through feedback and chatter across the social media channels. But, we're not the only ones that see the importance of providing customers, partners and employees an engaging experience. 

If you were at Oracle OpenWorld last month, you saw mentions of various technologies that influence users all over the show. But in case you missed it, here are some highlights worth checking out.

  • During the Middleware General Session, Accenture presented their Technology Vision 2011 which highlighted that "User experience is what matters" and Hasan Rizvi interviewed the Land O'Lakes CIO about their implementation of Oracle WebCenter. Watch the presentation here:

  • Larry Ellison announced the Oracle Public Cloud and demonstrated the Oracle Social Network, which is part of Oracle WebCenter. What how this secure private network with a broad range of social tools helps streamline conversations by capturing information from people, enterprise applications and business processes to facilitate collaboration between individual users and teams of people.

Curious what else you missed at Oracle OpenWorld this year? Watch the best of Oracle OpenWorld 2011 on the Oracle Media Network. 

Tuesday Oct 25, 2011

Webinar Tomorrow - Stop Maintaining Documentum and Start Innovating With Oracle WebCenter

Join us tomorrow for our webinar - Stop Maintaining Documentum and Start Innovating With Oracle WebCenter. We will cover a number of the reasons customers are looking to move off Documentum including:

Strategic Direction – most of the leaders that made Documentum great in its day have left and the product appears directionless – there have been no major releases for years and there are none in sight

Cost – we will review a number of the factors that make Documentum costly, from administration labor to integration and upgrades to per seat costs. We will examine an example customer and show the comparison of their Documentum costs to their costs using WebCenter

Limited Use Cases – we will review a number of use cases that companies would like to address but they can’t with Documentum – use cases like web publishing, search, application integration and collaboration.

We will also discuss how Oracle WebCenter addresses these issues, and how you can trade-in your licenses, migrate their content, and start cutting costs, raising productivity, and fostering innovation at your organization.

With Oracle WebCenter, you get a single content management infrastructure that is integrated with enterprise applications such as PeopleSoft, E-Business Suite, Siebel and JD Edwards. From this one strategic infrastructure, you can create content driven applications quickly and easily, driving content into your business processes and making them more efficient and collaborative. One cohesive content infrastructure breaks down content silos, and lowers costs by reducing the amount of administrative specialization required to run multiple content management systems. The end result is your organization will be more efficient, more engaged, and a more information driven organization.

Monday Oct 17, 2011

Stop Maintaining Documentum and Start Innovating With Oracle WebCenter

This morning we are announcing a special price promotion – Documentum customers can trade-in their Documentum Platform licenses for Oracle WebCenter Content licenses. This program will enable Documentum customers to stop waiting on the Documentum roadmap and start moving forward immediately with Oracle WebCenter, the user engagement platform for social business.

In its day, Documentum was a market leader in the document management space. But customers are increasingly disheartened by the lack of vision and product improvements since the acquisition by EMC. Meanwhile, many of the older products are reaching end-of-life and will no longer be supported. Organizations are finding that they need to make a decision about whether to make the costly commitment to stay with Documentum or move to another platform.

By moving to Oracle WebCenter, you will find that you are able to significantly cut your costs with a platform that is less expensive to maintain. But more than that, WebCenter is uniquely positioned to enable you to move forward, adding value by expanding the ways content can be used in your organization. Oracle WebCenter provides more than the most comprehensive ECM offering in the industry, with out-of-the-box integrations to the top enterprise applications. It also offers social collaboration capabilities, web experience management, and comprehensive enterprise search. You can lower your costs and create move value for your organization with Oracle WebCenter.

We will go into more detail this week in further blog posts, as well as having an Oracle partner, Kapow, provide a guest blog post to talk about how companies can automate much of the migration process to make it extremely affordable, and in the process eliminate content that is no longer needed, lowering storage costs and raising productivity.

For now, be sure to register for our webinar on October 26, Stop Maintaining Documentum and Start Innovating With Oracle WebCenter. I will be joined by Joe Golemba, Vice President of Product Management at Oracle to walk through the cost savings, use cases, and migration processes in great detail, so you can plan to move-off Documentum. For more details see www.oracle.com/moveoff/documentum.

Wednesday Sep 28, 2011

Enterprise Content Management: SharePoint vs. WebCenter

You’ve heard of SharePoint, and you may have tried to use it to share content. But if you’re looking to deploy a comprehensive enterprise content management strategy for your entire company – especially if you have many organizations spread across the globe – is SharePoint really the right answer?

Today, we’re interviewing Jason Lamon, Senior Marketing Associate at Fishbowl Solutions. With over 11 years of experience in the content management industry, Jason has helped hundreds of customers develop their content management strategy, many of which have had to rationalize their use of SharePoint. Read on to hear his insight and enterprise content management strategies.

Q: What are the top five thing people should look for in an enterprise content management system?

A: Most enterprise content management systems include standard, out-of-the-box features such as check-in and check-out, versioning, and workflow. However, if you peel back the functionality layers a little further you will find that comprehensive enterprise content management capabilities are harder to come by. These capabilities include records management, digital asset management (conversions and renditions), and document imaging (document capture, forms recognition, etc.). The top 5 things organizations should consider when evaluating an enterprise content management system are:

  • Governance – manage and control access to business critical information from a central content repository
  • Scalability – easily scale (without much administration) to the growing content demands faced by organizations
  • Comprehensive – supports all content use cases (document capture and imaging, renditions and conversions, records management, etc.)
  • Integrated – provide in-context content management capabilities within other enterprise systems (enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management – for example)
  • Admin Champion – This may seem obvious, but this has been a major issue with SharePoint deployments – no oversight or accountability. Before deploying an ECM system, organizations need to identify the key person or persons that will be responsible for sustaining and expanding the system taking into consideration file naming conventions, metadata, and security.

Q: When working with customers on deploying enterprise content management solutions, do they have existing solutions or are they looking for a new enterprise content management system?

A: Every customer we work with is storing content somewhere – there’s content in applications, file systems, work groups, SharePoint, Documentum, WebCenter, etc. However, most of these solutions lead to silos of content within the enterprise. Oracle WebCenter is unique because it provides a single scalable enterprise repository that enables de-duplication and searching across all content. Unless you have a platform like WebCenter, content cannot be shared effectively across the organization while staying in synch. On the flip side, we see a lot of customers struggling with SharePoint. It’s something the organization has access to, and they store content in it. It develops into silos of content, is not integrated with enterprise applications out of the box, and the silos often go dormant, leaving incorrect information throughout the enterprise.

Q: So, what’s on the mind of the IT team at companies today that have deployed SharePoint?

A: Most organizations that are using SharePoint for document management did not make the strategic decision to do so. Instead, SharePoint was typically part of their licensing, and since they had it and paid for it, they started using it. So from an IT perspective, they didn’t have much control or planning around how it would be used and by which groups of people. This fact alone has led to SharePoint being used across organizations with sites popping up everywhere while governance is almost non-existent. So, IT teams are really struggling with balancing users’ needs for workgroup collaboration, with the IT problem of having silos of content everywhere. As a result, IT teams need to put in place a content management strategy that utilizes and maintains one repository for all enterprise content.

Q: How do you recommend companies move towards one repository for all enterprise content?

A: Well, for starters, you need to invest in an ECM system that gets rid of silos. Oracle WebCenter is a great example of this as it provides the ability to search not only all the content in WebCenter, it can enable searching of other systems as well.

Q: So if a customer already has SharePoint, how can people align their SharePoint implementations with a comprehensive ECM solution like Oracle WebCenter?

A: Industry statistics suggest that around 70% of organizations have more than one ECM system, and 50% have more than three. The objective should be to synchronize all content into one ECM system that can then integrate with all the places that people need content (including business processes and enterprise applications). This ensures the content is not duplicated and that it is available where it is needed. To simplify the integration of SharePoint content into Oracle WebCenter, Fishbowl Solutions offers a SharePoint Connector. It integrates Microsoft SharePoint with Oracle WebCenter so that any content that is added, edited or saved to a new or existing SharePoint site is automatically stored in Oracle WebCenter instead of disparate Microsoft SQL Servers. WebCenter has the scalability to handle the content, while providing strong governance from an easily discoverable repository. If the content needs to be integrated to backend applications, this is easily achieved with the many out-of-the-box connectors provided by Oracle WebCenter. Users continue to use SharePoint for work-in-progress collaboration, while increasing enterprise content control, governance, and scalability through Oracle WebCenter.

Q: How are people using the Fishbowl Solutions SharePoint Connector for Oracle WebCenter Content and what have the results been?

A: Fishbowl’s SharePoint Connector for Oracle WebCenter Content is highly configurable. Organizations can configure it per SharePoint document library and select documents to be stored in Oracle WebCenter Content by library, folder location, file size or extension. These configuration options make it easy for organizations to deploy the connector yet make it transparent to the end user. Thus far, deploying organizations have used the connector to bridge project management, digital assets for websites, and even engineering drawings from SharePoint to Oracle WebCenter Content.

By integrating SharePoint content into Oracle WebCenter, our customers now have a comprehensive and scalable enterprise wide content management system where governance can be enforced. Additionally, they’ve rationalized the content silos they previously had, and now have the added benefit of being able to easily integrate the content users are collaborating on back into their backend applications.

Q: It sounds like the Fishbowl Solutions’ SharePoint Connector for Oracle WebCenter Content is an efficient way for SharePoint users to integrate with Oracle WebCenter and start taking advantage of the many benefits this user engagement platform has to offer. How can people find out more about your connector?

A: Yes, our connector is a great way to integrate SharePoint content with WebCenter. In fact, Fishbowl Solutions’ SharePoint Connector for Oracle WebCenter Content has achieved Oracle Validated Integration. For more information please visit the Fishbowl Solutions Website. You can also visit us next week at Oracle OpenWorld in booth #1943 Moscone South.

Thanks Jason. For more information about Oracle WebCenter, visit http://www.oracle.com/moveoff/sharepoint

Wednesday Jul 20, 2011

Oracle WebCenter: Integrated for Productivity

With the new WebCenter announcement (be sure to view the webinar), many customers have asked what the impact will be for them. The WebCenter products are already integrated, as we see at customers like Balfour Beatty and CPAC.

The business problems customers are trying to solve require many elements. A user interface that can bring together applications, and can be personalized by enabling users to layout their own workspace. Access to documents and the ability to create and update content easily in familiar tools. The ability to participate in business processes, and then to spin up conversations to resolve process decisions. The ability to find experts to consult on those decisions. The ability to store those conversations as a history that is compliant with our organizational policies. The ability to discover similar content when we are searching for answers. This is the way we work today, and it is important that we can move between these tasks as part of an effortless flow of actions.

One of the key ways WebCenter is integrated is through the enterprise content repository it provides. By having a single place to store and find content, people are able to work more efficiently. This takes away the common problem of having silos of information that are not connected, forcing users to go and search through different systems for answers. With one enterprise content repository, information can be easily found. Furthermore, it can be reused in many contexts. For example, a press release that is written in Word can be found and printed out. But with Oracle WebCenter it can also be converted into HTML and published to the website. A service contract can be available in Siebel, connected to a customer record, but it can also be published to a secure space where customers can view their contracts.  A product spec can appear on our internal portal, but it can also be syndicated to a partner and constantly updated. Oracle WebCenter can easily handle all of these use cases.

The ability to move through tasks, to share content, and to be integrated into business processes improves productivity, enabling not only faster decisions, but also ensuring the right decisions. The ability to discover new information and reuse learned information where you work makes Oracle WebCenter the most integrated user engagement platform for business.

Tuesday Jul 19, 2011

Oracle Innovation Awards Extended

 

The Oracle Innovation awards nomination deadline has been extended to July 29, 2011. This is a great opportunity to get a free pass to Oracle OpenWorld 2011, October 2-6 in San Francisco. You can find out more about the nomination process on the Innovation Awards page on Oracle.com.

Some of the other benefits include:

  • Award presented to winners during Oracle OpenWorld by a senior Oracle executive
  • An Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation trophy
  • Placement in an Oracle press release
  • Placement in Profit magazine and/or Oracle Magazine
  • Oracle Excellence Award Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation logo for inclusion on your own Website and/or press release
  • Oracle Fusion Middleware podcast opportunity

Monday Jul 18, 2011

Oracle WebCenter: The User Engagement Platform for Social Business

Today this post caught our eye: Social Media Is Morphing Into Social Business, written by Beverly Macy. The move from Social Media to Social Business is something we’ve been saying at Oracle as well, where the benefits of social media can really be exploited when you integrate them with business processes. Beverly’s main point is that top management needs to move forward with these programs, and that they need to start learning how to be a social business. To get started, we have an online event tomorrow titled “Transforming Your Business By Connnecting People, Process and Content” that will address how companies are succeeding as a social business. In this event Oracle and our partners Deloitte, Capgemini, Wipro and Infosys will detail how ten different customers have transformed their businesses by combining strong processes with social and collaborative tools, to improve their overall information management, providing better customer experience, increasing productivity, and even creating comprehensive online communities for their customers and partners.

Last week we announced the new Oracle WebCenter, the user engagement platform for social businesses, connecting people and information. With this announcement the WebCenter brand covers portal, web experience management, content, social and collaboration technologies into a single product suite that can be easily integrated with enterprise applications.  You can see the announcement webcast now on-demand. 

One of the reasons for this unification is that the use cases for these products are so intertwined. When companies are looking to solve information management problems, they are often looking for a group of technologies that are now blending into a single solution. When organizations want to bring one or more application processes together with the documents that pertain to those processes, they are looking for composite applications and content management. When companies want to provide a strong marketing website, they are also looking for rich media management to bring the right assets to the site. And in some cases they are interested in injecting functionality, such as social and collaboration capabilities right into enterprise applications and business processes. These use cases all fall right into the capabilities of Oracle WebCenter. 

The Oracle WebCenter content theme includes Oracle ECM Suite, Oracle Universal Content Management, Oracle Imaging and Process Management, Oracle Universal Records Management, Oracle Document Capture, and Oracle Forms Recognition. For existing customers, there is no impact other than the fact that these products are united with the other WebCenter products under a single brand. You can continue solving problems for your employees, customers and partners using best-in-breed content management solutions from Oracle.

These product areas cover a number of use cases we typically see our customers solving:

  • Document Management Providing a repository for a workgroup, department, or the whole enterprise to store, find and update content in a managed way. With features like revision control and workflow, organizations can create and update documents in a managed way, ensuring that they are working from the latest version. This also lets them share documents across the organization, avoiding email congestion and enabling the organization to build on its existing knowledge
  • Content Publishing Beyond searching for content, Content Publishing lets you present your content as a browsable website. This is useful for instruction manuals, intranets, partner extranets, and other information-driven websites. Oracle WebCenter content can automatically convert over 500 file formats into HTML, and provides the tools to setup the navigation and flow of the website, automatically updating it when content is changed. It also provides WYSIWYG tools for content updates of web-based content.
  • Digital Asset Management Departments that create graphics such as branding and logos, magazine insert photos, or engineering graphics will love the ability of Oracle WebCenter content to automate many of the tedious tasks associated with digital asset management. You can set rules so that as new images are checked in, they are automatically converted to multiple formats - high-res, low-res, thumbnails - what ever you need. Oracle WebCenter content also provides sophisticated management for video, enabling thumbnails, conversion, compression, and integration with streaming servers
  • Records All content in Oracle WebCenter content provides strong records and retention management, enabling you to define classes and series, set retention periods, and place holds (even on physical records) from one centralized console.
  • Capture and Imaging For organizations that receive documents in paper formats, capture and imaging enable you to get that information into an electronic format and manage it. This supports many use cases, such as invoice processing, employee onboarding, and expenses to name a few. Oracle WebCenter content is integrated with top enterprise applications, so managed content can be presented in the context of these applications in accounts payable and human capital management modules.

Oracle WebCenter content provides a single repository for all of these use cases, so content can be easily found, de-duplicated and integrated with enterprise and custom applications. From an IT perspective, it provides one point of administration and can be expanded to new use cases to address all of you enterprise content management needs. Oracle WebCenter content is THE strategic content repository for Oracle, integrated with both Apps Unlimited and Oracle Fusion Applications.

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Oracle WebCenter is the center of engagement for business—powering exceptional experiences for customers, partners, and employees. It connects people, process, and information with the most complete portfolio of portal, Web experience management, content, imaging and collaboration technologies.

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