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.

Thursday Jul 14, 2011

Ten Customer Success Stories: Connecting People, Process and Content

Yesterday we presented the new Oracle WebCenter in our online event "What's Next In User Engagement." But you may be asking yourself, how does Oracle WebCenter work? Our online event next week will not only answer a lot of these questions but also show you some stunning examples of how Oracle WebCenter enables organizations to transform their business processes by connecting people, process and content.

  • Oracle VPs of Product Management Andy MacMillan and Dave Shaffer will present a roundtable session on the problems businesses are facing and how they are addressed through the move to a social enterprise
  • Oracle Sr. Director of Product Marketing  Howard Beader and Director of Product Marketing Maneesh Joshi will each present three customer profiles on enhancing productivity through collaboration and optimizing business processes
  • Michael Matthews of Deloitte will present on how the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer created a world class website and a community for people to share information.
  • We’ll hear Leon Smiers of Capgemini discuss how organizations are increasing their agility and visibility by creating processes that are built to change.
  • Rizwan MK of Infosys will discuss a case study full of best practices in leveraging SOA and Enterprise 2.0.
  • Gopalakrishna Bylahalli of Wipro will present on bridging automation gaps and eliminating redundant steps in the process and minimizing manual intervention in the banking industry.

Join us for this multi-presentation online event to see 10 customer success stories that illustrate transformations in action.

Thursday Jun 30, 2011

Fighting Cancer With Knowledge and Community: Oracle WebCenter at CPAC

There was a great article on CIO Magazine sometime back about how Cancer Treatment Centers of America are improving patient care with technology.

And it is comforting to know you are getting state of the art care for you or your loved one when battling cancer. When patients and families take matters into their own hands, they often don't know where to turn to for information. The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer provides a one-stop shop that brings together the best information available in an easy to use website.

Beyond finding information, CPAC provides an online community that can help extend knowledge, share experiences, and let people know they are not alone.

You can hear more about this implementation from Mike Matthews of Deloitte in our upcoming online event, Transform Your Business by Connecting People, Processes, and Content. Mike is a partner at Deloitte and had first-hand experience in the CPAC implementation of Oracle WebCenter, which provides website publishing, search, and social community tools.

Wednesday Jun 29, 2011

Oracle Partners Delivering Business Transformations With Oracle WebCenter

This week we’ve been discussing a new online event, “Transform Your Business by Connecting People, Processes, and Content.

This event will include a number of Oracle partners presenting on their successes with transforming their customers by connecting people, processes, and content:

  • Deloitte - Collaboration and Web 2.0 Technologies in Supporting Healthcare, delivered by Mike Matthews, the Canadian Healthcare partner and mandate partner on Canadian Partnership Against Cancer at Deloitte
  • Infosys - Leverage Enterprise 2.0 and SOA Paradigms in Building the Next Generation Business Platforms, delivered by Rizwan MK, who heads InfoSys' Oracle technology delivery business unit, defining and delivering strategic business and technology solutions to Infosys clients involving Oracle applications
  • Capgemini - Simplifying the workflow process for work order management in the utility market, delivered by Léon Smiers, a Solution Architect for Capgemini.
  • Wipro - Oracle BPM in Banking and Financial Services - Wipro's Technology and Implementation Expertise, delivered by Gopalakrishna Bylahalli, who is responsible for the Transformation Practice in Wipro which includes Business Process Transformation, Application Transformation and Information connect.

In Mike Matthews’ session, one thing he will explore is how to CPAC has brought together an informational website and a community. CPAC has implemented Oracle WebCenter, and as part of that implementation, is providing a community where people can make connections and share their stories. This community is part of the CPAC website, which provides information of all types on cancer. This make CPAC a one-stop shop for the most up-to-date information in Canada.

Tuesday Jun 28, 2011

Connecting People, Processes, and Content: An Online Event

This morning we announced a new online event, “Transform Your Business by Connecting People, Processes, and Content.”

At this event you will learn how an integrated approach to business process management (BPM), portals, content management, and collaboration can help you make more accurate and timely decisions based on the collective knowledge across your organization.

But more than that, this event will focus on how customers have been successful transforming to a social enterprise. We’ve blogged about a few of the in the past few weeks – Balfour Beatty, New Look, Texas A&M.

This event will give you an opportunity to learn about other customers and their successes, as well as an opportunity to:

  • Watch Oracle executives participate in a roundtable discussion on the state of the social enterprise
  • Hear industry experts discuss best practices and case studies of leveraging BPM, portals, and content management to transform and improve business processes
  • Engage the experts by having your questions answered in real time

Register today and learn how Oracle Fusion Middleware provides the most complete, open, integrated, and best-of-breed solution in the industry for transforming your business.

Wednesday May 11, 2011

Three New Videos Show Oracle's Role in The Modern Enterprise

This morning we have posted three new videos. The first video is of Kumar Vora, our SVP of Oracle WebCenter and Content Management products. In this video, Kumar talks about the transformation that Information Technology is undergoing, with the consumerization of applications, the demand for mobile access, the changing methods of collaboration and the role of social media.

The second video is of Carolina Franco of The Organization of American States. The Organization of American States uses Oracle ECM Suite as a case management tool to manage human rights petitions. The OAS enables approvals and electronic signatures from remote devices like iPads.

The third video is of Brian Skapura of The American Institute of Architects. The AIA has consolidated from over 17 content management systems. Using Oracle ECM, the AIA reduced hosting fees from $4.1M to $700K in one year. They are also using Oracle Content Management as a service-based repository, wrapped in their own display engine, showing how open Oracle Content Management is for many different uses.

Tuesday May 10, 2011

E2.0 Top 20:Can Facebook or similar social networks be used to substitute or evolve your company intranet?

We're continuing on in our "Top 20 Enterprise 2.0" Questions & Answers series! In the coming weeks, we'll be posting topics around some of the challenges, best practices and strategies regarding Enterprise 2.0 adoption. We hope you'll join in the conversations!

E2.0 Top 20 #2:Can Facebook or similar social networks be used to substitute or evolve your company intranet? Or does this social craziness only help your employees to waste their time and become less productive?

"If the problem is that everyone is standing around the water cooler, the answer is not to take away the water." -- Andy McMillan, Vice President of Product Management for Enterprise 2.0 at Oracle.

Providing social network tools within an Intranet is a simple way to get additional value. How many times have you had difficulty in finding the right person or up-to-date information within your organization? Using social network tools embedded in your Intranet provides this functionality, and allows you to create pages blending this functionality with other applications and services to provide a rich and complete solution. We are talking about the Next Generation Workplace: more productive, with better knowledge sharing between staff; more profitable, with ability to coordinate working parties and project teams; more cost efficient, with reduction of multi-copy emails and peer-to-peer self-help mechanism for users. AIIM (www.aiim.org) survey “Putting Enterprise 2.0 to Work”:

  • Over 55% consider internal E2.0 to be “important” or “very important” to business success, rising to 80% for the youngest segment of survey respondents.
  • Concurrent document editing, internal micro-blogs, and profile scanning for subject experts are the E2.0 uses set for the strongest growth.
  • Knowledge-sharing is considered to be the biggest benefit by users of internal E2.0, followed by faster response to queries, and fewer multi-addressed emails.
  • Getting participation is the biggest issue for internal E2.0, particularly from senior management. Content creation outside of ECM/RM is the next biggest issue.

Oracle helps organizations move beyond the idea of simply creating yet another Facebook-like destination for its employees, and instead shaping work environments around specific business tasks. Oracle WebCenter makes it easier to share and collaborate, enabling organizations to develop and deploy internal and external portals and websites, composite applications, mashups, and social and collaboration services all tightly integrated with enterprise applications. And that makes people more productive. To learn more, please view the following resources:

Monday May 09, 2011

E2.0 Top 20: Why is there an interest in organizations becoming social?

We're kicking of a "Top 20 Enterprise 2.0" Questions & Answers series! In the coming weeks, we'll be posting topics around some of the challenges, best practices and strategies regarding Enterprise 2.0 adoption. We hope you'll join in the conversations!

E2.0 Top 20 #1:Why is there an interest in organizations becoming social? What kind of business project could justify to invest  in an Enterprise 2.0 platform?

To kick off this topic, here's a great quote from Andy MacMillan.“This is a real business value conversation; this isn’t a technology field trip. Most organizations believe their people are one of their key assets; they are the ones that resolve escalations or exceptions in the process, they’re the ones that ultimately make improvements, so if I can enable those things to happen more quickly in the context of that existing application, then I’m making that application more valuable.” Andy MacMillan, Vice President of Product Management for Enterprise 2.0 at Oracle. Adoption of social technologies impacts many business areas:
  • Online Customer Self-Service can dramatically reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction
  • Peer Production (co-production with partners, suppliers and even customers) reduces time to market for products and services and enables more rapid scale
  • Crowd-Sourcing significantly helps Research and Development
  • Broadcast Search increases the opportunity to find and test new ideas and to introduce innovative components in your offer
  • Social Commerce enables new and direct  business model towards suppliers, partners and customers
  • Social Marketing increases effectiveness of marketing campaigns reducing communication costs
How is your organization being impacted?

Oracle’s strategy focuses on integrating Web 2.0 collaborative technology into enterprise business processes and activities, structured and unstructured, to connect people, processes and content to achieve business objectives. To learn more, we invite you to view the following resources:

Thursday Jan 06, 2011

Major Analyst Report Chooses Oracle As An ECM Leader

Oracle announced that Gartner, Inc. has named Oracle as a Leader in its latest "Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management" in a press release issued this morning.

Gartner's Magic Quadrant reports position vendors within a particular quadrant based on their completeness of vision and ability to execute. According to Gartner, "Leaders have the highest combined scores for Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision. They are doing well and are prepared for the future with a clearly articulated vision. In the context of ECM, they have strong channel partners, presence in multiple regions, consistent financial performance, broad platform support and good customer support. In addition, they dominate in one or more technology or vertical market. Leaders deliver a suite that addresses market demand for direct delivery of the majority of core components, though these are not necessarily owned by them, tightly integrated, unique or best-of-breed in each area. We place more emphasis this year on demonstrated enterprise deployments; integration with other business applications and content repositories; incorporation of Web 2.0 and XML capabilities; and vertical-process and horizontal-solution focus. Leaders should drive market transformation."

"To extend content governance and best practices across the enterprise, organizations need an enterprise content management solution that delivers a broad set of functionality and is tightly integrated with business processes," said Andy MacMillan, vice president, Product Management, Oracle. "We believe that Oracle's position as a Leader in this report is recognition of the industry-leading performance, integration and scalability delivered in Oracle Enterprise Content Management Suite 11g."

With Oracle Enterprise Content Management Suite 11g, Oracle offers a comprehensive, integrated and high-performance content management solution that helps organizations increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve content security.

In the report, Oracle is grouped among the top three vendors for execution, and is the furthest to the right, placing Oracle as the most visionary vendor. This vision stems from Oracle's integration of content management right into key business processes, delivering content in context as people need it. Using a PeopleSoft Accounts Payable user as an example, as an employee processes an invoice, Oracle ECM Suite brings that invoice up on the screen so the processor can verify the content right in the process, improving speed and accuracy. Oracle integrates content into business processes such as Human Resources, Travel and Expense, and others, in the major enterprise applications such as PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel, and E-Business Suite. As part of Oracle's Enterprise Application Documents strategy, you can see an example of these integrations in this webinar: Managing Customer Documents and Marketing Assets in Siebel.

You can also get a white paper of the ROI Embry Riddle achieved using Oracle Content Management integrated with enterprise applications. Embry Riddle moved from a point solution for content management on accounts payable to an infrastructure investment - they are now using Oracle Content Management for accounts payable with Oracle E-Business Suite, and for student on-boarding with PeopleSoft e-Campus. They continue to expand their use of Oracle Content Management to address further use cases from a core infrastructure.

Oracle also shows its vision in the ability to deliver content optimized for online channels. Marketers can use Oracle ECM Suite to deliver digital assets and offers as part of an integrated campaign that understands website visitors and ensures that they are given the most pertinent information and offers.

Oracle also provides full lifecycle management through its built-in records management. Companies are able to manage the lifecycle of content (both records and non-records) through built-in retention management. And with the integration of Oracle ECM Suite and Sun Storage Archive Manager, content can be routed to the appropriate storage media based upon content type, usage data or other business rules. This ensures that the most accessed content is instantly available, and archived content is stored on a more appropriate medium like tape. You can learn more in this webinar - Oracle Content Management and Sun Tiered Storage.

If you are interested in reading more about why Oracle was chosen as a Leader, view the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management.

 

Monday Oct 18, 2010

Matching Content Lifecycle to Storage

Documents, images, e-mails and other unstructured data comprise 80% of the information in organizations. Yet, this content is scattered across many different repositories, file systems and storage solutions. In many cases, your organization might not be aware of what information you are managing. Without knowing what you are managing, you cannot ensure you are using the right storage for that content. So how can you cut your costs and improve performance by managing this information effectively?

Some interesting facts about content:


  • Content tends to get created and stored randomly in most organizations

  • It has a tendency to rot - in the short term, it might not get updated, it might not get accessed. In the long term it might get stored on a medium that stops working, in formats that we can't read.

  • As it lives in repositories or file shares, we often don't know what we are managing on these systems.

  • We can't find the content that is useful, and sometimes we find the content that is detrimental.

  • We spend thousands of dollars recreating content that is useful (See Monica Crocker, Corporate Records Manager at Land O' Lakes discuss how as a consultant she was often brought in to create content, only to find it had been created already but no one could find it).

  • Sometimes we find content that is detrimental because it is old and out of date, and we act on it, which can also be costly.

  • We often have no usage statistics on content. And without comprehensive usage information, it's hard to judge the relative value of content that is not usage tracked.

  • Content is often stored on the wrong medium - archived content is stored on magnetic media where it is costly every day to store. Magnetic media is also not a stable medium over the long term.

  • Key content cannot be replenished without a lifecycle plan.

 

Without knowing what we are managing, we can't know the value of any of the content we are storing. Part of this story is knowing usage statistics for content as it is stored and managed, and part of it is setting a lifecycle policy for content when it is created.

One of my favorite parts of Oracle Universal Content Management is Content Tracker. Tracker not only tells me what documents are being visited, it can tell me by who, by which department, and how often. I may find that a document I have written is constantly referred to. I may decide to make it more visible - put it on a page on the intranet. I may decide to add more to it, or I may decide to update it more often. Without it I am shooting in the dark about the content I create and how it is being used.

So we have all this content. The difficulty is in sifting through all the content to find the important stuff. In many cases you can base that upon metadata - the document type, the author - these can be key indicators of important content. But often you have to have other methods. A content use tracking system can be a good way to determine important content - less used content is less important. Some content is important only in the short term. A sales proposal might be important for 30 days. A marketing plan might be important for a year. Then there is some content that is not important on a day to day basis, but is important in the long term. You might not refer to your insurance policy for 40 years, but when you need it, it might be the most important document in the company.

One of my favorite stories about old documents in litigation comes from Simplot. Simplot is one of the largest private companies in the world. They make and sell food products (Sara Lee, McDonald's French fries) as well as fertilizers and pesticides. When the Fresno County water district found traces of a Simplot pesticide in the ground water that appeared to have been introduced in the 1950s, a lawsuit was ensued. Simplot's director of records management, Dave McDermott (former President of ARMA, and an Oracle Records Management customer) pulled all of Simplot's insurance policies. And upon reading them, he found a common clause that stated that "this policy covers this period of time in perpetuity" meaning that any claim against the company for that period of time was still covered. Dave served 52 insurance companies, and in a pre-trial hearing, in front of their attorneys, the judge grilled him on his records management program. The insurance firms challenged the veracity of his documents. At the end of the day, the judge conceded that it was probably the best records management program he had ever seen, and that he saw no reason to stop the suit. The following Monday, 50 of the insurance companies settled, and eventually the other two did as well, resulting in a $23 million payout to Simplot.

One reason I love this story is it depicts records management as a revenue generator. The other reason is because it illustrates how documents can be of no value day to day for decades, and then suddenly hugely important one day. Having a way to ensure you can get to them that day is a key part of our job. And that is where being able to set a lifecycle policy for content is important.

The ability for a content management system to apply its knowledge of the content to storage choices is very powerful. The content management system knows usage statistics, it also knows lifecycle metadata and retention schedules. By applying this knowledge to the storage system it can save valuable resources. If a web page is accessed frequently, it can go on flash storage. An old insurance policy can go on tape, but is still there, searchable, and can be brought back for reference in litigation. No reason to spend the electricity of keeping magnetic hard drives spinning for content that won't be accessed for 40 years.

And because these systems can automate moving content from tape to tape every decade or so, you can avoid the information rot that comes with magnetic storage. So the document will be accessible 40 years later.

To find out more about this topic, check out this week's web seminar Know Where Your Information Lives.

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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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