By Tanu Sood-Oracle on Sep 14, 2015
Oracle Corporation - Worldwide Headquarters, 500 Oracle Parkway, OPL - E-mail Services, Redwood Shores, CA 94065, United States
Oracle Corporation - Worldwide Headquarters, 500 Oracle Parkway, OPL - E-mail Services, Redwood Shores, CA 94065, United States
By Srinivasan Sankaran, Principal Product Manager, Oracle WebCenter Sites
Delivering seamless and consistent visitor experiences across channels is a significant challenge for marketers. In part, this is hindered by silos of disparate data and content in marketing departments and across organizations: All too often the data needed to effectively engage and personalize customer and anonymous visitor interactions, is stored in silos -- inaccessible to the tools and people that need it most... the marketers. The same is typically true of the content used on the website and in emails: it is often in separate repositories, or worse, file systems and is not shared between the different channels, creating an inconsistent user experience across email, web and mobile.
Originally released in 2011, Oracle WebCenter Sites 11g has subsequently had a couple of additional releases which have added lots of new functionality and addressed issues. The latest is 220.127.116.11 (or 11.8 for brevity's sake), and was released in late 2013.
Fatwire 7.6 (the previous version of the product) will be out of Premier Support in early 2016, which means no more Patches, Updates, Fixes, Certification or Tools and no access to other Oracle services for that version of the software.
If you’re using an older 7.x version of the product, and you haven’t already started planning an upgrade to Oracle WebCenter Sites 11g, now’s probably the time to do so.
The user interface has undergone a total redesign. There are now two distinct interfaces, Contributor and Administrator. Contributor is where editorial folk will do their work. It now has a visual editing capability, including the ability to drag and drop content directly into the page and edit in situ. The interface is now tabbed, allowing for multiple pages to be opened at the same time. It also includes improved search features. Administrator is where your power users and technical folk can work with site design and configuration, publishing, user management, mobile device setup and integrations.
There are new tools for the development, preview and delivery of mobile websites. For editorial users mobile website support provides a series of device specific previews.This gives users an indication of what the site will look like rendered in a range of devices. There’s also product support for providing device specific templates and Site Plans to allow editorial users to create device specific versions of a site. From an Administrative point of view, you can add new devices and device groups, each with their own user agent and screen sizes to allow users to preview for new device types as they’re released.
Vanity URL Support
There is now out of the box support for producing custom URLs, which used to be a custom development task most implementations needed to undertake. The ability to automatically generate friendly and stable URLs provides editorial users with much greater control over the URLs for assets, which is useful for SEO. It also provides stable URLs for things like downloadable documents - meaning the URL to your annual report won’t change every time you publish it.
The personalisation part of Oracle WebCenter Sites has also undergone an interface redesign, making it easier for editorial staff to create and recommend segmented content to users. With past versions editorial users sometimes found the creation and management process challenging - this update addresses those issues.
Modifications to the core product have historically been problematic, particularly during the upgrade process. This new framework provides a means for developers to customise the product in a supportable, easily upgradable way. Given all the new features it’s definitely worth knowing about and even trialling the new version of the software to see what new functionality is available in Oracle WebCenter Sites 11g. It’ll be useful to see how those features align with both your users’ expectations and your digital and technical strategies.
Managing the Upgrade Process
To ensure that any upgrade is a success, from both business and technical perspectives, a number of essential steps and processes should be considered.
2. Familiarise Yourself with the New Features
How many times have you discovered that the new functionality an upgrade promises isn’t quite what it seems or that you can’t use it immediately because of the way your current system is designed or implemented? Make sure you do your homework and understand at the technical level what the impact of new changes in the product will have on your system.
3. Understand your Key Business User Functionality
Make sure you know which functions of your system are used most by your users and which are fundamental to the ongoing functioning of the business.
If you don’t already have it, think about performing an audit of the functionality the system provides. This information can provide the basis of a contract between the business and the developers performing the upgrade.
4. Provide a Safety Net
Once you’ve got a handle on your current functionality and the impact of the new product upgrade it’s time to get your developers some protection. Whether it’s manual or automated you should make sure you have some test coverage of your key business user functionality.
One of the big barriers to upgrading earlier versions of the Fatwire product was how customisations to the product itself behaved. Each change made to the product needed to be assessed against the upgraded version and a choice made about how to fold it back in to the upgraded product. Oracle WebCenter Sites 11g has much better support for customisations that survive upgrades – but if you’re coming from an earlier version of the product you should make sure that all the changes that have been made to the core application are documented and assessed. This is also an area in which having some test coverage is a boon.
About the Author
Curtis Fox is the CTO at Manifesto Digital. He's a solution architect with a wealth of experience who's created publishing solutions for organizations across the globe. His recent projects include launching the National Trust’s website on a new platform and working with Avios on product upgrades. Before helping to found Manifesto Curtis was a Senior Principal Consultant at Oracle for Web Experience Management.
Our Japanese team enjoyed the infographic we created so much that they had it translated for their customers.
The Importance of Providing the Best Online Multichannel User Experience
In 2013, Google announced updates to their algorithm that would cause “Changes in Rankings of Smartphone Results”. This update can be attributed to the explosion of smartphone usage over the last five years.
One of the major questions surrounding this update was Google’s preference on mobile web content delivery. Web content can be delivered to mobile devices in three ways:
Separate Mobile Site
This method of mobile content delivery redirects users to a separate mobile URL using bidirectional annotations such as rel=“alternate” and rel=“canonical”. The mobile website will consist of completely separate HTML and CSS files and the URL is typically identified by a letter “m” subdomain. (m.yoururl.com)
Similar to the separate mobile site method, dynamic serving renders different HTML and CSS files for users but unlike the first example this is done on one URL using the Vary HTTP Header. (Section 14.44)
Responsive Web Design
The final method of delivering web content to mobile devices is responsive web design. Unlike the first two methods, responsive web design uses the same HTML files. These files are then rendered on one URL using CSS media queries to determine how the content is to be rendered on the specific device. By using this method, users are free from redirects and possible user-agent detection errors will be avoided.
Responsive web design is Google’s official recommendation for delivery of web content to mobile devices. This recommendation was released later on developers.google.com
6% of Fortune 100 companies comply with Google’s Mobile Requirements
Pure Oxygen Labs performed a mobile risk assessment of the Fortune 100 companies and found that only 6% of the companies have websites that are compliant with Google’s mobile requirements. Other report findings included:
As Google looks towards the future of mobile search, so should the rest of us.
What Are My Options?
As scary as the findings in the mobile risk assessment are for all companies, deciding what’s next and the impending change is just as scary. Choosing the right web experience management tool and partner to implement the technology are the first and arguably the toughest decisions to be made when a multi-channel web presence becomes a top priority.
Choosing the Right Web Experience Management Tool
When deciding what web experience management solution to implement, it is important to future-proof the investment by thinking long-term. Listed below are questions that can assist in determining the right web experience management solution.
Choosing the Right Implementation Partner
Redstone Content Solutions has recently become the first Oracle WebCenter Sites Specialized Partner See press release here
We invite you to review our “What to look for in your Oracle WebCenter Partner ” blog which details seven key topics to consider when choosing your WebCenter implementation specialist.
If you would like to learn more about web experience management, Oracle WebCenter Sites or Redstone Content Solutions, please contact us and we will be in touch soon.
Other WebCenter Sites Blogs:
The web is a primary channel for conducting our businesses and even managing our own lives. More information is available to people online than ever before, and in an increasing variety of digital formats. The web has also evolved to include important new channels like mobile and social, and interactive and on-the-go online experiences are now part of our everyday lives.
These factors have come together to create customers who have more choices than ever before, more influence than ever before, and greater control over their relationships with brands than ever before. And while this so called customer experience revolution has been great for consumers, this new environment poses many challenges for businesses when it comes to engaging and connecting with their customers. To be successful in this dynamic market, it’s essential for businesses to focus on delivering engaging customer experiences that drive sales and long term loyalty.
So, what are the characteristics of a truly engaging digital customer experience?
An engaging digital experience is one that is contextually relevant. Delivering a one-size-fits-all digital customer experience is no longer acceptable or particularly effective. Instead, your customers expect you to know who they are and to understand their preferences, behavior and past relationship with your brand. And they expect you to demonstrate this by delivering an online experience that is relevant and personalized to their needs.
Social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn have also changed customers’ expectations in favor of more interactive online experiences. Visitors to your site expect to participate and contribute on your web presence and to also share aspects of that experience with their social networks. Whether through user-generated content like comments, reviews or ratings, the engaging digital customer experience now requires plenty of opportunities for social interaction.
The ubiquity of mobile devices means that an engaging digital customer experience is also an increasingly mobile experience. This requires mobile enablement of the web presence, ideally reusing existing web content and sites, reformatted and optimized for delivery to thousands of different mobile phones and tablets for anytime, anywhere engagement.
And finally, the engaging digital customer experience is a connected and consistent experience. Over the course of their relationship with your brand, your customers may go online to browse, search, make purchases, or service their accounts and a number of different technologies may be involved in supporting these different types of interaction. Your goal should be to create a connected, seamless and consistent customer journey, by integrating the different technologies involved in delivering the customer experience.
Guest Post by Stephen Schleifer, Senior Principal Product Manager, Strategy, Oracle WebCenter Sites
As with many consumer-facing markets, digital experience tends to move pretty fast. Just as organizations begin to get a handle on how, where and when to best engage with their target audiences in the digital world, things begin to shift again as consumers change their online habits. However, there have been a number of trends that have been more or less constant over the past few years; some have grown steadily over time, others have been slow out of the gate, and then quickly reached a critical mass, but they have always been cornerstones of web experience management. While the following is far from representative of everything that’s going on in this dynamic market, let’s take a quick look and see what’s going on in a few key areas:
Mobile is an example of a digital experience trend that went from ‘might do’ to ‘must do’ in the space of a year (hello, iPhone), and has continued to grow in importance ever since. However, whereas a couple of years ago organizations were still wondering how to best tackle the mobile experience (mobile web, mobile apps, mobile first etc.), we’re now at a place where organizations have a better understanding of each approach, and how to apply them to drive specific business outcomes, whether that be engagement, self-service or commerce.
When it comes to mobile site management, most customers we speak with are now viewing this as an integrated part of managing their overall online experience, while acknowledging that it comes with a distinct set of requirements that may need to be met separately, depending upon specific objectives. They want to maximize efficiencies by reusing content and integrating site authoring and publishing processes across web and mobile, and by leveraging responsive design to cut down on site development and speed time to market. However, they also want the flexibility of a web experience management solution that can provide as much support as possible for mobile-specific requirements when needed, from ease of mobile template customization, to device management.
Managing content and experiences across multiple channels has continued to be a tricky problem to solve. Basically, as more online channels have emerged – from brand sites, to micro and multi-lingual sites, to email campaigns, through to mobile and social– the more complex content management has become for online marketers. Meanwhile, against this backdrop of channel proliferation, the value and function of the brand site itself began to get called into question (remember the trend of companies dropping their .coms and moving to Facebook?).
What we’re seeing now is the reassertion of the importance of the brand site; the idea of the corporate .com as a center point of digital experience. The content that drives activity on other online touch points (email offers, social promotions, microsite landing pages) ultimately points back to the brand site, where all of these channels converge, thereby centralizing marketing processes such as lead capture or facilitating deeper brand engagement.
As a part of this effort, web marketers are looking to be able to access the content that is originating from other channels (regardless of where it is stored), from within the web experience management system authoring environment, and incorporate it within brand sites to produce a more unified, cross-channel experience.
The drive to personalize digital experiences has been an interesting trend to watch; it’s perhaps the one that has experienced the most hype over time, but it has also been the slowest to take hold, as it has taken a number of years for solutions to get up to where the market needs them to be. Of course, personalization is a broad term, and it can encompass everything from targeting experiences to different customer segments, to making online search more relevant and intuitive through guided navigation, to providing tools that enable site visitors to tailor their own online experience.
One thing that is certain is that has finally reached the tipping point, where every organization we engage with has some sort of personalization initiative on their short list of digital experience priorities. That said, not all organizations want to jump in with both feet, especially when it comes to areas like content targeting. Some organizations are still choosing to start with smaller-scale experimentation, using specific pages or promotional sites as targeting test grounds. Others are taking a more committed approach and are implementing content targeting throughout the web and mobile sites. Meanwhile, a small, but growing amount are investing in fully automated, predictive solutions.
This latter area is where we expect to see the most interest and growth in the coming year. Web marketers are beginning to see the power of connecting the native targeting engines in web experience management systems to predictive solutions that can offset the labor associated with managing segmenting and targeting data through automation, while delivering higher success rates for metrics like click-throughs and conversions.
Oracle WebCenter Sites + Oracle Real-Time Decisions
Oracle’s web experience management solution, WebCenter Sites, already includes robust capabilities for marketer managed segmentation and targeting, however, a whole new level of optimization can be achieved by combining WebCenter Sites with Oracle’s decision management solution, Real-Time Decisions. Using the power of statistical data models and historical and real-time analytics, Real-Time Decisions automates what would otherwise be the manual task of sifting through volumes of customer data, determining likely and potential customer segments, and determining the best content to present to a given site visitor. As customer interactions take place, Real-Time Decisions continuously refines its data models, automatically adjusting and learning over time to achieve the optimal content selection for each site visitor. Marketers have multiple levels of control when using Real-Time Decisions. They can opt for full automation and let Real-Time Decisions handle all decision making. In this case, Real-Time Decisions infers segmentation and uses automation to make decisions about what content to display to the site visitor. Or, marketers can opt for a more controlled approach and specify performance goals that will help steer the Real-Time Decisions model in the direction of desired business objectives such as maximizing revenue or maximizing conversions. Together, Oracle WebCenter Sites and Oracle Real-Time Decisions provide marketers with the ability to determine the best approach for realizing their segmentation and targeting objectives, whether that means managing the process manually or by instituting some level of automation
Oracle WebCenter Sites + Oracle Endeca
If you’re a business that has a large product catalog, integrating faceted search into the web experience can be an effective way for potential customers to dynamically explore your site and find relevant and desired items more quickly and easily. During the product selection process, site visitors want the ability to navigate based on their own unique preferences and to view content and search results that are most relevant to them. Often, the search experience on a website frustrates potential buyers or provides them with too many irrelevant results to wade through. A solution such as Oracle Endeca Guided Search can be integrated with your WebCenter Sites deployment to optimize the search capabilities on your web presence, so you can deliver more precise, more relevant, and more complete results that help guide and influence product selection, leading to increased conversion rates and customer satisfaction.
Oracle WebCenter Sites + Oracle ATG Web Commerce
If your business model includes an eCommerce component, speeding and simplifying the purchase process is critical. A streamlined and efficient online purchase process is vital to preventing shopping cart abandonment. The purchase process can even become another opportunity for engaging customers and influencing them to purchase more or related products; it can also be structured to incentivize customers to take action now through the offer of various promotions. Oracle’s ATG Web Commerce is a top ranked commerce solution that enables you to deliver an engaging and efficient online buying experience. When combined with Oracle WebCenter Sites, these solutions bring together best-in-class web experience management and ecommerce capabilities, assuring that your site visitors have a personalized, interactive, and multichannel experience as make their way through the customer journey.
Oracle WebCenter Sites + Oracle WebCenter Portal
For some business models, online self-service is the primary channel through which business is conducted. In others, online self-service represents an opportunity to lower the cost to serve by migrating customers from high cost customer service channels to the more cost-effective online channel. Oftentimes, in industries like financial services, healthcare, or even government, you’ll want to provide your customers, patients, or constituents with both a public online presence where they can find information and engage with your organization early in the customer journey, and also an online self-service presence that enables your customers to access secure services where they can conduct financial transactions, look up personal health information or take advantage of government services. In cases like this, the combination of Oracle WebCenter Sites and Oracle WebCenter Portal is ideally suited to helping you meet both of these objectives and ultimately deliver an online experience that is unified, consistent and seamless as those visiting your web presence evolve from prospects into active customers.
On Demand Webcast: How to Connect the Online Customer Experience by Combining Oracle WebCenter Sites with Other Oracle CX Solutions
Are you providing your customers with the best possible browsing, shopping and search experiences across all your marketing and commerce websites? Successful organizations must deliver an engaging online experience that is personalized, interactive and consistent across all phases of the customer journey from research to selection to support and follow on purchases. Attend this Webcast to learn how WebCenter Sites can help you:
In today’s socially enabled, multichannel online world, individuals increasingly expect their online experiences to be targeted specifically to their interests, to be as social and interactive as their social networking experiences and to be optimized for whatever device type they choose whether a PC, tablet or mobile phone. For Web marketers, this new imperative presents a unique set of challenges when it comes to engaging with their customers online.
Oracle WebCenter Sites helps organizations meet the new Web experience management (WEM) imperative:
Oracle WebCenter Sites enables organizations to deliver a highly relevant and personalized online experience to their customers using intuitive segmentation and targeting capabilities. This allows organizations to deliver the right content to the right site visitor at the right time, maximizing up-sell and cross-selling opportunities while creating an experience that fosters loyalty.
With Oracle WebCenter Sites, organizations can make the experience on the corporate web presence as interactive and community oriented as the experience on social networks. They can also tap into the power of social networks for extending the visibility of their brand and leverage social endorsements to influence purchasing decisions. User-generated content such as ratings, reviews, comments and polls can be easily incorporated into the web presence. Social login and social sharing capabilities make it easy for site visitors to contribute user-generated content using their familiar social network ID’s. Content that site visitors like can be easily shared with their social networks in just a few clicks.
Oracle WebCenter Sites also helps organizations solve some of the challenges of multichannel delivery so they can successfully engage site visitors across online channels. Oracle WebCenter Sites enables centralized management of traditional web and mobile sites. The online experience can be easily optimized for delivery to thousands of mobile phone and tablets so organizations can engage mobile users more effectively.
Check out the video to see what it's like to experience WebCenter Sites as a site visitor:
Another important focus area of WebCenter Sites is empowering businesses to create and manage engaging online customer experiences on an enterprise scale.
In order to compete effectively and to get online initiatives to market as quickly as possible, marketers and other non-technical business users need the ability to take greater control of the creation and management of the online customer experience. To enable this, WebCenter Sites has transformed the marketing user experience so that site authoring is visual, intuitive and designed for the way that marketers want to work today. When it comes to web authoring in WebCenter Sites, what marketers see is what marketers get.
Capabilities such as comments, reviews, ratings and blogs are integral to engaging site visitors today. Additionally this kind of user-generated content enables visitors to recommend and endorse an organization to others – an invaluable marketing tool in today’s world. But user-generated content requires some level of moderation and control to safeguard the integrity of the brand. Oracle WebCenter Sites provides deep, yet simple to use moderation capabilities so that organizations can assure that the dialogue around their brand is a constructive one.
Assuring optimal performance across enterprise web deployments is a critical component of the online customer experience. With Oracle WebCenter Sites, organizations can deliver a highly scalable multisite, multilingual, and multimedia online customer experience. They can execute on a global scale without sacrificing performance. Oracle WebCenter Sites assures rapid, dynamic delivery of high-volume sites, streamlines the management of hundreds of sites, makes it possible to manage vast and complex product catalogs with ease, and seamlessly incorporates digital assets into the online experience through rich media management.
See what it's like to be a marketer using WebCenter Sites to create engaging online customer experiences:
We all have certain pet peeves about what we experience as customers. One of mine is the all too common experience of calling a customer service line, waiting an interminable amount of time for an actual human to get on the phone, providing the agent with my account information, describing my problem to that agent, and then being transferred to yet another agent because the first one can’t address my problem. Invariably, this next agent asks me to once again provide my account information and once again describe my problem. Why isn’t this information communicated to the next rep in the chain so I don’t have to waste my time and repeat myself? Or better yet, why isn’t that first line rep empowered to help me in the first place.
Many of you may be familiar with “Mind the Gap,” the omnipresent signage in the London Underground that advises subway passengers to take extra care as they cross the gap between the train and the platform. “Mind the Gap” has even become such a part of London’s iconography that you’ll often find it plastered on t-shirts or other souvenirs. The idea behind “Mind the Gap” is to raise risk awareness among passengers so accidents can be prevented, the Tube can run smoothly and riders can go safely about their business. The call center experience I describe above is riddled with what I consider “customer experience gaps” – little landmines that exist between various touch points and channels of interaction where the risk of customer dissatisfaction is high if care is not taken to make these engagements connected, consistent and meaningful. All too often, businesses fail to “mind the gaps” in their customer experience and allow them to become a source of customer pain, frustration or flight.
In recent years, customer experience gaps have only become more plentiful. When I need to make a purchase, my customer journey can take me many places: to a search engine, to a corporate website, to Facebook, or to a store. I may interact with sales people, customer service reps, and other people in my community or in my social network. Sometimes I gather information on my desktop in my office, or on my iPad from the comfort of my sofa, or from my fantastic new smart phone which is with me pretty much everywhere. And as I go about my customer journey with a particular brand, I often observe the lack of connection between the various touch points and that’s because many organizations are failing to “mind the gaps” in their customer experience.
In my opinion, these failures aren’t necessarily intentional. If fact, I think organizations are under more and more pressure to “mind the gaps” and get the customer experience right. Maybe that’s why 22% of respondents in Oracle’s recent Global Customer Experience Survey said that improving the cross-channel experience is the top priority of their organizations’ customer experience program over the next twelve months. One of the problems, however, is that most companies have created systems to address most of these channels and touch points, but they’ve often created them independently, making it difficult to maintain consistent and meaningful interactions with a customer. What companies need to do is examine the infrastructure supporting the customer experience and move away from having these disjointed silos that create customer experience gaps. Oracle can help get you there. How well are you minding the gaps in your customer experience?
Gartner continued, “Leaders should drive market transformation. 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 clear vision and a thorough appreciation of the broader context of OCO. They have strong channel partners, a presence in multiple regions, consistent financial performance, broad platform support and good customer support. In addition, they dominate in one or more technologies or vertical markets. Leaders are aware of the ecosystem in which their offerings need to fit. Leaders can: demonstrate enterprise deployments’ offer integration with other business applications and content repositories; provide a vertical-process or horizontal-solution focus.”
Oracle WebCenter, the engagement platform powering exceptional experiences for customers, employees and partners, connects people and information by bringing together the most complete portfolio of portal, Web experience management, content, social, and collaboration technologies into a single integrated product suite. Oracle WebCenter also provides the foundation for Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle Fusion Applications to deliver a next-generation user experience. To see the latest reports, webcasts and demonstrations about Oracle's web experience management solution, Oracle WebCenter Sites, please visit our Connected Customer Experience Resource Center.
In a time where customers have an increasing number of choices and an increasing level of control over their relationships with brands, what matters most is engagement. In order to engage your customers online, you need to provide them with a relevant, interactive and multichannel experience. Check out this video to see the kind of engaging online experience that Oracle WebCenter can power for your customers.
Want to learn more? Visit our Connected Customer Experience Resource Center to:
Engage. Empower. Extend.
Today’s customers have higher expectations and more choices than ever before. To succeed in this environment, organizations must deliver an engaging online experience that is personalized, interactive and consistent across all phases of the customer journey. This requires a new approach that connects and optimizes all customer touch points as they research, select and transact with your brand. Oracle WebCenter Sites combines with other customer experience applications such as Oracle ATG Commerce, Oracle Endeca, Oracle Real-Time Decisions and Siebel CRM to deliver a connected customer experience across your websites and campaigns.
Attend this Webcast to learn how Oracle WebCenter:
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.