Thursday Mar 13, 2014

Engage Your Customers in Japanese

Our Japanese team enjoyed the infographic we created so much that they had it translated for their customers. 

Infographic: Engage Your Customers Online or Lose Them Forever

The Importance of Providing the Best Online Multichannel User Experience

PDF version available for download here. 

English version here


Monday Feb 10, 2014

Future-Proof Mobile SEO with WebCenter Sites

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Guest Blog post by: 

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

Future Proof Your Mobile Sites 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)

Dynamic Serving

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

Fortune 100 Mobile and Responsive Site Breakdown 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:

  • 66% of companies are at risk of their site ranking being downgraded
  • 11% of companies target smartphone users with responsive web design
  • 56% of companies served mobile-formatted content to smartphone searches


As Google looks towards the future of mobile search, so should the rest of us.

What Are My Options?

Mobile Authoring 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.

  • Does the solution provide multi-channel functionality?
    • Oracle WebCenter Sites’ mobile functionality empowers companies to effortlessly extend their desktop web experience to mobile devices.  Companies can effectively reduce costs by reusing existing web content, wire frames and navigation to eliminate the time and effort associated with the creation and management of mobile sites.
  • Is the software capable of rendering localized content to users?
    • Oracle WebCenter Sites excels at delivering localized content to users by rendering content in their native language through implicit and explicit information gathered by the system.
  • Does the software allow for the integration of social media?
    • Oracle WebCenter Sites allows users to log-in using social authentication enabling them to share, comment, rate, review and moderate content.
  • Will the company offer long-term support?
    • Oracle has been around for more than 35 years, employs 125,000 people and is valued at just over $80B. Oracle offers 24/7 support, employs 18,000 support staff which are located in 145 countries offering 24/7 support. 
  • Is the solution one that the manufacturer will continue to invest in?
    • Oracle employs over 35,000 product development engineers and invests an estimated $5B per year in research and development to advance Oracle products. (Source)

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:

WebCenter Sites Gets Personal – With Customers

WebCenter Sites Reporting for Duty & Ready for Localization

Are You Struggling To Create Engaging On-line Customer Experiences?



Tuesday Aug 13, 2013

Four Drivers of Digital Customer Engagement

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.


Monday Jul 29, 2013

What’s Going On in Digital Experience? The Latest in Key Trends

Guest Post by Stephen Schleifer, Senior Principal Product Manager, Strategy, Oracle WebCenter Sites

What’s Going On in Digital Experience? The Latest in Key Trends

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 Gets Practical

webcenter_sites_mobile.jpgMobile 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.

Multi-channel Gets Back the Brand Site

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?). 

Easy creation and management of multi-channel brand sitesWhat 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.

Personalization Comes of Age

Personalization comes of AgeThe 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.


Thursday Apr 25, 2013

Putting the CX Puzzle Together: Connect Customer Touch Points by Combining Oracle WebCenter Sites with Other Oracle CX Solutions

On its own, Oracle WebCenter Sites provides organizations with powerful capabilities for engaging sites visitors with personalized, interactive, multichannel experiences on their marketing websites. But for companies that are ready to embrace the power of predictive decisionsing or who are ready to start integrating different online touch points into a seamless and connected experience, Oracle's customer experience solutions can offer even more. Let's take a look at how a few of these customer experience solutions combine with Oracle WebCenter Sites.

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:

  • Unify the online customer experience by bringing together best-in-class web experience management, eCommerce, and faceted search capabilities
  • Encourage social interaction by incorporating ratings, comments, reviews and social sharing capabilities into your web presence
  • More easily ingest content feeds from your suppliers and simplify the management of high volumes of detailed product information

View the webcast.

Tuesday Apr 23, 2013

Engage Your Customers and Empower Your Business with Oracle WebCenter Sites

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:

Monday Apr 22, 2013

Mind the Gaps in Your Customer Experience

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.

Mind the Gap

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?


Friday Nov 09, 2012

Leading Analyst Firm Positions Oracle in Leaders Quadrant for Web Content Management

Gartner, Inc. has named Oracle a Leader in its latest “Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management.” Gartner’s Magic Quadrants position vendors within a particular quadrant based on their completeness of vision and their ability to execute on that vision. According to Gartner, “WCM plays an increasingly important role in business performance. It has become the central point of coordination for initiatives involving the enterprise's online presence, and these initiatives have become more sophisticated and more important to enterprises' business strategies. Thus, WCM is key for organizations wishing to execute a strategy of OCO (online channel optimization) that embraces areas such as customer experience management, e-commerce, digital marketing, multichannel marketing and website consolidation.”

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.



Wednesday Nov 07, 2012

What Do Your Customers Want in an Online Experience?

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:

  • See a demonstration of how easy it is for marketers and other non–technical business users to create and manage online experiences like the one above with Oracle WebCenter Sites
  • Hear Ancestry.com describe how they use Oracle WebCenter Sites to deliver an online experience that converts site visitors into customers and keeps them coming back to learn more about their family histories
  • Hear what analysts are saying about the exciting new and enhanced web experience management capabilities in Oracle WebCenter Sites 11g

Monday Nov 05, 2012

You Can Deliver an Engaging Online Experience Across All Phases of the Customer Journey


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:

  • Works with Oracle ATG Commerce and Oracle Endeca to deliver consistent and engaging browsing, shopping and search experiences across all of your customer facing websites
  • Enables you to optimize the performance of your online initiatives through integration with Oracle Real-Time Decisions for automated targeting and segmentation
  • Connects with Siebel CRM to maintain a single view of the customer and integrate campaigns across channels


Register now for the Webcast.

Friday Jun 22, 2012

Learn How Ancestry.com Helps Families Uncover Their History with Oracle WebCenter

Oracle Corporation
Delivering Exceptional Online Customer Experiences
Delivering Exceptional Online Customer Experiences

Ancestry.com is the world’s largest online family history resource, providing an engaging and interactive customer experience to more than 1.7 million members. With smart search technology, a wealth of learning resources, and a worldwide community of family history enthusiasts, Ancestry.com helps people discover their roots and tell their unique family stories. Key to Ancestry.com’s success has been the delivery of an online customer experience that converts site visitors into paying subscribers and keeps them coming back. To help achieve this goal, Ancestry.com turned to Oracle’s Web experience management solution, Oracle WebCenter Sites.

Join us as executives from Ancestry.com and Oracle discuss how Oracle’s Web experience management solution is helping them deliver engaging online experiences. Learn how:
  • Ancestry.com selected Oracle WebCenter Sites to meet their demanding Web experience management requirements
  • The company was able to get up and running quickly despite a complex technology stack and challenging integration requirements with legacy systems
  • Ancestry.com empowered business users to manage the online experience and significantly reduce time to market for their online campaigns and initiatives
Register now for the Webcast.
Oracle Fusino Middleware Webcenter
REGISTER NOW
Thursday,
June 28, 2012
10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET
Presented by:

Blane Nelson
Chief Architect–Applications,
Ancestry.com

Christie Flanagan
Director of Product Marketing, Oracle WebCenter Sites,
Oracle

Tuesday Feb 07, 2012

WebCenter is Essential Piece of the Customer Experience

Last Tuesday, there was an exciting and interesting webcast announcing the newest addition to the Oracle family, RightNow. The webcast: Oracle and RightNow, Powering Great Customer Experiences outlined the multiple synergies within Oracle's solutions and a peek at what lies ahead. The webcast highlights some of the key roles that WebCenter plays for management of the Marketing and Loyalty components within the Customer Experience ecosystem that includes Oracle's Fusion Middleware, Applications and CRM, Commerce & Technology Solutions.

Oracle WebCenter enables marketers and business users to easily create and manage contextually relevant, social and interactive online experiences across multiple channels on a global scale to drive customer acquisition, brand loyalty and business success.

Andy Mulholland posted an interesting commentary on Monday, "Oracle introduces game-changing integration..." with his impressions of the webcast and positive opinion of Oracle's direction, where he wrote:  

"It’s worth taking some time to look at the materials from this webcast to see their process flow charts for the front office as it’s one of the first maps I have seen of all the major processes.”

Oracle CX ecosystem

(* Pending Regulatory Approval and Close)

Andy also references a PCWorld review of the webcast with some additional detailed highlights. Note for the record that when "Oracle FatWire" is referenced - they are referring to Oracle WebCenter Sites. FatWire was acquired by Oracle in 2011 and integrated into the WebCenter offering for Web Experience Management. More details available here for those interested.

Friday Feb 03, 2012

WEM Best Practices: Page Navigation

Today’s guest post on WEM Best Practices comes from a member of our WebCenter Evangelist team, Noël Jaffré, a Principal Technologist based in France.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Introduction

Users interact with Web pages by clicking on links and submitting forms. However, behind this simplified navigation road on the web page there are four major types of page flow navigation dictating how to interact with the web site from a reader, visitor or prospect perspective. Why is the experience of reading a web site like oracle.com, OMV.at radically different than a site like gore.com, bestbuy.com, amazon.com, booking.com, or news.com.au ? Let’s try to identify the objectives of the webmaster and the benefits for the visitors.

Page Hierarchy Navigation

OMV and Oracle web site provides a top navigation web site, on the home page a few boxes to access categorized information, and on the next navigation level a vertical menu to drive down on three more levels in the three. So -- all of the information is accessible using the navigation tree. On some content in top right boxes there are cross links to access one level of related content. Basically the web site is built from a tree hierarchy, and we assemble content at every level.

Contributors assumed the visitors are minded to access the content in one unique way. And this way is their way.

Visitors have to follow a principle of navigating, designed by the web site manager. The navigation through the content is limited as there is no or poor relation between content.

Static web sites are by nature designed using page hierarchy navigation. Webmasters, when designing desktop and dashboard web sites, whether they are personalized or not by visitors, use this approach to assemble content and applications through a single web page hierarchy. Implemented within Portal technologies, it’s particularly appreciated by application developers, since there is a clear separation between the portal navigation and application page flows. It lets developers designing application logic and presentation independently from the organization of the targeted website. 

This approach is great to create a desktop environment to assemble components or to build a dashboard to have a global vision on activities, tasks or jobs.

The user engagement is as light as opening and closing a drawer to access information.

Search, Faceted or Dynamic Navigation

Google search is the best example of full text search. Here the navigation is created by the search engine. It returns a set of items, and the business users just follow the suggestions.

With faceted search like Gore.com, bestbuy.com, walmart.com sites, when visitor requests to view all products from the product page, he is requested to select a category to filter the content. On selection, the visitor is requested to click on subcategories to again reduce the list of product. The digging process ends when there are no more products available for selected categories and sub-categories.

Here content or product are arranged and organized in a tree created dynamically through the metadata data structure. There are multiple root trees associated with the metadata. Visitors dig down in the catalog using a specific root. Each business user can access the same content through multiple categories, and therefore follows their own path for navigation. A consumer is accessing the product or content using their own thoughts or knowledge about the content or product. Contributors have just to assign the right meta-data on the content and it appears automatically in multiple hierarchies. 

The user engagement is relatively limited when using a full text search. It’s a very good approach to initiate a journey. Faceted search is unique to engage business user to navigate and discover product within a catalog.

Business Navigation

Barclays, Santander, bestbuy.com, walmart.com and most of the banking or commerce web sites provide a set of functions to provide online banking, purchase products, customers services,... These functions are often named business transaction or online transactions typically for data entry and retrieval. It provides a set of screens to track a process flow. The process flow is predefined through a business process in order to achieve a complete task or action by the business user. The goal is to give a high level quality of services within a controlled process for the business user.

For banking it consist of a financial transaction such as an account to account transfer, paying a bill, wire transfer, applying for a loan, new account,... 

For eCommerce it refers to the process of placing a product in the shopping cart, and managing all the transaction flow to convert a visitor to become a buyer. A buying funnel is a term to describe the entire buying process for a consumer. It is a description that involves all the steps in the purchasing process, and also goes by the names of buying cycle, buyer decision cycle, and sales cycle. 

The navigation here is completely driven by a workflow, predefined through the analysis of a business process. So the visitor or business user has to follow the process in order to accomplish the task. 

Following this process is a need for the business user, but there is nothing fancy to accomplish this task. It has to be simple, safe, secure and very short.

The user engagement and motivation is the pleasurable emotion before the action and the perspective of the results after the transaction. The transaction and the business application has just to be done fast. It’s a “mal nécéssaire” !

Social Navigation

Amazon and booking are web sites that have extended the navigation through a social model. It refers to a user navigation guided by the activities or suggestions from the other in the same space. Let us take a situation where someone is lost in the desert. He tends to see if there were past activities, footprints from others, to help find his own way. The one is tempted to follow others having done the same activity or navigation previously.

Recommendation systems use information from purchase histories to suggest product because other buyers who already bought this item also bought this other list of products. E-Commerce engines are using feedback and ratings to highlight hotels or services based on the experiences of others. The navigation is driven by others who went on the site before.

The web experience and engagement is based on the trust and certainty.

Content Navigation

news.com.au, roularta.be, all the media and press web sites are content driven. There is a set of lists of content on the front page organized by theme, such as sport, politics, world,... information depending on the news of the day. The main page also drives the visitor directly to the main themes through a menu bar directly accessible from the top menu bar. A click on one of the pieces of content switch the visitor from a page theme view to a content item view, such as an article, a video, a product or whatever content type is available on the web site. From there the visitor gets the content item presented in the main section of the page. All the regional sides of the page are used to associate the related content item associated with the content currently consumed by the visitor. Related items are content talking about the same subjects (a set of articles), the same content presented using other media types (pictures, image slide show, video, audio player, flash,...). When reading the new content item, the user retrieves the same presentation of the content item in main section. The content is presented with a new layout for a different media type, but still with the same concept of related content.


Readers are looking for the information of the day directly accessible from the home page or specific content linked through a thematic accessible by a click on the main menu bar (politics, sports,...). The concept of related content gives the readers an infinite possibility to dig into the content data warehouse, following their own feeling or humor. 

The content navigation model is based on a view of the content type. There is one view per content type. A navigation between two articles keeps the same view, but changes the context of the view, and therefore all the related contents.

This content view model is extendable to embed contextual navigation for any object type; content, product, application or conversation.... So a view of an article already suggests related content, products, services and applications. By including the profile of the user, we personalize the related objects. Geo-localizing the visitor will help suggest local restaurants or services. The site is defined as a succession of contextual views based on object types. It’s simple to design, implement, extend and maintain.

Navigation or path to access content on the site is an individual experience, unique, and always different for each connection. Web experience and engagement are a journey!

Conclusion

As a conclusion, a good engaging web site will use a combination of multiple flow navigation. In a competitive market place understanding customer’s needs become an important factor. As a result, companies have moved from a product-centric to a customer centric position or customer oriented marketing. It’s more difficult to make their physical products differ from their competitors than before.  It’s not only about business transactions that involve ordering and payment. One of the most important ways to gain superior profitability is the delivery of electronic communications, information exchange about the products and delivery, and last but not least, superior customer service. 

In such new modern web sites, search, parametric search and content navigation are used to attract, identify, anticipate and satisfy customer requirements. Funnel navigation takes a visitor from the previous internet advertising, a search system, or navigating e-commerce web sites to convert him as a customer and finalize the transaction in a closed path.

Thursday Feb 02, 2012

7 Best Practices of Web Experience Management

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alakh Verma

7 Best Practices of Web Experience Management

Alakh Verma, Director, Platform Technology Solutions, Oracle

In my recent blog posts, I shared insights on personalization andpersonalized care that plays significant role in offering pleasant user experience (Personalization: A Key Tenet of User Engagement) and then on importance of Portal and Content (If Content is the King, then Portal is the Queen). In this post, my efforts are to identify and summarize some of the best practices of Web Experience Management(WEM) to create delightful customer experience based on the recent research report by CITO Research.

This report is available here:
Create a Successful and Meaningful Customer Experience on the Web


7

The immense success and proliferation of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and mobile/smart devices such as iPhones, Blackberry and Tablet PC among consumers has created consumerization of IT and new paradigm shift seeking pleasant web experience. Now, consumers have become more powerful than before with access of information and social media to communicate to the world at the fingertip.

1) Social Computing and Use of Social Mediais changing the way people interact with each other and with companies online. A recent report from Comscore showed that two-thirds of shoppers begin their process online, and the most frequent starting point is the retail site itself. These consumers are engaging, connecting and collaborating. They want to understand what their friends liked, what other options are available, and what people like them ultimately bought. Most of these consumers consider Facebook recommendations when making decisions about purchasing.
Jeff Bullas in his recent blog writes about Best Buy successful implementation of social media that energized its employees and customers (
How Best Buy energized employees and customers with social media)

2) Consistent Experience Across Multiple Channels and Devices have offered Customers many choices of accessing the Web in new, engaging and collaborative ways than before and they want that ease and diversity to be reflected in their dealings with businesses as well. Consumers change channels and switch devices whenever they need to. They can keep tabs on friends and family on Facebook and follow the Twitter regularly. They can find a nearby restaurant with foursquare geolocation on their phone and then look up reviews of that restaurant on Yelp.
With changing consumer patterns and behavior, it is extremely important to offer targeted, personalized, relevant and consistent experiences across these channels and devices.

3) Mobility-Smart Devices and Tablets We have witnessed a smart revolution of the mobile space. As per the recent statistics report, the number of mobile devices has increased fivefold from 1 billion to 5 billion, with a resulting escalation in the number of connected people from 400 million to over 2 billion. This unprecedented growth of connectivity is creating an overwhelming range of new possibilities, and tapping, swiping, locating, pinging and socializing are quickly becoming part of normal human behavior. Technology is starting to change people and these people, whether consumers or employees, will change businesses. As per recent report by research firm IDC, mobile usage will surpass that of PCs and other wired devices by 2015. Mobile data traffic is expected to increase 26-fold between 2010 and 2015. In this rapid shift, mobility has to be the integral part of the solutions and the framework.

4) Real Time Decisions and Social Analytics The recent technology such as big data analytics helps and supports us with right information, real-time event messaging provides at right time, mobility at right place anywhere and social media in the right context to make right decisions. I have shared my insights on my earlier post on how critical are Real Time decisions in business today? http://t.co/H6Yf0J9k

5) Personalized Experiences In the connected business environment, consumers expect companies to know about them and their likes and dislikes. For a compelling and relevant experience across channels, companies need to target, analyze, and optimize the customer experience. I had discussed and shared insights on this personalized experience in my earlier post (Personalization: A Key Tenet of User Engagement)

6) Multiple Stakeholders Need Control Expectations for system usability and manageability have changed manifold. Marketers and line of-business executives require that managing websites be extremely easy to manage their campaign and relevant content to meet the timely execution Nontechnical users need to be empowered to build websites, design the layout, make content changes, set up targeting rules, control user-generated-content, and enable the mobile web, all from an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. (Oracle WebCenter Sites based on FatWire acquisition enables this seamlessly.)

7) Integrated Campaign to Drive Customers In order to create a compelling web experience for customers, we need the ability to organize and access their enterprise data and leverage it in web interactions. We need a technology platform that helps create an integrated campaign to encourage repeat business suiting consumer lifestyle either at work or on the road on an iPhone or visiting a physical store or calling customer service.

Oracle WebCenter is one of the leading technology platforms that offers comprehensive web experience management capabilities such as targeting and optimizing content, social computing, and multichannel engagement—all of which help improve customer loyalty, drive web traffic, and target new customer segments. In one integrated suite, it combines an array of complementary capabilities: web experience management (Oracle WebCenter Sites), composite applications and mashups (Oracle WebCenter Portal), social networking and collaboration (Oracle WebCenter Social), and enterprise content management (Oracle WebCenter Content).

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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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