Wednesday Feb 29, 2012

Social Business and Innovation

I promised on Monday a follow up post from John Mancini on his thoughts of the AIIM/Oracle Social Business Seminar series. Please find John's insights below -- we welcome any comments you might have!


John Mancini By John Mancini, President of AIIM

I will admit to breaking one of my cardinal February travel rules when Oracle asked me to speak at the Social Business seminar series - don't travel to anyplace very far north in February.  But whether thanks to global warming or just the serendipity of an unusually warm winter, I can say that the weather for my 4 cities in 2 weeks Oracle tour (Toronto, Washington, Atlanta, and Minneapolis) was uneventful (except for a short flare-up in Minnesota).  While the weather was uneventful, the content was anything but. 

My focus was on three factors that are driving organizations to think more strategically about the intersection between content, social, and process: 1) How are content management and Enterprise IT being changed by social technologies? 2) How are social technologies being used to drive innovation and transform processes? and 3) What are the implications of this transformation for information professionals?  The presentation link is here.

In order to have long-term impact, social technologies must ultimately drive Systems of Engagement (http://www.aiim.org/futurehistory).  They must ultimately be incorporated into the fabric of an organization and link back to the core processes and information repositories that drive the business.

At each event, an Oracle executive shared their perspective on the changing nature of customer, partner, and employee engagement, and the repositioning of Oracle's offerings under the WebCenter umbrella to tap into these engagement opportunities. Ultimately, the impact of social technologies on organizations is not the technologies per se, but how they impact customer, employee, and partner behavior.


On the employee and partner side, the key questions to think about are: How do social technologies improve productivity? Increase retention? Improve customer service? Improve accountability?

Some of the core questions to think about relative to the impact of social technologies on customers are whether and how they drive them to do the following:
  • Purchase your products more quickly
  • Purchase more of your products
  • Recommend your products
  • Share feedback with you
  • Spend more time and attention with you

John Mancini is President of AIIM (http://www.aiim.org) and blogs under the title "Digital Landfill".   He is an active participant on multiple social networks (usually as “jmancini77”), and is the author of a series of "8 things you need to know" e-books.

Monday Feb 27, 2012

Webcast: Stuck in Your SharePoint Shell? Break Free with Oracle WebCenter

Imagine if your employees could easily share information across your enterprise. Imagine if they could also automatically deliver targeted information to potential customers—and connect them with the right partners. That’s the kind of enterprise collaboration and efficiency you can expect with Oracle WebCenter—but not Microsoft SharePoint. So is it any wonder why more and more businesses are making the switch to Oracle? 

Join us for this Webcast as we share results from surveys of customers to see how Oracle WebCenter:
  • Seamlessly integrates collaboration with business processes and activities 
  • Provides the only comprehensive user engagement platform today 
  • Delivers a superior level of enterprise collaboration and efficiency 

Date: Thursday, March 8, 2012 
Time: 10:00 AM PST 

Speakers:

  • Howard Beader, Sr. Director of Product Marketing , Oracle WebCenter
  • Trevor Niblock , Director, WebCenter Sales Support, Oracle

Oracle/AIIM Social Business Seminars: Wrap Up

John ManciniKellsey Ruppel

Last week we wrapped up the Social Business Seminar series with AIIM. I had the opportunity to host the event in Minneapolis and of course it hasn't snowed at all this winter, and we happened to get a nice “snowstorm” the night before -- perfect for driving in from Wisconsin. Good thing my Jeep has 4 wheel drive, as I wasn't going to let a little snow get in the way of what shaped out to be a day filled with interesting discussions and conversations around social business. John Mancini, president of AIIM, kicked off the day with a talk on Social Business and Innovation – focusing on how we are moving from systems of record to systems of engagement to innovation. John is going to be guest posting later in the week with his thoughts, so be sure to check back!

After John set the stage, I gave a presentation on how you can solve the innovation challenge with WebCenter. I talked in depth of the key trends today that we see impacting us as consumers, our expectations and how we do business. It was really interesting to see some “ah ha” moments and head nods as we tied this whole idea of social business together – and how important it is to have the proper technology to do so.

Jim Freeland of Medtronic and Jason Lamon of Fishbowl Solutions rounded out the day with an overview of how Medtronic is using WebCenter to enable their sales teams to access information on the iPad. Back in 2010, Medtronic was the largest commercial user of the iPad, and it was neat to see how WebCenter provides the technology that is ultimately helping in Medtronic’s mission of alleviating pain, restoring health and extending life. If you want to get more details on what Medtronic is doing, you can hear directly from Jim in the video below!

I would highly encourage you to attend an event like this or others that Oracle puts on. You can’t beat the interaction and discussions and the chance to network with your peers. We are hoping you’ll join us in the Conversations!

Friday Feb 24, 2012

Is Social Business an Evolution or Revolution?: Webcast Q&A

Christian Finn

Thank you to those of you who attended the first webcast in our Oracle Social Business Thought Leaders series yesterday.

Christian Finn and Andy Mulholland shared their thoughts on whether social business is an evolution or revoltion. Andy hit home on the fact that technology is at a crossroads today. It has always played a key role in spearheading business success and continues to be a driving force for impacting innovation and change. He went on to explain that the key to enabling business innovation is recognizing the shift from the computer being at the core of technology development to people becoming the central focus. 

We had some great questions that came up, and here is a recap of them below.

What requirements are needed for organizations to become "social businesses"?

Mulholland: In common with many others who have experienced using social networking in their day to day activities I believe the change is as much cultural as organizational, telling people to use a social network seldom works, as for most people the first question will be ‘does this help me in my daily work’. Asking them to spend extra time monitoring a social network in addition to email wont encourage them, instead look for knowledge workers in a part of the enterprise that is sufficiently large that the target group of knowledge workers won’t know all the members of the social network. These environments gain most from Social networks as the questions and events are ‘unstructured’ and require the experience and tacit knowledge inherent in the members and the ability to interact and exchange information between people who are unknown to each other around the topics represents a clear difference from e mail. In such a community email usage can be expected to drop by up to 40% thus encouraging more and more people who are knowledge workers to see this as their principle means of communication. This effect then tends to draw in non knowledge workers who find this is a better medium to get their periodic questions answered.

Is there a difference between Social Business being a revolution socially vs economically? Will this change total economic output or just distribute it differently?

Finn: It will definitely distribute things differently.  It is probably too early to tell whether it will raise overall economic output. But certainly, businesses that are more effective in the social dimension will reap greater rewards.

Do you think social media tools will replace email at work?

Mulholland: No I don’t in the foreseeable future is the simple answer any more than the use of paper based intercompany communication has been superseded by email. There is a place where each adds value and in one to one communication as an example email works well and that tends to mean that senior management is happy to continue to use it in their ‘structured’ work around the key business managers activities which is well known to them. The question is longer term if that will continue to be a separate tool or will, as is happening in social communities, the ability to operate a person to person private communication do away with the need.

Does Social Business imply that a firm’s thought-leaders and experts become tangible or at least monetized assets? (i.e. does the fact that I have an expert visible to the consumer relate to a dollar value?)

Finn: That’s a good question. They definitely have economic value, however quantifying the value is hard. And that value is increased because social media extends the reach of your influentials. Interestingly there’s been at least one case of a person leaving a company causing a legal debate about who ”owns” his followers and their goodwill-- the spokesperson or the firm.

In your opinion, what do managers fear most about social media use in organizations?

Mulholland: Loss of control!!!  And inability to use the technology showing up their own limitations as a secondary ‘quiet’ challenge. Btw both these challenges also occurred when email was being adopted in the mid 90s around the changing business model that ERP under Business Process Re-Engineering introduced and drive the adoption of email to communicate outside departmental structures and along the process threads. Today an event driven front office responding to the diversity of market and customers activities using social tools for answers seems just as dangerously outside the established management communication structure. In practice the whole goal is to answer the questions and responses in a manner that can align this unstructured environment with the established structure and working practices of the enterprise and its processes and knowledge Management.

How do we get a more accurate social representation of feedback as it tends to be more to the extremes of very good or very poor. In the middle, folks do not seem terribly interested in participating?

Finn: It depends on where the feedback is being given. In general, contexts that have strong reciprocity will tend to have solid feedback. Such as within a community of interest or practice, whether that’s formal or not. On the other hand, anonymous Internet comments are the Wild Wild West. Within organizations, requiring people to give feedback under their real names does improve quality, but it tends to skew toward positive only, with few low scores.

In organizations, what business functions get the most value from social media tools? (Marketing & Sales, Communications, KM, Product Development, IT)

Mulholland: The broad answer is front office where the work is unstructured and the number of people is sufficiently high that nobody will know all of their colleagues by name or role, in these environments the ability to ask a question that will be automatically be directed to the community with the relevant expertise and avoid wasting the time of everyone who is not involved is a double win. I.e. on one hand the people whose knowledge you are seeking will be able to respond and on the other the remainder will not have their time wasted. Email reductions of 40% seem to be common and leave people with the time to do their real job!! But there is a further win, analysis of the social networking conversations and flow reveals new insights into what is really happening in this complex area, as an example the oracle Utilities Service engineers suite allows field engineers to share knowledge and experience but also to analysis this to gain new insights into what is happening in terms of types of faults, ways to solve problems, who has which knowledge and experience etc. all very real and important new insights into vitally important human centric activities that was not previously possible.

Do you feel the younger generation has different expectations/opinions on bringing social media tools into the business?

Mulholland: There is little doubt the sub 30 or may be 35 years old people grew up on line with the internet, web and increasingly with a different view to how they communicate, share and learn. To them it is natural to work in real time, to find information from others, to place views into social networks, and frankly to expect to be in a social networked online environment. Indeed their expectation of this is so developed that if a company doesn’t provide this environment they will find ways to create it on public social networks. This will rob any enterprise of the all important ability to gain information and insights to offer very real levels of improvement to their levels of interaction with customers, markets etc. I liken it to the service engineers or the sales people going into a locked room to discuss all important aspects of their work and how to improve it whilst keeping the management out of the room, crazy but quite literally what happens in enterprises that don’t wake up to the value social tools bring.

If you missed the webcast, you can catch the replay here and the slides available as well! Be sure to keep up with Andy and Christian as they continue on in the conversations about social business! 

Thursday Feb 23, 2012

Social Business: Oracle at the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit

Oracle is proud to be a Platinum sponsor of the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit March 12-14 in Orlando, FL. The theme for this year's conference is "Always On: Anytime, Anywhere, Everything, Everyone". As we've been discussing this week about Social Business and the emerging challenges such as the transition to mobile and enterprise-level social networking platforms, this is a great opportunity for greater understanding and how to get started. The 2012 Summit provides you with the tools and insights to maximize PCC potential and meet with Oracle experts in a variety of sessions, including demonstrations during the showcase receptions.

  • Oracle Solution Provider Session - Tuesday, March 13 at 9:45am.
  • Oracle Solution Showcase Reception - Stop by the Oracle booth to see live demonstrations of WebCenter and enter to win an iPad2!
  • Oracle Face to Face Meetings

Oracle Provider Session: Here today, gone tomorrow – Engage Your Customers or Lose Them!
Keeping customers happy and engaged isn’t as easy as it used to be. Today’s successful organizations need to engage customers across web, mobile and social channels to drive loyalty and growth. Optimizing online engagement requires facing significant new challenges in our increasingly complex, always connected, anytime, anywhere, multi-channel, social world.  Join us to learn more about how you can harness the online channel to deliver a customer experience that will drive your success.

Speaker:

  • Loren Weinberg, Vice President of Product Management and Strategy, Oracle WebCenter

Key Benefits of Attending:

Through analyst sessions, problem-solving workshops and end-user case studies, you'll gain the insight to:

  • Maximize PCC investments and initiatives
  • Migrate to mobile environments
  • Know when to use cloud and SaaS options
  • Update content management best practices
  • Advance the user experience of your portables
  • Get started with social software initiatives
  • Understand how PCC impacts organizational dynamics
  • Use analytics to improve business processes

Will you be attending the Gartner PCC Summit? Be sure to follow the #gartnerpcc and #webcenter hashtags for updates! We'd love to meet with you to discuss your social business use cases! 

Wednesday Feb 22, 2012

New Releases of Oracle WebCenter Available

Today Oracle released 11g Release 1 (11.1.1.6) for Oracle WebCenter. This release is mainly targeted at releasing customer bug fixes. However, we have added a few additional product enhancements that demonstrate our continued goal of driving continued innovation for our customers. In spite of the fact that this is simply a patch set release, there are new features that are being developed that can’t wait to see the light of day and are being brought to market. We have a lot of customers who are excited about these features and are looking forward to putting them into play immediately. Over the next couple of weeks we will be sharing information regarding enhancements for both WebCenter Content and WebCenter Portal in greater detail. For today we wanted to offer a high-level list that will notify folks of the new capabilities.

For Oracle WebCenter Content, we have added additional product enhancements in user engagement, content enabling applications, and infrastructure. To get more detail and to follow the ensuing blog posts on these WebCenter Content features, check out the Oracle WebCenter Content blog. You can download the new release on the OTN page for WebCenter Content.

There are also a number of new capabilities and certifications available for Oracle WebCenter Portal as part of this release including dynamic role support, pagelet producer enhancements, and new certifications. To get more detail and to follow the ensuing blog posts on these WebCenter Portal features, watch the Oracle WebCenter Portal blog. You can download the new release on the OTN page for WebCenter Portal.

As always, we look forward to your feedback and input into how we continue to invest in enhancing the market leading user engagement platform. Please share your ideas here in our blog comments.

Social Business: Evolution or Revolution?


Christian Finn

By Christian Finn (@cfinn)

At the Enterprise 2.0 show in Boston three years ago, I made a splash during the keynote panel by arguing that social business was evolutionary, not revolutionary. This wasn’t the most popular stance at the time, and it was back when I was with Microsoft, which wasn’t the most popular vendor at a conference dominated by startups. I sure did get a lot of attention though and whether people saw social business as an evolution or revolution became an informal theme of that conference and led to some very interesting and fun debates with social thought leaders such as Ross Mayfield, Thomas Vander Wal, Dion Hinchcliffe, and many others.

Fast forward three years later, and the evidence suggests that I was wrong. Social business really is a revolution, one that is causing rapidly accelerating change in how companies and customers engage with one another and how employees work together. The perception and rate of change is, however, being experienced differently between line of business units on the one hand and organizational IT on the other.

The business side is eager to seize on innovations that can help improve marketing, sales, customer service, and brand reputation. iPads, for example, are becoming a necessity for sales and field service personnel in many organizations, and if these aren’t being supplied by the company, the sales people are bringing their own tablets to work—and demanding that the applications they need from the back office run on those iPads. Bloomberg recently cited an IDG Connect survey which found that 51% of managers say they always use the iPad at work, 40% say they sometimes do, and 79% said they use the iPad for work outside of business hours. Business users are at the gates of IT with torches—on their iPads.

IT, however, is more reticent to adopt social tools, at least outside of IT itself. Enterprise 2.0 as a term, after all, was coined by Andy McAfee after studying a bank’s IT department’s use of social tools in this seminal paper that started it all. But the consumerist convergence of social, mobile, local, and cloud technologies challenges long held IT paradigms of command and control, locked down systems, systematic rollouts, and long cycle application development. These approaches have served well in the era of client/server and with large application deployments such as ERP. But they don’t fit with the emergent, chaotic, rapidly changing consumerization era in which we now find ourselves, so different from even just three years ago. It is a huge shift, for example, to think of your intranet as a large set of individual apps served up to mobile devices based on user need and interest—the way people consume apps today in their personal lives—and not as a monolithic portal that’s PC centric and is one size fits all, with most of the content touched by a minority of users.

A telling illustration of the conflict for IT comes from a conversation I had with a CIO of a major outsourcer at a tradeshow when the iPad had first come out. We were talking technology and he ticked off the list of all the reasons why he would not write iOS devices into outsourcing his contracts. They weren’t secure enough, the CIO said; he couldn’t get a confirmed wipe of application data, and without that his firm was exposed to liability for data loss in the event of lost devices. And so, if you were a client of his firm, your employees would not be able to use iPads. After we wound up that discussion, I offered to find a time at the show to demo a new device we were working on privately. The CIO said, “sure, let me see what times I have available”, and promptly proceeded to open up his iPad to schedule our meeting!

Anyway, you don’t have to take my word on the subject of whether social business is an evolution or a revolution in how we work today. This week we have invited Capgemini’s Global CTO, Andy Mulholland of Capgemini, to share his perspectives in our first Oracle Social Business Thought Leaders Webcast Series webcast tomorrow at 10:00am PT. Andy has given a lot of thought to the implications of social disruption for both business and IT, and this week in our webcast he’ll discuss these in detail and offer frameworks for business and IT to come to the same mental model and work together in this new era of computing.

If you are not familiar with Andy’s work , he was rated one of the top 25 most influential CTOs in the world in 2009 by InfoWorld and his Capgemini CTO Blog has been voted as the best Blog for Business Managers and CIOs each year for the last three years by the readers of Computing Weekly. Andy’s role at one of the world’s largest global technology consultancies gives him a unique vantage point to see changes across many industries around world. Our webcast will cover plenty of thought-provoking ideas, and I hope you’ll join us.

Meanwhile, vive la révolution sociale!

Monday Feb 20, 2012

Social Business: Join the WebCenter Community!

In talking this week about Social Business, we want to ensure you are connected with us! Do you have Facebook or Twitter? Are you looking for product updates, marketing events, customer success stories & other WebCenter related information? We invite you to join in the conversations with the over 325,000 WebCenter community members that are already engaging with us!

We look forward to interacting with you through these various channels! 

Introducing the Oracle Social Business Thought Leaders Webcast Series

Christian Finn

By Christian Finn  (@cfinn)


A few months ago when I joined Oracle, I introduced myself as an evangelist for Oracle WebCenter and promised that you’d be hearing more from us in the future.  I am pleased to announce today that the future has arrived with this week’s launch of the Oracle Social Business Thought Leaders Webcast Series. Featuring thought leaders and opinion shapers drawn from the social, web experience, portal, content management, collaboration, and mobile markets that WebCenter serves, this brand new webcast series is intended to bring the best thinking on the subject of social business to you, free of charge, on demand, and absent any sales pitch.

Sure, we hope that the series generates goodwill and consideration of Oracle in your technology buying decisions.  We are making major investments in product development and by acquisition to offer WebCenter as the best-of-breed user engagement platform for social business in a crowded marketplace.  Yet we firmly believe that customers don’t buy products as much as they buy a long term strategy with a trusted partner; and fundamental to buying into a strategy is having a deep and current understanding of the issues, challenges, and potential of a world rapidly being reinvented by technology.  So offering you the unbiased thoughts and opinions of wise people who can help you, as an IT or business leader, navigate the swift currents of change we all face today—seems to us like a great place to start.

And so in that spirit, we are very pleased to kick off the series this week with Andy Mulholland, the Global CTO of Capgemini.   If you are not familiar with Andy, he was rated one of the top 25 most influential CTOs in the world in 2009 by InfoWorld and his Capgemini CTO Blog has been voted as the best Blog for Business Managers and CIOs each year for the last three years by the readers of Computing Weekly. Andy’s role at one of the world’s largest global technology consultancies—Capgemini has over 115,000 employees doing technology projects in more than 50 countries around the world—gives him a unique vantage point to see changes across many industries around world.

I hope you will join us for our inaugural webcast this Thursday, February 23 at 10:00am PT and keep coming back every month for a new speaker and topic.  And we’d especially love it if you would use the comments here on the blog to suggest speakers and topics you’d like to hear from.  We’ll also take questions in the webcasts and answer them here on the WebCenter blog, so please join us in the conversation! 

Join us for our Social Business Thought Leaders webcast series featuring industry experts with leading perspectives about how social tools, technology and the changing workplace are affecting businesses today. 



Friday Feb 17, 2012

Focus on the Easy Adopters, the Rest will Follow

As we wrap up this week on Social at Oracle, today’s guest post comes from David Christopher. David heads up Oracle’s EMEA Social Networking & Business Collaboration (SNBC) programme along with leading one of the executive programmes and Content / Portal Management. This post was originally featured on David’s StopThinkSocial site.


Social adoption strategies are not easy to implement in ANY business, and if anyone tells you differently they are lying!

The reason? 

How can you convince people to change their communication and collaboration processes and implement a new social business infrastructure, when in their eyes the current model is not broken?

Let's see if any of these arguments sound familiar to you...

  • "What is the ROI of 'Being Social in the Workplace' anyway?"
  • "Social? That means I need to learn even more tools huh?"
  • "So you want my workforce to spend all their time on Facebook?"
  • "I'm already social, I sent a tweet last year"

These are what we call Social Barriers, the human instinct blockers based on fear.

Overcoming the fear of change is not easy and yes it is a generation thing. The younger generation are entering business with a good knowledge and understanding of social without the added baggage of pre-defined traditional business processes. Adoption is therefore natural and unforced.

So how do you overcome these Social Barriers in the workplace?

Focus on the Easy Adopters, the rest will follow...

There are are couple of ways to face these Social Barriers, and deliver a social adoption strategy:

  1. Face them head on - provide use cases, and counter arguments to defend your position and show that 'Being Social' is nothing to be afraid of. Convince them that it will INCREASE the productivity of your workforce, IMPROVE the collaboration opportunities and STREAMLINE their communications

2. Focus on the Easy Adopters, the rest will follow - work with those in the organisation who see the vision and are ready and willing to change. This will help you refine your social adoption strategy and create new Ambassador's. The more Ambassador's you have the easier the Social Barriers will come down

The latter is an approach I have had a lot of success with, which has also helped influence C-Level buy-in.

You could choose either of these approaches or you can do both in parallel, just don't be afraid to change tactics if you find an approach is not working for you.

Every business WILL go social, it's just a matter of when, and how you approach it...


To read more from David, please visit his website. Have a great weekend!

Thursday Feb 16, 2012

OraTweet – Information Matters to Virtual Information Services (VIS)

Following up on Christy’s post about Virtual Information Services (VIS) move to WebCenter, Christy is back to provide an overview of OraTweet and its use within VIS.


OraTweet is a micro-blogging platform internally at Oracle that allows employees to broadcast a message to a wide audience, share information, collaborate, learn, and connect  – it’s basically like our internal Twitter. We are allowed 256 characters and the messages can be viewed by anyone or by users that choose to “follow” the user/group handle.

Microblogs often represent current activity, thoughts, questions, or news-feeds from a
given source and allow for short content which is easier to read and respond. With that, the Oracle Virtual Informaiton Services (VIS) program decided to leverage this social enterprise tool to connect with and share with Oracle employees.

VIS is an Oracle HR program within the Organization & Talent Development (OTD) organization enabling all Oracle leaders and employees by providing them with high quality information services to learn, innovate, develop, make effective decisions, stay competitive, and grow the business. VIS is centered around ensuring employees are connected with the right information, knowledge, and internal expertise to drive decision making, learning and enabling collaboration and knowledge sharing - “Good Information = Smart Decisions = Better Business”. VIS is powered by Oracle WebCenter.

OraTweet was a great fit to help VIS meet its goals and has allowed VIS to connect with employees across the globe where information is critical to their daily work. VIS can share information, ask questions, respond to information questions, participate in other OraTweet conversionats, and quickly reach a very broad audience for so many information management related activities.

This means of communications and collaboration is like no other. We can also integrate the OraTweet feeds into other sites and enterprise social sites – connecting the messaging and conversations.


Here are a few VIS OraTweet examples of the value to Oracle's business because of the availability of these social programs – thanks to Oracle's Social Networking Business Collaboration (SNBC) team!

  • A senior director that I met from a single OraTweet post about a business book summary, invited me to speak about VIS to a team meeting which resulted in 2 other webinars to related teams (now, more employees are aware of the information to enable their work). This senior director and I are working on information alerts for him to stay informed about key areas of interest to him, small research efforts, a relationship where I can support his information needs and that of his teams more proactively - this will lead to more connections and more usage of and awareness of information services and hence impact to Oracle's business.
  • VIS posted information about the availability of an eJournal service (this one was a very general and broad message). It was re-tweeted by someone in EMEA and then questions asked by another person/team in APAC on OraTweet and therefore a connection was made which would have not been made w/out these social media tools.
  • Oracle conducts weekly chats on various topics (every Friday) called SocialChats where employees pick and vote on the topic and then employees gather via OraTweet to discuss the topic (managed by the SNBC team). Virtual Information Services (VIS) lead a topic on information needs. It was a great way to gather interested employees from all over the world to discuss the topic, connect, share with them and have them share with me - and have great conversation around information needs. Great use of social media.
  • VIS had a request via an OraTweet conversation with an employee regarding an eBook service and publisher needed for Oracle business. Ultimately the result was getting access to that publishers books on Oracle technologies in the eBook service. The discussion was open and available to all Oracle employees since it was on OraTweet and the result was important content being made available to the organization.

The viral effect of these connections and the business efficiencies that spiral after the connections are made are so valuable. In addition, the global span of the connections that can take place because of active participation with these enterprise social tools allows for strong business, productivity, collaboration, and for VIS, a better program for Oracle employees and higher impact to the business.

Wednesday Feb 15, 2012

SNBC – Driving Social Adoption Inside Oracle


Today’s post comes to us from Frank Bradley. In this post, we want to highlight how this team was able to utilize social technologies and methods to get groups at Oracle to collaborate more efficiently and effectively together.  Frank works for the Oracle EMEA Social Networking and Business Collaboration (SNBC) Team. The team was founded in late 2008 with the following vision 

To create a socially connected Oracle where collaborative working across geographical locations, lines of business, and management chains is second nature, enabling innovative solutions to business challenges.

Our primary remit is to work with and support the EMEA organisation, however where there is bandwidth we also work closely with employees and teams from other regions.  While we do provide some advice on social strategies outside of the company, we mostly focus on social strategies for improving communication and collaboration inside Oracle.

Our first task when the team was established was to get an understanding of the Social landscape in Oracle and in particular to become familiar with the wide variety of social tools available.  We started documenting these tools with a view to having a resource that all employees could access.  Our Social Tools library lists what we view as the most important social tools and gives our recommendations on what the advantages and disadvantages of each tool are.

In tandem, we started working with teams and individuals who were keen to adopt more social ways of working.  Our biggest challenge was to introduce a change of mindset in order to get individuals and teams moving away from a tool centric approach.  In our opinion a more strategic and business focused approach would serve better in the long run.  

We are big fans of the POST Method (from Forrester) which outlines a systematic approach to social strategy.  With POST the last thing you look at is the tools/technology.  Before this you need to address the People, Objectives and Strategy issues.  Over the years we have consistently referred to POST as the SNBC approved methodology for implementing a social strategy.

My current role in the SNBC team is to lead what we call our Social Leadership Adoption Model (SLAM) program.  The SLAM program allows us to work with teams across the organisation to improve how they adopt and use Social.  Any team interested in working with us needs to appoint at least one Change Agent (we refer to them as SNBC Leaders), who will then participate in the SLAM program.  

SLAM is divided into two parts.  Part 1, which we call Social Readiness, is all about education and consists of a series of remotely run webinars in which participants from multiple LOBs come together to learn about the Social Enterprise in an Oracle context.  Upon successful completion of Part 1, participants move into Part 2, which we call the Social Maturity Phase.  This starts with participants measuring their team's current stage of maturity, using our Social Maturity questionnaire. They then plan the steps they will take to get to the next stage of our Maturity scale and implement these plans.  This process continues until they successfully reach the highest stage in our Maturity model. 

Our program has been very well received and to date we have worked with 31 teams, which has enabled us to have an impact on just under 1100 employees in Oracle.

Looking to the future we are very excited about the direction of Social inside Oracle.  The recent announcement of Oracle Social Network at Open World 2011 has raised the stakes and we have seen a noticeable increase in people reaching out to us in the ensuing months.  Personally I’m looking forward to seeing how things map out in the coming months.


Frank Bradley is based in Ireland and works for the Oracle EMEA Social Networking & Business Collaboration (SNBC) Team.  He has been with for Oracle for 10 years and has previously worked for the EMEA Knowledge Management team and the EMEA Customer Data Quality team.

You can find Frank on Twitter (@frankbradley), on LinkedIn  and on Google+.  He also blogs occasionally on  Bloggertone and Workplace Prosperity.  Things have been a bit quiet of late on these sites as he welcomed baby #2 into the family recently, but he hopes to resume normal activity as soon as he gets a few nights of regular sleep!!


Tuesday Feb 14, 2012

Virtual Information Service (VIS) Move to Oracle WebCenter

We are happy to have Christy Confetti Higgins join us today! Christy is the Program Manager for Virtual Information Services (VIS) – which enables and supports the information needs, information access/discovery, research, and information/knowledge sharing across Oracle.


In January, 2012, the Oracle Virtual Information Services (VIS) program site migrated to Oracle WebCenter.

1300 employees became members of the new VIS community in the first 30 days (VIS has about 15,000 users across the globe)

VIS is an Oracle HR program within the Organization & Talent Development (OTD) organization enabling all Oracle leaders and employees by providing them with high quality information services to learn, innovate, develop, make effective decisions, stay competitive, and grow the business. VIS is centered around ensuring employees are connected with the right information, knowledge, and internal expertise to drive decision making, learning and enabling collaboration and knowledge sharing - “Good Information = Smart Decisions = Better Business.”

The VIS team decided to migrate the website from the legacy SunSpace platform to Oracle WebCenter.  WebCenter is an Oracle product, a key part of the Oracle internal web strategy, and overall collaborative and easy information management and user engagement platform. It was an excellent fit for VIS!

VIS on the WebCenter platform will continue to make information services easily accessible and available to all Oracle employees while also allowing employees to connect with the VIS team and others interested in information across Oracle through the social and collaboration components integrated into the site (RSS, forums, OraTweet, etc.). 

Information services include access to technical journals (IEEE, ACM, etc.), eBooks, business journals (HBR, McKinsey Quarterly, etc.), company information, standards, book summaries, and more!

Another great aspect we love is that WebCenter is also available via mobile devices! There is a WebCenter app on the iPhone that provides easy access to all VIS content and the community as well as hooks into other social tools via other Oracle apps – it's all connected!

A special thanks to the following three Oracle employees who were instrumental in the migration and creating the VIS look, page templates, and so many other critical components within WebCenter.
  • Matthias Müller-Prove, User Experience Principal and Software Development Manager, Corporate Architecture
  • Peter Reiser, WebCenter Evangelist, Product Development
  • Gaston Martino, Software Development Manager, Product Development
VIS is specifically leveraging the WebCenter Spaces component and have integrated RSS feeds from other Oracle social enterprise applications such as our internal Blog, our internal Oracle Connect group, and our internal OraTweet handle. WebCenter also allows us to have a Forum for community members to ask questions as well as a way for us to connect with all members of the VIS community via WebCenter. 

We know employees have different preferences for how they receive, find, use, share, and connect with information and people internally. With WebCenter, we have the ability to integrate many of the options we have for employees into our main portal site: IM, blog, OraTweet, Forum, email, Connect group, mailing lists, etc. Flexibility, integration, and on-going community awareness and management are key. 

WebCenter also allows community members to subscribe to the VIS Space as a member and receive email/RSS alerts regarding changes to the information services site.

Running Oracle on Oracle has provided additional visibility to VIS and in return, more employees have increased productivity, enhanced decision making, and increased their ability to learn and develop. We have also saved costs by having centralized access to critical business and technical information.

At Oracle, VIS aims to save employees time and enable learning, productivity, collaboration, information/knowledge sharing, and decision making through easy reliable access to quality information - Information Matters to our business success and this wouldn’t be possible without Oracle WebCenter.

Monday Feb 13, 2012

The History of Oracle Connect

Like many of your organizations, Oracle has social tools that we use both internally and externally to foster innovation, share information and bring people together. This week, we want to focus on “Social at Oracle” – how Oracle is using social tools internally and externally to collaborate with one another, find experts and drive business forward. We hope you enjoy getting to learn more about how Oracle uses social tools and the insight and ideas that have occurred as a result of these innovations.


By Jake Kuramoto, Product Strategy Director, WebCenter Evangelism Team

Editor’s note: Peter’s (@peterreiser) tribute to SunSpace has inspired me to tell the story of Oracle Connect, Oracle’s internal social application.

Social enterprise is all rage now, and this trend has grown out of the runaway success of consumer services like Twitter and Facebook. People logically believe that social tools can help them at work–shrinking geographical distances, providing a place to share insight and information, fostering a sense of community–basically all the same benefits consumer networks provide.

People do work, after all, so why not focus on the people, rather than on emails, documents, transactions, and all the other artifacts of work.

Turns out this is true, not without some effort and caveats, but at the core, true.

July 2007: IdeaFactory is born.

Disclosure: This post is written by a member of the Oracle AppsLab, Jake Kuramoto (@jkuramot).

Like many technology-loving companies, Oracle saw the social trend early, and in July 2007, a small team focused on innovation within Oracle development, AppsLab (@theappslab), turned on the IdeaFactory, a Rails application built in less than 24-hours, to capture product ideas and allow user-voting on ideas.

Oracle IdeaFactory, July 2007

The IdeaFactory lived inside the Oracle firewall and was only promoted to a handful of teams within Oracle Applications development. Its stated goal was to collect product ideas, specifically for Oracle Applications products. However, the IdeaFactory went viral, and people from all over Oracle logged in, voted, commented and contributed their own ideas, and not just about Oracle products, but also about internal topics and practices.
From the beginning, one key goal the AppsLab had was to make everything public, and because the IdeaFactory used corporate LDAP, there was no anonymity. Everything was out in the open, which fostered open and honest communication.

August 2007: IdeaFactory becomes Oracle Connect.

The IdeaFactory quickly grew beyond its original goals into something more, and in August 2007, the AppsLab team added a social networking layer, creating Oracle’s first social tool, Oracle Connect. Connect used the corporate LDAP server, so every Oracle employee had an account and a base profile, no account creation required. The networking was bi-directional, i.e. request-approve, and anyone could ask to connect with anyone else, even the CEO, which several people did.

Oracle Connect, August 2007

A request to connect triggered an email, which is what brought most people to Connect, and in addition to basic networking, all the ideas, comments and votes from IdeaFactory were preserved. Aside from that, there wasn’t much else you could “do” with Connect, leading people to ask “What do I do now?”

As with IdeaFactory, very little promotion went into Oracle Connect, and yet after less than a month, more than 14,000 Oracle employees had tried it.
The AppsLab team followed up quickly with a beta release that included many new features, including an activity log, enhanced profile and better search. These features were meant to solve real problems for Oracle employees.

By 2007, Oracle had significantly increased its pace of acquisitions, and as members of acquired companies, several of the AppsLab team were keenly aware of the challenges that people new to Oracle encountered, like finding basic information (e.g. about benefits, corporate policy, mailing list signups, etc.), deciphering what someone actually did beyond a title, discovering who does what and how to reach people, getting answers to basic questions and even thanking people for their help.

Among its innovative features, Oracle Connect included a new take on the org chart, called the management bar, which added a breadcrumb-style listing of a person’s management chain to her/his profile. A simple hover showed all the people at that level. This innovation was picked up by other web applications within Oracle and rolled forward into new product.

Connect also aimed to foster and facilitate internal innovation within Oracle, so in conjunction with Connect, the AppsLab launched OpenLab, an open source-style project that welcomed any internal developers to grab Connect’s code and add features that met their needs or scratched an itch.
This gave enterprising developers a chance to learn the latest web technologies and a sandbox to test and hone their skills; it also provided a way for pent up innovation to bubble up and reach a wider audience.

Oracle Connect was a success internally, and people began to notice.

November 2007: Welcome to Oracle Mix.

The success of Oracle Connect and of social within Oracle caught the attention of Oracle’s CMO, Judith Sim. She wanted to extend the conversation beyond Oracle employees to include anyone interested in Oracle.

So, after a whirlwind design and build, the AppsLab team launched Oracle Mix at Open World in November 2007. Oracle Mix allowed anyone to sign up, create a profile, add ideas, ask questions and join groups. Although the target audience was primarily Oracle users, anyone could register and participate in the community.

Oracle Mix, November 2007

Interesting side note, at the time, Oracle Mix was the largest publicly-deployed application built with JRuby on Rails, a Java implementation of Ruby, and Mix shares the spotlight with many consumer Ruby on Rails applications on the official home for the Rails language.

Oracle Mix continues to serve as the network for the Oracle community at-large to this day, and since its launch, Mix has hosted several initiatives like Suggest-a-Session for OpenWorld, which debuted for OpenWorld 2008 and has been renewed each year since.

2008: Oracle Connect matures.

After launching Mix, the AppsLab team turned its attention back to Oracle Connect.

Oracle Connect had grown virally, serving several thousand users on a daily basis, despite having nothing other than word of mouth to promote it, and the more it was used, the more useful it became, as people added helpful content, answered questions, tweaked ideas and generally reaped the benefits of the weak ties in their corporate networks.

In June 2008, Connect 2.0 released, migrating all existed data to the new JRuby codeline used by Oracle Mix, adding groups and questions, along with a product taxonomy to go along with the tags that Connect already supported. This second version also included REST APIs for Connect’s data, a big plus in a large enterprise environment with many different systems and applications, managed by different teams.

Oracle Connect 2.0, June 2008

These APIs were publicly available inside the firewall, and several developers used them to take advantage of Connect’s growing popularity, helping spawn two other wildly successful side projects.

2009: Full speed ahead

In January 2009, the third version of Oracle Connect launched. Connect 3.0 added new post types and addressed a noise problem that had developed as a side effect of growing popularity by introducing canned filters to help people find the most relevant information.

Connect 3.0 also included lightweight integration with another rapidly growing and popular, homegrown social tool, OraTweet, the side project of Noel Portugal (@noelportugal). Each service used the other’s REST APIs to create and share data; integration like this happens much more easily inside a corporate firewall than out on the consumer web.

Oracle Connect 3.0, January 2009

And speaking of the consumer web, Google had launched OpenSocial in late 2007, and by 2009, the spec was maturing rapidly and many consumer social sites were implementing OpenSocial to create instant networks around their content and integrate with other social properties.

In 2008, the AppsLab team began experimenting with the reference implementation of OpenSocial, Shindig, and by early 2009, they had a working sandbox that internal developers could use to access Connect data via OpenSocial. Realizing that OpenSocial could add huge benefits inside an enterprise, providing a standard and open way to socialize intranet properties and loosely tie data together across many disperate sites, the AppsLab presented its initial findings at OpenWorld 2008 in an unconference session.

Oracle, through the AppsLab, was an early proponent of OpenSocial in the enterprise, and at Google IO 2009, Google’s annual developer conference, Rich Manalang (@rmanalan) was invited to show what Oracle had done with OpenSocial and Oracle Connect.

As social ramped up in 2008 and 2009, so did mobile. After the launch of the iPhone App Store and the iPhone SDK, Clayton Donley (@cdonley) combined several internal services, including Connect, into the Oracle People app for iPhone, another side project, and the first iPhone app Oracle employees could use to access data stored inside the corporate firewall.

In May 2009, Oracle Connect 4.0 was released, including a host of new features targeted at focusing the experience on people, making publishing dead simple, loosely integrating other services and systems, producing standard and open data for consumption and creating an independent group experience.

Oracle Connect 4.0, May 2009

This was a huge update to Connect, which had grown exponentially, serving as many pageviews weekly in 2009, as it had monthly in 2008. Much of the increase in traffic came from a social initiative started in EMEA that was using Connect as its primary social tool.
Social was getting big.

2009: A course change

In September 2009, the AppsLab team joined WebCenter development to apply their social learnings and experience to WebCenter, Oracle’s emerging social tool.

Oracle Connect became a side project, and the AppsLab team put it into maintenance mode, i.e. keep the lights on and only fix critical bugs. However, even though Connect’s codeline would not advance, the team brought all their ideas and product plans to WebCenter, where social was being embraced and spun into real product, to help real customers.

2010-present: Epilogue

Over the years, Oracle Connect has been profiled in a couple books on enterprise social adoption over the years, Niall Cook’s (@niallcook)  Enterprise 2.0: How Social Software Will Change the Future of Work and Social Media at Work: How Networking Tools Propel Organizational Performance by Arthur L. Jue, Jackie Alcalde Marr and Mary Ellen Kassotakis.

Connect continues to run today, still supported by the remaining members of the AppsLab team, who now belong to a new team of WebCenter evangelists. Connect is used extensively by Oracle employees, each day, and despite having no enhancements since May 2009, it still garners favorable feedback from new users.

Traffic to Connect peaked right after the Sun merger in 2010, when it served several hundred thousand pageviews each month; since then, traffic has subsided, but still averages tens of thousands of pageviews to several thousand users each month.

What began as a little experiment with new technology has grown into a mission-critical social tool, used by thousands of people each day to get work done.


We are excited to see the expertise, ideas and innovation that Jake and the WebCenter Evangelist team bring to the development of Oracle WebCenter!

Friday Feb 10, 2012

Content Consolidation Webcast Recap

Thanks to those of you who attended our webcast yesterday, we had some great questions. We wanted to provide links to a couple of things we discussed, and then jump into the Q&A recap. The webcast will be available on-demand at 10 AM PST on 2/10/2012. Also, you can download the slides here.

First, there are two great customer case studies we mentioned. You can learn more about the American Institute of Architects’ webby-winning website in this blog post. And you can learn more about how the Organization of American States uses WebCenter to drive case management with mobile devices in this blog post.


Here is the Q&A session from yesterday’s webinar.

Can you speak to the retention & records mgmt capabilities/benefits of consolidation?

Yes - WebCenter supports full electronic records capabilities. It supports DOD 5015.2 Ch 2 and 4. It was the first product certified on parts 1, 2, and 3. By consolidating to WebCenter, an organization gains a single point of administration for organization, retention policies, and placing holds

You may have seen a recent Information Week article that says workers aren't that keen on their employers' social media attempts. Any reaction?

Good question. Obviously it varies from company to company by policy and implementation, but we are starting to see a tipping point - around 50% of companies surveyed are using it. AIIM put out three great papers on this topic: AIIM Social Media Reports. Another great source of information is John Mancini's preso “Social Business to Innovation”.

What is difference between UCM and WebCenter content? Does WebCenter content is a layer on top of UCM?

WebCenter Content is the rebranded name for UCM (also previously known as Stellent Content Server).

What options do we have if we need to integrate this with PS Financials or JD Edwards so users can access content directly from these applications?

WebCenter is integrated with a number of ERP systems and business applications including E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel, and Oracle Fusion Applications. In addition, the WebCenter Adapter Framework enables you to build a light-weight business app plug-in that surfaces our WebCenter Content Managed Attachments solution.

Is this move off campaign for all ECM systems, for e.g. IBM FileNet?

This 100% trade-in program is only for Documentum, but contact us or your Oracle sales rep to discuss further. brian.dirking@oracle.com. You can read more about the program here: Moveoff Documentum Gains Momentum

Does Kapow Katalyst seamlessly work/integrate with other business systems that are not on Oracle platform - let's say they are on SQL server?

Yes, Kapow Katalyst is not dependent on an Oracle platform. Kapow Katalyst is a migration software solution that companies use to automate migration and consolidation. We presented a case study in the webinar regarding a customer who estimated that migration would cost them $9M to do it manually, but using Kapow Katalyst, they were able to bring it down to $500k. You can learn more about Kapow Katalyst in this blog post.

Can Oracle WebCenter be used for case management?

Yes, you can see an excellent example in this blog post regarding the Organization of American States and their use of Oracle WebCenter for case management. This implementation also uses mobile devices for viewing and approving content, in this case iPads.

Can WebCenter handle large-scale drawings?

Yes, WebCenter can store any file type. For large scale drawings, we integrate with Oracle AutoVue, which enables large scale document viewing and more, including features like image annotation.

Does Oracle WebCenter provide image capture and can it auto-read paper documents and populate my application?

Yes, Oracle WebCenter offers full image capture, as well as forms recognition to capture content on paper documents and automatically enter that content into your enterprise applications. We have seen more than one customer who has been able to reduce their invoice processing by 90% for example. One of these customers was able to reduce from $23 per invoice to less than $2.30 per invoice. And beyond the costs savings, it gives organizations more insight into their cash flow process, and they can make decisions to speed up payments and take discounts when they have a lot of cash, or to slow payments when cash is tight. For more information on Oracle WebCenter for imaging, check out these blog posts:

Optimize Accounts Payable Through Automated Invoice Processing with WebCenter

Texas Industries, Inc (TXI), Oracle WebCenter, and AP Automation with Keste

Accounts Payable Automation with Oracle WebCenter

ESCO Automates Accounts Payable with Oracle WebCenter & ImageSource

Automating Invoice Processing With Oracle WebCenter - Webcast Recap

Could you speak to the support for wikis?

WebCenter provides full wiki capabilities and stores the results in the enterprise repository so it can be presented in different contexts or delivered as a part of search results

Does it integrate with third-party wikis?

We do not have out of the box integrations with third-party wikis but given we are open and standards based they can be easily integrated

Will you be speaking to integration with BPM?

WebCenter Content comes with a restricted use license of BPM that is integrated out of the box. Whether the restricted use license or a full license of BPM would be required depends on specific use cases

Is a full license required for customizing workflows?

It depends on the specific use cases and where workflows originate from (i.e., inside vs outside WebCenter )

Can you share the documentation that explains the ways WebCenter Content can integrate using open standards?

Here is a link to documentation on the ways you can integrate Orace WebCenter Content including a Java API, Web Services, and the JCR Adapter.

Appreciate the high level overview, can you demo content integration between store front and product catalog?

Yes, we can set up an online demo for you, just feel free to reach out to brian.dirking@oracle.com

How can we use WebCenter for customer-facing content (static and dynamic, ie. generated by custom applications)?

If you are looking at how to integrated content management into your custom application, one place to start is this blog post. WebCenter can offer static and dynamic websites, and is very open in terms of integration. Let’s set you up with our team so we can discuss your specific requirements.

Do we have a choice to store content in a database or filesystem. From which WebCenter patch set is storing content in the database available?

Yes, you can store content in the file system or in the database. WebCenter Content 11g uses Oracle Secure Files to provide enhanced support for database storage including de-duplication and compression.

Will WebCenter support our Stellent idoc scripts?

Yes, Oracle WebCenter 11g supports iDoc scripts.

Here are some other related posts:

Top 10 Benefits of Consolidation - Part 1

Top 10 Benefits of Consolidation - Part 2

Oracle WebCenter Leads in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management 2011

Thanks for all of your excellent questions! Feel free to post more in the comments section of this blog post and we will respond.

About

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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