Friday Mar 29, 2013

Join us at Collaborate 2013!

We know many of our blog readers will be attending the annual Oracle user group conference, Collaborate13 in Denver, Colorado beginning on Sunday, April 7th.  This year, there will be over 50 sessions focused on Oracle WebCenter!   These sessions will range in scope from updated product roadmap sessions to in-depth technical sessions to help you get the most out of your current implementation.

In addition to the substantial list of sessions dedicated to Oracle WebCenter technology and solutions, there will be an expansive new Oracle pavilion within the Demo Grounds of the show with multiple WebCenter demo pods featuring WebCenter Content, Imaging, Portal and Sites. Additionally, there will be demo pods featuring Oracle Fusion Middleware, Database and many other technologies.  Be sure to stop by and talk with members of our Product Management and Development teams about the latest WebCenter products.

We hope to talk with you there.  If you need more information, or still need to register, please visit http://www.oracle.com/webapps/events/ns/EventsDetail.jsp?p_eventId=160784&src=7663010&src=7663010&Act=4

See you in Denver! 

Tuesday Mar 26, 2013

Zooming towards OpenWorld 2013!

It's hard to believe, but preparations are already well underway for Oracle OpenWorld 2013!  So while we prepare to take over downtown San Francisco, it's time for you to think about what you would like to present at the show.  Your stories and lessons learned are invaluable to the other attendees that want to learn as much as possible about all things WebCenter.

With that in mind, we’re excited to announce the opening of the Oracle OpenWorld 2013 Call for Papers! If you have something interesting to present to the world’s largest gathering of Oracle technologists and business leaders, submit your WebCenter presentation proposal today. 

This call for presentation proposals closes on Friday, April 12,  so don’t delay. Submit your nominations today and we look forward to seeing you there in September!

Monday Mar 25, 2013

Waiting on the paperwork...

Last Friday evening, I boarded a connecting flight as I made my way home across the country.  Tired yet relieved to be going home after working at an Oracle-sponsored industry event, I got on board and watched as every last bit of seating and storage space was consumed by fellow travelers.  We were then notified that the plane had a maintenance issue that was being investigated and within seconds, many of us on the plane were automatically notified of the new estimated departure time on our smartphones.  In terms of customer communication, so far so good!  The airline (who will remain unnamed) was informing customers promptly about an unforeseen issue and the customers responded by settling in with whatever reading material they had.

Within a half hour, we were notified that the problem was resolved.  But then, those dreaded words came across the PA system from the Captain. "We are ready to go, but we are waiting on the paper work."

Now the crowd emitted an audible groan.  Why is that?  In my case, when someone tells me that they are "waiting on the paper work", I immediately have an image of a slow, tedious, bureaucratic process requiring a manual approval.  Sure enough, we waited for quite a while as our now perfectly operational aircraft was held on the ground...  by paper.

What struck me as I loitered on the plane with my fellow passengers that night is that there are still, surprisingly, many business processes that rely on physical paper and manual signatures.  It's easy to think in this day and age that everything is now automated.  We live in a world of notifications and alerts, automatic updates, text messages, social collaboration and news feeds.  Yet at the same time, there are a myriad of areas in our personal and professional lives that rely on paper and pen.

In the case of airplane maintenance, procedures must be followed and documented.  There are industry and government mandated regulations that outline exactly how maintenance repairs are performed and formal records must be kept of every repair done on each plane for safety and legal reasons.  And yet with automated imaging, scanning and forms recognition solutions such as those available with Oracle WebCenter, these approved forms could be routed much faster. Management of the records and associated documents would also be more efficient and less prone to human error and possible loss or damage to the paper documents.

If there is room for improvement in business processes that directly impact customers at one of the world's largest airlines, what about your business?  Are you still relying on paper forms and documents in critical or regulated business processes?  How does this effect the customer experience you provide?

Oracle WebCenter provides a plethora of solutions for businesses looking to improve the customer experience. From Self-Service Portals to targeted Web Experience Management to Enterprise Content Management and yes, even Automated Imaging solutions that help you eliminate paper from your processes.  As a reader of this blog, we hope we have already helped you solve some of your business challenges and we look forward to helping you address more in the future as you strive to continuously improve.  Thank you for joining us!

Friday Mar 22, 2013

Annual Planning Checklist: 10 Actions of Beloved and Financially Prosperous Companies

Note: In case you missed yesterday's Webcast featuring Jeanne Bliss in our Oracle WebCenter Social Business Thought Leaders Series, Jeanne has provided us a wonderful summary to use for your Annual Planning process. You can also watch the full webcast On-Demand.

Annual Planning Checklist: 10 Actions of Beloved and Financially Prosperous

Guest post by Jeanne Bliss, President, CustomerBliss

With annual planning just around the corner, here are 10 actions that business leaders and their organizations should invest in to exponentially increase customer loyalty and drive profitable business growth in the upcoming fiscal year. Execute on them to move toward "beloved" status in the eyes of your customers. Good news is; many don’t cost a thing but your commitment and leadership alignment on messaging and execution.

1. Believe in the integrity of your customers. The majority of business policies and rules are created to protect business from the minority of customers. Be bold, like Connecticut Griffin Hospital, which began sharing hospital records with patients and saw claims against the hospital drop by more than 43 percent. Take a leap of faith and believe that trust is reciprocated by customers when they feel that you trust them. Find one rule or policy to relax and watch what happens.

2. Invest in employee trust. Show your employees that you believe in them. Beloved company Wegmans invests in its employees by training them in the skills that remove rules, regulations, policies, and procedures that pen employees in. This enables Wegmans to throw away the rule book and live by this one edict: "No customer goes away unhappy." As a result, its margins are higher and profitability more steady because the grocer's turnover is only 7 percent of employees versus the average in its industry of 19 percent employee turnover.

3. Practice democratic decision making. Make sure your company's best ideas have a way to see the light of day. Give good ideas a chance to prosper no matter where they come from in terms of your organizational chart. Innovation and marketplace differentiation come when employees are respected as part of achieving a mission greater than their set of tasks, and when their voice counts. W.L. Gore has become a $2.7 billion dollar company, was named by Fast Company as "pound for pound, the most innovative company in America," and earned a place on Fortune magazine's best companies to work for list since its inception because of how the company unleashes its employees' spirit and ideas.

4. Grow and invest in customers as a primary asset of your business. Talk about customers lost and gained in real numbers, not percentages, to illustrate the vast number of lives your business impacts. Understand what drives customers out your door, as well as their long-term potential. Zane's Cycles in Connecticut has experienced more than 20 percent growth every year for 29 years, with 45 percent margins because the retailer never loses sight of the fact that its customers' average lifetime value is $12,500. And employees manage relationships bearing that in mind. Valuing customers makes it easy to make decisions about how to treat them.

5. Know your power source for bonding with customers. Regularly connect with customers, not only through surveys and other feedback mechanisms, but also as they experience your products and services. Take a page from Trader Joe's, which uses employee taste buds at its testing kitchens to determine what items should make it to the grocer's shelves, but uses customer "tasting stations" inside its stores combined with sales to determine what items stay. This closeness contributes to Trader Joe's ability to generate $1,300 in sales per square foot--twice the supermarket industry average.

6. Have clarity about how you uniquely serve customers' lives. Unite your operation to ensure that decisions connect to deliver an experience customers want to repeat and tell others about. This ties cross-silo decision making together and releases the organization from excess bureaucracy. IKEA, for example, designs the price tag first because employees at all levels know that the store serves customers who have less money than sweat equity, so are willing put together their items themselves at home. Across IKEA, the understanding that the price drives design, innovation, and what the retailer will and will not do drives its growth...sales that increased even in 2009 by 7.7 percent.

7. Deliberately walk in your customers' shoes. You need to know your customers' life to serve their life. Yet as people rise through the ranks or even join organizations, orientation is often more about process and policy than learning about the customer at the heart of the business. Be deliberate in establishing a process for new hires, such as insurer USAA, which require new "recruits" to wear the flak jacket and helmet that many of their enlisted customers wear and to read their letters. All this is done so that when calls come in employees first connect with the customer, and then conduct the process of the business. Ninety eight percent of its customers stay with them year after year.

8. Make employee selection one of your most important decisions. Select your employees as you would customers: for lifelong value. At Chick-fil-A, operators and employees are selected based on their values, ability to build grow and sustain partnerships in all areas of their lives, and then their technical skills. As a result, Chick-fil-A has operator turnover of just 5 percent, and the fast-food chain just achieved 43 years of consecutive sales growth. Hire people who you want to become a part of the story of your business, and then watch how your social media story improves.

9. Proactively solve mistakes when they occur. When mistakes happen (and they will) get out in front of customers and admit the flaw; then make peace with your customers. Repair the emotional connection, reduce the concern, and solve the problem. Southwest Airlines reviews every flight every day to know when delays interrupted their customers' lives, whether it was the airline's fault or not. The company contacts customers to explain what happened and, when warranted, sends out LUV bucks for a future flight. Being proactive earned Southwest a net revenue increase from those bucks of $1.9 million in 2010. What can you be proactive on?

10. Accept the order and the accountability. In a world where customers are use social channels as a megaphone to broadcast the experience you're delivering, invest in reliability. Don't make the customer wonder where the order is, how long until it gets there, or what happens when it backorders. If a customer can't tell another customer what they get from you, how they get it, or how it feels when they receive it, they you don't have a story to tell (at least one you want heard). Investing in reliability earns you the right to grow.

Companies that have grown in this economic downturn did so because their customers became an army of advocates who grew their business for them. They earned the right to their customers' raves, and the growth that ensued, because they deliberately made decisions that moved their operations in the direction of their customers and employees. And many times because of how we budget, that commitment must be baked into annually planning. Don’t lose another year of opportunity by letting annual planning pass by without considering these important commitments.


 Watch Jeanne Bliss On-Demand along with our other Social Business Thought Leaders.

Thursday Mar 21, 2013

Today's WebCast - Oracle Social Business Thought Leaders

Join us today (03/21/2013 10am PST / 1pm EST) for an interesting presentation by Jeanne Bliss on

"The Five Critical Decisions Made by Beloved and Prosperous Companies"

Oracle Social Business Thought Leaders Webcast Series


Wednesday Mar 20, 2013

Meet Jeanne Bliss - This Week's Oracle Social Business Thought Leader

So - people often ask us about our Social Business Thought Leaders Series and why we do it.

We believe very strongly in the positive change that is happening today in both how we work and how we live because of the transformation of social business technologies and people's behavior. Things are being driven by cloud technologies, mobile, real-time, video, and big data trends. We think, certainly as a technology vendor, that it isn't all about the technology - that you don't just buy our products - you buy into our strategies for the future and you won't buy into our strategies unless we share the same world view. So we've brought together this webcast series featuring opinion makers and thought leaders from the world of business, marketing, academia and IT to share with you what their research shows about what really is going on in the world and what the implications might be. We'll share some of their analysis about it and then show you, as a senior decision maker in your organization, how you can take advantage of some of those changes and avoid some of the pitfalls.

Of course, to help you avoid some of these pitfalls, we’ve brought together all these core technologies at Oracle under the WebCenter brand to form and build a user engagement platform for social business. We know that you are having to adapt to the trends and changing user expectations, and our goal is to provide you with the ideal solution to meet those demands. 


What is Oracle’s solution? Oracle WebCenter.

This is why we’ve brought together all these core technologies at Oracle under the WebCenter brand to form and build the user engagement platform for social business – connecting people and information. We’ve brought together in a single solution, a combination of enterprise content management, imaging, social networking and collaboration, web experience management, and composite applications and mash-ups, that can be implemented individually or as a platform to address all the needs of engaging your users.

Each of these core capabilities play a significant role in helping you:

  • Increase sales and loyalty with online engagement optimization – whether it be via the web, mobile or social
  • Innovate and engage users by creating composite applications as well as by offering new services online to your customers, partners and employees
  • It also helps you enhance productivity with purposeful collaboration that’s exposed to you when and where you need it
  • And finally WebCenter helps you optimize access to information with an enterprise content management foundation that ensures users can seamlessly view and change content wherever they work.

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

Hundreds of companies have customers, who admire them, but only an elite few have true advocates – passionate, vocal, loyal fans – who tell the stories of their experiences and about how much they “love” them. As a teaser for our upcoming Social Business Thought Leader Webcast,  we have a short podcast on our WebCenter Cafe where you'll hear from customer experience expert and author, Jeanne Bliss. Click on the jumping little guy below. You’ll learn a little bit about Jeanne and the evolution of her specialty focus in helping companies shape company culture and uncommon decision making to significantly impact their customers, employees, growth and prosperity. Don't forget to register and join us for the webcast.

Click here to hear Jeanne Bliss Podcast


Tuesday Mar 19, 2013

Want to make sure your Customer Experience Work Stays on Track? Manage these Seven Inhibitors of Customer Experience Work Success

Guest Post: Jeanne Bliss, President, CustomerBliss

1. Starting with a mantra, not an action plan.

a. Often companies decide that they want to get some early traction by telling everyone to “focus on customer experience” What happens next is that people realize this is a big corporate priority and begin taking actions, making plans and creating new scoreboards and taking action.

b. This proliferates the silo based approach to actions that is contrary to the discipline of experience development and management. A lot of action occurs, executives get a “false positive” that action is occurring and traction is happening, but it eventually stalls out because the actions don’t aggregate up to improve complete end to end customer experiences.

2. Not first defining the customer experience and gaining alignment on the path of actions.

a. This is similar to first point, but I am stressing it separately because defining the experience consistently and gaining alignment has major downstream implications if it is not done correctly and if the time is not done to get alignment.

b. The organization needs to agree on the stages of the experience and the definitions of success.

c. The importance of this is because we want to give leaders a new language set for which to ask and drive the business, and we want to establish the key cross-functional metrics for the development of key KPIs for priority touchpoints. This is critical also to database management, as the stages of the experience interrelate to one another.

d. Without creating this framework first, the risk is to experience the same failure as what happened when (most) corporations around the world rolled out CRM.

e. They automated current processes without rethinking the business.

f. The business of customer experience is about redefining the operation of the business to be driven from the customers’ point of view on how they experience the company .

g. This new attitude and approach to talking about and managing the business is key to achieving the cultural transformation. It’s only when we drive the experience from this vantage point, and hard-wire this approach into language, leadership and operations that it will become sustainable.

3. Not breaking the work into actionable pieces and not understanding what “success” is.

a. Initially the work on the customer experience journey should be considered successful when “enabling infrastructure” actions occur, such as

i. Aligning the databases to be able to manage customer data to know the value of the customer asset

ii. Engaging leaders in personally becoming connected to customers’ lives by calling customers, visiting employees

iii. Teaching the organization the competency of working together across the silos to solve and improve one (or two) customer experiences end to end

iv. Changing the communication from leaders to drive customer experience accountability

b. What often happens is that instead of building in (and celebrating) these new competencies so critical to the long termed sustainability – is that people want to attach a score.

i. “we will be successful when our satisfaction rates are x” or “we will be successful when our net promoter score is y”

4. Attaching early metrics to outcome metrics rather than operational metrics people can impact

a. It’s very enticing to jump to the outcome metrics such as survey scores.

b. The challenge with this is that the outcome of a survey score is impacted by numerous factors, not all of which can be impacted by areas of the organization who are given the outcome metrics as their performance score.

c. It’s more powerful to, for example, identify the operational kpis that people can impact

d. If the outcome metrics are added to early, before the underlying processes and culture change and coaching and development are put into place – people WILL want to achieve great scores – but they will rely on involving the customer in helping them to achieve a better score (follow up – any reason you can’t give me a ten?, etc.)

e. They will also focus on actions so minute that it might move the needle a little on the score, but the overall approach to sustaining that skill or even building that skill is compromised. It’s very hard to sustain this type of “go get a good score” approach.

5. Not having executives engaged in the effort.

a. Often executives will say that they want to focus on the customer experience – but they hand off the work to a department or area to work on.

b. This work is not like a typical project. Setting up a great project plan and executing on tactics and actions will get the infrastructure built (such as VOC systems) but it won’t drive the change in culture and the development of cross-silo competencies.

c. Leaders must commit to being personally involved – beyond a perfunctory monthly “check in” meeting. They need to engage in the process of the work. Without executive involvement driving the new prioritization, driving out the actions that are in the way and giving people permission to work together – it is hard to sustain this work.

6. Not having clear communication to the organization that walks people constantly through the roadmap, and actions, and behaviors to model

a. It’s not enough to do the work behind the scenes. The organization needs to be constantly kept up to speed on what is happening and what it means to them.

b. As new decisions are made that focus on customer experiences – people must be kept apprised of these decisions – and given permission to model this type of decision making.

c. Leaders must emerge as constant communicators of why we are taking the actions we are.

d. The organization must be kept up to speed on actions and successes.

e. Without this constant communication and “permission setting” and “decision guidance” the organization will view the cx work as another in a long string of exercises or programs that will go the way of the others – away.

7. Taking actions based on what they think, not based on understanding what customers need.

a. Many companies, especially those long entrenched in their business, believe they know what customers need.

b. Even when they do research, they make the research about “validating” their plans rather than beginning open minded and asking the customer about their lives and what they need.

c. This approach will compromise the outcome of the new experiences that are built – and in some cases will completely backfire.

d. The recent Walmart case is a great one to bring up. Walmart did “research” and got from it that customers said that they wanted less cluttered stores. So they set upon a plan (led by a past Target executive) to declutter the aisles, etc. Then they asked customers if this what they wanted. It backfired. They have lost millions on this. Look up this example --- it’s a good one!

e. Customer experience differentiation comes when the experiences are based by truly understanding customers’ needs – rather than beginning with current processes and asking customers what they like or don’t like. Many companies fall into this trap – from experience building to customer satisfaction scores that indicate that “they are doing ok”. Customers are forced to react the box of the experience you are currently giving – they aren’t given the change to really talk about what they need.

Jeanne Bliss Blog:       www.ccocoach.com subscribe to my blog

Books:   Chief Customer Officer & I Love You More Than My Dog

Twitter: @jeannebliss

 


Register Today!


Monday Mar 18, 2013

Customer Loyalty: The Hidden Humanity

How many of us have had the experience with an organization either in person, on the phone or online that just leaves us seething with feelings that we’ll never do business with that company again? I’d bet that most of us have had that experience. But is the experience due to an interaction with one single employee, a department of employees, or everyone we ever dealt with at an organization or enterprise?

We all seem to forget some days that developing customer loyalty or destroying it often begins with a single human interaction. These interactions don’t necessarily happen in a vacuum – there is a driving force that sets policies, controls customer interactions and ultimately creates happy or unhappy employees – which in turn creates the experience you and I have with every transaction we make on a daily basis. Engaged employees are happier employees according to some of the most recent studies.  Some companies build a huge base of totally loyal brand-ambassadors that spread good cheer and positive vibes about their beloved companies. How do they do it? Why do they do it? Can a company maintain great customer experience across the board and still remain profitable?

Register Today!

This week we’ll be taking a deeper look at “Customer Loyalty” to explore the current trends and success stories. Our featured guest blogger and thought leader this week will be Jeanne Bliss. As President of CustomerBliss , an international consulting business, Jeanne coaches executive leadership teams and customer leadership executives on how to put customer profitability at the center of their business, by getting past lip service; to operationally relevant, operationally executable plans and processes. Later this week, Jeanne will be featured in our Oracle Social Business Thought Leaders Webcast Series. Register today and join us on Thursday 3/21 or register and watch On-Demand after the 21st at your leisure.

Are Your Customers Your Biggest Fans?

Hundreds of companies have customers who admire them, but only an elite few have true advocates who are passionate, vocal, and loyal fans. Hear from customer experience expert and author, Jeanne Bliss, as she reveals the five common decisions these beloved companies make that enable them to thrive in good times and bad. Join us on this webcast to learn: What kind of decisions earn your company beloved status; How beloved companies drop the corporate veneer with customers; Why uncommon decision making can make a positive impact.

Your Decisions Reveal Who You Are, and What You Value

by Jeanne Bliss (from original blog post February 24, 2013)

When you make a decision, it results in an action. And the accumulation of those decisions and actions become how people describe you and think of you. It becomes your “story.”

  • What is the story that the collective decisions of your organization are telling your customers, employees, and the marketplace?
  • What is important to you?
  • Are your decisions reflecting what you intended and what your company stands for?

Getting customers to love you begins with how you consider the people impacted by your decisions.

You tell customers every day how much you honor them by the way you direct decisions in one direction or another. And that’s what they play back to the masses. That’s what shows up on the Internet.

For more information see my blog post on Driving Culture Change in Chief Customer Officer 2.0. It provides profiled decisions made by beloved companies of every size and across many industries who earned the right to their customers’ stories. They are called beloved companies because of the emotional attachment customers have to them.

Here are a few recent profiles:
What Defines Your Experience?
Are You Remembered for Being There?
Do You Accept Accountability When Things Go Wrong?
Is Your Trusting Cup Half Full or Half Empty?

Beloved companies are acutely aware that their experience impacts how customers feel and respond. They take the time to make purposeful decisions about the contacts with customers. Beloved companies actively decide to connect who they are as individuals with the decisions they make in how to run their business.

Common to beloved companies is the concentration, angst, and passion that they put into decision-making. Suspending their fear that the dollars and cents won’t come swiftly enough, beloved companies decide to run their businesses with what each of us learned as kids – the Golden Rule.

The decisions we make in our business lives measure the depth of our humanity – our ability to apply that simple Golden Rule.

  • How we choose to correct something that goes wrong.
  • How steadfast we are in delivering the goods and ensuring quality.
  • How we give employees what they need to enable them do the right thing for customers.

All these decisions expose what a company values. And the actions that tumble from these decisions expose the kind of people we are.

Think about how you experience companies throughout your life as both customer and employee.

  • Why do you feel so connected to some and distanced from others?
  • How does your feeling about a company relate to your natural desire to follow the Golden Rule?
  • When a company makes genuine attempts to do the right thing, does this draw you to them?

------------------------------

About Jeanne Bliss

Jeanne Bliss began her career at Lands’ End where she reported to founder Gary Comer, ensuring that in the formative years of the organization, the company stayed focused on its core principles of customer and employee focus. She was the first leader of the Lands’ End Customer Experience. In addition to Lands’ End, she has served Allstate, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker Corporation and Mazda Corporations as its executive leading customer focus and customer experience. Jeanne has helped achieve 95% retention rates across 50,000 person organizations, harnessing businesses to work across their silos to deliver a united and deliberate experience customers (and employees) want to repeat.

Jeanne now runs CustomerBliss, an international consulting business where she coaches executive leadership teams and customer leadership executives on how to put customer profitability at the center of their business, by getting past lip service; to operationally relevant, operationally executable plans and processes. Her clients include Johnson & Johnson, TD Ameritrade, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospitals, Bombardier Aircraft and many others. Her two best-selling books are Chief Customer Officer: Getting Past Lip Service to Passionate Action and I Love You More than My Dog: Five Decisions that Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad.

Jeanne Bliss Blog:       www.ccocoach.com subscribe to my blog

Books:   Chief Customer Officer & I Love You More Than My Dog

Twitter: @jeannebliss


Friday Mar 15, 2013

Making a Real Impact on Your Bottom Line

This week, we've been focusing on how your business can realize significant cost savings by implementing automated capture and imaging solutions within your existing processes.  If you haven't already seen the screencast overview that illustrates the benefits of doing so, please take a look and share it with your colleagues at work.  We think it will be 7 minutes of your time well spent.

To further peak your interest, today we want to highlight a couple of recent customer examples from those that have already started using Oracle WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions along with their e-business processes.  The first customer that we will take note of is Texas Industries, or TXI.  As a mid-size company that is a leading supplier of cement, aggregate and consumer product building materials, TXI is very decentralized with 100 plants across 5 states.  Manual processing in many locations was proving very costly, to say nothing of the costs associated with managing, shipping and tracking of invoices and related documents. 

After implementing Oracle WebCenter Imaging, they have reduced the number of invoices that have to be manually verified by over 25%, reduced their invoice cycle time from around 30 days to less than 5 and reduced their shipping and storage costs by 50%.  Significant savings that helped TXI realize a fast return on their investment and fund further innovation.

Another company worth noting is Development Dimensions International, or DDI.  As a leading provider of Talent Management and Learning Systems, DDI works with thousands of customers and individual clients.  Enhancing back-end processes while securing sensitive content in a compliant fashion has paid immediate dividends.  Since implementing Oracle WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions in conjunction with their Oracle E-Business Suite, DDI has seen an 80% reduction in the costs associated with technical support and service and reduced reliance on manual, paper-driven processes has helped them save 20% on storage and management costs.

With today’s budgets and expectation to be as efficient as possible, it behooves any size company that relies on back-end e-business systems to evaluate how those processes run today and what can be done to make them more cost-effective.  Oracle WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions offer a powerful way to quickly realize cost savings be enhancing the systems you already rely on to keep your business running.

We hope you find this information informative as you look to improve the way your organization handles internal and external business processes. Thanks for visiting our blog and we hope to see you again soon!


Engage with Us

Thursday Mar 14, 2013

Show Me the Savings! The Value of Radically Cutting Internal e-Biz Processing Costs

Lately a lot has been written about the opportunity available to companies that can take advantage of dynamic discounting when dealing with partners and suppliers.  But how can you get your organization to the point where you can also take advantage?  It can seem daunting but if you already are using Oracle e-business suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise, JD Edwards or Siebel CRM, you are already halfway there!

Simply put, dynamic discounting allows you to negotiate favorable pricing when you have the ability to pay your suppliers very quickly.  Initially it might seem counter-intuitive that you can improve cash flow by paying suppliers early, but the numbers tell the story.   For example, if you can negotiate a 2% discount with your suppliers by promising to pay them in 10 days instead of the traditional 30, the return on capital is 2% in 20 days, or 36% annually.  That kind of return is certainly more than the interest earned by delaying your payments.

That's all fine and nice if you can actually guarantee quick payments with confidence.  But for many companies, the processing of documents, faxes, scanned images and other content is not anywhere near as efficient as their transactional processes.  WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions fill that gap and provide the automated capture, scanning and intelligent routing needed to accelerate invoice processing along with lots of other internal processes.

This week, we posted a new screencast that quickly illustrates how processes can be improved using WebCenter Imaging from Oracle.  You can view it here.  We believe you will find it insightful and that you can use it to get your company thinking about ways to further automate systems that can make a real impact on the bottom line.  For further details, please be sure to view one of our recent webcasts on how to optimize your e-business systems.

Engage with Us


Tuesday Mar 12, 2013

WebCenter Customer Spotlight: DDI

Author: Peter Reiser - Social Business Evangelist, Oracle WebCenter

 Solution Summary

Development Dimensions International, Inc. (DDI) has been helping hundreds of organizations around the world―including half of the Fortune 500 companies―close the gap between where their businesses need to go and the talent they must have to take them there. With associates in 42 offices in 26 countries, the company’s expertise includes designing and implementing employee selection systems and identifying and developing talent, from front-line workers to executive leadership.

As DDI continued to grow, it experienced escalating costs associated with searching, storing, and recreating critical, expense-related documents for its operations around the globe.

They  implemented Oracle Internet Expenses and integrated  a new document-capture solution based on Oracle WebCenter Imaging,  that enabled the company to overcome the limitations of its legacy system with an open, enterprise architecture that facilitates a flexible deployment.

DDI cut administrative costs associated with managing paper-based transactions, as well as operational costs associated with photocopying, faxing, and couriering documents and decreased its physical storage requirements & costs.  DDI estimates that it is saving the equivalent of one full-time staff member in IT management.  In addition, the company gained the ability to track, access, and manage information more efficiently to assist with regulatory compliance related to information protection and privacy.


www.ddiworld.com

Company Overview

Since 1970, Development Dimensions International, Inc. (DDI) has been helping hundreds of organizations around the world―including half of the Fortune 500 companies―close the gap between where their businesses need to go and the talent they must have to take them there. With associates in 42 offices in 26 countries, the company’s expertise includes designing and implementing employee selection systems and identifying and developing talent, from front-line workers to executive leadership.

Business Challenges

The company previously used a third-party system to manage employee expenses, a solution that was extremely complex to maintain, as it was not built on a standards-based architecture.  As DDI continued to grow, it experienced escalating costs associated with searching, storing, and recreating critical, expense-related documents for its operations around the globe. Every year, employees spent thousands of hours and the company expended significant financial resources distributing client-billable expense receipts across several departments globally. This largely manual system delayed employee reimbursement and client billing and prohibited the rollout of shared services centers, designed to elevate efficiency and customer service.

To address these challenges, DDI defined following business objectives:

  • Advance DDI’s global, shared services strategy to help it to reduce costs, improve administrative efficiency, and expand its ability to deliver world-class talent acquisition and development services
  • Enable the company to more efficiently capture and process employee expenses, eliminating manual processes and accelerating reimbursement, as well as customer billing
  • Reduce IT complexity and management costs by eliminating custom integrations between the company’s business-critical applications and systems
Solution Deployed

DDI implemented Oracle Internet Expenses to accelerate expense report submission, approval, processing, and payment, and control expenses with flexible audit tools. The solution automated the approval workflow and accelerated and ensured accurate expense attribution in client invoices.
At the same time, DDI implemented  a new document-capture solution. It deployed Oracle WebCenter Imaging, a solution that enabled the company to overcome the limitations of its legacy system with an open, enterprise architecture that facilitates a flexible deployment. As part of the rollout, it integrated Oracle WebCenter Imaging with Oracle Internet Expenses. Oracle WebCenter Imaging operates as an infrastructure-supporting solution, as opposed to an application unto itself—so the company can leverage it as a shared service that extends wherever imaging is required throughout the enterprise. 

Business Results
DDI cut administrative costs associated with managing paper-based transactions, as well as operational costs associated with photocopying, faxing, and couriering documents. Further, the company decreased its physical storage requirements and costs.  DDI estimates that it is saving the equivalent of one full-time staff member in IT management. The team can now apply time it previously spent managing and maintaining custom interfaces to more strategic initiatives. In addition, the company gained the ability to track, access, and manage information more efficiently to assist with regulatory compliance related to information protection and privacy.

We are very pleased with the way Oracle WebCenter Imaging enabled us to achieve process efficiencies by capturing receipt images up front and making them accessible to managers and other approvers all along the workflow. We also like that we can retrieve images not only from Oracle Internet Expenses, but also from Oracle Payables, as well as within Oracle WebCenter Imaging itself.

Mike Fieldhammer, Corporate Controller, Development Dimensions International


Additional Information

Monday Mar 11, 2013

The Attractiveness of Automated Capture, Scanning and Imaging for Your E-Business Applications

Ok, let's face it.  When we bring up a topic like automated capture, scanning and imaging, it might not make your heart flutter.  And when we see a blog post about automating processes like Accounts Payable Invoice Processing, I doubt your pulse quickens.  But maybe it should!  Let me explain...

Today, we have posted a new "screencast" that walks you through a short before and after scenario showcasing how the use of Oracle WebCenter Imaging can slash the costs associated with AP invoicing.  It's about 7 minutes long and the perfect thing to watch before you head off to your next meeting.  While many companies use Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise or JD Edwards to optimize how business transactions are handled, the handling and management of associated documents and other files are often disconnected.  Fixing this problem and driving further efficiencies is certainly a great way to become bit more popular around the office.

Here's how.  Many companies are still relying on paper forms, faxes, letters, scanned images and digital content as key elements within business processes.  These items should ideally be easily referenced, stored and managed within the scope of the process, but when it is a piece of paper or a fax, that can get very tricky.  That invoice might be in a stack of papers on a specialist’s desk over at headquarters.  Or maybe that fax with the new contract terms got routed to a clerk’s e-mail but he is on vacation for the next 10 days.  You get the picture; the information is in the company...somewhere.   But when paper or disconnected and unmanaged files are involved, everything becomes a manual process which of course means it is error prone, slow and likely under a poor level of governance.

That's where Oracle WebCenter Imaging Solutions come in.  With native integrations for Oracle E-Business applications, you can automate the capture of documents, images and forms and automatically detect the type of form or document, retrieve line item information right off the document and route it into the appropriate process.  And that is where the appeal comes in.  When you bring in WebCenter and start improving first one, and then multiple processes, you will start seeing immediate results that drive significant cost savings.  Having that sort of vision and eye for strategic business improvement drives recognition and visibility within any company.  And who knows what might happen next with your newfound recognition?  Perhaps your boss sees your value and gives you that big salary increase you now so clearly deserve.  Upper management hears about the difference you are making in your part of the organization and invites you to present your ideas at the next leadership meeting.  The next thing you know you are having cocktails with the CEO's daughter on the porch of their summer house in St. Tropez. 

Admittedly, your scenario might be somewhat different from this one but when it comes to making significant improvements to the company’s bottom line by optimizing back-end processes like AP Invoicing, the results are proven and tangible.  Learning more about how your organization can save money and be more efficient is certainly time well-spent, and just might pay some personal dividends.  Check out the screencast to learn more and check back on this blog throughout the week for more information.  You may not end up in St. Tropez, but no matter where you work, being smart and saving money is always sexy.

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Friday Mar 08, 2013

Oracle’s Global Customer Experience Survey Reveals the Challenges, Strategies and Lessons Learned for Succeeding in the Customer Experience Era

Today's customers are "plugged in" 24/7. They demand instant access to information and transactional capabilities when they want them, are savvy when it comes to making purchase decisions, and are not afraid to change brands if a company no longer meets their expectations.

How are companies responding to the new environment of rapidly rising customer expectations and disruptive innovations like social, mobile and cloud technologies?

Oracle’s recently released global survey of 1,300 senior-level executives from 18 countries in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America yields new insights on the challenges, strategies and lessons learned for succeeding in the customer experience (CX) era.

Register now to access the complete research results

Some of the key research findings include:

  • Brands recognize the significant financial impact of poor customer experiences, yet struggle to develop and execute successful strategies. The report indicates businesses can lose 20% of revenue from poor customer experiences yet many are stuck in an execution chasm.
  • 91% wish to be considered a customer experience leader in their industry yet 37% are just getting started with a formal customer experience initiative.
  • Executives report significant opportunities for improvement when asked to assess their organizations' effectiveness on delivering the experiences that customers expect.
  • Executives cite limitations from inflexible technology, siloed organizations and systems, and insufficient investment as the biggest obstacles to delivering the best possible customer experience.
  • On average, businesses estimate they will increase spending on customer experience technology by 18% in the next two years. Improving the cross-channel experience and customer analytics are top priorities.
The report highlights the need for new approaches to cross the execution chasm and succeed in customer experience. Visit the Global Customer Experience Survey Microsite to download results by industry, region or country or complete the CX assessment survey to see where your organization stands.

Visit the Global Customer Experience Survey Microsite

******

Oracle Corporation

Are Your Customers Your Biggest Fans?

Hundreds of companies have customers who admire them, but only an elite few have true advocates who are passionate, vocal, and loyal fans. Hear from customer experience expert and author, Jeanne Bliss, as she reveals the five common decisions these beloved companies make that enable them to thrive in good times and bad.

Attend this webcast to discover:
  • What kind of decisions earn your company beloved status
  • How beloved companies drop the corporate veneer with customers
  • Why uncommon decision making can make a positive impact
Register now for the webcast, The Five Critical Decisions Made by Beloved and Prosperous Companies.
Oracle Fusion Middleware Webcenter logo

Register Now

Date:
March 21, 2013

Time:
10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET

Presented by:

Jeanne Bliss
Jeanne Bliss
President
CustomerBLISS

Hardware and Software Engineered to Work Together

Thursday Mar 07, 2013

Web Experience Management: The Key to Exceptional Online Customer Experience

Today’s customers expect an experience that is both relevant and interactive across web, mobile and social channels. By focusing on creating experiences that demonstrate how well you know your customers, that promote social interactivity, and that allow for anytime, anywhere access across web, mobile and social channels, you can successfully drive customer engagement, and unlock the door to greater sales and loyalty for your business.

The key to delivering the kind of exceptional online customer experiences that can help drive the success of your business is web experience management. A web experience management solution such as Oracle WebCenter Sites, can empower your business to better engage your customers online. With Oracle WebCenter Sites you can:

Create relevant and personalized online experiences

Today, it’s no longer acceptable to deliver a one-size-fits-all online customer experience. Instead, you must demonstrate that you know your customers by providing them with a relevant and personalized online experience that takes their preferences, behavior and past history with your brand into account. Oracle WebCenter Sites provides you with easy to use segmentation and targeting capabilities that will enable you to deliver a more personalized online experience.

Enable social and interactive online experiences

Customers expect their online experience with your brand to be as social and interactive as their experiences on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. To fulfill these expectations, you must provide your customers with plenty of opportunities to interact socially with your brand. This means incorporating user-generated content capabilities such as ratings, reviews, or comments into your web presence and integrating with social networks by enabling social login and social sharing of information on your site. With Oracle WebCenter Sites, you can easily incorporate social computing features into your online experience to drive engagement and foster community.

Deliver optimized experiences for mobile phones and tablets

The online experience is an increasingly mobile experience due to the ubiquity of phones and tablets. To meet the needs of mobile customers, organizations must optimize their web presence for anytime, anywhere delivery to the thousands of different mobile device types that are available. Oracle WebCenter Sites simplifies mobile delivery be enabling you to centrally manage both traditional sites and mobile sites using the same content, navigation and authoring interface.

Empower marketers to manage the online experience

Empowering marketers and other business users to take greater control of the creation, management and moderation of the online customer experience is a prerequisite for delivering the kind of engaging customer experiences that drive sales and loyalty. Oracle WebCenter Sites puts power into the hands of marketers with intuitive and visual site authoring tools that help you get your online initiatives to market faster.

Enable high performance, global online experiences

Assuring optimal performance across enterprise web deployments is a critical component of the online customer experience. With Oracle WebCenter Sites, you can deliver a highly scalable, multisite, multilingual, and multimedia online customer experience. With WebCenter Sites you can assure rapid, dynamic delivery of high-volume sites, streamline the management of hundreds of sites, manage vast and complex product catalogs with ease, and seamlessly incorporate digital assets into the online experience through rich media management.

Connect the online experience with other customer touch points

Customers expect to have a relevant, consistent and engaging experience across all of their touch points with a brand. Oracle WebCenter Sites can be integrated with commerce, faceted search, portal, CRM, BI and other customer experience applications from the Oracle portfolio to deliver a connected and engaging experience across the entire customer journey.

We hope you enjoyed learning more this week about enabling exceptional online customer experiences with Oracle WebCenter Sites. To learn more about Fusion Middleware, please check out other features in the The New Business Imperative: Social, Mobile, Cloud series.

Wednesday Mar 06, 2013

Are You Providing Your Customers with an Engaging Online Experience?

As we saw in Tuesday’s screencast about delivering exceptional online experiences, today's customers expect an online experience with your brand that is personalized, interactive and social. In order to drive sales and loyalty, you need a web experience management solution that empowers your business to easily create and manage contextually relevant, targeted and interactive experiences that are optimized for web, mobile and social channels. Oracle WebCenter Sites can provide you with the capabilities you need to manage large-scale, global online presences that engage and captivate your customers.

Ready to engage?
Learn more today:

  • See a demonstration of the exciting new and enhanced web experience management capabilities in Oracle WebCenter Sites 11g
  • Learn how Ancestry.com uses Oracle WebCenter Sites to deliver an online experience that converts site visitors into paying customers
  • Hear what leading industry analysts have to say about the powerful capabilities of Oracle WebCenter Sites

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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