Five Ways Enterprise 2.0 Can Transform Your Business - Q&A from the Webcast
By Kellsey Ruppel-Oracle on Dec 06, 2010
A few weeks ago, Vince Casarez and I presented with KMWorld on the Five" Ways Enterprise 2.0 Can Transform Your Business. It was an enjoyable, interactive webcast in which Vince and I discussed the ways Enterprise 2.0 can transform your business and more importantly, highlighted key customer examples of how to do so. If you missed the webcast, you can catch a replay here."
We had a lot of audience participation in some of the polls we conducted and in the Q&A session. We weren't able to address all of the questions during the broadcast, so we attempted to answer them here:
Q: Which area within your firm focuses on Web 2.0? Meaning, do you find new departments developing just to manage the web 2.0 (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) user experience or are you structuring current departments?
A: There are three distinct efforts within Oracle. The first is around delivery of these Web 2.0 services for enterprise deployments. This is the focus of the WebCenter team. The second effort is injecting these Web 2.0 services into use cases that drive the different enterprise applications. This effort is focused on how to manage these external services and bring them into a cohesive flow for marketing programs, customer care, and purchasing. The third effort is how we consume these services internally to enhance Oracle's business delivery. It leverages the technologies and use cases of the first two but also pushes the envelope with regards to future directions of these other two areas.
Q: In a business, Web 2.0 is mostly like action logs. How can we leverage the official process practice versus the logs of a recent action? Example: a system configuration modified last night on a call out versus the official practice that everybody would use in the morning.
A: The key thing to remember is that most Web 2.0 actions / activity streams today are based on collaboration and communication type actions. At least with public social sites like Facebook and Twitter. What we're delivering as part of the WebCenter Suite are not just these types of activities but also enterprise application activities. These enterprise application activities come from different application modules: purchasing, HR, order entry, sales opportunity, etc. The actions within these systems are normally tied to a business object or process: purchase order/customer, employee or department, customer and supplier, customer and product, respectively. Therefore, the activities or "logs" as you name them are able to be "typed" so that as a viewer, you can filter or decide to see only certain types of information. In your example, you could have a view that only showed you recent "configuration" changes and this could be right next to a view that showed off the items to be watched every morning.
Q: It's great to hear about customers using the software but is there any plan for future webinars to show what the products/installs look like? That would be very helpful.
A: We don't have a webinar planned to show off the install process. However, we have a viewlet that's posted on Oracle Technology Network. You can see it here:
And we've got excellent documentation that walks you through the steps here:
And there's a whole set of demos and examples of what WebCenter can do at this URL:
Q: How do you anticipate managing metadata across the enterprise to make content findable?
A: We need to first make sure we are all talking about the same thing when we use a word like "metadata". Here's why... For a developer, metadata means information that describes key elements of the portal or application and what the portal or application can do. For content systems, metadata means key terms that provide a taxonomy or folksonomy about the information that is being indexed, ordered, and managed. For business intelligence systems, metadata means key terms that provide labels to groups of data that most non-mathematicians need to understand. And for SOA, metadata means labels for parts of the processes that business owners should understand that connect development terminology. There are also additional requirements for metadata to be available to the team building these new solutions as well as requirements to make this metadata available to the running system. These requirements are often separated by "design time" and "run time" respectively. So clearly, a general goal of managing metadata across the enterprise is very challenging. We've invested a huge amount of resources around Oracle Metadata Services (MDS) to be able to provide a more generic system for all of these elements. No other vendor has anything like this technology foundation in their products. This provides a huge benefit to our customers as they will now be able to find content, processes, people, and information from a common set of search interfaces with consistent enterprise wide results.
Q: Can you give your definition of terms as to document and content, please?
A: Content applies to a broad category of information from Word documents, presentations and reports through attachments to invoices and/or purchase orders. Content is essentially any type of digital asset including images, video, and voice. A document is just one type of content.
Q: Do you have special integration tools to realize an interaction between UCM and WebCenter Spaces/Services?
A: Yes, we've dedicated a whole team of engineers to exploit the key features of Oracle UCM within WebCenter. While ensuring that WebCenter can connect to other non-Oracle systems, we've made sure that with the combined set of Oracle technology, no other solution can match the combined power and integration. This is part of the Oracle Fusion Middleware strategy which is to provide best in class capabilities for Content and Portals. When combined together, the synergy between the two products enables users to quickly add capabilities when they are needed. For example, simple document sharing is part of the combined product offering, but if legal discovery or archiving is required, Oracle UCM product includes these capabilities that can be quickly added. There's no need to move content around or add another system to support this, it's just a feature that gets turned on within Oracle UCM.
Q: All customers have some interaction with their applications and have many older versions, how do you see some of these new Enterprise 2.0 capabilities adding value to existing enterprise application deployments?
A: Just as Service Oriented Architectures allowed for connecting the processes of different applications systems to work together, there's a need for a similar approach with regards to these enterprise 2.0 capabilities. Oracle WebCenter is built on a core architecture that allows for SOA of these Enterprise 2.0 services so that one set of scalable services can be used and integrated directly into any type of application. In this way, users can get immediate value out of the Enterprise 2.0 capabilities without having to wait for the next major release or upgrade. These centrally managed WebCenter services expose a set of standard interfaces that make it extremely easy to add them into existing applications no matter what technology the application has been implemented.
Q: We've heard about Oracle Next Generation applications called "Fusion Applications", can you tell me how all this works together?
A: Oracle WebCenter powers the core collaboration and social computing services found within Fusion Applications. It is the core user experience technology for how all the application screens have been implemented. And the core concept of task flows allows for all the Fusion Applications modules to be adaptable and composable by business users and IT without needing to be a professional developer. Oracle WebCenter is at the heart of the new Fusion Applications. In addition, the same patterns and technologies are now being added to the existing applications including JD Edwards, Siebel, Peoplesoft, and eBusiness Suite. The core technology enables all these customers to have a much smoother upgrade path to Fusion Applications. They get immediate benefits of injecting new user interactions into their existing applications without having to completely move to Fusion Applications. And then when the time comes, their users will already be well versed in how the new capabilities work.
Q: Does any of this work with non Oracle software? Other databases? Other application servers? etc.
A: We have made sure that Oracle WebCenter delivers the broadest set of development choices so that no matter what technology you developers are using, WebCenter capabilities can be quickly and easily added to the site or application. In addition, we have certified Oracle WebCenter to run against non-Oracle databases like DB2 and SQLServer. We have stated plans for certification against MySQL as well. Later in CY 2011, Oracle will provide certification on non-Oracle application servers such as WebSphere and JBoss.
Q: How do we balance User and IT requirements in regards to Enterprise 2.0 technologies?
A: Wrong decisions are often made because employee knowledge is not tapped efficiently and opportunities to innovate are often missed because the right people do not work together. Collaboration amongst workers in the right business context is critical for success. While standalone Enterprise 2.0 technologies can improve collaboration for collaboration's sake, using social collaboration tools in the context of business applications and processes will improve business responsiveness and lead companies to a more competitive position. As these systems become more mission critical it is essential that they maintain the highest level of performance and availability while scaling to support larger communities.
Q: What are the ways in which Enterprise 2.0 can improve business responsiveness?
A: With a wide range of Enterprise 2.0 tools in the marketplace, CIOs need to deploy solutions that will meet the requirements from users as well as address the requirements from IT. Workers want a next-generation user experience that is personalized and aggregates their daily tools and tasks, while IT needs to ensure the solution is secure, scalable, flexible, reliable and easily integrated with existing systems. An open and integrated approach to deploying portals, content management, and collaboration can enhance your business by addressing both the needs of knowledge workers for better information and the IT mandate to conserve resources by simplifying, consolidating and centralizing infrastructure and administration.