Texas A&M Researchers Innovate and Engage with WebCenter

Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) is comprised of 11 Universities, 7 State Agencies and a Health Science Center. TAMUS educates nearly 115,000 students and employs almost 27,000 faculty and staff. This year they have more than $700 million in research activities that they need to manage and have been faced with challenges around collaboration and information sharing. We invite you to view this video to learn how they built Epik-Maestro with Oracle WebCenter, which has allowed researchers at Texas A&M University to spend more time innovating and less time on administration.

And here are additional details if you'd like to learn more about Texas A&M's story.

Business Challenges

Before Epik-Maestro, managing research was a time-consuming process. Most of the approval processes were done manually, which meant the researchers had to be physically present to approve the documents. That process has been streamlined by providing researchers the ability to approve documents and upload the required documents online, which has improved the efficiency several fold since their researchers are travelling most of the time. Universal Content Management (UCM) provides a better way to store documents and other unstructured data and a unified way to search documents. Also with the out-of-the-box integration with WebCenter, it was easy for Texas A&M University System to get the system up and running without the integration hassles.

Why Oracle?

TAMUS is primarily an Oracle shop and they are also using Oracle Portal extensively, so they were able to move portlets built using JSR 168 into the WebCenter Framework without having to rewrite any code or redo the work that had already been done. This was huge for them, as it saved a lot of development time and freed up development resources. Also, TAMUS plans to store research related documents like proposals, contracts and budgets in UCM and WebCenter provides an out-of-the-box integration with UCM, making it seamless to access content stored in UCM through the WebCenter interface. Similarly, wikis, blogs, announcements & discussions are also available out-of-the-box, so they were able to get the system up and running without too many integration hassles.

Solution Overview

TEES, one of the agencies of TAMUS, has a researcher portal named Epik-Maestro which was built using Oracle Portal. The researchers of TEES were using this portal to track their research and the system became very popular. So, the Chancellor and the CEOs of TAMUS approved the development and implementation of an integrated research administration to be used by all of the system members.

TAMUS was looking to build an integrated research information system that would streamline the previously time-consuming process of managing research projects across multiple institutions and empower researchers with a more dynamic and flexible user interface. They were looking for a way to simplify the research administration process to make sure the researchers have all the information they need at their finger tips. Additionally, they needed the solution to deliver a role-based view of system wide research and grants information through customizable researcher portals. Taking all these factors into consideration, Oracle WebCenter Suite seemed like the obvious choice as it provides a complete, open and integrated Enterprise 2.0 platform.

Epik-Maestro is built using Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) and Oracle WebCenter. TAMUS is actually working on a couple of projects - one externally facing and one internally facing. Within the externally facing site, external audiences can search for experts within Texas A&M University System based on the Advanced Keyword search, which allows users to find relevant experts quickly and easily when needed. Users can also read the latest research news and opportunities from Grants.gov. For their internal audiences, they have built a Researcher portal, where researchers can get information on everything related to their accounts and projects - like balances with transactional drill downs fetched from different systems thru web services and Composer components that researchers can use to personalize their home pages based on the components relevant to them. They can also use Enterprise 2.0 services like blogs and wikis within the portal, which helps to improve collaboration and communication. In the Executive portal, executives and Board of Regents can see summaries based on Researcher, Organization, Sponsor and so on and that is built using ADF Data Visualization components.

Comments:

I love this story Kellsey! The core value of having a research and collaboration portal as a way of driving down paperwork/admin time and maximizing research time is very compelling. The integrated search/request analytics is also cool as is the "locate a resource" example with the electron microscope. Developing the strategy to make this happen was no small task. props to the people involved. thanks for sharing!

Posted by billy cripe on June 11, 2011 at 02:40 AM EDT #

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