WebCenter - A Scalable Enterprise Community Platform

by Peter Reiser  (twitter, blog)

Continuing on with the theme of Leadership, this blog post describes how we successfully migrated a very large enterprise community system called  SunSpace to Oracle WebCenter. 

Over the next couple of weeks I will post more details on how we did the migration and some WebCenter best practices on the Reiser 2.0 blog.

Happy reading :).


Last week I blogged about "a tribute to SunSpace".  On December 31, 2011 we decommissioned  SunSpace, Sun Microsystems's  highly  successful enterprise community system. I have to admit  that it was a bit of an emotional moment -  being the Chief Architect for SunSpace the last 6 years -  I realized that this project finally ended. 

But you know what?  In 2009, when we had this phenomenal growth and adoption (> 30'000 users) of SunSpace, we already started to think about a much more scalable infrastructure and technology to keep up with the growth. The SunSpace community platform really became business critical in the Sales organization (remember, the primary users where Sun's global Sales and Services folks) 

We started to see some limitation of the current technology stack and we kicked of a new project to evaluate products and technologies which where designed for Enterprise class scalability, security and manageability, but at the same time allowed agile and flexible deployment of new function and features. 

... and then Sun Microstems got acquired by Oracle ... 

well - that was actually pretty timely as it allowed us to kickoff a project to evaluate a migration strategy from SunSpace to an Oracle based technology. After 3 months of evaluation, we decided to implement a large pilot on Oracle WebCenter and migrated 22 internal Oracle communities with around 15,000 members  from the "old" Oracle portal to Oracle WebCenter.

Based on this successful implementation, we decided to migrate SunSpace to Oracle WebCenter and we completed the project in December 2011.

Ok - so what have been implemented?

Lets's look at some details. (Note: the comparison tables below are excerpts of the internal user migration guide we wrote for the former SunSpace users)

User MyProfile 

Each WebCenter user has a personal profile (MyProfile) where one manages their personal settings, files and a network of contacts.

The following table lists the SunSpace personal profile features with and the commensurate WebCenter MyProfile features. 

 SunSpace Confluence Feature  WebCenter Feature How WebCenter Works
 User Home MyProfile: to access, click on your name at the top of any WebCenter page Your name, title, and reporting line are displayed.  Sub-tabs show your activity stream (Activities); people in your network (Connections); files you have uploaded (Documents); your contact information (Organization); and any personal information you wish to share (About).
Files  MyFiles Allows you to upload, download and store documents or wiki pages within folders and subfolders.  The WebDav interface allows you to download / upload files / folders with a simple drag and drop to / from your local machine.  Tagging is supported and recommended.
Network 

Home
MyConnections 

Home: displays the activity stream of individuals in your network.
MyConnections: shows individuals in your network.  Click on a person's name to see their contact info and link to their profile.
Status Updates  MyProfile > Activities Add and displays  your recent activties and status updates.
Watches  Preferences > Subscriptions > Current Subscriptions Receive email notifications when  pages / spaces you watch are modified.
N/A  Recommended Connections  Recommends you people you should connect based on the WebCenter Activity Graph analytics service.
Settings  Preferences: to access, click on 'Preferences' at the top of any WebCenter page Set your general preferences, as well as your WebCenter messaging, search and mail settings.
MyCommunities  MySpaces: to access, click on 'Spaces' at the top of any WebCenter page  Displays MySpaces (communities you are a member of); and Recent Spaces (communities you have recently visited).

Communities (Spaces)

Communities (Spaces) are groups of people who collaborate, find and share information on a given topic.  Communities include group and membership management, news, an attachment store, wiki, forum and a calendar.  Read / write access can be restricted to individuals, groups or members.

The following table lists the SunSpace Community features  with and the commensurate WebCenter Community features.

 SunSpace Confluence WebCenter  How WebCenter Works 
Home  Home Displays a community introduction and activity stream.  Members can add messages, links or documents via the Community Message Board.  Moderators can modify or add any portlets available in the portlet catalog.
People  Members Lists members of the community. The Mail All Members feature allows moderators and participants to send a message to all members of the community. Membership Management can be found under  Manage > Members
News  News Members can post and access latest community news and they can subscribe to news using an RSS reader. 
Documents  Documents Allows community members to upload, download and store documents or wiki pages within folders and subfolders.  The WebDav interface allows participants to download / upload files / folders with a simple drag and drop to / from your local machine.  Tagging is supported and recommended.
Wiki  Wiki Allows community members to create and update Wiki pages with a rich text editor editor.
Forum  Forum Post community forum topics. Contribute to community forum conversations
N/A  Calendar Update and/or view the Community Calendar.
N/A  Analytics Displays detailed analytics data (views,downloads, unique users etc.) for Pages, Wiki, Documents, and Forum in a given community space.

In addition WebCenter has a very cool  iPhone app! 

Be sure to stop by the Reiser 2.0 blog over the next couple weeks where Peter will post more details on how we did the migration and some WebCenter best practices!

Comments:

Peter,

Always good to see Oracle 'drinking it's own champagne'
Also a good insight for customers having a SunSpace.
Please keep us posted on the more technical but also organizational challenges you met.

Kind regards,

Rob

Posted by Rob de Gouw on January 25, 2012 at 01:46 AM EST #

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