Wednesday Jul 20, 2011

Oracle WebCenter: Integrated for Productivity

With the new WebCenter announcement (be sure to view the webinar), many customers have asked what the impact will be for them. The WebCenter products are already integrated, as we see at customers like Balfour Beatty and CPAC.

The business problems customers are trying to solve require many elements. A user interface that can bring together applications, and can be personalized by enabling users to layout their own workspace. Access to documents and the ability to create and update content easily in familiar tools. The ability to participate in business processes, and then to spin up conversations to resolve process decisions. The ability to find experts to consult on those decisions. The ability to store those conversations as a history that is compliant with our organizational policies. The ability to discover similar content when we are searching for answers. This is the way we work today, and it is important that we can move between these tasks as part of an effortless flow of actions.

One of the key ways WebCenter is integrated is through the enterprise content repository it provides. By having a single place to store and find content, people are able to work more efficiently. This takes away the common problem of having silos of information that are not connected, forcing users to go and search through different systems for answers. With one enterprise content repository, information can be easily found. Furthermore, it can be reused in many contexts. For example, a press release that is written in Word can be found and printed out. But with Oracle WebCenter it can also be converted into HTML and published to the website. A service contract can be available in Siebel, connected to a customer record, but it can also be published to a secure space where customers can view their contracts.  A product spec can appear on our internal portal, but it can also be syndicated to a partner and constantly updated. Oracle WebCenter can easily handle all of these use cases.

The ability to move through tasks, to share content, and to be integrated into business processes improves productivity, enabling not only faster decisions, but also ensuring the right decisions. The ability to discover new information and reuse learned information where you work makes Oracle WebCenter the most integrated user engagement platform for business.

Monday Jul 18, 2011

Oracle WebCenter: The User Engagement Platform for Social Business

Today this post caught our eye: Social Media Is Morphing Into Social Business, written by Beverly Macy. The move from Social Media to Social Business is something we’ve been saying at Oracle as well, where the benefits of social media can really be exploited when you integrate them with business processes. Beverly’s main point is that top management needs to move forward with these programs, and that they need to start learning how to be a social business. To get started, we have an online event tomorrow titled “Transforming Your Business By Connnecting People, Process and Content” that will address how companies are succeeding as a social business. In this event Oracle and our partners Deloitte, Capgemini, Wipro and Infosys will detail how ten different customers have transformed their businesses by combining strong processes with social and collaborative tools, to improve their overall information management, providing better customer experience, increasing productivity, and even creating comprehensive online communities for their customers and partners.

Last week we announced the new Oracle WebCenter, the user engagement platform for social businesses, connecting people and information. With this announcement the WebCenter brand covers portal, web experience management, content, social and collaboration technologies into a single product suite that can be easily integrated with enterprise applications.  You can see the announcement webcast now on-demand. 

One of the reasons for this unification is that the use cases for these products are so intertwined. When companies are looking to solve information management problems, they are often looking for a group of technologies that are now blending into a single solution. When organizations want to bring one or more application processes together with the documents that pertain to those processes, they are looking for composite applications and content management. When companies want to provide a strong marketing website, they are also looking for rich media management to bring the right assets to the site. And in some cases they are interested in injecting functionality, such as social and collaboration capabilities right into enterprise applications and business processes. These use cases all fall right into the capabilities of Oracle WebCenter. 

The Oracle WebCenter content theme includes Oracle ECM Suite, Oracle Universal Content Management, Oracle Imaging and Process Management, Oracle Universal Records Management, Oracle Document Capture, and Oracle Forms Recognition. For existing customers, there is no impact other than the fact that these products are united with the other WebCenter products under a single brand. You can continue solving problems for your employees, customers and partners using best-in-breed content management solutions from Oracle.

These product areas cover a number of use cases we typically see our customers solving:

  • Document Management Providing a repository for a workgroup, department, or the whole enterprise to store, find and update content in a managed way. With features like revision control and workflow, organizations can create and update documents in a managed way, ensuring that they are working from the latest version. This also lets them share documents across the organization, avoiding email congestion and enabling the organization to build on its existing knowledge
  • Content Publishing Beyond searching for content, Content Publishing lets you present your content as a browsable website. This is useful for instruction manuals, intranets, partner extranets, and other information-driven websites. Oracle WebCenter content can automatically convert over 500 file formats into HTML, and provides the tools to setup the navigation and flow of the website, automatically updating it when content is changed. It also provides WYSIWYG tools for content updates of web-based content.
  • Digital Asset Management Departments that create graphics such as branding and logos, magazine insert photos, or engineering graphics will love the ability of Oracle WebCenter content to automate many of the tedious tasks associated with digital asset management. You can set rules so that as new images are checked in, they are automatically converted to multiple formats - high-res, low-res, thumbnails - what ever you need. Oracle WebCenter content also provides sophisticated management for video, enabling thumbnails, conversion, compression, and integration with streaming servers
  • Records All content in Oracle WebCenter content provides strong records and retention management, enabling you to define classes and series, set retention periods, and place holds (even on physical records) from one centralized console.
  • Capture and Imaging For organizations that receive documents in paper formats, capture and imaging enable you to get that information into an electronic format and manage it. This supports many use cases, such as invoice processing, employee onboarding, and expenses to name a few. Oracle WebCenter content is integrated with top enterprise applications, so managed content can be presented in the context of these applications in accounts payable and human capital management modules.

Oracle WebCenter content provides a single repository for all of these use cases, so content can be easily found, de-duplicated and integrated with enterprise and custom applications. From an IT perspective, it provides one point of administration and can be expanded to new use cases to address all of you enterprise content management needs. Oracle WebCenter content is THE strategic content repository for Oracle, integrated with both Apps Unlimited and Oracle Fusion Applications.

Wednesday Jul 06, 2011

Mobile Strategy: Defense or Offense?

In continuation of our week's theme of looking at Mobility for Customer Engagement and Employee Productivity, we'll start looking at what's being done today in solutions across the enterprise to deal with the growing demand. With the rapid and ubiquitous expansion of mobile devices into both personal and business lives as well as the blurring of the lines between the usage of devices for both home and business purposes, organizations are being forced to think about their mobile strategy today more than ever before. IT departments can’t hide from this anymore and best get onboard while the volume is slightly manageable before the tide comes in full force.

What is your company strategy for mobile access, mobile apps and content?  Are you deploying more mobile options for interaction? Are your managers, employees, partners and customers demanding more mobile technology options? Could you save money, increase productivity and revenue by deploying mobile solutions strategically in your business?

In today’s business climate, it is hard to be competitive without mobile tools that allow your employees, partners and customers to do their tasks faster and more efficiently wherever they might be at the time. What used to be an enterprise majority of BlackBerry devices in the past has now quickly grown into a much wider collection of iOS, and Android devices. As pop culture watchers will attest in venues ranging from television commercials to airport billboards, Apple and Google are battling it out daily for their market share of Smartphone subscribers as more and more of these devices become an essential part of both business and casual wardrobe accessories.

Oracle WebCenter, Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle Applications play critical roles as strategic elements of a wide gamut of mobile solutions. There's an interesting article in this month's Oracle Magazine regarding how Oracle software continues to support the latest cloud and mobile hardware. We’re looking forward to telling you about what’s being done today in this exciting growth area and would love to hear how you are handling these challenges of mobility growth in your organization that you’ve faced and solved.

Here’s a short video to hear the issues that are top of mind at Oracle.  Kumar Vora is a Senior Vice President of Oracle and discusses the transformation enterprise Information Technology is undergoing including the consumerization of enterprise software, the impact of mobile devices and social software, and trends around collaboration.

Wednesday Jun 29, 2011

Oracle Partners Delivering Business Transformations With Oracle WebCenter

This week we’ve been discussing a new online event, “Transform Your Business by Connecting People, Processes, and Content.

This event will include a number of Oracle partners presenting on their successes with transforming their customers by connecting people, processes, and content:

  • Deloitte - Collaboration and Web 2.0 Technologies in Supporting Healthcare, delivered by Mike Matthews, the Canadian Healthcare partner and mandate partner on Canadian Partnership Against Cancer at Deloitte
  • Infosys - Leverage Enterprise 2.0 and SOA Paradigms in Building the Next Generation Business Platforms, delivered by Rizwan MK, who heads InfoSys' Oracle technology delivery business unit, defining and delivering strategic business and technology solutions to Infosys clients involving Oracle applications
  • Capgemini - Simplifying the workflow process for work order management in the utility market, delivered by Léon Smiers, a Solution Architect for Capgemini.
  • Wipro - Oracle BPM in Banking and Financial Services - Wipro's Technology and Implementation Expertise, delivered by Gopalakrishna Bylahalli, who is responsible for the Transformation Practice in Wipro which includes Business Process Transformation, Application Transformation and Information connect.

In Mike Matthews’ session, one thing he will explore is how to CPAC has brought together an informational website and a community. CPAC has implemented Oracle WebCenter, and as part of that implementation, is providing a community where people can make connections and share their stories. This community is part of the CPAC website, which provides information of all types on cancer. This make CPAC a one-stop shop for the most up-to-date information in Canada.

Friday Jun 17, 2011

Innovation and the Role of Social Media

A very interesting post by Andy Mulholland of CAP Gemini this week – “The CIO is trapped between the CEO wanting innovation and the CFO needing compliance” – had many interesting points:

“A successful move in one area won’t be recognized and rapidly implemented in other areas to multiply the benefits, or worse unsuccessful ideas will get repeated adding to the cost and time wasted. That’s where the need to really address the combination of social networking, collaboration, knowledge management and business information is required.”

Without communicating what works and what doesn’t, the innovations of our organization may be lost, and the failures repeated. That makes sense.

If you liked Andy Mulholland’s blog post, you need to hear Howard Beader’s presentation at Enterprise 2.0 Conference on innovation and the role of social media. (Howard will be speaking in the Market Leaders Session at 1 PM on Wednesday June 22nd). Some of the thoughts Howard will share include:

• Innovation is more than just ideas, it’s getting ideas to market, and removing the obstacles that stand in the way
• Innovation is about parallel processing – you can’t remove the obstacles one by one because you will get to market too late
• Innovation can be about product innovation, but it can also be about process innovation

This brings us to Andy’s second issue he raises:

"..the need for integration with, and visibility of, processes to understand exactly how the enterprise functions and delivers on its policies…"

Andy goes on to talk about this from the perspective of compliance and the CFO’s concerns. And it’s true: innovation can come both in product innovation, but also internal process innovation. And process innovation can have as much impact as product innovation.  New supply chain models can disrupt an industry overnight. Many people ignore process innovation as a benefit of social business, because it is perceived as a bottom line rather than top line impact. But it can actually impact your top line by changing your entire business model.

Oracle WebCenter sits at this crossroads between product innovation and process innovation, enabling you to drive go-to-market innovations through internal social media tools, removing obstacles in parallel, and also providing you deep insight into your processes so you can identify bottlenecks and realize whole new ways of doing business. Learn more about how at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference, where Oracle will be in booth #213 showing Oracle WebCenter and Oracle Fusion Applications.

Friday Jun 03, 2011

Oracle Content Management: Deploying Content Services to the Enterprise

Ryan White, VP of Business Development for DTI, is our guest post author today. DTI has strong experience in accounts payable imaging, with over 18 years experience with Oracle's current imaging solution. DTI has also been designated as an Oracle Deputy CTO, a very prestigious award. You can view a webinar where DTI discusses accounts payable automation and includes a demonstration on how Oracle Content Management is integrated with PeopleSoft.

Companies interested an enterprise class content management solution have a difficult question to answer; “How do we deploy ECM services to the enterprise?” I was sitting with the Director of Applications for a large retail chain in the south east discussing this question today.  With a new CIO on board and a long list of strategic initiatives, he is in an interesting situation.  Many of the strategic initiatives are focused on improving business processes, reducing costs, and improving corporate visibility into the business at large. 

We had recently completed a very successful expansion of their Oracle IPM system to deliver AP workflow to a new part of the organization.  As the CIO spoke at the project close event, it occurred to me that the problems he wanted addressed in his large strategic initiatives, would require the support of content services, yet setting an enterprise standard for content management was not one of the strategic initiatives.

The director and I reached the conclusion that in order to meet his goals of an enterprise standard for content management, we needed to work methodically through the organization to deliver key wins, publicize those wins to build momentum, and be diligent working with the business to prevent one off solutions.

Other clients that have taken enterprise content management as a strategic initiative have succeeded by following a few guiding principles: 

    1. Executive support – Support from an executive stake holder will go a long way to ensure the project momentum carries through the initial roll out.  Too many implementations stall with the conclusion of the first push as companies stop to take a breath after the initial go live.  
    2. Win Early and often – Since each department is unique in its requirements for content management, find a highly visible starting point with the right mind set (culture for change and desire for improvement), and a high probability for success.  You can tackle the most complex workflows and custom tailored solutions after you have proven that the technology works for you, but I guarantee that if the first roll out goes wrong, an enterprise deployment becomes much more difficult.
    3. Publicize the win – make sure the rest of the company knows about the success and continued success of the deployment.  Several companies have offered prizes for ‘green’ projects and I’ve even heard of a Ms. Document Imaging Pageant!  Make sure the rest of the company knows about your investment and its capabilities. Without awareness, you could continue to see more one-off solutions pop up across the company.

Following these guidelines will help ensure you deliver more than a departmental solution of an enterprise class technology.  It does take persistence, but once you reach a critical mass of support, you can reach the goals of content consolidation, standardization, and an ROI even greater than expected.

Thursday Jun 02, 2011

Oracle Content Management: Is Automation Enough?

Today we have a guest post from Jamie Rancourt, Senior Product Manager at Oracle.

As part of this week's posts on automating invoice processing, let's take a look at what levels of automation are possible and how they differ.  The crux of the invoice processing problem is the handling of physical pieces of paper.  Paper introduces complexities, slows down processing, and increases the possibility of invalid data entry which all add to the cost of doing business.  You can mitigate some of those costs by employing an enterprise content management system to handle the management of paper that has been digitized, helping you decrease some risks associated with paper. 

Yet while storing digitized invoices helps with the management aspect of the accounts payable process, it does not help mitigate other risks tied to the error prone data entry often performed by accounts payable clerks.   Let's assume you've partly automated your invoice processing department by providing them access to digitized copies of invoices and making them directly accessible from their payables workbench in your financial system.  Great! Step one completed!  Now those employees can perform their duties and key in the appropriate invoice information into the payables system.  And surely you've set them up with dual monitors to make them as efficient as possible in entering the data into your ERP system.  But what happens if they enter line items incorrectly into the system, or even worse, what happens if an employee needs to take a leave of absence?  Can your business still perform efficiently when having to review data entry or having to re-assign workloads?

Now think of how more efficient an accounts payable department can be if data entry errors can be reduced dramatically and invoice processing workloads can be reduced to handling exceptions rather than the bulk of the invoices, because let's face it, for the most part there is enough technology in your ERP system to fully automate the invoices that have been properly entered in your system!  Just as a person can look at an invoice and identify the different fields of information, an intelligent forms recognition solution can do the same but since it is a fully automated process with no human intervention, the data entry aspect of that process is now removed.  You can therefore reduce overall workload and let your accounts payable clerks manage the more complex invoices, aka the exceptions, and deliver higher quality data with quicker turnaround times to better enable your accounts payable department to control when they disburse payments.

You can hear more about these perspectives from some Oracle customers in these two podcasts:

How does your organization work with invoices? Do you automate or hand key your accounts payable capture process? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Wednesday Jun 01, 2011

Oracle Content Management: Embry Riddle ROI Study

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University uses Oracle Content Management to automate their accounts payable processing. ERAU has worked with Nucleus Research to analyze their return on investment. Nucleus has determined that Embry Riddle achieved a 180% ROI in the first year of their Oracle Content Management implementation. They achieved a payback on the system in 7 months, and they see an average annual benefit of over half a million dollars.

Embry Riddle is now building on that investment. Because Oracle Content Management addresses more than just accounts payable, Embry Riddle is able to address nearly any content management use case they can identify. The next process they are working on is student on-boarding. The process of bringing students on-board involves a tremendous amount of paper, from admissions forms to essays to letters of recommendation, transcripts, and military service files. To streamline this process, Embry Riddle images the entire packet so it can be accessible from a central repository. They reduce the need to mail copies of the paperwork to various branches, and can ensure that they have the entire student application.

Because Embry Riddle is able to capture these applications, they are able to process students faster. When it comes to attracting the best students, a faster turnaround time on the admissions process is a competitive advantage – they can let top students know they have been accepted weeks before any of their competitors.

Embry Riddle is evaluating additional use cases for Oracle Content Management. Read the ROI study and view the webinar to get more information on how Embry Riddle has had tremendous success using Oracle Content Management.

Tuesday May 31, 2011

Oracle Content Management: Optimizing Accounts Payable

If you are just getting started in automating invoice processing and accounts payable, a great webinar to listen to is this one with Jamie Rancourt of Oracle: Optimize Accounts Payable Through Automated Invoice Processing. Jamie goes through the steps to automation, and shows how a content management system to store the imaged invoices enables fast lookup to confirm payments, addresses, and invoice numbers.

Jamie also shows how some companies automate the capture process and extract information from the invoice in the process of moving it from a paper format to an electronic format. By automating this process, companies can cut as much as 90% of their invoice processing costs, and they can improve their accuracy. Offerings like Oracle’s Content Management Solutions provide a way to extract content such as invoice number, amount, tax and other data, and then automatically pair it with the correct invoice and enter the data in Oracle E-Business Suite or in Oracle PeopleSoft.

The webinar also profiles some customer examples, including Home Depot and Costco. Both of these organizations process thousands of invoices daily.

What are your criteria for choosing an imaging solution for accounts payable?

Monday May 30, 2011

Automating Accounts Payable

This week we will be focusing on how integrating content management with accounts payable can result in a tremendous savings and a fast return on investment. Organizations often see as much as a 90% savings by automating invoice processing. And by using an enterprise content management system to automate those processes, organizations can leverage the implementation to address other use cases. As we go through the week we’ll see how customers often begin by automating invoice processing, and then address use cases like employee on-boarding, travel and expense processing, and student admissions. This single investment pays for itself quickly and then continues to offer greater and greater returns.

Oracle Enterprise Content Management is pre-integrated to address automating accounts payable processing for Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle PeopleSoft. These integrations enable your organization to quickly get up and running, capturing paper invoices and automating their entry into your payables systems, slashing manual input and improving accuracy. As invoices are processed, the image of the paper invoice is always just a click away for verification.

Some organizations also implement Oracle WebCenter, which provides a dashboard, enabling managers to check throughput and look for bottlenecks.  And with WebCenter’s composite capabilities, multiple applications can be viewed simultaneously, so invoice processing and supply levels, or customer orders and inventory levels can be brought together on one screen and viewed together.


Oracle Cloud Content and Process power the next wave of productivity, mobile efficiency, and workgroup innovation. Only Oracle offers an integrated suite of content, process and sites cloud services that enable business users to easily collaborate anywhere, simplify business automation, and communicate more effectively.


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