Friday Apr 13, 2012

Q&A: Drive Online Engagement with Intuitive Portals and Websites

Drive Online Engagement with Intuitive Portals & Websites

We had a great webcast yesterday and wanted to recap the questions that were asked throughout.

Can ECM distribute contents to 3rd party sites?
ECM, which is now called WebCenter Content can distribute content to 3rd party sites via several means as well as SSXA - Site Studio for External Applications.

Will you be able to provide more information on these means and SSXA?
If you have an existing JSP application, you can add the SSXA libraries to your IDE where your application was built (JDeveloper for example).  You can now drop some code into your 3rd party site/application that can both create and pull dynamically contributable content out of the Content Server for inclusion in your pages.  

If the 3rd party site is not a JSP application, there is also the option of leveraging two Site Studio (not SSXA) specific custom WebCenter Content services to pull Site Studio XML content into a page.

More information on SSXA can be found here: http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E17904_01/doc.1111/e13650/toc.htm

Is there another way than a ”gadget” to integrate applications (like loan simulator) in WebCenter Sites?
There are some other ways such as leveraging the Pagelet Producer, which is a core component of WebCenter Portal. Oracle WebCenter Portal's Pagelet Producer (previously known as Oracle WebCenter Ensemble) provides a collection of useful tools and features that facilitate dynamic pagelet development. A pagelet is a reusable user interface component. Any HTML fragment can be a pagelet, but pagelet developers can also write pagelets that are parameterized and configurable, to dynamically interact with other pagelets, and respond to user input. Pagelets are similar to portlets, but while portlets were designed specifically for portals, pagelets can be run on any web page, including within a portal or other web application. Pagelets can be used to expose platform-specific portlets in other web environments. More on Page Producer can be found here: http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E23943_01/webcenter.1111/e10148/jpsdg_pagelet.htm#CHDIAEHG

Can you describe the mechanism available to achieve the context transfer of content?
The primary goal of context transfer is to provide a uniform experience to customers as they transition from one channel to another, for instance in the use-case discussed in the webcast, it was around a customer moving from the .com marketing website to the self-service site where the customer wants to manage his account information. However if WebCenter Sites was able to identify and segment the customers  to a specific category where the customer is a potential target for some promotions, the same promotions should be targeted to the customer when he is in the self-service site, which is managed by WebCenter Portal. The context transfer can be achieved by calling out the WebCenter Sites Engage Server API’s, which will identify the segment that the customer has been bucketed into. Again through REST API’s., WebCenter Portal can then request WebCenter Sites for specific content that needs to be targeted for a customer for the identified segment. While this integration can be achieved through custom integration today, Oracle is looking into productizing this integration in future releases. 

How can context be transferred from WebCenter Sites (marketing site) to WebCenter Portal (Online services)?
WebCenter Portal Personalization server can call into WebCenter Sites Engage Server to identify the segment for the user and then through REST API’s request specific content that needs to be surfaced in the Portal.

Still have questions? Leave them in the comments section! And you can catch a replay of the webcast here.

Thursday Apr 12, 2012

Wisdom Lies in Collaborative Power and Intelligence


By Alakh Verma, Director, Platform Technology Solutions  

In my recent blog posts, I shared insights on Predictive Analytics (Will Predictive Analytics at 'Speed of Thoughts' Help Businesses?), Real Time Decisions (How critical are Real Time decisions in business today?) and their significance in our lives in general and in businesses today. In the current business paradigm shift- with evolutionary social business, it is paramount that businesses look for wisdom in collaborative power and intelligence and equip their employees with the tools to engage with one another. There is an old time saying that 5 sticks tied together are stronger and unable to break as opposed to an individual stick. We have recently witnessed the power of ordinary people uniting together and fought collaboratively using Facebook and Twitter to topple down dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya—and are threatening absolute rule in Syria. And an India one man’s (Anna Hazare) campaign against corruption went viral, bringing thousands to the streets in support.

As anyone who has worked in a sizeable organization knows, there is no guarantee that the organization as a whole will perform efficiently and achieve its goals, even if each employee is individually efficient and every team has a high level of productivity. To achieve enterprise productivity, it is necessary not only for individuals and groups to “do things right” by working productively but also for the enterprise as a whole to “do the right things” - form the right teams, make the right decisions, allocate resources correctly, and effectively coordinate activities across the entire organization.

Most organizations fall short of the optimal level of enterprise productivity because of one or more of these reasons, all at a great cost to the business. 
  • They are disconnected from themselves with various parts of the organization unintentionally working at cross-purposes with each other. 
  • Information that exists is not getting shared or reused. 
  • Human talent is not being applied where it is most needed. 
  • The same problems are being solved repeatedly by multiple groups.

Intelligent collaboration through automated business processes has the ability to alter the course of any important business activity, with a potentially dramatic impact on the financial performance of the business. Whether it is a simple email exchange, a physical or virtual meeting, a task force, or a large-scale project, the activity is inherently collaborative.  In fact, collaboration can be defined as the work that takes place among people when a business process is not pre-determining how the work should take place.

Collaboration is many things: information sharing, brainstorming, problem solving, best practice negotiation, innovation, coordination of activity, alignment of purpose, and so forth.  Collaboration is the “white space” between the business processes; it is the glue that holds an organization together, and the lubricant that allows the machinery to keep running. 

Real time search and collaborative capabilities of the right people with the right content supported by defined processes will provide unparallel wisdom in the organization in the most competitive business environment today. Interestingly, technologies such as Oracle WebCenter offer these capabilities in our Web based business transactions and compliment in the overall collaborative intelligence and power to truly transform organizations to social businesses.

Looking to learn more about engaging your employees to collaborate together and providing a complete user experience for your customers? You won't want to miss our webcast today! Drive Online Engagement with Intuitive Portals and Websites

Monday Apr 09, 2012

Drive Online Engagement with Intuitive Portals and Websites

As more and more business is being conducted via online channels, engaging users and making them more productive and efficient though these online channels is becoming critical. These users could be customers, partners or employees and while the respective channels through which they interact might be different, these users do increasingly interact with your business through the Web, or mobile devices or now through various social mediums.  Businesses need a user engagement strategy and solution that allows them to deliver targeted and personalized content and applications to users through the various online mediums and touch points. 

The customer experience today is made up of an ongoing set of interactions with organizations across many channels, online and offline.  The Direct channel (including sales reps, email and mail) is an important point of contact, as is the Contact Center.  Contact Centers rely on the phone as a means of interacting with customers, and also more now than ever, the Web as well.  However, the online organization is often managed separately from the Contact Center organization within a business. In-store is an important channel for retailers, offering Point-of-Service for human interactions, and Kiosks which enable self-service. Kiosks are a Web-enabled touch point but in-store kiosks are often managed by the head of retail operations, rather than the online organization.  And of course, the online channel, including customer interactions with an organization via digital means -- on the website, mobile websites, and social networking sites, has risen to paramount importance in recent years in the customer experience. Historically all of these channels have been managed separately.

The result of all of this fragmentation is that the customer touch points with an organization are siloed.  Their interactions online are not known and respected in their dealings in-store.  Their calls to the contact center are not taken as input into what the website offers them when they arrive. Think of how many times you’ve fallen victim to this. Your experience with the company call center is different than the experience in-store. Your experience with the company website on your desktop computer is different than your experience on your iPad. I think you get the point.

But the customer isn’t the only one we need to look at here, as employees and the IT organization have challenges as well when it comes to online engagement. There are many common tools and technologies that organizations have been using to try and engage users, whether it’s customers, employees or partners. Some have adopted different blog and wiki technologies (some hosted, some open source, sometimes embedded in platforms), to things like tagging, file sharing and content management, or composite applications for self-service applications and activity streams.

Basically, there are so many different tools & technologies that each address different aspects of user engagement.

Now, one of the challenges with this, is that if we look at each individual tool, typically just implementing for example a file sharing and basic collaboration solution, may meet the needs of the business user for one aspect of user engagement, but it may not be the best solution to engage with customers and partners, or it may not fit with IT standards such as integrating with their single sign on tools or their corporate website. Often, the scenario is that businesses are having to acquire multiple pieces and parts as well as build custom applications to meet their needs. Leaving customers and partners with a more fragmented way of interacting with the company.

Every organization has some sort of enterprise balancing act between the needs of the business user and the needs and restrictions enforced by enterprise IT groups. As we’ve been discussing, we all know that the expectations for online engagement have changed since the days of the static, one-size fits all website. With these changes have come some very difficult organizational challenges as well.

Today, as a business user, you want to engage with your customers, and your customers expect you to know who they are. They expect you to recall the details they’ve provided to you on your website, to your CSRs and to your sales people. They expect you to remember their purchases, their preferences and their problems. And they expect you to know who they are, equally well, across channels, including your web presence.

This creates a host of challenges for today’s business users. Delivering targeted, relevant content online is now essential for converting prospects into customers and for engendering long term loyalty. Business users need the ability to leverage customer data from different sources to fuel their segmentation and targeting strategies and to easily set-up, manage and optimize online campaigns. Also critical, they need the ability to accomplish these things on-the-fly, at the speed of the marketplace, while making iterative improvements. 

These changing expectations put a host of demands on the IT organization as well. The web presence must be able to scale to support the delivery of personalized and targeted content to thousands of site visitors without sacrificing performance. And integration between systems becomes more important as well, as organizations strive to obtain one view of the customer culled from WCM data, CRM data and more.

So then, how do you solve these challenges and meet the growing demands of your users?

 You need a solution that:

  1. Unifies every customer interaction across all channels
  2. Personalizes the products and content that interest the customer and to the device
  3. Delivers targeted promotions to the right customer
  4. Engages and improve employee productivity
  5. Provides self-service access to applications
  6. Includes embedded in-context social  

So how then do you achieve this level of online engagement, complete customer experience and engage your employees? The answer: Oracle WebCenter. If you want to learn how to get there, we encourage you to attend this webcast on Thursday Drive Online Engagement with Intuitive Portals and Websites, where we'll talk about how you are able to transform your portal experience and optimize online engagement -- making your portals more interactive and more engaging across multiple channels. Register today!

Thursday Apr 05, 2012

Webcast: The Power to Translate is Now Inside Oracle WebCenter Sites


The Power to Translate is

Now Inside Oracle

WebCenter Sites

You are invited to a special preview of the Lingotek Inside Oracle WebCenter Sites solution which will be showcased at Collaborate in Las Vegas later in April.

Now it's easy to quickly translate your content directly from Oracle WebCenter Sites using the new Lingotek - Inside for Oracle WebCenter Sites integration.

Your users will be able to access translated content, nominate content for translation, and even offer to translate content themselves.

Oracle Integration Solution

Lingotek - Inside Integration:
  1. Content identified and seamlessly viewable within Lingotek Workbench.
  2. Translation Completed by:
    • Machine and Translation Memory
    • Community Volunteers, Crowdsourcing
    • Professional Translators
  3. Translated Content Automatically Saved.
  4. Content within Oracle WebCenter Sites:
    • Related
    • Secured
    • Routed Through Workflows
    • Publish to Intranets, Web Sites, Applications
Oracle WebCenter Sites

Web Experience Management

Enables marketers and business users to easily create and manage contextually relevant, social, and interactive online experiences across multiple channels on a global scale.

  1. Drive customer acquisition, brand loyalty, and business success
  2. Optimize customer engagement across Web, mobile, and social channels
  3. Manage large-scale, multichannel global online presence with integration to enterprise applications

You'll hear from the experts how this can be done.




Free 30 Minute Webinar

Date: Tues, Apr 17th
Time: 8:00am MST, 3pm GMT and 4pm CET

Win a Kindle Fire

Amazon Kindle Fire

Register before April 6th for a chance to win a Amazon Kindle Fire!

Presenter:

Rob Vandenberg, President and CEO

Rob Vandenberg, President and CEO of Lingotek, drives the vision while leading the charge to change the future of translation. Rob is a well-known technology industry veteran, and his expertise and knowledge surrounding translation, localization, and internationalization materials, software products, and web content serves as an immeasurable asset to customers needs and requirements. Rob is a frequent industry speaker and panelist .

Presenter:

Andrew Palmer, EMEA Alliances Director WebCenter Sites

Andrew Palmer
Oracle
EMEA Alliances Director
WebCenter Sites

Oracle Gold Partner
Oracle Validated Integration
Oracle Web Logic Ready

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer

Tuesday Apr 03, 2012

COLLABORATE 12: Oracle WebCenter Featured at Largest Oracle User Conference

With more than 70 out of about 800 individual sessions, Oracle WebCenter will be a major focus of COLLABORATE 12, this year's Independent Oracle User Group (IOUG) conference, taking place April 22–26 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"COLLABORATE 12 provides a unique chance to share experiences with Oracle customers, product managers, and partners, so you can deepen your knowledge about Oracle WebCenter upgrades, user provisioning, workflow, integration, and much more," says Roel Stalman, vice president of product management for Oracle WebCenter. "In fact, COLLABORATE can form a key part of your training plans for 2012."

Full-Day Oracle WebCenter Deep Dive
On Sunday, April 22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., registered conference attendees can attend a special deep dive into Oracle WebCenter.

During the program, experts from Oracle product management and development teams will delve into all four pillars of Oracle WebCenter—and explore how all four are integrated together. Attendees can also expect

  • A preview of Oracle WebCenter 12c
  • Detailed product demos
  • Prize giveaways throughout the day

Going Mobile
Oracle WebCenter and mobile technology will be a major theme at this year's conference, with a number of sessions devoted to maximizing the availability of content while also ensuring security. Sessions include

  • Are You Making These Mistakes in Your Oracle Site Studio Implementations?
    • Monday, April 23 at 11 a.m.
  • Case Study: How Medtronic Brought Oracle WebCenter Content to the iPad
    • Tuesday, April 24 at 10:45 a.m.
  • Exposing Oracle WebCenter Data on Mobile and Desktop Devices Through the REST API
    • Tuesday, April 24 at 10:45 a.m.
  • Mobile First: Delivering a Compelling Mobile Experience with Oracle WebCenter
    • Tuesday, April 24 at 4:30 p.m.
  • Optimizing Your Oracle WebCenter Portal Solution for Mobile Devices
    • Wednesday, April 25 at 8:15 a.m.
  • Build an iPhone App Using Oracle WebCenter Portal REST APIs
    • Wednesday, April 25 at 9:30 a.m.

Other Don't-Miss Sessions
Conference organizers have indicated that the following sessions in particular should be of wide interest to attendees.

  • Oracle WebCenter: Vision, Strategy, and Overview
    Monday, April 23 at 9:45 a.m.
    This session explores Oracle's integrated approach to portals and composite applications, Web experience management, enterprise content management, and enterprise social collaboration. It also provides insight into Oracle's strategic direction for Oracle WebCenter.
  • Oracle Webcenter Content, Oracle WebCenter Spaces, Oracle WebCenter Sites: Which Is Right for Me?
    Monday, April 23 at 1:15 p.m.
    This session helps attendees determine the best Oracle WebCenter solution to meet their needs for an intranet, corporate Website, or partner portal.

Learn more and register to attend COLLABORATE 12.

Monday Mar 12, 2012

Higher Education Webcasts: Texas A&M & Element 115

Did you know that Oracle has a Higher Education User Group? Is your organization in the Education field and looking to improve processes and efficiency? We encourage you to check out the webcasts we have scheduled for this week, which will provide valuable insight and education (no pun intended :) ) on how your organization could benefit from utilizing social tools and technologies.

Learn How Texas A&M Researchers Innovate and Engage with Oracle WebCenter
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 | 11:00 am PST / 2:00 pm EST | Register

Texas A&M is one of the largest systems of higher education in the US with 11 universities, a comprehensive health science center, and 115,000 students and 27,000 staff members. Attend this webcast to learn how Texas A&M streamlined previously time-consuming processes for managing research projects across multiple institutions. Oracle WebCenter enabled Texas A&M to:
  • Improve cross-organization information management of the university system’s robust academic research initiatives 
  • Establish a unified platform to better manage research resources and expertise 
  • Coordinate work across the university system’s various research organizations and improve collaboration on research projects involving more than one institution 
  • Provide researchers the ability to create their own portals with easy-to-use tools, resulting in reduced reliance on IT
WebCenter for Medical Center Educational Institutions 
Thursday, March 15, 2012 | 11:00 am PST / 2:00 pm EST | Register

Attract, Engage and Convert New Patients Online with Oracle WebCenter and Element 115

Medical center educational institutions must deliver engaging online experiences that attract, convert and retain new patients and referring physicians.  Attend this webcast to learn how Oracle WebCenter and Element 115 enable institutions to achieve these goals through a comprehensive web experience management solution. The solution includes a number of industry specific components to help speed deployment and streamline site management such as a media-rich resource center that provides consumers online access to patient and visitor information, a physician finder, clinical services modules, a health informational library, health newsletters, and more. Designed with business users in mind, site content can be easily managed with intuitive tools that reduce reliance on IT resources for routine maintenance tasks.

About Oracle’s Education Organization
Our solutions enable educational institutions to dynamically connect teaching, learning and administrative environments.

Higher education institutions around the world get better results with Oracle, including:
  • 20 of the top 20 academic universities worldwide
  • 10 of the top 10 research universities
Oracle’s  Higher Education User Group (HEUG) is the largest independent, self-organized industry user group in the world. What are you waiting for...join today!

Thursday Mar 08, 2012

WebCenter Quarterly Customer Update - March 26th

WebCenter Customer Update - March 26th 2012
Find out the latest about the WebCenter 11g R1 (11.1.1.6.0) release and learn about Oracle Social Network from the WebCenter Product Management team. We’ll also cover the updated communication channels and online resources we’ve recently launched for all WebCenter pillars (content, portal, sites and social). Register today!

WebCenter Portal -- 11g Patch Set 5 (11.1.1.6) Update
Richard Nessel will discuss what is new in the latest release (11.1.1.6) of WebCenter Portal. He'll cover the key new features and capabilities that have been introduced.

WebCenter Content -- 11g Patch Set 5 (11.1.1.6) Update
Joe Golemba will discuss a number of new capabilities for WebCenter Content in the areas of User Engagement, Content-Enabling Applications, and Infrastructure. 

WebCenter Social – Oracle Social Network
Rachel Hunter will discuss the foundations of Oracle Social Network and its capabilities with Enterprise integration with Fusion CRM. 

Please register here for this webcast to get an overview of these exciting new capabilities and how they can benefit your organization.

Wednesday Feb 29, 2012

Social Business and Innovation

I promised on Monday a follow up post from John Mancini on his thoughts of the AIIM/Oracle Social Business Seminar series. Please find John's insights below -- we welcome any comments you might have!


John Mancini By John Mancini, President of AIIM

I will admit to breaking one of my cardinal February travel rules when Oracle asked me to speak at the Social Business seminar series - don't travel to anyplace very far north in February.  But whether thanks to global warming or just the serendipity of an unusually warm winter, I can say that the weather for my 4 cities in 2 weeks Oracle tour (Toronto, Washington, Atlanta, and Minneapolis) was uneventful (except for a short flare-up in Minnesota).  While the weather was uneventful, the content was anything but. 

My focus was on three factors that are driving organizations to think more strategically about the intersection between content, social, and process: 1) How are content management and Enterprise IT being changed by social technologies? 2) How are social technologies being used to drive innovation and transform processes? and 3) What are the implications of this transformation for information professionals?  The presentation link is here.

In order to have long-term impact, social technologies must ultimately drive Systems of Engagement (http://www.aiim.org/futurehistory).  They must ultimately be incorporated into the fabric of an organization and link back to the core processes and information repositories that drive the business.

At each event, an Oracle executive shared their perspective on the changing nature of customer, partner, and employee engagement, and the repositioning of Oracle's offerings under the WebCenter umbrella to tap into these engagement opportunities. Ultimately, the impact of social technologies on organizations is not the technologies per se, but how they impact customer, employee, and partner behavior.


On the employee and partner side, the key questions to think about are: How do social technologies improve productivity? Increase retention? Improve customer service? Improve accountability?

Some of the core questions to think about relative to the impact of social technologies on customers are whether and how they drive them to do the following:
  • Purchase your products more quickly
  • Purchase more of your products
  • Recommend your products
  • Share feedback with you
  • Spend more time and attention with you

John Mancini is President of AIIM (http://www.aiim.org) and blogs under the title "Digital Landfill".   He is an active participant on multiple social networks (usually as “jmancini77”), and is the author of a series of "8 things you need to know" e-books.

Monday Feb 27, 2012

Webcast: Stuck in Your SharePoint Shell? Break Free with Oracle WebCenter

Imagine if your employees could easily share information across your enterprise. Imagine if they could also automatically deliver targeted information to potential customers—and connect them with the right partners. That’s the kind of enterprise collaboration and efficiency you can expect with Oracle WebCenter—but not Microsoft SharePoint. So is it any wonder why more and more businesses are making the switch to Oracle? 

Join us for this Webcast as we share results from surveys of customers to see how Oracle WebCenter:
  • Seamlessly integrates collaboration with business processes and activities 
  • Provides the only comprehensive user engagement platform today 
  • Delivers a superior level of enterprise collaboration and efficiency 

Date: Thursday, March 8, 2012 
Time: 10:00 AM PST 

Speakers:

  • Howard Beader, Sr. Director of Product Marketing , Oracle WebCenter
  • Trevor Niblock , Director, WebCenter Sales Support, Oracle

Oracle/AIIM Social Business Seminars: Wrap Up

John ManciniKellsey Ruppel

Last week we wrapped up the Social Business Seminar series with AIIM. I had the opportunity to host the event in Minneapolis and of course it hasn't snowed at all this winter, and we happened to get a nice “snowstorm” the night before -- perfect for driving in from Wisconsin. Good thing my Jeep has 4 wheel drive, as I wasn't going to let a little snow get in the way of what shaped out to be a day filled with interesting discussions and conversations around social business. John Mancini, president of AIIM, kicked off the day with a talk on Social Business and Innovation – focusing on how we are moving from systems of record to systems of engagement to innovation. John is going to be guest posting later in the week with his thoughts, so be sure to check back!

After John set the stage, I gave a presentation on how you can solve the innovation challenge with WebCenter. I talked in depth of the key trends today that we see impacting us as consumers, our expectations and how we do business. It was really interesting to see some “ah ha” moments and head nods as we tied this whole idea of social business together – and how important it is to have the proper technology to do so.

Jim Freeland of Medtronic and Jason Lamon of Fishbowl Solutions rounded out the day with an overview of how Medtronic is using WebCenter to enable their sales teams to access information on the iPad. Back in 2010, Medtronic was the largest commercial user of the iPad, and it was neat to see how WebCenter provides the technology that is ultimately helping in Medtronic’s mission of alleviating pain, restoring health and extending life. If you want to get more details on what Medtronic is doing, you can hear directly from Jim in the video below!

I would highly encourage you to attend an event like this or others that Oracle puts on. You can’t beat the interaction and discussions and the chance to network with your peers. We are hoping you’ll join us in the Conversations!

Friday Feb 24, 2012

Is Social Business an Evolution or Revolution?: Webcast Q&A

Christian Finn

Thank you to those of you who attended the first webcast in our Oracle Social Business Thought Leaders series yesterday.

Christian Finn and Andy Mulholland shared their thoughts on whether social business is an evolution or revoltion. Andy hit home on the fact that technology is at a crossroads today. It has always played a key role in spearheading business success and continues to be a driving force for impacting innovation and change. He went on to explain that the key to enabling business innovation is recognizing the shift from the computer being at the core of technology development to people becoming the central focus. 

We had some great questions that came up, and here is a recap of them below.

What requirements are needed for organizations to become "social businesses"?

Mulholland: In common with many others who have experienced using social networking in their day to day activities I believe the change is as much cultural as organizational, telling people to use a social network seldom works, as for most people the first question will be ‘does this help me in my daily work’. Asking them to spend extra time monitoring a social network in addition to email wont encourage them, instead look for knowledge workers in a part of the enterprise that is sufficiently large that the target group of knowledge workers won’t know all the members of the social network. These environments gain most from Social networks as the questions and events are ‘unstructured’ and require the experience and tacit knowledge inherent in the members and the ability to interact and exchange information between people who are unknown to each other around the topics represents a clear difference from e mail. In such a community email usage can be expected to drop by up to 40% thus encouraging more and more people who are knowledge workers to see this as their principle means of communication. This effect then tends to draw in non knowledge workers who find this is a better medium to get their periodic questions answered.

Is there a difference between Social Business being a revolution socially vs economically? Will this change total economic output or just distribute it differently?

Finn: It will definitely distribute things differently.  It is probably too early to tell whether it will raise overall economic output. But certainly, businesses that are more effective in the social dimension will reap greater rewards.

Do you think social media tools will replace email at work?

Mulholland: No I don’t in the foreseeable future is the simple answer any more than the use of paper based intercompany communication has been superseded by email. There is a place where each adds value and in one to one communication as an example email works well and that tends to mean that senior management is happy to continue to use it in their ‘structured’ work around the key business managers activities which is well known to them. The question is longer term if that will continue to be a separate tool or will, as is happening in social communities, the ability to operate a person to person private communication do away with the need.

Does Social Business imply that a firm’s thought-leaders and experts become tangible or at least monetized assets? (i.e. does the fact that I have an expert visible to the consumer relate to a dollar value?)

Finn: That’s a good question. They definitely have economic value, however quantifying the value is hard. And that value is increased because social media extends the reach of your influentials. Interestingly there’s been at least one case of a person leaving a company causing a legal debate about who ”owns” his followers and their goodwill-- the spokesperson or the firm.

In your opinion, what do managers fear most about social media use in organizations?

Mulholland: Loss of control!!!  And inability to use the technology showing up their own limitations as a secondary ‘quiet’ challenge. Btw both these challenges also occurred when email was being adopted in the mid 90s around the changing business model that ERP under Business Process Re-Engineering introduced and drive the adoption of email to communicate outside departmental structures and along the process threads. Today an event driven front office responding to the diversity of market and customers activities using social tools for answers seems just as dangerously outside the established management communication structure. In practice the whole goal is to answer the questions and responses in a manner that can align this unstructured environment with the established structure and working practices of the enterprise and its processes and knowledge Management.

How do we get a more accurate social representation of feedback as it tends to be more to the extremes of very good or very poor. In the middle, folks do not seem terribly interested in participating?

Finn: It depends on where the feedback is being given. In general, contexts that have strong reciprocity will tend to have solid feedback. Such as within a community of interest or practice, whether that’s formal or not. On the other hand, anonymous Internet comments are the Wild Wild West. Within organizations, requiring people to give feedback under their real names does improve quality, but it tends to skew toward positive only, with few low scores.

In organizations, what business functions get the most value from social media tools? (Marketing & Sales, Communications, KM, Product Development, IT)

Mulholland: The broad answer is front office where the work is unstructured and the number of people is sufficiently high that nobody will know all of their colleagues by name or role, in these environments the ability to ask a question that will be automatically be directed to the community with the relevant expertise and avoid wasting the time of everyone who is not involved is a double win. I.e. on one hand the people whose knowledge you are seeking will be able to respond and on the other the remainder will not have their time wasted. Email reductions of 40% seem to be common and leave people with the time to do their real job!! But there is a further win, analysis of the social networking conversations and flow reveals new insights into what is really happening in this complex area, as an example the oracle Utilities Service engineers suite allows field engineers to share knowledge and experience but also to analysis this to gain new insights into what is happening in terms of types of faults, ways to solve problems, who has which knowledge and experience etc. all very real and important new insights into vitally important human centric activities that was not previously possible.

Do you feel the younger generation has different expectations/opinions on bringing social media tools into the business?

Mulholland: There is little doubt the sub 30 or may be 35 years old people grew up on line with the internet, web and increasingly with a different view to how they communicate, share and learn. To them it is natural to work in real time, to find information from others, to place views into social networks, and frankly to expect to be in a social networked online environment. Indeed their expectation of this is so developed that if a company doesn’t provide this environment they will find ways to create it on public social networks. This will rob any enterprise of the all important ability to gain information and insights to offer very real levels of improvement to their levels of interaction with customers, markets etc. I liken it to the service engineers or the sales people going into a locked room to discuss all important aspects of their work and how to improve it whilst keeping the management out of the room, crazy but quite literally what happens in enterprises that don’t wake up to the value social tools bring.

If you missed the webcast, you can catch the replay here and the slides available as well! Be sure to keep up with Andy and Christian as they continue on in the conversations about social business! 

Thursday Feb 23, 2012

Social Business: Oracle at the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit

Oracle is proud to be a Platinum sponsor of the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit March 12-14 in Orlando, FL. The theme for this year's conference is "Always On: Anytime, Anywhere, Everything, Everyone". As we've been discussing this week about Social Business and the emerging challenges such as the transition to mobile and enterprise-level social networking platforms, this is a great opportunity for greater understanding and how to get started. The 2012 Summit provides you with the tools and insights to maximize PCC potential and meet with Oracle experts in a variety of sessions, including demonstrations during the showcase receptions.

  • Oracle Solution Provider Session - Tuesday, March 13 at 9:45am.
  • Oracle Solution Showcase Reception - Stop by the Oracle booth to see live demonstrations of WebCenter and enter to win an iPad2!
  • Oracle Face to Face Meetings

Oracle Provider Session: Here today, gone tomorrow – Engage Your Customers or Lose Them!
Keeping customers happy and engaged isn’t as easy as it used to be. Today’s successful organizations need to engage customers across web, mobile and social channels to drive loyalty and growth. Optimizing online engagement requires facing significant new challenges in our increasingly complex, always connected, anytime, anywhere, multi-channel, social world.  Join us to learn more about how you can harness the online channel to deliver a customer experience that will drive your success.

Speaker:

  • Loren Weinberg, Vice President of Product Management and Strategy, Oracle WebCenter

Key Benefits of Attending:

Through analyst sessions, problem-solving workshops and end-user case studies, you'll gain the insight to:

  • Maximize PCC investments and initiatives
  • Migrate to mobile environments
  • Know when to use cloud and SaaS options
  • Update content management best practices
  • Advance the user experience of your portables
  • Get started with social software initiatives
  • Understand how PCC impacts organizational dynamics
  • Use analytics to improve business processes

Will you be attending the Gartner PCC Summit? Be sure to follow the #gartnerpcc and #webcenter hashtags for updates! We'd love to meet with you to discuss your social business use cases! 

Wednesday Feb 22, 2012

Social Business: Evolution or Revolution?


Christian Finn

By Christian Finn (@cfinn)

At the Enterprise 2.0 show in Boston three years ago, I made a splash during the keynote panel by arguing that social business was evolutionary, not revolutionary. This wasn’t the most popular stance at the time, and it was back when I was with Microsoft, which wasn’t the most popular vendor at a conference dominated by startups. I sure did get a lot of attention though and whether people saw social business as an evolution or revolution became an informal theme of that conference and led to some very interesting and fun debates with social thought leaders such as Ross Mayfield, Thomas Vander Wal, Dion Hinchcliffe, and many others.

Fast forward three years later, and the evidence suggests that I was wrong. Social business really is a revolution, one that is causing rapidly accelerating change in how companies and customers engage with one another and how employees work together. The perception and rate of change is, however, being experienced differently between line of business units on the one hand and organizational IT on the other.

The business side is eager to seize on innovations that can help improve marketing, sales, customer service, and brand reputation. iPads, for example, are becoming a necessity for sales and field service personnel in many organizations, and if these aren’t being supplied by the company, the sales people are bringing their own tablets to work—and demanding that the applications they need from the back office run on those iPads. Bloomberg recently cited an IDG Connect survey which found that 51% of managers say they always use the iPad at work, 40% say they sometimes do, and 79% said they use the iPad for work outside of business hours. Business users are at the gates of IT with torches—on their iPads.

IT, however, is more reticent to adopt social tools, at least outside of IT itself. Enterprise 2.0 as a term, after all, was coined by Andy McAfee after studying a bank’s IT department’s use of social tools in this seminal paper that started it all. But the consumerist convergence of social, mobile, local, and cloud technologies challenges long held IT paradigms of command and control, locked down systems, systematic rollouts, and long cycle application development. These approaches have served well in the era of client/server and with large application deployments such as ERP. But they don’t fit with the emergent, chaotic, rapidly changing consumerization era in which we now find ourselves, so different from even just three years ago. It is a huge shift, for example, to think of your intranet as a large set of individual apps served up to mobile devices based on user need and interest—the way people consume apps today in their personal lives—and not as a monolithic portal that’s PC centric and is one size fits all, with most of the content touched by a minority of users.

A telling illustration of the conflict for IT comes from a conversation I had with a CIO of a major outsourcer at a tradeshow when the iPad had first come out. We were talking technology and he ticked off the list of all the reasons why he would not write iOS devices into outsourcing his contracts. They weren’t secure enough, the CIO said; he couldn’t get a confirmed wipe of application data, and without that his firm was exposed to liability for data loss in the event of lost devices. And so, if you were a client of his firm, your employees would not be able to use iPads. After we wound up that discussion, I offered to find a time at the show to demo a new device we were working on privately. The CIO said, “sure, let me see what times I have available”, and promptly proceeded to open up his iPad to schedule our meeting!

Anyway, you don’t have to take my word on the subject of whether social business is an evolution or a revolution in how we work today. This week we have invited Capgemini’s Global CTO, Andy Mulholland of Capgemini, to share his perspectives in our first Oracle Social Business Thought Leaders Webcast Series webcast tomorrow at 10:00am PT. Andy has given a lot of thought to the implications of social disruption for both business and IT, and this week in our webcast he’ll discuss these in detail and offer frameworks for business and IT to come to the same mental model and work together in this new era of computing.

If you are not familiar with Andy’s work , he was rated one of the top 25 most influential CTOs in the world in 2009 by InfoWorld and his Capgemini CTO Blog has been voted as the best Blog for Business Managers and CIOs each year for the last three years by the readers of Computing Weekly. Andy’s role at one of the world’s largest global technology consultancies gives him a unique vantage point to see changes across many industries around world. Our webcast will cover plenty of thought-provoking ideas, and I hope you’ll join us.

Meanwhile, vive la révolution sociale!

Monday Feb 20, 2012

Social Business: Join the WebCenter Community!

In talking this week about Social Business, we want to ensure you are connected with us! Do you have Facebook or Twitter? Are you looking for product updates, marketing events, customer success stories & other WebCenter related information? We invite you to join in the conversations with the over 325,000 WebCenter community members that are already engaging with us!

We look forward to interacting with you through these various channels! 

Introducing the Oracle Social Business Thought Leaders Webcast Series

Christian Finn

By Christian Finn  (@cfinn)


A few months ago when I joined Oracle, I introduced myself as an evangelist for Oracle WebCenter and promised that you’d be hearing more from us in the future.  I am pleased to announce today that the future has arrived with this week’s launch of the Oracle Social Business Thought Leaders Webcast Series. Featuring thought leaders and opinion shapers drawn from the social, web experience, portal, content management, collaboration, and mobile markets that WebCenter serves, this brand new webcast series is intended to bring the best thinking on the subject of social business to you, free of charge, on demand, and absent any sales pitch.

Sure, we hope that the series generates goodwill and consideration of Oracle in your technology buying decisions.  We are making major investments in product development and by acquisition to offer WebCenter as the best-of-breed user engagement platform for social business in a crowded marketplace.  Yet we firmly believe that customers don’t buy products as much as they buy a long term strategy with a trusted partner; and fundamental to buying into a strategy is having a deep and current understanding of the issues, challenges, and potential of a world rapidly being reinvented by technology.  So offering you the unbiased thoughts and opinions of wise people who can help you, as an IT or business leader, navigate the swift currents of change we all face today—seems to us like a great place to start.

And so in that spirit, we are very pleased to kick off the series this week with Andy Mulholland, the Global CTO of Capgemini.   If you are not familiar with Andy, he was rated one of the top 25 most influential CTOs in the world in 2009 by InfoWorld and his Capgemini CTO Blog has been voted as the best Blog for Business Managers and CIOs each year for the last three years by the readers of Computing Weekly. Andy’s role at one of the world’s largest global technology consultancies—Capgemini has over 115,000 employees doing technology projects in more than 50 countries around the world—gives him a unique vantage point to see changes across many industries around world.

I hope you will join us for our inaugural webcast this Thursday, February 23 at 10:00am PT and keep coming back every month for a new speaker and topic.  And we’d especially love it if you would use the comments here on the blog to suggest speakers and topics you’d like to hear from.  We’ll also take questions in the webcasts and answer them here on the WebCenter blog, so please join us in the conversation! 

Join us for our Social Business Thought Leaders webcast series featuring industry experts with leading perspectives about how social tools, technology and the changing workplace are affecting businesses today. 



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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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