Monday Jul 25, 2011

Oracle WebCenter Connect: Engage the Social Enterprise

We recently announced the new Oracle WebCenter, the user engagement platform for social business, connecting people and information. With this announcement the WebCenter brand covers portal, web experience management, content, and 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. Last week we talked about the content pillar of WebCenter, and this week will we focus on the connect pillar.

I had the opportunity to speak with Andy Kershaw, Senior Director of business development for Oracle WebCenter connect. Here is a recap of our conversation.

Q: What is Oracle WebCenter connect?
A: Oracle WebCenter connect is a collaboration solution designed specifically for knowledge workers—including sales and service professionals—to work more effectively together. Oracle WebCenter connect includes stream-based Conversations that consolidate IM, e-mail, applications, content, editing tools, and telephony into a single context, so users can quickly and easily get up-to-speed and collaborate more effectively, as well as speed decision-making. Users can upload, share, and annotate snapshots and documents, all within the context of a Conversation.

Figure 1: Oracle WebCenter connect is based on stream-based Conversations that tie together a range of disparate applications and business activities that enable richer interactive participation with employees and/or external participants.

Q: How is Oracle WebCenter connect different from other collaboration tools out there?
A: Some collaboration tools are built around a team site, which can be limiting in scope and flexibility. Others operate more like a social networking stream to broadcast updates, generating a lot of noise that is difficult to filter and to focus on the right information. It’s very difficult to understand the context of these updates and track the streams for review at a later point in time.

Oracle WebCenter connect, on the other hand, has a much more purposeful approach to the way users collaborate. Interactions are based on Conversations that are context-based and tied to a CRM record, such as an opportunity, account, or service request. 

 Figure 2: Users can collaborate in context of a CRM record to bring more purpose to collaboration.

Rather than broadcasting updates to a wide audience or limiting communications to users on a site, Oracle WebCenter connect can intelligently add users associated with a CRM object, (such as team members engaged in an opportunity,) extend participation to nontypical CRM users (such as the legal team,) or subset user groups, (such as sales representatives and sales consultants.) And because Conversations are tracked in context, users can gain insight into what and how decisions were actually made.

Q: How does Oracle WebCenter connect work?
A: A Conversation may start as an instant message or e-mail. Suddenly you realize that to make a decision, you need to go the next step—escalate—by talking live by phone, or perhaps by reaching out to new participants who have key insights. Oracle WebCenter connect allows you to integrate channels to add new members into a Conversation without leaving the current context—and also without losing a record of this new transaction. It is all there for review in a single place.

We have actually embedded the solution within applications such as Oracle CRM On Demand and Oracle’s Siebel CRM, so you can initiate a Conversation right where you're working. This enables instant action, and also drives adoption of Oracle WebCenter connect Conversations, since participants can access them from whatever context they are working, whether in e-mail or within an application, at their desk, or on their smart phone or iPad.


Figure 3: WebCenter connect mobile clients provide access to enrich purposeful collaboration through form factors specific to each client and device such as the Apple iPad.

Learn more about Oracle WebCenter connect.

About

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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