Friday Mar 15, 2013

Making a Real Impact on Your Bottom Line

This week, we've been focusing on how your business can realize significant cost savings by implementing automated capture and imaging solutions within your existing processes.  If you haven't already seen the screencast overview that illustrates the benefits of doing so, please take a look and share it with your colleagues at work.  We think it will be 7 minutes of your time well spent.

To further peak your interest, today we want to highlight a couple of recent customer examples from those that have already started using Oracle WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions along with their e-business processes.  The first customer that we will take note of is Texas Industries, or TXI.  As a mid-size company that is a leading supplier of cement, aggregate and consumer product building materials, TXI is very decentralized with 100 plants across 5 states.  Manual processing in many locations was proving very costly, to say nothing of the costs associated with managing, shipping and tracking of invoices and related documents. 

After implementing Oracle WebCenter Imaging, they have reduced the number of invoices that have to be manually verified by over 25%, reduced their invoice cycle time from around 30 days to less than 5 and reduced their shipping and storage costs by 50%.  Significant savings that helped TXI realize a fast return on their investment and fund further innovation.

Another company worth noting is Development Dimensions International, or DDI.  As a leading provider of Talent Management and Learning Systems, DDI works with thousands of customers and individual clients.  Enhancing back-end processes while securing sensitive content in a compliant fashion has paid immediate dividends.  Since implementing Oracle WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions in conjunction with their Oracle E-Business Suite, DDI has seen an 80% reduction in the costs associated with technical support and service and reduced reliance on manual, paper-driven processes has helped them save 20% on storage and management costs.

With today’s budgets and expectation to be as efficient as possible, it behooves any size company that relies on back-end e-business systems to evaluate how those processes run today and what can be done to make them more cost-effective.  Oracle WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions offer a powerful way to quickly realize cost savings be enhancing the systems you already rely on to keep your business running.

We hope you find this information informative as you look to improve the way your organization handles internal and external business processes. Thanks for visiting our blog and we hope to see you again soon!

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Thursday Mar 14, 2013

Show Me the Savings! The Value of Radically Cutting Internal e-Biz Processing Costs

Lately a lot has been written about the opportunity available to companies that can take advantage of dynamic discounting when dealing with partners and suppliers.  But how can you get your organization to the point where you can also take advantage?  It can seem daunting but if you already are using Oracle e-business suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise, JD Edwards or Siebel CRM, you are already halfway there!

Simply put, dynamic discounting allows you to negotiate favorable pricing when you have the ability to pay your suppliers very quickly.  Initially it might seem counter-intuitive that you can improve cash flow by paying suppliers early, but the numbers tell the story.   For example, if you can negotiate a 2% discount with your suppliers by promising to pay them in 10 days instead of the traditional 30, the return on capital is 2% in 20 days, or 36% annually.  That kind of return is certainly more than the interest earned by delaying your payments.

That's all fine and nice if you can actually guarantee quick payments with confidence.  But for many companies, the processing of documents, faxes, scanned images and other content is not anywhere near as efficient as their transactional processes.  WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions fill that gap and provide the automated capture, scanning and intelligent routing needed to accelerate invoice processing along with lots of other internal processes.

This week, we posted a new screencast that quickly illustrates how processes can be improved using WebCenter Imaging from Oracle.  You can view it here.  We believe you will find it insightful and that you can use it to get your company thinking about ways to further automate systems that can make a real impact on the bottom line.  For further details, please be sure to view one of our recent webcasts on how to optimize your e-business systems.

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Tuesday Mar 12, 2013

WebCenter Customer Spotlight: DDI

Author: Peter Reiser - Social Business Evangelist, Oracle WebCenter

 Solution Summary

Development Dimensions International, Inc. (DDI) has been helping hundreds of organizations around the world―including half of the Fortune 500 companies―close the gap between where their businesses need to go and the talent they must have to take them there. With associates in 42 offices in 26 countries, the company’s expertise includes designing and implementing employee selection systems and identifying and developing talent, from front-line workers to executive leadership.

As DDI continued to grow, it experienced escalating costs associated with searching, storing, and recreating critical, expense-related documents for its operations around the globe.

They  implemented Oracle Internet Expenses and integrated  a new document-capture solution based on Oracle WebCenter Imaging,  that enabled the company to overcome the limitations of its legacy system with an open, enterprise architecture that facilitates a flexible deployment.

DDI cut administrative costs associated with managing paper-based transactions, as well as operational costs associated with photocopying, faxing, and couriering documents and decreased its physical storage requirements & costs.  DDI estimates that it is saving the equivalent of one full-time staff member in IT management.  In addition, the company gained the ability to track, access, and manage information more efficiently to assist with regulatory compliance related to information protection and privacy.

Company Overview

Since 1970, Development Dimensions International, Inc. (DDI) has been helping hundreds of organizations around the world―including half of the Fortune 500 companies―close the gap between where their businesses need to go and the talent they must have to take them there. With associates in 42 offices in 26 countries, the company’s expertise includes designing and implementing employee selection systems and identifying and developing talent, from front-line workers to executive leadership.

Business Challenges

The company previously used a third-party system to manage employee expenses, a solution that was extremely complex to maintain, as it was not built on a standards-based architecture.  As DDI continued to grow, it experienced escalating costs associated with searching, storing, and recreating critical, expense-related documents for its operations around the globe. Every year, employees spent thousands of hours and the company expended significant financial resources distributing client-billable expense receipts across several departments globally. This largely manual system delayed employee reimbursement and client billing and prohibited the rollout of shared services centers, designed to elevate efficiency and customer service.

To address these challenges, DDI defined following business objectives:

  • Advance DDI’s global, shared services strategy to help it to reduce costs, improve administrative efficiency, and expand its ability to deliver world-class talent acquisition and development services
  • Enable the company to more efficiently capture and process employee expenses, eliminating manual processes and accelerating reimbursement, as well as customer billing
  • Reduce IT complexity and management costs by eliminating custom integrations between the company’s business-critical applications and systems
Solution Deployed

DDI implemented Oracle Internet Expenses to accelerate expense report submission, approval, processing, and payment, and control expenses with flexible audit tools. The solution automated the approval workflow and accelerated and ensured accurate expense attribution in client invoices.
At the same time, DDI implemented  a new document-capture solution. It deployed Oracle WebCenter Imaging, a solution that enabled the company to overcome the limitations of its legacy system with an open, enterprise architecture that facilitates a flexible deployment. As part of the rollout, it integrated Oracle WebCenter Imaging with Oracle Internet Expenses. Oracle WebCenter Imaging operates as an infrastructure-supporting solution, as opposed to an application unto itself—so the company can leverage it as a shared service that extends wherever imaging is required throughout the enterprise. 

Business Results
DDI cut administrative costs associated with managing paper-based transactions, as well as operational costs associated with photocopying, faxing, and couriering documents. Further, the company decreased its physical storage requirements and costs.  DDI estimates that it is saving the equivalent of one full-time staff member in IT management. The team can now apply time it previously spent managing and maintaining custom interfaces to more strategic initiatives. In addition, the company gained the ability to track, access, and manage information more efficiently to assist with regulatory compliance related to information protection and privacy.

We are very pleased with the way Oracle WebCenter Imaging enabled us to achieve process efficiencies by capturing receipt images up front and making them accessible to managers and other approvers all along the workflow. We also like that we can retrieve images not only from Oracle Internet Expenses, but also from Oracle Payables, as well as within Oracle WebCenter Imaging itself.

Mike Fieldhammer, Corporate Controller, Development Dimensions International

Additional Information

Monday Mar 11, 2013

The Attractiveness of Automated Capture, Scanning and Imaging for Your E-Business Applications

Ok, let's face it.  When we bring up a topic like automated capture, scanning and imaging, it might not make your heart flutter.  And when we see a blog post about automating processes like Accounts Payable Invoice Processing, I doubt your pulse quickens.  But maybe it should!  Let me explain...

Today, we have posted a new "screencast" that walks you through a short before and after scenario showcasing how the use of Oracle WebCenter Imaging can slash the costs associated with AP invoicing.  It's about 7 minutes long and the perfect thing to watch before you head off to your next meeting.  While many companies use Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise or JD Edwards to optimize how business transactions are handled, the handling and management of associated documents and other files are often disconnected.  Fixing this problem and driving further efficiencies is certainly a great way to become bit more popular around the office.

Here's how.  Many companies are still relying on paper forms, faxes, letters, scanned images and digital content as key elements within business processes.  These items should ideally be easily referenced, stored and managed within the scope of the process, but when it is a piece of paper or a fax, that can get very tricky.  That invoice might be in a stack of papers on a specialist’s desk over at headquarters.  Or maybe that fax with the new contract terms got routed to a clerk’s e-mail but he is on vacation for the next 10 days.  You get the picture; the information is in the company...somewhere.   But when paper or disconnected and unmanaged files are involved, everything becomes a manual process which of course means it is error prone, slow and likely under a poor level of governance.

That's where Oracle WebCenter Imaging Solutions come in.  With native integrations for Oracle E-Business applications, you can automate the capture of documents, images and forms and automatically detect the type of form or document, retrieve line item information right off the document and route it into the appropriate process.  And that is where the appeal comes in.  When you bring in WebCenter and start improving first one, and then multiple processes, you will start seeing immediate results that drive significant cost savings.  Having that sort of vision and eye for strategic business improvement drives recognition and visibility within any company.  And who knows what might happen next with your newfound recognition?  Perhaps your boss sees your value and gives you that big salary increase you now so clearly deserve.  Upper management hears about the difference you are making in your part of the organization and invites you to present your ideas at the next leadership meeting.  The next thing you know you are having cocktails with the CEO's daughter on the porch of their summer house in St. Tropez. 

Admittedly, your scenario might be somewhat different from this one but when it comes to making significant improvements to the company’s bottom line by optimizing back-end processes like AP Invoicing, the results are proven and tangible.  Learning more about how your organization can save money and be more efficient is certainly time well-spent, and just might pay some personal dividends.  Check out the screencast to learn more and check back on this blog throughout the week for more information.  You may not end up in St. Tropez, but no matter where you work, being smart and saving money is always sexy.

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Thursday Feb 21, 2013



Whether you’ve established a content infrastructure and you’re ready to build solutions on top; or if you have tactical needs to solve specific business problems, Oracle WebCenter provides out of the box applications and a feature-rich foundation to meet your needs.

The more you plug into key applications and use cases, the more value your content infrastructure provides to the enterprise. Extend your reach, your ROI, and your value to your organization. Set the stage for future innovation.

Enable Employees, Partners, and Customers to Do More With Oracle WebCenter

Did you know that, in addition to enterprise content management, Oracle WebCenter also includes comprehensive portal, composite application, collaboration, and Web experience management capabilities?

Does Oracle power your portal solution for intranets, self-service portals or community websites? If so, did you know that Oracle WebCenter now also includes comprehensive content, web experience management and social computing capabilities?

Are you providing your customers with engaging online experiences using Oracle? If so, you probably realize that there’s more to exceptional customer engagement than just Web experience management. You must also empower your business by engaging and enabling employees and partners to deliver on customers’ expectations.

Now you can do more with WebCenter than ever before by creating advanced customer facing web solutions to improve customer loyalty and sales by delivering contextual and targeted multi-channel experiences to users across mobile, social and web channels. And you can manage the entire content lifecycle of not just the content in your portals but across your entire company as well.

Join us for this On Demand Series of 3 Webcasts and learn how you can provide a new level of engagement.

Learn how to Do More with Oracle WebCenter:

  • Do More with Oracle WebCenter – Expand Beyond Content Management
  • Do More with Oracle WebCenter - Expand Beyond Web Experience Management
  • Do More with Oracle WebCenter: Expand Beyond Portals

Learn more about how WebCenter:

  • Drives task-specific application data and content to a single screen for executing specific business processes
  • Enables mixed internal and external environments where content can be securely shared and filtered with employees, partners, and customers, based upon role-based security
  • Offers Web experience management, driving contextually relevant, social, and interactive online experiences across multiple channels
  • Provides social features that enable sharing, activity feeds, collaboration, expertise location, and best-practices communities
  • Drives sales and loyalty with an engaging cross-channel online experience
  • Enables self-service extranets, intranets and custom application dashboards
  • Enhances productivity with social collaboration
  • Optimizes information access with content management
  • Enables the social business by coordinating collaboration inside and outside the enterprise
  • Improves the online experience by delivering targeted multi-channel customer experiences
  • Manages the complete content lifecycle across all websites, applications and social tools on a strategic enterprise content management platform

What businesses sometimes forget, is that to truly engage your customers, you must also first enable and engage your partners and employees.

Do More with WebCenter, the user engagement platform for social business.

Watch Now: Do More with Oracle WebCenter Series

Thursday Feb 07, 2013

Planning for a blizzard of information

If you are watching the news this week, you know that there is a major snowstorm coming towards those of us here in the Northeast.  Here in Boston, some of us will get two feet or more of snow in the next 48 hours, so you can imagine the flurry (pun intended) of activity that is going on before the arrival of the impending storm. People are filling their gas tanks, crowding the supermarkets to stock up on supplies and getting ready to be stuck at home for a few days.

When I was at the store, standing in the extra long line at checkout, I was thinking about all this preparation going on.  Everyone in Boston is aware that there is a storm coming and doing their utmost to be ready. There is literally no excuse for anyone not to be fully prepared.  But when it comes to content management and dealing with the ever-growing onslaught of documents, images, videos, forms and every other type of content imaginable, do we prepare properly within our businesses?

Often the answer is no.  The tendency is to avoid dealing with any information management issues until they really become a problem.  Just imagine if we dealt with impending snowstorms that way!  "Hey, I don't see any snow right now, so there is obviously not a problem. I will just wait until I really see it coming down hard before I start preparing."  Not a great plan, I am sure you would agree.

Every year, reports tell us that the amount of information being produced by businesses and our customers is growing exponentially with no sign of stopping. What are we doing to properly prepare and be ahead of the game?  Is your "plan" to keep buying hard drives and servers until you run out of room?  Or are you proactively putting a plan together to define retention policies, disposition policies and business rules that keep things safe and securely under control?

Hopefully you are one of those doing the latter, but if you have been delayed in getting a better handle on the avalanche of information coming your way, it's not too late to start thinking strategically about how you address content management and how you can obtain more value from that content by integrating it within the fabric of your essential business processes so that everything is right at your users' fingertips.  We've produced a short whitepaper on the subject that I hope you can read when you get the chance.  It's called "From Unstructured to Strategic: How Content Management Is Driving Strategic Initiatives" and you can quickly register to download it by clicking this URL.

For those of you here in the northeast of the United States, stay warm and safe!

Tuesday Feb 05, 2013

The Refrigerator of Knowledge

Quite a few years ago, perhaps more than I care to remember, a colleague described how she thought that a content management repository was like a refrigerator.  At first, I did not follow where she was taking this analogy but I soon got it and it has stuck with me to this day.  Since we are discussing content management and how to get the most from your information under management, I thought it worth sharing today...

If we think of the food we buy at home as being like the content and documents we create at work, we would probably all agree that they both have a value and that they both require an appropriate level of care.  There are extremes in both cases.  Skittles, for example, have almost no value (and can scarcely be considered food) but they also require almost no care.  You could leave a package on the floor for 20 years and they would be unchanged when you got back.  On the other extreme, a food of much more value, say Bluefin Tuna, needs extra care and protection in order for its value to be maintained.  In the same way, we have different types of information in our work environment.  The contract documents being negotiated require extreme care and safety controls to be in place, while the document announcing the upcoming ice cream party next Friday requires no care and can safely be discarded Friday night.  To take proper care of the high-value information, access must be controlled, version tracking and auditing must be in place and information governance regulations must be adhered to in most industries.

But the real value in your content is not just in the creation, it's in how well you utilize it.  It's the same with food.  You can go to the gourmet store, spend quite a bit of money to get the freshest ingredients but if you do not put them to good use, it is a complete waste of time and effort.  Same with your business content in all its forms.  Scanned documents and forms that come in from customers, collateral developed by marketing, documentation on your new product, partner contracts, sales quotes, the list of potentially valuable information in your company is endless.  But how well is that information put to use?  Securing it in a safe place is not enough, it's how you integrate it within critical business processes and make it readily available to the right people at the right time that defines what value you realize.  It's the same with the food that you spent all that money on.  If you simply secure it in your fridge and never open the fridge again because security is of overriding importance, the food will rot, age and go to waste.  Information not properly used is not worth gathering or creating in the first place. 

One last thought related to this analogy.  Have you ever been to a friends house and opened up their fridge to find a complete mess of mysterious food packages, plastic bags of leftovers - all just crammed in there to be gone through later?  Besides being disgusting, you will never find what you are looking for.  In fact you are likely to give up and drive to the store to buy something new before you will spend the time searching through unlabeled wads of aluminum foil that contain only who-knows-what.  On the other hand, when you open up a clean, well-organized refrigerator, you can find what you are looking for right away and have additional confidence that the leftovers you retrieve have not been lurking in there since the Nixon administration. Information management is similar in that when it is well-organized and easily accessible, users can get just what they need, when they need it and know that is the freshest, most up-to-date information.

So how organized is your company refrigerator, um, i mean content management system?  Can your employees, management, business partners find what they need when they need it?  Are you getting the most value by having information readily available within your important business processes?  If not, it's time to rethink how you use information, how you store it and of course, how to properly and securely dispose of the low-value information.  As you think more about the real value of your content and how strategic it is, be sure also to download a copy of our whitepaper on the topic. From Unstructured to Strategic: How Content Management Is Driving Strategic Initiatives

Next time you open up a friends refrigerator, you will now think about content management.  You're welcome. 

Monday Feb 04, 2013

Where do you like to hide your information?

Good morning and welcome to Monday...

Here in the States, this is the day to recover from whatever Super Bowl festivities you might have had last night. While I personally wish my Patriots had been playing the Niners, there is always next year.  But that same approach can get you in trouble when it comes to how your organization stores and provides access to information.  The idea that you will "get to it next year" can end up costing you a lot of time, money and angst this year.

I recently had a little Q&A with Bryant Duhon from AIIM about managing information.  We are planning for the upcoming AIIM show in New Orleans ( and Oracle is pleased to be a platinum sponsor of the event.  We hit on a topic that has been written about before but still remains a vexing problem for companies around the world.  Over time, information that has real value, and needs to be reused or accessed by other colleagues is scattered across different locations and different systems - all of which are usually not connected to one another.  These locations are often referred to as "information silos" because of how they isolate information within individual repositories.

Bryant asked me this question, "We've been talking about information silos in this industry for at least two decades; how do we move from talking to doing?"  It's a good question.  Clearly if it was so easy to do, it would not still be coming up as an issue! Personally, I've come to the conclusion that eliminating information silos is a worthwhile but not always achievable goal for most organizations.  In my response, I stated that eliminating information silos has been the ideal scenario for many years. But the reality is that over time, organizations take on new technologies for information management but are unable or unwilling to wean themselves from the earlier, now legacy, technologies. Eventually a company may find itself with several different content management systems, each still used by one or more departments for a vital business function. Software vendors periodically attempt to address this problem with new technologies that often end up adding additional layers of complexity. IBM Lotus Notes and Microsoft SharePoint are popular examples of collaboration and information sharing tools that instead of delivering on the promise of simplified content management, have over time exacerbated the information silo problem for most organizations.  The Cloud and its many variations, now offers a new take on this decades-old information management challenge, but that's a topic for another day.

So what is an information management professional like yourself supposed to do?  Will you just throw up your hands and allow new repositories to keep popping up like so many groundhogs (slightly apropos this week) across the IT landscape?  Well, that is not such a great idea either.  The more disconnected your approach to information management, the more disconnected your vital business systems become, the more fragmented your operations become and the more inefficient your employees and colleagues will be.  If anyone ever needs to find anything, they will first need to know where to start looking.  Good luck with that!  :)

The approach that often succeeds for many businesses is to take a step back, evaluate the information landscape and consider strategic improvements to how information is shared, utilized, archived and controlled.  Then take positive steps to minimizing the number of repositories in use with an eye toward integrating as many business processes as possible around one "primary" information store.

Since content migration is frequently difficult or prohibitively expensive, the best opportunity for making actual progress on this front is for organizations to standardize on one ideal repository moving forward. When this is not possible, the goal should be to minimize and reduce the number of content repositories for all business applications moving forward. Using application integration frameworks and connectors, this new go-forward repository must be leveraged within the context of as many business processes as possible – which means that finding the right information management system that aligns with your overall business strategy should be one of the leading selection criteria.

Stopping the creation of new information silos is job one. Then over time, business processes and applications can be updated to take advantage of this new repository and legacy systems can be put into maintenance mode where older information is still accessible but no new content is being added. This takes time, proper planning, and a firm hand at the wheel that helps minimize distractions created by the latest shiny new technology in order to drive information management costs down over time.  If you can spare 30 minutes or so, I recommend you take a look at a webcast we did here at Oracle about ways to think about consolidation and the rationale (cost savings!!) for doing so.  Click here to register and watch it immediately.

You can read the rest of our conversation on the AIIM blog, here: As always, we welcome your comments, suggestions, ideas and feedback here on the WebCenter blog.  If I don't hear from you here, I hope to see you at the AIIM Conference in New Orleans next month!

Friday Jan 11, 2013

When it comes to Content and your business - Go Big or Stay Home!

Happy Friday everyone!  Yesterday I wrote briefly about the importance of honing your personal skills along with improving the way you use technology to manage content in your organization. Today, I want to focus on an old adage that serves as a great resolution to use almost any time, whether it be in your professional life or your personal life.

ECM Resolution #4:  Go Big or Stay Home!

I am sure you've heard that saying, or something close to it before.  My grandmother had a few variations of this one herself, some of which I probably cannot post in an Oracle blog!  :) But one of her oft-quoted reminders that stuck with me was that "any job worth doing is worth doing right".  A corollary of this might be "if you are going to manage your content properly and get maximum value, go with a proven and tested industry leader".

While my grandmother certainly never uttered those words about managing content, it's hard to argue with the idea of investing in the best technology that will deliver the best results.  It's especially true when it comes to technology that is at the fundamental core of your business!  One of the best ways to evaluate and recognize who the leader is in any business is via third-party analysts.  Gartner Research recently announced the results from their Magic Quadrant research on Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions and for the 5th straight year, the Oracle WebCenter ECM solution is again honored to be in the Leaders quadrant, recognizing the completeness of the Oracle WebCenter's product vision and our ability to execute.

As we talked about in previous blog posts, content and the proper management of it is (or should be) at the core of your business.  Your important content should never be stored in an information silo, in fact that is the last thing you want!  To make the most of your valuable information you also want powerful connected systems.  In addition to our strong history of being a leader in the ECM market, Oracle WebCenter is also recognized as a leader by Gartner Research in their Horizontal Portal and Web Content Management Magic Quadrants.

We are once again proud of this recognition from Gartner and similar recognition that we have received from other leading analyst firms around the world. But even more important are the testimonials we get from satisfied customers.  Recently, the Alberta Ministry of Agriculture was kind enough to describe the value of their WebCenter Content implementation in a short video. Check it out for yourself here.  Short video testimonials from other customers such as BDO , AIA and the Chicago Public Schools offer additional, valuable insights into real-life business scenarios enhanced with WebCenter enterprise content management.

Realizing a rapid return on any investment like this is essential, especially in the economic environment of today.  Embry-Riddle recently worked with us to proudly showcase the ROI they have realized by using WebCenter that is also worth taking a few minutes to view. All this brings us back to our final resolution of the week. Admittedly the above is certainly an abundance of "tooting our own horn" but when it comes to making resolutions that directly effect the direction your business is taking when it comes to content management, you want to know you are going with the best available technology solutions.  Go Big or Stay Home.  You are not seriously going to consider doing the latter - so make sure you do the former! 

We hope these resolutions throughout the week have given you food for thought as you evaluate your approach to content management and how it is really put to use within vital business processes across your company.  Thank you for taking the time to read the WebCenter blog and stay tuned next week for another valuable series of posts about WebCenter Sites.

Thursday Jan 10, 2013

ECM Resolution #3: Improve your information management skills to better drive business objectives

Hello again and welcome back to this series of blog posts covering achievable resolutions that you can make this year to improve the way you manage documents, files and all types of information used by your company. In the first post, we talked about planning for increased growth and in the second post, we talked about putting content to work more effectively and within the context of real business applications. But today, we are going to change our focus a little bit and zero in on the personal.

ECM Resolution #3:  
Look out for Number One!

As the use of content within business continues to expand and be utilized in a more holistic fashion, the expectations for technology professionals are also changing.  In a recent survey conducted by AIIM (and sponsored by Oracle), nearly 60% of 321 respondents viewed the role of Information Professional as vital to the future growth of their business. Traditional roles like "Records Manager" and "Technology Specialist" are being superseded in terms of perceived value by roles that are more encompassing and that can address the broader operational demands of the business.

Guess what?  This means that it is time to take a fresh look at your own skills and achieve the certifications necessary to meet changing job market demands. That might mean taking additional online training and if you are already an Oracle WebCenter user that might mean taking advantage of the classes at the Oracle University. More broadly, it can mean taking advantage of professional certification opportunities such as the AIIM Certified Information Professional program. Oracle recently sponsored a whitepaper and webcast on this topic to help drive more awareness around the importance of taking a business-wide approach to content and information management. Oracle WebCenter is designed to do exactly that, as we discussed in yesterdays' blog post.  But for you personally, adding certifications to your list of job skills can only enhance your standing in your current organization and can only enhance your resume.

A manager I had long ago once told me "no one is going to look out for #1 like #1".  When it comes to being an information professional, someone that can see the strategic potential of integrating content management across a variety of organizational needs, you can add real value to your companies use of ECM, but only by continually investing in the skills needed to stay ahead of the game.

See you back here tomorrow for another ECM Resolution worth striving for!

Tuesday Jan 08, 2013

ECM Resolution #2: Getting content where it is REALLY needed

Welcome back to our conversation about resolutions we can set that will help us manage information more effectively and make our entire business more productive.  Yesterday, we discussed ECM Resolution #1 - Planning for both content growth and expanded access to that information. Today's resolution is a variation on a seemingly simple cliché that for many businesses around the world, is something they have not truly addressed.

ECM Resolution #2:  Put information in your work.

OK, really?  That's it?  Yes - but let me explain.  For most companies, information is captured or created in a repository, used briefly and then allowed to die a long, slow death without ever being used again.  Microsoft SharePoint is famous for this, though it is not the only technology out there that perpetuates this problem.  The concept of the "information silo" has been discussed for years and yet still companies find themselves with valuable information that cannot be easily found or used where it is needed most.  

Think about your own situation.  Are important documents like contracts, invoices, forms or scanned images stored in a way that they can be easily found and used within the context of your business applications?  Probably not.  Too often, when it comes time to find that important file, you find yourself searching across multiple locations.  The biggest problem of all, you have to know where to look before you even begin searching!  And in many cases, you get frustrated and resort to sending an email to one or more colleagues, asking them if they have the document to send to you.  Now you have multiple copies, multiple versions - basically, a real mess that can result in the wrong information being used or communicated.

When your content is centrally managed, it can be used across applications and communities more securely and effectively.   Need to locate a contract under dispute from within the context of your intranet portal environment?  Done!  Need to collaborate around the very latest version of an upcoming customer presentation?  Done!  Need to have access to a scanned invoice within the context of your e-business applications?  Done!  Need to be able to confidently send the latest proposal document to a business partner?  Done!

OK, you get the picture. Content is only of value when it can be used within the immediate context of the business use case - whatever that might be. Having files and documents scattered across network drives, file sharing solutions and repositories is often at direct odds with this.  When you resolve to manage your information properly and integrate it within the scope of your business processes, you shorten the time it takes to resolve issues, address customer concerns and meet deadlines.

Many Oracle WebCenter Content customers are doing this already and realizing some significant cost savings and other benefits.  It's worth taking a look. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is one such customer, and Brian Skapura from the AIA was kind enough to sit down and record a video describing what they have done.  You can view it directly via this link.  

As with the first resolution, this is one worth taking the time to consider and implement in a way that addresses one process at a time. Taking one bite at a time ensures that you will address the most important processes first and be successful along the way.  You can get a more thorough understanding of how you can effectively put your information to work by checking out one or more webcasts that we have recorded on the topic.  Click here to register and watch them at your convenience. 

We will see you back here tomorrow for ECM Resolution #3!

Monday Jan 07, 2013

ECM Resolutions for the New Year you can actually achieve!

Hello everyone and welcome to 2013!  It's the first full work week of the new year and around this time each year, the tech press and blogosphere is full of predictions and prognostications about what will happen in the coming 12 months.  Some of them are, shall we say, more likely than others but usually these lists are entertaining and it is always fun to look back after the year is complete to see which of them were accurate.

What is of even more value however is setting resolutions we can actually achieve.  We all know that around New Years, people set personal resolutions for themselves and if they are not reasonably achievable, those same resolutions will be back on next year's list and maybe the year after that.  When they are overly grandiose, they end up getting scaled back, or in many cases, they simply never get off the launchpad.  We all have likely experienced this in our personal resolutions, but the same can happen in business.  We know there are things we can do and resolutions that we can set to improve the way we do business, but turning them into reality can sometimes be a challenge.  

With that in mind, over the course of this week we are going to focus on achievable resolutions related to Document and Content Management that can help your organization be better organized, more efficient and more successful.

ECM Resolution #1: Begin to deliver better information access.

We've all seen the reports about how information is growing exponentially each year.  While these reports are usually published by companies selling high-end storage, the fact remains that content of all types is being gathered and used within our organizations at an alarming rate.  Couple that with the increasing demand for expanded access to select content via mobile devices and the need to integrate content more completely into important business processes and you have what appears to be quite a challenging resolution but fortunately, it is one that is achievable. When your company takes a more holistic view about how information is being used, accessed, captured and stored, you will almost certainly find opportunities to eliminate redundancy and centralize the management of your content.

For many organizations, the best resolution is to focus on moving towards a single repository for most information.  Now I hear you say... wait a minute! I thought we were focusing on achievable resolutions here!  I understand that this appears challenging given that most organizations already have content scattered across multiple repositories or locations.  And in many cases, migrating all of that information along with its associated metadata and classifications can be anywhere from daunting to impossible.  The trick to success is to zero in on specific applications, often one at a time and take your success in increments, learning along the way.  For example, you may begin by integrating ECM with your HR system and then once that is done, tie in your Accounts Payable process and so on.  Overtime, you have simplified your approach to information and are delivering simplified,easier access to a primary repository.  Your corporate information is more easily managed and controlled within in a single repository while also being made available within a growing variety of business applications and users across the enterprise.

As you might have guessed, Oracle WebCenter is uniquely positioned to help you achieve this resolution. Because it is developed by Oracle as part of the Fusion Middleware platform, it is easily integrated with key business applications like Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel CRM and more including (gasp!) business applications from other companies.  The WebCenter Content repository is also uniquely designed to take advantage of the unmatched power of the Oracle database, including the SecureFiles functionality offered by the latest releases. Performance and scalability of such a repository is obviously critical and Oracle WebCenter delivers the goods here as well.  Check out the Performance and Scalability Whitepaper on our website for much more detail. 

Moving towards a single repository lets you address your security, compliance and content management requirements while providing seamless workflow and content access within multiple business applications while allowing for a variety of access methods depending on the use case.  If you want to learn more right away, be sure to check out the informational webcast available here.

Hopefully this first resolution is an idea that you can seize on as you focus on the year ahead.  Throughout the rest of this week, we will focus on other content management resolutions that can help you and your business cut costs and be better positioned to manage future growth.

Wednesday Jan 02, 2013

At Oracle OpenWorld, Overflow Crowds Get a Look at Content-Enabled Business Applications

Today's post first appeared in the last issue of the Oracle WebCenter Information InDepth newsletter.  You can subscribe to the newsletter here and receive future issues in your inbox.

At October's Oracle OpenWorld, event organizers reported overflow crowds at sessions that explored ways to integrate the powerful content management capabilities of Oracle WebCenter Content directly into business applications.

"IT organizations are looking for solutions that are manageable to implement and that drive rapid return on investment," says Lance Shaw, director of product marketing, Oracle WebCenter Content.

A key area of interest is in content-enabling business applications. The cost savings potential is huge. One research organization estimates that businesses spend, on average, US$20 to file a document, US$120 to find a misfiled document, and US$220 reproduce a lost document.

Always Connected Is the New Normal
The renewed interest in content enablement is not just about cost cutting, however. With the rise of mobile, social, and cloud computing technologies, people are connected 24/7. And increasingly, customers, partners, and employees expect to conduct any kind of transaction in real time—from wherever they may be.

That, in turn, means they need access to all relevant content, both structured and unstructured—and preferably right within the context of the transaction or business processes itself.

A Unified Repository, Plus Out-of-the-Box Integration
To make this possible, Oracle WebCenter Content provides a unified repository to house unstructured content and deliver it to business users in the proper format. Oracle WebCenter Content includes comprehensive tools for content capture (including scanning and importing), content extraction and indexing, and content storage.

However, Oracle also goes a step further. "Oracle WebCenter products seamlessly bring structured and unstructured content together so users can easily and intuitively have access to the right content when they need it," explains Shaw.

To speed the process and ensure that content solutions work seamlessly with Oracle business applications, Oracle delivers productized integrations and connectors, out-of-the box templates and starter kits, and an intuitive experience for users.

Content Enablement in Action
For an example of content enablement in the real world, consider how Oracle WebCenter automates invoicing into a content-enabled process with comprehensive tools to 

  • Scan paper invoices centrally, remotely, or in a mixed approach
  • Automatically capture and index key data with advanced forms recognition
  • Allow invoices, forms, and other relevant content to be automatically associated with the proper record in the accounts payable application
  • Make invoices available for review both inside and outside the application environment
  • Store invoices in a highly scalable and secure enterprise-class content repository with tools to manage them across the entire invoice lifecycle
  • Handle exceptions with a prebuilt workflow that complements but does not duplicate native workflow capabilities

Learn more about content-enabling business applications with Oracle WebCenter Content.

Tuesday Dec 11, 2012

Using Oracle WebCenter Content for Solving Government Content-Centric Business Problems

Organizations are seeing unprecedented amounts of unstructured information such as documents, images, e-mails, and rich media files. Join us December 12th to learn about how Oracle WebCenter Content can help you provide better citizen services by managing the content lifecycle, from creation to disposition, with a single repository.  With Oracle WebCenter Content, organizations can address any content use case, such as accounts payable, HR on-boarding, document management, compliance, records management, digital asset management, or website management. 

If you have multiple content silos and need a strategy for consolidating your unstructured content to reduce costs and complexity, please join us to hear from Shahid Rashid, Oracle WebCenter Development, and Oracle Pillar Partner, Fishbowl Solutions, and learn how you can create the foundation for content-centric business solutions. 

•        Solve the problem of multiple content silos (content systems, file systems, workspaces)

•        Fully leverage your content across applications, processes and departments

•        Create a strategy for consolidating your unstructured content to reduce costs and infrastructure complexity

•        Comply with regulations and provide audit trails while remaining agile

•        Provide a complete and integrated solution for managing content directly from Oracle Applications (E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Siebel, JD Edwards)

Join us on December 12th at 2pm ET, 11am PT to learn more!

Thursday Nov 29, 2012

WebCenter News, Best Practices & Resources: Check Out the Latest Oracle WebCenter Newsletter

Check out the latest edition of the Oracle Information InDepth Newsletter featuring the latest Oracle WebCenter news, best practices and resources.

In this issue, you’ll find:

  • Five best practices for application integration from Oracle expert, John Brunswick
  • A video demonstrating how to employ the advanced segmentation and targeting features in Oracle WebCenter Sites
  • The latest webcasts and events on how to engage your customers and empower your business with Oracle WebCenter

Want to get the newsletter delivered directly to your inbox? Subscribe here.


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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