Wednesday Jul 31, 2013

Expectations of Today's Knowledge Workers

It Ain't Easy Being a Knowledge Worker!

Guest post: John Klinke, Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle WebCenter Content

(Part 1 of a 2-Part Post)

Knowledge workers today have high expectations when it comes to enterprise content management. They want content to be easy to find, easy to share, and at their fingertips whether they are working on their computer, a mobile phone, or a tablet. 

In my product management role at Oracle, I face the same frustrations as other knowledge workers face when it comes to tracking down the latest version of a document, or accessing files while on the road, or getting a large file to my colleague without hitting email file size restrictions. I also see firsthand the potential of being able to re-use content across different applications and streamlining business processes like case management. Like others, there are times when I’ve got too much to do in too little time, and I appreciate any productivity improvement that gives me access to the files I need without hitting a new login screen or having to click five times before getting to a download button.

To bring about these productivity improvements, a successful ECM solution needs to excel in 3 key areas: user experience, mobility, and application integration.  User experience needs to be consumer-grade. An ECM user interface should be fast, intuitive, and designed to address the critical content management use cases around quickly finding, viewing, and sharing files. On the mobility front, an ECM solution must provide engaging mobile applications that are optimized for each mobile device. Knowledge workers on their phone or tablet should be able to quickly locate the files their looking for, easily share them with others, and tag them for offline viewing or later retrieval. For application integration, ECM solutions should give knowledge workers seamless access to files they need in context without placing additional burdens on IT with regards to deployment, maintenance or content governance.


Mortenson Construction Builds Faster with Oracle WebCenter

Learn how Mortenson Construction has used Oracle WebCenter technologies to improve the timely flow of project content to collaborative teams, reduce costly rework and improve customer satisfaction:


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!

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!

Thursday Nov 15, 2012

Becoming a Certified Information Professional

Yesterday, we participated with AIIM in a webinar about the Certified Information Professional (CIP) program that they are now offering.  The interest level is very high in the program, as evidenced by the high turnout at the event.


You might be asking yourself, what does the Oracle WebCenter team care about an AIIM certification program? Well, we sponsored this program because we consistently find that the more educated our customers and prospects are, the more value they are going to get out of the technology we provide.  As an ECM vendor, we provide plenty of WebCenter product training and certifications to help you make the most of WebCenter technology. While these are essential and valuable, technologists that also have an operational command of the business and the various impacts that the flow of information can have are even more valuable to an organization.


Thinking about the management of content and information and its effect on business process can have wide-ranging benefits, not only to your company but to your personal bottom line.  And let's be honest, a customer who is looking holistically at how content is managed is going to see more opportunities to leverage that content and in many cases, this will motivate the purchase of additional product licenses.  

Now if you are regretting the fact that you missed the webinar yesterday, never fear!  It is now available for playback and you can view it at your convenience by visiting the AIIM website.


We hope you find it informative and that you can personally profit from being able to showcase your certification as an Information Professional. Additionally, we hope it will help you identify additional opportunities to leverage Oracle WebCenter in order to further reduce your operational costs and drive your business forward.

Monday Nov 12, 2012

Is content slowing down your business?

We are living in a digital world, however paper is everywhere and expensive, right? We all agree content is an important part of our organization and contribute to its decision making. However many of us see dealing with this as a challenge and the growth of content is impacting our ability to scale and respond quickly to our customers. Business always has been content intensive.

For JD Edwards customers, this is an important consideration.  After all, the processes being run in JD Edwards are usually very critical to the success of your business and if they are not running as smoothly as they should due to manual process steps involving paper or searching for content, you should look into improving them.  To that end, we hope you will take the time to view this recorded webinar and learn how Oracle and KPIT | SYSTIME have partnered to help a JD Edwards customer content-enable its enterprise with Oracle WebCenter Content and Oracle WebCenter Imaging 11g and integrate them back with JD Edwards to significantly improve processing speed and operational costs.


How valuable are you to your organization?

I don't know about you but I find it easy to get bogged down with the daily list of tasks and deliverables.  We all have lots to do and it all seems to be due tomorrow.  If you are reading this blog, than your to-do list is almost certainly filled with tasks related to the management, processing and publishing of information.  As we get mired in the daily routine of making sure that the content management needs of the organizations are met, we can easily lose sight of the value that we bring.  After all, if information and content is the lifeblood of our organizations, then surely maintaining the healthy flow of that information has real value.  But how can you measure that value and bring it forward on your résumé or your list of achievements in time for your next performance review?

The AIIM organization has spent a lot of time recently researching the value of certification for "information professionals".  When it comes to enterprise content management (ECM) there are many areas of specialization including records management, content archivist, digital asset manager, content librarian and more.  Specialization can clearly drive up your value but it can also lock you into a narrow niche area of focus.  AIIM has found that what companies also need is someone that can apply their knowledge of how information is managed within the operational scope of the business in order to drive real, measurable strategic value.  When you can showcase the value of a broader, business-wide mindset to your management, you have more opportunity to make professional progress and drive real growth where it counts, your paycheck.  

We here on the Oracle WebCenter team partnered with AIIM on the research they performed around the value of an information professional certification program. In a webinar this week, Doug Miles of AIIM and I will be talking about the results of that recent survey and what it is going to mean in the future to be recognized as a "Certified Information Professional" (CIP).  Oracle sponsored this research to help individuals and companies understand the value of enterprise content management and what it means across the entire organization. I hope you will join us.

If any of us were stopped in the street and were asked about it, I bet most of us would think of ourselves as an "Information Professional".  Now we have a way to actually prove it!  There's only one downside that I can see...  you will have to get your business cards updated to include the "CIP" acronym after your name.  I think you will agree that is a price worth paying!

Thursday Jan 06, 2011

Major Analyst Report Chooses Oracle As An ECM Leader

Oracle announced that Gartner, Inc. has named Oracle as a Leader in its latest "Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management" in a press release issued this morning.

Gartner's Magic Quadrant reports position vendors within a particular quadrant based on their completeness of vision and ability to execute. According to Gartner, "Leaders have the highest combined scores for Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision. They are doing well and are prepared for the future with a clearly articulated vision. In the context of ECM, they have strong channel partners, presence in multiple regions, consistent financial performance, broad platform support and good customer support. In addition, they dominate in one or more technology or vertical market. Leaders deliver a suite that addresses market demand for direct delivery of the majority of core components, though these are not necessarily owned by them, tightly integrated, unique or best-of-breed in each area. We place more emphasis this year on demonstrated enterprise deployments; integration with other business applications and content repositories; incorporation of Web 2.0 and XML capabilities; and vertical-process and horizontal-solution focus. Leaders should drive market transformation."

"To extend content governance and best practices across the enterprise, organizations need an enterprise content management solution that delivers a broad set of functionality and is tightly integrated with business processes," said Andy MacMillan, vice president, Product Management, Oracle. "We believe that Oracle's position as a Leader in this report is recognition of the industry-leading performance, integration and scalability delivered in Oracle Enterprise Content Management Suite 11g."

With Oracle Enterprise Content Management Suite 11g, Oracle offers a comprehensive, integrated and high-performance content management solution that helps organizations increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve content security.

In the report, Oracle is grouped among the top three vendors for execution, and is the furthest to the right, placing Oracle as the most visionary vendor. This vision stems from Oracle's integration of content management right into key business processes, delivering content in context as people need it. Using a PeopleSoft Accounts Payable user as an example, as an employee processes an invoice, Oracle ECM Suite brings that invoice up on the screen so the processor can verify the content right in the process, improving speed and accuracy. Oracle integrates content into business processes such as Human Resources, Travel and Expense, and others, in the major enterprise applications such as PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel, and E-Business Suite. As part of Oracle's Enterprise Application Documents strategy, you can see an example of these integrations in this webinar: Managing Customer Documents and Marketing Assets in Siebel.

You can also get a white paper of the ROI Embry Riddle achieved using Oracle Content Management integrated with enterprise applications. Embry Riddle moved from a point solution for content management on accounts payable to an infrastructure investment - they are now using Oracle Content Management for accounts payable with Oracle E-Business Suite, and for student on-boarding with PeopleSoft e-Campus. They continue to expand their use of Oracle Content Management to address further use cases from a core infrastructure.

Oracle also shows its vision in the ability to deliver content optimized for online channels. Marketers can use Oracle ECM Suite to deliver digital assets and offers as part of an integrated campaign that understands website visitors and ensures that they are given the most pertinent information and offers.

Oracle also provides full lifecycle management through its built-in records management. Companies are able to manage the lifecycle of content (both records and non-records) through built-in retention management. And with the integration of Oracle ECM Suite and Sun Storage Archive Manager, content can be routed to the appropriate storage media based upon content type, usage data or other business rules. This ensures that the most accessed content is instantly available, and archived content is stored on a more appropriate medium like tape. You can learn more in this webinar - Oracle Content Management and Sun Tiered Storage.

If you are interested in reading more about why Oracle was chosen as a Leader, view the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management.

 

Monday Oct 18, 2010

Matching Content Lifecycle to Storage

Documents, images, e-mails and other unstructured data comprise 80% of the information in organizations. Yet, this content is scattered across many different repositories, file systems and storage solutions. In many cases, your organization might not be aware of what information you are managing. Without knowing what you are managing, you cannot ensure you are using the right storage for that content. So how can you cut your costs and improve performance by managing this information effectively?

Some interesting facts about content:


  • Content tends to get created and stored randomly in most organizations

  • It has a tendency to rot - in the short term, it might not get updated, it might not get accessed. In the long term it might get stored on a medium that stops working, in formats that we can't read.

  • As it lives in repositories or file shares, we often don't know what we are managing on these systems.

  • We can't find the content that is useful, and sometimes we find the content that is detrimental.

  • We spend thousands of dollars recreating content that is useful (See Monica Crocker, Corporate Records Manager at Land O' Lakes discuss how as a consultant she was often brought in to create content, only to find it had been created already but no one could find it).

  • Sometimes we find content that is detrimental because it is old and out of date, and we act on it, which can also be costly.

  • We often have no usage statistics on content. And without comprehensive usage information, it's hard to judge the relative value of content that is not usage tracked.

  • Content is often stored on the wrong medium - archived content is stored on magnetic media where it is costly every day to store. Magnetic media is also not a stable medium over the long term.

  • Key content cannot be replenished without a lifecycle plan.

 

Without knowing what we are managing, we can't know the value of any of the content we are storing. Part of this story is knowing usage statistics for content as it is stored and managed, and part of it is setting a lifecycle policy for content when it is created.

One of my favorite parts of Oracle Universal Content Management is Content Tracker. Tracker not only tells me what documents are being visited, it can tell me by who, by which department, and how often. I may find that a document I have written is constantly referred to. I may decide to make it more visible - put it on a page on the intranet. I may decide to add more to it, or I may decide to update it more often. Without it I am shooting in the dark about the content I create and how it is being used.

So we have all this content. The difficulty is in sifting through all the content to find the important stuff. In many cases you can base that upon metadata - the document type, the author - these can be key indicators of important content. But often you have to have other methods. A content use tracking system can be a good way to determine important content - less used content is less important. Some content is important only in the short term. A sales proposal might be important for 30 days. A marketing plan might be important for a year. Then there is some content that is not important on a day to day basis, but is important in the long term. You might not refer to your insurance policy for 40 years, but when you need it, it might be the most important document in the company.

One of my favorite stories about old documents in litigation comes from Simplot. Simplot is one of the largest private companies in the world. They make and sell food products (Sara Lee, McDonald's French fries) as well as fertilizers and pesticides. When the Fresno County water district found traces of a Simplot pesticide in the ground water that appeared to have been introduced in the 1950s, a lawsuit was ensued. Simplot's director of records management, Dave McDermott (former President of ARMA, and an Oracle Records Management customer) pulled all of Simplot's insurance policies. And upon reading them, he found a common clause that stated that "this policy covers this period of time in perpetuity" meaning that any claim against the company for that period of time was still covered. Dave served 52 insurance companies, and in a pre-trial hearing, in front of their attorneys, the judge grilled him on his records management program. The insurance firms challenged the veracity of his documents. At the end of the day, the judge conceded that it was probably the best records management program he had ever seen, and that he saw no reason to stop the suit. The following Monday, 50 of the insurance companies settled, and eventually the other two did as well, resulting in a $23 million payout to Simplot.

One reason I love this story is it depicts records management as a revenue generator. The other reason is because it illustrates how documents can be of no value day to day for decades, and then suddenly hugely important one day. Having a way to ensure you can get to them that day is a key part of our job. And that is where being able to set a lifecycle policy for content is important.

The ability for a content management system to apply its knowledge of the content to storage choices is very powerful. The content management system knows usage statistics, it also knows lifecycle metadata and retention schedules. By applying this knowledge to the storage system it can save valuable resources. If a web page is accessed frequently, it can go on flash storage. An old insurance policy can go on tape, but is still there, searchable, and can be brought back for reference in litigation. No reason to spend the electricity of keeping magnetic hard drives spinning for content that won't be accessed for 40 years.

And because these systems can automate moving content from tape to tape every decade or so, you can avoid the information rot that comes with magnetic storage. So the document will be accessible 40 years later.

To find out more about this topic, check out this week's web seminar Know Where Your Information Lives.

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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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