By Michael Snow on Aug 12, 2014
Guest blog post series this week by Geoffrey Bock
How Oracle WebCenter Customers Build Digital Businesses:
Designing for the Experience-Driven Enterprise
Geoffrey Bock, Principal, Bock & Company
Making the Transition from Analog to Digital
In my last blog post on contending with digital disruption, I described how several Oracle customers decided to refresh, modernize, and mobilize their enterprise application infrastructure. Web-enabling an existing application, once necessary, is no longer sufficient.
But what does it take to mobilize key business tasks and drive digital capabilities deeply into an application infrastructure? Many of the WebCenter customers I spoke to emphasize both the business value of their applications and the quality of end user experiences. They are now rebuilding their core applications, making the transition from analog to digital business practices, by designing for an experience-driven enterprise.
The Flow of Design Activities
As I see it, customers are focusing on a sequence of five interrelated activities, summarized in Illustration 1. There is an inherent flow to application evolution.
Illustration 1. As they design their digital businesses, customers leverage their current platforms in order to deliver innovative experiences.
Here’s a description of how customers are building their digital businesses, and embracing the necessity of change along the way.
To begin with, there are baseline functions based on existing activities. While modernizing their core applications and the underlying back-end infrastructure, IT and business leaders emphasize that they “cannot loose anything” from their current platform. What needs to change is still up for redesign.
At the same time, leaders need to enhance the value of ad hoc communications. They are turning to social and mobile channels to improve overall employee productivity as well as strengthen relationships with customers and partners. New ways to communicate information become a lever for innovation.
There is also a business purpose for investing in social and mobile channels. Leaders expect to substantially improve service and support, when customers, partners, and employees have easy access to relevant information. There is added power through easy sharing.
To ensure quality service and support, it is essential to manage reusable content for a consistent experience. Organizations expect to create content once, organize it around business tasks, and distribute it across multiple channels. It helps to structure content for consistent distribution.
As a result, there are opportunities to launch innovative (and potentially breakthrough) digital business activities, by exploiting on the capabilities of the redesigned application environment. It’s not so much a matter of “loosing” baseline functions as embedding the flexibility to ensure that they can evolve.
From my perspective, this new application environment supports digital business initiatives by mobilizing the moments of engagement. These moments encompass the end user experiences where work gets done and value is created.
Optimizing for Agility
Companies are introducing various customer-, partner-, and employee-facing applications that run on the rebuilt enterprise platform. Leaders in these firms are designing applications from the “outside-in” by optimizing the ways in which end users access information and perform tasks. Significantly, leaders are relying on the agility and flexibility of the new platform to support an innovative collaborative environment.
As I spoke to WebCenter customers, I was struck by how their target users value the convenience of simple experiences. Designing for the experience-driven enterprise entails aggregating information from multiple sources, organizing it by business tasks, and then presenting it through intuitive applications that are seamlessly integrated with back-end services.