Thursday Aug 14, 2014

Developing and Deploying Self-Service Solutions

Guest blog by Geoffrey Bock

How Oracle WebCenter Customers Build Digital Businesses:

Developing and Deploying Self-Service Solutions

Geoffrey Bock, Principal, Bock & Company

Beyond the First Generation

As I described in my last blog post, "Designing for the Experience-Driven Enterprise", many of the WebCenter customers I spoke to are focusing their design efforts on the experience-driven enterprise. They are contending with digital disruption by not only replacing their legacy systems but also by restructuring and extending their enterprise applications. In fact, there is a renewed emphasis on self-service solutions.

Of course self-service is a long-standing goal for doing business over the web. But first generation solutions simply augment existing enterprise activities. For instance, many companies introduced self-service HR portals over a decade ago, enabling employees to update their profile and benefits information on their own,  rather than completing printed forms or calling HR staffers. While the tasks did not change, the people doing the work did.

Now it’s time to develop truly digital self-service solutions that do more than simply digitize these analog activities.

A Catalyst for Digital Business Transformation

As they become digital businesses, companies are engaged in new efforts that leverage the capabilities of a next-generation enterprise platform. Companies expect to transform how they do business, and deliver self-service solutions that are impossible to achieve without a truly digital application infrastructure. When in search of a starting point, begin with an enterprise portal and make it more relevant for solving business tasks.

Many of the business and IT leaders I interviewed are focusing on three interrelated goals.
  • Continuing to empower end users and operational business units by reducing the necessity of IT support for maintaining enterprise applications.
  • Collecting and organizing disparate strands of information into digital hubs that support business tasks.
  • Restructuring business processes to take advantage of end-to-end digital activities.
With a renewed emphasis on self-service, these leaders can consolidate disparate web sites and applications into a series of task-oriented solutions. For instance, one firm restructures its marketing activities through a customer-experience portal where marketers easily access all resources and assets for managing campaigns and measuring results. Another firm aggregates information from machines in a laboratory that are equipped with an array of sensors, and proactively manages maintenance based on the results.

Investing in the Underlying Resources

From my perspective, the mobile journey leads to these next-generation solutions. As they rebuild the underlying platforms powering their enterprise applications, IT leaders are defining the essential services within a services-oriented architecture (SOA). It’s important to invest the time and resources to get them right. It’s also essential to define the underlying information architecture, including the metadata definitions and tag-sets essential for dynamic content delivery. Line-of-business leaders should support these IT and content management efforts.

Mobile apps are the catalyst for the digital business transformation. Both business and IT leaders need to rethink how they want to do business, enhance, extend, and replace their first-generation self-service initiatives, and become truly digital businesses.



Wednesday May 28, 2014

Jagran Prakashan Increases Staff Productivity by 40%

Jagran PrakashanJagran Prakashan Increases Staff Productivity by 40%, Launches New IT Projects up to 4x Faster, Enables Mobile Service, and Improves Business Agility

Oracle Customer: JPL
Location:  Uttar Pradesh, India
Employees:  10,000
Annual Revenue:  $100 to $500 Million

Jagran Prakashan Ltd. (JPL) is one of India's premier media and communications groups with interests spanning print, advertising, event management, and mobile services for weather, cricket scores, and educational activities. It is a major media enterprise, with 300 locations across 15 states. Its impressive stable of print publications includes Dainik Jagran, the world’s most widely read daily newspaper––with a readership of over 55 million––the country’s leading afternoon dailies, and a range of popular local, bilingual, and English language newspapers.

JPL was using multiple systems to manage its business processes. Users were resistant to using multiple passwords for various applications, preferring to continue their less efficient, legacy work practices.

In addition, there was no single repository for sharing documents across the organization, such as company announcements or project documents. The company relied on e-mail to disseminate up-to-date company information, often missing employees. It was also time-consuming and difficult for managers to track the status of ongoing assignments or projects because collaboration and document sharing was inefficient and ineffective.

With diverse businesses and many geographic locations, JPL needed to implement a centralized and user-friendly enterprise portal to improve document sharing and collaboration and increase business agility. The company implemented Oracle WebCenter Portal to create a dynamic, secure, and intuitive self-service enterprise portal to improve the user experience and increase operating efficiency. It improved staff productivity by 40%, accelerated new IT projects by up to 4x, boosted staff morale, and increased business agility.  

Increases Staff Productivity by 40%, Launches New Products up to 2x Faster

A word from JPL

"With Oracle WebCenter Portal, we gained a dynamic, secure, and intuitive self-service enterprise portal that provided an exceptional user experience and enabled us to engage employees in a collaborative environment. It increased IT staff productivity by 40%, delivered new projects up to 4x faster, and enabled mobile service to improve our business agility.”

Sarbani Bhatia, Vice President IT,

Jagran Prakashahn Ltd

Before implementing Oracle WebCenter Portal, JPL stored project-critical information, such as page planning of daily newspaper editions and the launch of new editions or supplements on individual laptops or in the e-mail system. Collaboration between colleagues was limited to physical meetings, telephone discussions, and e-mail. It was difficult to trace and recover important project documents when a staff member resigned, which represented a significant risk to business continuity. Employees were also averse to multiple passwords and resisted using the systems, affecting staff productivity.

With Oracle WebCenter Portal, JPL created a dynamic, secure, and intuitive self-service enterprise portal with business activity streams. The portal allowed users to navigate, discover, and access information, such as advertising rates, requisition approvals, ad-hoc queries, and employee surveys from a single entry point with a single password. Managers can also upload important documents, such as new pricing for advertisers or newspaper distributors, and share them through the information and instruction section in the portal. In addition, managers can now easily track and review timelines for projects online rather than gathering information from meetings and e-mails. The company gained the ability to centrally manage information, ensured business continuity, and improved staff productivity by 40%.

“In the media industry, news has a very short shelf life, so speed is crucial. Information delayed is like information lost,” said Sarbani Bhatia, vice president IT, Jagran Prakashahn Ltd. “Thanks to Oracle WebCenter Portal’s contextual collaboration tools, we can provide and share feedback for new project launches, such as career or education supplements, up to 2x faster through discussion forums or knowledge groups. Tasks that previously required four months, we now complete in one month.”

In addition, the company can broadcast announcements, flash employee birthdays, and promote important events through the message section on the webpage, instead of using the e-mail system. The company can also conduct opinion polls to gauge employee response to organizational issues and improve management decision-making.

“With over 10,000 employees across 300 locations, it is critical for management to hear the voice of employees and develop a cohesive organizational culture. Oracle WebCenter Portal enables employees to engage with business processes and systems in a collaborative environment, providing users with an exceptional experience,” Bhatia said.

Enables Mobility Access and Increases Business Agility

Newspaper advertisements generate the majority of JPL’s revenue. With most sales staff on the move, the company needed to ensure timely approval of print advertisement discounts for specific clients and meet tight publication deadlines. 

By integrating Oracle WebCenter Portal seamlessly with its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and other applications, such as the organizational mass mailing system, business intelligence, and management information system, JPL embedded its approval workflow processes into the enterprise portal and provided users with an integrated and intuitive interface. About 30% of JPL’s sales staff members now have tablets and receive advertising discount approval from managers while in the field and no longer need to return to the office, which has significantly improved efficiency and increased business agility.

“Application mobility was critical for sales representatives in the field to meet stringent auditing requirements for online accountability, particularly for our newspaper advertising business. Staff member satisfaction has improved significantly now that the sales team can use tablets to access the portal––a capability we will extend to smart phones in the second stage of the implementation,” Bhatia said.

Accelerates Application Development by up to 4x and Cuts Costs by up to 60%

With Oracle WebCenter Portal, users can easily create, modify, and upload information to their personalized webpages without IT assistance. By seamlessly integrating Oracle WebCenter Portal with the payroll database, managers can decide which members of their team can access the page and with whom they will share information, a decision based on role or geographical location. A sales representative selling advertising space for a local language daily newspaper, for example, can upload an updated advertising rate relevant only to that particular publication. Users can also easily adapt to the new platform, thanks to its intuitive design and look, reducing the need for training and lowering resistance to using the system.

Using Oracle WebCenter Portal’s out-of-the-box reusable components, such as portal pages and templates, provided JPL’s developers with a comprehensive and flexible user experience platform and increased the speed of application development. In less than five months, JPL developed more than 55 workflows. The IT team accelerated deployment of new applications by up to 4x, as they do not need to install them on individual machines now that they have a web-based environment.  

“Previously, we would have spent a whole day deploying a new application for each department or location. With a browser-based environment, we have cut costs by up to 60% by reducing deployment time to zero, because our IT team can roll out a new application from a single point, thanks to Oracle WebCenter Portal,” Bhatia said.

Challenges

  • Provide a dynamic, secure, and intuitive self-service enterprise portal to improve staff productivity and ensure business continuity
  • Enable seamless integration with multiple enterprise applications to improve workflow efficiency—including approval of print advertisement discounts—and increase business agility
  • Improve engagement with employees and enable collaboration to enhance management decision-making
  • Accelerate time-to-market for new services, such as new advertising programs

Solutions

Oracle Product and Services
Oracle WebCenter Portal 11g

  • Increased staff productivity by 40% and enhanced user satisfaction by enabling employees to easily navigate, discover, and access information from a single, self-service enterprise portal without IT assistance
  • Launched new products, such as career or education supplements, up to 2x faster by enabling peer collaboration and incorporating feedback generated through discussion forums, thanks to Oracle WebCenter Portal’s out-of-the-box collaboration tools
  • Accelerated application development up to 4x by enabling developers to optimize reusable components for managing and deploying new applications in a browser-based environment rather than spending one day to install applications for each department, cutting costs by up to 60%
  • Ensured business continuity by enabling managers to easily track and review project timelines online rather than storing important documents on individual laptops or relying on the e-mail system
  • Increased business agility and operational efficiency by seamlessly integrating with the in-house, ERP system and embedding business processes into a single portal
  • Boosted company revenue by enabling sales team members to submit print-advertising discount requests through mobile devices instead of waiting to return to office, ensuring timely approval from managers to meet tight publication deadlines
  • Improved management decision-making by enabling employees to easily share and access feedback through opinion polls or forums, boosting staff morale
  • Introduced the single sign-on capability and enhanced security by enabling managers to decide access level for staff members based on role or geographical location
  • Reduced the need for staff training and minimized user resistance to systems by providing a dynamic and intuitive user experience

Why Oracle

JPL did not consider other products because the company was already using Oracle Database, Enterprise Edition with Real Application Clusters and had a positive experience with Oracle. JPL chose Oracle WebCenter Portal to ensure no compatibility issues for integration with its existing Oracle products and to take advantage of the experience and support of a reputable vendor to ensure business continuity.

“We chose Oracle because we knew we could rely on its support and experience. In addition, Oracle WebCenter Portal’s speed, agility, and mobile access features were a perfect fit for our business requirements,” Bhatia said.

Implementation Process

JPL launched the enterprise portal to 500 users in the first phase of the project, and plans to extend this to 2,000 users when the portal is fully launched. Oracle partner PricewaterhouseCoopers used Oracle Application Development Framework for the intial set-up, user training and to develop and design sample workflows. JPL’s internal IT staff then took charge of the implementation, bringing it to completion on budget.

Partner

Friday Nov 15, 2013

WebCenter Portal 11.1.1.8 – Customize your Profile page

Guest post today by: Mitchell Palski, WebCenter Sales Consultant

The Oracle WebCenter Portal People Connections service provides social networking tools for creating, interacting with, and tracking the activities of a user’s connections. WebCenter enables users to manage their personal profiles, access the profiles of other users, provide ad hoc feedback, post messages, track activities, and connect with others.

A Profile provides users with a variety of views into their own profile, as well as other users' profile information. Such information can include a user's email address, phone number, office location, department, manager, direct reports, and more. Profile takes the bulk of its information from the back-end identity store that provides a WebCenter Portal application with its list of users. Additionally, a Profile may offer opportunities for altering some of this information and for providing additional data that is not included in the identity store.
Here is an example of my profile page in one of our Oracle demonstration environments:
Profile Page

By default, not all sections of the user profile are editable by a user and viewable by other users. It is the administrator's job to specify the information to show in each section of the profile and determine whether users are allowed to edit their profile data and their application password within the WebCenter Portal.

To configure the Profile:

1. Open WebCenter Portal Administration.
2. Click Tools and Services, and then select People Connections. Tabs with the names of People Connections features appear to the right.
3. Click the Profile tab to bring it forward.
People Connection Settings
In the Profile Access section of this page, an administrator can control view settings around the sections of the profile. There are two sections under “View settings” that need to be considered when an administrator wants to hide a section of the profile:
• Who can view this section
• Allow Owner Override
For example, a number of my customers have asked about hiding the “Personal Information” section for their users because their users are employees and they don’t want them to share information such as their personal address. In this case, if the administrator logs in as an administrator change “Who can view this section” to “None” a user can still change that setting in their personal Preferences.
**Note: the columns in the Profile Access table can be reordered.
Profile Access
By default, not all of the attributes in a user’s profile are editable. Use the Profile Attributes – Edit Settings section of this page to enable and disable which attributes can be edited by a user through their web browser. For example, you may want to allow a user to edit their Business Contact Attributesinformation from their profile page.


Conclusion

It is important to consider how a user’s information is being used in your Portal environment before making changes to this page. Some questions to ask are:
• Is this information being managed elsewhere?
• Is user information being used to network?
• Are there any security concerns around allowing users to enter user information?
For more information on configuring your People Connections Service and User Profile, please refer to these Oracle WebCenter Portal documentation links:

Thanks for your time! Please comment on this post and let us know if this article is helpful for you and your organization!


 Learn how Oracle WebCenter Portal delivers secure, role-based, and personalized portal solutions that optimize the connections between people, information, and applications.

Empower End Users with Integrated Self-Service Portals
->LEARN MORE TODAY!<-

Wednesday Oct 23, 2013

Today's Well Connected Companies

Statoil Fuel & Retail and their partner, L&T Infotech, our recent winner of the Oracle Excellence Award for Fusion Middleware Innovation in the WebCenter category is featured this month in Profit Magazine's November Issues of both print and online versions. The online version has significantly more detail about their "Connect" project

Statoil Fuel & Retail is a leading Scandinavian road transport fuel retailer that operates in 8 different countries and delivers aviation fuel at 85 airports. The company produces and sells 750 different lubricant products for B2B and B2C customers. Statoil won the 2013 Oracle Excellence Award for Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation: Oracle WebCenter based on a stellar Oracle implementation, created with implementation partner L&T Infotech, which used Oracle’s JD Edwards and Oracle Fusion Middleware to replace and consolidate 10 SAP portals into a single, integrated, personalized enterprise portal for partners, station managers, and support staff. Utilizing Oracle WebCenter Portal, Oracle WebCenter Content, Oracle Identity Management, Oracle SOA Suite, JD Edwards applications, and Oracle CRM On Demand, Statoil is now able to offer a completely redesigned portal for an easy and user-friendly web experience, delivering a fast, secure, robust, and scalable solution that will help the company remain competitive in its industry. The solution has increased Statoil Fuel & Retail’s web footprint and expanded its online business.

Read the complete article for the full story of Statoil Fuel & Retail's implementation of Oracle Fusion Middleware technology.

Friday Sep 27, 2013

Oracle OpenWorld 2013 – It’s a Wrap

As we come to the end of Oracle OpenWorld 2013, I thought I’d reflect on some of my favorite aspects of this truly dynamic event: 

Oracle WebCenter Customer Appreciation Reception

This year’s Oracle WebCenter Customer Appreciation Reception was one of our best and definitely a highlight of my trip.  The reception moved to a great new venue in 2013, San Francisco’s Old Mint, a National Historic Landmark where the Oracle WebCenter community had the chance to mingle and make new connections. Many thanks to our partners aurionPro SENA, Bluenog, Fishbowl Solutions, Fujitsu, Keste, Redstone Content Solutions and Tekstream for sponsoring! 

San Francisco's Old Mint Lit Up in Oracle Red

Oracle WebCenter Customer Success Stories

This year’s lineup of customers participating in Oracle WebCenter sessions was truly impressive. Our various WebCenter customer panel and conference sessions gave everyone the chance to hear real world experiences with various WebCenter products whether Content, Portal, or Sites.  Standouts for me (coming from the WebCenter Sites side of the house), were the travel and hospitality brand, Choice Hotels, electrical and network infrastructure solutions provider, Panduit, world renowned football club, Real Madrid, and financial services provider, TIAA-CREF. A special thanks to all our WebCenter customers who put their time and effort into sharing their stories with the broader WebCenter community. 

The Oracle WebCenter Community

And that brings me to my final and favorite aspect of Oracle OpenWorld 2013 – the Oracle WebCenter community itself. Oracle OpenWorld is unmatched in providing you with opportunities to interact and engage with other WebCenter customers and WebCenter experts from among our partner and employee communities. It was great to see everyone and I look forward to seeing you all again next year. 

Tuesday Sep 10, 2013

My Theory of Inverse Relationships: Technical Sophistication vs Compensating Customer Service

Statistics are everywhere – people that are engaged in life and work are generally happier people because their needs are met without excessive hassles.  Download Employee Engagement Report Free Today!
As we move towards a more self-service technology-enabled culture, I have a theory of inverse relationships that is starting to take shape. I have had a few more experiences over the past couple of weeks that lay credence to my nascent theory.

I believe that there is an inverse relationship between the technical sophistication of companies and their person-to-person relationships. You may remember a post I did right around this time of year a couple of years ago entitled “Mayberry RFD meets the WWW” that started to examine my perspective. I'm still a believer.

As many of our readers know from my previous posts, my family is now in the beginning of the college years and we’ve just delivered our daughter to a beautiful small liberal arts University in upstate NY. Wish her well as she focuses on Neuroscience to cure all of our imminent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. I hope I remember to thank her someday.  Because of this – I’ve had a lot of drive time (5 hrs each way) to do some thinking about this subject and some experiences over the process.

I’ll start with a recent experience with my local spring water delivery service. This company has been around for eons and very service-focused. As I’ve been trying to do all my bill paying online and we hadn't ordered water for a couple of years, I took a look at their website to see if I could just pay my bill by credit card. Sure enough – they have a “Pay your bill online” button on their site. When clicked, I was presented with a form to fill out and a submit button. Easy, painless and fast. Yet I received no email confirmation of my payment that is usually the norm with online payments of this sort. Suspicious and concerned that I perhaps just distributed my credit card number to a phishing expedition – I emailed the company and had a response within a couple of hours that read something to the effect of (I’ll paraphrase) – “Oh ya – that’s never worked – give us a call and we can take care of it over the phone…”  So – here’s a small company trying to survive against its much larger competitors with a bigger regional footprint that hasn’t prioritized their online bill pay as worth the investment or PREFERS to have the traditional biller and payer relationship by mailed checks or phone. The nice thing about this in many ways – is that when I called and spoke with “Mary” – she was genuine, friendly, and truly apologetic that their online system has never worked. Technical sophistication level: LOW. Customer Service level: HIGH. Customer Loyalty because of the overall positive experience = HIGH.

Those of you that are dealing with College or University online systems for students, parents, faculty and vendors are probably used to a wide range of functionality. My wife is an academic at a major university and we’ve seen all sides of this. This is NOT the public-facing Admissions advertising and marketing site, but instead how the students and parents deal with payments, registrations, insurance, financial aid, etc.. Lately, we’ve had the Uber Portal experience at my daughter’s University that thus far seems to be the most awkward and poorly designed collection of services we’ve ever experienced. Where is that tuition going? Like many universities, this portal is an open source project and feels like a garage project done in an intern’s spare cycles. Yet – in following my inverse technology theory – when I call the University (ANY department) to ask about something that isn’t clear or working on their portal, I often get a confirming statement about the portal being down or other less than glowing statements, and then the BEST customer service experience on the phone with people bending over backwards to help assist you with whatever request they need to get the job done in spite of the poor system that should have taken care of the problem or question in the first place. Technical experience to solve your problem online = LOW. Customer Service experience to compensate for poor online system =- HIGH. Overall experience = HIGH despite the high tuition bills that we’ll be paying until we’re 90.

Many Universities aren’t in the same boat – and although I’m not shipping my daughter off to Australia, one of our great customers there talks about how Oracle WebCenter provides the enterprise platform for University of Melbourne’s Student Portal, allowing the aggregation of all services and applications that students need to manage their academic and social lives while enrolled at the university. Check out this link:University of Melbourne Empowers Student Portal with Oracle

Lastly – I had another great experience while I was helping my daughter move into her dorm. As expected, we forgot some items and needed a few things so I took a trip down to the local hardware/country store. There they had everything we needed along with the most incredible customer service I’ve experienced in a retail establishment for a long time. I had a short list of items to find, but I’m a sucker for a country store that claims to have everything and did some aisle roaming to see what they really had.  During my 45 minutes there (my wife says it was more like 1.5 hrs) I had more people offer to help me and actually do so than you usually would experience in a brand-recognized chain store which this definitely wasn’t. To test my theory when I returned home – I went looking for their website and sure enough – this is what I found:   “Our Website is Under Construction - Please stop Back!“

The sidebar on the site under construction did confirm both my experience and current theory. I've changed the names to avoid any free advertising.

Welcome to Small Town General Store!
Our slogan says it all...Experience a Modern Day General Store.
We welcome you to visit our family-owned general store in Smallville, USA where the experience will make you want to visit again and again.  At Small Town General Store - you will find a full selection of electronics, paint, hardware, housewares and office supplies.  We believe in offering a wide variety of product with exceptional customer service.  Our friendly staff will greet you upon entering the store and direct you towards whatever your project requires that day.  Need advice on the project?  No problem our staff is well versed in everything we sell and we offer DIY books as reference.  Don't see what you are looking for - we have the ability to special order almost anything you need.  Whether you are a contractor, local business owner, homeowner, student or just passing through our town, Small Town General Store has something for you.

So - what does this all mean? You might be saying that of course, small town local business has to compensate with great customer service to compete with the big box stores and larger franchised services and you might be right. What about the ideal combination? What if you had the ultimate self-service online experience AND the company was a pleasure to deal with day in and day out? Employees that are happier at their jobs because they have the tools to get the job done quickly, efficiently and accurately will also provide a much better customer experience because they aren't fighting with systems that make their job miserable. Food for thought.

Watch this newly released WebCenter Portal Demo that will change your expectations for portals in your organization.

To learn more about this, don't miss our upcoming webcast on the NEW Release of Oracle WebCenter on Sept. 12th - see banner below. This will also be available On-Demand (AKA Self-Service!!) after this date, so register today and you 'll get the On-Demand link sent to you automatically after the event.

Register today - Watch this Week!



Wednesday Aug 14, 2013

Oracle Unveils New Release of Oracle WebCenter

There’s exciting news in the world of Oracle WebCenter today with the unveiling of our latest product release. We realize that in today’s economy, organizations are increasingly looking for ways to lower their costs, improve operational efficiencies and increase revenue. To address these challenges, we’ve made updates across our complete portfolio of portal, enterprise content management, Web experience management, and collaboration technologies. By providing enhanced multi-channel user experience capabilities and delivering a comprehensive set of tools that reduces the traditional business line reliance on IT, the new release helps businesses lower their costs, improve operational efficiency, and increase their bottom line revenue.

Webcast: The New Oracle WebCenter - Register Now

The new Oracle WebCenter release introduces a new Java-based cross-platform Enterprise Capture product to expand our imaging and enterprise content management solutions and a new Mobile Option to provide richer, optimized multi-channel user experiences out of the box. The new release also includes updates across the entire Oracle WebCenter portfolio to empower the mobile workforce with new mobile apps, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) support, and enhanced development tools for rapid deployment of mobile portals and websites. Also included are a range of tools designed to empower business users and remove the traditional line of business dependency on IT to shorten the time to market and reduce costs. Here’s a closer look at some of the enhancements to each product:

Oracle WebCenter Portal

The new release of Oracle WebCenter Portal makes it easier and faster for business users to create intuitive portals with integrated application content by:

  • Streamlining development with an integrated set of tools for web & mobile
  • Providing out of the box templates for common use cases
  • Expediting the portal creation experience with a WYSIWYG editing experience

Oracle WebCenter Content

The new release of Oracle WebCenter Content makes it easier to share information efficiently by:

  • Enabling users to access business documents “on the go” using their device of choice
  • Putting content to work in process-centric business application environments
  • Simplifying the management of the entire content lifecycle in the most scalable and comprehensive enterprise content management system

Oracle WebCenter Sites

In addition, by enhancing Oracle WebCenter Sites, the latest release helps marketers engage, guide, and convert customers online by:

  • Managing mobile sites with ease and marketing to mobile customers more effectively
  • Creating a media rich online customer experience using video and other digital marketing content from within the enterprise or from the cloud
  • Providing more relevant search results to guide and influence customers on their websites

"To make the best possible decisions for your business, it is important that everyone in an organization has access to the right information, in the right context, and within the right business process, no matter where they are," said Balaji Yelamanchili, senior vice president, Oracle Product Development. "The latest release of Oracle WebCenter supports this level of engagement at your desk, or on the road, by delivering enhancements across portal, Web experience management, content, and collaboration technologies. By intuitively connecting people, process and information across any device, the new release of Oracle WebCenter helps organizations improve decision making and enhance engagement with customers, partners and employees across every channel."

Stay tuned to the Oracle WebCenter blog over the next few days as we take a closer look at some of the new features in Oracle WebCenter’s new release and register for our in-depth webcast on the new Oracle WebCenter taking place on September 12.

Friday Aug 02, 2013

Delivering the Integrated Portal Experience!

Guest post by Richard Maldonado, Principal Product Manager, Oracle WebCenter Portal

Organizations are still struggling to standardize on a user interaction platform which can meet the needs of all their target audiences.  This has not only resulted in inefficient and inconsistent experiences for their users, but it also creates inefficiencies (productivity and costs) for the departments that manage the applications and information systems.  Portals have historically been the unifying platform that provide IT with a common interface which can securely surface the most relevant interactions for a given user and/or group of users.  However, organizations have found that the technologies available have either not provided the flexibility necessary to address all of their use cases, or they rely too much on IT resources to manage, maintain, and evolve. 

Empowering  the Business Groups

LOB guy gets some powerThe core issue that IT departments face with delivering portal experiences is having enough resources to respond and address the influx of requirements which come in from the business.  Commonly, when a business group wants a new portal site established for their group, they will submit a request to the IT dept, the IT dept then assigns a resource to an administrator and/or developer to build.  Unfortunately, this approach is not scalable, it can be a time consuming activity which requires significant interaction between the business owner and the IT resource.  A modern user interaction platforms should empower the business groups by providing them tools which they can use to build and manage the portal experiences without the need for IT's involvement.  And because business groups rarely have technical resources (developers) on staff, the tools must be easy enough that virtually any business user could use.  In addition, the tool must be powerful enough to allow them to build the experience that they need, things such as creating a whole new portal, add/manage page and page hierarchy, manage user/group access, add/modify components within the page, etc.  This balance between ease-of-use and flexibility is key to the successful adoption of tools which will ultimately reduce the burden on IT, respond to the needs of the business, and deliver high-value experiences for the users. 

Ready or Not, Here They Come: Smartphones and Tablets

Gal with a Tablet

Recently, several studies have highlighted that smartphone and tablet-style devices have overtaken PC's in both sales and usage.  This shift is further driving organizations to revaluate how they're delivering data, information, and applications to their users.  Users are expecting to get the same level of access and interaction, but in a ways which are optimized for the capabilities of the device that they are using. 

Expect More

With the ever growing number of new IT projects and flat/shrinking budgets, organizations are looking for comprehensive solutions which can deliver integrated web experiences that are tailored for the users and optimized for mobile devices.  Piecing together a number of point solutions is no longer an option.  A modern portal technology should not only address the traditional needs of integrating and surfacing back-end applications/information, but it should enable the business through easy-to-use tools and accelerate the delivery of mobile optimized experiences.  


WebCenter in Action Series:
Qualcomm Provides a Seamless Experience for Customers with Oracle WebCenter

QUALCOMM

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Featuring Qualcomm & Keste

Watch an On-Demand Webcast to Learn More!



Wednesday May 22, 2013

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 embracing responsive design from Oracle expert, John Brunswick
  • The smartest journey to connected, multichannel customer experiences
  • 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.

Thursday Apr 25, 2013

Putting the CX Puzzle Together: Connect Customer Touch Points by Combining Oracle WebCenter Sites with Other Oracle CX Solutions

On its own, Oracle WebCenter Sites provides organizations with powerful capabilities for engaging sites visitors with personalized, interactive, multichannel experiences on their marketing websites. But for companies that are ready to embrace the power of predictive decisionsing or who are ready to start integrating different online touch points into a seamless and connected experience, Oracle's customer experience solutions can offer even more. Let's take a look at how a few of these customer experience solutions combine with Oracle WebCenter Sites.

Oracle WebCenter Sites + Oracle Real-Time Decisions

Oracle’s web experience management solution, WebCenter Sites, already includes robust capabilities for marketer managed segmentation and targeting, however, a whole new level of optimization can be achieved by combining WebCenter Sites with Oracle’s decision management solution, Real-Time Decisions. Using the power of statistical data models and historical and real-time analytics, Real-Time Decisions automates what would otherwise be the manual task of sifting through volumes of customer data, determining likely and potential customer segments, and determining the best content to present to a given site visitor. As customer interactions take place, Real-Time Decisions continuously refines its data models, automatically adjusting and learning over time to achieve the optimal content selection for each site visitor. Marketers have multiple levels of control when using Real-Time Decisions. They can opt for full automation and let Real-Time Decisions handle all decision making. In this case, Real-Time Decisions infers segmentation and uses automation to make decisions about what content to display to the site visitor. Or, marketers can opt for a more controlled approach and specify performance goals that will help steer the Real-Time Decisions model in the direction of desired business objectives such as maximizing revenue or maximizing conversions. Together, Oracle WebCenter Sites and Oracle Real-Time Decisions provide marketers with the ability to determine the best approach for realizing their segmentation and targeting objectives, whether that means managing the process manually or by instituting some level of automation

Oracle WebCenter Sites + Oracle Endeca

If you’re a business that has a large product catalog, integrating faceted search into the web experience can be an effective way for potential customers to dynamically explore your site and find relevant and desired items more quickly and easily. During the product selection process, site visitors want the ability to navigate based on their own unique preferences and to view content and search results that are most relevant to them. Often, the search experience on a website frustrates potential buyers or provides them with too many irrelevant results to wade through. A solution such as Oracle Endeca Guided Search can be integrated with your WebCenter Sites deployment to optimize the search capabilities on your web presence, so you can deliver more precise, more relevant, and more complete results that help guide and influence product selection, leading to increased conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

Oracle WebCenter Sites + Oracle ATG Web Commerce

If your business model includes an eCommerce component, speeding and simplifying the purchase process is critical. A streamlined and efficient online purchase process is vital to preventing shopping cart abandonment. The purchase process can even become another opportunity for engaging customers and influencing them to purchase more or related products; it can also be structured to incentivize customers to take action now through the offer of various promotions. Oracle’s ATG Web Commerce is a top ranked commerce solution that enables you to deliver an engaging and efficient online buying experience. When combined with Oracle WebCenter Sites, these solutions bring together best-in-class web experience management and ecommerce capabilities, assuring that your site visitors have a personalized, interactive, and multichannel experience as make their way through the customer journey.

Oracle WebCenter Sites + Oracle WebCenter Portal

For some business models, online self-service is the primary channel through which business is conducted. In others, online self-service represents an opportunity to lower the cost to serve by migrating customers from high cost customer service channels to the more cost-effective online channel. Oftentimes, in industries like financial services, healthcare, or even government, you’ll want to provide your customers, patients, or constituents with both a public online presence where they can find information and engage with your organization early in the customer journey, and also an online self-service presence that enables your customers to access secure services where they can conduct financial transactions, look up personal health information or take advantage of government services. In cases like this, the combination of Oracle WebCenter Sites and Oracle WebCenter Portal is ideally suited to helping you meet both of these objectives and ultimately deliver an online experience that is unified, consistent and seamless as those visiting your web presence evolve from prospects into active customers.

 *****

On Demand Webcast: How to Connect the Online Customer Experience by Combining Oracle WebCenter Sites with Other Oracle CX Solutions

Are you providing your customers with the best possible browsing, shopping and search experiences across all your marketing and commerce websites? Successful organizations must deliver an engaging online experience that is personalized, interactive and consistent across all phases of the customer journey from research to selection to support and follow on purchases. Attend this Webcast to learn how WebCenter Sites can help you:

  • Unify the online customer experience by bringing together best-in-class web experience management, eCommerce, and faceted search capabilities
  • Encourage social interaction by incorporating ratings, comments, reviews and social sharing capabilities into your web presence
  • More easily ingest content feeds from your suppliers and simplify the management of high volumes of detailed product information

View the webcast.

Thursday Feb 21, 2013

DO MORE WITH ORACLE WEBCENTER

DO MORE WITH ORACLE WEBCENTER

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




Friday Jan 18, 2013

Online Customer Journey: The Service and Recommendation Experiences

We wrap up our week of focusing on the online customer journey by looking at the final two stages – the service experience and the recommendation experience.

The Service Experience

Once you’ve successfully converted site visitors into paying customers, you’ll want to assure that it’s easy for customers to continue doing business with you and help them get the most out of their investment in your products or services. Oftentimes, in industries like financial services, healthcare, or even government, you’ll want to provide your customers, patients, or constituents with both a public online presence where they can find information and engage with your organization early in the customer journey, and also an online self-service presence that enables your customers to access secure services where they can conduct financial transactions, look up personal health information or take advantage of government services. In cases like this, the combination of Oracle WebCenter Sites and Oracle WebCenter Portal is ideally suited to helping you meet both of these objectives and ultimately deliver an online experience that is unified, consistent and seamless as those visiting your web presence evolve from prospects into active customers.

The whole idea of incorporating a self-service aspect into a company’s online engagement strategy is definitely one that is picking up steam as companies looks at new ways to service their customers efficiently and effectively online. And not only is online self-service a means for driving greater efficiencies, the vast majority of customers – 75% -- prefer to use online support if it’s available and reliable.

The Recommendation Experience

The final phase that you should consider in your online marketing strategy is the recommendation phase, whereby satisfied customers become advocates for your brand and recommend it to others. The opinions that people share about their experiences with a product or brand are a highly valued source of information relied upon by prospective customers as they contemplate a purchasing decision. In fact, 70% of consumers trust the opinions of other online users, making it one of the most trusted types of information that potential buyers consider, second only to the opinions of people they know.1

You can tap into the influence your satisfied customers can have over prospective customers by making it easy for them to share their experiences with their social networks, and to contribute helpful comments, ratings or reviews of your products and services. The ability to share and contribute socially on your web presence should be given component of your web presence. You can encourage social sharing and the contribution of user-generated content by enabling social login on your web presence, whereby customers can login into your site quickly and easily using their familiar social networking profiles. Such capabilities are available to you when you use Oracle WebCenter Sites for web experience management.

This concludes our series of posts on the online customer journey. Remember that developing an effective online experience that supports the customer life cycle is critical to driving sales and earning long term loyalty.

 ******

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. Join us for this Webcast and learn how to meet your engagement goals by doing more with Oracle WebCenter for portals and enterprise content management. View now.

1 Neilsen, “Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages,” 2011

Tuesday Jan 15, 2013

Does Your Online Experience Support the Customer Journey?

We live in an always connected world. Every minute of every day, two million search queries are made on Google, nearly 700,000 pieces of content are shared on Facebook, 571 new websites are created, and consumers spend $272,000 shopping online.1 We shop, we play and we connect online, and so do your customers. There is no doubt that the online channel is often your customers’ preferred channel for conducting and managing their personal and professional business. But does the online experience that you deliver really turn casual site visitors into long-term paying customers and advocates for your brand?

If you’re part of an organization looking to compete in an increasingly web, mobile and social world, you must take care to develop and execute an online customer experience strategy that supports the entire customer journey. Your goal should be to provide an engaging, consistent and connected experience, whether you are dealing with a prospective customer who is visiting your public website for the first time, or a long time customer who has logged on to your self-service portal to look up account information or conduct a transaction.

While there are many different stages of the customer journey, there are five primary phases you’ll want to consider carefully as you develop your online customer experience strategy:

Online Customer Experience Journey

1) Research

As potential customers begin to research solutions to the problems they are trying to solve, the focus of your online customer experience should be on engagement. The days when prospects could be won over by a static, one-size-fits-all web experience are long gone. Instead, you need to focus on providing prospects with personalized and interactive online experiences that are easily accessible and optimized for PC’s, tablets and mobile phones. By combining a well thought out content strategy with a dynamic web presence, you can begin to earn the trust of prospective customers and get them to seriously consider your brand.

2) Select

Once you’ve successfully engaged prospective customers with a relevant and interactive experience, and gotten them to consider your organization as a possible solution for their needs, you can continue to guide and influence their selection process by making it easier for them to search for and discover suitable solutions for their needs. Depending on your business model, there are numerous approaches that aid the online selection process including the incorporation of faceted search and guided navigation, segmentation and targeting, or even endorsements from other customers in the form of comments, ratings or reviews on the web presence.

3) Purchase

If your business model includes an eCommerce component, speeding and simplifying the purchase process is the next step in the online customer experience journey. A streamlined and efficient online purchase process is vital to preventing shopping cart abandonment. The purchase process can even become another opportunity for engaging customers and influencing them to purchase more or related products; it can also be structured to incent customers to take action now through various promotions or offers.

4) Service

Once you’ve successfully converted site visitors into paying customers, you’ll want to assure that it is easy for customers to do business with you and to help them get the most out of their investment in your products or services. For certain industries, such as financial services, your online presence may even be the primary channel in which customers conduct business with you. In any case, an effective customer self-service portal can not only drive down service costs, but it can actually improve customer satisfaction at all phases of the ownership experience, from product delivery to use and maintenance.

5) Recommend

The final phase that you should consider in your online marketing strategy is the recommendation phase, whereby satisfied customers become advocates for your brand and recommend it to others. By giving your customers opportunities to share their experiences with their social networks, and by enabling them to endorse your products and services in the form of comments, ratings, and reviews on your web presence, you help extend the reach of your brand and leverage your customers’ influence over their peers – truly one of your most powerful assets in your marketing toolkit.

Developing an effective online experience that supports the customer journey is critical to driving sales and earning long term loyalty. Customers’ needs change as they move between the research, selection, purchase, service and recommendation phases of the lifecycle, often necessitating a number of different technologies to deliver on customers’ expectations at each stage. From a technology perspective, this often means integrating web experience management, faceted search, eCommerce, or portal technologies that help support the online customer experience and unify it across all online touch points seamlessly. Be sure to check back on the WebCenter blog this week as we take a closer look at customers' expectations and needs at each of the fives phases of their online journey and the CX technologies that can enable your businesses to deliver on them.

*****

Webcast: Connect the Online Customer Experience with Oracle WebCenter

If you’d like to learn more about how to connect the online customer experience with Oracle WebCenter, please register for our webcast on Thursday, January 17 at 10a.m. PT / 1p.m. ET. You will learn how Oracle WebCenter:

  • Enables contextually relevant and interactive experiences across web, mobile and social channels
  • Works with Oracle ATG Commerce and Oracle Endeca to deliver consistent and engaging browsing, shopping and search experiences across all of your customer facing websites
  • Enables you to optimize the performance of your online initiatives through integration with Oracle Real-Time Decisions for automated targeting and segmentation

Register for the webcast today.

1 AllTwitter, Twitter, Facebook, Google, YouTube -- What Happens On the Internet Every 60 Seconds

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.

Wednesday Oct 24, 2012

Life Technologies: Making Life Easier to Manage

When we’re thinking about customer engagement, we’re acutely aware of all the forces at play competing for our customer’s attention. Solutions that make life easier for our customers draw attention to themselves. We tend to engage more when there is a distinct benefit and we can take a deep breath and accept that there is hope in the world and everything isn’t designed to frustrate us and make our lives miserable. (sigh…) When products are designed to automate processes that were consuming hours of our time with no relief in sight, they deserve to be recognized.

One of our recent Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation Award Winners in the WebCenter category, Life Technologies, has recently posted a video promoting their “award winning” solution. The Oracle Innovation Awards are part of the overall Oracle Excellence awards given to customers for innovation with Oracle products. More info here.

Their award nomination included this description:

Life Technologies delivered the My Life Service Portal as part of a larger Digital Hub strategy. This Portal is the first of its kind in the biotechnology service providing industry. The Portal provides access to Life Technologies cloud based service monitoring system where all customer deployed instruments can be remotely monitored and proactively repaired. The portal provides alerts from these cloud based monitoring services directly to the customer and to Life Technologies Field Engineers. The Portal provides insight into the instruments and services customers purchased for the purpose of analyzing and anticipating future customer needs and creating targeted sales and service programs. This portal not only provides benefits for Life Technologies internal sales and service teams but provides customers a central place to track all pertinent instrument information including:

      • instrument service history
      • instrument status and previous activities
      • instrument performance analytics
      • planned service visits
      • warranty/contract information
      • discussion forums
      • social networks for lab management and collaboration
      • alerts and notifications on all of the above
      • team scheduling for instrument usage
      • promote optional reagents required to keep instruments performing

From their website

The Life Technologies Instruments & Services Portal Helps You Save Time and Gain Peace of Mind

Introducing the new, award-winning, free online tool that enables easier management of your instrument use and care, faster response to requests for service or service quotes, and instant sharing of key instrument and service information with your colleagues.

Now – this unto itself is obviously beneficial for their customers who were previously burdened with having to do all of these tasks separately, manually and inconsistently by nature. Now – all in one place and free to their customers – a portal that ties it all together. They now have built the platform to give their customers yet another reason to do business with them – Their headline on their product page says it all: Life is now easier to manage - All your instrument use and care in one place – the no-cost, no-hassle Instruments and Services Portal.” Of course – it’s very convenient that the company name includes “Life” and now can also promote to their clients and prospects that doing business with them is easy and their sophisticated lab equipment is easy to manage. In an industry full of PhD’s – “Easy” isn’t usually the first word that comes to mind, but Life Technologies has now tied the word to their brand in a very eloquent way.

Between our work lives and family or personal lives, getting any mono-focused minutes of dedicated attention has become such a rare occurrence in our current era of multi-tasking that those moments of focus are highly prized. So – when something is done really well – so well that it becomes captivating and urges sharing impulses – I take notice and dig deeper and most of the time I discover other gems not so hidden below the surface. And then I share with those I know would enjoy and understand.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit here that the first person I shared the videos below with was my daughter. She’s in her senior year of high school in the midst of her college search. She’s passionate about her academics and has already decided that she wants to study Neuroscience in college and like her mother will be in for the long haul to a PhD eventually. In a summer science program at Smith College 2 summers ago – she sent the family famous text to me – “I just dissected a sheep’s brain – wicked cool!” – This was followed by an equally memorable text this past summer in a research mentorship in Neuroscience at UConn – “Just sliced up some rat brain. Reminded me of a deli slicer at the supermarket… sorry I forgot to call last night…

So… needless to say – I knew I had an audience that would enjoy and understand these videos below and are now being shared among her science classmates and faculty. And evidently - so does Life Technologies! They’ve done a great job on these making them fun and something that will easily be shared among their customers social networks. They’ve created a neuro-archetypal character, “Ph.Diddy” and know that their world of clients in academics, research, and other institutions would understand and enjoy the “edutainment” value in this series of videos on their YouTube channel that pokes fun at the stereotypes while also promoting their products at the same time. They use their Facebook page for additional engagement with their clients and as another venue to promote these videos.

Enjoy this one as well! More to be found here: http://www.youtube.com/lifetechnologies

Stay tuned to this Oracle WebCenter blog channel. Tomorrow we'll be taking a look at another winner of the Innovation Awards, LADWP - helping to keep the citizens of Los Angeles engaged with their Water and Power provider.

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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