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.



Tuesday Dec 03, 2013

How Well Does Your Organization Do Self-Service?

Assessment Tool Measures
Your Self-Service Portal Strategy

The adoption of self-service portals is accelerating, but too often portals are implemented without a comprehensive strategy that ensures key functionality, such as cohesive user experiences and integration with back-end applications. Now a new assessment tool lets organizations quickly measure the effectiveness of their current self-service portal approach. 

Recent studies indicate that self-service portals are now more of a business imperative than ever. One study shows that 55 percent of consumers prefer automated self-service—twice as many as five years ago. The potential benefits are enormous: self-service reduces costs by US$9.00 per employee per month by eliminating manual, paper-intensive processes. 
View a new infographic to learn about other interesting facets of self-service. 

Are You a Self-Service Leader?
Despite the potential to use portals to reduce costs and increase satisfaction, many organizations install packaged applications that focus only on one aspect of a relationship with a customer, employee, or partner. For example, a customer relationship management system may present sales projection information but fail to integrate with the enterprise resource planning system to provide current account status. 

"Too often, such an approach doesn't address every aspect of taking action," explains Ashish Agrawal, senior director of product management for Oracle WebCenter Portal. 

The Oracle Self-Service Portal User Experience Assessment quickly helps you benchmark your organization's approach, including

  • Portal strategy
  • Portal agility
  • Integration and personalization
  • Social interactivity
  • Cross-channel integration

Why Oracle WebCenter? 
Oracle is the only enterprise software vendor with the complete, open, and integrated approach to support a truly comprehensive self-service portal strategy. With Oracle WebCenter Portal, you can

  • Integrate content, information, and business processes
  • Easily create and manage mobile portal experiences for desktop browsers, smartphones, tablets, and kiosks
  • Build and deploy custom-built components using rich development tools

View the new self-service portal destination page and take the Oracle Self-Service Portal User Experience Assessment

Access in-depth information about Oracle WebCenter Portal

Download a white paper about self-service portals, “Oracle WebCenter Portal: High Value Web Experiences Through Self-Service Portals.”

There's more of this great content in this November's WebCenter Newsletter

Subscribe for more content every other month.


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

Thursday Jan 12, 2012

Do More with Oracle WebCenter: Expand Beyond Portals

Oracle has just announced a new web seminar: Do More with Oracle WebCenter: Expand Beyond Portals. This event will take place on Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 10:00 AM PST (register here). You can hear Christian Finn of Oracle discuss how Oracle WebCenter includes comprehensive content, Web experience management, and social computing capabilities.

You will find you can do more with Oracle WebCenter by creating advanced customer-facing Web solutions to enhance customer loyalty and sales. And you can manage the entire content lifecycle of not just the content in your portals but also across your entire enterprise. Join us for this Webcast and learn how Oracle WebCenter:

  • Enables social business by coordinating collaboration inside and outside the enterprise
  • Improves the online experience by delivering targeted multichannel customer experiences
  • Manages the complete content lifecycle across all Websites, applications, and social tools on a strategic enterprise content management platform
Be sure to join us on the 19th!

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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