Monday May 20, 2013

Empowering Marketers with Web Experience Management

Unable to get new digital marketing initiatives to market as fast as you would like?  Tired of dealing with IT bottlenecks that prevent you from making routine site updates or launching new digital marketing campaigns quickly?  Your customers have little patience for a brand that fails to meet their expectations for a contextually relevant and interactive digital experience that supports their journey as a customer.  As a result, speed-to-market and business agility are more important than ever before when it comes to gaining and sustaining a competitive advantage.  Are your existing web experience management tools and processes up to the challenge?

If you are a marketer that has to secure a developer resource whenever you want to create a new landing page or make an important update to your website, get ready for your competitors to eat your lunch.  Today’s market moves much too swiftly and companies with marketing teams that are forced to rely on IT for the execution of their digital marketing efforts are at a steep disadvantage.  That’s why it’s so important to have a web experience management platform that empowers marketers and other non-technical business users to manage many aspects of the digital customer experience themselves.

See how simple site authoring and editing are in WebCenter Sites in this brief video tutorial.

Oracle WebCenter Sites makes it easy for marketers to contribute and manage websites with visual and intuitive content authoring and layout capabilities designed for the non-technical user. Oracle WebCenter Sites enables marketers to simply drag ­and­ drop content right into the context of a web page using a “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) authoring interface. Rich search functionality and visual search results make the process of locating images and other content for use within pages, streamlined and efficient.

Because of WebCenter Sites’ intuitive and easy-to-use tools for managing online experiences, our customers have gained the ability to get to market faster with their digital marketing initiatives.  As marketers and other line of business users take greater control of managing the web experience, our customers have seen the lead time for new online campaigns shrink from months or weeks down to a matter of days, and routine site updates can be made in a matter of minutes without having to secure a developer resource to execute them.

Friday Apr 26, 2013

Why WCM Should Be at the Heart of Your Multichannel Strategy

Today’s guest blog post was written by Stephen Schleifer. Stephen is Senior Principal Product Manager for Oracle’s Web Content Management (WCM) solution, Oracle WebCenter Sites.

It’s no secret that the WCM market has gone through a series of rapid changes over the past five years or so, in part because the business objectives driving the use of these systems evolved (from content publishing to online experience), and in part due to the changing nature and role of corporate websites, or brand sites. We are now living in a multichannel world -- with the rise of social networks, increased use of campaign marketing (including social media, email marketing and promotional microsites), and of course, the fact that more people are accessing the web via mobile devices than ever before. All of this has amounted to added complexity for web marketers to manage their brand and message across all these channels, but it has also changed the perception of what role a brand site, and by way of it, a WCM system, is supposed to play in online marketing.

While most still agree that a brand site is an important place for customers to acquire information about a company’s products and services, others propose that as more traffic and leads are generated through alternate channels that they should become the main focus of online marketing and customer engagement efforts.

I would argue that it’s not an either/or proposition, but instead what’s needed more often than not is a more blended approach, and in fact, your brand site should serve as the centralized point of your online marketing strategy. Why? Because it’s the one place where all these channels tend to converge -- it’s the glue that holds your brand and message together across all these diverse customer touch points. Linking these channels back to your brand site is also important because it’s the place where you control the message, and it’s ultimately where you can engage customers in more dynamic ways, as the experience you create there is entirely of your own making.

WCM systems are the technology set that provides the tools for marketers to manage corporate web sites, and they are unique in their ability to support a wide variety of cross-channel online marketing value propositions; these include:

Extending the reach of / re-purposing content between brand sites and social media: For example, by enabling site visitors to engage in interactions around site content and then extend the reach of that content by sharing it to their walls. Or by repurposing content on your site such as articles, blog posts or promotional offers for publishing on social media pages. Conversely, many organizations are choosing to host promotional or educational video on social video sites such as YouTube, but then integrate those videos within the context of brand site pages as streaming content. All this can be facilitated by a WCM system.

Seamlessly adapting brand site content for delivery though the mobile channel: Mobile has been a difficult channel for marketers to master, but we’re at the point where technologies like HTML-5 and approaches like responsive design where effective mobile web experience has become a reality, as you can now design once for your branding site, and have those templates instantly adapted and optimized for mobile delivery. While this is not the only effective approach to mobile web (depending on your business objectives, you may indeed want to develop mobile templates or mobile-specific sites), most WCM systems are now flexible enough to support multiple approaches.

Integrating websites with email marketing for cross-channel marketing automation: Bringing together WCM and email marketing makes a lot of sense, because the better the two work together, the more consistent, targeted and effective your online campaigns will be. Both systems leverage content such as text and images that will need to be duplicated or adapted across channels for web landing pages, email blasts, etc. -- the more you can centralize the management of that content for more effective cross-channel publishing, the more you can be sure that your branding and message will be consistent and clear to your customer. Both systems also require some level of personalization to ensure that the various customer segments in a campaign are spoken to with a relevant message – and whether it’s being featured in an email or somewhere on your site, that message must remain the same. Integrating the customer segment data that is being captured in your WCM system with that in your marketing campaign system (not to mention CRM) is key to be able to provide a unified profile across these customer-facing touch points, and in turn can help to ensure more effective targeting.

Whatever role you decide is best for your corporate website to play in your online marketing mix, there is no escaping that it continues to be as relevant as ever in today’s multi-channel world. Think of it as a kind of digital hub for online experience, and your WCM system is the backbone for creating and managing engaging, cross-channel experiences. 

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.

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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.

Tuesday Apr 23, 2013

Engage Your Customers and Empower Your Business with Oracle WebCenter Sites

In today’s socially enabled, multichannel online world, individuals increasingly expect their online experiences to be targeted specifically to their interests, to be as social and interactive as their social networking experiences and to be optimized for whatever device type they choose whether a PC, tablet or mobile phone. For Web marketers, this new imperative presents a unique set of challenges when it comes to engaging with their customers online.
Oracle WebCenter Sites helps organizations meet the new Web experience management (WEM) imperative:

Oracle WebCenter Sites enables organizations to deliver a highly relevant and personalized online experience to their customers using intuitive segmentation and targeting capabilities. This allows organizations to deliver the right content to the right site visitor at the right time, maximizing up-sell and cross-selling opportunities while creating an experience that fosters loyalty.

With Oracle WebCenter Sites, organizations can make the experience on the corporate web presence as interactive and community oriented as the experience on social networks. They can also tap into the power of social networks for extending the visibility of their brand and leverage social endorsements to influence purchasing decisions.  User-generated content such as ratings, reviews, comments and polls can be easily incorporated into the web presence.  Social login and social sharing capabilities make it easy for site visitors to contribute user-generated content using their familiar social network ID’s. Content that site visitors like can be easily shared with their social networks in just a few clicks.

Oracle WebCenter Sites also helps organizations solve some of the challenges of multichannel delivery so they can successfully engage site visitors across online channels.  Oracle WebCenter Sites enables centralized management of traditional web and mobile sites.  The online experience can be easily optimized for delivery to thousands of mobile phone and tablets so organizations can engage mobile users more effectively.

Check out the video to see what it's like to experience WebCenter Sites as a site visitor:

Another important focus area of WebCenter Sites is empowering businesses to create and manage engaging online customer experiences on an enterprise scale.

In order to compete effectively and to get online initiatives to market as quickly as possible, marketers and other non-technical business users need the ability to take greater control of the creation and management of the online customer experience. To enable this, WebCenter Sites has transformed the marketing user experience so that site authoring is visual, intuitive and designed for the way that marketers want to work today. When it comes to web authoring in WebCenter Sites, what marketers see is what marketers get.

Capabilities such as comments, reviews, ratings and blogs are integral to engaging site visitors today. Additionally this kind of user-generated content enables visitors to recommend and endorse an organization to others – an invaluable marketing tool in today’s world.  But user-generated content requires some level of moderation and control to safeguard the integrity of the brand.  Oracle WebCenter Sites provides deep, yet simple to use moderation capabilities so that organizations can assure that the dialogue around their brand is a constructive one.

Assuring optimal performance across enterprise web deployments is a critical component of the online customer experience. With Oracle WebCenter Sites, organizations can deliver a highly scalable multisite, multilingual, and multimedia online customer experience. They can execute on a global scale without sacrificing performance. Oracle WebCenter Sites assures rapid, dynamic delivery of high-volume sites, streamlines the management of hundreds of sites, makes it possible to manage vast and complex product catalogs with ease, and seamlessly incorporates digital assets into the online experience through rich media management.

See what it's like to be a marketer using WebCenter Sites to create engaging online customer experiences:

Monday Apr 22, 2013

Mind the Gaps in Your Customer Experience

We all have certain pet peeves about what we experience as customers.  One of mine is the all too common experience of calling a customer service line, waiting an interminable amount of time for an actual human to get on the phone, providing the agent with my account information, describing my problem to that agent, and then being transferred to yet another agent because the first one can’t address my problem. Invariably, this next agent asks me to once again provide my account information and once again describe my problem.  Why isn’t this information communicated to the next rep in the chain so I don’t have to waste my time and repeat myself?  Or better yet, why isn’t that first line rep empowered to help me in the first place.

Many of you may be familiar with “Mind the Gap,” the omnipresent signage in the London Underground that advises subway passengers to take extra care as they cross the gap between the train and the platform.  “Mind the Gap” has even become such a part of London’s iconography that you’ll often find it plastered on t-shirts or other souvenirs. The idea behind “Mind the Gap” is to raise risk awareness among passengers so accidents can be prevented, the Tube can run smoothly and riders can go safely about their business. The call center experience I describe above is riddled with what I consider “customer experience gaps” – little landmines that exist between various touch points and channels of interaction where the risk of customer dissatisfaction is high if care is not taken to make these engagements connected, consistent and meaningful. All too often, businesses fail to “mind the gaps” in their customer experience and allow them to become a source of customer pain, frustration or flight.

Mind the Gap

In recent years, customer experience gaps have only become more plentiful. When I need to make a purchase, my customer journey can take me many places: to a search engine, to a corporate website, to Facebook, or to a store. I may interact with sales people, customer service reps, and other people in my community or in my social network.  Sometimes I gather information on my desktop in my office, or on my iPad from the comfort of my sofa, or from my fantastic new smart phone which is with me pretty much everywhere.   And as I go about my customer journey with a particular brand, I often observe the lack of connection between the various touch points and that’s because many organizations are failing to “mind the gaps” in their customer experience.

In my opinion, these failures aren’t necessarily intentional. If fact, I think organizations are under more and more pressure to “mind the gaps” and get the customer experience right.  Maybe that’s why 22% of respondents in Oracle’s recent Global Customer Experience Survey said that improving the cross-channel experience is the top priority of their organizations’ customer experience program over the next twelve months. One of the problems, however, is that most companies have created systems to address most of these channels and touch points, but they’ve often created them independently, making it difficult to maintain consistent and meaningful interactions with a customer. What companies need to do is examine the infrastructure supporting the customer experience and move away from having these disjointed silos that create customer experience gaps. Oracle can help get you there.  How well are you minding the gaps in your customer experience?


Thursday Mar 07, 2013

Web Experience Management: The Key to Exceptional Online Customer Experience

Today’s customers expect an experience that is both relevant and interactive across web, mobile and social channels. By focusing on creating experiences that demonstrate how well you know your customers, that promote social interactivity, and that allow for anytime, anywhere access across web, mobile and social channels, you can successfully drive customer engagement, and unlock the door to greater sales and loyalty for your business.

The key to delivering the kind of exceptional online customer experiences that can help drive the success of your business is web experience management. A web experience management solution such as Oracle WebCenter Sites, can empower your business to better engage your customers online. With Oracle WebCenter Sites you can:

Create relevant and personalized online experiences

Today, it’s no longer acceptable to deliver a one-size-fits-all online customer experience. Instead, you must demonstrate that you know your customers by providing them with a relevant and personalized online experience that takes their preferences, behavior and past history with your brand into account. Oracle WebCenter Sites provides you with easy to use segmentation and targeting capabilities that will enable you to deliver a more personalized online experience.

Enable social and interactive online experiences

Customers expect their online experience with your brand to be as social and interactive as their experiences on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. To fulfill these expectations, you must provide your customers with plenty of opportunities to interact socially with your brand. This means incorporating user-generated content capabilities such as ratings, reviews, or comments into your web presence and integrating with social networks by enabling social login and social sharing of information on your site. With Oracle WebCenter Sites, you can easily incorporate social computing features into your online experience to drive engagement and foster community.

Deliver optimized experiences for mobile phones and tablets

The online experience is an increasingly mobile experience due to the ubiquity of phones and tablets. To meet the needs of mobile customers, organizations must optimize their web presence for anytime, anywhere delivery to the thousands of different mobile device types that are available. Oracle WebCenter Sites simplifies mobile delivery be enabling you to centrally manage both traditional sites and mobile sites using the same content, navigation and authoring interface.

Empower marketers to manage the online experience

Empowering marketers and other business users to take greater control of the creation, management and moderation of the online customer experience is a prerequisite for delivering the kind of engaging customer experiences that drive sales and loyalty. Oracle WebCenter Sites puts power into the hands of marketers with intuitive and visual site authoring tools that help you get your online initiatives to market faster.

Enable high performance, global online experiences

Assuring optimal performance across enterprise web deployments is a critical component of the online customer experience. With Oracle WebCenter Sites, you can deliver a highly scalable, multisite, multilingual, and multimedia online customer experience. With WebCenter Sites you can assure rapid, dynamic delivery of high-volume sites, streamline the management of hundreds of sites, manage vast and complex product catalogs with ease, and seamlessly incorporate digital assets into the online experience through rich media management.

Connect the online experience with other customer touch points

Customers expect to have a relevant, consistent and engaging experience across all of their touch points with a brand. Oracle WebCenter Sites can be integrated with commerce, faceted search, portal, CRM, BI and other customer experience applications from the Oracle portfolio to deliver a connected and engaging experience across the entire customer journey.

We hope you enjoyed learning more this week about enabling exceptional online customer experiences with Oracle WebCenter Sites. To learn more about Fusion Middleware, please check out other features in the The New Business Imperative: Social, Mobile, Cloud series.

Wednesday Mar 06, 2013

Are You Providing Your Customers with an Engaging Online Experience?

As we saw in Tuesday’s screencast about delivering exceptional online experiences, today's customers expect an online experience with your brand that is personalized, interactive and social. In order to drive sales and loyalty, you need a web experience management solution that empowers your business to easily create and manage contextually relevant, targeted and interactive experiences that are optimized for web, mobile and social channels. Oracle WebCenter Sites can provide you with the capabilities you need to manage large-scale, global online presences that engage and captivate your customers.

Ready to engage?
Learn more today:

  • See a demonstration of the exciting new and enhanced web experience management capabilities in Oracle WebCenter Sites 11g
  • Learn how Ancestry.com uses Oracle WebCenter Sites to deliver an online experience that converts site visitors into paying customers
  • Hear what leading industry analysts have to say about the powerful capabilities of Oracle WebCenter Sites

Monday Mar 04, 2013

The Online Customer Experience Challenge

Web, mobile and social channels have ushered in what Altimeter analyst, Brian Solis, referred to in a recent Oracle WebCenter Social Business Thought Leaders webcast as connected consumers. These connected consumers have more choices, influence and access to online information than ever before. Engaging these customers and earning their sales and loyalty can be a great challenge.

Customers decide how, when, and where they want to engage with your brand--whether it's in the store, over the phone or on the web. They expect you to know who they are and what they need, and to seamlessly recognize them at every touch-point.

Newer channels like social and mobile have significant implications on how customers engage with organizations online and what businesses need to do manage the online channel more efficiently and effectively. Social networking has amplified the customer's voice and peers now have greater influence over buying decisions than traditional marketing. The pervasiveness of cell phones and tablets has also turned the online customer experience into an increasingly mobile experience, bringing with it new challenges for engaging always connected customers who are accessing the online channel with an ever increasing variety of mobile devices. As a result the power has shifted from brands to customers, and the delivery of an engaging online customer experience has become a great challenge for businesses today.

We invite you to learn how you can start engaging these connected customers through exceptional online experiences by viewing this screencast from the New Business Imperative: Social, Mobile, Cloud Series.


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




Thursday Feb 14, 2013

Importance of Page-Fragment Caching in Enabling High Performance Websites

Today's guest blog post is from Mariam Tariq, Senior Director of Product Management  for Oracle WebCenter Sites. Mariam has worked in the technology space for over 15 years with a focus in web content management, social marketing, and mobility. She has also held roles in product management, strategy and engineering at Zenprise, Interwoven, and Scientific Atlanta. Mariam holds BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley.

For most organizations, the online channel is a significant customer touch point which continues to grow in importance year after year.  Delivering a highly responsive website with no downtime ensures there is neither revenue loss nor poor customer experience.  A caching subsystem is a central part of the website delivery system needed to achieve high performance.

While page-level caching is essential for performance, further caching at a fragment level  enables dynamic delivery of the website such that pages can be assembled at runtime when incoming requests are received.  This is especially critical to delivering targeted websites where different users see different content on a page based on his/her visitor attributes such as location, time of day, or registered preferences. It is much more efficient to recompute only the fragments of the page that are different rather than the entire page, as typically only small amounts of data on a page will change.

Oracle WebCenter Sites is a Web Content Management system capable of this type of high scale dynamic delivery. In WebCenter Sites, efficient dynamic delivery is made possible by keeping track of changes to individual web components and dependencies between them. This is followed by just-in-time page assembly and caching of discrete fragments at the edge of the network.  As a result, even when data is managed in traditional relational databases, the page delivery model scales to serve a very high throughput site with a reasonably small hardware footprint.

WebCenter Sites provides two layers of caching known as double-buffered caching: Sites Server cache and Satellite Server cache.  Sites Servers are the core servers that can publish to Satellite Servers. Satellite Servers are remote servers that provide distributed caching and are first to receive the client requests. A typical deployment topology is shown below. If the requested page is not in the Satellite Server cache, it is requested from WebCenter Sites. If WebCenter Sites does not have the page in its cache, it regenerates it and sends it to Satellite Server.  


Figure: Typical WebCenter Sites Deployment Topology

Furthermore, WebCenter Sites communicates asset dependency information to all Sites and Satellite Server nodes. So when individual assets on a page change, each cluster node (in a Sites or Satellite Server cluster) is able to determine where that asset is used and which page fragments should be invalidated. Caching is therefore not limited to only page level. WebCenter Sites caching includes multiple layers of different kinds of cache, each tooled for a specific delivery scenario:  assets, page fragments, and even database queries.

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) can be used with WebCenter Sites to further increase performance. WebCenter Sites complements CDNs by caching authenticated content not typically cachable by CDNs.  In addition, WebCenter Sites Satellites are an added availability layer that can provide a back up to the CDN as well as act as an additional barrier for intrusion attacks.  For companies with moderate traffic, WebCenter Sites provides a cost effective solution for caching in lieu of using a CDN.

To summarize,  granular caching at a fragment-level ensures a high performing website with reduced cost and hardware footprint. To meet and anticipate performance needs, such a caching strategy should considered when implementing a website.

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On Demand Webcast: How Brands Can Survive Digital Darwinism

This is the age of Digital Darwinism – where society and technology evolve faster than your ability to adapt. How well poised is your brand to survive and thrive in this new environment? Watch this webcast to hear Altimeter Group digital analyst and futurist, Brian Solis, discuss the rise of connected consumerism and learn how brands can survive Digital Darwinism by better understanding customer expectations, disruptive technology, and the new opportunities that arise from them. 

Wednesday Feb 13, 2013

Exa Strength Web Performance

Today's guest post is from Kelly Goetsch. Kelly is a Senior Product Manager for Oracle's vertically-integrated hardware and software stack, Exalogic. Kelly came to Oracle through the ATG acquisition, where he spent over six years as a Senior Architect with ATG's Professional Services organization. He spent his last three years at ATG with Walmart Global eCommerce, serving as their chief ATG consultant. Kelly has published numerous white papers on topics including Exalogic, distributed computing, large-scale eCommerce deployment architectures, performance tuning, and maximum availability. He holds a M.S. in M.I.S. and a B.S. in Entrepreneurship from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Over the past decade, online customer experience has evolved from requiring a single application supporting a single channel to an ecosystem of related applications, middleware, and core technology supporting an increasingly converged set of all physical and virtual channels. For some Oracle customers, the web is the sole channel. For those that have a physical presence, many trips to a store now begin with online research. Even most post-sales service is being moved online. Here's how customers are beginning to interact with their brands:

The Increasingly Complex Customer Journey

Customers are no longer satisfied dealing with siloed organizations. Customers want a seamless interaction across all channels. As a result of these changes, many purchases today, even those that take place in-store, are driven by the online channel. In fact, a 2011 study showed that 48% of all retail sales are either online purchases or web-influenced purchases.

Oracle technology can power the entire online customer experience ecosystem, from marketing driven sites to eCommerce sites and self-service portals.  Oracle WebCenter Sites often plays a key role in delivering the online customer experience due to its exceptional ability to deliver content effectively to different customers on different devices. 

As a result of these additional touch points and the increasing traffic on each channel, the traffic that WebCenter Sites needs to support has grown exponentially while customers are increasingly expecting that pages load instantaneously. 

Oracle WebCenter Sites on Exalogic Benchmarking Results

So what's the solution? Oracle's engineered systems – Oracle Exalogic and Oracle Exadata – are supercharged platforms comprised of hardware and software that are designed for these ever-increasing workloads. Oracle Exalogic runs the app and middle tiers whereas Oracle Exadata runs the database tier. Oracle's engineered systems contain all of the storage, x86-based compute power, networking equipment, virtualization, management software, and unique optimizations for Oracle WebCenter Sites to ensure that Oracle WebCenter Sites runs exceptionally well. Since Oracle owns all layers of the stack, from storage to networking to Oracle WebCenter Sites, Oracle has been able to vertically optimize the entire hardware and software stack to work better together. As a result of all this engineering, uncached pages are delivered 11.6x faster on Oracle Exalogic and Oracle Exadata when compared to an equivalent commodity-based system. Publishing is 3.7x faster. Cached pages are served 2.2x more efficiently per core. It's these numbers, along with all of the other benefits of running engineered systems that has our customers adopting these systems in droves. 

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White Paper: Exalogic and Exadata - The Optimal Platform for Oracle WebCenter Sites

Exalogic and Exadata should be considered whenever a new Oracle WebCenter Sites environment is built that requires the utmost in performance and scalability, whether for a new implementation, a hardware refresh, or an upgrade of Oracle WebCenter Sites. Exalogic and Exadata bring increased topline revenue, reduced total cost of ownership, and faster time-to-market, all of which act together to provide the best return on investment and make Exalogic and Exadata the best platform on which to deploy Oracle WebCenter Sites. To learn more about Oracle WebCenter Sites on Oracle Exalogic and Oracle Exadata, download this white paper

Tuesday Feb 12, 2013

The High Consequences of Poorly Performing Websites

I recently returned from a wonderful trip to the Dominican Republic for a destination wedding where the skies were sunny, the temps were in the eighties, and the hotel internet connection was slow and unreliable. From the point of view of those traveling with me, the lousy connection was probably a good thing -- it prevented me from checking in on work emails frequently and worrying too much about what was going on back in the office. At the same time, however, it did leave me frustrated over the few online tasks I’d wanted to accomplish while away that had to be delayed until I returned to the U.S. where greater bandwidth and reliability awaited.

It's hard to get worked up about poor web performance in paradise.

Offline in Playa del Macao, Dominican Republic.

This experience got me thinking about not only how much we’ve come to rely on the online channel in our everyday lives, but also how important high performance is when it comes to the online customer experience. After all, the slow page load times and time-outs I experienced at the resort were enough to make me drop my entire online agenda while on vacation.

The simple matter is that it’s not enough to make your web presence available and hope for the best. All site visitors are naturally impatient and rightly so. As a result, you need to make sure that your web presence is finely tuned and super fast and super responsive. Even small dips in performance can have high consequences for your business and consumers expect web pages to load at increasingly faster speeds. For example:

  • Shopzilla decreased their average page load time from 6 second to 1.2 seconds resulting in a 25% page view increase and 12% revenue increase1
  • A 1-second delay in page-load time can result in 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and 7% loss in conversions2
  • Amazon discovered that 1 ms of latency would cost them 1% in sales3
  • Google found that an extra ½ second in time for a search page to load resulted in a 20% drop in traffic3
  • Tablet users expect websites to load in under three seconds; smart phone users expect pages to load in less than four seconds4

Many of you may be familiar with these statistics already, but it’s important to note that high online performance is not only the concern of online behemoths like Google and Amazon. It should be your concern too. That’s why we’ll spend this week on the WebCenter blog taking a closer look at how to deliver high performance websites.

*****

Are you an existing Oracle WebCenter Sites customer?

Find documentation, downloads, video tutorials, forums and more on Oracle’s web experience management solution. Just visit Oracle WebCenter Sites on the Oracle Technology Network.

Monday Feb 11, 2013

Oracle Forums: Learn How to Transform Your Online Customer Experience

Your customers expect a brand experience that is engaging, consistent, and connected across Web, mobile, and social channels. To deliver on these expectations, you must transform your online customer experience into one that is personalized and relevant, social and interactive, and optimized for multichannel delivery.

Attend one of Oracle's Forums to learn how Oracle’s Web experience management solution can help you develop a connected and engaging online customer experience that drives sales and loyalty. You’ll learn:

  • Why the online channel is an ideal place to begin connecting customer touch points
  • How personalization and targeting improve the effectiveness of online customer experience initiatives
  • How to get social by creating an interactive online customer experience that builds community engagement
  • How to optimize the online customer experience for anytime, anywhere engagement

Upcoming Forums

Oracle Forum Philadelphia - Sponsored by Deloitte and Avio Consulting

Wednesday, February 20, 2013
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Sullivan's Steakhouse, 700 West Dekalb Pike, King of Prussia, PA 19406, USA
Click Here to Register

Oracle Forum Bangkok

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, 952 Rama IV Rd., Bangkok, Thailand
Click Here to Register

Oracle Forum New York City - Sponsored by Deloitte

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
The Muse Hotel, 130 West 46th Street, New York, NY, 10036, USA
Click Here to Register

Oracle Forum Stockholm - Sponsored by LBi

Thursday, March 14th, 2013
8:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Friends Arena, Råsta Strandväg 1, Stockholm, Solna, Sweden
Click Here to Register

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 17, 2013

Online Customer Journey: The Selection and Purchase Experiences

Today we continue our examination of the online customer experience journey by taking at look at the next two stages – product selection and purchasing.

The Selection Experience

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.

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.

Another way in which you can aid the selection process on your web presence is by using the segmentation and targeting tools in Oracle WebCenter Sites to deliver a more relevant and personalized online experience. As potential customers browse through your site, you can use explicit criteria, implicit criteria or a combination of both, to deliver the most relevant information to those customers aiding their selection process. For an organization with a broad set of solutions that are specialized for buyers with distinct needs (financial services or insurance are good examples), segmentation and targeting can be used to narrow the number of solutions being featured to those that are most relevant to a particular visitor, making the experience on your site more efficient and effective.

And finally, don’t overlook the power of peer influence when it comes to the selection process. 75% of consumers put a high degree of trust into the opinions fellow consumers have posted online.1 By incorporating user-generated content (UGC) features into your web presence such as comments, ratings and reviews, you can tap into the extremely persuasive powers of other online consumers to help influence the behavior of your site visitors and make their selection process easier. With Oracle WebCenter Sites, robust tools for UGC deployment, moderation and management are available out-of-the box.

The Purchase Experience

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 incentivize customers to take action now through the offer of various promotions.

Websites span the spectrum from marketing-driven to commerce-driven, including a variety that are in between and combine marketing and commerce to varying degrees for different purposes.

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, researching, selecting, and making purchases.

Please visit the WebCenter blog tomorrow as we wrap up our journey through the online customer experience. To learn more about how Oracle empowers people and powers brands to deliver engaging experiences that drive business results, also check out our Executive Strategy Brief on Customer Experience.

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

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