Historically, Websites can be best defined as a content publishing channel. Even today, the large majority of internal and external Websites are static content used for pushing information to their users. However, while self-service is a small percentage of the overall Web properties, it provides the highest value to the users by providing a personalized experience which can not only be tailored to the users organizational role, but also allows the user to directly access, modify and manage key elements of their business relationship without the need for interacting with anyone else from the organization. Depending on the purpose of the self-service Website, it can help organizations increase their revenue while reducing costs.
Figure 1. Common Use Cases for Self-Service.
The use cases in Figure 1 are broken into 3 top-level categories: External, Partner, and Employee, since the scope of most self-service Websites will target one of these audiences per deployment. The key with any successful self-service Website is to meet the specific needs of the target audience by providing the most relevant and valuable capabilities. The broader the audience, the more difficult it is to deliver a compelling experience. Self-service is the epitome of targeting and personalization, which makes definition of the audience critical to the usefulness and overall success of the site.
Figure 2. Key Business Drivers for Self-Service Portals.
Self-service Websites for external audiences such as customers or citizens, typically empower the user by granting access and/or updating information they previously would have needed to contact someone else in the organization directly for. Growing revenue and reducing processing costs are often attributes of the business case for these scenarios.
Self-service Websites are a powerful way for an organization to cross-sell other products and/or services to an existing customer. In a customer self-service scenario such as a customer support portal or a My Utilities site, not only can customers access their accounts, update their addresses, pay bills and monitor their daily/hourly usage, but also marketing teams can deliver highly targeted campaigns based on account information of the users’ currently owned product/services. For instance, a customer that logs into a customer support portal seeking to find updates for their existing product could be interested in upgrading to the latest generation of that product – a carefully placed personalized ad could result in a significant revenue opportunity to grow profits from the existing customer base. Similarly, this model can help a Utilities company to promote rebates and other services that may benefit both the customer and the organization.
In addition to revenue growth, many external scenario's can also be justified by reduction and accuracy of processing times, decrease in call or walk-in traffic, and improvement of overall user satisfaction, which can result in significant cost savings for the organization.
Customer StoryLos Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) LADWP is the largest public utility company in the United States with over 1.6 million residential and commercial customers in Southern California. Searching for opportunities to improve customer service and automate paper based processes, LADWP realized their existing legacy technologies provided very little agility and created a lot of challenges. During customer focus groups, they discovered their customers wanted a Web experience that delivered more direct access to the things they need most, such as billing and service requests. LADWP implemented a self-service portal using Oracle WebCenter Portal to surface various back-end systems such as Oracle Siebel CRM, Legacy Mainframe, and billing applications. Their customers now have access to MyAccount (billing and usage analysis), Financial Assistance Programs, Rebate Programs, service requests, outage reporting, eNotifications and much more. The site has received extremely positive feedback from their customers, has helped to drastically improve LADWP's customer experience ranking vs comparable utilities companies, and driven the usage of online billing.
Business partners are often seen as an extension of an organization, which means the self-service interfaces tend to be extremely rich for access to backend application data. In some cases, the interface may be identical to what an employee within the organization may have access to. It's also common for a partner to use the organization’s hosted site as a co-selling tool for their own customers and simply rebrand the site with their own logo. Partner-facing self-service can be a powerful way for an organization to extend the reach and capability of their organization by enabling partners to do business on their behalf. The key value for this scenario is business reach/growth, process efficiency, and process consistency. The types of self-service tools for partners can be a key differentiator in attracting and maintaining a partner network. Partner Portals enable companies to share information and collaborate between partners, brand owners, and joint customers. Its broad range of data, marketing materials, and selling tools facilitates the collaborative sales process, while its superior service and problem-resolution capabilities help partners deliver timely and consistent customer service.
Customer StoryLand O’Lakes, Inc. Land O’Lakes is one of America’s premier member-owned cooperatives, offering local cooperatives and agricultural producers across the nation an extensive line of agricultural supplies, as well as state-of-the-art production and business services. Land O’Lakes is using Oracle WebCenter Portal to improve online experiences for partners to handle all aspects of account management and order entry through a consolidated, personalized, and secure user interface. By creating a self-service portal for placing orders for seed, Land O'Lakes ended up with a new engagement platform that drives more efficient processes, and has actually resulted in net new business.
Internal self-service sites offer employees access to their human resource details such as personal records and payroll information; allowing employees to change their own address, contact details, education records, job profile, vacation and sick leave, and many more. Some scenarios allow for employees to change payroll details such as their direct deposit information and provide access to current and historical payslips. These sites have also been known to be used for career planning, skills profiles, learning, objective settings, and annual appraisals. This can be a valuable asset to an organization to retain their talent, while also helping to improve employee satisfaction. Human resource departments see employee portals as a means of empowering employees and reducing process errors and cost. Organizations also view employee self-service as a means of eliminating manual processes and in turn reducing costs associated with support and physical paper processing.
Customer StorySchneider National, Inc.
Schneider National is a premier provider of truckload, logistics and intermodal services. Serving more than two-thirds of the FORTUNE 500® companies and conducting business in more than 28 countries worldwide, Schneider National offers the broadest portfolio of services in the industry. The company’s transportation and logistics solutions include Van Truckload, Dedicated, Regional, Bulk, Intermodal, Transportation Management, Supply Chain Management, Warehousing and International Logistics services. Schneider National’s previous solution for their Drivers was very static, fairly expensive to maintain, and needed IT involvement to update most content. The business wanted a more dynamic and less IT-centric solution that would allow employees to modify their solutions quickly and easily, allow for significantly improved collaboration with the users, and an integrated solution across various types of content, applications, and collaboration services. Schneider National turned to Oracle WebCenter Portal for their employee self-service portal, allowing drivers to view employee information such as benefits, online training and pay statements, all in a single user interface – whether they are in the office or on the road.
Self-Service Websites have become an integral element of a Web user’s interaction with organizations they do business with. Oracle has proven to be a trusted partner for organizations that are looking to build new or replace existing self-service Websites. Oracle's approach to delivering a comprehensive and pre-integrated collection of enterprise products and tools reduces the overall risk and total cost of the self-service project. We invite you to learn how Oracle WebCenter customers are leveraging Oracle WebCenter Portal to use, build and manage self-service Websites and deliver intuitive digital experiences for their users.
Self-Service Websites have become an integral element of a Web user's interaction with organizations they do business with. Whether they are customers, partners, or employees - these users expect to interact with the organization from the Web anytime, anywhere, and from any device.
And while the expectations are high, building and maintaining this type of rich experience for the business user has not always been without complexity. IT groups are finding it difficult and expensive to build new or even maintain their current self-service sites. In many cases, their existing self-service sites are built on old and outdated technologies, which can make it challenging and costly for an organization to add new capabilities, as well as increase their risk by trying to adapt older environments to the needs of the modern day user.
Oracle has proven to be a trusted partner for organizations that are looking to build new or replace existing self-service Websites. Oracle's approach to delivering a comprehensive and pre-integrated collection of enterprise products and tools reduces the overall risk and total cost of the project.
We invite you to learn how Oracle WebCenter customers are leveraging Oracle WebCenter Portal to use, build and manage self-service Websites and deliver intuitive digital experiences for their users.
Hello everyone. Today we are featuring a guest blog post from Raoul Miller at TeamInformatics. TeamInformatics is a leading provider of consulting and implementation services for Oracle WebCenter and has recently published an informative whitepaper on the value of integrating WebCenter Content with our BPM technologies to deliver more cost-effective business processes.
Guest post: Raoul Miller, TeamInformatics
TEAM has worked with a number of insurance industry companies over the years and the advantages of content-enabling these enterprises are numerous. Many insurance organizations have grown through acquisition, with the end result that they have parallel legacy systems in place with increasingly evolving complexity in meeting the challenges of integrating them. This makes the insurance industry ideal for deployment of SOA/BPM as an integration methodology and adding content and records management to this is a no-brainer (as the insurance industry is so document and record-driven).
Last year Oracle published a white paper (link) on how best to use their BPM (business process management) tools in an insurance industry setting. I won’t restate all their reasons as to why the Oracle solution is a good fit – but suffice to say that the Oracle Insurance business unit has a lot of experience in the area and solutions to meet all your needs. However, what was missing from the white paper was the value and flexibility gained by adding WebCenter Content, Records, and Imaging to the mix.
We are currently working with a number of customers on exactly these integrations – allowing for secure upload of files from agents’ offices, scanning and uploading of paper forms and documents (using capture and distributed capture), migrating legacy images from mainframe systems to modern Oracle WebCenter Content systems, and allowing users (for the first time) to truly search and retrieve content based on metadata and full text searches. TEAM’s Enterprise Architect, Raoul Miller, has produced a whitepaper that contains two case studies where SOA/BPM and WebCenter content enable businesses with these processes.
To learn more about these implementations, download the whitepaper here.
We now 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 (source).
People shop, play, connect and conduct business online and the digital channel is often preferred by customers, employees and partners alike. As a result, great digital experience is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a make-or-break point for your business as we more fully enter the digital age.In this increasingly digital world, organizations must deliver an online experience that is personal, contextual, and multichannel. Today’s customers expect an engaging, consistent and connected digital experience. This week we want to bring you stories of how Oracle WebCenter has helped power the digital experience for many customers. We hope you’ll tune in to learn more!
As I've been watching the Sochi Olympics every night since last Friday's spectacular opening ceremonies (even with a 4 ring Olympic Rings snafu) - it is hard not to notice the influence that mobility has provided us on our perspective of the games. The image of each country's athletes entering the stadium with their phones held high is etched on our collective eye. I wonder if anyone is tallying up the iPhone vs Android vs GoPro numbers and what the split might be in Sochi?
While obviously an monumental competitive gathering, the Olympics are an incredible social event as well - bringing together young athletes from all over the world and while I haven't counted - almost all the teams I saw entering had phones or cameras held high to record the event - to prove "I was there" at a life-changing event for so many and to share the experience with their families, friends and fans.
It is such a social event that there is even a favorite app for the Olympic Village athletes at the games according to some reports. And the funny part is that this seems so totally normal to all of us who have already integrated mobile and social into our daily lives. What will the next Olympics bring in Rio in 2016 or the next winter Olympics show us? With wearable tech just starting to boom - this will bring a whole other level of connection with the games - perhaps we'll be able to monitor the athletes blood pressure and oxygen levels while they compete? Can you just imagine the commentators... they might be even more annoying than they are now...
The NBC Universal network in the USA paid $4.38 billion for U.S. broadcasting rights through 2020, and controls the official broadcast of all Olympic events from the opening ceremonies to what popular events are broadcast across our cable boxes. The time delay helps sell more targeted advertising of course. Yet there is also a steady stream of Olympic photos and more photos and videos coming from all sources. With its official authority, NBC is streaming more video than any other Olympics. The cable/network relationship has built control of this streamfest via a joint initiative "TV Everywhere" - a coordinated effort between television companies and their cable distribution partners to offer video online through any device to those who can authenticate through their cable provider tying the cable viewer tightly to their provider relationship. So this doesn't tie the viewer to their television by any means - a recent study quoted in the article: A streaming event of Olympic proportions noted that "nearly three-quarters of TV Everywhere programming was watched on mobile devices, with tablets representing the most at 42 percent."
I just downloaded the NBC Sports Extra App for my iPhone and now have 24x7 access to watch whatever event we'd like. Curling 24x7 for those that want it.
Perhaps one of the greatest events of the opening ceremonies was the Russian Police performing the cover of "Get Lucky" which they didn't even air on the broadcast but another alternative recording is still available via YouTube. Closing with this love song... Happy Valentines Day!
Russian police — Get lucky cover (Daft Punk)
How Does the Digital Experience Fuel Continuous Improvement at Pella?
Organizations today are challenged by the need to continuously innovate while reducing costs and driving business growth. The Oracle AppAdvantage IT Leaders Series showcases leading organizations around the world and their use of technology to fuel business innovation and meet strategic business objectives with Oracle AppAdvantage, a strategic approach to using Oracle Fusion Middleware with Oracle Applications.
Join us to hear firsthand from the IT leaders of renowned window and door manufacturer Pella about how they are leveraging Oracle AppAdvantage to reinvent the way they interact with employees, customers, and business partners. Find out how technology enables continuous improvement throughout the manufacturing and sales cycles at Pella.
Attend this webcast to:
- Hear IT leaders from Pella discuss their business needs and challenges, and how Oracle AppAdvantage is addressing these issues
- Walk through Pella’s enterprise architecture model and learn how the company leverages technology to provide a superior digital experience
- Participate in a live Q&A with Oracle experts regarding Oracle AppAdvantage and plan your strategic roadmap
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET
Senior Director, Product Management, Oracle
Director of Corporate Applications, Pella
Manager of Interactive Marketing, Pella
Al Viall Jr.
Oracle Enterprise Architect, OracleStay Connected
Copyright © 2014, Oracle and/or its affiliates.
Future-Proof Mobile SEO with WebCenter Sites
In 2013, Google announced updates to their algorithm that would cause “Changes in Rankings of Smartphone Results”. This update can be attributed to the explosion of smartphone usage over the last five years.
One of the major questions surrounding this update was Google’s preference on mobile web content delivery. Web content can be delivered to mobile devices in three ways:
Separate Mobile Site
This method of mobile content delivery redirects users to a separate mobile URL using bidirectional annotations such as rel=“alternate” and rel=“canonical”. The mobile website will consist of completely separate HTML and CSS files and the URL is typically identified by a letter “m” subdomain. (m.yoururl.com)
Similar to the separate mobile site method, dynamic serving renders different HTML and CSS files for users but unlike the first example this is done on one URL using the Vary HTTP Header. (Section 14.44)
Responsive Web Design
The final method of delivering web content to mobile devices is responsive web design. Unlike the first two methods, responsive web design uses the same HTML files. These files are then rendered on one URL using CSS media queries to determine how the content is to be rendered on the specific device. By using this method, users are free from redirects and possible user-agent detection errors will be avoided.
Responsive web design is Google’s official recommendation for delivery of web content to mobile devices. This recommendation was released later on developers.google.com
6% of Fortune 100 companies comply with Google’s Mobile Requirements
Pure Oxygen Labs performed a mobile risk assessment of the Fortune 100 companies and found that only 6% of the companies have websites that are compliant with Google’s mobile requirements. Other report findings included:
- 66% of companies are at risk of their site ranking being downgraded
- 11% of companies target smartphone users with responsive web design
- 56% of companies served mobile-formatted content to smartphone searches
As Google looks towards the future of mobile search, so should the rest of us.
What Are My Options?
As scary as the findings in the mobile risk assessment are for all companies, deciding what’s next and the impending change is just as scary. Choosing the right web experience management tool and partner to implement the technology are the first and arguably the toughest decisions to be made when a multi-channel web presence becomes a top priority.
Choosing the Right Web Experience Management Tool
When deciding what web experience management solution to implement, it is important to future-proof the investment by thinking long-term. Listed below are questions that can assist in determining the right web experience management solution.
Does the solution provide multi-channel functionality?
- Oracle WebCenter Sites’ mobile functionality empowers companies to effortlessly extend their desktop web experience to mobile devices. Companies can effectively reduce costs by reusing existing web content, wire frames and navigation to eliminate the time and effort associated with the creation and management of mobile sites.
Is the software capable of rendering localized content to users?
- Oracle WebCenter Sites excels at delivering localized content to users by rendering content in their native language through implicit and explicit information gathered by the system.
Does the software allow for the integration of social media?
- Oracle WebCenter Sites allows users to log-in using social authentication enabling them to share, comment, rate, review and moderate content.
Will the company offer long-term support?
- Oracle has been around for more than 35 years, employs 125,000 people and is valued at just over $80B. Oracle offers 24/7 support, employs 18,000 support staff which are located in 145 countries offering 24/7 support.
Is the solution one that the manufacturer will continue to invest in?
- Oracle employs over 35,000 product development engineers and invests an estimated $5B per year in research and development to advance Oracle products. (Source)
Choosing the Right Implementation Partner
Redstone Content Solutions has recently become the first Oracle WebCenter Sites Specialized Partner See press release here
We invite you to review our “What to look for in your Oracle WebCenter Partner ” blog which details seven key topics to consider when choosing your WebCenter implementation specialist.
If you would like to learn more about web experience management, Oracle WebCenter Sites or Redstone Content Solutions, please contact us and we will be in touch soon.
Other WebCenter Sites Blogs:
Oracle AppAdvantage for Digital Experience: Delivering Consistent Multichannel Experiences using WebCenter
The way that your organization delivers information has become an increasingly important aspect of how you engage with customers, partners and employees. It also reflects significantly on your corporate brand and how you are viewed in the marketplace. Oracle AppAdvantage is Oracle's approach to maximizing the value of Oracle Applications with Oracle Fusion Middleware as it helps you leverage your existing investments while standardizing on core enterprise applications. Naturally, most organizations rely on multiple business systems to process, track, coordinate and deliver vital information to customers, partners and employees. Each user expects a personal experience, but those experiences will vary according to their roles and personas.
The method and style by which information is delivered is commonly called the Digital Experience. To keep your customers engaged and satisfied, the Digital Experience must be consistent across web and mobile delivery channels, with content presented appropriately within each context.
We have all seen when a company fails at delivering a quality web experience. Information delivered to a customer or employee varies depending whether it is accessed from a tablet device or a browser. Visual branding and the “look and feel” vary widely or sometimes the information is just wrong as it is not being delivered from a central system.Customers, business partner and employees all expect a better experience.
In order to provide this type of consistent and integrated online experience, organizations using Oracle Applications must be able to integrate web content management systems with enterprise systems of record and securely deliver this information in a contextual and self-service fashion. A complete Digital Experience can’t be disconnected from these critical enterprise applications.
Oracle AppAdvantage is a program powered by Oracle Fusion Middleware technologies that helps customers strengthen their investments in Oracle Applications and integrate new technology without adding to the applications’ development lifecycles. Customers that use Oracle E-Business Suite or Oracle’s PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, or Siebel solutions—as well as any of Oracle’s industry solutions or other Oracle Applications—can fulfill customer expectations with Oracle AppAdvantage solutions for Digital Experience.
Ultimately, the success of the Digital Experience depends upon the quality and quantity of information available from enterprise applications and the ease with which it can be accessed and utilized. The middleware solutions in the Oracle AppAdvantage program enable Oracle Applications customers to deliver a seamless Digital Experience that maintains the corporate “look and feel” of your brand while targeting individuals based on their current context and preferences.
To learn more about the power of Oracle AppAdvantage for Digital Experience, watch the upcoming webcast where a leading doors and windows manufacturer, Pella discusses how they are leveraging Oracle AppAdvantage for Digital Experience to empower their customers, dealers as well as their sales network and are fueling continuous improvement, in turn.
Wednesday, February 12 at 10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern.
Hot off the press! The January 2014 Edition of the WebCenter Newsletter has hit newsstands worldwide! Read this issue to learn how a successful Digital Experience (DX) strategy can be critical for business success. We also cover the latest in Oracle WebCenter Enterprise Capture and find out what Lance Shaw's favorite outdoor activities are! This issue is jam packed with customer and partner highlights, resources and more. Pick up your copy today!
Well here we are already 5 weeks into January! How many of you are sticking with your New Year's resolutions? Anyone resolve to read more? Exercise more? Save more? Learn more?! We want to ensure you are connected with us so you don't miss a thing! Do you have Facebook or Twitter? Are you looking for product updates, marketing events, customer success stories & other WebCenter related information? We invite you to join in the conversations with the over 325,000 WebCenter community members that are already engaging with us! We look forward to connecting with you this year!
This post is a guest post from Korey Berg, Marketing Coordinator at TeamInformatics
Secure content makes the world go ‘round. Research documents, schematics, patent drawings, business plans, human resource documents, etc. are constantly being passed between contributors and owners. This sensitive information could fall into the wrong hands if mishandled or transferred insecurely, compromising employees and employers. To protect these types of content, Oracle offered the application Information Rights Management.
Information Rights Management (IRM) was an Oracle Fusion Middleware application that controlled access to important, private documents and emails through encryption allowing rights access across an organization. Though it served its purpose admirably, the IRM offering was really just a secure application through which material was viewed on the client end - it didn’t handle any distribution from the repository to the client. Now, with Oracle’s sun-setting of IRM, there is a gap to be filled for the secure distribution of content.
With Secure Content Publisher for WebCenter Content, TEAM is providing a solution integrated with an ECM repository for secure content distribution and a multi-platform interface through which to view it. We’ve partnered with Qumu (formerly Rimage), a leader in secure content distribution, and developed a synthesis between the distribution stream and the WebCenter Content repository.
The Secure Content Publisher offering is composed of 3 pieces: content management, rights management and secure distribution. The pieces integrate as follows:
- Items are managed in WebCenter Content
- Establish contributor security, digital asset management processes and content workflows for approval.
- Once released in WebCenter Content, material can be published to the distribution portal
- Content is encrypted before it is transferred to the portal by the publisher application.
- Once in the portal, access is provided, configured, and revoked on a user-by-user basis
- Access policies can be configured based on date ranges, number of views, viewing periods or prerequisites.
- Based on access rights and invitations, users download the secure content viewing software for Mac, Windows, iOS or Android, which provides access to the content “channels” set up for various streams of information.
Watch this video to learn more and to view a demonstration. http://youtu.be/NUO6-R_JO3Q
You can also learn more at teaminformatics.com
The WebCenter product development team provides regular product updates to be compatible with the latest software and address customer reported issues. For those of you that may not be aware, the WebCenter product management team maintains a blog post that contains information about these updates as they are released.
If you want to stay informed about these releases and updates as they become available, be sure to visit and subscribe to the WebCenter Alerts blog. You will be automatically informed when new postings are made.
With that in mind, be sure to check out the latest WebCenter update which includes a number of enhancements to WebCenter Content for the new web UI (workflow support, end-user personalization, and Metadata Services (MDS) customization capabilities), Desktop Integration Suite (workflow support, Microsoft Outlook 2013 and Windows 8.1 support) and the Android and iOS mobile apps.
A Guest Blog Post by David Cornwell, PleaseTech Ltd.
Resulting from the partnership between Oracle and PleaseTech Ltd, collaborative document review and co-authoring is now available within Oracle’s WebCenter Content ECM platform, via the integration with PleaseTech's flagship product, PleaseReview™.
PleaseTech is an Oracle Partner Network Gold Level Partner specializing in collaborative document review and co-authoring. With over 100 enterprise customers and thousands of users of their flagship product, PleaseReview, they have seen strong success in the Life Science sector where the creation of large, often complex documents to strict corporate compliance and regulatory standards is of particular importance. A natural fit with Oracle WebCenter Content, PleaseReview is already extensively used across other document and content intensive business sectors, such as Defense, Utilities, Government, and IT. This success is due to PleaseReview being a unique solution to a common problem. Document review is a critical business process which is frequently the road block in the document production process. PleaseReview reduces the number of review cycles and manual processes to save valuable time and deliver an excellent ROI.
You probably already have some form of reviewing and editing your documents (for example, emailing out attachments, PDF annotation, review meetings), but anything more than short content shared with a couple of others and it becomes a nightmare of manual rework and other frustrations. This integration means that it is now possible (and easy) to really collaborate on a document- not just by sharing it, but by working on it in a controlled, collaborative environment. Some of these benefits include:
- Review the same copy of the document at the same time with multiple other participants (on and offline).
- Maintain control over the document and what others can (or cannot) do - so no one can overwrite another’s changes.
- Easily and quickly adjudicate and consolidate all comments and proposed changes into the master document.
- Access the document directly from the WebCenter Content repository – no more email attachments or other workarounds!
- Keep track of all activity on the review through in depth reporting capabilities. This is of particular use for auditing purposes - and for making those review meetings shorter too.
The aim has been to develop a seamless solution which would allow all the controlled collaboration benefits of PleaseReview to be available from within WebCenter Content without the user even knowing it is a separate system. From adding a custom (and configurable) component to the WebCenter Content user interface to building system connectors to handle the various communication requirements between the two, the end result has been exactly as anticipated. To learn more about some of the technical details that went into the integration, please read this recent blog post - http://blog.pleasetech.com/post/Integrating-PleaseReview-with-Oracle-WebCenter-Content
To get a taste of what to expect from this integration and understand some of the benefits you would experience, we are co-hosting a short webinar this Thursday to explain in a little more detail.
Please join us on Thursday January 30th, 2014 at 9am Pacific, 12 noon, Eastern, 5pm GMT.
You can simply register for the webinar here: http://pleasetech.com/webinar_oracle_integration_jan14.aspx
Learning from EBS customers - How to optimize and automate key processes to realize huge cost savings
Companies are always looking to optimize E-Business Suite business process in order to gain efficiencies and gain a leg up on their competition. But with IT budgets coming under more scrutiny than ever before, CIOs are looking towards their existing infrastructures to find cost-saving solutions.
View this webcast to gain a firsthand look at how organizations are using Oracle WebCenter Imaging to augment their EBS-based processes and automate complex business processes—ultimately saving them time and money. Click on the link below to view this webcast and learn how you can benefit as well.
Does this look familiar? Does anything like this ever happen in your department or organization? Sadly, this is a common occurrence. Trying to incorporate valuable feedback from colleagues using "Track Changes", comments, e-mails and group meetings can be problematic at best and often just a waste of time.
We've partnered up with PleaseTech to showcase their latest technology, PleaseReview that eliminates these common problems. Simply stated, PleaseReview is designed to be used as either a standalone or as an integrated review solution and supports Microsoft® Word®, Microsoft Excel®, PDF, Microsoft PowerPoint®, source code, text and images. It provides review management and control, change consolidation, comment reconciliation, comment threads and audit trails. PleaseReview is available to users in a simple point and click browser-based environment, and enables simultaneous, parallel and offline review by multiple participants, wherever they are. Everyone working on the same single document ensures it is an efficient and transparent process which significantly reduces the costs associated with document review.
If you have to deal with group editing and review of complex documents, you certainly want to learn more about the PleaseReview solution and how it integrates with Oracle WebCenter Content. We are pleased to invite you to a complimentary 30 minute webcast on Thursday January 30th, 2014 at 12 noon, EST / 9am PST / 5pm GMT.
We think it will be well worth your time. Spending 30 minutes now to learn about this exciting technology could save you many hours in the future!
To register, please visit the PleaseTech site here:
See you there!
Let's face it. Focusing in on specific business challenges can be daunting, especially in today's hectic work environment. It can be downright overwhelming sometimes - what do you address and when? How do I deal with shifting management objectives? What should our top priorities be? Where can the most impact be made?If we are honest, most of us know where the problems lie in our businesses when it comes to process operating efficiency. Depending on where we work and what our responsibilities are, you cannot help but see areas where the use of automation technologies would make a significant improvement.
One of the interesting trends we see with customers using Oracle WebCenter Imaging solutions is that once they have identified and resolved particular process bottlenecks with our technology, they then find themselves in the welcome position of being able to address other process challenges using the same technology. For example, one customer initially bought WebCenter Imaging to eliminate the reliance on paper in their Accounts Payable invoicing process with E-Business Suite. But then they realized they could use the same automation, recognition and routing technologies to optimize Accounts Receivable and General Ledger processes. Then the HR department saw that they could use the same technology to improve employee on-boarding and personnel document routing.
It's an unwritten law that business priorities will change. The new boss will see things differently. Mandates from the executive team will drive new business projects. But as we have seen from other customers, there is comfort in knowing that the technology you purchase to drive down costs and improve business efficiency in one area can be used to help out with new businesses priorities when they inevitably arise.
Which leads us to our plug for the day. WebCenter Imaging is designed to help you focus in on business process challenges in a way that is flexible and can adjust to meet your particular priorities - even when they change. We encourage you to learn more and we are here to help you understand how our technology can be of value to you and your business. Find your first business challenge, address it and then be ready to move on to the next one.
To get started, or to simply learn more, be sure to visit our new web page dedicated to Imaging solutions.
We think you will find it valuable!
Good thought leadership usually stands the test of time and our past series of big thinkers are still relevant today. As you watch and listen to these conversations - it will be certainly be interesting to note the changes to technology and culture that have taken place over the past years following many of the trends spoken about during these conversations. How much have you changed the way you work over the past couple of years? Are you more social, mobile and cloud-focused now?
This time of year is always a reflective time as we look back and look forward to the new year. As I've been thinking about thought leadership and some of the interesting webcasts we've hosted over the past couple of years (look to next post for a review of these), I was thinking about those trend predictions that emerge every year. I just recently watched Gartner's most recent webcast they offer each year on the "Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends" that enterprises should be planning for over the next 3 years.
Its interesting to note the evolution of not only the language used to describe the trends, but the consolidation of many of them into single trends in the comparison chart I created below from the past 3 years. As technologies have emerged from the Hype cycle's "Peak of Inflated Expectations" and start sliding down into the "Trough of Disillusionment" there seems to be some strategic consolidation and commodification as expected.
Gartner’s Futurist, David Cearley said: "We have identified the top 10 technologies that companies should factor into their strategic planning processes. This does not necessarily mean adoption and investment in all of the listed technologies, but companies should look to make deliberate decisions about them during the next two years.”
He also added that the "Nexus of Forces – Social, Mobile, Cloud and Information – are driving these changes in technology." Take a look at this informative short video on the "Nexus of Forces" for a better understanding. We also have a previous blog post on this topic here.
Gartner's Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends 2012-2014
2012 2013 2014 1. Media Tablets and Beyond 1. Mobile Devices Battles 1. Mobile Device Diversity & Management 2. Mobile-centric Applications and Interfaces 2. Mobile Apps and HTML5 2. Mobile Apps & Applications 3. Contextual and Social User Experience 3. Personal Cloud 3. The Internet of Everything 4. The Internet of Things 4. The Internet Of Things 4. Hybrid Cloud & IT as Service Broker 5. App Stores and Marketplaces 5. Hybrid IT and Cloud Computing 5. Cloud/Client Architecture 6. Next-generation Analytics 6. Strategic Big Data 6. The Era of Personal Cloud 7. Big Data 7. Actionable Analytics 7. Software Defined Anything 8. In-memory Computing 8. Mainstream In-Memory Computing (IMC) 8. Web Scale IT 9. Extreme Low-energy Servers 9. Integrated Ecosystems 9. Smart Machines 10.Cloud Computing 10. Enterprise App Stores 10. 3-D Printing
Gartner's Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014:
- Mobile Device Diversity and Management: Through 2018, the growing variety of devices, computing styles, user contexts and interaction paradigms will make "everything everywhere" strategies unachievable. The unexpected consequence of bring your own device (BYOD) programs is a doubling or even tripling of the size of the mobile workforce. This is placing tremendous strain on IT and Finance organizations. Enterprise policies on employee-owned hardware usage need to be thoroughly reviewed and, where necessary, updated and extended.
- The Internet of Everything: The internet is expanding beyond PCs and mobile devices into enterprise assets such as field equipment, and consumer items such as cars and televisions. The problem is that most enterprises and technology vendors have yet to explore the possibilities of an expanded internet and are not operationally or organizationally ready.
- Hybrid Cloud and IT as Service Broker: Bringing together personal clouds and external private cloud services is an imperative. Enterprises should design private cloud services with a hybrid future in mind and make sure future integration/interoperability is possible. Hybrid cloud services can be composed in many ways, varying from relatively static to very dynamic. Managing this composition will often be the responsibility of something filling the role of cloud service broker (CSB), which handles aggregation, integration and customization of services.
- Cloud/Client Architecture: The cloud is the control point and system or record and applications can span multiple client devices. The client environment may be a native application or browser-based; the increasing power of the browser is available to many client devices, mobile and desktop alike. Robust capabilities in many mobile devices, the increased demand on networks, the cost of networks and the need to manage bandwidth use creates incentives, in some cases, to minimize the cloud application computing and storage footprint, and to exploit the intelligence and storage of the client device. However, the increasingly complex demands of mobile users will drive apps to demand increasing amounts of server-side computing and storage capacity.
- The Era of Personal Cloud: The personal cloud era will mark a power shift away from devices toward services. In this new world, the specifics of devices will become less important for the organization to worry about, although the devices will still be necessary. Users will use a collection of devices, with the PC remaining one of many options, but no one device will be the primary hub. Rather, the personal cloud will take on that role. Access to the cloud and the content stored or shared from the cloud will be managed and secured, rather than solely focusing on the device itself.
- Software Defined Anything: Software-defined anything (SDx) is a collective term that encapsulates the growing market momentum for improved standards for infrastructure programmability and data center interoperability driven by automation inherent to cloud computing, DevOps and fast infrastructure provisioning. As individual SDx technology silos evolve and consortiums arise, look for emerging standards and bridging capabilities to benefit portfolios, but challenge individual technology suppliers to demonstrate their commitment to true interoperability standards within their specific domains.
- Web-Scale IT: Web-scale IT is a pattern of global-class computing that delivers the capabilities of large cloud service providers within an enterprise IT setting by rethinking positions across several dimensions. Large cloud services providers such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc., are re-inventing the way in which IT services can be delivered. Their capabilities go beyond scale in terms of sheer size to also include scale as it pertains to speed and agility. If enterprises want to keep pace, then they need to emulate the architectures, processes and practices of these exemplary cloud providers
- Smart Machines: Through 2020, the smart machine era will blossom with a proliferation of contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants, smart advisors (such as IBM Watson), advanced global industrial systems and public availability of early examples of autonomous vehicles. The smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT. New systems that begin to fulfill some of the earliest visions for what information technologies might accomplish — doing what we thought only people could do and machines could not —are now finally emerging.
- 3D Printing: Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 75% in 2014 followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015. While very expensive “additive manufacturing” devices have been around for 20 years, the market for devices ranging from $50,000 to $500, and with commensurate material and build capabilities, is nascent yet growing rapidly. The consumer market hype has made organizations aware of the fact 3D printing is a real, viable and cost-effective means to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.
This time of year, your e-mail is flooded with prognostications and ideas on how to lose weight, how to be healthier, how to be a better employee, a manager and generally be more effective. I personally have seen several articles about getting my e-mail Inbox to zero. In fact, January 2nd was unofficially known as Email Overload Day, though ironically enough, you might not have known about it if your email is overflowing.
This got me thinking about the other "Inbox" that exists in every corporation. It's the old school tray of papers, stacked up in the "Inbox" on the desks of those that are handling business transactions using paper forms, faxes, scanned images and other files. For most business process professionals, this stack of papers is a key first step in a longer transaction that ultimately results in payment to a customer or vendor, receipt of funds from a customer or partner, or any other of many possible business processes.
The same principles that apply to your personal e-mail and the ideal of an empty Inbox should apply to how inbound documents are handled. In fact, given the financial impact on the business when these are not processed optimally, getting these processes running smoothly is MUCH more important. If you agree with the premise that paper-based processes need to be running as fast as possible, WebCenter can help you achieve the needed improvements.
The key to all this is automation. Automation of the "ingestion" process - how files are captured, scanned, received and then recognized. Form and character recognition has matured significantly over the past few years and today, with Oracle Forms Recognition technology as an example, inbound forms can be recognized as contracts, invoices or many other form types and then have the line item details automatically identified and associated with the right vendor, customer ID, PO number or other value. Instead of having a pile of paper on an employees desk, waiting to be re-keyed into an ERP or related system, now it happens automatically and only the unrecognizable exceptions will require human intervention.
As you can imagine, the cost savings in automating repetitive transactional processes are significant. Most imaging automation deployments see a return on the investment in 18 months or less. Human error is also greatly reduced, to say nothing of the additional archiving and compliance benefits.
To help companies understand the benefits of automating business processes, we've put together a number of assets in a single location that showcase how Oracle WebCenter Imaging can help your business... and how we have already helped others.
Getting your "Process Inbox" to zero is an achievable goal. The onslaught of incoming documents may never stop, but at least you will have a vastly superior way of managing the flow of information going forward and be saving significant sums in the (pardon the pun) process.
Check out our new WebCenter Imaging information page to learn more.
Have a great 2014!