Author Archive

Collaborate 14 Preview: Oracle WebCenter 11g Upgrades – What You Need to Know

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Title: #996 – A Successful Oracle WebCenter Upgrade: What You Need to Know

Date: Monday, April 7th
Time: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Location: Level 3, San Polo 3405

Upgrading to the next major release of software can sometimes be a complex and arduous task for organizations. In determining the how and when to perform the upgrade, organizations typically go through an evaluation process that includes new feature/function analysis, new technology and architecture analysis, and the overall time they expect the upgrade to take. This is especially the case for software upgrades that add a new layer of complexity and technology architecture that organizations have to plan and adapt for. Such is the case with Oracle WebCenter, as it added WebLogic Server as the application server from 10g to 11g. This addition, although beneficial in many areas, came with a set of new technologies and complexities that organizations with little to no exposure to had to first understand, perhaps get trained on, procure the necessary hardware to run, and in many cases deploy a separate team to manage. In considering all of these steps to perform the upgrade, organizations have undoubtedly gone through the process of “trade-off” analysis, where they weigh the pros and cons of performing the upgrade immediately versus putting it off until, for example, support for their current version runs out. This “trade-off” analysis describes many WebCenter customers as a great number have still not upgraded to 11g.

If this sounds like your organization, then make plans now to attend this session to receive overviews, examples, and actionable tasks that can be used when planning and performing your WebCenter upgrade.

Fishbowl Solutions is happy to be joined by WebCenter customers Ryan Companies, Cascade, Aleris International and AAM as they share their stories on upgrading to Oracle WebCenter 11g. Join us and hear directly from these customers to learn the tips, tricks and best practices for a successful WebCenter upgrade. Here is the tentative schedule for the presentation:

More information on this presentation, as well as all of Fishbowl’s activities at Collaborate, can be found here.

We hope to see you at Collaborate 14!

Collaborate 2014 – 79 days until 79 degrees and Poolside WebCenter Discussions!

Friday, January 17th, 2014

79 days.
Vegas.
Collaborate 2014.
79° F (average temp. in Vegas during April)

Fishbowl Solutions has another full list of activities planned for Collaborate 14. We look forward to discussing your Oracle WebCenter Content and Portal initiatives with you – hopefully poolside while we enjoy the warm weather together. It is a balmy 3° F in Minneapolis right now…

Here is a sneak peek of Fishbowl’s activities for Collaborate 2014:

Booth: 1453
Demos of our WebCenter Portal Solution Accelerator, SharePoint Connector 3.0, Google Search Connector for WebCenter and many more.

Presentations: 5

Here are the titles and abstracts of the sessions that Fishbowl is presenting or co-presenting on.

  • A Successful WebCenter Upgrade: What You Need to Know
    If your organization has not upgraded its WebCenter Content, Portal, or Imaging environment from pre-11g to 11g, then this 5-hour session is for you. Join WebCenter Content and Portal Specialized partner, Fishbowl Solutions, as they share facts and use cases that you will be able to apply to your WebCenter 11g upgrade. Fishbowl Solutions will be joined by customers who have successfully upgraded to 11g and therefore will be able to share their learnings, tips, and best practices that you will be able to utilize as well. This session will include a fact sharing discussion on upgrades, use case stories from WebCenter customers, and a roundtable forum where attendees will be able to ask questions specific to their Content, Portal, or Imaging upgrade. If your are planning your WebCenter upgrade and it seems daunting, or you aren’t sure where to begin; come to this session to collect first-hand and actionable information to get your upgrade project started and successfully completed.
  • Delivering on the Oracle WebCenter Portal Composite Application Vision – Top 5 Lessons Learned
    Most organizations see the benefit of creating composite web applications that aggregate services from disparate corporate and 3rd-party systems into a cohesive capability that efficiently supports business processes, driving self-service interactions for employees, customers and suppliers. The challenge is how to deliver on this vision, where to start, and how to plan and execute against your roadmap. Join us in this session as we discuss the Top 5 Lessons Learned at Rolls Royce in deploying WebCenter Portal, and how we were able to bridge content from multiple sources and surface that content to the right person, at the right time, and in the right context, to support our global customer portal.
  • Taking the WebCenter Portal User Experience to the Next Level
    Most organizations see the benefit of creating composite web applications that aggregate services from disparate corporate and 3rd-party systems into a cohesive capability that efficiently supports business processes, driving self-service interactions for employees, customers and suppliers. The challenge is how to deliver on this vision, where to start, and how to plan and execute against your roadmap. Join us in this session as we discuss the Top 5 Lessons Learned at Rolls Royce in deploying WebCenter Portal, and how we were able to bridge content from multiple sources and surface that content to the right person, at the right time, and in the right context, to support our global customer portal.
  • Leveraging BPM workflows for Accounts Payable Processing
    Accounts Payable departments are looking to create a more streamlined and paper-less business process. By achieving this an AP department, along with HR and many other departments are seeing huge ROI when converting from paper to digital management, but one key piece of this is the approval workflow of these documents. Oracle Business Process Management along side of Oracle WebCenter Imaging helps trigger an approval workflow to many different approvers to be acted upon. This session will describe how BPM workflows can be used for Accounts Payable processing and how they can be implemented with popular ERP applications like PeopleSoft and E-Business Suite.
  • Understanding Your Options for Searching Oracle WebCenter
    Search is a critical part of any effective content management solution. Without it, documents, web pages, policies, and other enterprise resources cannot be easily surfaced to end users. This session will explore the search technologies available to Oracle WebCenter customers including metadata-only search, Oracle Text Search, and Secure Enterprise Search, as well as the search functionality available with the Google Search Appliance. Attendees will get a side-by-side comparison of these search options covering the pros and cons of each technology and the use cases most suited to their capabilities. Whether you’re using WebCenter to power your website, intranet, or document management system, join this session to learn the differences between your search options and determine which one is best for you.

More information regarding the sessions above, as well as all of the scheduled sessions for Oracle WebCenter, can be found here: http://collaborate14.ioug.org/schedule

Did I mention it is 3° in Minneapolis right now with a high of 10° expected?! April, and Collaborate, can’t come soon enough.

The pool deck at the Venetian

 

 

The How and Why of Integrating SharePoint with Oracle WebCenter in 13 Minutes

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Integrating Microsoft SharePoint with Oracle WebCenter Content is more of a question of why than how. Integrations between the systems have existed for 6+ years now, and each of those have had their own set of integration points and technologies to make the integration work. However, companies need to first understand and agree why they want to integrate the two systems. This starts with identifying the need or business problem that continues to persist without an integration.

Fishbowl Solutions has had an integration for the systems for three years. In that time, we have talked to hundreds of customers regarding their needs and business problems and the disconnect between SharePoint content and getting that content into Oracle WebCenter. Here are the most common needs/business problems we have heard:

  • Lack of Governance over SharePoint use and what happens to orphaned sites and content
  • Difficulty surfacing high-value content created in SharePoint to Oracle-based websites, portals and business applications
  • Inability to selectively determine the SharePoint content items to store in WebCenter – based on version, site location, or business unit requirements

If your company has identified any of the problems above, then it has effectively answered the why question. However, companies should also take a look at their overall information governance strategy and how SharePoint and Oracle WebCenter are a part of that strategy. For organizations that have answered the why, but also have determined that Oracle WebCenter Content is THE repository for enterprise, mission-critical information,  then the how questions can be asked and answered as well.

This 13 minute overview presentation and demo addresses both questions and may be a good place to start in helping you and your organization define its information governance strategy:

For your convenience, here are the time slots for the use case demos of Fishbowl’s connector:

  • Content Publishing – 3:16 to 5:45
  • Project Lifecycle Governance – 5:46 to 7:58
  • Business Specific Storage Requirements – 7:59 to 10:45

Happy Holidays!

Jason Lamon is a product strategist and technology evangelist who writes about a range of topics regarding content management and enterprise portals. He writes to keep the communication going about such topics, uncover new opinions, and to get responses from people who are smarter than him. If you are one of those people, feel free to respond to his tweets and posts.

SharePoint and Oracle WebCenter: Use Cases for an Integrated Content Management System

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

I had the privilege to present with John Klinke of Oracle WebCenter Product Management during a recent webinar. John and I discussed the integrations that Fishbowl and Oracle provide for SharePoint, and instead of focusing on the feature/function of the integrations (connectors), we chose to detail the use cases that each of the integrations satisfy. It was important to each of us – not to mention our respective companies – that we took this approach as customers were asking what the differences were between the connectors. Before I summarize the use cases for the integrations, let me start with the underlying technical differences.

SharePoint Storage Options

With the release of SharePoint 2013, Microsoft still provides the ability to store content outside the SQL Server database. This is facilitated through remote blob storage or RBS, which effectively enables BLOBS (binary large objects) to be stored within 3rd-party storage systems. Storing BLOBS outside of SQL Server was useful in SharePoint 2007 and 2010, as the BLOBS ( Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc.) were causing overall SQL performance issues because queries to the database had to go through many BLOBs to return data requests. However, SharePoint 2013 features shredded storage, which basically saves versions of documents in small chunks that get reassembled when users access them. For example, a simple text edit to a Word document, say a change to the document’s footer, would result in only the incremental change being saved to the database and not the entire document. You don’t need to be a database expert to understand the positive performance impacts this would have.

Anyway, using RBS still has its advantages, and the obvious one is for those customers that are looking to integrate SharePoint with Oracle WebCenter Content. RBS provides a proven integration method to move SharePoint content and associated metadata to WebCenter Content for access, consumption and delivery to other Oracle-based systems. However, RBS is is basically an all or nothing approach. That is, wherever a RBS provider has been enabled, at the site collection, site or library level, ALL document versions in that location will be stored remotely. The only way to limit what gets stored is by file size or type. So, for organizations that do wish to store the majority of SharePoint content remotely, or in this case within Oracle WebCenter Content, RBS is the way to go and this is the integration method that Oracle provides as of the WebCenter Content 11.1.1.8 release.

Customers looking for a more selective approach to store SharePoint content items will want to consider Fishbowl’s SharePoint connector integration for WebCenter. Fishbowl’s integration does not utilize RBS, and instead SharePoint event receivers are leveraged to determine document storage. This integration approach provides more granular control over content storage, while also giving SharePoint users specific control over the content items they want to store in WebCenter. The tradeoff with this more granular, user-controlled option is that duplicate items get stored between the systems.

With the technical details of each integration out of the way, let’s now talk use cases.

Use Cases for Fishbowl’s SharePoint Integration

  • Content Publishing
    The business scenario I discussed during the webinar was that of a SharePoint user on a marketing team working on a new product launch. During the lead up to the actual launch date, the user and their colleagues have created many assets to support the launch, including a brochure, new copy for the website, a launch plan, graphics and other images, and a press release. Most of these assets have multiple versions, and the user only wants to store or publish final versions of each so that they get surfaced to the company’s website.

Fishbowl’s SharePoint Connector for Oracle WebCenter Content features the ability to only store major versions of content in WebCenter. This allows users with specific knowledge of the content to publish the ability to do so, while also ensuring that only the final version of content gets stored before it can be seen internally or externally.

  • Project Lifecycle Governance
    This use case satisfies the requirement that many organizations have with their SharePoint system – deleting SharePoint libraries or whole sites at the conclusion of a project. The example I shared for this use case was that of members of a legal team working on a company acquisition. They have created and collected many documents to help with the acquisition, but once the acquisition is complete, the SharePoint library or site must be deleted to ensure the documents remain privy to the legal team and cannot be seen by anyone not authorized to do so.

For this use case, Fishbowl’s SharePoint Connector could be configured to allow content storage in WebCenter to occur via a check box. The description for the check box is configurable, but for example, it could simply say “Store in WebCenter”. Such a check box allows a site arbiter on the legal team to determine the content that needs to be retained and stored in WebCenter. This could be content that needs to be retained per compliance or legal reasons, as well as content that needs to be shared with users outside the legal team such as members of the executive team.

  • Business Specific Storage Requirements
    For this use case the example I shared is an organization that has many, different requirements for the SharePoint content they wish to store in WebCenter. These requirements are driven by the various business units. For example, members of an organization’s financial team will have different retention requirements of content and will have to store the majority of the content they create per financial document retention rules. Contrast this with the Legal team example described above who do not want to store the majority of their content and want to be more selective.

The feature to leverage for this use case is the ability to override storage settings that are initially made at the SharePoint central admin level. This feature enables organizations to get their SharePoint to WebCenter integration up and running quickly, but puts the control of content storage in the hands of the business units that understand exactly the content they need to store in WebCenter for retention, distribution, and re-purposing.

Use Cases for Oracle’s SharePoint Integration

I will not try to fully detail the use cases that John did such a great job discussing during the webinar, so I will provide a summary instead. For a more detailed description, please watch the on-demand recording. John begins discussing Oracle’s use cases at about minute 43.

  • Improve Performance
    John spoke to the advantages of storing BLOBs outside of SQL server, which would help improve overall system performance. With Oracle’s connector leveraging RBS, it is very easy for organizations to centralize all SharePoint content to WebCenter and leverage the Oracle database to scale to trillions of items.
  • Improve Governance
    For this use case, John spoke to how a lot of companies using SharePoint have struggled with governance of the system. Sites and overall use quickly spirals out of control leaving IT to clean up the mess of orphaned sites and content. By centrally managing this content in WebCenter, organizations can leverage the records and retention management policies they have in place to better manage content.
  • Re-Use Content
    The point John made with this use case is that by centralizing SharePoint content in WebCenter, that content can then be re-used or surfaced to other Oracle-based systems and applications – WebCenter Portal, WebCenter Sites, E-Business Suite, etc. Companies can leverage Oracle WebCenter’s out-of-the-box integrations for this purpose. The big benefit here is getting rid of SharePoint silos, and providing users access to high-value content outside of SharePoint.

Use Case Summaries

Well, there you have it. Integrating SharePoint and Oracle WebCenter Content can be achieved via the integrations that Fishbowl and Oracle provide. As you consider such an integration, please first consider your integration use case and ultimately what your organization is trying to achieve. Here is a table that summarizes and compares use cases for each integration:

You can access and watch the webinar recording from Fishbowl’s YouTube Channel. Enjoy, and please pass along any feedback.

Thanks for reading!

Jason Lamon is a product strategist and technology evangelist who writes about a range of topics regarding content management and enterprise portals. He writes to keep the communication going about such topics, uncover new opinions, and to get responses from people who are smarter than him. If you are one of those people, feel free to respond to his tweets and posts.

Oracle OpenWorld 2013 Reflections: What’s Old is New Again – Document Imaging a Hot Topic

Friday, October 4th, 2013

After Fishbowl employees return from OpenWorld, we all get together and discuss what went right, what went wrong, and how we can improve. We also summarize the WebCenter-related discussions we had at the event, and what the next steps for each of us will be to take those conversations and turn them into opportunities. What surprised me this year was the number of OpenWorld discussions we had around document imaging, and specifically image enabling business processes like accounts payable and employee expenses.

I was surprised because while there were Oracle WebCenter Imaging presentations at OpenWorld, there weren’t any big announcements regarding the product. The big announcements were Oracle WebCenter’s offerings around Cloud and Mobile. Furthermore, while some of us did have document imaging discussions with attendees at past OpenWorlds, they seemed to be few and far between. So, why all the document imaging interest and discussion this year?

Well, let me take a step back and provide a little historical context. About 5 years ago, the Oracle WebCenter product management team was working on a WebCenter Imaging integration with Oracle E-Business Suite, starting with Oracle Financials for accounts payable processing. What they released was sort of a jump-start component called the Application Extender Framework (AXF). This component provided the various  WebCenter Imaging hooks into E-Business Suite (workflows, metadata mappings, image viewer) that would enable E-Business Suite users to process invoices in the context of their payables workbench. The first few releases of this component did work but also had some issues. However, the biggest issue facing Oracle WebCenter Imaging and its AXF component at the time was that a 3rd-party document imaging upstart had already become the preferred imaging solution for invoice processing in E-Business Suite. Oracle E-Business Suite users that were also using this product, found that it worked well and most did not want to be first to market with a relatively new imaging solution.

Fast forward 5 years later and Oracle WebCenter Imaging has become the de-facto choice for document imaging to support Oracle E-Business Suite processes. The imaging upstart that was eating WebCenter Imaging’s lunch some 5 years ago has gone the way of acquisition and really isn’t heard from much anymore. Effectively, if there is an imaging deal to be had within Oracle E-Business Suite, it goes to Oracle WebCenter Imaging. This has been strengthened by an integration with Oracle Forms Recognition (OFR), which can intelligently process invoices and extract the necessary data from them. Furthermore, there are a lot of Oracle E-Business Suite customers using WebCenter Imaging to process thousands of invoices daily, and those successes continue to build upon one another with strong references and ROI data to support the invoice processing use case.

Anyway, back to the question as to why WebCenter Imaging was a popular topic at OpenWorld this year – at least for Fishbowl Solutions. I think the main reason for this is what I highlighted at the end of the paragraph above – it has successfully been implemented at many organizations with more coming on board all the time. Its value proposition, and the value prop of imaging in general, is it helps organizations streamline the manual processes involved to process invoices, removing keystrokes, steps and the overall lag (cycle time) involved. This immediately translates into ROI, and it is this ROI story that has other Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customers excited.

All that being said, implementing Oracle WebCenter Imaging and the other products that support it for end-to-end invoice processing (SOA, Business Process Management or BPM, Oracle Document Capture, OFR, and AXF), and integrating it with the respective Oracle ERP application is still fairly complex. Depending on such things as invoice volumes and workflow complexities, Implementations typically take months. Nonetheless, once implemented, the ROI is there and can be realized quickly.

I would also like to think that the heavy traffic of attendees interested in WebCenter Imaging that visited the Fishbowl booth at OpenWorld had to do with the successes we have had implementing the product and its complementary components for invoice processing. With each of the implementations being different in one aspect or another, we have been able to build up our knowledgebase and best practices for WebCenter Imaging, helping to reduce complexities and decrease time to value. If you and your organization have implemented Oracle WebCenter Imaging or are considering it, and you would like to image enable your accounts payable process in Oracle E-Business Suite or PeopleSoft, please contact us at 952-465-3400 or info@fishbowlsolutions.com.

Thanks for reading!

Jason Lamon is a product strategist and technology evangelist who writes about a range of topics regarding content management and enterprise portals. He writes to keep the communication going about such topics, uncover new opinions, and to get responses from people who are smarter than him. If you are one of those people, feel free to respond to his tweets and posts.