Everyone likes lists. They are easy to follow, easy to cross off, and easy to add to. And since it is the holiday season, and you are (hopefully) putting the finishing touches on your gift giving or meal preparation lists, I thought what better way to summarize what we learned from Oracle OpenWorld 2015 in a Top 10 list. However, one caveat to that is these are not listed in any particular order, and they represent Fishbowl’s perspective on what was shared at the event regarding Oracle WebCenter Content and Portal 12, The Oracle Cloud, and front-end user experience. You can get more information on the items in this top 10 list by listening to the recording of our webinar that we delivered on December 10th.
- Oracle is definitely in the enterprise sync and share space. You’ve probably used Dropbox, Box, or Google Drive, and if you have you would probably agree that they were easy to use. Oracle Documents Cloud Service (ODCS) couples this ease of use with more manageability – especially for Oracle WebCenter Content customers. Content customers can maintain their content repositories on site, and easily and securely share and sync content with ODCS. New in WebCenter 12c is the ability to collaborate on content in the cloud, capture content in the cloud (emails or scanned documents), and mirror content between your on premise WebCenter instance and ODCS.
- Oracle’s clouds offerings help usher in new ways to engage with content and facilitate business processes. For example, you could use Oracle’s Mobile Cloud Service to build a mobile app for human resources to help with employee on boarding. We all have been through the on boarding process before, and in most cases the tasks to complete are contained within archaic HR systems and must be viewed on a desktop. With Mobile Cloud Service, coupled with Oracle’s Process Cloud Service, new employees could go through training videos, ethic courses, etc., on a mobile device – even downloading the videos for watching offline. Then, Process Cloud Service could be used to build a simple form where the user could check off their on boarding list, and any checked off items would trigger a workflow update to managers and HR. Dashboards could also be created for users to see their overall on boarding process status, and gamification elements could be incorporated rewarding employees for prompt training/on boarding.
- Oracle WebCenter has a new interface and it is really cool. Oracle released the ADF-based user interface with 220.127.116.11, but in 12c the new interface is present out of the box and does need to be enabled/turned on. This new UI, based on the Oracle Alta UI is modern, allows for more visual content, and was designed with mobile in mind.
- You can now annotate (mark up) images within WebCenter Content. This feature makes it even easier to collaborate on documents in WebCenter. Annotations include highlighting or redacting text and adding notes or watermarks. This feature should help speed up document-centric workflow processes.
- The Document Imaging Server from Oracle WebCenter Imaging has been consolidated with the Oracle Content Server. No more having to maintain separate repositories for transactional content (invoices) and business content (legal documents).
- WebCenter Portal has made major improvements with contribution, publishing, and mobile responsive. Again, the interface improvements alone will help contributors and developers build, launch and maintain a portal site in less time.
- Hybrid Content Management and Portal deployments may be the most logical progression. Fishbowl’s sees scenarios where WebCenter customers deploy their dev, test and staging environments on premise, and then deploy a production portal or content repository to the cloud using Oracle’s Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Java Cloud Service.
- Customers are talking cloud but don’t necessary have a strategy to get there. Most organizations are using cloud-based solutions (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.), but some of these may not be approved for use. With Oracle’s comprehensive offerings across content, portal, mobile, workflow, and the cloud, organizations do not need to look outside the Oracle stack to fulfill business requirements. When you consider integrations, interoperability, and scalability, Oracle customers look to benefit from a total cost of ownership perspective.
- The event is growing! Estimated attendance this year was 60,000 people. 5 years ago, my first OpenWorld, it was around 40,000 if I remember correctly. Oracle is investing heavily in The Cloud, business process automation, and user experience, and if OpenWorld attendance is any indication their customer list is growing. Oracle has a great ecosystem of developers, thought leaders, and users. This growing community will only help strengthen the products further.
Again, for more information on any of the items in the list above, check out the recording of our webinar on YouTube.
Fishbowl Solutions has been attending and sponsoring Oracle OpenWorld for many years, and every year we get questions from customers asking why they should attend, how is Oracle OpenWorld different from Collaborate, and if they do attend what sessions should they go to? Although there is no single answer to these questions, our general response is OpenWorld provides so many continuous learning, networking, and fun events that going isn’t hard to justify. However, as the old saying goes “you get out of it what you put into it” definitely applies to OpenWorld. The event is so big (60,000+ attendees), so busy (1,000+ sessions), and so much fun (Elton John concert), that first-time attendees and even alumni need to build out their schedules before the event. This can help ensure they are going to the sessions that will teach them something new that they can apply within their work, or they learn about the road map for the product areas they manage so that they can understand and plan for upgrades, new technology, or integrations.
Even with this proactive planning, attending OpenWorld just isn’t an option for all WebCenter customers, so my colleagues and I at Fishbowl will be hosting a webinar on December 10th that will give you a recap of what you missed as it applies to Oracle WebCenter 12c; The Cloud – Sites Cloud Service, Documents Cloud Service, Mobility Cloud Service, and Process Cloud Service; and new front-end development technologies that can be used for WebCenter-based websites and portals. The webinar will include a Q & A session, so even if we don’t cover a topic that you are interested in or have a question about, our WebCenter and Cloud experts will be available to fill you in. The webinar details are included below, and we hope you will be able to join us.
Date: December 10, 2015
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 PM EST, 12 – 1:00 PM CST
Oracle OpenWorld 2015 wrapped 2 weeks ago. For those of you unable to attend, it was sunny all week with temperatures in the 70s, yet clouds were everywhere. My apologies for the pun, but you could have easily not noticed the blue skies and bright sun as The Cloud was really everywhere. Attendees even had the chance to immerse themselves in the cloud with an interactive display consisting of a few thousand plastic balls you could jump into and roll around in.
Sadly I wasn’t able to partake in this fun, but I was able to attend most of the keynotes, so I got pretty well immersed myself. The Cloud was the theme of the keynotes, with Oracle making it very clear that the future of their applications, middleware, and database technologies are in the cloud – as part of their software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offerings. In fact, the future is really now as Oracle announced they have over 1,300 customers already using their Oracle ERP Cloud.
All of this is very exciting from an IT and technology perspective, as the cloud makes it easier to innovate and deploy home-grown or 3rd-party applications across business functions. But what about Oracle WebCenter? Can that innovation and deployment flexibility be extended to Oracle WebCenter in the cloud? Not yet, or not entirely. WebCenter is currently in a hybrid mode when it comes to the cloud. WebCenter customers will continue to manage their content on premise, but use Oracle Documents Cloud Service for file syncing and sharing in the cloud. Despite this, Oracle did have some exciting announcements regarding Oracle WebCenter 12c, which was released on October 26th. Here are some highlights:
- User Experience (UX) is a major priority for Oracle WebCenter. UX has been a problem area for WebCenter for many years, but a lot of enhancements have been made that customers should be excited about. I saw a lot of these demonstrated during the WebCenter Portal Strategy and Vision session, and I came away impressed with the improvements they have made with contribution, publishing, and mobility.
Specific examples include a new inline editor (WYSIWYG) entirely written in Oracle’s Application Development Framework (ADF), which will make it easier for contributors to add content to the portal in-context of the page. Overall, the page composer is just more intuitive, and the click stream to add, edit, and publish content on the portal was easy to follow during the demonstration. Lastly, the page templates are now mobile responsive meaning they will adjust for the form factor of the device (desktops, tablets, and smartphones) being used to view the portal.
- WebCenter Content also received some user interface improvements. This includes a new image viewer featuring annotations so users can mark up images. And speaking of images, the imaging server has been merged with the content server.
Fishbowl Solutions will be sharing more about what we learned regarding Oracle WebCenter 12c, Oracle’s cloud offerings, and Oracle’s front-end design and development technologies during a webinar in early December. Check back to this blog or the Fishbowl website for more details soon.
More information on Oracle WebCenter 12c can be found on the Oracle WebCenter blog and within this press release.
For more information on Oracle’s cloud offerings, see this Forbe’s article.
Congratulations! Your organization has made an investment in a leading enterprise content management and portal system, and even better, you get to manage and administer the system. Lucky you, right? As long as users can access the system, find what they need, and receive important, system generated notifications that are relevant to them they will generally be happy and leave you alone, right?
Unfortunately, a complete state of end-user bliss doesn’t exist – if it did, there might not be a need for system administrators. The reason for this is there will be many different personas that will access and use the system, and each will have their own set of likes, dislikes and complaints. For example, some users won’t like the interface (most popular complaint). Others will complain about the (perceived) lack of features and functionality. Regardless, as the system administrator you will not be able to satisfy all user requests, but with Fishbowl’s Administration Suite you will be able to ensure WebCenter users get the most out of inherent features and system functionality.
Administration (Admin) Suite brings together Fishbowl’s most popular components for WebCenter automation. The reason for their popularity is they truly help administrators be more efficient when performing the most common and repetitive tasks within Oracle WebCenter Content, as well as they provide additional functionality that provides organizations with more business value. These include rule-based security mappings to provide users with the right level of access (read, read/write, read/write/delete, etc.), enabling custom email notifications to be sent for content subscriptions, scheduling and off-loading the process of bulk loading content in WebCenter, and the addition of several workflow features to aid in workflow creation, review and auditing. Let’s take a closer look of each of these components.
Advanced User Security Mapping (AUSM)
- AUSM provides rule-based configuration to integrate external user sources (LDAP or Active Directory) with Oracle WebCenter. Rules can be created to assign aliases to users based on their directory information, and this information can be directly imported into WebCenter. AUSM also provides reporting capabilities to quickly audit user access and troubleshoot permission issues.
- Business Problems it solves:
- Decreases the time it takes for administrators to integrate an enterprise security model with Oracle WebCenter. No more having to create multiple (sometimes hundreds…) of mappings between LDAP groups and roles in WebCenter
- Enables administrators to quickly troubleshoot user access issues
- Accelerates new user access to content in the system by not having to wait until users log in
- Subscription Notifier provides an intuitive interface for administrators to create subscriptions for tracking and managing business content. This is done through queries that can be scheduled to run at various intervals. For example, you can create queries to notify a contract manager at 90, 60 and 30 days before a vendor contract expires. You can also create queries that notify content owners that content is X days old and should be reviewed.
- Business problem it solves:
- Ensures internal and external stakeholders have visibility, and have enough time to respond, to when high-value content is set to expire (contracts, etc.)
- Helps avoid duplication of effort by alerting teams when new content is available – sales teams get notified when new marketing content is checked in, for example
- Provides owners of web content with triggers to update, create new or delete – this can help keep content on the site fresh and new which is important for SEO
Enterprise Batch Loader
- Enterprise Batch Loader provides a robust, standalone component for WebCenter administrators to quickly and efficiently load content into the system. This content can come from ERP, CRM, CAD and other business systems as Enterprise Batch Loader can be configured to “watch” folders where such data is output and then create a batch load file for loading into WebCenter. Metadata from these systems can also be mapped to fields existing in WebCenter.
- Business problems it solves:
- Helps organizations reduce content repositories and file shares by automating the process of checking content into Oracle WebCenter
- Ensures high-value data from ERP, CRM, CAD and other business systems gets loaded into WebCenter, providing a single location for users to access and find information
Workflow Solution Set
- Packed with 9 powerful features, Workflow Solution Set complements the out-of-the-box Oracle WebCenter workflows through detailed auditing, the ability to search for content in workflow, and the ability to customize email notifications and the workflow review pane. Workflow Solution Set makes it easier for users to interact with and fully leverage WebCenter Content workflows.
- Business problem it solves:
- Helps remove confusion from the workflow process by enabling explicit instructions to be included in the workflow review pane or email notifications
- Ensures the history of a workflow is fully retained – including rejection comments
- Provides visibility into content that is in a workflow, which natively in WebCenter items in a workflow are not included as part of search results
- Improves performance of review process by separating out workflow items into pages instead of one long list
I will be covering more of the capabilities of these components that make up Fishbowl’s Administration Suite during a one-hour webinar on Thursday, June 11th. Come hear more about why, together, the components of Fishbowl’s Admin Suite provide the perfect tools for WebCenter admins.
You can register for the event here. I hope you will be able to join us.
Integrated Google search has arrived for Oracle WebCenter and Liferay Portal. Last week, Fishbowl Solutions announced the GSA (Google Search Appliance) Portal Search Suite. This is Fishbowl’s fourth product for the Google Search Appliance, and introduces a productized integration that exposes Google search features like spelling suggestions, dynamic navigation, and document previews directly within the portal.
Previous integrations between the GSA and WebCenter or Liferay Portal had to be heavily customized to expose similar search features and functionality. In most cases, extensive customization was needed even when adding only one new search feature, such as autocomplete query suggestions, to portal search pages. Additionally, such customization had to be done by someone with specialized technical expertise including portal development, familiarity with the GSA response format, and XML transformation. Alternately some organizations have used the GSA’s built-in stylesheet typically directing users to search functions outside of the portal either as an iframe or a completely separate search page. This disconnect devalues the portal as being the single, universal location to access enterprise information, and detracts from the overall portal user experience.
Fishbowl’s GSA Portal Search Suite seamlessly integrates the GSA with WebCenter and Liferay portals. The integration is made possible by a collection of JSR-286 portlets that provide a search box and search results layout directly within the portal. These configurable portlets let customers choose which Google search features to expose, and lets them mix and match portlets for specific pages. The GSA Portal Search Suite also includes an authentication mechanism to provide single-sign-on between the portal and the GSA when performing secure searches. All these features help ensure that searches conducted from the portal return results with higher relevancy, and that search pages match the look and feel of the portal, leading to an enhanced user experience.
Customers with WebCenter or Liferay Portal that are looking to improve relevancy and provide search features that users have come to expect can do so with the GSA. And now with Fishbowl’s GSA Portal Search Suite, a seamless and flexible integration is available decreasing time to value and helping to maximize your WebCenter, Liferay and GSA investment.
Fishbowl will be demonstrating GSA Portal Search Suite, as well as our other GSA value-add products, at Oracle OpenWorld from September 29th through October 1st. You can see us in booth #2036 Moscone South. To read the brochure, click here.