What did you miss at Oracle OpenWorld regarding WebCenter, The Cloud, and Front-End Website and Portal Development? Find out in this webinar.

fbweb_003072Fishbowl 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

Register here.



Oracle OpenWorld 2015 Recap – The Forecast Includes Clouds and a Better WebCenter User Experience

12189830_10153162421878053_7938706606449034768_nOracle 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.
  • And for the front-end developers out there, Oracle was heavily promoting their new JavaScript framework called JET. If you like to use frameworks like bootstrap you should check out JET’s component library. JET will be Oracle’s framework of choice for the cloud and its applications going forward.

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.

Fishbowl’s GSA Portal Search Suite introduces JSR-286 portlet integration that brings Google search to Oracle WebCenter and Liferay Portal

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.

GSA Portal Search Screen


Meet Fishbowl’s WebCenter Experts at OpenWorld

Oracle OpenWorld will be held from September 28-October 2 in San Francisco.

Fishbowl Solutions will once again be at Oracle OpenWorld this year to connect with fellow WebCenter users! The event is now only a few days away, and our team is really looking forward to discussing how our value-add solutions can help your organization.

Our booth in the exhibition hall will be located at 2036 Moscone South, and will feature demos of Mobile ECM, the Google Search Appliance, Portal Solution Accelerator, SharePoint integration, and a free iPad giveway. We will also have many representatives on hand to answer your WebCenter content, portal, or imaging questions. All exhibition halls will be open from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, and from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Other activities at this year’s event include:

  • Sunday, September 28
    A Successful Oracle WebCenter Upgrade: What You Need to Know
    12:00 PM-12:45 PM, Moscone South 305This session’s speakers share facts and use cases that you will be able to apply to your Oracle WebCenter 11g upgrade. You will learn from tips and best practices from successful upgrades to Release 11g that you will be able to utilize as well. The session includes a fact-sharing discussion on upgrades; use case stories from Oracle WebCenter customers; and a roundtable forum during which attendees will be able to ask questions specific to their Oracle WebCenter Content, Oracle WebCenter Portal, or Oracle WebCenter Imaging upgrade.
  • Wednesday, October 1
    Automate Financial Processes for PeopleSoft and Oracle E-Business Suite
    12:45 PM-1:30 PM, Moscone West 3018This session’s speakers share facts and use cases that you will be able to apply to your Oracle WebCenter 11g upgrade. You will learn from tips and best practices from successful upgrades to Release 11g that you will be able to utilize as well. The session includes a fact-sharing discussion on upgrades; use case stories from Oracle WebCenter customers; and a roundtable forum during which attendees will be able to ask questions specific to their Oracle WebCenter Content, Oracle WebCenter Portal, or Oracle WebCenter Imaging upgrade.
  • Wednesday, October 1
    Oracle WebCenter for Education and Research
    2:00 PM-2:45 PM, Marriott Marquis Golden Gate C3Digital, social, and mobile technologies are creating new and transformational education experiences to engage students, faculty, parents, and administrators in their collective pursuit of student success. This session features case studies from higher education and K–12 that illustrate the power of Oracle WebCenter in enabling twenty-first-century learning.
  • Monday, September 29
    Oracle WebCenter and Oracle BPM Customer Appreciation Reception
    6:30 PM-8:30 PM, Old Mint, Old Mint PlazaRegister for the reception here.

If you’d like to meet with any of Fishbowl’s representatives at the event, feel free to email info@fishbowlsolutions.com. To learn more about what we’ll be doing at OpenWorld this year, download our Focus On guide. See you in San Francisco!

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

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.