Fishbowl’s ShipIT Hackathon Event Produces Four, New, Value-Add Components for Oracle WebCenter Content

The weekend of November 10th was known as Innovation Weekend at Fishbowl Solutions. Fishbowl’s development, sales and marketing teams participated in a “ShipIT Hackathon” event to develop new Oracle WebCenter Content-based products. If you aren’t familiar with hackathons, just imagine a very intense software programming session where the end goal is to develop usable software within a set period of time – here is Wikipedia’s definition, and you may remember that Fishbowl participated in a similar hackathon at Oracle OpenWorld. Anyway, Fishbowl’s WebCenter UI and UX design extraordinaire, John Sim, was visiting from London and he was the catalyst for Fishbowl’s internal hackathon. Here were the rules that he helped establish:

  1. The new software/functionality should either support one of Fishbowl’s current products or provide new ways to interact, utilize, or provide an integration with Oracle WebCenter Content.
  2. The finished product should be deployable to Fishbowl’s internal WebCenter Content system and be usable by Fishbowl employees.
  3. Teams will have only 24 hours to complete their product.
  4. The winning team would be decided by votes from all participants, but participants could not vote for their own team.

At 3:00 PM on Friday, November 9th the hacking commenced. Fueled by Red Bull, pizza, coffee and sugar, four teams of Fishbowl employees developed the following WebCenter-based programs by 3:00 PM on Saturday, November 10th where they were presented and voted on. Here they are in order of finish:

  • 1st Place – WebCenter Content Multi-Checkin
    • Enables users to drag and drop content items directly into Oracle WebCenter Content from desktops or file shares and be tagged with keywords.
    • Checked in content bypasses the check in metadata screen and instead is grouped within a user’s “workspace”.  Users can return to their workspace at a later time to add metadata.
    • Integrates with Fishbowl’s Duplicate File Checker to ensure that duplicate content items do no enter the system.

    (The winning hackers – left to right: Paul Heupel, John Sim, Tom Jaede)

  • 2nd Place – Filtered Search Results and Grid View Metadata Updater
    • Update metadata on multiple items at once using a simple grid format.
    • Content Server query defines items to display in grid view with configurable sorting and result count.
    • Easily configure columns to view and update both standard and custom metadata values.
    • Uses Excel-like functionality within the browser such as copy, paste, drag, and fill-down.
  • 3rd Place – Duplicate File Checker Desktop Application
    • Lightweight desktop application can detect and remove duplicate content items from user desktops or network file shares.
    • Users simply browse to a folder or item and select the content they want to check against already existing in Oracle WebCenter Content. Any duplicate items are returned to the user in a grid view, and the user can select any duplicates for deletion.
  • 4th Place - WebCenter Content and Google Drive (Docs) Synchronization & Contribution
    • Provides ability to import content stored in Google Drive to Oracle Webcenter Content.
    • Google Drive files can be batch imported and their metadata can be mapped or the files can be published directly to WebCenter Content.
    • Includes ability to also link to Google Drive document directly from WebCenter Content.

Aside from some mild cases of indigestion, carpal tunnel, and weariness; the participants in Fishbowl’s ShipIT hackathon all agreed that it was a great event to be a part of. It was really exciting to see what could be developed in a limited amount of time when a group of people worked together and were driven by a deadline. The best part was ending up with four new WebCenter-based products that solve real-world problems and add immediate value. If any of these products interest you, feel free to contact us at 952-465-3400 or

You can see more pictures of Fishbowl’s ShipIT Hackathon here.

As always, your comments on this blog are appreciated.

Finally, a Wiki where Information is Managed Content

Finally a Wiki where Articles are Fully Managed Content

Wiki’s are one of the most mentioned Enterprise 2.0 tools.  Most (dare I say all?) E20 vendors have one or incorporate one into their solution stack.  However, if you look more closely, many of them simply roll in some open source wiki server and call it a day.  While basic functionality for wikis is almost standard these days, the information architecture underpinning the wiki is often overlooked.  What happens is that the “wiki-widget” proponents end up sacrificing information availability for information presentability.  The “we’ve got a wiki too” crowd is so caught up in achieving buzz-word parity that the real benefits of a fully managed and integrated wiki solution are passed over.  The result is a loose hodge-podge of stand alone “web 2.0″ widgets that have been lumped together with a common user interface thrown on top.  The vendors call it good.

Portal vendors are some of the worst offenders here.  The ease with which widgets are surfaced in a single common UI lends itself to lazy integration. In these kinds of environments the wiki widget may appear next to the JCR enabled content repository but there is NEVER ANY LINKAGE BETWEEN THE TWO!

Seriously, WTF???  If enterprise Wikis are the best place for enterprise knowledge bases, best practices and employee generated tips and tricks (AND THEY OFTEN ARE!), then what in the world is any enterprise information architect worth his or her pay grade doing being happy with throwing key corporate knowledge assets into its own walled off database silo?  The answer is that most are happy with the loose “on the glass” integration provided by a portal or creative use of iFrames.  This is a tragedy and a terrible mis / under use of corporate knowledge assets.  Fortunately, Fishbowl Solutions has developed a fully ECM integrated wiki that combines all the latest wiki features with the power of Oracle Enterprise Content Management.

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Collaboration Success Depends on Users not Technology

Collaboration Survey Results from

The All Collaboration blog has some startling statistics from their recent survey. If you look at the chart at the right (or click the link above for the full report) you will see that the top four most important factors for effective collaboration are *not* technology related.  They are User, Process and Context related.  Selecting the “right” tools comes in at number 5 with a paltry 7% agreeing that the technology is the most or second most important factor for successful collaboration!

In fact, of the 11 areas identified for collaboration, only 2 were technology related.  I identified this trend earlier this year in my 3 Common Mistakes blog posts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). This means that the “if we build it they will come” mindset of many organizations almost guarantees failure and disappointment.  It also means that with fully engaged users, identified process and well-scoped process a Whiteboard and different colored markers may work as well as the latest buzz-worthy tech.

This should be a wake up call to Collaboration Tech Vendors.  They need to focus on how Users user the tech to be *better* at collaboration, not on how tech creates collaborative users.  It will never do that.

The entire post is well worth a read.

New Collaboration eBook Available – Free

Collaboration eBook from Fishbowl

I am very proud to announce that our first eBook is now available (link on right). The eBook is available in Kindle, Sony, iPhone/iPad/Blackberry reader formats as well as PDF. The book is free though we would love it if you took a moment to register with us if you like what you find.

The eBook is entitled Two Types of Collaboration and Ten Requirements for Using Them. In it we tackle the topic of collaboration from an information architecture perspective. We find that collaboration comes in two distinct types, social and informational. Social collaboration is people focused, goal oriented and intentional. Informational collaboration is knowledge focused, discovery oriented and accidental. Of the two, Accidental Collaboration is the more powerful and exciting. We discuss how to enable both Accidental and Intentional Collaboration with ten key considerations.

This is not a technical manual, though it does cover key concepts of information architecture and how to free up information from overly-restrictive systems. If you are a SharePoint aficionado, then chapter 10 will give you pause and should be carefully read.

This is an ideal volume for the CIO in your life and any project or program sponsor who is interested in tapping the power of information and collaboration but is constantly thwarted by technology that gets in the way.

Please let us know what you think of the work. All opinions are welcome!

Delivering E2.0 While Maintaining a Manageable and Affordable Information Architecture

The Business: Enterprise 2.0 (E2.0) is all the rage! We need E2.0 technologies! Are we using E2.0 technologies yet?

Yes, you hear it all the time. But does everyone understand the combination of technologies it takes to achieve “E2.0” and the impact it has on your company’s information architecture?

A local customer of ours was faced with this dilemma:

 “Our business needs improved company communications with E2.0 technologies, but we want to maintain a manageable and affordable information architecture!

This major financial institution knew that the days of a one-way feeding of information to their 2,300 employees via email was a thing of the past.

Instant messaging, social networking, and real-time feeds delivering up-to-the-minute information needed to be their future.

E2.0 was clearly the answer.

With the help of Fishbowl’s business analysis, proofs of concept and expertise, the decision was made to implement a portal-based intranet solution (pdf) that delivers the sought after E2.0 features with Oracle UCM acting as the “single source of truth” for their content and the management of the content.

The intranet has improved the speed of transactions, increased capacity, reduced email clutter (a favorite of users), simplified the organization’s information architecture (a favorite of the IT department), and provided a yearly savings of 25 percent on administrative costs.

Not to mention, it was recognized by Oracle for its innovative information architecture and the company’s tech lead was awarded “Content Architect of the Year”.