Skip navigation.

WebCenter Team

Syndicate content
Oracle WebCenter is the user engagement platform for social business—connecting people and information.
Updated: 5 hours 15 min ago

Oracle WebCenter Mobile Development Skillsets

Tue, 2014-07-08 09:32

By Mitchell Palski, Oracle WebCenter Sales Consultant

The Important of Enterprise Mobility
Enterprise mobility is a growing area of interest for all organizations – public sector and commercial – mainly because of the widespread use of mobile devices. A majority of users have mobile access to the web and an ever-growing percentage of those users depend on that capability to successfully perform their day-to-day responsibilities. Rather than combat this trend, the burden is on IT development teams to develop user interfaces that enhance the productivity of their workforce and encourage user participation through mobile devices. I wrote a blog in April 2014 called “The Evolution of Enterprise Content in the Mobile Era” in which I talked about the enterprise benefits of mobile access to content. Aside from the benefits to end users, I also noted that organizations can analyze usage analytics from personal devices to gather information about their mobile workforce. The point is this; enterprise mobility isn’t just important to end users’ satisfaction, it’s also important to an organization’s operational awareness.

Developing a Mobile Interface with Oracle WebCenter Portal
Oracle WebCenter Portal is a Web platform that allows organizations to quickly and easily create intranets, extranets, composite applications, and self-service portals. Oracle WebCenter Portal provides users a more secure and efficient way of consuming information and interacting with applications, processes, and other users. Oracle WebCenter Portal provides IT with a comprehensive and flexible enterprise portal and composite applications solution to quickly build portals, websites and composite applications. This common user experience architecture is based on ADF and combines run-time and design time customization of applications in one. 

Oracle WebCenter Portal supports enterprise mobility through several development techniques:
  • Responsive Design – develop an interface that adapts the layout of a website automatically based on the dimensions of the device viewing that site.
  • Device Settings and Page Variants – control how a Portal renders on specific devices or groups of devices.
  • Mobile Applications – provide users with native applications for their iOS and Android devices.
The rest of this blog will be dedicated to explaining the differences between these three techniques, as well as the skillsets that your staff will require to use them.
Responsive Design
1 Responsive design is a client-side strategy that depends on CSS Media Query to carry out the client-side responsiveness. Oracle WebCenter Portal is based on the Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF), whose user interface components (rich client components) are based on JavaServer Faces (JSF). When developing a responsive Oracle WebCenter Portal user interface, your development team will have to leverage those ADF components to quickly and easily build interactive user interfaces. When building a responsive user interface layout, developers are not limited to using ADF components – they can also leverage the traditional HTML5+CSS3 technique. Here’s how it breaks down:

Interactive Components  Page Layout  ADF  Yes  Yes  HTML5+CSS3  No  Yes

What it comes down to is this:

  • Oracle WebCenter Portal comes out-of-the-box with a plethora of UI components that can be dragged and dropped onto a page. No ADF knowledge is needed to accomplish this.
  • ADF is used for any UI component that interacts with Oracle WebCenter services. This includes anything from an Event Calendar to an Administration link.
  • ADF, HTML5, or a hybrid of the two, can all be used to design the layout of your Portal.
The only other note I would like to make here is that many Oracle WebCenter Portal customers prefer to change the out-of-the-box look and feel of ADF components. Those components generate HTML on the client side that assigns unique CSS classes that HTML. The styles associated with those classes can be altered by using ADF skin selectors2 in the Portal skin.
Oracle recommends the use of JDeveloper to develop page templates and skins for Oracle WebCenter Portal. In JDeveloper, you can build new templates and skins from scratch or refine and further develop existing ones that come with Oracle WebCenter Portal.

Page Variants
Oracle WebCenter Portal includes the capability to recognize which type of device a given request comes from, and to render the portal properly on that device. Portal administrators can use device settings to specify which page templates and skins to associate with specific devices or classes of devices. In addition, administrators can create and edit page variants – alternative pages designed to display on specific groups of devices.

When it comes to developing the actual page templates and skins, the same skillsets described above apply. However, there are two categories of additional skills that Portal developers and administrators should learn; both are specific to Oracle WebCenter Portal: Managing device groups allows an administrator to assign specific page templates and skins to device types. The value of this feature is realized by standardizing the look-and-feel of a portal across devices within the same group. For example, it may be beneficial to replace flashy image-filled backgrounds with CSS3 gradients to improve page load times. 
The advantage of using page variants is that you aren’t just altering the layout of the page based on a device’s dimensions – you are actually providing an alternate user experience. You are also controlling what content is actually being displayed on that page. You may want to completely re-structure the way that your navigation renders, or which Business Intelligence reports show up on the home page, or provide links that are more useful to mobile workers rather than those in the office. Responsive design can be incorporated into this technique, but the real value in using page variants comes from defining mobile user’s goals and tailoring the interface to optimize their experience.
Mobile Applications for Oracle WebCenter Oracle ADF Mobile enables developers to build and extend enterprise applications for iOS and Android from a single code base. Based on a hybrid mobile architecture, ADF Mobile supports access to native device services, enables offline applications and protects enterprise investments from future technology shifts.
The Java language is used for developing the business logic in Oracle ADF Mobile applications – a fairly commonplace skillset. This makes mobile app development easy for most organizations because it doesn’t require their Java developers to learn any new programming languages. The Oracle Fusion Middleware stack has a set of APIs for all products, including Oracle WebCenter. These APIs can be used to access Oracle WebCenter security, to display Oracle WebCenter services (i.e. People connections, announcements, events, etc.), to render content from the Content Repository, and perform many other Oracle WebCenter-related actions. Local device services such as camera, phone, SMS, and GPS, can also be accessed through the Apache Cordova platform. ADF mobiles can authenticate against a remote login server and then make the appropriate tokens accessible for further web service calls to data sources.
For developers that already familiar with developing with Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF), the transition to using ADF mobile will be even easier. Developers can still expose Java classes and web services as “data controls”. JDeveloper uses a declarative binding layer and drag-and-drop technology to create forms, lists, charts, and other data visualizations from an application’s data controls. Developers that are already accustomed to building interfaces using these declarative technologies will find ADF mobile easy to use, especially considering that the ADF Mobile components are already designed for mobile devices, allow for additional customization through CSS3, and support touch gestures.
Conclusion Why is Enterprise Mobility Important?
  • More and more users depend on web capabilities to successfully perform their day-to-day responsibilities 
  • Encouraging user engagement through mobile devices can enhance the productivity of your mobile workforce 
  • Organizations can analyze usage analytics from personal devices to gather information about their mobile workforce
What options does Oracle WebCenter Portal provide for Delivering Mobile Engagement?
  • Responsive design in page templates and skins
  • Apply layouts and skins to the UX for specific devices and device-groups
  • Develop a mobile application using ADF Mobile
What skillsets will are needed by the development staff to build this mobile experience? Features  Features  Features  Skill-sets  Skill-sets  Mobile Methodology  Adaptive Layouts  Device-specific User Experiences  Works Offline  ADF Skill-Level  HTML5+CSS3 Skill-Level  Responsive Design  Yes  No  No Minimal Expert  Device Settings  Yes  Yes  No Minimal Proficient   Mobile App  Yes No  Yes  Expert Proficient 
At the end of the day, there is no substitute for hands-on training and reading the Oracle Documentation. For more guidance on this subject, reach out to your local Oracle representative and open a discussion!

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

1Building a Responsive WebCenter Portal Application, April 2014, By JayJay Zheng
2ADF-WebCenter Responsive-Adaptive Design Beyond, By Martin Deh

How Oracle WebCenter Customers Build Digital Businesses: Contending with Digital Disruption

Wed, 2014-07-02 07:00
Evernote Export body, td { font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 10pt; }
Guest Blog Post by: Geoffrey Bock, Principal, Bock & Company
Customer Conversations What are Oracle WebCenter customers doing to exploit innovative digital technologies and develop new sources of value? How are they mobilizing their enterprise applications and leveraging opportunities of the digital business revolution?
To better understand the landscape for digitally powered businesses, I talked to several Oracle WebCenter customers and systems integrators across a range of industries -- including hospitality, manufacturing, life sciences, and the public sector. Through in depth conversations with IT and business leaders, I collected a set of stories about their mobile journeys -- how they are developing next-generation enterprise applications that weave digital technologies into their ongoing operations.
In this and two subsequent blogs, I will highlight several important points from my overall roadmap for developing digital businesses.
Beyond an Aging Infrastructure As a first step, successful customers are contending with digital disruption, and leveraging their inherent strengths to transform operations. Today they are web-aware, if not already web-savvy. Most organizations launched their initial sites more than fifteen years ago. They have steadily added web-based applications to support targeted initiatives.
Yet the customers I interviewed are now at a crossroads. They realize that they need to refresh, modernize, and mobilize their enterprise application infrastructure to build successful digital businesses.
  • One IT leader describes how her firm implemented a cutting-edge enterprise portal ten years ago. Designed for order processing and resources management, the portal now runs outdated technologies and is unable to support needed employee-facing applications.
  • Another business leader has a similar story. The company still relies on a custom designed web-based application. The technology is obsolete and the people knowledgeable about maintaining the application are difficult to find.
  • A third IT leader describes how her organization collects information through several Cold Fusion sites, and needs to replace them in order to deliver more flexible self-service applications.
From my perspective, these leaders are recognizing the power of digital disruption. To create new value, they must deliver seamless customer-, partner-, and employee-facing experiences. They are confronting the limitations of their current application infrastructure and are turning to Oracle for long-term solutions.
Rather than simply enhance what they have, leaders are opting for modernization. They need to develop and deploy native digital experiences. Web-based applications that are bolted onto an aging infrastructure are no longer sufficient.
Change and Continuity Yet there is also continuity around integrating the end-to-end experiences. Let’s take the case of a large manufacturing firm now mobilizing its digital business around Oracle WebCenter. The business leaders identified the multiple steps in the buying process – the information customers and partners need to have to assess alternatives and make purchasing decisions.
The firm had developed multiple web sites to publish product information, offer design advice, and schedule follow-up meetings. But the end result was a fragmented and disconnected set of activities, relying first on information from one system, then from another, and lacking an end-to-end view for measuring results.
The leaders realized that they needed to connect the dots and deliver a seamless experience. In the case of this manufacturing firm, a key step blends online with real-time – helping customers schedule appointments with designers who advise them about design alternatives and product options. (From the manufacturer’s perspective, designers are channel partners who sell the finished goods and deliver support services.)
The breakthrough that accelerates the buying process focuses on these customer/designer interactions -- assembling all of the necessary information into a seamless experience, and making it easy for customers to engage with designers to finalize designs and place orders. As a result, this manufacturing firm mitigates the threat of digital disruption by mobilizing resources to complete a high-value task.

The firm empowers its partner channel by reinventing a key business process for the digital age. This becomes a win-win opportunity that increases customer satisfaction while also improving sales opportunities.

 Delivering Moments of Engagement Across the Enterprise

The Connected Digital Experience

Wed, 2014-06-25 12:30
by Dave Gray, Entrepreneur, Author & Consultant
Think back ten or twenty years. Do you remember the days when you would go into work because you needed access to technology that you didn’t have at home? Maybe you went in to work to use the computers and software to make a flyer for the family picnic, or you went in to use the copy machine or the laser printer to print the flyers.
It used to be that our technology at home was so primitive that we would need to go into work in order to access the more advanced tools. But today, that dynamic has flipped.
What's happened is that regular people like you and me have adopted the cutting edge technologies faster than our companies have. We are using Facebook and Twitter to keep up with friends, to organize our social lives, to share information. Devices like the iPad, the iPhone, and other mobile and digital devices have gotten cheap and good enough that regular, ordinary people can afford them, and we the people have adopted them way faster than organizations have been able to keep up. 
Today, we go in to work and say things like, "I can do this at home. Why can't I do this at work? I have Google Docs. I can fire all this stuff up. I can send a message to my whole social network on Facebook and it’s really easy. Why can't I do that at work?"
Thanks to all these social and mobile technologies, customers are now able to organize and share information in new ways. For example, before you go into a restaurant you can read a bunch of reviews. You can sort through and find the best restaurant within five miles, and so on.
We have even seen revolutionary movements like the Arab Spring, where people are using these new tools to connect in networks and self organize in ways that are completely disruptive, not only to companies but even the nation-states that used to be able to control their populations.
This is a real shift in the balance of power, and it’s creating a new kind of marketplace that is very volatile, uncertain, and complex. 
This is the marketplace today. We see a lot of startups these days, coming seemingly out of nowhere, and they are rapidly disrupting traditional forms of business.
Imagine being Barnes & Noble or any traditional booksellers today. Imagine what it feels like to TV networks like NBC or CBS. There used to be only three choices for which channel to watch. Four if you count public television. Now there are thousands. Imagine you were a record company selling albums. Look what has happened to that market.
Yesterday it was bookstores and media companies. Today it’s taxi drivers whose business model is being completely disrupted by companies like Uber and Lyft, who use digital technologies and peer-to-peer networks to get you better car service, faster and cheaper than taxis can.
It’s happening to airlines, to hotels, to insurance companies, to financial services, to government. There is no industry that will not be touched in this new world. Think about what things like Skype and Google Hangouts are doing to the telecommunications industry.
The tools of organizing and producing and making things are more getting cheaper, and cheaper, and cheaper, so more and more people can use them. This means more startups, more innovation, more disruption, and more volatility in the marketplace.
This creates a challenge for organizations: How can you respond when the market and the world is changing as fast as it's changing today? When things are as complex, uncertain and ambiguous as they are today, how do you adapt? How do you continue to evolve and adapt the way that you offer your products and services so you can stay relevant? 
There's no way to organize in this connected world without becoming a connected company. And the most forward-thinking companies are moving in this direction. 
So what must you do to become a more connected organization? That’s a very big question, and not so easy to answer. But there are some clues. We can learn from what some companies are doing, companies that have grown up and demonstrated success in this environment, that have been able to learn quickly and adapt to rapidly-changing market situations, and have been able to scale successfully while continually adapting.
Different companies have done this in different ways.  But, really, what it comes down to in the largest sense is that a connected company is organized so that the smaller parts of the organization can operate and evolve and experiment and actually adapt to their environment.
Let’s take just one example of a leading-edge organization that’s designed to adapt.
Whole Foods Markets is kind of a nice example because it’s pretty easy to understand. It’s a grocery store. But it's not like most grocery stores where you are going to get the same stuff everywhere you go in the world or everywhere you go in the country. Whole Foods Markets has basically made each store relatively autonomous. In fact each region is relatively autonomous, each store is relatively autonomous, and even each team within the store has autonomy and a degree of freedom with regard to how they run their operation. At each level there is the opportunity to run a business within the larger business.
Whole Foods does this because they want to be able to adapt very specifically to every market they enter.
So if you go into a Whole Foods in Silicon Valley, or New York, or wherever you live, you are going to see a very different set of stuff than I'm going to see here where I live, in St. Louis. I'm going to see stuff that's locally sourced from local farmers and suppliers, and you are going to get stuff that's locally sourced from your community.
Teams at Whole Foods have the ability to self organize and work with customers and adapt to their local environment in a way that you can't really do in many companies.
How do they do this?
Each store is an autonomous profit center made up of about ten self-managed teams, who manage various aspects of the store, like produce, deli and so on.
Each team has control over its own fate. Performance data is available to all the teams, so they can compare their performance against other teams in their store, similar teams in other stores, or against their own team’s historical performance.
Teams also have access to detailed financial data, like product costs, profits per store, and even each other’s compensation and bonus information. They can look up the best-selling items at other stores and compare them to their own. Employees at Whole Foods are so well-informed that the SEC has designated all employees “insiders” for stock trading purposes.
This data transparency both builds trust and fuels a spirit of intense competition between teams and stores, since every team can compare itself with every other team and try to raise in the ranks. Whole Foods has created a platform that makes it possible for the company’s stores and teams to compete with each other so they can tune and improve their performance over time.
At the same time, each team has the autonomy to make local decisions as they see fit to improve their performance. So every Whole Foods store carries a unique mix that is tailored by self-managed teams for that particular location. This strategy allows them to target extremely small locations with highly customized stores. They are starting to open small stores in suburbs and college towns where rents are lower and competition less fierce.
The industry average sales per square foot is about $350, and Whole Foods is one of the top ten retailers in the US, with sales of about $900 per square foot, higher than Best Buy and Zale jewelers1.  Not bad for a grocery store.
Employees like it too. Whole Foods has made Fortune’s “100 best places to work” list every year since the list was started in 1998.

Whole Foods is just one company, but there are many others like it that are transforming the business landscape. In the words of science-fiction author William Gibson, “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.”

If you haven’t started connecting your company yet, now would be a good time to start.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
1Ranking U.S. Chains by Retail Sales per Square Foot, RetailSails, 2011. 

You can hear more from Dave on the Connected Digital Experience in our Digital Business Thought Leaders webcast tomorrow, June 26 at 10:00am PT - "The Digital Experience: A Connected Company’s Sixth Sense".

Who is Dave Gray and What is a Connected Company?

Mon, 2014-06-23 09:28

by Dave Gray, Entrepreneur, Author & Consultant

Who is Dave Gray?


I’m an entrepreneur and designer who has worked on change and innovation initiatives for the last thirty years. I’ve worked with startups and Fortune 100 companies. I’ve worked with companies in finance, energy, defense, technology, media, education, health care, automotive and more. I’ve seen a lot of things in that time, including some amazing successes as well as some catastrophic failures.

In my work with organizations, including growing my own company, I came to see that there are two factors which have the greatest impact on how well an organization can innovate and change. The first is organizational structure, by which I mean how the work is organized, and the way it distributes information and control. The second is organizational culture, by which I mean the habits, behaviors, and informal rules that add up to “the way we do things around here.”

The structure is the organization’s shape and form, while the culture is the life force that animates it. Culture and structure mutually reinforce each other, and the relationship between them is complex.

I have come to believe that both culture and structure can be designed in such a way that an organization can be much more agile and adaptable, so change and innovation come much more easily than they do in a typical organization. Which brings me to the next question: what is a connected company?

What is a Connected Company?
Historically, we have thought of companies as machines, and we have designed them like we design machines. Most companies are conceived and designed this way.

A car is a perfect example of machine design. It’s designed to do one thing and does that thing pretty well. It’s controlled by a driver. Mechanics perform routine maintenance and fix it when it breaks down. Eventually the car wears out, or your needs change, so you sell the car and buy a new one.

If one day you need a truck, or a motorcycle for some reason, the car is not going to adapt to your needs. The car is going to stay a car.

And we tend to design companies the way we design machines: We need the company to perform a certain function, so we design and build it to perform that function. 

The machine view is very successful in a stable environment. If there is a steady, predictable demand for a standard, uniform product, then machines are very efficient and productive. In such conditions, a machine-like company can profit by producing uniform items in large lots.

But over time, things change. The company grows beyond a certain point. New systems are needed. Customers want different products and services. So we redesign and rebuild the machine to serve the new functions. 

This kind of rebuilding goes by many names, including re-organization, reengineering, right-sizing, flattening and so on. The problem with this kind of thinking is that the nature of a machine is to remain static, while the nature of a company is to grow. This conflict causes all kinds of problems because you have to constantly redesign and rebuild the company while at the same time you are trying to operate it. Ironically, the process of improving efficiency is often very inefficient. And the faster things change the more of a problem this becomes.

Companies are not really machines, so much as complex, dynamic, growing systems. After all, companies are really just groups of people who have banded together to achieve some kind of purpose. 

A machine’s purpose is designed into its structure. Once a machine’s purpose has been set, it does what it has been designed to do. But if the environment changes, a machine does not have a way to become aware of the change and adjust to the new situation. It just becomes obsolete.

Organisms, on the other hand, control themselves. An organism’s purpose does not come from an outside designer or controller but from within. An organism strives over time to realize its intentions in the world. As conditions in the environment change, an organism responds by adjusting its behavior and improving its performance over time. In other words, it learns.

Now before we had cars we got around using horses. And a horse is a very adaptable kind of transportation. If you were going into a place where you didn’t know if you were going to have roads, or gasoline, well then a horse might very well be a better choice than a car.

And the business world these days is being continually disrupted by new technologies, new ways of communicating and sharing information. It’s a lot more uncertain and unpredictable, which is why a more adaptable, organic approach gives you more flexibility to adapt as things change.

A connected company is one whose culture and structure are designed to continually learn and adapt to a changing marketplace. It is designed more like an organism and less like a machine. Connected companies distribute information and control differently. They organize work differently.

Instead of a hierarchy like you might see in a typical organization chart, a connected company is organized in what I call a podular way. It operates as a network of small, self-directed teams that are supported by platforms and connected by some kind of common purpose. Amazon and Google are organized in this way, as are many others. 

Teams that are independent and self-directed can learn and adapt more rapidly than their counterparts in divided organizations, because they don’t have to worry about complicated processes and procedures. They don’t have to get permission from a boss before they act. They interface with other teams through a simple network. This makes it possible to move much faster, make faster decisions and learn faster. This kind of organization is more entrepreneurial.

Think of a shopping mall or a commercial district in a city. The city doesn’t tell people which businesses to operate, they create a space and provide infrastructure which gets filled in with entrepreneurs. This is the core of how connected companies operate. They provide a space and a supporting platform that attracts a more entrepreneurial kind of person.

It’s Time to Connect
Adaptation requires learning. Learning requires the freedom to experiment. Today’s business environment is uncertain and variable. It’s impossible to know in advance what kinds of actions will constitute good performance. By giving their employees the freedom to make decisions, connected companies learn and move faster. While others analyze risk, connected companies seize opportunities. While others work in isolation, they link into rich networks of possibility and expand their influence. While others plan, they act.

Connected customers are already demanding more than divided, industrial-age companies can deliver. I’m convinced that as we move toward a more complex, connected, customer-centric world, the businesses that will win will be the connected companies.

Learn more about The Connected Company and Dave in this podcast, and hear more from Dave in our upcoming Digital Business Thought Leadership Series webcast "The Digital Experience: A Connected Company’s Sixth Sense".

Transform your Finance and HR Processes with Oracle WebCenter Content and Oracle WebCenter Imaging

Thu, 2014-06-19 07:54

THE INSIGHT-DRIVEN ENTERPRISE

Contact John Wilkin:

1.661.644.4272

john.wilkin@oracle.com

to register for this event

Transform your Finance and HR processes with Oracle WebCenter Content and Oracle WebCenter Imaging, and learn how to implement the solution faster with Aurionpro’s accelerator

Join us for a Technology-Focused Introduction to Oracle WebCenter Content and Oracle WebCenter Imaging

Oracle and Aurionpro invite you to join an Oracle WebCenter Content and Oracle WebCenter Imaging Webcast on Friday, June 27th at 10 a.m. PST. Many corporations, universities and government agencies are taking advantage of this one-hour online presentation to learn about industry leading content-enabling their Oracle and other applications to provide targeted functionality and operational visibility while delivering tremendous ROI and reducing risks. With Oracle WebCenter Content & Oracle WebCenter Imaging and Aurionpro’s accelerator, your organization can:


Friday, June 27th 2014
10:00 a.m. Pacific Time / 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Please circulate this invitation to any of your team members who might be interested in participating.

To access this Oracle Web Conference – please send an email to john.wilkin@oracle.com with your name, title, & email address, and we’ll send the webcast URL and audio conferencing dial-in #.

Who Should Attend:

This Oracle WebCenter Content and Oracle WebCenter Imaging webcast is designed for Finance (AP, AR), HR, Admissions and IT decision makers who wish to learn more about how Oracle WebCenter can be used to enhance Oracle and other applications for their business processes. This webcast will also provide a high level overview of how Oracle WebCenter fits into the overall Oracle Fusion Middleware (FMW) suite, a fully integrated stack of products.

Oracle Fusion Middleware technology-related topics that will be covered include:

  • Intro to Oracle WebCenter Suite, including Oracle WebCenter Sites, Oracle WebCenter Portal, Oracle WebCenter Content and Oracle WebCenter Imaging

 

To register for the webcast, please send your name, title, institution and email address to: john.wilkin@oracle.com

Upon registration, you will receive in advance the web conferring link and audio conferencing number to access the live webcast.

Aurionpro is an award winning Platinum Oracle Partner specializing in Oracle WebCenter and Security products. www.aurionpro.com

Oracle WebCenter Content & Oracle WebCenter Imaging Webcast

Please contact John Wilkin at john.wilkin@oracle.com with any questions about this disclosure.

Building Advanced Self-Service Portals

Tue, 2014-06-17 08:15

By Mitchell Palski, Oracle WebCenter Sales Consultant

Must-Have Features for Self-Service Portals

Whether intended for employees, customers, partners or citizens, a Portal is most often intended to be a web site that is developed to aggregate information and services to users. Effective web portals present information to users based on their roles and interests so as to avoid users depending on the web site’s search bar to find information. At Oracle, we often times refer to developing that presentation layer as “delivering high-value user experiences” because of the efficiency and effectiveness it brings to users. Ultimately, these are our goals as a software development team:

  • Enhance the user’s satisfaction with using the web portal
  • Enable users to accomplish more in less time spent on the portal
  • Improves the efficacy of users through new capabilities
Although the design of a web portal’s presentation layer is critical to providing a satisfying and efficient user experience, the services that the portal provides are what will drive its success. Much like cooking a meal, the best dishes are made from the best ingredients. The services that your web portal provides are the basis for creating high-value user experiences – ultimately giving your product a higher return on investment. As an organization, you are looking for ways to cut costs, to get your users the information they need when they need it, to improve user awareness, and to reduce overhead. This can best be accomplished by developing a self-service web portal. In this blog post, I want to describe a few features that a self-service web portal must have to be successful.

User Authentication, Role-Based Access A self-service Portal must incorporate some form of Identity Management. Users must be able to register a profile with your web application so that users’ attributes can be captured and roles can be associated to them. Role-based access is critical to implementing a successful self-service Portal:
  • Users can inherit immediate access to key tools and applications based on their role(s) rather than having to submit manual requests
  • Mass updates can be made to all users that have been granted a role, reducing maintenance effort and costs
  • Provide the foundation for other self-service portal features (see below!)
Automated Access Requests How do users currently gain access to new applications in your organization? Do they call the help desk? Do they email an IT administrator and explain what their roles are? How does the IT administrator know what rights to grant them? Without self-service access requests, your users and your organization are subject to the weaknesses and risks of manual access request processes.
  • Lack of visibility and awareness for requestors
  • Lost or deleted request that never get fulfilled
  • Incorrect access provisioning that can lead to security breaches

You can solve these issues for your organization by implementing automated access requests. An automated access request is a user-initiated automated process that includes at least one (system or human) validation step. The benefits to your enterprise include:

  • Allowing users to gain access to sensitive applications in a timely manner
  • Reducing IT costs through efficient, business friendly self-service and platform-based architecture
  • Minimizing risk by granting access based on standard sets of rules and policies rather than human discretion
  • Providing complete audit trails
Web-Based Form Service Requests Your web portal is the perfect platform to provide your users with fast, efficient, and accurate services. Automated service requests transform complex manual procedures into streamlined simplified processes. Rather than having employees indirectly initiate service requests via fax, email, phone, or snail-mail, allow users to complete web-based forms. The advantages of web-based forms include:
  • Ensuring that users provide all required information prior to submission
  • Provide a layer of data validation prior to submission
  • Immediate digital transmission of information and case creation


Leverage these web-based forms to kick-off automated processes. These processes remove the human elements from key decision points in your organization’s procedures. Instead they make key determinations based off of business rules and policies. Human intervention only becomes necessary for validation steps and exception handling.

  • Removes process gaps between applications that are prone to errors
  • Simplifies architecture and streamlines processes to lower costs
  • Improves your organization’s throughput and efficiency
  • Allows your workforce to stop performing administrative work and focus on innovative tasks!
Advanced Self-Service Portals
Self-Service portals are an essential element of an organization’s ability to successfully conduct business with customers, partners, employees and citizens. Modern users expect to interact with an organization through a web-based interface that can be delivered through any type of computing device – mobile or otherwise.

Oracle WebCenter Portal provides IT with a comprehensive and flexible platform which can be used to quickly build self-service portals and composite applications. Furthermore, Oracle WebCenter’s ease of integration with other Oracle Fusion Middleware products (i.e. Identity Management, Business Process Management, and Business Intelligence) strengthens its capability to provide am enterprise-ready self-service portal that can meet all of your organization’s business needs.

Imaging: Paper Paper Everywhere, but None Should be in Sight

Tue, 2014-06-03 11:13

Author: Vikrant Korde, Technical Architect, Aurionpro's Oracle Implementation Services team

My wedding photos are stored in several empty shoeboxes. Yes...I got married before digital photography was mainstream...which means I'm old. But my parents are really old. They have shoeboxes filled with vacation photos on slides (I doubt many of you have even seen a home slide projector...and I hope you never do!). Neither me nor my parents should have shoeboxes filled with any form of photographs whatsoever. They should obviously live in the digital world...with no physical versions in sight (other than a few framed on our walls).

Businesses grapple with similar challenges. But instead of shoeboxes, they have file cabinets and warehouses jam packed with paper invoices, legal documents, human resource files, material safety data sheets, incident reports, and the list goes on and on. In fact, regulatory and compliance rules govern many industries, requiring that this paperwork is available for any number of years. It's a real challenge...especially trying to find archived documents quickly and many times with no backup. Which brings us to a set of technologies called Image Process Management (or simply Imaging or Image Processing) that are transforming these antiquated, paper-based processes.

Oracle's WebCenter Content Imaging solution is a combination of their WebCenter suite, which offers a robust set of content and document management features, and their Business Process Management (BPM) suite, which helps to automate business processes through the definition of workflows and business rules. Overall, the solution provides an enterprise-class platform for end-to-end management of document images within transactional business processes. It's a solution that provides all of the capabilities needed - from document capture and recognition, to imaging and workflow - to effectively transform your ‘shoeboxes’ of files into digitally managed assets that comply with strict industry regulations. The terminology can be quite overwhelming if you're new to the space, so we've provided a summary of the primary components of the solution below, along with a short description of the two paths that can be executed to load images of scanned documents into Oracle's WebCenter suite.

WebCenter Imaging (WCI): the electronic document repository that provides security, annotations, and search capabilities, and is the primary user interface for managing work items in the imaging solution

SOA & BPM Suites (workflow): provide business process management capabilities, including human tasks, workflow management, service integration, and all other standard SOA features. It's interesting to note that there a number of 'jumpstart' processes available to help accelerate the integration of business applications, such as the accounts payable invoice processing solution for E-Business Suite that facilitates the processing of large volumes of invoices

WebCenter Enterprise Capture (WEC): expedites the capture process of paper documents to digital images, offering high volume scanning and importing from email, and allows for flexible indexing options

WebCenter Forms Recognition (WFR): automatically recognizes, categorizes, and extracts information from paper documents with greatly reduced human intervention

WebCenter Content: the backend content server that provides versioning, security, and content storage

There are two paths that can be executed to send data from WebCenter Capture to WebCenter Imaging, both of which are described below:

1. Direct Flow - This is the simplest and quickest way to push an image scanned from WebCenter Enterprise Capture (WEC) to WebCenter Imaging (WCI), using the bare minimum metadata. The WEC activities are defined below:

  • The paper document is scanned (or imported from email).
  • The scanned image is indexed using a predefined indexing profile.
  • The image is committed directly into the process flow
2. WFR (WebCenter Forms Recognition) Flow - This is the more complex process, during which data is extracted from the image using a series of operations including Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Classification, Extraction, and Export. This process creates three files (Tiff, XML, and TXT), which are fed to the WCI Input Agent (the high speed import/filing module). The WCI Input Agent directory is a standard ingestion method for adding content to WebCenter Imaging, the process for doing so is described below:
  • WEC commits the batch using the respective commit profile. A TIFF file is created, passing data through the file name by including values separated by "_" (underscores).
  • WFR completes OCR, classification, extraction, export, and pulls the data from the image. In addition to the TIFF file, which contains the document image, an XML file containing the extracted data, and a TXT file containing the metadata that will be filled in WCI, are also created. All three files are exported to WCI's Input agent directory.
  • Based on previously defined "input masks", the WCI Input Agent will pick up the seeding file (often the TXT file).
  • Finally, the TIFF file is pushed in UCM and a unique web-viewable URL is created. Based on the mapping data read from the TXT file, a new record is created in the WCI application. 
Although these processes may seem complex, each Oracle component works seamlessly together to achieve a high performing and scalable platform. The solution has been field tested at some of the largest enterprises in the world and has transformed millions and millions of paper-based documents to more easily manageable digital assets. For more information on how an Imaging solution can help your business, please contact steven.sommer@aurionpro.com (for U.S. West inquiries) or mark.tepsic@aurionpro.com (for U.S. East inquiries).
About the Author: Vikrant is a Technical Architect in Aurionpro's Oracle Implementation Services team, where he delivers WebCenter-based Content and Imaging solutions to Fortune 1000 clients. With more than twelve years of experience designing, developing, and implementing Java-based software solutions, Vikrant was one of the founding members of Aurionpro's WebCenter-based offshore delivery team. He can be reached at vikrant.korde@aurionpro.com.

Openmatics Revolutionizes Fleet Management with Standards-Based Vehicle Telematics Platform

Thu, 2014-05-29 07:00

Openmatics s.r.o. was founded in 2010 as a subsidiary of ZF Friedrichshafen AG, a global player in driveline and chassis technology.


Oracle Customer:  Openmatics s.r.o.
Location:  Pilsen, Czech Republic
Industry:  Automotive
Employees:  70 Its goal was to develop and operate a flexible, open telematics platform for automotive applications, which is independent from vehicle and component suppliers—recognizing that the fragmented telematics market was not meeting today’s fleet management needs. Openmatics provides a rich product portfolio, and customers can extend the platform, as required, to meet their needs. Partners and third-parties can develop their own applications using the Openmatics’ software development kit and can sell them via the Openmatics app shop.

ZF Friedrichshafen AG is a global player in driveline and chassis technology. With 121 production companies and 650 service partners in 26 countries, ZF is among the top 10 largest automotive suppliers worldwide. Founded in 1915 to develop and produce transmissions for airships and vehicles, the group’s product offerings now include transmissions and steering systems as well as chassis components and complete axle systems and modules.

 A word from Openmatics s.r.o.

 “Oracle WebCenter Portal, together with the underlying Oracle Application Development Framework, provided the fundamental infrastructure for the Openmatics platform. Fleet managers can now reduce fuel consumption and operating costs, and more efficiently manage vehicle usage, maintenance, and safety. The standards-based platform allows third-party suppliers to deploy their own vehicle telematics services as Openmatics apps and creates a de facto standard for the automotive industry, independent from a single manufacturer or service provider.”

– Gero Strobel, Head of Development, Openmatics s.r.o.


Challenges
  • Create an industry standard for vehicle telematics by establishing a customizable platform that enables access to telematics information, such as current and past fuel consumption, through a web browser to better meet automotive market and customer needs
  • Reduce fleet-management costs by eliminating the need to invest in isolated telematics hardware and software solutions per vehicle brand and vehicle component manufacturer
  • Establish an open platform where third-party providers—such as original equipment manufacturers (OEM), insurers, fleet operators, and individual developers—can deploy their own vehicle telematics services
  • Allow users to purchase targeted telematics services as single apps to reduce costs and ensure rapid growth of telematics services available on the platform
  • Enable users to configure their telematics apps with ease to make sure the platform meets individual fleet management requirements, such as analyzing past and current fuel consumption of a truck fleet

Solutions
  • Deployed Oracle WebCenter Portal as a foundation for Openmatics, a standards-based automotive telematics platform that provides next-generation fleet management with unified digital communication from and to vehicles on the move
  • Used Oracle Application Development Framework as the development framework for Oracle WebCenter Portal’s components and services, providing developers with ready-to-use software development kits with application programming interfaces, design templates, and visual tools that accelerated time to market
  • Used Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse to simplify telematics application development in Java
  • Enabled fleet monitoring by recording vehicle data—such as fuel consumption information—through onboard units, delivering the information to Oracle Database, and making it accessible through a customizable app portfolio on any web browser
  • Stored vehicle telematics data—sent as encrypted information—in Oracle Database, ensuring data integrity and immediate availability for the platform’s telematics applications
  • Enabled a wide range of telematics services suppliers, from vehicle component manufacturers to fleet application developers, to offer vehicle telematics services on the Openmatics platform, ensuring platform independence from OEMs
  • Provided Openmatics customers with the means to individually select the automotive telematics services that are relevant to their business requirements, eliminating the need to pay for superfluous information and reducing fleet management costs

Oracle Products & Services

&<span id="XinhaEditingPostion"></span>amp;<span id="XinhaEditingPostion"></span>lt;p> </p>


Jagran Prakashan Increases Staff Productivity by 40%

Wed, 2014-05-28 07:15
Jagran PrakashanJagran Prakashan Increases Staff Productivity by 40%, Launches New IT Projects up to 4x Faster, Enables Mobile Service, and Improves Business Agility

Oracle Customer: JPL
Location:  Uttar Pradesh, India Industry: Media and Entertainment
Employees:  10,000 Annual Revenue:  $100 to $500 Million

Jagran Prakashan Ltd. (JPL) is one of India's premier media and communications groups with interests spanning print, advertising, event management, and mobile services for weather, cricket scores, and educational activities. It is a major media enterprise, with 300 locations across 15 states. Its impressive stable of print publications includes Dainik Jagran, the world’s most widely read daily newspaper––with a readership of over 55 million––the country’s leading afternoon dailies, and a range of popular local, bilingual, and English language newspapers.

JPL was using multiple systems to manage its business processes. Users were resistant to using multiple passwords for various applications, preferring to continue their less efficient, legacy work practices.

In addition, there was no single repository for sharing documents across the organization, such as company announcements or project documents. The company relied on e-mail to disseminate up-to-date company information, often missing employees. It was also time-consuming and difficult for managers to track the status of ongoing assignments or projects because collaboration and document sharing was inefficient and ineffective.

With diverse businesses and many geographic locations, JPL needed to implement a centralized and user-friendly enterprise portal to improve document sharing and collaboration and increase business agility. The company implemented Oracle WebCenter Portal to create a dynamic, secure, and intuitive self-service enterprise portal to improve the user experience and increase operating efficiency. It improved staff productivity by 40%, accelerated new IT projects by up to 4x, boosted staff morale, and increased business agility.  

Increases Staff Productivity by 40%, Launches New Products up to 2x Faster A word from JPL

"With Oracle WebCenter Portal, we gained a dynamic, secure, and intuitive self-service enterprise portal that provided an exceptional user experience and enabled us to engage employees in a collaborative environment. It increased IT staff productivity by 40%, delivered new projects up to 4x faster, and enabled mobile service to improve our business agility.”

Sarbani Bhatia, Vice President IT,

Jagran Prakashahn Ltd

Before implementing Oracle WebCenter Portal, JPL stored project-critical information, such as page planning of daily newspaper editions and the launch of new editions or supplements on individual laptops or in the e-mail system. Collaboration between colleagues was limited to physical meetings, telephone discussions, and e-mail. It was difficult to trace and recover important project documents when a staff member resigned, which represented a significant risk to business continuity. Employees were also averse to multiple passwords and resisted using the systems, affecting staff productivity.

With Oracle WebCenter Portal, JPL created a dynamic, secure, and intuitive self-service enterprise portal with business activity streams. The portal allowed users to navigate, discover, and access information, such as advertising rates, requisition approvals, ad-hoc queries, and employee surveys from a single entry point with a single password. Managers can also upload important documents, such as new pricing for advertisers or newspaper distributors, and share them through the information and instruction section in the portal. In addition, managers can now easily track and review timelines for projects online rather than gathering information from meetings and e-mails. The company gained the ability to centrally manage information, ensured business continuity, and improved staff productivity by 40%.

“In the media industry, news has a very short shelf life, so speed is crucial. Information delayed is like information lost,” said Sarbani Bhatia, vice president IT, Jagran Prakashahn Ltd. “Thanks to Oracle WebCenter Portal’s contextual collaboration tools, we can provide and share feedback for new project launches, such as career or education supplements, up to 2x faster through discussion forums or knowledge groups. Tasks that previously required four months, we now complete in one month.”

In addition, the company can broadcast announcements, flash employee birthdays, and promote important events through the message section on the webpage, instead of using the e-mail system. The company can also conduct opinion polls to gauge employee response to organizational issues and improve management decision-making.

“With over 10,000 employees across 300 locations, it is critical for management to hear the voice of employees and develop a cohesive organizational culture. Oracle WebCenter Portal enables employees to engage with business processes and systems in a collaborative environment, providing users with an exceptional experience,” Bhatia said.

Enables Mobility Access and Increases Business Agility

Newspaper advertisements generate the majority of JPL’s revenue. With most sales staff on the move, the company needed to ensure timely approval of print advertisement discounts for specific clients and meet tight publication deadlines. 

By integrating Oracle WebCenter Portal seamlessly with its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and other applications, such as the organizational mass mailing system, business intelligence, and management information system, JPL embedded its approval workflow processes into the enterprise portal and provided users with an integrated and intuitive interface. About 30% of JPL’s sales staff members now have tablets and receive advertising discount approval from managers while in the field and no longer need to return to the office, which has significantly improved efficiency and increased business agility.

“Application mobility was critical for sales representatives in the field to meet stringent auditing requirements for online accountability, particularly for our newspaper advertising business. Staff member satisfaction has improved significantly now that the sales team can use tablets to access the portal––a capability we will extend to smart phones in the second stage of the implementation,” Bhatia said.

Accelerates Application Development by up to 4x and Cuts Costs by up to 60% With Oracle WebCenter Portal, users can easily create, modify, and upload information to their personalized webpages without IT assistance. By seamlessly integrating Oracle WebCenter Portal with the payroll database, managers can decide which members of their team can access the page and with whom they will share information, a decision based on role or geographical location. A sales representative selling advertising space for a local language daily newspaper, for example, can upload an updated advertising rate relevant only to that particular publication. Users can also easily adapt to the new platform, thanks to its intuitive design and look, reducing the need for training and lowering resistance to using the system.

Using Oracle WebCenter Portal’s out-of-the-box reusable components, such as portal pages and templates, provided JPL’s developers with a comprehensive and flexible user experience platform and increased the speed of application development. In less than five months, JPL developed more than 55 workflows. The IT team accelerated deployment of new applications by up to 4x, as they do not need to install them on individual machines now that they have a web-based environment.  

“Previously, we would have spent a whole day deploying a new application for each department or location. With a browser-based environment, we have cut costs by up to 60% by reducing deployment time to zero, because our IT team can roll out a new application from a single point, thanks to Oracle WebCenter Portal,” Bhatia said. Challenges
  • Provide a dynamic, secure, and intuitive self-service enterprise portal to improve staff productivity and ensure business continuity
  • Enable seamless integration with multiple enterprise applications to improve workflow efficiency—including approval of print advertisement discounts—and increase business agility
  • Improve engagement with employees and enable collaboration to enhance management decision-making
  • Accelerate time-to-market for new services, such as new advertising programs
Solutions Oracle Product and Services
Oracle WebCenter Portal 11g
  • Increased staff productivity by 40% and enhanced user satisfaction by enabling employees to easily navigate, discover, and access information from a single, self-service enterprise portal without IT assistance
  • Launched new products, such as career or education supplements, up to 2x faster by enabling peer collaboration and incorporating feedback generated through discussion forums, thanks to Oracle WebCenter Portal’s out-of-the-box collaboration tools
  • Accelerated application development up to 4x by enabling developers to optimize reusable components for managing and deploying new applications in a browser-based environment rather than spending one day to install applications for each department, cutting costs by up to 60%
  • Ensured business continuity by enabling managers to easily track and review project timelines online rather than storing important documents on individual laptops or relying on the e-mail system
  • Increased business agility and operational efficiency by seamlessly integrating with the in-house, ERP system and embedding business processes into a single portal
  • Boosted company revenue by enabling sales team members to submit print-advertising discount requests through mobile devices instead of waiting to return to office, ensuring timely approval from managers to meet tight publication deadlines
  • Improved management decision-making by enabling employees to easily share and access feedback through opinion polls or forums, boosting staff morale
  • Introduced the single sign-on capability and enhanced security by enabling managers to decide access level for staff members based on role or geographical location
  • Reduced the need for staff training and minimized user resistance to systems by providing a dynamic and intuitive user experience
Why Oracle

JPL did not consider other products because the company was already using Oracle Database, Enterprise Edition with Real Application Clusters and had a positive experience with Oracle. JPL chose Oracle WebCenter Portal to ensure no compatibility issues for integration with its existing Oracle products and to take advantage of the experience and support of a reputable vendor to ensure business continuity.

“We chose Oracle because we knew we could rely on its support and experience. In addition, Oracle WebCenter Portal’s speed, agility, and mobile access features were a perfect fit for our business requirements,” Bhatia said.

Implementation Process

JPL launched the enterprise portal to 500 users in the first phase of the project, and plans to extend this to 2,000 users when the portal is fully launched. Oracle partner PricewaterhouseCoopers used Oracle Application Development Framework for the intial set-up, user training and to develop and design sample workflows. JPL’s internal IT staff then took charge of the implementation, bringing it to completion on budget.

Partner