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A Simple, Straightforward Method to Update Content on WebCenter-Based Portal Pages

In our experience working with numerous WebCenter Portal customers, almost all of whom suffered from failed portal/intranet implementations, this difficulty to update and quickly edit page content always lead to stagnant content throughout the portal. This stagnant content made the portal less sticky and therefore the organization didn’t realize widespread adoption.

The difficulty to add and update content was magnified by the fact that in most cases, portal page updates were performed by system administrators. As you can imagine especially in a large organization, the ability for a few admins making page updates across human resources, finance, marketing, and IT departments would cause bottlenecks and it would be days or weeks before the various business groups would see their new content on the portal. Because the business groups really couldn’t take ownership of the content on the portal, less and less changes or updates would be requested.

To make it easier for customers to update their portals and ultimately realize distributed content authoring, Fishbowl Solutions released its Portal Solution Accelerator (PSA) framework in 2012 which included a profile-driven process to make page updates. Today, one of the most desirable and usable features of Fishbowl’s Portal Solution Accelerator (PSA) is the inline editor. This feature enables portal users with the appropriate permissions to edit content directly on portal pages. Now before I provide more detail on this feature, I think it is important to provide some context on how Fishbowl Solutions has continued to make this feature easier for the business user to edit content.

With previous versions of PSA, the process involved the user going to the content server to find the content item. They then would check out the item, and then use a WYSIWYG-style editor to edit the content. After checking the content item back in they would return to the portal, refresh the page, and hopefully see the changes they made. To highlight what I’ve outlined above, see this video starting at 44:48.

With the current version of PSA, the inline editor was built with the business user mind. Fishbowl wanted to ensure that anyone with the appropriate permissions could edit page content and that the process itself could be done directly on the page itself. This would ensure that more users across more departments could be involved with keeping content on the portal fresh and new, helping companies get more value through higher adoption. An overview of the process is as follows:

  1. Users with the appropriate permissions go to the page they want to update. Hover effects indicate highlighted sections that can be updated.
  2. They then click on the edit icon (pencil on paper) that will appear in the bottom right corner of the editable section.
  3. Once clicked, stylized versions of Content Server profile pages appear. Within this profile form, the user can make any changes to page content. At this point, this page (content item) is checked out from the content server.
  4. Once finished the user click out of the profile form. This checks the item back in, which could trigger a workflow process for page reviews. The user that did the editing can then see in near real-time the updates to the page they made.

To illustrate how easy it is to edit portal page content with Fishbowl’s PSA inline editor, this video shows some examples of editing content, approving those items through workflow, and then seeing the updates.

As you can see, the inline editor feature of Fishbowl’s PSA makes it easy for anyone to update content on the portal. This feature alone ensures that more people within an organization, across departments and roles, can participate in content creation. With content being created more frequently, employees should be more engaged and better informed leading to higher rates of portal adoption.

The post A Simple, Straightforward Method to Update Content on WebCenter-Based Portal Pages appeared first on Fishbowl Solutions.

Categories: Fusion Middleware, Other

The Intelligent Chatbot to Customer Service Agent Hand-Off within Zendesk

Chatbots are on the rise. By 2020, over 80% of businesses are expected to implement some type of chatbot automation (Business Insider, 2016). This type of automation is inevitable due to the amount of time and money that chatbots can save a business. However, especially in the early days of the chatbot revolution, a bot will not be able to solve all the problems that a human can. One specific use case for chatbots that we have examined is customer support. Customer support bots can reduce the workload of support staff by a great deal, but some customers will not find the support they need with a bot. Wouldn’t it be great if a customer could seamlessly go from talking to a bot to a live person in the same interface? That is exactly what we created at Fishbowl and you can see in this video.

Starting a conversation with this bot begins using Oracle’s chatbot framework, a feature of Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, much like the rest of our bots. It has the capability do all the integrations that our other bots have with systems such as Salesforce, Oracle Engagement Cloud, and Zendesk Software and Support ticketing system. However, this bot has the ability to connect to Zendesk’s live chat service for more personal support from a live agent. Using the bot, information is collected to be passed to the live agent, so that the live agent can know what was already asked and can waste no time in helping the customer.

To move from a bot conversation to a live chat conversation and back again, customizations had to be made to our web client. Since the live chat feature in Oracle’s bot framework is still a work in progress, the best solution was to stop sending messages to the bot after the user goes through the “connect to a live agent” chat flow. Instead, the web client sends messages directly to Zendesk and receives them in turn. Once the conversation has concluded, the bot returns to normal and talks to the bot framework once again.

Customer service is a critical component of the overall customer experience, and getting customers answers to common questions can go a long way to ensure brand loyalty. Some stats suggest that 80% of routine questions can be answered by a chatbot, but when an agent is needed it is important to provide a seamless handoff while providing the agent with context to immediately begin servicing the customer. If integrated correctly, chatbots and customer service/support representatives (agents) can together improve the customer service experience.

You can see more of the intelligent chatbots Fishbowl has created using Oracle Mobile Cloud here: https://www.fishbowlsolutions.com/oracle-intelligent-chatbot-cloud-service-consulting/

The post The Intelligent Chatbot to Customer Service Agent Hand-Off within Zendesk appeared first on Fishbowl Solutions.

Categories: Fusion Middleware, Other

Collaborate Preview #2: Consider your Options for Moving Oracle WebCenter to the Cloud

By now, most people have heard about the benefits of cloud computing. To summarize, the cloud promises more agility and scalability, with less cost and administration. However, for legacy customers using on-premise software, getting to the cloud isn’t always a simple and straightforward process. In fact, a lot of times confusion on deployment options, pricing, customer-managed versus vendor-managed, and security may delay cloud strategies. This is definitely the case for Oracle WebCenter Content customers who have a myriad of options to move their documents, images, and other enterprise content to the cloud.

Fortunately for Oracle WebCenter customers, Oracle offers the most complete set of cloud services spanning Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). With this set of cloud services, Oracle WebCenter Content customers have industry-leading options to deploy their WebCenter instances to the cloud. Here is a summary of those options:

Oracle Bare Metal Cloud Service (IaaS)
  • Public cloud with granular control of security
  • Computing, block storage, networking services
  • Customer administered
  • Bring WebCenter licenses
  • Administration: High, user-owned
Oracle Compute Cloud Service (IaaS)
  • Computing, block storage, networking services
  • Bring WebCenter licenses
  • Administration: High, user-owned
Oracle Java Cloud Service (PaaS)
  • Full operating environment including WebLogic
  • Complete control and customization
  • Bring WebCenter licenses
  • Administration: Moderate to low
Oracle WebCenter Portal Cloud Service (PaaS)
  • WebCenter Portal in the Cloud
  • Metered or non-metered licenses
  • Administration: Moderate to low

You might be surprised that Oracle WebCenter Portal Cloud Service is listed above as one of the options to move Oracle WebCenter Content to, but it does present a viable solution. The user experience has always been one of the biggest complaints with WebCenter Content. Moving your content to the cloud and using WebCenter Portal Cloud to create intranets, extranets, composite applications, self-service portals and user experiences to access content could ensure a better user experience overall, and ensure more adoption going forward. It provides users a more secure and efficient means to consume information while being able to also interact with applications, processes, and other users. The added benefit is that it comes with Oracle WebCenter Content.

We will be discussing more about the options WebCenter Content and Portal customers have to move their on-premise instances to the Oracle Cloud at Collaborate 2018 during this session: Options and Considerations for Moving Oracle WebCenter Content & Portal to the Cloud, which takes place on Monday, April 23rd from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM. In this session, Fishbowl’s Director of Solutions, Jerry Aber, will go into more detail about the Oracle Cloud options listed above, as well as what to expect from a pricing perspective. Come hear about considerations for hybrid cloud environments as well, and what that means from an Oracle Cloud architecture perspective.

For more information on all of Fishbowl’s activities at Collaborate 2018, please visit this page: https://www.fishbowlsolutions.com/about/news/collaborate/

The post Collaborate Preview #2: Consider your Options for Moving Oracle WebCenter to the Cloud appeared first on Fishbowl Solutions.

Categories: Fusion Middleware, Other

Collaborate Preview #1: How a Chatbot Army Could Help Your Business

No matter your profession, having an assistant to provide some help would be awesome. Someone to compile data, run reports, enter information into systems, look up key details, and even order your new business cards after your promotion. Unfortunately, most professionals don’t have an actual human assistant to perform tasks like these specifically for them. Most of these tasks we all do ourselves, and while they all may be important and necessary, they take time away from more value-add tasks and those parts of your job you really enjoy.

Sales professionals, for example, all have a multitude of tasks they need to perform that actually gets them to their desired result: making the sale. They need to update their customer relationship management (CRM) system daily with new or edited opportunities, new contacts, notes from customer calls, and what their activities or tasks will be for the day. Not only are these updates important for each and every sales representative, but they are also critical for sales managers who need to review pipeline and forecast information and share it with executive or leadership teams. And while performing these updates or accessing sales data may only take about 15 minutes, if they are performed every business day over 1 year, sales reps stand to lose about 2 selling days. Multiply that number by how many sales reps your company employs, and we’re talking 15, 20 or even 30 selling days lost in a year.

Another example is the questions employees have regarding company policies and procedures, as well as the small issues they might encounter every day. Even the best employee onboarding and training programs are not going to help all employees remember vacation policies, or how to change insurance beneficiaries, or what to do if they need to reset a password. When faced with these unknowns, most employees are going to call the company help desk. They will probably get the answers they need, but it will cost them their time, and it will perpetuate the high costs to staff and maintain the company help desk.

Fishbowl Atlast Intelligent Chatbot So, is it possible within an organization to have an assistant for every employee? With chatbots or virtual assistants, the answer is yes. Purpose-built chatbots can be created for human resources to answer employee FAQs (frequently asked questions), and in sales to help update CRM systems and get sales collateral and data quickly through a conversational user interface. Fishbowl Solutions is leveraging Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, Enterprise, and its intelligent chatbot feature, to create chatbots for these use cases and more. We will be discussing how these chatbots get created, and why chatbots need to be built to satisfy specific use cases at Collaborate 2018 during this session: Rise of the Bot Army with Oracle Mobile Cloud Enterprise, which takes place on Tuesday, April 24th from 1:15 to 2:15 PM. Come hear how chatbots can help sales, marketing, customer service, human resources, and other departments cut costs, automate routine or manual tasks, and provide 24 x 7 customer and/or employee engagement. And yes, if you get that promotion, a chatbot could help you get your new business cards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOkbMiV-j0s

You can also stop by Fishbowl’s booth #848 to see a demo of Fishbowl’s Atlas intelligent chatbot. For more information on Fishbowl’s activities at Collaborate 2018, please visit this page: https://www.fishbowlsolutions.com/about/news/collaborate/

The post Collaborate Preview #1: How a Chatbot Army Could Help Your Business appeared first on Fishbowl Solutions.

Categories: Fusion Middleware, Other

GSA Migration is Easier than Ever with the Mindbreeze Winter 2018 Release

Mindbreeze recently announced the Winter 2018 release of Mindbreeze InSpire which brings a number of new features and enhancements to Mindbreeze customers. One notable addition is the GSA Transformer Service which enables Mindbreeze to receive Google Search Appliance (GSA) queries and provide a GSA-formatted XML response. Add this to the list of GSA-friendly features already in place, and Mindbreeze continues to lead the way as an easy-to-implement GSA replacement. Read on to discover the top six ways Mindbreeze simplifies your GSA migration.

GSA Transformer Service

The newly released GSA Transformer Service enables a Mindbreeze client service (roughly comparable to a GSA front end) to accept GSA-formatted search requests. The GSA transformer service supports the following GSA search parameters:

  • start
  • num
  • getfields
  • requiredfields
  • query operators
  • filter
  • paging

When calling the GSA Transfomer Service, Mindbreeze provides an XML response that is compatible with Google Search Appliance implementations. The Mindbreeze XML conforms to the GSA DTD and includes configured metadata, snippets, Dynamic Navigation (configured as Filters in Mindbreeze), and Spelling Suggestions (e.g. “Did you mean”). This new option means that GSA customers can migrate to Mindbreeze without having to re-implement their custom search pages, which reduces the implementation effort.

GSA Feed Adapter Service

The Mindbreeze GSA Feed Adapter service allows Mindbreeze to accept GSA-formatted XML feeds as a means of indexing content. Feeds can be sent in both metadata-and-URL and content feed formats. Feeds are submitted to the Mindbreeze appliance as a POST request to a specific port in much the same way as they were within the GSA. Feed content can also be mapped into collections as part of the GSA Feed Adapter configuration. Collections in Mindbreeze are simply additional metadata which can be added to content for the purposes of filtering or segmentation. The GSA Feed Adapter contains a built-in configuration option for copying collection definitions from the GSA and assigning fed content to these collections. The Mindbreeze GSA Feed Adapter service means that customers with feed-based GSA indexing customizations can keep using their existing integrations.

GSA Vocabulary Mode for Synonyms

Mindbreeze includes a number of query expansion features to support synonyms, replacements, and custom dictionaries. For customers already using GSA synonym files, Mindbreeze provides the option to use a GSA-formatted vocabulary definition. If you have a large number of such files, an entire directory can be configured with all the query expansion files downloaded from your GSA. Like the GSA, query expansion can be configured globally for the entire search appliance. This is the simplest option and a good choice if your query expansion rules are fairly universal. Mindbreeze customers also have the option to configure query expansion (e.g. synonyms) for specific data sources thereby opening the door to support more granular and use-case specific sets of terms.

Support for googleon/googleoff Tags

For many customers, there may be portions of web page content that you want to exclude from indexing. To address this, Google suggested the use of googleon/googleoff tags. By embedding googleon/googleoff tags in HTML documents, you can disable the indexing of a portion of a web page. As part of the Mindbreeze web crawler configuration, customers may opt to enforce the use of googleon/googleoff tags. This reduces rework necessary to restrict the scope of indexed web content during a GSA-to-Mindbreeze migration. Fishbowl leveraged this option when integrating this website with Mindbreeze.

GSA Configuration Migration

Customers can expedite their implementation with the help of automated configuration mapping available from Mindbreeze. Their free service creates a Mindbreeze configuration file based on your existing GSA configuration. Typically between 60% and 80% of GSA settings can be migrated programmatically between the two search appliances and the rest can be addressed during implementation.

GSA-to-Mindbreeze Jumpstart for Websites

Fishbowl Solutions has been working with the Google Search Appliance since 2010 and has deep technical expertise around both the GSA and Mindbreeze. In order to simplify the transition, we’ve created the GSA-to-Mindbreeze Jumpstart for Websites. This three-day program is intended for customers migrating to Mindbreeze from the Google Search Appliance in order to provide website search capabilities. The Jumpstart is facilitated by one of Fishbowl’s Certified Implementation Experts and takes a collaborative approach to installing and configuring your appliance while training your team to manage it going forward. A training and scoping workbook is provided, and additional workshop days can be added to accommodate more complex implementations.

To learn more about how GSA features carry over to Mindbreeze, check out our previous post, How to Configure the Top 4 GSA Features in Mindbreeze – Plus 6 New Favorites. In the past eight years, we’ve helped numerous customers implement and maintain their GSAs. Despite the disruption caused by the GSA’s end of life, we’re excited about the many possibilities Mindbreeze has to offer. As a Mindbreeze partner, we provide resale, support, and implementation services. If you have questions or would like to know more, please contact us.

Time running out on your GSA?

Our expert team knows both GSA and Mindbreeze. We’ll help you understand your options and design a migration plan to fit your needs.

The post GSA Migration is Easier than Ever with the Mindbreeze Winter 2018 Release appeared first on Fishbowl Solutions.

Categories: Fusion Middleware, Other

Fishbowl Solutions to Defend Trophy at Oracle Modern CX Hackathon: Hack a Smarter Customer Experience Event

Fishbowl Solutions’ Oracle Mobile and Intelligent Chatbots team will once again be participating in the Oracle Modern CX Hackathon: Hack a Smarter Customer Experience event, which takes place on Wednesday, March 28th and 29th. This is Oracle’s second biannual two-day “Hack a Smarter Customer Experience” event, and this year it takes place at the Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, California.

This event brings together Oracle partners from around the world to work on a technical challenge that showcases a unique business case utilizing an Oracle Customer Experience SaaS (Software as a Service) and Oracle PaaS (Platform as a Service) technology, or ISV (Independent Software Vendor) solutions. During the two day event, participants and teams have access to Oracle product management A-Team experts who can offer suggestions, provide access to necessary systems, and review code.

Fishbowl Solutions’ Oracle Mobile and Intelligent Chatbots team will once again be participating in the Oracle Modern CX Hackathon: Hack a Smarter Customer Experience event, which takes place on Wednesday, March 28th and 29th. This is Oracle’ second biannual two-day “Hack a Smarter Customer Experience” event, and this year it takes place at the Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, California.

This event brings together Oracle partners from around the world to work on a technical challenge that showcases a unique business case utilizing an Oracle Customer Experience SaaS (Software as a Service) and Oracle PaaS (Platform as a Service) technology, or ISV (Independent Software Vendor) solutions. During the two day event, participants and teams have access to Oracle product management A-Team experts who can offer suggestions, provide access to necessary systems, and review code.

Fishbowl won the inaugural Oracle hackathon event last year right before Oracle OpenWorld 2017. Last year’s team built SalesBot, which leverages the Oracle Intelligent Bot Cloud Service integrated with Oracle Engagement Cloud, Big Data Cloud Service, and Content and Experience Cloud. SalesBot is able to bring together customer data from multiple systems within a conversational user interface, including key contact details, opportunities, purchases, and forecast details. Using SalesBot saves valuable time as reps and managers don’t have to be at their computers and logged in to their CRM system, such as Salesforce, to manually enter, search, and retrieve customer data. More information on SalesBot can be found here. 

Hackathon participants/teams are judged on the following criteria: Business Use Case – 40%; UX Factor – 40%, and Technology Implementation – 20%. This year’s winners will be announced in a LIVE Judging Session at Oracle Modern Customer Experience, which takes place from April 10 – 12 in Chicago.

Tim Gruidl, Fishbowl’s President and CEO, will be speaking at two sessions at Oracle Modern Customer Experience on Wednesday, April 11th and Thursday, April 12th. Both of his topics will be about how chatbots are streamlining business processes in the enterprises. For a preview of his sessions, please visit our Oracle Modern Customer Experience page.

The post Fishbowl Solutions to Defend Trophy at Oracle Modern CX Hackathon: Hack a Smarter Customer Experience Event appeared first on Fishbowl Solutions.

Categories: Fusion Middleware, Other

How We Integrated this Website with the Mindbreeze InSpire Enterprise Search Appliance

As many of you know Fishbowl is a Mindbreeze Certified Partner and search appliance reseller. A core component of our company culture is using the same tools and technologies we implement for our customers. For that reason, and to give readers like you a chance to try out Mindbreeze in action, we have implemented Mindbreeze search here on fishbowlsolutions.com. Read on to learn more about the benefits and details of this integration.

Indexing Our Site

The first step in our Mindbreeze integration project was to configure Mindbreeze to crawl our website using the out of the box web crawler. We decided to split the content into two groups, blog posts and everything else, in order to distinctly configure how blog post content would be indexed. Mindbreeze allows the configuration of one or more crawler instances, so we created two crawlers with separate follow and do-not-follow patterns to index each content group.

Next we configured the extraction of content from the site. By default the crawler will crawl the entire contents of a page, but Mindbreeze can optionally restrict content indexing to a specific DIV or section. That way, words contained in your navigation or footer won’t be indexed for every page. For example, Fishbowl’s footer currently includes the word “Mindbreeze”, but when site users search for “Mindbreeze” we don’t want to return every page on the site—only those actually related to Mindbreeze. For customers already leveraging google-on google-off tags for this purpose (a feature from the Google Search Appliance), Mindbreeze can interpret those tags. We have a few spots on our blog where this was used to restrict the indexing of blog sidebars and other non-content elements within a page template.

We also configured metadata extraction from within the blog posts themselves. This was done by telling Mindbreeze (via XPATH selectors) where in the DOM the blog post author, category, and feature image data could be located. Again, this was all accomplished without altering the structure of the site itself or requiring additional work on the part of our site’s contributors. If you have standard htmltags within your pages, Mindbreeze will index these automatically.

Entity Recognition

As part of the index setup, we configured entity recognition to parse our pages (both blog and non-blog) for the names of the five key technologies Fishbowl works with. This was done using the Mindbreeze entity extraction feature. Each of the five possible values were mapped to a metadata field called Technology. Like the metadata extraction, the entities were extracted without having to change anything about the structure of our site or templates.

Query Expansion

Between the time when a user enters their query and the time the search engine computes relevant results, there is a critical piece in the search process often referred to as query expansion. Query expansion describes various ways in which the words the user types can be expanded upon or “understood” by the search engine in order to more accurately represent the original intent and locate the right content. One way queries can be expanded for better search is through the use of synonyms. Synonyms can be used to set related terms equal to one-another, make abbreviations equal to their full meanings, or set legacy terminology as synonymous with current nomenclature. Mindbreeze query expansion is used on this site to expand queries such as “Jobs” to include “Careers” and the legacy product name “UCM” to search for the new name, “WebCenter Content”. Mindbreeze also includes default stemming and spelling expansions to allow users to find content even if their query doesn’t exactly match our site’s data. For example, stemming allows users to search for “orders” and get results containing “order” “ordered” and “ordering.” It means users don’t have to know whether a word was in past tense, plural, or singular, in order to find what they need.

Relevancy and Result Boosting

Relevancy boosting allows administrators to further tune result ranking (also called biasing) based on factors such as metadata values, URL patterns, or date. These relevancy adjustments can be applied to specific sites, so that each audience sees what is most relevant to them. Relevancy is configured through the Mindbreeze Management Center without requiring custom development. On our site, the number of blog posts far outweigh the number of product pages; when someone searches for a product (such as Mindbreeze) we want the first result to be the main Mindbreeze product page. To ensure the main product pages (which may be older and contain fewer words than our latest blog posts) remain on the top, we can use Mindbreeze boosting to either increase the relevancy of product pages or decrease the relevancy of blog posts. All things being equal, it is better to down-boost less relevant content than to up-boost relevant content. We added a rule to reduce the relevancy of all blog post content by a factor of 0.75. We also boost our featured results by a factor of 10 to ensure they appear on top when relevant. In addition to manual tuning, Mindbreeze automatically monitors and analyzes click patterns to learn from user behavior and improve relevancy automatically over time.

Creating the Search Results Page

The search results page used on this site was created using the Mindbreeze Search App Designer. This builder provides a drag-and-drop interface for creating modular, mobile-friendly, search applications. Mindbreeze also provides a JSON API for fully custom search page development.

Our search app combines a list-style results widget and three filter widgets to limit the results based on Technology, Blog Post Category, and Blog Post Author. The filter widgets available within the builder are determined by the metadata available via the indexing configuration described earlier.

To personalize our search app, we made several modifications to the mustache templates which control the rendering of the various widgets. For example, we only show dates on blog posts and include the “blog post” callouts next to blog post titles.

Once the structure of the search app was complete, we were able use the export snippet functionality to copy the search app code from the Mindbreeze Management Center and embed that into a div within our site. In order to make the Mindbreeze search app match the look and feel of the rest of the website, we added a custom CSS file which overrides some of the standard Mindbreeze CSS within the search app.

Search Box Integration & Suggestions

To integrate Mindbreeze with our existing website’s search box, we modified the search input in the site header to direct search form submissions to the new Mindbreeze search results page. Since we are using WordPress, this involved modifying the header.php file within our site’s child theme. We also added a call to the Mindbreeze Suggest API, displayed using jQuery autocomplete, in order to provide search suggestions as you type. Most WCM systems have template files which can be modified to integrate Mindbreeze search into existing site headers. Our customers have similar integrations within Adobe Experience Manger and Oracle WebCenter Portal to name a few.

As a note for those familiar with WordPress, we could have customized the search.php template to include the Mindbreeze Export Snippet instead of creating a new search results page. We wanted to let our contributors edit the heading and call-to-action sections of our search results page without coding, so we built the search results into a standard WordPress page. This also allowed us to keep the core WordPress search page intact for comparison purposes (we are in the search business after all). From a technical perspective, either approach would have worked.

Closing Comments

We wanted to share the details about our integration to give anyone using or considering Mindbreeze an in-depth look at a real working search integration. The architecture and approach we took here can be applied to other platforms both internal and externally facing including SharePoint, Oracle WebCenter, or Liferay. Use the search box at the top of the page to try it for yourself. If you have any questions about Mindbreeze search integration options, please contact us.

Time running out on your GSA?

Our expert team knows both GSA and Mindbreeze. We’ll help you understand your options and design a migration plan to fit your needs.

The post How We Integrated this Website with the Mindbreeze InSpire Enterprise Search Appliance appeared first on Fishbowl Solutions.

Categories: Fusion Middleware, Other

3 Easy Ways to Capture Documents to Oracle Content & Experience Cloud with Oracle WebCenter Enterprise Capture

Document capture plays a crucial role in the overall content management process. The conversion of paper or electronic documents (PDFs, email attachments, etc.) to managed content that includes metadata, enables such content to be easily found within enterprise content management systems like Oracle WebCenter. For companies that have invested in cloud-based content management systems, such as Oracle Content & Experience Cloud (Oracle CEC), the process of capturing documents shouldn’t delay the benefits of being able to easily share and collaborate on content with third parties. The capture process should provide a seamless experience to image enable paper and electronic documents regardless of repository location – on premise or in the cloud. Fortunately for Oracle CEC customers, Oracle WebCenter Enterprise Capture provides the 3 simple methods to capture documents directly to the cloud.

To see how easy this is, I’ve put together a 2 minute video that shows how content can be processed and committed to Oracle CEC from Enterprise Capture. The video shows the 3 options customers have to upload files or documents using the capture client, a file directory upload method, and an email upload.

 

If you are looking for easy ways to get paper and electronic documents into your Oracle CEC system, then consider Oracle WebCenter Enterprise Capture. It provides three easy configurations that may benefit all users when searching for content in Oracle CEC because of the consistency of file location and expected file naming convention. The three methods of capturing content to the cloud have unique and shared benefits:

Shared Benefits

  • Content is checked into the same location.
  • The file names can be forced to be in a specified format.
  • Files can be converted to the same image format.

Manual Upload Benefits

  • The Enterprise Capture Client can drive a scanner to upload documents.
  • The document can be reviewed and edited before being committed to Oracle CEC.

File Directory Upload Benefits

  • Can be mapped to a file share that multiple users have access to.
  • File is stored in that folder as a backup.
  • Files can be limited to certain file extensions.

Email Upload Benefits

  • An email inbox can be configured to watch for file types.
  • Automatically upload files with no user interaction.
  • The email after upload can be moved to a success folder for backup purposes.

 

Categories: Fusion Middleware, Other

Some things I think about politics

DBMS2 - Wed, 2018-02-07 20:04

When one tries to think comprehensively about politics these days, it quickly gets overwhelming. But I think I’ve got some pieces of the puzzle figured out. Here they are in extremely summarized form. I’ll flesh them out later as seems to make sense.

1. Most of what people are saying about modern tribalism is correct. But partisanship is not as absolute as some fear. In particular:

2. The threat from Trump and his Republican enablers is indeed as bad as people fear. He’s a major danger to do terrible, irreversible harm to the US and the rest of the world. To date the irreversible damage hasn’t been all that terrible, but if Trump and his enablers are given enough time, the oldest modern democracy will be no more.

All common interests notwithstanding, beating Trump’s supporters at the polls is of paramount importance.

3. I agree with those who claim that many of our problems stem from the shredding of trust. But few people seem to realize just how many different aspects of “trust” there are, nor how many degrees there can be of trustworthiness. It’s not just a binary choice between “honest servant of the people” and “lying, cheating crook”.

These observations have strong analogies in IT. What does it mean for a system to be “reliable” or to produce “accurate” results? There are many possible answers, each reasonable in different contexts.

4. I also agree with the view that much of what’s going on relates to lacks of empathy. But it’s not quite as simple as saying that liberals/Democrats/globalists have more empathy, while conservatives/Republicans/populists/nationalists have less. Populists and white nationalists likely have more empathy than I do for certain segments of the population, and anti-abortion zealots surely outshine me in empathy for fetal tissue.

Some say our troubles are due to a deliberate war on truth and democracy. Some say they’re just consequences of broad, long-running trends. I think both views are partially correct.

I’ll make a short post on that point soon, and slightly edit this one accordingly when I do.

5. Much is made these days of people’s penchant for irrationality, which generally takes the forms:

  • Irrational choices as to which factual claims to accept.
  • Irrational conclusions in light of their chosen “facts”.

I think that a lot of this irrationality can be explained as people not taking the trouble to gain all the facts, to think things through, etc. Indeed, perfect rationality takes so much effort that it would be … well, that it would be a highly irrational choice. So if we want people to be more rational, perhaps we should make it easier for them to be so.

That challenge has many different facets. I hope to have something useful to say about it later on.

6. Outright changing somebody’s mind is very, very hard. But making them less sure of their opinion? That’s a lot easier. Making them more sure of it? That’s a reasonable goal as well

This too will be spelled out in a future post.

7. Much of the prevailing irrationality can be modeled by describing which contradictions/doublethink people accept, and in which cases they think a contradiction actually proves that something is untrue. And people’s views are sometimes actually influenced by a pull to be more consistent. Real-life examples include:

  • Some traditionally “law and order”/authority-following right-wingers who believe the current allegations about the “Deep State” are more open to doubting FBI claims in general.
  • Similarly, the recent FISA legislation needed bipartisan support to pass, because some generally government-skeptical Republicans were in particular skeptical of the alleged national-security reasons for domestic snooping.
  • States-rights supporters (who usually are conservatives) can extend that to disapproving of Federal marijuana laws and crackdowns.
Categories: Other

Politics can be overwhelming

DBMS2 - Wed, 2018-02-07 20:03

Like many people, I’ve been shocked and saddened by recent political developments. What I’ve done about it includes (but is not limited to):

  • Vented, ranted and so on. That’s somewhat therapeutic, and also let me engage the other side and try to understand a little better how they think.
  • Tried to understand what’s happening. I probably have had more available time to do that than most people. I also have a variety of relevant experiences to bring to bear.
  • Neglected my work somewhat while doing all that. This neglect has now stopped. After all, the future is quite uncertain, so we should probably work hard in the present while business is still good.
  • Written up some of what I’ve figured out. Of course. That’s what I do. But it’s only “some”, because … well, the entirety of politics is overwhelming.
  • Tried to find specific, actionable ways to help. Stay tuned for more on that part.

As for those writings:

  • I just posted a very high-level overview of modern political complexities. Please read it.
  • I’m working on posts drilling down on various parts of that. Closest to readiness are ones on “Modifying beliefs” (which will include some technology marketing advice) and “The war on truth and democracy” (which will argue that part — and only part — of what’s going on is properly described by the “war” metaphor).
  • I recently posted that the tech industry is under broad political attack. That’s even more true than I realized. Two recent and indicative developments are:
    • Roger McNamee et al. have started an organization to combat the addictive evils they perceive the tech/internet industry as doing.
    • George Soros — whose organization was once my best-paying investment client — thundered at Davos that the tech/internet industry should and will be brought down by antitrust regulators.
  • I also posted recently about the chaotic politics of privacy. If anything, the ongoing FBI/FISA firestorm suggests that I understated the matter.
Categories: Other

The chaotic politics of privacy

DBMS2 - Mon, 2018-01-22 09:23

Almost nobody pays attention to the real issues in privacy and surveillance. That’s gotten only slightly better over the decade that I’ve written about the subject. But the problems with privacy/surveillance politics run yet deeper than that.

Worldwide

The politics of privacy and surveillance are confused, in many countries around the world. This is hardly surprising. After all:

  • Privacy involves complex technological issues. Few governments understand those well.
  • Privacy also involves complex business issues. Few governments understand those well either.
  • Citizen understanding of these issues is no better.

Technical cluelessness isn’t the only problem. Privacy issues are commonly framed in terms of civil liberties, national security, law enforcement and/or general national sovereignty. And these categories are inherently confusing, in that:

  • Opinions about them often cross standard partisan lines.
  • Different countries take very different approaches, especially in the “civil liberties” area.
  • These categories are rife with questionably-founded fears, such as supposed threats from terrorism, child pornographers, or “foreign interference”.

Data sovereignty regulations — which are quite a big part of privacy law — get their own extra bit of confusion, because of the various purposes they can serve. Chief among these are: 

  • Preventing foreign governments or businesses from impinging citizens’ privacy.
  • Helping their own governments impinge on citizens’ privacy.
  • Providing a pretext to favor local companies at the expense of foreign ones.

The United States

Specifically in the United States, I’d like to drill into two areas:

  • An important bit of constitutional confusion.
  • Just how bipartisan this all gets in our generally hyper-partisan times.

The constitutional confusion goes something like this:

  • A new communication technology is invented, such as telephones or email.
  • The courts rule that there is no Fourth Amendment expectation of privacy in using such optional services, because:
    • Given how the technology works, the information is temporarily under a third party’s control.
    • If you weren’t willing to give up your privacy, you wouldn’t have used the technology in the first place.
  • Later the technology becomes so central to everyday life that courts start finding the previous reasoning to be inaccurate, and extend the Fourth’s protection of your “papers and effect” to the new communication medium.
  • In the meantime, laws are passed regulating privacy for that particular medium.

For example:

Those links are all to Wikipedia. At the time of this writing, the ones on Warshak and the SCA go into considerable constitutional depth.

The Email Privacy Act is also the single best example of this post’s premises about the general chaos of privacy politics.

  • It passed the House of Representatives unanimously in 2016 — 419-0 — which is an honor usually reserved for such noncontroversial subjects as renaming post offices.
  • Even so, it was shot down in the Senate, under opposition from Senators of both parties,* never coming up for vote.
  • It was passed by voice vote in the House again in 2017.
  • It again didn’t come up for vote in the Senate.

Last week’s FISA reauthorization is another example; it wouldn’t have passed without senior-level Democratic support in the House and Senate alike.

*A chief opponent among the Democrats was Diane Feinstein, who despite representing California is commonly hostile to technological good sense. She voted for FISA reauthorization as well.

Like many folks, I’ve been distracted by all the other political calamities that have befallen since November, 2016. But the time to refocus on privacy/surveillance is drawing near.

Related links

  • I wrote about similar subjects in May, 2016, and offered many links then.
Categories: Other

No More Content Chaos – Fishbowl Helps Manufacturer Integrate Oracle WebCenter with Agility for Enterprise Asset Management and Multichannel Delivery

This post is a recap of a recent Oracle WebCenter Content digital asset management project we completed for a manufacturing customer. They have thousands of products, and each has its own set of images, illustrations, videos, and manuals. Over 20,000 different asset types like these supported multiple processes and are distributed across a variety of mediums.

Google Search Appliance (GSA) Replacement, Alternatives, and Migration
The Business Problem: Disparate Content Storage

The company was storing some of its assets within Oracle Universal Content Management (UCM). Others, however, were stored in employee laptops, file servers, and various other locations. The assets were also stored with multiple naming conventions. These factors made it difficult to find relevant assets for products and repurpose them across channels and teams, as well as collaborate on the assets internally or with partners. Employees involved in asset creation and management described it as “content chaos”.

Illustration 1: Content Creation Lifecycle
The company’s view on how content will be created and consumed. This includes the various audiences for the content illustrating the content types necessary (electronic and print) – technical specifications, price and availability, manuals, etc.

This disparate content storage architecture and inconsistent file naming also meant that there was limited visibility into when and where purchased assets like image libraries were being used. This made it difficult to share such investments throughout the company.

Selecting Oracle WebCenter Content for Asset Storage and Management

With these issues identified, the company set out to develop a strategy to implement a permissions-based, centralized document and digital asset management system.  They had been using Oracle UCM for some time, but their initial implementation was not architected in a way to best suit the needs to search, access, use, and share assets across the company.

The company had also recently deployed the Agility product information management (PIM) system. Agility is used to manage the fully lifecycle of the company’s products, including where and how they can be marketed and sold, as well as what they should cost. The company wanted to integrate Agility with Oracle UCM, so that they could relate products in Agility with associated assets in UCM. This would make it easier to support commerce channels, including the company’s website, print catalogs, and the future desire to enable the sales team to access the company’s full product line “binder” from their mobile devices. The company needed the content management system to be able to output multiple rendition types including videos and PDFs.

For these reasons, the company decided to upgrade Oracle UCM to WebCenter Content 12c. An added benefit of 12c was that it provided the ability to integrate with third-party audio and video transcoding systems. This enabled the company to leverage FFmpeg software, which records, converts, and streams audio and video data. This video rendition engine is an open source product and therefore free, which helped keep implementation costs down as no additional licenses needed to be purchased.

The company partnered with Fishbowl Solutions to perform the upgrade to WebCenter 12c and integrate the product with Agility. Fishbowl had engaged with this company previously to scope out the future use of Oracle UCM (WebCenter), as well as design how its digital asset management component could be architected to achieve the following:

  • Simplified Image Access and Control
    • Provide an easy-to-use system that minimizes non-value add tasks. Users should have simple input mechanisms, assets should be transformed transparently to the user, and end up distributed to the right channel based on product name and metadata values.
  • Simple Scalable Solution for More Effective Collateral Control Across All Brands
    • Simplified solution architecture that is scalable to the needs of the company’s brands and shared functions and clarifies/enforces the defined “fit for purpose” solutions.
  • Image and Referential Content are Appropriately Managed throughout the Lifecycle
    • Knowledge workers want a solution that manages data according to organizational policy and standards within the systems they use on a day-to-day basis and does not require significant additional effort.
Oracle WebCenter Content 12c Implementation and Agility Integration

The company created a “Portfolio Initiative Roadmap” identifying these 9 key initiatives required to build out their Enterprise Digital Asset Management Solution and Program:

  1. Establish Foundation
  2. Marketing and Creative Services Enablement
  3. Sales Enablement
  4. Training and Certification Enablement
  5. Engineering Enablement
  6. Archive and Access AP Images To/From Oracle WebCenter Content
  7. Creative Services Enablement
  8. Ecommerce Enablement
  9. Evolve Foundation

Fishbowl worked with the company to deliver roadmap item number one: Establish Foundation. With this initiative Fishbowl needed to first upgrade Oracle UCM to Oracle WebCenter 12c. This included migrating the creative assets into the new instance. In parallel with the content migration and upgrade, the Fishbowl team designed an integration between Agility and Oracle WebCenter. This integration would enable Agility’s product taxonomy and data model to be associated with WebCenter’s metadata fields. This essentially would enable metadata between the systems to be shared and synced, making it easier to standardize on how assets were named.

The Fishbowl team did an outstanding job researching, planning, troubleshooting and creating the migration schedule for the Oracle Universal Content Management to WebCenter Content 12c upgrade. We did encounter one issue the night of the release, but the team developed a resolution and was ready to attempt the upgrade within 3 days.  I had the utmost confidence their plan was solid and we would attempt the upgrade mid-week.  The next attempt went very smoothly and users were in WebCenter Content the next morning.

Manager, Digital Strategy, Manufacturing Company

This integration would also provide renditions of the assets stored in Oracle WebCenter to display in Agility. For example, photographs and images of the company’s products are rendered via Oracle WebCenter’s digital asset management component to produce various formats – high and low resolution, 1200 x 1200, etc. Since Agility would be used by many departments at the company, including marketing, creative services, sales, and engineering; it was important that various formats of the assets could be easily found. This would help accelerate the execution of campaigns through web and email channels, as well as when print-ready images were needed to create or update product installation manuals and catalogs that were stored as PDFs. Additionally, associating the assets with the products in Agility would enable them to be paired so that they could be part of the product’s lifecycle – when products were discontinued, associated assets could be removed from the system. The following graphic illustrates the Oracle WebCenter and Agility integration:

Illustration 2: WebCenter Content and Agility Integration  Fishbowl designed a filter to capture all of the IDs of content items checked into the PIM Asset profile and added these to the Send To PIM Table. A system event was then added in WebCenter which runs about every 5 minutes, and this checks assets that are in the Send To PIM Table and adds them to the PIM Table. After it is added to the PIM Table, an API call is made to the PIM system to pull the assets from that table and add them to the appropriate product with any relations associated to it (i.e. the high resolution image for a specific product). After it is added into the PIM system, an API call is made to WebCenter with the updated path of the asset.

Results

This company first invested in Oracle WebCenter about five years ago. Although the system was being used to store some technical and business documents, the feeling amongst senior leadership was that the return on that investment was minimal. It hadn’t reached widespread adoption, and it was viewed as a system that wasn’t streamlining business processes and therefore wasn’t saving the company money.

This company, like most WebCenter Content customers, wasn’t fully aware of all that the system had to offer. Oracle WebCenter Content’s capabilities had to be reimagined, and in this case it was the Manager of Digital Strategy at the company that found an ideal use case. He was aware of the “content chaos” that the marketing and creative services teams were experiencing, which was part of the reason campaigns for specific channels took a long time to launch, as well as how the assets for such campaigns couldn’t be repurposed easily.

With the implementation of Oracle WebCenter Content 12c, and its integration with Agility, that has all changed. WebCenter has been identified as the system to store and manage assets, and as those assets are checked in they are automatically linked to products in Agility. This means that employees across divisions and geographic locations can easily locate the acceptable product assets for use in marketing, sales, engineering, training, or installation purposes. Outdated assets can easily be removed from the system, either manually or based on a content lifecycle schedule. Furthermore, having a standardized repository for the assets will better ensure they are reused across divisions and geographic locations, and no longer does the unknown location of assets impede internal or external collaboration. Furthermore, the open-source FFMpeg video rendition engine didn’t require the purchase of additional licenses, reducing future license and maintenance costs. Overall, the WebCenter and Agility-based digital asset management system has provided the foundation to effectively and efficiently control and deliver assets to the company’s targeted commerce channels.

The Fishbowl consultants on this project have all proved to be a very valuable part of my digital content strategy. I am very happy with the level of support I have received and amazed by how quickly they are able to provide conceptual ideas, working POC’s and final deliverables. They have been instrumental in developing and implementing the integration between Oracle WebCenter’s digital asset management component and our new Agility PIM application. I view them as members of my team, and they were all key in the successful implementation of our digital content management system.

Manager, Digital Strategy, Manufacturing Company

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The post No More Content Chaos – Fishbowl Helps Manufacturer Integrate Oracle WebCenter with Agility for Enterprise Asset Management and Multichannel Delivery appeared first on Fishbowl Solutions.

Categories: Fusion Middleware, Other

Oracle Content & Experience Cloud: Document Search

If you read my first post on Oracle Content & Experience Cloud (Oracle CEC), you would have come away impressed with the capabilities and features of the product. Features for organizations to manage and share high-value content that could be used to build content-rich, omni-channel websites. However, as I’ve continued to work with Oracle CEC over the last four months, some features need improvement. Most notably in my opinion, is search. I’ll explain the reasons why in this blog post, and offer up details on how you can develop a custom component to enable a better search experience.

The Problem: Search Options are Limited for Sites and Provide Little Customization

Oracle CEC provides businesses with strong document storage, security and sharing capabilities through the managed “Content” section of the interface. However, there is often a need for content to be searched, viewed and accessed through a managed site. The out-of-the-box options to achieve this are scarce, and moreover may only fit a general use case, which is not likely to suit the needs of your business.

Luckily, Oracle allows developers to integrate custom components to Oracle CEC, and continually improves a powerful set of REST APIs which can be used to search folders and documents. Combining the two will result in an integrated search solution for the site which can be tailor-made to fit the functional and visual requirements of the business. In this post I will share my experience developing a custom search component for CEC, and provide a glimpse into future enhancements and capabilities.

The Solution: Integrate a Custom Search Interface

I began by integrating a global search bar into the header of the layout for the site. This gives users the ability to search for content on the fly regardless of where they are in the site. Once a user enters a search term, they can press enter, or click the “Search” button to initiate the search. The user and search term are then redirected to a search results page.

The search results page is like any other page of the site, except it has been hidden from display in the header navigation. I have placed my “Search-Results-Page” custom component within the page, which performs all the actions and rendering for the search.

The search term is picked up and decoded, then passed into Oracle’s API for full-text document searching. Using full-text search strengthens the search by looking for matches across multiple file and folder properties, such as:

  • The name
  • The text content of the file
  • The file extension
  • The owner’s name
  • The latest modified user’s name
  • The folder description/tags

The matching items are then returned to the component, where it applies pagination to the results, and injects that data into a template to build the results page. The template was modularly designed so that it can be easily updated or replaced to structure the response in a format that will match a specific look and feel without compromising the core search functionality behind the component.

Using several other API endpoints available, I added some additional features to the results page, such as the ability to generate thumbnail previews for the results as they are displayed to the page. I apply a thumbnail next to the info of each document returned, and display a folder icon next to the folders.

Hovering your cursor over the thumbnail will indicate the image can be enlarged. Clicking will expand the thumbnail and overlay it in the center of the page for the user to quickly inspect and verify whether it is the document they have been looking for:

For all documents returned in the results I have included actions to “View” and “Download”. Clicking the “View” icon will utilize another API endpoint to generate and open an HTML5 rendition of the full document.

Among other document attributes returned from the search are the content types (folder or file). Some users may want to view only one or the other, which can be made possible through a filter facet menu surfaced alongside the results. Logic can be included to handle a number of different sorting and filtering tasks.

Beyond a customizable display, there are also custom settings that can allow a site administrator to make near-immediate modifications to the search results component to adjust behaviors or adapt its use for multiple sites used within the organization. For example, the Results Limit and Results Per Page value can be adjusted for more results included on searches, and how many items are included in each page, respectively. Additionally, I’ve included a “Root Search Folder” selection, which allows the site admin to point searches at a specific folder (and all of its contents) as the target of the search for that site. This setting can be applied per instance, so any number of sites can target different folders of content to search upon, providing contextualization of searchable content on the basis of which site the search is being performed against.

The below settings dictate a total of at most 80 items be returned, at a max of 10 pages (8 results per page), and the search will target folders and documents that live within the “Search” folder.

The Vision: Faceted, Robust, and Dynamic Searching… Anywhere

Additional Filtering Capabilities

Filtering content by its type is a small example within a very large list of options which can provide users with the ability to reach more granular results. Adding additional attributes to filter on, and allowing site administrators to decide which filters should be available (or applied by default) can give businesses control on the relevancy of search results.

Targeting More Oracle Cloud Content

In addition to documents and folders, Oracle is continuing to improve on options to search across structured content, digital assets, content collections, and conversations. Additional functionality can be developed to include or separate searches across these various formats on the system.

Targeting Separate Existing Datastores

With API endpoints available, or other methods of JavaScript access available to existing datastores, the solution can also be repurposed to perform searches across existing data sources, and then formatted to be returned within a CEC site.

Improving the UX Out of the Box

The layout and structure of results is a crucial aspect of user experience. Several default templates can be created and bundled with the component to give business owners the opportunity to choose the interface which would best fit their vision for the site, rather than being limited to a single UI or carving out time to design and create a custom interface altogether.

In closing, the steps I outlined above to create a custom search component should illustrate another great feature of Oracle CEC. That feature is the customizable nature of the platform, giving you the ability to extend upon its inherent capabilities to provide an experience molded specifically for your organization. As a company, Fishbowl Solutions recognizes the value of search within the overall user experience, and offers Mindbreeze Inspire search solutions. We also understand the important role search plays within content management, and how effective search solutions can lead to more adoption and use of products like Oracle CEC.

The post Oracle Content & Experience Cloud: Document Search appeared first on Fishbowl Solutions.

Categories: Fusion Middleware, Other

The technology industry is under broad political attack

DBMS2 - Fri, 2017-12-15 03:25

I apologize for posting a December downer, but this needs to be said.

The technology industry is under attack:

  • From politicians and political pundits …
  • … especially from “populists” and/or the political right …
  • … in the United States and other countries.

These attacks:

  • Are in some cases specific to internet companies such as Google and Facebook.
  • In some cases threaten the tech industry more broadly.
  • Are in some cases part of general attacks on the educated/ professional/“globalist”/”coastal” “elites”.

You’ve surely noticed some of these attacks. But you may not have noticed just how many different attacks and criticisms there are, on multiple levels.

1. Concerns about jobs, disruption, gentrification and so on are a Really Big Deal, causing large swaths of the population to regard technology as bad for their pocketbooks. In particular:

  • There’s tremendous concern about job loss to automation and/or globalization. Technology helps cause the first and enable the second.
  • Generally, when an industry destroys jobs, one hopes that it will create new ones to take their place. But while US technology companies have created many jobs, a lot of those are overseas.
  • Flaps about overseas finances, taxes, and so on aren’t helping. Apple, for example, has major issues in Europe and the US alike.
  • Working-class jobs that tech companies do create are often attacked for their pay and conditions, e.g. for Amazon warehouse workers or Uber drivers.
  • Even when the technology industry unquestionably creates good, domestic jobs, the industry may be attacked for them. Consider for example the concerns about cost of living/gentrification in Northern California.
  • “Sharing economy” companies such as Uber and Airbnb and others are involved in local political fights all around the world, as they undercut traditional service providers.

People who believe that technologists harm them are a major political force.

2. The technology industry is under considerable legislative, regulatory, and judicial pressure. For starters:

  • Tech companies are attacked for doing too little to aid law enforcement and government surveillance.
  • Tech companies are attacked for doing too much to aid law enforcement and government surveillance.
  • Tech companies are attacked for doing too little censorship.
  • Tech companies are attacked for doing too much censorship.
  • Privacy regulations are ever-changing.

Complicating things further, these challenges take different forms in different countries around the world.

Also:

  • China pressures foreign vendors to transfer technology into China.
  • Recent network neutrality developments in the US favor older telecom providers, at the expense of newer internet companies.
  • Anti-immigrant policies in the US threaten tech vendors.

I could keep going much longer than that. Government relations are a major, major issue for tech.

3. It is traditional to claim that advances in communication/media technologies will wreck society.

  • Television was going to make us mass-conformist couch potatoes.
  • Video games were going to make us violent couch potatoes.

This era brings similar concerns.

  • Social media makes us couch potatoes sitting in niche-conformist echo chambers.
  • Modern media over-stimulate us and wreck our attention spans.

I.e., the apocalypse is imminent, and tech is what will bring it on.

The most compelling version of that argument I’ve seen is Jean Twenge’s claims that there’s a teen mental health crisis perfectly matched in time to the rise of the smartphone. And to make any such claim seem particularly damning, please recall: Social media and gaming companies are clearly trying to foster a form of addiction in — well, in their users.

Current concern may ebb just like previous generations’ did. But for now, they’re yet another aspect of a threat-filled environment.

4. What worries me most is this: The United States and other countries face relentless attacks on education, educators, science, scientists, and rationality itself. And there are no obvious limits to how bad these can get. China’s Cultural Revolution and the Cambodian genocide happened during my lifetime. Stalin and Hitler ruled during my parents’. All four took particular aim at people like us.

Bottom line: EVERYBODY in the technology industry should be or quickly become politically aware. We have an awful lot of politics to deal with.

Categories: Other

Notes on artificial intelligence, December 2017

DBMS2 - Tue, 2017-12-12 12:53

Most of my comments about artificial intelligence in December, 2015 still hold true. But there are a few points I’d like to add, reiterate or amplify.

1. As I wrote back then in a post about the connection between machine learning and the rest of AI,

It is my opinion that most things called “intelligence” — natural and artificial alike — have a great deal to do with pattern recognition and response.

2. Accordingly, it can be reasonable to equate machine learning and AI.

  • AI based on machine learning frequently works, on more than a toy level. (Examples: Various projects by Google)
  • AI based on knowledge representation usually doesn’t. (Examples: IBM Watson, 1980s expert systems)
  • “AI” can be the sexier marketing or fund-raising term.

3. Similarly, it can be reasonable to equate AI and pattern recognition. Glitzy applications of AI include:

  • Understanding or translation of language (written or spoken as the case may be).
  • Machine vision or autonomous vehicles.
  • Facial recognition.
  • Disease diagnosis via radiology interpretation.

4. The importance of AI and of recent AI advances differs greatly according to application or data category. 

  • Machine learning and AI have little relevance to most traditional transactional apps.
  • Predictive modeling is a huge deal in customer-relationship apps. The most advanced organizations developing and using those rely on machine learning. I don’t see an important distinction between machine learning and “artificial intelligence” in this area.
  • Voice interaction is already revolutionary in certain niches (e.g. smartphones — Siri et al.). The same will likely hold other natural language or virtual/augmented reality interfaces if and when they go more mainstream. AI seems likely to make a huge impact on user interfaces.
  • AI also seems likely to have huge impact upon the understanding and reduction of machine-generated data.

5. Right now it seems as if large companies are the runaway leaders in AI commercialization. There are several reasons to think that could last.

  • They have deep pockets. Yes, but the same is true in any other area of technology. Small companies commonly out-innovate large one even so.
  • They have access to lots of data for model training. I find this argument persuasive in some specific areas, most notably any kind of language recognition that can be informed by search engine uses.
  • AI technology is sometimes part of a much larger whole. That argument is not obviously persuasive. After all, software can often be developed by one company and included as a module in somebody else’s systems. Machine vision has worked that way for decades.

I’m sure there are many niches in which decision-making, decision implementation and feedback are so tightly integrated that they all need to be developed by the same organization. But every example that remotely comes to mind is indeed the kind of niche that smaller companies are commonly able to address.

6. China and Russia are both vowing to lead the world in artificial intelligence. From a privacy/surveillance standpoint, this is worrisome. China also has a reasonable path to doing so (Russia not so much), in line with the “Lots of data makes models strong” line of argument.

The fiasco of Japan’s 1980s “Fifth-Generation Computing” initiative is only partly reassuring.

7. It seems that “deep learning” and GPUs fit well for AI/machine learning uses. I see no natural barriers to that trend, assuming it holds up on its own merits.

  • Since silicon clock speeds stopped increasing, chip power improvements have mainly taken the form of increased on-chip parallelism.
  • The general move to the cloud is also not a barrier. I have little doubt major cloud providers could do a good job of providing GPU-based capacity, given that:
  • They build their own computer systems.
  • They showed similar flexibility when they adopted flash storage.
  • Several of them are AI research leaders themselves.

Maybe CPU vendors will co-opt GPU functionality. Maybe not. I haven’t looked into that issue. But either way, it should be OK to adopt software that calls for GPU-style parallel computation.

8. Computer chess is in the news, so of course I have to comment. The core claim is something like:

  • Google’s AlphaZero technology was trained for four hours playing against itself, with no human heuristic input.
  • It then decisively beat Stockfish, previously the strongest computer chess program in the world.

My thoughts on that start:

  • AlphaZero actually beat a very crippled version of Stockfish.
  • That’s still impressive.
  • Google only released a small fraction of the games. But in the ones it did release, about half had a common theme — AlphaZero seemed to place great value on what chess analysts call “space”.
  • This all fits my view that recent splashy AI accomplishments are focused on pattern recognition.
Categories: Other

No More ANNOYING Java Applets! WebCenter Configuration Made Easy with Fishbowl’s Admin Suite

Anyone who has used WebCenter Content’s provided administration applets will tell you that using them can be problematic. Most browsers implement measures to protect against Java security issues, and the admin applets frequently get caught in these filters. Accessing the applets often means going through several security prompts, switching to older browsers, or even manually executing the applet files from the server’s file system. Even once the applets are launched, they are slow to load. The problems with these Java-based admin applets create unnecessary frustration when trying to configure and administer an instance of WebCenter Content.

With Fishbowl’s Admin Suite 2.0, the most-used applets have been remade into web-based applets that do not rely on the problematic Java applets. Specifically, Configuration Manager, System Properties, User Admin, and Workflow Admin have received a web makeover, with Repository Manager planned to be added by the end of 2017. All the same functionality is available – updating rules and profiles, editing localization settings, configuring aliases, defining security groups and roles, running workflows, and more – in an updated UI that doesn’t require any of the annoying workarounds listed above.

These new applets are laid out the same as the provided Java applets, complete with Oracle’s included help pages – familiarity with the Java applets will directly translate to the new versions. We’ve made compatibility a priority with these new applets; they have been designed to work with WebCenter Content 10g, 11g, and 12c.

Existing Admin Suite customers can get these new web applets free of charge by upgrading to 2.0.  In addition to these applets, Admin Suite still includes Fishbowl’s most popular products:

  • Advanced User Security Mapping – simplify security mapping and reduce LDAP maintenance with our powerful rules engine
  • Enterprise Batchloader – schedule and batch load content from ERP and CRM systems into WebCenter
  • Subscription Notifier – send automatic email notifications, trigger workflows, update metadata
  • Workflow Solution Set – enhance WebCenter workflows with search capabilities, the ability to filter views, and customize the review pane

You can get an overview of the capabilities and value of Admin Suite by watching a replay of this webinar. For a quick overview of Admin Suite, please visit this page on the Fishbowl website.

If you are interested in purchasing Admin Suite or upgrading your existing copy, please contact us at 952-465-3400 or info@fishbowlsolutions.com and we’d be happy to help you.

The post No More ANNOYING Java Applets! WebCenter Configuration Made Easy with Fishbowl’s Admin Suite appeared first on Fishbowl Solutions.

Categories: Fusion Middleware, Other

Why We Chose Mindbreeze for Enterprise Search: Fishbowl’s Competitive Analysis Across Search Platforms

Comparing Mindbreeze to Google Cloud Search, Coveo, Lucidworks, Yippy, Elasticsearch, and Solr

Last month we discussed replacing the Google Search Appliance (GSA) and the Top 5 Reasons We Chose Mindbreeze. In this follow-up, we’ll explore the other vendors who made our shortlist and how they all stack up. In case you missed the last post, here’s a recap of the key requirements against which we were evaluating each solution:

  • Options for searching on-premise content
  • Connectors and connector frameworks for indexing non-web data sources
  • Support for public and secure use cases
  • Tools and APIs for search interface integration
  • Minimal development efforts and ongoing administration required
Mindbreeze vs. Google Cloud Search

As a Google Premier Partner and GSA implementer, we naturally looked to Google for GSA replacement options. At the time of our evaluation, Google Cloud Search did not have any features available to address indexing on-premise content or serving that content through websites or web applications other than their own cloud search interface. In addition, the status of their security integration options and administration experience remained widely unknown. While it was always clear that Google’s new enterprise search index would be cloud-based, the options for pushing enterprise content from on-premise repositories into that index remain unclear. The initial product direction for Google Cloud Search (previously referred to as Springboard) focused on indexing Google’s G Suite data sources such as Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive. Google has since changed their directional statements to reemphasize their intention to implement indexing mechanisms for on-premise content, but even at the time of this writing, that technology is yet to be released.

Our decision to pursue solutions other than Google, and ultimately partner with Mindbreeze, largely came down to the fact that we couldn’t confidently assure our customers that Google would have a replacement ready (and able to meet the aforementioned requirements) in time for the GSA’s end of life. While I continue to be impressed with Google’s cloud innovations and hope those eventually materialize into enterprise search options, Google Cloud Search remains in its infancy.

Mindbreeze vs. Coveo

As a leader in the enterprise search and knowledge management space, Coveo has ranked well for the past several years among the analyst reports for this market. They have a mature product which made our short list of possible solutions. Two primary concerns surrounded Coveo when compared to Mindbreeze and other vendors. First, their product direction is heavily cloud-focused, available only on Amazon Web Services, with a decreasing investment in on-premise search. Our customer base has a strong need to index on-premise content along with a reasonable amount of customers who prefer the search engine itself be available on premise for governance reasons.

The other concern surrounding Coveo was price. By their own admittance, it is one of the most expensive solutions on the market. Mindbreeze was able to meet our requirements as well or better than Coveo, while providing a stronger commitment to on-premise indexing at a more attractive price point.

Mindbreeze vs. Lucidworks

Lucidworks offers enterprise support for the open source search platform Apache Solr. Their flagship product, Lucidworks Fusion, builds on Solr to add enterprise search features, including connectors and administration interfaces. Our primary reasons for preferring Mindbreeze over Lucidworks concern the ease and speed of both deployment and ongoing administration. While the Fusion platform goes a long way in creating a productized layer on top of Solr, the solution still requires comparatively more work to size, provision, configure, and maintain than Mindbreeze.

Another concern during evaluation was the less-flexible security model available with Lucidworks when compared to Mindbreeze. Mindbreeze supports ACL inheritance from container objects which means if a new user is granted access to a folder containing 50,000 items, only one item (the folder container) must be reindexed to apply the new permissions. Lucidworks applies permissions to each document, so all 50,000 documents would need to be reindexed. While Lucidworks was able to meet our indexing requirements, we felt Mindbreeze offered a shorter time to value, easier ongoing administration, and more flexible security options.

Mindbreeze vs. Yippy

The Yippy Search Appliance attempts to offer close feature parity to the GSA and is available as a cloud solution or an on-premise appliance. Our biggest concern with Yippy, when compared to Mindbreeze, was its immaturity as an enterprise search product. Born out of the Yippy metasearch engine, the Yippy Search Appliance was introduced in 2016 specifically in response to the GSA’s end of life.

The solution is notably absent from consideration by both Forrester and Gartner in their respective 2017 market reports which base inclusion criteria on factors such as referenceable enterprise customer base and proven market presence. The solution also lacks interfaces for customers and partners to create custom connectors to proprietary data sources, an important requirement for many of our customers. As a search appliance, we felt Mindbreeze offered a lower risk solution with a longer history, large reference customer base, and mature feature set.

What about open source options?

Open source options were considered during our evaluation but quickly eliminated due to the vastly greater amount of development time and steeper customer learning curve associated with their implementation. For these reasons, we felt open source search solutions were not a good fit for our customers. Due to the high volume of questions we get regarding these options, I felt it worthwhile to include a few comments on the most popular open sources search tools.

Elasticsearch

Elasticsearch is a popular open source search and analytics project created by Elastic.co. Elastic itself doesn’t claim to be an enterprise search solution, but they do offer enterprise analytics solutions, and the Elasticsearch technology is often embedded into enterprise applications to provide search functionality. It’s easy to see the confusion this can create. Gartner did not include Elastic in their 2017 Magic Quadrant for Insight Engines. Elastic was included in the Forrester Wave on Cognitive Search and Knowledge Discovery as a nonparticipating vendor where Forrester stated, “Elastic says that it is not in the enterprise search market, but many enterprise customers ask Forrester about Elasticsearch, so we have included Elastic…” As a search tool, we found Elastic was better suited to log analytics than enterprise search as it lacks many enterprise search features including security, connectors, and pre-built search apps.

Solr

Apache Solr is a widely used open source search project. Many contributions to the project are made by Lucidworks (mentioned above) whose Fusion platform extends this core technology. Standalone Solr is a framework for creating a custom search engine implementation. While powerful and often used to build highly specialized search tools, it is missing out-of-the-box enterprise features including connectors, administration interfaces, and mechanisms to support secure search.

Lucene

Apache Lucene is a popular open source search engine framework. It’s a low-level library which implements indexing and search functionality and must be integrated into another application for use. Lucene provides the base search engine behind both Solr and Elasticsearch.

Finding Success with Mindbreeze

After undergoing our evaluation last winter and joining the Mindbreeze partner network, we continue to find Mindbreeze offers an excellent combination of built-in features with tools for extending capabilities when necessary. In the past year we’ve released our Oracle WebCenter Content Connector for Mindbreeze, had ten employees complete the Mindbreeze Expert Certification and helped a long-time customer migrate from GSA to Mindbreeze. If you have any questions about our experience with Mindbreeze or would like to know more, please contact us or leave a comment below.

Time running out on your GSA?

Our expert team knows both GSA and Mindbreeze. We’ll help you understand your options and design a migration plan to fit your needs.

Contact Us

The post Why We Chose Mindbreeze for Enterprise Search: Fishbowl’s Competitive Analysis Across Search Platforms appeared first on Fishbowl Solutions.

Categories: Fusion Middleware, Other

How to Configure the Top 4 GSA Features in Mindbreeze – Plus 6 New Favorites

In the past few weeks, we’ve looked at why fishbowl chose Mindbreeze as a GSA replacement and how one of our GSA customers transitioned to Mindbreeze. Today I’ll share how to set up the most-used GSA functionality within the Mindbreeze InSpire enterprise search appliance.

Dynamic Navigation

The GSA’s Dynamic navigation enables users to refine a search using metadata attributes as filters. Within Mindbreeze this functionality is called Filter Facets. A default set of filters can be defined for each Mindbreeze client service based on the metadata available from the various indexed content sources. The client service is roughly equivalent to the GSA’s client frontend parameter (as opposed to the proxystylesheet which also references a frontend but is more comparable to a search app in Mindbreeze). In addition to the filters defined for a client service, you can also define filters within custom search apps by explicitly adding the desired filters. This is true for both the GUI-based Mindbreeze Search App Designer, and for search apps built using the Mindbreeze API.

What’s New: Mindbreeze offers a multi-select interface for search facets. This was a much-requested GSA enhancement and allows you to refine your search by selecting among several facet options rather than a single option as available with GSA. Mindbreeze also allows configuration of whether multiple selections should apply AND or OR constraints across the multiple selected values.

Configuring Mindbreeze Search Filters

From the Client Services tab in the Mindbreeze Management Center expand the desired client service and navigate to the Filters heading. Check the box next to each metadata field you want to include as a filter. Any searches performed against this client service will return these filters unless overridden in an individual search app.

Document Previews

The GSA’s document preview engine creates image renditions of Word, PowerPoint, and PDF files for up to 30 pages of a document; previews or thumbnails are not available for other file types out of the box. The Mindbreeze preview engine supports preview settings for 91 different file types. For many files, the preview engine can be configured to create both a document thumbnail, for use on results pages, and a content preview which is typically displayed as a modal popup. For example, Mindbreeze can display a thumbnail of a Word document next to the result title, and a preview link which displays a full-context PDF rendition as the document preview.

What’s New: In addition supporting more files types and creating thumbnails, the Mindbreeze previews highlight all instances of your query terms in the preview rendition making it easy to see where in the document the relevant keywords occur. Mindbreeze previews are controlled by the Mindbreeze filter service which controls many aspects of how document contents are processed and extracted for indexing. The Mindbreeze SDK provides an interface for creating custom filter plugins which can alter or add to the standard preview generation capabilities.

Configuring Mindbreeze Previews

From the Filters tab in the Mindbreeze Management Center, expand the desired Filter Service. For each applicable file type, select the desired filter plugin. For example, to create PDF previews of Excel files, navigate to xlsx and select FilterPlugin.OfficeDocumentToPDFContentFilter. Like GSA, Mindbreeze previews are generated during indexing. Any existing documents will need to be reindexed for preview configuration changes to appear in search results.

Mindbreeze Preview Config

Custom Synonyms

The GSA and Mindbreeze search appliances both provide query transformation services for automatic modification of search queries. Synonym transformation allows you to find search results by looking for different synonyms of a word, therefore the query is transformed to search for every term listed in the synonyms list. For example, if a user searches for “FAQ,” the appliance could also look for documents containing “frequently asked questions”.

What’s New: Although a shared synonyms file is included with Mindbreeze out of the box, unique synonyms may optionally be defined for individual content sources. This means if you use different terms in your ERP system than on your customer extranet, you can define synonymous terms for their respective sources. Mindbreeze also offers two additional query transformation engines that address specific use cases often handled with synonyms in the GSA. The first is Replacements, which completely replace a defined term with an alternative term or terms. The second is Vocabulary, which specifies preferred and alternative versions of defined search terms. Vocabulary entries are treated as synonyms; however, the preferred label is given more weight than the alternate label when determining relevancy.

Configuring Mindbreeze Synonyms

Select Synonyms from the Search Experience menu in the Mindbreeze Management Center. In the table displayed, enter synonymous terms with one term per column and one term group per row as shown.

Mindbreeze query transformation can be applied globally or to a specific data source. To apply the Synonyms to all content, navigate to the Indices tab and locate Query Transformation Services at the bottom of the page. Add the SynonymTransformer from the picklist. Expand the configuration and add the following configuration: Property: SYNONYM_CSV_FILE_PATH and Value: /data/resources/synonyms.csv. To configure synonyms for an individual index perform these same steps within the Query Transformation Services section of an individual index. You can optionally specify a path to a different synonyms file than the default show here.

Suggestions

Both GSA and Mindbreeze can provide query suggestions within the search box that complete a user’s query as they type. The GSA used popular search queries from the past 90 days to determine the top suggestions. Mindbreeze offers a similar option called Similar Queries along with four other possible data sources from which to generate suggestions. Like Filter Facets, suggestions can be defined for each Mindbreeze client service.  Suggestion data is also available using the Mindbreeze Suggest API (api.v2.suggest). This API is useful when adding Mindbreeze suggestions to an existing search box on a website or application. The Mindbreeze Suggest API is similar to the GSA’s Query Suggestion Service /suggest Protocol.

What’s New: Unlike the GSA, Mindbreeze suggestions can be provided from a number of different data sources. Suggestions can even be displayed when a user places their cursor in the search box before entering any characters; this is called Initial Suggest. The following suggestion options are available in Mindbreeze:

  • Similar queries (this is comparable to the GSA’s suggestions feature)
  • Suggestions from a CSV file
  • Mindbreeze tabs to search for the current search term
  • Document properties from indexed metadata (e.g. Document Titles)
  • Recent queries from the last searches performed by a user

The ability to load suggestions from a CSV file provides an easy way to pre-populate suggestions and ensures they remain in the suggestion pool even if they are not frequently used. This was a common enhancement request from GSA customers.

Configuring Mindbreeze Suggestions

From the Client Services tab in the Mindbreeze Management Center expand the desired client service and navigate to the Suggest Settings and Initial Suggest Settings headings, respectively. Check the box next to each suggestion source you want to enable for this client service. Any searches performed against this client service will return these suggestions unless overridden in a direct API request. If suggestions from a CSV file are desired, the path to the CSV file must be defined under the heading Suggest Settings (Concept CSV) also located on the client service configuration page.

Beyond GSA – 6 New Things We Love About Mindbreeze

While Mindbreeze offers GSA parity in many ways, there are plenty of upgrades to be found. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Mindbreeze lets you boost (i.e. bias) the overall weight of a metadata field enabling you to increase (or decrease) the general importance of fields like title, subject, or keywords.
  • Mindbreeze provides built-in search analytics and application performance monitoring via the integrated App Telemetry platform.
  • Mindbreeze offers a native user feedback mechanism including screenshots from the users’ search results.
  • Mindbreeze provides access to the appliance OS and filesystem. You can upload your own files to support advanced configurations or create custom interfaces. This also allows the use of standard backup techniques on the index and configuration files.
  • Mindbreeze does not require secondary servers for connectors (e.g. Tomcat); even custom connectors run directly on the appliance.
  • Mindbreeze includes a search app builder which provides drag and drop tools for creating use-case specific search apps without coding.

If you have a GSA approaching expiration, we believe Mindbreeze offers the quickest and most reliable search replacement path. As a Mindbreeze partner, we offer both resale and implementation services, and as a long-time GSA partner, we’re familiar with the functionality of both platforms. If you have questions or would like to know more, please contact us or leave a comment below.

Time running out on your GSA?

Our expert team knows both GSA and Mindbreeze. We’ll help you understand your options and design a migration plan to fit your needs.

Contact Us

The post How to Configure the Top 4 GSA Features in Mindbreeze – Plus 6 New Favorites appeared first on Fishbowl Solutions.

Categories: Fusion Middleware, Other

Still Stuck on SiteStudio? Move Your Intranet and Modernize with WebCenter Portal

Fishbowl’s Director of Solutions, Jerry Aber, contributed to this blog post.

Surprisingly, there are still many SiteStudio (Oracle WCM) customers out there using the product for their employee intranet. We just chatted with another one this week, in fact. I say surprisingly because even though the product is technically under support (extended lifetime) until 2019, there are so many advantages and benefits of upgrading a SiteStudio intranet to Oracle WebCenter Portal. Oracle themselves outlined a few in their statement of direction document released back in 2012.

Fishbowl has done numerous WebCenter Portal projects over the last 5 years, and some of those have been SiteStudio to Oracle WebCenter Portal upgrades. We have found for employee intranets specifically that WebCenter Portal is the obvious choice due to its flexibility and how it aggregates content, applications, and data onto a single pane of glass. No more link farms, poorly branded sub-pages, and confusing navigation. If your organization is still  using SiteStudio for its intranet, perhaps this blog post will persuade you to upgrade and modernize today.

SiteStudio Revisited

SiteStudio sites are built on the premise of Templates, Regions, Fragments and Lists with a site design overlaying the top of the structure outlined by its architecture. It did include inline contribution and editing model that helps contributors manage the site with less IT intervention. However, the contribution model wasn’t very streamlined as essentially Word documents were used to structure page content and then converted to HTML. This caused numerous page formatting issues.

Compare this to ability with WebCenter Portal – and enhanced with Fishbowl’s Portal Solution Accelerator – to edit text inline of portal pages, and you have a contribution model that is truly optimized for business user contribution. The impact of this is more frequent updates to page content, which keeps employees coming back for new information leading to better engagement.

SiteStudio to WebCenter Portal: Making the Move

As customers consider their employee intranet/portal roadmap and SiteStudio upgrade path, a big concern that comes up frequently is regarding the overall “migration” from a web page-based SiteStudio intranet site to a Portal-based site. There is no natural migration/upgrade roadmap for making this happen as the underlying technologies are considerably different. Additionally, there are two large issues to consider: The SiteStudio code used to render the content, and that the web content is stored in SiteStudio data files.

However, what we’ve found is that WebCenter Portal sites can be created to consume the SiteStudio assets and use the SiteStudio development model by the leveraging what’s called the Content Presenter task flow. This is one way to ensure a tight and clean integration with the Oracle Content Server. This model works nicely when SiteStudio designs and tools are used, but does not translate well to any portal development paradigms. Such paradigms are way more flexible, modular and use current web technology patterns, such as Oracle JET, that not only make the site look nice but keeps it performing at a high-level.

Also, keep in mind this relegates you to sticking with the SiteStudio Data File storage model for your web content which can be a challenge when it comes to managing content and sharing content around the organization.

So, given that, what are some other questions you and your organization can ask to determine if upgrading from SiteStudio to Oracle WebCenter Portal makes sense and would be beneficial to your organization. Consider:

  • Is sticking with a SiteStudio design and development model future-proofing your platform? Does that help you deliver agile-like project and quickly respond to changing needs?
  • Does your development team want to use new web technology frameworks like Oracle JET?
  • Does your content need to be shared easily and seamlessly without conversion? Do  you want to continue to use Oracle WebCenter Content as your enterprise repository?
  • Do you want to provide easier contribution tools for your end users to manage the site better?
  • Does your organization have an initiatives around enhancing employee engagement, increasing employee retention, or attracting top talent – with your employee intranet viewed as the vehicle to help drive these initiatives?

If you answered yes to any of the above, the time is right to move from SiteStudio to WebCenter Portal. Only WebCenter Portal can deliver a modern and engaging experience for employee intranets, with mobile first design capabilities and the technology foundation for future portal creation at scale – on premise or in the cloud. It also provides the tightest integration with Oracle WebCenter Content, enabling your organization to centralize its high value content assets into an industry leading enterprise content management system.

Oracle WebCenter Portal 12c Value Proposition

WebCenter Portal provides all of this and more. It is a true portal platform that satisfies requests for a better user experience with better performing page loads, and page to page navigation. Furthermore it enables:

  • The ability to store content in a manner so that it can be managed and shared easily.
  • The use of inline contribution of content features using WYSIWYG capabilities.
  • Leveraging newer web technologies such as Oracle Jet, Angular, and others.
  • Integrations with Oracle applications such as E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, and Taleo – surfacing up content from these systems directly within the portal.

SiteStudio was a great tool for building websites, but one could argue that it was never intended to be used for building employee portals or intranets. If your organization is looking to do just that, and take its employee intranet to the next level, Oracle WebCenter Portal is the clear choice.

 

The post Still Stuck on SiteStudio? Move Your Intranet and Modernize with WebCenter Portal appeared first on Fishbowl Solutions.

Categories: Fusion Middleware, Other

Manufacturer Replaces the Google Search Appliance with Mindbreeze for Intranet and Website Search: From Racking to Go-Live in 37 Days

In today’s post I’m excited to share the story of a recent Mindbreeze deployment. One of our long-time customers, a global leader in the field of industrial automation, needed a replacement for their expiring Google Search Appliances (GSAs). They had used the GSA to power the search on their public-facing website as well as their employee intranet. When Google announced the GSA’s end of life, they were left in a need of a replacement. Due to its similar feature set and architecture, Mindbreeze offered an easy migration from GSA and allowed existing customizations to be reused.
Working with Fishbowl to implement Mindbreeze went very well. The expertise they brought enabled us to meet our aggressive timeline to remove the Google Search Appliances. Fishbowl’s knowledge allowed them to be flexible to our needs during implementation while still covering all the necessary material. We appreciated that.

Application Development and Support Manager

Google Search Appliance (GSA) Replacement, Alternatives, and Migration
GSA Migration Requirements

Google Search ApplianceIn order to provide comprehensive website search, this organization needed to index content from three different sources. First, they needed to crawl the HTML pages on the site itself. Second, they needed to index records in their parts and products database. And third, they needed to index PDFs and other supporting product documentation stored in Oracle WebCenter Content (their document management system). In order to serve their sales and distribution partners, they needed the option to restrict a subset of this content to only logged-in partners. This organization had previously integrated GSA search results into their website using a custom-built search interface which consumed the GSA’s XML response. They planned to reuse the front-end components of that integration while replacing the backend with Mindbreeze.

For the intranet search, they needed to index secure documents from Oracle WebCenter Content. WebCenter Content was also the platform through which the secure results would be served to employees. The search results on the intranet needed to include both the access-controlled internet documents, as well as the customer and partner-facing documents that would also be accessible from the website.

Mindbreeze Implementation

We began the implementation by configuring Mindbreeze to index the necessary data sources. Each of their three content sources required different indexing tools. The approach was similar to how the same data had been previously indexed using the GSA. First the Mindbreeze web crawler was configured to crawl the site. We were able to reuse the crawl patterns already defined when configuring the GSA. Next, content from their parts and products database was indexed using the Mindbreeze Data Integration connector. This connector uses the Talend ETL platform to create jobs that extract, transform, and load structured data into Mindbreeze without a custom connector. In this case the data integration job was configured to connect to the same tables they had previously indexed with the GSA Connector for Databases. Finally, indexing was configured for the documents stored in Oracle WebCenter Content. In order to index WebCenter Content, the customer purchased Fishbowl’s Oracle WebCenter Content Connector for Mindbreeze. Unlike GSA, Mindbreeze connectors can run directly on the appliance and do not require any off-board connector servers. The connector is deployed via a Mindbreeze plugin and corresponding WebCenter Content component and leverages the Mindbreeze connector framework. The indexing criteria had already been determined during the GSA integration and was able to be copied directly into Mindbreeze. Items from Oracle WebCenter Content were separated into three groups—public content, partner-only content, and secure intranet content. These content groups could then be restricted based on the various serving configurations.

The Mindbreeze application was a step up from our previous search application. We had no problems crawling multiple data sources (website, database, WebCenter) and serving that content to multiple front ends. Although there was an initial learning curve, it is easy to edit configurations and rebuild indexes with very little or no downtime. And the onboard analytics make troubleshooting issues a breeze.

Web Developer

Once indexing was configured, the results needed to be integrated into the website and intranet. Mindbreeze provides a REST API which returns results in JSON format. This integration is comparably easier than working with the GSAs XML or XSLT responses. Because this customer had already written an integration to facilitate communication between the GSA and their website, built using Adobe Experience Manager, they were able reuse their existing site’s search interface. Search requests to the GSA were replaced with calls to the Mindbreeze search API. This integration also controlled the scope of the search based whether or not a user was allowed to access partner-only content.

For the intranet, the results were embedded directly into the Oracle WebCenter Content web application. The customer leveraged the default Mindbreeze search interface, but customized the look and feel using their own style sheet. This gave them the look of a tightly integrated search page but required less than an hour of development to implement. In order to provide secure search, the Mindbreeze authentication mechanism included with the connector was configured. This mechanism passes the identity of a WebCenter user to the Mindbreeze appliance at serve time in much the same way as security search was previously configured with GSA. The Mindbreeze appliance then uses this identity to resolve the access control lists (ACLs) placed on the documents during indexing. This approach is similar to the early-binding options available with the GSA and allows granular access controls to perform well at scale.

Results

The entire project from racking the Mindbreeze appliance to releasing the solution in production took 37 days—although the total days of work effort was considerably less. This project focused on one-to-one replacement of GSA functionality to ensure completion in time for the customer’s upcoming Google Search Appliance expiration. Initial user feedback indicates improved relevancy compared to the previous GSA integration. Future enhancements include implementing rich search suggestions and document previews to further enrich search capabilities.

If you have a GSA approaching expiration, we believe Mindbreeze offers the quickest and most reliable search replacement path. As a Mindbreeze partner, we offer both resale and implementation services, and as a long-time GSA partner, we’re familiar with the functionality of both platforms. If you have questions or would like to know more, please contact us or leave a comment below.

Time running out on your GSA? Our expert team knows both GSA and Mindbreeze. We’ll help you understand your options and design a migration plan to fit your needs.
Contact Us

The post Manufacturer Replaces the Google Search Appliance with Mindbreeze for Intranet and Website Search: From Racking to Go-Live in 37 Days appeared first on Fishbowl Solutions.

Categories: Fusion Middleware, Other

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