Archive for the ‘Content Management’ Category

Fishbowl Solutions WebCenter Expertise takes it to South Africa: Q and A with Jerry Aber – Fishbowl’s enterprise architect

November 2, 2012

Fishbowl Solutions has been helping Oracle WebCenter (UCM, Stellent) customers throughout North America deploy, customize and optimize their WebCenter content management and portal systems for over 12 years now. During that time, Fishbowl has focused on delivering solutions that provide organizations the ability to solve their most challenging information management problems, while maximizing their WebCenter investments. Up until recently, almost all of Fishbowl’s 700+ WebCenter deployments have taken place in North America.

In 2011, Fishbowl announced its European expansion. This was fueled by the increased interest we were receiving from WebCenter customers throughout Europe. This was followed by our announcement regarding our partnership with John Sim. John has provided not only some feet on the street in the United Kingdom, but also expertise and thought leadership around mobile content management applications, responsive design, application development framework (ADF) and much more. John’s latest foray with Oracle technology was his “Avengers Assemble” application he built for the Oracle Social Network developer challenge at OpenWorld 2012.

Also in 2011, we met with some folks from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, at Collaborate in Orlando. I had the privilege of speaking with one of the gents, and he told me about how they had begun investing in Oracle WebCenter in 2009, but were having a lot of difficulty deploying it and building usable business applications. One such application they were looking to build was a Staff Portal – a one stop website where staff members at the university could come to find personalized, staff-related information. As I brought in more members of the Fishbowl team to chat and discuss how this business problem could be solved, the conversation ended with a passing comment from the South African gent that went something like “this all sounds great, but we are separated by the Atlantic Ocean”.

Fast forward some 18 months later, and my Fishbowl colleague, Jerry Aber, finds himself in South Africa for client meetings and to present at the South African Oracle Users Group. Jerry will also be making stops at the University of Pretoria, who Fishbowl has successfully completed several projects for including their staff portal (read the success story). How did this come to be? How did Fishbowl Solutions, who has traditionally done the vast majority of its WebCenter work in North America, win the University of Pretoria’s business and begin to help them lay out their WebCenter road map. Jerry Aber took a few moments out of his busy schedule to do a Question & Answer session to further detail Fishbowl’s relationship with the University of Pretoria.

Jerry Aber is the 2009 Oracle Content Management Architect of the Year and is currently working for

Fishbowl Solutions in Consulting Services and Solutions Architecture. Prior to Fishbowl Solutions, Jerry

spent 7 years working for MoneyGram International as a Software Development Manager in the areas of

web/portal development, enterprise content management, business process management and

enterprise reporting. He has been involved in strategic software development/integration, architecture,

resource management, business process re-engineering and project/program management. Jerry can

be reached at jaber@fishbowlsolutions.com.

Q: South Africa? How did Fishbowl Solutions get engaged with the University of Pretoria?

A: The University of Pretoria had heard about Fishbowl Solutions through other channels, but never thought a relationship would work given the extreme distance between the two parties. After chatting with them at Collaborate, conducting some web conferences, and exchanging numerous emails, Fishbowl Solutions and the University of Pretoria agreed to work together on some WebCenter projects.

This decision really came down to Fishbowl seeing an opportunity to help an organization start to leverage their WebCenter investment and solve their business problems. This factor alone outweighed the distance problem, and greatly motivated Fishbowl Solutions to begin the relationship.

Q: What were the business problems the University of Pretoria was looking to solve, and were they unique to Fishbowl Solutions’ capabilities?

A: The University was looking to build a staff portal that would provide a location where staff members could find information relevant to their roles, as well as collaborate and share information. A part of this was also getting the appropriate content into Oracle WebCenter Content, which would be the enterprise repository used to surface content to the portal. The University had an overly complex security model for WebCenter Content, and this had created a lot of frustration amongst the users who were having a hard time just getting started and adding documents, images, and other files to the Content Server.

Q: What were the various stages of the project that Fishbowl Solutions proposed?

A: The first thing that Fishbowl Solutions wanted to do was to level set on the University’s expectations with their WebCenter system. We had discussed their immediate need and project – simplify their security model and build a staff portal – but we also wanted to find out where else they wanted to utilize and leverage WebCenter. This is our Holistic Content Management consulting approach, where we help organizations put a plan together of how they can make WebCenter part of their information infrastructure instead of a disconnected, departmental solution.

What we learned from the University of Pretoria is that they were not unlike most organizations when it comes to content management. They wanted to utilize the information in their organization to help make decisions, streamline processes, and educate others. So WebCenter for them was a system they were planning to leverage more and more each year. Essentially, they wanted the staff portal to be their launch pad for a university-wide information system that integrated with other Oracle-based systems and applications, utilized standards-based technologies, and provided users with engaging and interactive experiences that kept them coming back.

Once we fully understood their long-term vision and plans with WebCenter, we could focus on their current staff portal project.

Q: What solution was implemented and why?

A: Fishbowl Solutions implemented its Intranet In A Box (IIAB) solution. This solution provides a framework that includes content profiles, JSR-286 portlets, and a user-defined menu navigation structure. IIAB was a good fit for the University because they wanted to have the content on the portal be contributed controlled by users and not IT. They also wanted to leverage what they already had purchased – WebCenter Content and Portal – and not spend additional money on 3rd-party licenses or for significant customization.

IIAB consists of a WebCenter Content bundle that includes profiles for adding images, a landing page and secondary page contribution, and personalization. It also consists of a WebCenter Portal Bundle that is essentially a WebCenter Space that becomes the container for the page template. The overall framework, consisting of the integrated Content and Portal elements, enables organizations to quickly realize a live site in less than 60 days.

Q: What are some of the results so far with the University of Pretoria and its Staff Portal?

A: The current University of Pretoria Staff Portal consists of 5 microsites and around 29 collaboration sites, including Academic, Staff, Senate and IT among others. They have seen an overall increase in collaboration and information sharing amongst staff members, and users are pleased with having a one-stop shop for role-based information. The portal has provided the necessary example of how the University wants to share information going forward.

Q: What does the University have planned for next iterations of the Portal?

A: They are looking at ways to make user access even easier, through single-sign on. They are also looking at ways to leverage enterprise search to improve the relevancy and accuracy of site search results.

Thanks for your time Jerry. Safe travels home!

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WebCenter Suite Real Time Chat – Mobile (Android, RIM, iOS, Windows)

October 25, 2012

As our continued drive to improve the WebCenter Suite I’m happy to announce that Fishbowl Solutions WebCenter Mobile Real Time Chat integration is soon to be released supporting Android, RIM, iOS and Windows Mobile Devices.

No true tablet application support yet but this is on the roadmap (you can use the mobile app on the tablets today or if your site has been optimised for tablets access chat via the integrated browser solution).

If your not familiar with our WebCenter Messging and Presence integration here is a quick rundown of it’s features.

Supports browser messaging integration with the WebCenter Suite – Portal, Sites & Content. There are no requirements to have a messaging XMPP server ie MS Lync setup; however if you do our solution can integrate with a number of messaging solutions ie – MS Lync, gTalk, etc.

For a preview of our browser integration check out these earlier posts

Addon:: WebCenter Portal Spaces Real Time Chat Instant Messaging and Presence Integration Video.

WebCenter Portal Spaces – Real Time Messaging & Presence Solution.

Oracle ADF Mobile released today!

October 22, 2012

Thats right the press release went out this morning (Here).

Overview
Oracle ADF Mobile is a HTML5 and Java-based framework that enables developers to easily build, deploy, and extend enterprise applications for mobile environments, including iOS and Android, from a single code base. Based on a next-generation hybrid mobile development architecture, Oracle ADF Mobile allows developers to increase productivity, while protecting investments, by enabling code reuse through a flexible, open standards-based architecture.

Oracle is committed to ADF Mobile driving innovating and delivering cutting-edge mobile capabilities across the enterprise, Oracle Applications are planned to be built with Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF), part of Oracle Fusion Middleware.

 

 

Check out the latest data sheet here to find out more on ADF Mobile.

Also hit  Oracles Mobile ADF site here to get the latest samples and info on ADF Mobile.

 

OpenWorld 2012 Recap – Fishbowl Solutions Aligned with Oracle’s WebCenter Strategy

October 18, 2012

Another year; another OpenWorld. It seems that Oracle’s big event comes faster and faster each year and then goes by in a flash. Amidst the glitz and glamor and the sheer spectacle that is OpenWorld, the event has much to offer customers, vendors, partners and general technology enthusiasts. This is the event where attendees get to hear directly from Oracle’s top brass on what’s new, what’s coming, and what’s faster/better. For WebCenter customers, here are a few takeaways from me and my Fishbowl colleagues on what we felt were some of the major stories from OpenWorld 2012.

New WebCenter Content User Interface

The WebCenter community has been abuzz for many months now regarding a new user interface for Oracle WebCenter Content. This new interface was shown at a few sessions and within the WebCenter demo areas at OpenWorld. The responses from people I chatted with were all positive and how could it not have been. After all, WebCenter customers have been waiting for years for a new user interface, and it looks like in 12c they will finally get one.

Can’t wait until then? Fishbowl has been providing user interface enhancements to the Content Server for many years. These enhancements have specifically aided business users in contributing content to WebCenter. One such product is Fishbowl’s Policies and Procedures Solution Suite, which provides an intuitive, visually-rich interface to specifically manage quality documents, governance manuals, and standard operating procedures. Through a combination of search, browsing, workflow and alerts, Policies and Procedures Solution Suite can help improve access to quality control documents while enforcing their follow through.

Stance on SharePoint

We have mentioned in many other blog posts (here & here) some reasons why Oracle WebCenter customers who may also be using SharePoint should reconsider their decision to use more SharePoint or go to SharePoint altogether for content management, or when building an intranet, portal or any other content-backed business system. Fishbowl Solutions was front and center with our stance on SharePoint at OpenWorld. We featured our SharePoint Connector Version 2.0 for Oracle WebCenter, which provides an integration that enables content resulting from collaboration in SharePoint to be transparently and seamlessly stored in Oracle WebCenter Content. The main value proposition with this connector is that enables organizations to continue to use both SharePoint and WebCenter and leverage the benefits of each.

The key point that we want to have resonate with customers is that WebCenter should be the final system of record for content. This includes content not only existing in SharePoint, but also in other ECM systems, file shares, and even desktops. My colleague George Sokol participated in a session at OpenWorld titled “Living with SharePoint”. This session provided attendees some data and examples on what living with SharePoint would represent, namely high services cost, 3rd-party license costs for additional functionality, and potential governance dilemmas (I documented more of these issues in this white paper). All these things can be reduced with WebCenter, but the reality is most organizations want to continue to use SharePoint for work-in-progress collaboration and pair that with robust enterprise content management. Fishbowl’s SharePoint Connector for WebCenter enables organizations to do just that.

Integrations in the WebCenter Stack

Oracle has done a great job providing integrations between products across their various product/technology stacks. One popular example is the WebCenter integrations provided for E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel applications. Basically, these integrations enable content management to be invoked in context of business processes, so, for example, when users are processing invoices they can quickly reference the image of that invoice which was processed with Oracle WebCenter Imaging.

At OpenWorld 2012, Oracle also spoke about integrating components of WebCenter with each other. One popular topic was the integration of WebCenter Sites (Fatwire) with Oracle WebCenter Content. Another popular topic was integrating WebCenter Portal with WebCenter Content. Oracle has made this integration possible with the Content Presenter task flow. Although this integration does provide the ability to surface content from WebCenter Content to WebCenter Portal, Fishbowl has found that most organizations are looking for integrations that provide greater scalability while leveraging standards-based technologies (JAVA, JSP) over proprietary (iDoc).

Fishbowl provides an integration framework called Intranet In A Box (IIAB) that integrates WebCenter Content with WebCenter Portal by leveraging WebCenter Spaces as the container to which content will be surfaced to. This framework eases contribution through profiles defined in WebCenter Content, including categories, sub-categories, topic pages, articles, contacts, images and landing page assets. IIAB also includes JSR-286 portlets for interfacing with WebCenter Content. The value of IIAB is it removes some of the complexity around integrating Content with Portal while easing content contribution. Organizations using IIAB have been able to build WebCenter Content and Portal-based corporate intranets in less than 60 days, including the University of Pretoria. Fishbowl’s best demos at OpenWorld were of Intranet In A Box, and organizations that have made the investments in WebCenter Content and Portal but have struggled to build out next-generation intranets and portals were very interested.

Another Go at Social

There was a lot of buzz at OpenWorld regarding the Oracle Social Network (OSN). Oracle announced OSN at OpenWorld 2011, and we are starting to see more and more examples of how OSN can be applied. I had the privilege of participating in the OSN team’s Developer Challenge as I got to present John Sim’s “Avengers Assemble” application. The OSN Developer Challenge was open to any Oracle or Java technologist (hack) that wanted to build an application that leveraged OSN’s REST API and another service or application. The entries must help solve a business problem, and John focused his efforts on helping to keep teams on the go in touch. John specifically used Google Maps and PhoneGap to build an application he described as a Mobile GeoTagging Solution. John provides much more detail on this solution in this C4 blog post.

Mobile ECM  

Oracle provided further details at OpenWorld 2012 on their mobile application – Oracle ADF Mobile. According to this blog post, Oracle ADF Mobile uses a metadata-based development framework enabling developers to develop one application for multiple platforms (iOS and Android, for starters). It can also easily incorporate HTML5, Java, and the devices native container. As business processes become more and more mobilized, Oracle will be in great position to help facilitate the various business process steps that occur between the user and back-end systems like Oracle E-Business Suite. Oracle has the enabling technologies like SOA and BPM to provide a tightly integrated system for mobile processes.

Fishbowl Solutions has been developing Oracle WebCenter-based mobile applications for over two years now, and we were fortunate once again to be joined at OpenWorld with a customer that has succeeded deploying the mobile applications we have available for the iPad and Android devices. Banner Engineering was kind enough to speak during the WebCenter Content Strategy and Vision session at OpenWorld and also during a social business panel. Banner has rolled out a Mobile Library application that has enabled their sales force and distributors to reference sales collateral stored in Oracle WebCenter from their iPad and Android devices. This application has improved the overall sales process, making customer meetings much more interactive and engaging, and also provided a competitive advantage for Banner – their competitors are still bound to paper catalogs and the like to share product information.  Banner created a lot of excitement with their story, and this excitement carried over to the Fishbowl booth. Fortunately, we had enough iPads to circulate to show off the application and its features.

As a WebCenter partner, it was definitely reassuring to see that alignment existed between Fishbowl’s current software and services offerings and Oracle’s stated direction and positioning with the product that was discussed at OpenWorld . We are excited to see where the next year takes us.

Maximize Your Oracle WebCenter Investment – See Fishbowl Solutions at Oracle OpenWorld

September 27, 2012

Oracle OpenWorld is upon us! Are you ready? Fishbowl Solutions is ready, and we are also willing and able to begin discussing how we can help your organization maximize its Oracle WebCenter Investment. Fishbowl Solutions has a lot planned for OpenWorld, but the main reason we are attending is to meet with WebCenter customers so that we can learn about your business challenges and discuss the ways in which Fishbowl Soutions may be able to solve them. To that end, I would encourage you to visit Fishbowl Solutions in booth #1941 – Moscone South. Stop by to see and discuss the value-add WebCenter components we offer, including solutions for mobile content management, SharePoint integrations, and Google search within WebCenter. We would also like to discuss the ways we can help you address your overall web content management, records management, enterprise portal, or document imaging initiatives. If you are a WebCenter customer, Fishbowl’s booth is a can’t miss destination.

Here is a listing of all our OpenWorld activities:

  • Fishbowl and Customer Presentations – Monday, October 1st:
    • WebCenter Content Strategy and Vision featuring Banner Engineering, 12:15 PM, Moscone West – 3001
    • Living with SharePoint, 1:45 PM, Moscone West – 3001
  • Wednesday, October 3rd
    • Building Next-Generation Portals: An Interactive Customer Panel Discussion, 5:00 p.m., Moscone West, room 3000
    • Sponsored by Fishbowl Solutions – drawing for a FREE iPad 3
  • Thursday, October 4th
    • Land Mines, Potholes, and Dirt Roads: Navigating the Way to ECM Nirvana featuring Banner Engineering, 12:45 PM, Moscone West – 3001
    • Sponsored by Fishbowl Solutions – drawing for a FREE iPad 3
    • Using Web Experience Management to Drive Online Marketing Success, 2:15 p.m., Moscone West, room 3001
    • Sponsored by Fishbowl Solutions – drawing for a FREE iPad 3
  • Sponsor – Oracle WebCenter Customer Appreciation Event
    • Tuesday, October 2nd, 6:30 – 9:30 PM, The Palace Hotel – Ralston Room

We look forward to discussing your current Oracle WebCenter use cases and what your organization would like to accomplish going forward. If you would like to schedule a private meeting at OpenWorld with any of our Oracle WebCenter experts, please email info@fishbowlsolutions.com.