That is the question most of the customers evaluating WebCenter for their collaboration, intranet or extranet platform ask. Whether to use Spaces or develop a custom Portal application.
Out of the box Spaces comes with great functionality and a navigation and security model. It is therefore worth considering it as the first option before developing a bespoke application.
However there are some cases where Portal may be more appropriate
- If requirements for security and especially around document management (UCM integration) are very different to the one that comes with Spaces. For each group created on spaces an Account is created in UCM. This may be a problem if the number of groups grows a lot or if sharing documents between groups is required.
- If the look&feel and navigation is completely different to Spaces and will make more expensive to customize than recreate the UI
- … “Please share your comments”
Other than that, customizations can be deployed as reusable taskflows on Spaces and the desired look and feel and structure can be easily implemented with templates, skins and navigation models.
This question will however be irrelevant on the next release (12c) where Spaces will just be a template on WebCenter portal in order to start creating our application. It will then be a matter of choosing the template that better match with the requirements.
Example of how WebCenter spaces could look like…
There is one question that always comes to my mind when I read a press about a new Oracle acquisition or a new product that has been launched… how many products are on the Oracle portfolio? Or even more importantly, how do I know which one is the best one for my customers?
On many occasions customers get confused about how some products have overlapping functionality, and that is mainly due to the “product minded view”.
We should start looking at the need and not at the product, it sounds obvious but this is not the reality in hundreds of cases. By starting from the need we can then start to think about the “solution”. And the solution to our problem is not always solved with a product. It could be solved with a product, or a set of products or maybe a “smart way” of using one of our existing solutions.
Let’s have a look to real problems…
- Car co. Marketing Director needs to know if the company website is generating value (in form of revenue) so he/she can act accordingly
- The sales team at PharmaProducts ltd. need information about the product the doctors need or use more frequently in order to sell them the latest product
- Games Limited need a WebSite capable of adapting the Home page content based on the number of bets.
Most of the website can track the usage of the same gathering information like the usage our customers or prospective are doing on our website, what pages they are visiting, so we can understand the products they are interested in, the dealers information pages that will tell us where “potentially” they will be buying.
It is also important to understand what products or services our customers are buying and from where. This information is usually coming from the CRM or an ecommerce platform.
But that information alone is not sufficient; it doesn’t really give us much value apart of an interest “number” or a sales “figure”.
So why not mixing all together in order to understand things like
- Of the most visited cars, which one is being sold the most and where so the Marketing Manager can put more focus on helping other dealers or models.
- What products are the doctors interested in so I can offer the latest promotion and increase our revenue.
- What bet should be promoted at a specific point based on real time information
Smartex is exactly that, it´s a solution to the business problem of understanding our prospects and customers in order make decisions and act accordingly in real time.
But not only is the reporting important, providing reports on the information could be easily implemented using business intelligent tools. The value is on the Integration
- A WebSite capable of understanding the information and be able to adapt the content based on business rules.
- A User Experience based on the customers interests and real time data coming from various sources
If we now look at the Oracle portfolio it is much easier to realize what products should be used to build the solution
- User experience and Analytics: WebCenter Sites
- Information about our customer: Oracle CRM (which of the multiple options is dependent on each customer specific requirements/current platform)
- Data analysis: OBIEE (including RTD: Real Time Decisions)
- Smartex: the glue for all the above
I´ve just had a look at the Oracle Store and I need to say that although the concept is not new this is a step forward for Oracle. No need to spend days in conversations with sales people and talking to various people to understand the offering.
VASS Web Desk can be considered the fastest, easy way to generate desk jobs such as;
- Consulting your sales figures
- Running Business Intelligence (BI) reports without complicated systems
- Access relevant information when needed
- Interact with colleagues
- Manage and track projects
Have you ever used the LinkedIn people search? In my opinion is one of the best I have used and quite intuitive.
Oracle provides the tools necesary to build a similar search based on the WebCenter and OID stuck.
The needs vs. the challenges
In the corporate world, the need for finding people and collaboration spans many levels including: The ability for day to day colleagues to find contact details Being able to track down a person, or get hold of their details To be able to contact and collaborate instantly For workers to identify people to ask for expert opinions and perhaps collaboration To be able to get a clear picture of capabilities and areas of expertise To be able to identify the appropriate people to build teams
But we also have lots of challenges Multiple data sources (HR systems, LDAP, AD, transactional data…) Un-structured information Lack of or out of date information No processes or procedures that capture data Multiple strategies between operating companies or divisions makes difficult to select and integrate a unified platform
Rich profiles, where everything begins
In order to build a people finder application, we need to start with the “builing blocks”. Each user profile is formed from data coming from different sources (which are not editable) and data which is manually input by the user. The “self service” user interface allow users to update the details at any time
- Things to contact me about
- About me
- Personal Interest
- Skills and qualifications
- Work experience
- Location base
- Current location
- Content I’ve authored
- Alternative contact
- Company information
How does Alex – based in London and interested in engine technology find Peter – just joined the Indianapolis office with experience in building aircraft engines?
User data sources that come from different sources can be synchronized using Oracle Virtual Directory, into a unified data source. The “PES Engine” then encapsulates the complexity of all sources (including transactional data) in order to provide a unique search experience bringing back the most relevant results.
The PES engine implements a sophisticated algorithm that sorts the results by the “PES Rank”. This rank is based on the importance that the different fields have been given ensuring that the most relevant results always appear at the top.
Soundex, filters and export capabilities
When the keyword cannot be found, the engine searches for words that “sounds like” the keyword. So if you do not know how to spell someone’s name… you can still find them.
When too many results clutter the relevant information “Invenio” can narrow these down and get more specific results by using the People & Expertise Search advanced filters. Some of the filter criteria include, but are not limited to, company, location, experience, skills or job title amongst others.