Oracle WebCenter Suite 11g
Oracle WebCenter Suite is an integrated set of products used to create social applications, enterprise portals, collaborative communities, composite applications, and internet/intranet Web sites with Oracle Enterprise Content Management Suite, all built on a standards-based, service-oriented architecture. Oracle WebCenter is composed of four main elements; Oracle WebCenter Framework allows users to build rich portals; Oracle WebCenter Services allows users to plug Web 2.0 components, such as Wikis, blogs and discussions, directly into the portal; Oracle Business Dictionary and Composer allow users to create mash-ups in their browser; Oracle WebCenter Spaces is a prepackaged application that enables business users to create formal and informal social communities within and across enterprises to capture unstructured interactions directly into team Web sites.
Vice President of Product Management for Oracle Enterprise 2.0 and Portal Products
Location: Redwood City, California
Product: Oracle WebCenter
Q: Why is Oracle WebCenter Suite 11g innovative?
A: Every office has experts with specific domain knowledge—people who know how to order extra supplies or where to find certain information. Our product allows those experts to influence what other people at the company see by adding their expertise to the Oracle WebCenter environment. So every person who comes to the enterprise portal gets the benefit of the experts' knowledge. You can also call it collective intelligence. Our product allows these experts in every domain of the business to share what they know with others so that the organization becomes smarter. We've created connections among many of these new Web 2.0 techniques to make businesses run more effectively.
Q: What makes the product unique?
A: All of the competitor products have one or both of two problems. First, they provide these capabilities as a bunch of separate products. As a result, the user has to know where to go to find an expert, and that expert can only be found if he or she has been interacting with the site. They have these islands of information that only allow users to find isolated experts. It's not collectively growing the business or making the company smarter. Second, their technology isn't embeddable or consumable by anything other than their site. Most of the competitors will ship a user interface and if you like it, great. But if you want to customize it, you have to rebuild everything. We focus on making sure that all of these social computing services are certified to work extremely well together and can be branded or innovated without breaking the patching or upgrade cycle. With our product, customers don't lose all the changes they put into the system to make it their own when they upgrade.
Q: How have the innovations of Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 affected business users' lives?
A: Users have been conditioned on the public Web to expect rich interactivity. I can share pictures and videos with friends and family very quickly, but when I go into the office it takes me 15 or 20 minutes just to figure out how to file an expense report. Users' expectations are putting pressure on IT and enterprise vendors to make things simpler and easier. That happens because there's been a big focus inside organizations on self-service application access, but that also means users need to be trained on the software or know where to find applications and information.
Q: How do you think Oracle's innovative culture benefits our customers?
A: Oracle provides a process around capturing, understanding, and integrating all the innovative ideas from new companies coming into the Oracle culture when we acquire them. We don't assume we are experts in all areas. We assume there's original thinking throughout the organization, whether people are coming in from a new company or they've been here for years and are still an individual contributor. Every innovative idea is actually looked at, understood, and incorporated or tabled based on everybody's feedback. That's what provides Oracle with a significant competitive advantage: We tap into the key expertise and passions of all the team members.
Q: What innovative technology are you excited about right now?
A: Some of the innovative technologies that we think provide a lot of power are activity graphs or activity streams inside of the organization. In social networks on the Web today there are activity streams or tweets that people post to give you a flow of information as to what's going on. While interesting on the internet, they don't provide much value to business leaders or users. They become valuable when they get tied into the applications or tasks or processes people do inside their companies. The information that is part of the systems, such as knowing who got a high rating from their manager the last four years in a row or who won the deal, is invaluable. Taking some of the concepts of the social networks on the Web today and applying those in a business context so that businesses can get a real value out of them—that's very interesting to me.