The Evolution of the Social Enterprise

Oracle WebCenter transforms Websites for interaction and collaboration.

November 2011

The humble Website has come a long way in the past two decades. Once limited to publishing and simple e-commerce transactions, Websites and Web applications are now an enterprise-class medium for interaction. Oracle WebCenter is a complete user engagement platform for using Websites and Web applications to connect people and information, with the goal of improving customer loyalty, enhancing productivity, managing content, and increasing the business agility of the social business.

“Companies aren’t just looking to have Websites where customers come, download things, and leave,” says Andy MacMillan, vice president of product management at Oracle. “The emphasis now is on how to offer an experience that brings customers back, to engage and collaborate with a company over a longer period of time and on a richer level.”

Oracle WebCenter is an enterprise-grade product suite of consolidated applications featuring Oracle WebCenter Sites, Oracle WebCenter Connect, Oracle WebCenter Portal, and Oracle WebCenter Social. This user engagement platform, part of Oracle Fusion Middleware, provides a framework and a set of capabilities to easily create collaborative Web environments that are highly secure and highly available.

“Our goal was to build a set of capabilities that transform organizations into social enterprises, increasing customer loyalty and productivity, and providing information at the right time and in the right context,” says MacMillan.

The Web experience management features of Oracle WebCenter Sites help online marketers create engaging one-to-one interactions with customers. The application is based on solutions from FatWire Software (recently acquired by Oracle) that are integrated with Oracle solutions for business intelligence, Web commerce, and customer relationship management (CRM). The application can extend brand engagement and Web presence to social and mobile channels as well.

“FatWire is the fundamental component for Oracle WebCenter Sites, which is focused on business-to-consumer Web experience, providing rich brand engagement to end consumers,” says MacMillan.

Oracle Social Network, announced by Larry Ellison at Oracle OpenWorld 2011, is powered by Oracle WebCenter and falls into the Oracle WebCenter Social pillar. Oracle Social Network facilitates contextual activity streams and conversational collaboration, tied directly into critical business processes and applications. For example, a CRM record might reflect the status of the transaction and the details of a sales meeting—but the e-mail exchanges, notes, and other related users may not be reflected in the CRM system. Oracle Social Network is built for the sharing of sales information and documents via mobile, tablet, or desktop devices. “With Oracle Social Network, you can bring people together across the organization into an impromptu conversation, sharing and collaborating while they have access to the CRM data,” MacMillan adds.

Oracle WebCenter Portal allows you to create intuitive role-based portals, composite applications, and information mashups, extending application and back-office capabilities. Users can build engaging Web applications to support unique business processes and self-service initiatives. In addition, innovative social tools are woven throughout, enabling contextual access to content, data, and other users.

Oracle WebCenter Content provides users with seamless access to the right information in context, whether within a business process or from a user’s desktop, Websites, composite applications, or enterprise applications. It offers a strategic enterprise content management solution—built on Oracle WebCenter—for managing records, rich media files, documents, and images.

According to MacMillan, Oracle WebCenter is an obvious fit for IT staff responsible for publishing and managing Websites. But it will also appeal to personnel in charge of an enterprise’s Web presence with concerns centered on brand engagement and cross-selling. “We’re also seeing a new buyer emerge who is Web marketing-savvy and looking for a solution to meet that need, and that solution is Oracle WebCenter,” says MacMillan.