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January 2013

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Meet the Oracle WebCenter Team: Mark W. Brown

The Oracle WebCenter team includes some of the best minds in the industry. In this edition, we turn the spotlight on Mark W. Brown, senior director of outbound product management for Oracle WebCenter.

Q. Tell us about the professional journey that brought you to your current role.
A. To put things in perspective, when I started out as a developer at Intel, the 386 chip was state-of-the-art. At Lockheed Martin, I worked on software that literally helped make things fly. Then after earning a master’s degree in engineering management, I managed Microsoft's developer relations group in Silicon Valley, gradually taking duties related to sales and business development.

Since I had both written code and asked for big-digit purchase orders, it made sense that I ended up in product management when I joined Oracle 10 years ago. Today, I work in the enterprise solutions group, where I am responsible for any and all enablement for Oracle WebCenter within our North American field sales organization. It is my job to ensure that our salespeople have all the tools they need to be successful, effectively position the products, help uncover opportunities, and more importantly, solve customer pain points with Oracle WebCenter.

Q. Are there any upcoming programs or events that would be of interest to Oracle WebCenter customers?
The Oracle WebCenter in Action Webcast series is particularly valuable, because customers and partners tell their stories in their own words. Being part of it, I am constantly learning new language to express the value of our solutions. That's really exciting, because it means I'm better equipped to address the next customer looking for new engagement models.

Q. What key trends do you expect to see in 2013 in terms of user engagement and the social enterprise? 
A. We're seeing the second wave of personalized engagement, with richer transactional capabilities, plus big data to refine messaging. In the first wave, you were assigned to a group where similar people could be targeted with messages, etc. But this new wave is to base messages and content on your needs, your requirements, your purchases—not who else you happen to look like. As a result, companies must treat you like you, not like another account.

I think we're also going to see more and more automated, self-service business processes. And processes now available in bits and pieces—for example, separate sites for commerce and the help desk—will increasingly be unified into a single experience.

Q. Describe your typical day.
A. It's our job to ensure that all the tools are in place for every launch, so we definitely have deliverables and timelines. But because we are customer-centric, there's no typical day. If I get an e-mail in the morning asking for help with a big pitch, that becomes my priority. But that makes the job more interesting!

Q. What keeps you up at night?
A. My biggest worry is: are we communicating effectively and how do we know? It's easy to spout off product features, but that doesn't mean you're truly communicating business value, and customers buy value, not features. And good communication is ultimately how you get executives to sign on.

Q. What is the Oracle WebCenter customer success story that you most like to tell?
A. I really like the stories that demonstrate the larger value of our product— areas where we are helping create new value, often in surprising and innovative ways. A good example is Land O'Lakes. By creating a self-service portal for placing orders for seed, Land O'Lakes ended up with a new engagement platform. And this new platform doesn't just drive more efficient processes. It has actually resulted in net new business.

Q. How do you like to spend your time when not thinking about enterprise software?
A. I have a 15-year-old in high school, so I do a lot of typical dad stuff. Travel is definitely our family's favorite form of relaxation. We just got back from New Zealand, which offered tremendous outdoor activities. And even though I traded in my Porsche 993 for something more reliable, I'd love to get into restoring classic cars when I have the time.

Catch more from Mark as he hosts the Oracle WebCenter in Action Webcast series.

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