Monday, October 12, 2009

Enterprise 2.0 
Businesses Don’t Close Deals, People Do.

by Scott Jenkins, Managing Partner

In the global knowledge economy, business has rediscovered that Customers and Employees are social and business is personal. And rightly so; after all, businesses don't close deals, people do. In response to this, companies are acknowledging the role that informal and social interactions play in supporting successful business transactions.

Corporations that encourage, support and reward corporate social behavior within their organization will become tomorrow's new success stories. Why? Because in the new economy, corporations compete by developing intellectual knowledge/capacity and integrating this into their organizational structure and business practices.
Online communities with fully integrated content management, collaboration and social networking software deliver a highly effective solution for companies looking for new and innovative ways to integrate information, exchange knowledge, experience and ideas, and build business relationships across organizational and geographical boundaries.

A Workplace Community empowers your organization to quickly and easily connect your workforce across geographically dispersed project teams, departments and business units to realize significant productivity gains, foster innovation and drive employee engagement. Examples include intranets, project team spaces, departmental dashboards, and expert communities.

Introducing Spaces

Oracle WebCenter Spaces brings business context to individuals and groups, thus creating an effective social networking platform where business problems are easily solved and knowledge is readily shared.

Oracle WebCenter Spaces is a prebuilt application that enables individuals and groups to work and collaborate more effectively. The application is a self-service solution for managing individual and group interactions. Spaces provides intuitive tools that allow non-technical members to come together and share information by adding pages and resources such as documents, charts, reports, business applications, Web 2.0 services, and other resources or views. Spaces includes both Personal Space, which brings business context to the end user with a focus on collaboration and social networking, and Group Space, which brings together groups of users with a common objective: to resolve a business problem or share an area of interest.

Want to learn more? Attend our up-coming Webinar.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Oracle’s Beehive: Getting Honey from the Hive

Results are Achieved when People Work Together

In order to achieve even the most basic of business goals, everyone in an organization collaborates in some way. Enterprise Collaboration requires people to coordinate and communicate around an activity at hand and requires different tools depending on the phase of the activity.

An example can be a team of knowledge workers (Engineers, Architects, etc) working on a proposal. At certain points in time, they need to be able to communicate the proposal amongst each other or to coordinate their milestones for this project. Throughout the whole process, experts on various aspects of the projects need to communicate their ideas and provide feedback. Teams need tools that allow them to effectively work together, to see and use the contributions of other team members, and to track the tasks associated with achieving the team’s goals.

Oracle Beehive is Oracle’s newest software platform for enterprise collaboration. Beehive provides collaborative tools built around a unified collaborative model allowing team members to work together and accomplish their goals. These tools help teams to collaborate efficiently across multiple geographies and organizations with:
• Group scheduling and calendaring with resource management and direct access to team members’ corporate calendars.
• Team task management with assignments and reporting.
• Team member communication via e-mail, voicemail and instant messaging.
• Discussions capabilities that allow long running conversations on any document or subject.
• Voice and Web Conferencing from various clients
• Basic collaborative data management capabilities with check-in/check-out, versioning and locking functionality.
• Workflow and notification capabilities that allow users to determine when and how they want to be notified of activities.
• Team and organizational directories that expose presence and make it easy to contact team members.

According to Oracle, Beehive is the only unified collaboration platform designed specifically for the enterprise. Oracle Beehive allows IT to standardize on a single collaboration platform incorporating the full range of collaboration and communications services. It is based on a centralized deployment that allows unmatched scalability, manageability, and integration with critical enterprise applications and infrastructure. Using Oracle Beehive, enterprises can centrally provision, manage, securely audit, and globally apply compliance rules to all users and teams at the workgroup, departmental or enterprise level. Oracle Beehive offers the lowest total cost of ownership, and delivers significant customer value either installed alongside existing messaging infrastructure or in place of it. Oracle Beehive offers customers both on-premise and on-demand deployment options.

What’s so special about Beehive?

Beehive Object Model
The Beehive Object Model (BOM) is an all-inclusive notion of collaborative objects, artifacts, and users, and the bonds between the objects. The BOM embodies the unique vision of Oracle Beehive – a unified collaboration platform –, which includes management of collaborative artifacts regardless of type, a single notion of groups, links between artifacts and common access control.

Collaboration within Business Processes
With Oracle Beehive, collaboration can be embedded directly into business processes. This is achieved through a variety of services such as: standard protocols, Oracle Beehive’s event-driven architecture, BPEL workflows and Web Services. These services can also be embedded within portals or into composite applications. Using Oracle Beehive's Event Driven Platform, users can create customizable policies for data and processes, automate collaboration in business processes, and integrate with external systems and applications through Oracle BPEL Process Manager on over 400+ events.

Tracking Context
Often it is not the actual content that is useful, but rather it is the related information such as the author or the connection to a related object. A user searching for a specific document is often more interested in knowing the author of the document than she was the document itself. Oracle Beehive maintains this bond between the document and the author regardless of later use.

Keeping Contextual Relationships
Oracle Beehive allows users to efficiently search across all artifacts, regardless of type and context. Tags can be applied to all artifacts for easy retrieval later across a workspace or multiple workspaces. Enterprise taxonomies can be defined and their application enforced based on the policy definition for a specific workspace or folder. These capabilities augment the traditional folder structures, providing alternative navigation paths to discover managed collaborative content.

Try some Honey today – We have a new Oracle Beehive Demo we’d love to show you. Register to attend the upcoming Webinar or give us call to learn more about Beehive.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Enterprise 2.0: Like Honey to a Bee

It’s About Sharing, Not Technology

Enterprise 2.0 is a new buzzword that is getting a lot of attention. The adoption of so-called Web 2.0 technologies is extraordinary. The popularity of sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Blogs are indicative of a powerful sea change at hand in the way people want to communicate.  This rapid adoption, with such a diversity of users, begs the question of why users are flocking to these systems.

Perhaps the answer lies in Honeybees. What?  In a  American Scientist Online[i] article about honeybees, we learn that honeybee scouts search for possible locations of a new hive and then communicate that information to other swarm members. Other bees consume this informa

tion, examine and evaluate a potential location, return to the swarm, and communicate their "thoughts" on how good the site is. Finally, when enough scouts promote the same site, a quorum is reached and the new hive location is selected.  Consider the following principles observed by honeybees in their decision-making:

1.    A diversity of independent information sources is critical to making the best decisions;

2.    Text Box: Bit-O-HoneyAggregation of information followed by independent evaluation of the information leads to a core set of choices;

3.    Collection and distribution of independent decisions enables a unifying decision to be reached as rapidly as possible.

The behaviors in the honeybee community may hold important clues for businesses seeking to understand why Enterprise 2.0 may have some buzz for business information sharing and decision-making. 

Consider the exponential growth of information. Add to this growth, the ease with which information is created and consumed today. Finally, layer on how Web 2.0 technologies have increased user expectations regarding what is available while lowering the barrier to participation, and you begin to see the emergence of an unmistakable trend.

Business information is no different.  It is made available, then consumed, modified and repeated to all who show an interest in this information. No longer is the focus on pushing information to specific people - this has become spam (corporate or otherwise). Instead, the focus is on collaborating with people. Web 2.0 technologies enable a conversational approach to communication. The wealth and diversity of information that is being created independently is being shared and consumed conversationally.

Enterprise 2.0 is about bringing content to the employee in context so that their attention will be kept “on topic”. An Enterprise 2.0 platform forms an information fabric in which knowledge and process workers are woven together with colleagues, customers, systems, and information.

Ultimately, the goal of this participation is to tap into the energies and expertise of every individual and to deliver a synthesis of the good ideas. Aggregating the varied inputs, precipitating the valuable outcomes through team-enabled decision making, and enabling employees to make better business decisions is the result.

In the upcoming webinar and newsletter articles, we will explain why Enterprise 2.0 is good for business, what Enterprise 2.0 deployments should include, and how they should be implemented within an organization.

Scott Jenkins, Managing Partner

The EBS Group

[i] "Group Decision Making in Honey Bee Swarms," American Scientist Online, May-June 2006, Volume: 94 Number: 3 p. 220


Friday, January 2, 2009

Oracle brings the best of its rich BI portfolio into Enterprise Edition Plus.


No one said it better than a C-level business executive at an Industry presentation:

“I do not want IT solutions to be just about productivity and efficiency gains. If we are not productive and efficient at this point, we are in the wrong business. I need my IT colleagues to be real business partners and bring solutions that will enable our company to win new business, convert more prospects to customers, increase our market share, and get into the new markets. I need IT to be a true business partner, not a cost center.”

Getting better insight from information based on richer data sets, more complex models, or even making the same decisions as everyone else but before everyone else makes them — this is how most advanced enterprises compete in today’s world. Business intelligence tools and technologies form the major components of the foundation that supports and enables such competitive differentiation.

Business Intelligence Is Not Just For Reporting Anymore
Contrary to the common misconception, BI enables more than just reporting and analytics. Leading Analysts like Forrester defines BI as:

“A set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information used to enable more effective strategic, tactical, and operational insights and decision-making.”

While a dashboard can be used as a graphical UI (GUI) component, business activity monitoring (BAM) also captures data and process events (e.g., number of credit applications processed today and number still pending in a queue), correlates and aggregates them into business metrics (e.g., ratios of processed, approved, and rejected applications per hour), and displays the real-time status of the metrics and trailing patterns.

Oracle BI EE is very rich in features and functions and scores very close to the leading BI vendors. The BI suite includes a powerful BI Server with a ROLAP engine and enterprise information integration (EII) technology, qualifying Oracle’s BI suite as a heterogeneous, not just Oracle-centric, BI platform. Even though Oracle continues to support all products it has acquired, Essbase is the key Hyperion product that will receive the most attention and R&D dollars. Essbase continues to be one of the leading OLAP engines on the market and a preferred tool of finance departments all over the world.