Simplify Building Content-Rich Portals – A “Knockout” Cloud Journey with Oracle PaaS

Oracle Content and Experience Cloud service

Transform the customer engagement and digital experience using Oracle Content and Experience Cloud service with content workflow, collaboration using Oracle Process Cloud and seamlessly surface the data from various enterprise applications including SaaS, On-Premise ERP.

Introduction

Heather, as a marketing team lead, works daily on creating lot of collateral and content for upcoming campaigns, workshops. She would start with a draft version of all digital assets like images, view-lets, teasers (quick two minute videos), branding, slide decks etc. Day-to-day she makes lots of changes (edits/revisions) to the collateral and would like to share/review with her supervisor before she finalizes them. Additionally, she wants to be able check how those assets appear on various devices like mobile, tablets and web browsers.

Laura an HR executive would like to announce and quickly get word out to all internal employees about upcoming Holiday Party. With some examples from last year (images, videos etc.). Also as part of recruitment process, she would like to post the current openings (with referral bonus) on an internal portal/website.

The question is, is there a comprehensive, enterprise-wide digital content and experience management platform which can help both Heather and Laura to manage their day-to-day activities efficiently, with easy configurations, controlled access, integrated, and, of course, zero-coding. Can that system be accessed from anywhere through any channel with no disruption? Can that system be available on a need-based subscription model which is flexible enough to turn on/off?

There is. With the Oracle Content and Experience Cloud service, which provides omni-channel digital content management and creating engagement portals with one click of a button right from web browsers.

In this whitepaper we will take you deep into Oracle Content and Experience Cloud features and how easily we can integrate other PaaS offerings like Process Cloud Service (PCS), Integration Cloud Service (ICS) to surface the data from back-end systems and SaaS applications.

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Sofbang Tech Team Tips Series: Data Extraction ETL – An effective method to manage data

ETL Article Header Image

What is ETL?

ETL stands for Extract, Transform and Load, a process used to collect data from various input sources, transform the data depending on business rules/needs and load the data into a destination source. The need for this process comes from the fact that in modern computing, business data lives in many distributed locations and in multiple formats. For example, data is saved by organizations in various formats such as a word doc, PDF, XLS, plain text, etc. or may be kept in any of the commercial database servers like MS SQL Server, Oracle, and MySQL. Managing this business information efficiently is a great challenge and ETL plays an important role in solving this problem.

The ETL process has three main steps, which are Extract, Transform, and Load

 

Extract – The first step in the ETL process is extracting the data from various sources. The data in each source can be in any of the formats like flat files or some database files.

Transform – Once the data has been extracted by various filters, validations, aggregate functions or some other business logic, it can be applied to the data to get the output in the desired format.

Load – This is the final step where the ‘transformed’ data is loaded in the target destination which may again be a flat file or some predefined RDBMS file.

 

Why and Where is ETL Required

Companies or organizations with years of history and/or a global presence will inevitably go through technological changes at some point; ranging from manual systems to simple in-house applications and data storages ranging from flat files to RDBMS. This can potentially create subprocesses within the big process (business) with completely different applications running on suitable hardware and architectural platforms.

In such scenarios, the organization’s unit in location “X” might be using mainframes and another unit at location “Y” would be using the SAP system to manage operations related data. In this type of setup, if an organization’s top management needs a consolidated report of all the assets of the company, it can be a challenge to gather all the data and reports. Collecting the right data for reports from disparate systems, then consolidate them manually can be a cumbersome process that could take days to deliver a final report to management.  A more efficient way would be to have a system that fetches data from these disparate sources, stores it in a data warehouse environment and generate a report whenever needed.

So how do you fetch the data from these different systems, make it coherent, and load it into a data warehouse?

To do this, we need a methodology or a tool that can extract the data, cleanse it and load it into a data warehouse application. In order to consolidate the historical information from all disparate sources, we set up an ETL system, which transforms the data from the smaller databases into the more meaningful long-term databases.

ETL is useful when

  • Companies need a way to analyze their data for critical business decisions.
  • The transactional database cannot always answer complex business queries.
  • You need to capture the flow of transactional data.
  • There is a need to adjust data from multiple sources to be used together.
  • To structure data to be used by the various Business Intelligence (BI) tools.
  • To enable subsequent business/analytical data processing.

 

ETL graphic

 

There are a variety of ETL tools available in the market. Some of the prominent ones are:

No. List of ETL Tools ETL Vendors
1 Informatica PowerCenter Informatica Corporation
2 InfoSphere DataStage IBM
3 Oracle Data Integrator Oracle
4 Decision Stream IBM Cognos
5 Data Integrator (BODI) SAP Business Objects
6 SAS Data Integration SAS
7 Talend Studio Talend
8 Pentaho Data Integration Pentaho
9 Pervasive Data Integrator Actian / Pervasive Software
10 Clover ETL Javlin

 

Advantages of the ETL tool

  • ETL tools normally provide for better performance even for large datasets.
  • They have built-in connectors for all the major RDBMS systems.
  • They help to reuse complex programs for validations etc.
  • They offer intuitive visual integrated development environment.
  • They also offer performance optimization options such as parallel processing, load balancing etc.

At, Sofbang I have worked with Talend Open Studio, an open source project for managing various facets of ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) process for BI and data warehousing. It is one of the most innovative data integration solution in the market today.

It’s open source, free to use, and community-supported. It summarizes every operation that loads, retrieves, transforms and shapes data,  and provides very easy to use ‘drag and drop’ UI components to enable intuitive and faster UI development a shown below:

Fig: Talend IDE Screen

For example, let’s try this with an ‘Excel Sheet’ as a raw input, which needs some validations, and filters to apply to data.  Based on that information we should get our desired data in the ‘output’ Excel.

Step 1: The sample input Excel is shown below which contains some invalid names and other details of employees.

Step 2: Drag and drop the respective components (in this case for processing Excel) from the components palette on the right-hand side, put them on the screen and draw the output connections as shown below:

Step 3: Now define the validations and filters to be applied to input data, by clicking on the ‘map’ component as shown below: In this case, we define our filters and validation as;

  • Names should be valid
  • Date of birth should be greater than ’01-JAN-2012’
  • All employees drawing salary greater than 20000 should be filtered and stored separately.

Step 4: Click on the ‘Run’ button to execute the job and get the results.

Step 5: When clicking ‘Run’ button we will get the following screen:

Step 6: The resulting ‘filtered’ and ‘validated’ Excel is shown below:

Fig: Excel with Valid names and Salary > 20000

 

Fig: Excel with Valid names and DOB > ’01-JAN-2012’

Sofbang Achieves Oracle PartnerNetwork Specialization for Oracle Mobile Cloud Service

Sofbang is excited to announce that we are one of the first companies globally to achieve OPN Specialized Status for Oracle Mobile Cloud Service!

Oracle Cloud is the industry’s broadest and most integrated public cloud, offering a complete range of services across SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. It supports new cloud environments, existing ones, and hybrid, and all workloads, developers, and data.  The Oracle Cloud delivers nearly 1,000 SaaS applications and 50 enterprise-class PaaS and IaaS services to customers in more than 195 countries around the world and supports 55 billion transactions each day.

Sofbang continues to make significant investments in the Oracle Cloud Platform ensuring that its comprehensive end-to-end solutions extend and integrate on-premise and SaaS applications.  In addition, Sofbang has its own Oracle Cloud Solutions Center of Excellence, which streamlines its ability to streamline operations, run customer proofs of concept and develop relevant industry solution accelerators built on the Oracle Cloud Platform. Sofbang’s solutions accelerators include Licensing and Permitting, Mobile Contracts Management, Mobile Workforce Management and Proximity Based Marketing, built and designed with a scalable architecture that grows and evolves as business needs change. Sofbang’s solutions accelerators are available for download on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, Apple Store and Google Play, and leverage best practices and open standards.

“As a system integration partner with an Oracle Cloud designation and distinguished recipient of the Oracle Mobile Partner of the Year award in 2015, Sofbang continues to demonstrate an industry-leading commitment to helping our joint customers leverage Oracle’s Integrated Cloud,” says Valerie Singer, Vice President, North America Cloud Strategy and Sales at Oracle.  “We congratulate Sofbang on its achievement in attaining OPN Specialized status for Oracle Mobile Cloud Service.”

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Featured in Forbes: Four Ways Cloud Is Paving The Way To More-Profitable Highway Construction

Road construction is a low-margin business with a seemingly low barrier to entry—get a paver and a dump truck, and go bid on jobs. In reality, its best practitioners, like Rogers Group based in Nashville, Tennessee, are learning to run their roadway projects with data-driven efficiency.

Rogers Group is a prime example of what the Harvard Business Review calls digital business becoming business as usual. Indeed, Rogers Group is not changing the way it builds its roads; the firm is simply using available cloud services to grease the wheels of information as it moves through the business.

“The end goal is to complete every job within its estimated framework,” says Kim Lockhart, the applications development manager for Rogers Group. To that end, Rogers Group is using Oracle Mobile Cloud Service to open a new connection between the company’s ERP system and the people who make the job run: the job foreman on location, the construction manager, and the job estimator—with opportunities for analysis at every stop along the way… read full article

 

Enterprise Mobile Workforce – strategic advantage for your business or just a fad (Part 1)

History

We consider Nineties to be years of computerization with advancements from the use of main-frames to PCs/ laptops, where LAN and WAN gave rise to the Internet and emergence of the ‘second generation’ mobile phone systems which used digital instead of analog transmission. The rise in mobile phone usage as a result of 2G was explosive and created a demand for data to browse the internet with greater speeds. Due to the net boom the industry began to create the next generation of technology known as 3G. Launched in 2001, 3G technology resulted in introduction of handheld devices and smartphones giving popularity to the likes of the Palm and Blackberry. Until 2006 only 64 Million smartphones were sold worldwide and Android, iOS, Windows phones were not in existence. The smartphone revolution began in 2007 when Apple introduced iPhone which was the first full platform phone. By the third quarter of 2012, one billion smartphones were in use worldwide –  65% of mobile consumers owned smartphones in the US alone. 4th generation (4G) technologies are now 10 times faster than 3G and faster Wi-Fi networks have helped drive the mass adoption of mobile phones and handheld devices in the market.

5

The Current Trend

By January 2016, smartphone adoption reached 79% of mobile consumers in the US. The latest report from the Pew Research Center found that 92% of U.S. adults own a mobile phone. In fact, mobile phones have now surpassed PCs, and the analysts have starting terming this era as the post PC era. The trend away from computers is particularly evident among adults under the age of 30 where only 78% own a laptop or desktop computer, compared to 88% in 2010. Mobile technology has reached a tipping point in businesses too and mobile adoption has reached a critical mass among their employees. Forrester, in the 2013 Mobile Workforce Adoption Trends report stated that 37% of employees work from multiple locations, 82% use multiple apps, and 53% use multiple devices.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) 6

Today, many people use tablets and smartphones in their everyday lives which has led to a number of companies, to allow their employees to bring their own devices (BYOD) to work as they perceive productivity gains and cost savings. Many businesses are finding that their employees are also willing to leverage their own devices for business applications.

 

Risks

But this practice of BYOD in Enterprises has its associated risks: 7

 

Graphic - BYOD The Issues

  • Security Concerns like end node problems, data breaches, monitoring personal devices, malware exposure, administration of large number of devices
  • Complexity of continuously keeping up with the new technology
  • Companies apprehend that usage of mobile at workspace to be more of a distraction than a benefit
  • Enterprise data privacy
  • Scalability and Capability: Many organizations today lack proper network infrastructure to handle the heavy traffic which will be generated when employees will start using different devices at the same time
  • Phone Number Problem: is a key issue of BYOD which is often overlooked where employees leaving the company, take their phone number with them, raising the question of the ownership of the phone number. Customers calling the number may be calling competitors leading to loss of business for BYOD enterprises.

 

Adoption

Earlier International research revealed that only 20% of employees have signed a BYOD policy but in the recent years (BYOD) phenomenon is rising from 31 percent in 2010 to 41 percent in 20111 Analysts suggest a variety of sectors where BYOD can improve productivity and provide easy access to required data and information anytime and anywhere. Despite the known associated risks, employers across the US are increasingly recognizing that the way we work today has changed drastically, and it is becoming evident that mobile workforces are the way of the future. The U.S. office of personnel management agrees that the anytime, anywhere work environment is here to stay, In his “Presidential Memorandum – Enhancing Workplace Flexibilities and Work-Life Program” President Obama mentioned that “To attract, empower, and retain a talented and productive workforce in the 21st century, the Federal Government must continue to make progress in enabling employees to balance their responsibilities at work and at home”2  even more stressing the need of an always connected mobile workforce. However, to realize the full potential of fully connected anytime, anywhere and on any-device (mobile) workforce with real time access to organization’s information systems, businesses need to address and mitigate the associated risks.

 

Solutions

Enterprises mitigate risks by using many of the following policies to address mobile security concerns:

 

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

primarily deals with integrating and managing mobile devices, segregation of corporate information and data, securing of emails, securing of corporate documents and enforcing corporate policies on information security. MDM controls on-device applications and content, it controls and protects the data and configures settings of all mobile devices connected to the organization’s network. It can be implemented both on-premises and on the cloud. It optimizes the functionality and security of a mobile communications network while minimizing cost and downtime and is leveraged for both company-owned (CYOD) and employee-owned (BYOD) devices across the enterprise.

 

Mobile Application Management (MAM)

is driven by the widespread adoption and use of mobile applications in business environment. Forrester forecasted in 2011 that the “mobile management services market” would reach $6.6 Billion by 2015.3 In April 2016, another research firm named markets and markets reported that the Managed Mobility Services (MMS) market is in the introductory phase where it is expected to grow from USD 4.56 Billion in 2016 to USD 19.40 Billion by 2021, at a high Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 33.6% 4 We see a rise in the usage of mobile devices in the enterprises – with rise in usage of mobile applications by the stakeholders of an enterprise including its employees, decision makers, LOBs and customers. The report also stated that organizations were broadening their “mobility strategy” beyond mobile device management to “managing a growing number of mobile applications.” When an employee brings a personal device into the business environment, MAM enables the corporate IT to download business applications on the device and control access to business data. It ensures that if the device is lost, or when an employee leaves locally cached business data can be removed from it.

 

Containerization

segregates enterprise and personal assets in the device by completely isolating personal assets from enterprise assets and the enterprise network. Users are able to use their devices for convenient and secured enterprise access. IT creates and manage ‘containers’ that are encrypted and policy enforced within each personal device providing controlled access to email, business documents and enterprise applications. Even the data is encrypted where the containers can be wiped without disturbing employee’s personal data and applications. Connections to the enterprise network can be shielded from probes, attacks, malware, and compromised devices, by conducting communications to the containers through a private communications channel that can encrypt and authenticate each connection. This eliminates use of VPNs and inbound TCP/IP connections to the enterprise network resulting in only the secure containers connecting to the enterprise network.

 

Mobile app virtualization technology

addresses compliance, security, and operations issues for organizations as it separates mobile applications from their underlying operating system using secure containers, it only virtualizes the individual application and the user session rather than the full mobile operating system. One instance of the remote OS can serve multiple users, where each user session is isolated from one other and the output of the user session is rendered remotely to the end user. It can scale up to large number of users as and hardware features cane be shared across many user sessions.

 

Mobile Information Management (MIM)

is a device-agnostic security strategy which keeps sensitive data encrypted and only allows approved applications to access or transmit it.

 

CYOD (Choose your own device) 8

is an alternative to the BYOD model, which is usually an example of the COPE (corporate-owned, personally-enabled) approach.

 

 

 

For routine access to email, documents, intranet or hybrid apps, containerization is normally sufficient to provide secure and productive mobility. However, where the job function is completely mobile or requires information access beyond email/PIM, documents and intranet apps, MDM can be used. The CYOD model can ease the administrative burden of MDM and MAM by limiting the options for device types and maintaining administrative control over device changes. Due to the use of enterprise owned devices completely managed by IT, the CYOD approach protects the organization’s data from both external and internal threats.

For many years, organizations viewed the desktop as the only way to deliver information from their enterprise applications. But now with the growth in mobile computing, users expect to be able to switch among desktops, tablets or smartphones anytime and anywhere. Organizations can derive long term competitive advantage utilizing their mobile workforce if mobile strategy becomes one of the key parts of their business strategy. Experts are now talking about the success of enterprises lying in futuristic Enterprise mobility solutions with focus on GIS, IOT and Proximity based systems, we shall discuss these in Part 2. A good SI working on cutting edge technologies can add great value to enterprises derive their strategic objectives.


References
  1. Source: The Economist, “Beyond the PC: Survey on Personal Technology,” 2011-10-08, page 11
  2. Source: obamawhitehouse.archives.gov
  3. Source: McCarthy, John C., and Pelino, Michele,’Mobile Management Takes a 180-Degree Turn,’’ Forrester Research, 2011-08-11
  4. Managed Mobility Services Market by Function (Device Management, Application Management, Security Management, and Maintenance & Support), by Organization Size (SME and Enterprise), Industry Vertical, and Region – Global Forecast to 2021
  5. Source: http://apprize.info/security/cisco_1/18.html
  6. Source: www.cybersecuritynews.co.uk
  7. Source: www.buffalo-technology.com
  8. Source: www.stotthoare.com.au