Oracle and Fatwire Integration

Oracle and Fatwire

The Oracle integration plans with Fatwire were presented to the public today in a webcast by Oracle VP of Product Andy MacMillan an Fatwire SVP of Marketing and Product, Loren Weinberg.  The Replay is available here.  Here is my take on what they presented.

“Fatwire is the cornerstone of the functionality that makes up ‘WebCenter Sites'” – Andy MacMillan

Web has moved beyond WCM info publishing and into WEM – managing the experience of the audience through the web ecosystem.

  • customers expect personalization
  • marketers expect targeting and segmentation
  • admins and IT expect integration with business systems

Areas where I see Fatwire adding to the Oracle WebCenter Sites – aka ECM – stack

  • Real time segmenting and targeting.  Nice and needed.  Oracle looks to integrate the Fatwire capability with the Real-Time-Decisions and Siebel that had been integrated with Oracle WCM back in 2008.
  • Multi-lingual content capabilities. Wondering how this stacks up against the Oracle Validated Integration with Lingotek.
  • Analytics.  Nice.  Oracle ECMs “tracker” capabilities were less than stellar.  I am hopeful that this is better than what you get with Oracle ECM today and better than WCM sites with google analytics, webtrends or omniture.  Time will tell.
  • Mobile. Nice that they have out of the box mobile templates that can re-use content and a library of layouts for different devices.  This has always been a weakness of Oracle WCM.  Location based services look very interesting!

Areas where Oracle/Fatwire is reclaiming advantages that should already exist (based on their prior claims).

  • Integrated with back end systems. Meh.  Oracle has been claiming and building this for years.  Some are good.  Some still need time in the oven.
  • Rich Media support. Meh.  Ability to store videos and songs and images is expected.  Delivery of these to the appropriate devices/channels with all of the goofiness with Apple vs Flash, HTML5 vs all is the bigger area that must be addressed.
  • Social & User Generated Content. Tough sell given that this has been a core benefit of the WebCenter Platform.  There are also a ton of dynamic regions from Site Studio that do the same kind of dynamic content delivery based on ratings and consumption patterns.  If Fatwire has these pre-build and in widget style format it will be good.  If it’s another thing that you have to build…well we’ve been there before.  If the social features are targeted just at Sites (aka WCM) then good.  It will provide a nice middle ground for organizations who want comments and feedback and blogs without going to full WebCenter (depending if Oracle allows that kind of licensing…)
  • Separation of content from presentation and administration. Meh.  Old story.  Prove that it is different / better.
  • Easy end-user development tools – This has been claimed since the earliest Stellent days and earliest Fatwire days.  Are they going to do something new now?
  • Scalability.  Dynamic site delivery? Sigh.  Caching?  Yep.  Been there done that with Coherence and WebCenter and Exalogic and ATG.  How does this Fatwire capability enhance the existing Oracle performance and scalability features?  UPDATE: on scalability via Facebook – Alert Reader Mike Barton notes that Fatwire Satellite Servers are the main boosting engine behind their scalability play.  However, this still opens up questions for many with regard to Coherence and the rest of the HA FMW IA.  Maybe Oracle will keep them as stand alone solutions.  Time will tell.

Oracle did a good job of identifying key areas where overlap raises questions and identifying them as targets for integration going forward.

Oracle Fatwire Integration Areas
Oracle Fatwire Integration Areas from public webinar on 10 Aug 2011 with Andy MacMillan (Oracle) and Loren Weinberg (Fatwire)

Oracle looks like they are going to create a “bi-directional connector” between WebCenter Content (aka ECM) and Fatwire.  Does this mean replication between repositories or true single-instancing?

Integration with Siebel, CRM & RTD

With targeting and analytics, I like Oracle’s story about how Fatwire segmentation and delivery will work with RTD to learn, decide and deliver content to the web.  RTD integration with WCM was a powerful but finnicky integration.  The hope is that Fatwire can make this capability more robust as well as easier to use for MarCom staff.

Props to Oracle for sticking with the CRM – Web integration story with Siebel CRM.  But the existing integration architecture and processes still seem too unwieldy to me.  Oracle needs to streamline this IA and make it terribly easy to use for non-technical people.

Additionally, ATG throws a wrench into the works due to incomplete mapping of feature overlap.  For instance, does ATG manage the product catalog or does Oracle EBS? Or Siebel? Or ECM? Or the Database?  Who has ownership responsibility and what systems pull those assets to the web?  There are a lot of questions here and there are customers on ALL of these architectures.  I’m not sure if only one answer will satisfy any of them.

Fatwire Gadgets

The Google OpenSocial Gadgets are interesting.  How are these different from business components in the WebCenter business library?  Will gadgets appear in the BCL?  Will they be converted to ADF taskflows?  Will they be supported?  In WebCenter Portal? Only on Sites?

Oracle’s Investment in Fatwire

Oracle promises to invest more in the Fatwire R&D.  Good news.  My guess is that it will be R&D focused on bringing it into and onto the WebCenter Fusion Middleware stack.

To existing Oracle UCM/WCM customers

Oracle was vague and dancing a bit in this area.  So this is just my perspective reading between the lines.  ECM-Site Studio/SSXA looks to be moving to providing individual content item publishing to the web.  Website management (previously Site Studio) looks to be moving completely to the Fatwire platform.  I hope that the bi-directional connector strategy includes automatic re-formatting and re-factoring for Fatwire sites.  Otherwise it will require a migration strategy from WCM and HCST/F/P pages to Fatwire pages.

Oracle did say that this is a longer term strategy so no need to panic now.  But for customers who are in the middle of deploying or who have just deployed, I would expect that some consternation will arise.  While getting a demo of the fatwire / WebCenter Sites system will likely have some really nice new features, the prospect of a looming migration exercise is still a headache-giver.

Questions I’d like to See Answered:

  1. What additional investment will be needed to move my WCM/Site Studio sites to “Fatwire/WebCenter Sites” managed sites?
  2. Do I need additional Weblogic application server licenses?
  3. Will I have to recreate my HCSF/T/P pages as XML / JSP / Struts?
  4. Is this the death of IDOCScript?  (answer either way and there will be equal amounts of cheering and jeering)
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