Oracle Content and Experience Cloud: managing content at the heart of the digital experience

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Oracle Content and Experience Cloud fuses the content collaboration and management capabilities of Documents Cloud Service with the omni-channel digital experience management capabilities of Sites Cloud. The result is an all-in-one cloud-based, repository-agnostic, content hub covering the entire content lifecycle for many campaign-based use cases.

Top takeaways

Content that drives the digital experience

Oracle has focused Content and Experience Cloud on use cases around marketing campaign lifecycles (and omni-channel experience management), internal intranet sites (integrating with HR on-boarding processes), and supply chain relationships with partners, etc. – with specific features designed for business users deploying content at the heart of their digital experiences.

Helping IT help the business

Content and Experience Cloud is designed to bring business and IT teams closer together, around a common framework and toolset for content-enabled applications – streamlining the lifecycle process to make it easier for business users to manage omni-channel experiences; and reinvigorating IT teams with DX-relevance in an era where the rise of self-service marketing tech had encroached upon their role in customer-facing IT.

Repository-agnostic, but with an affinity for Oracle’s Clouds

Content and Experience Cloud’s API-first design ethos seeks to set it up as a cloud platform for a repository-agnostic DX content hub, irrespective of whether the organisation is an all-in Oracle-only shop or not (although tight integrations with other Oracle clouds clearly marks out a preference for in-house integrations).

Introducing Oracle Content and Experience Cloud

When MWD Advisors covered Oracle’s first foray into the Enterprise File Sync and Share market nearly three years ago, with the launch of Oracle Documents Cloud Service, we remarked that it came out of the starting gates already with many of the bells and whistles you’d expect from a serious enterprise vendor (such as highly secure storage, mobile collaboration capabilities, integration with common business applications). Oracle Documents Cloud Service was pitched at Oracle customers with a desire to respond to shifting cultural expectations around the sharing of, and collaboration on, content – but a need to do so in a managed way, with tight integrations across Oracle’s ECM suite.

In 2017, Oracle decided to bring the capabilities of Documents Cloud Service together with Oracle Sites Cloud (plus additional enhancements including support for digital assets, structured content types – like press releases, articles, etc. – and Content-as-a-Service APIs), and rebrand the resulting offering as Oracle Content and Experience Cloud: a single cloud-native platform for content production, management, and delivery.

Further integrations with elements of Oracle’s Customer Experience and PaaS suites (such as Oracle Commerce Cloud) are provided to enhance Content and Experience Cloud’s credentials as a Digital Experience platform, enhancing content with product information to drive ‘shoppable content’.

Content and Experience Cloud is available on the Oracle Cloud Platform (integrating with other Oracle Cloud services) and is designed to complement the content asset management, publishing and collaboration products WebCenter Sites and WebCenter Portal that can be either deployed on-premise or hosted in Oracle’s public cloud. Oracle is touting Content and Experience Cloud as a potential alternative to WebCenter Content for some Digital Asset Management use cases, but not content retention and archiving if organisations have specific data residency requirements which can’t be accommodated on the Oracle Cloud. That said, Content and Experience Cloud could be integrated into customers’ other on-premise systems (Oracle has a partnership with Skysync, for instance, that provides integrations between storage platforms) to satisfy some data residency requirements, depending on how the overall solution is configured.

Oracle Content and Experience Cloud also ships with connectors to third-party content and applications: Oracle describes it as taking a repository-agnostic approach to content, decoupling it from the product’s collaboration, content management, and process management layers so that content can be created and distributed across channels.

From Documents Cloud Service, Oracle Content and Experience Cloud inherits collaboration and sharing capabilities that provide users with the ability to share and sync individual files, folders, websites, and collections of digital assets, and engage in contextual conversations about content at any of these levels. Workflows can be set up to support approval and revision processes, which can be enacted on desktop or mobile devices. What Oracle Sites Cloud has brought (out-of-the-box) are digital experience development and sites management capabilities, such as the ability to create and publish content to multiple channels, managing all the digital assets needed for a site in one place, site publication approval workflows, templates and themes. Oracle particularly envisages these being brought to bear in a ‘microsite factory’ scenario, focusing on content for a particular campaign or sub-brand identity.

Oracle believes that organisations need a ‘content hub’ both to facilitate document sharing amongst employees, partners, and sales teams in the field; and to drive content-enabled omni-channel experiences for their customers. It believes that this hub needs to be in the cloud in order to satisfy requirements for cross-boundary and mobile collaboration, and integration with third-party (often cloud-based) content stores where marketing campaign assets are often stored.

The company’s rationale for this is the challenges marketing organisations have in making the best use of content – from findability and re-use, effective internal / external collaborations, and approvals processes; to providing a consistent and seamless digital experience for the customer across multiple channels.

It also sees a hub approach as ideally placed to foster greater cooperation between business and IT teams in exploiting working with content to enhance customers’ digital experiences, with business users empowered to lessen their dependency on IT for regular work through the provision of easy-to-use visual tools for mobile collaboration and process management, content delivery and sites / app management; and IT empowered to develop custom applications (on-premise or in the Oracle Cloud) with APIs and low-code SDKs so it can rapidly roll out new experiences, etc. in response to more complex business requirements.

Technical capabilities

Oracle Content and Experience Cloud combines capabilities for content collaboration, sharing, and approval with content aggregation and management, and omni-channel content publishing and experience management:

  • Internal / external collaboration – users can discuss, share, annotate, approve, comment, flag, notify team members, control versions, etc. on content (e.g. business documents, digital assets, web content, and user-generated content – NB social connectors are not provided out-of-the-box), on any device (desktop and mobile app). As well as offering integrated workflow management for approvals, Content and Experience Cloud integrates with Oracle Process Cloud for more advanced process management; it also integrates with MS Office for sharing within Office applications.
  • Repository-agnostic content management – metadata management and approval workflows manage content throughout the content lifecycle; out-of-the-box connectors and an open connector framework SDK enable Oracle Content and Experience Cloud to aggregate content from WebCenter Content, third-party repositories (on-premise and in the cloud), and services like YouTube, Getty images, etc. Although Content and Experience Cloud can instrument content for analytics and provide access to it via APIs, the actual analysis itself requires integration with third party tools.
  • Consistent omni-channel experience – Oracle Content and Experience Cloud is integrated tightly with Oracle’s Customer Experience Suite (including Marketing, Social, Sales, and Commerce Clouds) to provide a ‘DX platform’ that provides a hub of centralised content for use in driving engagement across channels. It’s also designed to ‘content-enable’ any application and deliver content experiences across any UI channel, using business friendly tools – providing support for collaboration and document management services across Oracle’s enterprise applications and services.

Oracle Content and Experience Cloud has been built leveraging what the company refers to as an API-first approach, decoupling the architecture between content storage, management, and delivery to presentation layer.

Oracle Content and Experience Cloud is available in two editions: Standard and Enterprise.

The Standard Edition is aimed at the creation, cross-boundary collaboration, sharing, and approval workflow stages of the content lifecycle, and mainly represents the capabilities born of Documents Cloud Service. The Enterprise Edition adds Sites Cloud capabilities, and it’s here that the trajectory of Oracle’s product becomes clear.

With the Enterprise Edition Oracle has shifted away from simply providing content collaboration capabilities with some workflow and process management thrown in (a somewhat crowded market now). Here, Content and Experience Cloud embraces content from third-party repositories as well as Oracle’s own, incorporating business-friendly tools (and developer-friendly APIs and SDKs) for digital asset management, structured content management, and omni-channel experience management – i.e. with a firm focus on use cases that put content to work to drive customers’ digital experiences.

Any users that work with content via Content and Experience Cloud must be assigned either a Standard or Enterprise role (NB only Enterprise Edition customers can provide users with Enterprise role access). Standard Edition costs $15 per named user, per month and comes with 100Gb of storage per user on the Oracle Cloud (a minimum of 10 users is required for an installation); Enterprise Edition costs $45 per named user, per month (storage allowances and minimum number of user requirements as with Standard Edition). Visitor users viewing Oracle Content and Experience Cloud content embedded in apps or websites don’t require a licence, but their activity does count towards daily visitor sessions (charged at $40 per 1,000, per month; with a minimum order of 10,000).

All existing users of Documents Cloud Service are now classified as Standard edition type users of Content and Experience Cloud, but will need to upgrade to Enterprise edition in order to access the new product’s omni-channel content and experience management features.

Customers can mix types of users in the same instance (e.g. enterprise edition customers accommodating partners requiring standard-type users, etc.). Content and Experience Cloud doesn’t yet have a role-based view of navigation (role functionality is independent of licences).

Future plans

Following the initial launch / branding of Oracle Content and Experience Cloud, the company is focusing effort on developing its partner ecosystem and fleshing out the SDK – keen to position Oracle Content and Experience Cloud as a platform for customers with heterogeneous environments (i.e. some Oracle products, some third-party).

It’s also expanding content intelligence and collaboration capabilities. Oracle has said that Content and Experience Cloud will integrate with Oracle Maxymiser (online testing and personalisation) and Oracle Adaptive Intelligence to provide automated analysis of customer data in the cloud: currently, third-party tools are needed to exploit the analytics instrumentation Content and Experience Cloud is able to configure its managed content with.

Oracle recently acquired the Infinity assets of Webtrends, which will form the basis of its customer intelligence capabilities for Content and Experience Cloud.

Suitability

Rather than confining its capabilities to common nexus of content management and collaboration / workflow, with integration tendrils extending out into other product sets to fulfil wider content lifecycle roles, Oracle has instead chosen to imbue Content and Experience Cloud with specific features designed for business teams deploying content at the heart of their digital experiences – examples include marketing campaigns (and omni-channel experience management), internal intranet sites (integrating with HR on-boarding processes), management of supply chain relationships with partners, and so on.

It’s a tactic designed to bring IT and business teams closer together around a common framework and toolset for content-enabled applications – streamlining the lifecycle process and making it easier for business users to manage omni-channel experiences; and reinvigorating IT teams with DX-relevance in an era where the rise of self-service marketing technology had threatened to usurp IT’s role in providing and supporting customer-facing technologies.

A truly enterprise-wide digital transformation needs all parties to work together to combine consumer ease-of-use expectations with enterprise-savvy security and wider business process integrations (so wheels aren’t continually re-invented in organisational silos). Content and Experience Cloud’s business-friendly tools and API-first design ethos seeks to set it up as a cloud platform for a repository-agnostic DX content hub, whether your organisation is an all-in Oracle-only shop or not (although tight integrations with other Oracle clouds clearly marks out a preference for in-house integrations).

Content and Experience Cloud customers so far include: TekStream Solutions, NetCompany, AFG, Pride Mobility Products Corp., Team Informatics, Sutton Tools, Mythics, DVLA, Redstone Content Solutions, Abast, Tatis Revenue Management Solutions, Ringo, The Workshop, Renault Italy.

Oracle’s understandably targeting its existing WebCenter Portal Cloud Service customers, but Content and Experience Cloud’s wider capabilities (such as the ability to work with content which departmental users may continue to hold in their own choice of third-party cloud stores, for instance) provide it with an opening for much wider appeal and new customer audiences. However, Oracle will need to ensure it develops a suitably agnostic partner ecosystem around the platform, for it to operate as the sort of omni-channel, omni-partner, omni-source content hub that Oracle’s positioning it to be.

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