Customers have a wide variety of choices for portals solutions from Oracle thanks to the numerous acquisitions over the years. But today, Oracle (newssite) has delivered on a promise of bringing together the best of each offering into its latest release of WebCenter 11g. Let's have a look at what it offers.

According to Andy MacMillan, VP of Product Management for Oracle's Enterprise 2.0 group, Oracle has long had a moto of "continue and converge". Basically, as Oracle has acquired strategic technology, like BEA WebLogic and Plumtree, they have allowed customers of those products to continue using them, fully supported (continue).

At the same time though, Oracle knew they were going to bring them all together at some point (converge). And that's what they have done with WebCenter 11g Release 1 PS3. But as MacMillan told us, it wasn't simply a matter of bringing the old into a single platform. They have brought the best of each and then built onto it additional features and capabilities needed by organizations today.

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Extensible Portal Framework

WebCenter 11g is an open standards portal framework that offers organizations the ability to create everything from extranets to intranets to websites to web applications -- basically everything and anything you need to help your employees, partners and customers do business.

So what's new in this release?

  • Content Management: Within WebCenter, you now have direct integration with Oracle ECM 11g (formerly Stellent) for content management capabilities including content security and integrated workflow.
  • Analytics: Web Analytics and dashboards for business users, integration with Oracle Enterprise Manager for system administrators and propagation tools for developers and admins. Much of the analytics capability came from Plumtree.
  • Personalization: Not just the traditional "scoping the application" personalization, but also personalization of content, messages using the Personalization Server.
  • Portals and Websites: Oracle has brought in the WebLogic Portlet Container, improving its performance significantly (they will be releasing test data soon), allowing users to easily build websites and portals, including the ability to integrate with other applications (Java based or not).
  • Social:  Spaces have been updated with new layouts and templates to quickly bring social capabilities to your website or intranet.

Customer Experience Management

If you sit back and look at all the functionality available in Oracle WebCenter 11g you immediately think Customer Experience Management (CEM). In many ways, WebCenter is very similar to Adobe's CEM offering, which includes Adobe Livecycle. Of course, Adobe and Oracle come from very different backgrounds and deliver on CEM in their own unique way.

MacMillan told us that Oracle is committed to helping customers deliver engaging experiences to their customers. Whether that's Internal experiences that span Enterprise Applications, Intranets and Team spaces (enterprise collaboration), or External customer experiences, you can do it with Oracle WebCenter.

Having a single framework, or platform, to work is becoming a requirement these days. In addition, ensuring that business users can work without always including IT in their development plans is also a must have. Oracle WebCenter does deliver on both. There is still a pretty substantial technical infrastructure on with it needs to run though. And for those Oracle customers happy with the portal technology they are currently using, they can stay with it.

You can download this latest release now.