A supplier of equipment, vessels, and services for offshore dredging and wet-mining markets, based in Europe with over 3,000 employees and 39 global locations, was struggling to get the most out of their enterprise business applications.

Business Problem

In 2012, the company started a transformation initiative, and as part of the project, they replaced most of their enterprise business applications.  The company had over 10 different business applications and wanted to provide employees with access to information through a single web experience or portal view. For example, the field engineers may need information for a ship’s parts from the PLM system (TeamCenter), as well as customer-specific cost information for parts from the company’s ERP system (IFS Applications). It was critical to the business that employees could quickly navigate, search, and view information regardless of where it is stored in the content management system. The company’s business is built from ships dredging, laying cable, etc., so the sooner field engineers are able to find information on servicing a broken part, the sooner the company is able to drive revenue.

Integrating Oracle WebCenter

The company chose Oracle WebCenter Portal because it had the best capabilities to integrate their various business systems, as well as its ability to scale. WebCenter enabled them to build a data integration portal that provided a single pane of glass to all enterprise information. Unfortunately, this single pane of glass did not perform as well as expected. The integrations, menu navigation, and the ability to render part drawings in the portal were all developed using Oracle Application Development Framework (Oracle ADF).  Oracle ADF is great for serving up content to WebCenter Portal using taskflows, but it requires a specialized development skill set. The company had limited Oracle ADF development resources, so each time a change or update was requested for the portal it took them weeks and sometimes months to implement the enhancement. Additionally, every change to the portal required a restart and these took in excess of forty minutes.

Platform Goals

The company wanted to shorten the time-to-market for portal changes, as well as reduce its dependency on and the overall development and design limitations with Oracle ADF. They wanted to modernize their portal and leverage a more designer-friendly, front-end development framework. They contacted Fishbowl Solutions after searching for Oracle WebCenter Portal partners and finding out about their single page application approach (SPA) to front-end portal development.

Fishbowl Solutions’ SPA for Oracle WebCenter Portal is a framework that overhauls the Oracle ADF UI with Oracle JET (JavaScript Extension Toolkit) or other front-end design technology such as Angular or React. The SPA framework includes components (taskflows) that act as progressive web applications and can be dropped onto pages from the portal resource catalog, meaning that no Oracle ADF development is necessary. Fishbowl’s SPA also enables portal components to be rendered on the client side with a single page load. This decreases the amount of processing being done on the portal application server, as well as how many times the page has to reload. This all leads to an improved experience for the user, as well as the ability design and development teams to view changes or updates to the portal almost instantaneously.

Outcome

Fishbowl Solutions helped the company implement its SPA framework in under two weeks. Since the implementation, they have observed more return visits to the portal, as well as fewer support issues. They are also no longer constrained by the 40-minute portal restart after changes to the portal, and overall portal downtime has been significantly reduced. Lastly, Fishbowl’s SPA framework provided them with a go-forward design and development approach for portal projects, which will enable them to continue to evolve their portal to best serve their employees and customers alike.

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