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What you need to know about Oracle Social Network

Oracle Social Network is a cloud-only tool that connects Fusion applications users, facilitating real-time conversation while keeping them secure and private.

Oracle Social Network connects Fusion applications and their users in a secure private network that provides social...

tools for capturing and preserving information flowing among participants. Available only as a cloud service, Social Network integrates business processes into contextual, real-time communications so participants can network and collaborate, whether connecting through a desktop browser, Oracle cloud application or dedicated mobile app.

Social Network is fully pre-integrated into many Fusion applications, such as Oracle Sales Cloud, Oracle Service Cloud, Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud and Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning Cloud, with the communication services woven directly into each application. Everyone connected with a job can collaborate and network from within the context of these applications, including external participants such as partners or suppliers. Collaborators can also use the standalone Social Network interface when they want to access the networking and collaboration features directly. Let's look at the features of Social Network more closely.

Social Network conversations

At the heart of the Social Network platform is the conversation, which enables interaction and persistent communication among participants. A conversation is a real-time online discussion, or chat, that can include messages, documents, comments, annotations and other types of material. Conversations also can be preserved to access later and to maintain a historical record of what transpired and how decisions were made. In addition, participants can limit their conversations to specific users or open them up to anyone on the Social Network.

Users can launch conversations from their Android or iOS devices, Outlook mail clients, cloud applications or Web browsers. Social Network supports four types of conversations:

  • Private: The conversation is available only to the person who creates it. It can be used for notes, comments or other private information.
  • Members-only: Only members who have been specifically added to the conversation can see and participate in it.
  • Public: Anyone who participates in the organization's Social Network service can join in the conversation.
  • Scoped: The conversation is tied to a specific application record (social object) and is limited only to those who have been specifically added to the conversation.

Participants can group conversations into collections as well as see who's online and which conversations they're currently in. Plus, they can send instant messages to other users, which can then be added to conversations for later reference.

Participants also can mute conversations to reduce the number they have to monitor, returning to the conversations later to review them for relevant information. In addition, users can configure their accounts so they receive an email digest at the end of the day.

Social Network also supports offline features that let users download their conversations into their briefcases. They can then respond to conversations as time permits, just as they normally would if chatting in real time. Once they're back online, their responses are uploaded into the Social Network system for others to view.

Social Network social objects

Another important Social Network component is the social object, which provides the key integration point between the Social Network platform and the Fusion service. A social object is a record within a business application or process that can be accessed through Social Network features, providing the context necessary to facilitate effective collaboration and networking. In this way, pertinent application data is mapped directly into the Social Network and can be shared among its participants.

From within an application, a user can designate a record as a social object, which then makes it available to the Social Network platform. The social object not only represents the business record, but also the larger Social Network experience, providing the foundation for conversations and collaboration. At the same time, the object remains tied to the underlying business record. If the record changes, those changes are reflected in the larger network.

Although a social object is defined within the context of the underlying application that supports the business record, the object can be shared outside the scope of that application. In this way, business owners can bring all stakeholders together in a single environment. Invited participants can view information without having to access the underlying application, allowing them to contribute to the process from any device and any location. Social Network maintains a complete record of everything that transpires, supporting offline operations and maintaining an account of the decision-making process.

Participants also can link conversations directly to social objects, providing private, secure channels for sharing sensitive information specific to the underlying business record. In this context, the social networking components are organized around the social object. For example, users can participate in a conversation specific to the social object, while sharing a view of the record's details. Because the business record and social object are always kept in sync, participants are always working with current information.

Social Network collaboration

Together with other Social Network features, social objects and conversations make individual and group collaboration possible across a wide range of users and devices. Participants can access everything from conversations to documents to images to the record data itself. Social Network even provides users with profile pages for sharing personal and professional information with other Social Network members.

All Social Network users can set up their own walls. Other participants can then follow or contribute to a person's wall. In addition, participants can create groups that share common interests or concerns, and then create walls for those groups. Even a social object gets its own wall, making it easier for participants to stay current on issues and updates related to the underlying record.

Social Network also provides tools that participants can use to produce, review and publish content. Multiple participants can view and annotate content in real time. They can share documents, gather feedback, annotate files, conduct presentations, reuse information and upload files to a local file system or to a cloud-based repository such as Google Docs or Oracle Documents Cloud.

The Social Network difference

The Oracle Social Network takes networking and collaboration up a notch, providing a comprehensive platform that reaches across the enterprise and beyond. The platform's support for offline operations and multiple client devices makes it suitable in a wide range of situations. It does, however, require a commitment to Oracle's cloud services. That said, Social Network is an open, extensible platform, so it can support additional integrations with business applications and processes.

Potentially, Social Network can benefit a variety of organizations, especially those committed to the Oracle stack. Others might not find it enough of an incentive to commit to the Oracle ecosystem. Regardless of their choices, Social Network points to a much larger and important trend -- that networking and collaboration have become integral to how we conduct business and will likely continue to play an important role going forward.

Next Steps

Learn more about the applications integrated with Oracle Social Network

Find out how the Oracle Social Network is part of the updated Sales Cloud

This was last published in July 2015

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