Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Where You Stand with Siebel - Webinar from Bruce Daley

A live webinar from Bruce Daley is being run on Wednesday 18th Sept.
Topic is Where You Stand with Siebel and it will be interesting to hear Bruce's take on the whole Siebel life-span issue and what lies ahead for both the Siebel implementation and the individual

Details / Excerpt below....




His topic will be the different directions Oracle Siebel customers, partners, and consultants can take their Siebel implementation and their careers. 
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Siebel technology and as a mature application it shows signs of both robustness and age. With Oracle sending mixed messages about the product’s future, this webinar helps people making a living with Siebel determine exactly where they stand. 

Constellation Research, Inc., the award-winning research and advisory firm focused on disruptive technologies is offering a free 45 minute webinar to introduce a new analyst, J. Bruce Daley, in one of his primary research areas - the standing, enhancement, and conversion of legacy enterprise class software technology.

When: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at:
  • 9:30 a.m. US Pacific time
  • 10:30 a.m. US Mountain time
  • 11:30 a.m. US Central time
  • 12:30 a.m. US Eastern time
  • 17:30 UK time
  • 18:30 Central European time
.....

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Siebel Mobile - The Trials and Tribulations of going mobile...

In the last blog, we took a look at the Siebel Open UI and asked what was the business case. There were some interesting comments left on the blog, as well as on the LinkedIn Siebel/Fusion group that I posted it to.
I'm still waiting for that killer reason to switch to Open UI, so feel free to go back and take a read and let me know your thoughts…

Today I'm going to focus on Siebel Mobile (AKA Siebel Open UI for Mobile) 

Some key information:
  • Part of the Siebel Open UI 'framework'
  • Officially called Siebel Mobile Connected and Siebel Mobile Disconnected.  (not to be confused with Siebel Wireless, Siebel Handheld or Siebel Mobile Web client !)
  • Siebel Mobile Connected is available in 8.1.1.10 for new installs (or if you were quick off the mark with 8.1.1.9 to try out Open UI then you will need to install the Fix Pack to take it up to 8.1.1.10)
  • Siebel Mobile Disconnected, whilst described in the various Siebel documentation, this is not yet available and I've not been able to get any dates on when it might be released.
  • Siebel Mobile (Both versions) are browser based "WebApp" solutions, with a 'native look and feel' - but they are not native apps.
  • The Multi Device - HTML5 based UI is rendered by Oracle's jQuery Mobile, so that's a new tool for the IT team to get to grips with.
  • It is a separate licensable product from Oracle, so whilst Open UI is a free upgrade, Siebel Mobile (though based on the Open UI Framework) is not.  Prices look to be $575 per named user, but time to speak with your Oracle Rep! 


Siebel Mobile - Accounts page on the iPad


Mobile is such a large focus for many organisations at the moment, with it seems budget, to focus on new mobile solutions for Sales and Service.  

Why ?  I've asked that question to all of the Siebel customers who have approached us, and I normally get one of the following answers;
  • "We want to have a 'one-visit' Quote or Order"  
  • "We need to increase sales/service teams' productivity"
  • "We need an easy-to-use app with a seamless process."
  • "We need GPS/Camera/Maps/Voice-Recording/eMail/Phone/SMS* integration"   (*Delete as appropriate!)

Based on this, the requirements are normally along these lines..., 
  • Mobile App with 'Disconnected' functionality, to enable the Sales/Service Rep to work in area's with no Wifi/3G  or were restrictions exist.
  • Streamlining the processes and focusing on key aspect of usability and UX, whilst giving the user control of the UI.
  • Providing mash-up capabilities, pulling data and information from disparate corporate systems and services.

So where does that leave Siebel Mobile ?  I don't want to be too controversial but I see a few issues.
  1. The only version available is Siebel Mobile Connected, so straightaway there is an issue for customers that want/need to implement a disconnected solution
  2. Its Siebel centric, meaning that positioning it as way to consolidate a number of systems and provide a common front-end isn't going to work – The data is going to have to be in Siebel (or through Siebel).
  3. The User has no way to control or prioritise what they see on the UI.  Users will always needs a degree of personalisation to improve the User Experience and increase the adoption rates.
  4. You have to be on Siebel 8.1.1.10, and having done this internally ourselves, this is not a trivial matter – it is pretty much a full scale upgrade, with Schema changes and new functionality to implement and test  – An  x.x.x.1 version increase doesn't quite convey the scope of the upgrade, it's not to be taken lightly!  
  5. Though many Siebel Admin's are keen to try out Siebel Mobile, it is not free and has to be licensed from Oracle, so additional licenses and an increase in Annual Maintenance fees will be on the cards.
  6. Siebel Mobile Disconnected is architected to be a browser-based "WebApp".  As a result, all the offline data will be stored using browser-based local storage. Browser-based storage on iOS is currently limited to 5MB per domain (Other browsers vary).  For many CRM users who would like to access thousands of accounts, contacts, leads, activities, etc., this amount of storage is just not enough.
If you are going down this path please let us know your experiences, and feel free to correct me on any of the above points !

If you want to discuss your mobile requirements and how we can provide a solution for you then please get in touch.  david.moorman@crmantra.com  www.CRMantra.com






Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Open UI Opens Doors

Siebel Open UI – Making the Business Case

In the last few years, no functionality has excited the Siebel install base as much as the Siebel Open UI.  It has been a long wait to get here.  The Open UI has now been available in GA form in Siebel 8.1.1.9 for over 6 months.   We have had access to this functionality for almost a year and have spoken with a number of our customers who have expressed interest in it. 

Open UI opens doors
With Open UI, one can circumvent the closed system under SWE (Siebel Web Engine).  Users are now free of the yoke of Internet Explorer and Windows platform.  Developers can now invoke Siebel capabilities through alternate UI languages (Javascript, HTML/HTML5, Java, Flex, etc.).  One can design alternate UI paradigms without being constrained by the traditional Siebel Screen-view-applet format.

What’s the verdict so far – many presentations and conversations, no real action.  Customers haven’t yet taken the plunge and rolled it out to their users.  We sense a lot of hesitation and caution on part of customers.  Why?

Here are some of the challenges that we have seen:

What's the Difference – Looks like old Siebel. 
Looks are an issue.  Open UI based Siebel looks hardly any different from regular Siebel.  We have had to demo Open UI to customers using a Mac to highlight the difference!
 
Siebel Quotes in Open UI


While familiarity is very helpful in reducing the change management required in rolling out a new UI paradigm, this very factor is working against it.  Users are asking, so what’s new?

Given the breadth and diversity of Siebel install base, Oracle has the unenviable challenge of creating new UI designs and flows with the “difference” users are looking for.  Perhaps, the current approach of releasing the Open UI as a toolkit and letting customers exercise their imagination is the most pragmatic solution.

What Users Want. 
Our interactions with customers on this subject have led us to ask, so why was everyone waiting so expectantly for this functionality? We discovered that users were really yearning for a fix to the usability and user adoption issues with the Siebel application.  Replicating the old Siebel UI using the latest technology does not address the underlying usability issues.



So Many Views, Where Do We Start? 
If merely exposing the Open UI and letting the users loose on it is not enough to address usability, then what is?  Does it make sense to redesign and rebuilt the views now that Open UI toolkit provides one with that freedom?  Based on the work we have done in Siebel Usage Analyses with customers (see this blog entry - our our website) , this is a monumental task.  There are well over 5000 views available in Siebel!  This could be a never-ending project with questionable ROI. 

Making the Business Case – The 5 Point Plan
  1. Know your Customer (i.e., the User)
  2. Start Small, Think Big
  3. Its about Flows, Not Fancy Forms and Views
  4. Estimate the Cost of Pain and Benefits of Gain
  5. Staff with Right Skills


That’s all for this week.  Next installment on this subject will feature more on the 5-Point Plan.  In the meantime, your questions and comments are very welcome (www.crmantra.com david.moorman@crmantra.com or  amit.garg@crmantra.com).