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






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