Friday, 30 May 2014

Siebel OpenUI - "Process is the key to Success"

Siebel OpenUI - "Process is the key to Success"

Siebel Open UI Project - Checklist
  • ·      Upgrade to Siebel -
  • ·      Start-up new Object Manager for OpenUI -
  • ·      Send out new URL to Siebel users -
  • ·      Tell users they can use the browser of their choice -

So you’ve spent time, effort and money on upgrading Siebel to the latest version because… (And this is where it gets tricky!),
(a) The users disliked IE7/8 and wanted the option to use their favourite browser. (Good luck with supporting that!)
(b) Siebel OpenUI looked cool and promised a much-improved UI, (“But it looks the same”)
(c) The business wanted corporate colours and fonts applied to Siebel and you know all about CSS files and a bit of JavaScript.
(d) This is just the first step in a long-term plan to improve the User Experience (UX) for the end user. We have plans to map the key business processes to improve usability and user adoption.  We have hired experienced web designers to ensure we are building a world-class user experience.  We are enlarging our Siebel team to ensure that we have the necessary Web developers and JavaScript skills to build the new UI.

Of course, no one would ever answer a, b or c …would they?  Well yes, my colleagues and I have heard these (and more) reasons for going ahead with a Siebel OpenUI upgrade.  To the Siebel users, who have been yearning for years to be able to upgrade the UI, any reason will do, but unless you can answer (d), then what value is this bringing, what problem is being solved and what reaction are you expecting from the users?

Siebel OpenUI is just the tool, the catalyst, the means to be able to re-design Siebel for your company’s specific needs.  It can now become tailored to your business processes, perfected for different lines of business, or for different business roles.  It can become totally unrecognisable as Siebel.

But here’s the kicker, it can also end up worse. UI designed by developers who think they know the business, implemented by the Siebel team who know a bit about CSS and are reading up on JavaScript programming.  We are already seeing the consequences.

Siebel OpenUI has unleashed a huge amount of potential, but it needs to be used wisely.

Let me give you an example;
A Siebel customer has major problems with their Product Models. They are very large, very complex and hard for even the most experienced sales rep to use.  So we get engaged to try to improve the models, simplify them and improve the usability. 

As always with this type of engagement we are tightly bound by the terms of reference and it’s hard to ask ‘why?’.  ‘Why are we doing this?’, ‘Why does it have to work like this?’, why?, why?, why?.  With some persistence we managed to get in front of the Sales Director, a couple of Sales Reps, and call centre staff in the service centre, to take us through their processes.  As it turned out, the Siebel Open UI Quote is only a small step in the sales process.   Their sales engineers use a drawing package to layout and design the solution, export the images and build a proposal document, and then enter the solution into Siebel with the Siebel product configurator after the customer has signed-off on designs and what they would need installed. Three very time consuming steps, especially if the Siebel product configuration rules says ‘no’ and the design has to be changed.

We recommended combining these 3 steps into one visually configured quote.
We developed a visual product configurator for Siebel, utilising the rules within Siebel, providing drag-and-drop features to place components within the solution, creating the proposal document from those designs and creating the quote automatically within Siebel. 

The visual product configurator has been built using Responsive Design principles and works well inside Siebel Open UI, Siebel HI UI, mobile devices, and web portals.  This has yielded significant other benefits such as supporting the web self-channel, especially MACD operations.  The cost savings on the self-service side are very substantial.  (Please get in touch if you would like to a demo)

This process wasn’t going to be fixed with pre-built UI templates; it had to be a custom design specific to their business needs.  

That’s how you improve the User Experience.

Read more about CADD - Our Approach to Open UI

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