Monday, 15 October 2012

Siebel CRM - Open UI Post OOW Update

Well I promised I would report back after Oracle Openworld and here I am.

It has to be said that Siebel OpenUI was received with great applause (litterally!) at OOW.  It has to be the only session I've ever attended that had people applauding !!

So what was all the excitement about?  Well, for most it was the removal of the dependency on Internet Explorer for High Interactivity (HI) Mode.   This will make it accessible across browsers and devices and now finally on my Mac - (That will be my test number 1)!

After speaking to a number of Siebel customers, what comes next is the ability to switch on OpenUI and quickly provide a 'fresh' UI to the end user - though I would suggest it's not something you would do at 9am on a Monday morning to give your end-users a nice surprise to start their week!  It may be easier on the eye, but its not going to be life-changing...yet.

I see the OpenUI Framework more as a tool to make some dramatic changes to the way you can develop the UI that will have a major effect on how users interact with Siebel.

- Improving process flows
- removing clutter
- consolidating views
- CSS based views can be easily branded for customer/partner sites.

Though, what it also gives is carte-blanche for endless development cycles to get the colours right, the logo in the right place, the text in Helvetica 12, and probably the most dangerous...UI scripting !

Yep, so this now means that no need to write a new business rule in Siebel, update the srf and server - no, we can just write a bit of script put it in the HTML page and hey presto new business rule is in production!  That is going to be sooooooo tempting, and it is going to have to be resisted at all cost !

More OOW Info..

  • It's still planned to be in IP 2012, which my sources are telling me is likely to be December (Oh the problems of giving a release the name of a year!) 
  • Existing Task UI will work without changes, the SWE engine will render it correctly.
  • Siebel Configurator runs, without changes based on the existing product model meta data. - BUT a developer will not yet be able to change this UI through the same means (i.e HTML/CSS)

Siebel Open UI for Configurator (Screenshot above)
  • Siebel Order Management - Edit Promotions View - Hasn't been included.
  • The standard Open UI is not linked to a Licence, but OpenUI for Mobile will have a licence and fee attached. No details yet as to the cost/metrics, though credit will be give for customers with existing Siebel 'Mobile' licences.
  • OpenUI and HI UI can't run in the same OM. Maybe not a big issue but if there are non-standard UI templates that OpenUI may not be able to render then those will not be accessible to the user.
  • Any non-standard UI templates will need to be cleaned up, with the removal of 'structual' information as the server is no longer dictating the UI - This is now set by HTML/CSS.  That mean's replacing all "table' definitions with DIV elements.

Open UI for Mobile
  • Available sometime in 2013 and Version1 will only be available in connected mode
  • Comes with new web templates for a native app look and feel.
  • Built using ADF Mobile Framework
  • Task Based UI will also work, but no mobile templates provided OOTB for this.
  • It is Safari browser based, not a native app.
  • It will use another, new Object Manager (/salesm_enu iirc)
  • Views will be in Siebel tools, but it not clear yet how a developer would make use of the native functions and gestures.
  • And probably most important It's going to be a new licensable product from Oracle.

So where do Siebel customers go from here?   I've said it before in a previous post, but improving usability isn't just about a new veneer on top of Siebel - Careful consideration is needed to ensure the experience is a positive one for the end-user.   And every time I would recommend a Siebel Usage Analysis   to kick off any UI/UX project.

Get in touch if you have any further questions/comments/queries.

Monday, 1 October 2012

CPQ for Oracle Sales Cloud ASAP

CPQ for Oracle Sales Cloud ASAP

...or in other words - we are able to provide a Quoting (Configure, Price, Quote) solution for Oracle's Sales Cloud.  And we're not talking futures, it's is available now!

So if it's the only thing holding you back from moving forward with a CPQ project then get in touch.  We have the perfect complimentary solution, including Configurator and Pricing that we are certain will tick all the boxes.

If you're an Oracle Sales Rep and you are being asked for Quoting/CPQ for Sales Cloud then get in touch - we have a great solution, we can demo it now and get your opportunity moving !!

We are at OpenWorld this week, so get in touch if you want to meet up to discuss this further, or stop by our Session CON9551- Monday 3.15PM at the Palace Hotel - Twin Peaks South

See out Website for the full details of our CPQ Solutions

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Oracle take over Union Square!

Don't remember seeing this last year. So looks like first time Oracle has taken over Union Square! Tonight's entertainment line up looks good - just need to get my badge sorted !

Friday, 28 September 2012

Oracle OpenWorld Preview Video

For those of you going to Oracle OpenWorld next week, thought I would post this 7min video from a couple of Analysts, Denis Pombriant and Brent Leary - and what they see as the focus for OOW 2012.

This is from and in the video, Denis and Brent discuss their predictions for the conference:
  • A focus on customer experience;
  • The importance of getting customers to transition to the Oracle Fusion Application; and
  • How Oracle will begin to piece together their newer acquisitions.
I have agree regarding CX, I've now been to a few Oracle presentations in the lead up to OOW, and CX (Though I would argue that UX is a more 'all encompassing' term) is the name of the game.. Should be interesting to see how they weave that message into the sessions !

Anyway enjoy the show..

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Must see session at OOW 2012!

Come and see our session at OOW - My colleagues and I will be there and welcome your participation in the session.

It's on Monday afternoon - So you will still be feeling fresh and excited - as opposed to a Thursday morning (Hangover) slot !

Monday, Oct 1, 3:15 PM - 4:15 PM - Palace Hotel - Twin Peaks South

CON9551 - Accelerate Sales Productivity and User Adoption with Siebel CRM

In this session, LexisNexis shares the innovative approach it took to improve the performance, usability, and user adoption of its implementation of Oracle’s Siebel Customer Relationship Management (CRM)—all as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to improve sales productivity. LexisNexis sales personnel can now perform their duties in a more efficient manner, significantly reducing the time it takes to perform activities such as the trial subscription, subscription sales, and agreement renewal processes. You’ll also hear roadmap details for Siebel Customer Order Management directly from the Oracle Product Management team.

Monday, Oct 1, 3:15 PM - 4:15 PM - Palace Hotel - Twin Peaks South

See you there - Looking forward to a great OOW 12 !!

Siebel Open UI at OOW 2012

Just thought I would quickly list the two key sessions for Siebel Open UI at next weeks OOW.

These are going to be packed I'm sure, so make sure you have registered !
Hopefully there will be final confirmation of what's in / what's not and when we can get our hands on it !

I'll be the one asking all the questions listed in my previous post !

CON9705 - Unleash the Power of “Open UI”
Attend this panel discussion to learn how you can extend and unleash
the power of Oracle’s new “Open UI” Siebel interface, which focuses on customer experience.

CON9703 - User Interface Innovations with the New Siebel “Open UI”
This session provides an update on the new Siebel “Open UI” initiative that supports multiple
browsers and devices. It also presents an overview of the product deliverables.

If you've browsed the catalog and found others relevant please post a comment

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Siebel Open UI - Update

So, we've just got back from the Oracle training event for Siebel Open UI.  There are definitely a number of rumours that can be quashed !

First a nice big screenshot to give you some idea of how Open UI is rendering the Siebel Views OOTB.

So what have we heard ?
  • RUMOUR: It will be available for all of Siebel.
  • FACT: It will only be available for Sales and Service - No full details of what that exactly covers, but it's by no means all of Siebel.  We can then assume it doesn't cover Siebel Order Management, Agreements and other more obscure areas of Siebel (Including all the admin views)   UPDATE! : Oracle have confirmed that Siebel Order Management is included- see a new screen shot below
Siebel Open UI - Siebel Order Management on Chrome Browser

  • RUMOUR: It will be release at OOW 2012
  • FACT: It will be available with Siebel and the 2012 IP (Innovation Pack) but that is now looking to be GA in Jan 2013.
  • RUMOUR: There will be a price tag attached to Open  UI
  • FACT: There is no licence fee associated with Open UI, but obviously Oracle is looking to use this as a stimulus for additional user licences and extending the Siebel footprint into new areas and new channels.
  • There will be Native Mobile apps, but these are looking to be more involved to produce and deploy.
  • RUMOUR: Open UI will be a seperate set of views in Siebel Tools
  • FACT: The Open UI views will be rendered by the SWE engine at runtime, converting the views in Siebel Tools repository into HTML views for displaying through any browser.
  • RUMOUR: Deployment will be long and complex!
  • FACT: Deployment will be simple.. 
    • Create a new Object Manager (OM) 
    • Set the Open UI flag on the new OM
    • Create a new URL to point to the new OM
    • Login in and you're ready to rock... 
      • I personally can't wait to have it running on my MacBook... oh but I need Quotes and Orders so there goes that idea..

Some other things we need to have confirmed include;
  • How does it handle a process where some UI may not be in Open UI - for example a process that goes from Sales Opportunity to Quote or Order.
  • How will it handle Siebel browser script in either the browser version or on a Native Mobile App
  • What happens with customised views ? - Will they need to be tested or is there high confidence that these will work as before ?
  • Now that it will be available across platforms, across browsers how will that complexity of options be tested and supported - as there is an almost constant stream of browsers upgrades.
  • How can new and enhanced HTML views be developed and deployed ?

Siebel Open UI now adds a lot of potential, to both improved Siebel  usability within an Organisation - as well as for unscrupulous SI's to start pushing the customer into unnecessary and cost UI Upgrade projects - so beware!   There's nothing that extends a UI design project more than teams disagreeing on the shade of blue/red/green to be used !!

At CRMantra we still firmly believe it should be seen as an additional weapon in the UX arsenal, but an upgrade to Open UI without careful consideration of the costs and benefits is likely to bring little advantage to the business.

We recommend a Fact-Based determination of the scope of any CX/UX project and implementing Open UI is no different. For that we routinely use our Siebel Usage Analysis - see this blog for more details  - Siebel Usage Analysis

And as with all CX/UX projects and probably more importantly for Siebel Open UI, you need to ensure that the resulting UI is not just a set of views slapped together in a newer technology!  You need to pay close attention to the business process and clickstreams on the UI and drive process design based on facts instead of conjectures.  The Siebel Usage Analyses will provide this critical information.

We still have more questions than answers, so I'll try to update this as we hear back from Oracle on the items I've mentioned.

NEW: Post OOW update here

As always if you have any questions or comments please get in touch.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Have CRM? Go Mobile!

The growing popularity of mobile devices, smartphones and tablets has increased the pressures on companies to equip their sales teams with mobile capabilities. Here at CRMantra we've had numerous customers asking us for an OOTB mobile solution for Siebel.  This ranges from a Telco wanting to have handheld Samsung Galaxy's in their stores to act as a 'Queue Busting' PoS, to banks, media and manufacturing companies wanting to have key sales functions on an iPad.

Key requirements were; minimal (if possible, zero) impact on the current CRM implementation.  Easy to administer and deploy, and above all else ease of use for the Sales Rep or Sales Assistant.

We have searched with them to find something suitable, and whilst there are mobile apps out there that do these things, none of them are integrated with Siebel, or even designed with the complexities of Siebel in mind.  So that only gave us one option - to build it ourselves.

We had the perfect starting position, the integration groundwork was already done thanks to InterAct Xchange and we have now developed mobile solutions for SFA and eCommerce that we are proud of.. oh and most importantly one that meets our customers needs !

In each case, upon further investigation, we uncovered that there are many different flavors of "mobile offering" companies want to deploy. Each type of mobile solution has its pros and cons.  Here are some things to consider for the various options based upon the studies we have undertaken.

OPTION 1 – Siebel UI via VPN
Fast Deployment / Lower cost Option
User experience is not good enough.  Performance is slow because of vagaries of the network connection.  In addition, Siebel web user interface does not lend itself with touch with fat fingers on a mobile screen.  
Many IT organizations go this route to check off the requirement, only to find a scores of disappointed users and poor adoption.  In the end, they need to select Option 2 or Option 3.

OPTION 2: Browser-based connected mobile application

Lower cost option.  Features a web page formatted for the mobile device and enabled with controls for the touch interface. This option would be appropriate to deploy for customer-facing applications.  It offers the advantage of no locally stored data to alleviate any security concerns, especially in customer-facing uses. 

Performance is still a function of the quality of network connection.  Slow or variable performance due to network connections could be a significant deterrent to user adoption, especially when deployed for employee access over VPN.  Need to build high-performance, mobile-optimized integrations to the backend applications and services such as CRM, ERP, Business Intelligence, etc., and possibly services such as credit check, payment authorizations, tax calculations, shipping cost calculators, address verifications, etc.

Appropriate for deployment in many customer-facing scenarios.  Tread carefully when deploying a mobile app with this option for employee-facing use.

OPTION 3: Native Disconnected Mobile application

The best user experience in terms of performance and usability.  Allows for seamless mash up of capabilities of the device apps (maps, GPS, camera, etc.), other enterprise apps (BI, ERP, CRM) and social apps such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

More expensive to build than the other two options.  Need to build high-performance, mobile-optimized integrations to various applications. 

Best performance and user experience.  More costly to implement.

Contact us if you would like to get some advice on your mobile initiatives - We believe we will have a solution that fits your needs!