Wednesday, 3 December 2014

It’s Open Season on Open UI

It’s Open Season on Open UI

Siebel Open UI – Are you excited by the possibilities, but daunted by the challenges?
We can help.  CRMantra’s Open UI Assessment has increased the ROI from Open UI deployments for many Siebel customers. Here’s how.

·    Laser focus.  Why waste development time and resources on views no users visit. Siebel deployments use less than 5% of available views. CRMantra Open UI Assessment identifies which views your users visit.
·   Rolling Thunder.  Reduce the Open UI deployment risk through a phased roll out.  CRMantra Open UI Assessment will provide the breakdown of views visited by each subset of users.
·   Eyes Wide Open.  Know the technical issues and challenges before you start.  Open UI Assessment will analyze of your Siebel repository for technical issues and provide an estimate for resources required to address each technical issue.

Contact us to schedule your Open UI Assessment.    Results in weeks and at a fixed price.  Open UI Assessment does not require any software purchase or licensing followed by lengthy implementations. We stand behind the estimates to address the technical risks.  You will know upfront what it would cost to deploy Open UI if you use us!

The methodology for CRMantra’s Open UI Assessment has been validated and approved by Oracle – (See My Oracle Support - Doc 1626424.1).

Read more about our approach on our website Siebel Open UI


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

At the Horizon – Does Cloud meet OnPremise?

At the Horizon – Does Cloud meet OnPremise?

On one of my long flights, I had ample time to reflect on our experiences working with customers on the terra firma (the on-premise world of Siebel) and in the cloud (primarily,   I was struck by how similar these applications have become.    

We have had as our internal CRM for over five years and I have always marveled on how easy it has been to implement.  Yes, it required no programming.  We were able to configure it within a couple of hours and our team was fully functional – no training necessary.  For Siebel specialists that we are, this was indeed too good to be true! 

Platform as a Service or On-premise in the Cloud

Simplicity and ease of implementation has been the engine behind’s rapid adoption across many customers.  Salesforce has since released a lot of powerful features such as Apex programming, Visualforce, Salesforce1, the ecosystem, etc., to evolve from an SFA application to an enterprise-level front office platform in the cloud.  These features have enabled customers to write custom scripts, create custom objects, add custom fields, and design custom applications, workflows and processes – something commonplace in the on-premise world.  The flexibility offered by these features in on-premise applications is what got many of them into trouble.

Insights from the Field

Indeed we see customers with cloud-based CRM apps facing challenges similar to those seen in the on-premise world.

I was talking to the Director of Sales Processes of a customer regarding initiatives they have underway.  She mentioned “Reducing Sales Drag” as their main initiative for the year.  I asked her to elaborate upon what ‘sales drag” meant to them.  She listed user adoption, complex user interface, too many approvals, and non-standardized rules as issues they are trying to address.  My jaw dropped open.  These are things we normally hear from customers who have had on-premise apps such as Siebel. 

I was visiting with another client a few weeks ago.  Our discussions touched upon various topics, one of which was expanding the footprint of across their organization.  The Director of IT was concerned that a wider roll out of Salesforce would be a non-trivial task.  One of their divisions had already used 438 fields on the Customer object!  A wider roll out would hit up against the limit of 500 fields per object in Salesforce.

The Takeaways

In each of the above cases, after some further due diligence we uncovered the root causes for these problems. These are lessons many on-premise customers have learnt, albeit too late, and are equally applicable in the cloud world.

1.    Process Design: Because it is on the cloud doesn't mean that process design can be ignored.  Invest in designing the right processes before embarking on the implementation.
2.    Release Hygiene:  Just because it is easy to add a new field, implement an Apex script, and quickly release it to production, doesn't mean you should.  One needs to make sure the changes are in line with the process design that has been agreed upon for the application.
3.    Coding Discipline:  Cloud is no more about No Software.  Apex is the lingua franca across  One needs to follow the software development best practices in order to obviate performance and maintainability issues.

Read more about on our website  - Moving to the Cloud?

Twitter @CRMantra or or visit our website at

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