For the second year in a row I am leaving San Francisco and Oracle OpenWorld very excited. Last year Oleg and I started to work on the idea, which eventually became the Nexus Bridge for Siebel Open UI. This year I have presented the process for running Siebel UX improvements projects at the Siebel Customers Advisory Board meeting in San Francisco. Nexus Bridge is a crucial technical enabler in Siebel UX projects run by both by Idea Port Riga and several other customers.
This autumn, Idea Port Riga partnered with the Siebelhub team to share our vision about improving Siebel UX with you, the great Siebel community!
While working on this post, we came across the "CRM Technology Value Matrix 2019" by Nucleus Research. Their verdict that "Siebel CRM has the most breadth of capabilities," yet "the product falls behind in usability," perfectly matches our view on Siebel in 2019.
Siebel UX is not up to date. Siebel Open UI introduction in 2012 made it possible for Siebel customers to change Siebel UI's look & feel by modifying CSS and writing small pieces of jQuery code. By doing so, you can make Siebel look in accordance with the corporate brand book and slightly improve how users feel using the system. Still, these changes do not bring Siebel UX to the level users expect from web applications in 2019 when it comes to visual aesthetics and ease of use.
Suppose that weeks of developing business processes, building user interface and integrating Siebel with other systems are gone at last; implementation can be considered completed, and users have started to work with Siebel. There are no fatal bugs, nor annoying performance issues. Still, there can be something left to improve, specifically ergonomics of your Siebel implementation – and, possibly, efficiency of users' actions and operations in Siebel.
In my previous article I described some basic tricks that are helpful for working with property sets. Here I am going to describe a few more tricks, which are still simple enough to quickly incorporate those in your daily routine. For doing something more complex, you can consider scripting, just as we did when we decided that workflows with huge number of steps are quite difficult and time consuming to develop and maintain.
Siebel provides good tools for working with Siebel Hierarchies, e.g. a developer can query Siebel data using the EAI Siebel Adapter business service, transform the queried data into an instance of external integration object using the EAI Data Transformation Engine business service, and then send the result to an external system. If there are no complicated requirements, and the transformations are straightforward, most of Siebel developers can implement outbound or inbound web service in a couple of hours.
Imagine yourself in the middle of the integration process. You're staring at a requirement asking you to update, let's say a SiebelMessage, that was just queried, and is being processed by one of your workflows in order to be consumed by some 3rd party system somewhere around the edge of the universe. But the update is not just an ordinary update, it has conditions. For example, “Action Code” of the Order Line Item to be passed for further transformation has to be “Add”, and the product of the same OLI has to be some kind of a phone, any kind you can imagine. Add a bit of sorting, a teaspoon of “Get The First That Matches The Condition”, a drop of “Delete That Element”, and you have your recipe of a complex and painful solution you are about to implement.
It isn't that much of a secret that Microsoft Outlook applications in conjunction Microsoft Exchange are a very popular piece of technology for enterprises. We have observed that enterprises generally use Outlook quite often, and most of our customers are also using Outlook as their core communication tool. Microsoft itself listed 12 reasons why users prefer Outlook over Gmail at work and these are the following:
Sometimes it looks like a sales agent have just eaten a bucket of lemons when asked to use a CRM system. When that happens, CRM Desktop comes in: there is no need for special training, because most agents are familiar with Outlook – or a similar application. CRM Desktop allows managing enterprise data in sales agent’s native environment – be it Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes – and it is a truly offline solution. CRM Desktop was first made for Siebel, and it is now possible to use it with SAP CRM and Salesforce as well.
What makes an upgrade project challenging? For the most part that’s the time gap between the source and the destination versions of the system; imagine migrating from something that is 8 years old, add some changes in the data model on top of that – and you’ll get a picture of what we have recently done for one of our clients, moving from Siebel v7.8 (SEA repository) to v22.214.171.124 (SIA repository). Regardless, the upgrade has been a success, and this is a story about it.