Service Cloud August 2014 Contact Center Modernization

I am on a plane to Open World in San Francisco and thought that taking the time to finally write up my review of the new Oracle Service Cloud release would be an appropriate use of my time. As a reminder eVerge Group will be featured in four Service Cloud Sessions and I will be speaking at two. Please stop by and say hello I will be at all four:

  1. Oracle Service Cloud for Siebel Service[CON8917] Wednesday, Oct 1, 12:45 PM – 1:30 PM – Moscone West – 3001A
  2. Best Practices in Online Customer Engagement[CON8911]  Wednesday, Oct 1, 3:15 PM – 4:00 PM – Moscone West – 3001A
  3. The Best of Both Worlds, Cloud to Ground: A Siebel/Oracle RightNow Integration Story [CON3929]  Thursday, Oct 2, 11:30 AM – 12:15 PM – Moscone West – 2001A
  4. Oracle Service Cloud Platform Overview and Roadmap[CON8910]  Thursday, Oct 2, 2:00 PM – 2:45 PM – Moscone West – 3001A

The theme of this release resonates with the best practices eVerge Group will be speaking at in our session with Christopher Patterson at Open World. In 2014 there has been a push to transform and modernize customer service and I think this first image summarizes that initiative very well.

modern

Key enhancements to the product in this release span Web Customer Service, Cross Channel, Policy Automation and Platform. Although it isn’t as packed with new features as May was there are some really exciting features.

webcsWeb Customer Service

Experience Routing (Chat)

In May the ability to use experience routing within chat allowed for fewer rules, simplified queue management, routing based on products, categories, language and more to the most skilled agents and the ability to strategically priority level of service. All of these added a tremendous value to the product allowing organizations to increase CSAT, Retention and Acquisition through more modern approaches to a channel that has been around and matured with all of us. This feature has brought Chat back in style like big phones and bellbottoms.

In August we see a new iteration of capabilities in experience routing that offer an organization the ability to optimize the utilization of chat agents as well monitor trends in queue performance, traffic and workload. The key benefits of this include improved responsiveness by load balancing work assigned and an overall better understanding of queue/agent performance. This is important for forecasting need in peak times as well as maintaining the desired level of service for the channel.

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crossCross Channel Contact Center

Collaboration

This is a feature that I have anticipated for quite a while.  In the past year I have observed a renewed interest from organizations that desire to empower agents and to improve knowledge. Part of this movement has involved the adoption of KCS or knowledge centered support. If you are not familiar with this methodology you can learn more on this site: http://www.serviceinnovation.org/kcs/

In the August release this feature centers on collaboration within the context of an incident transaction in the agent desktop. An agent can now access experts from their organization without getting up from their desk, transferring the call or escalating the incident. Collaboration is enabled for the traditional client as well as the mobile agent app allowing access to another level of knowledge anywhere, anytime.

Agents are alerted about important collaborative posts using enhanced “toast” notifications keeping them up to speed in real-time. Organizations who take advantage of this will be getting a fully functioning internal social network that can be used by their staff to increase quality, productivity and efficiency. In terms of key performance indicators (KPIs) this translates to increased customer satisfaction (CSAT), decreased handle time (AHT/MTTR) and increased first contact resolution (FCR). As I mentioned above this also enables organizations to adopt some of the aspects of KCS. They will be able to start capturing previously undocumented, tribal knowledge and with the proper workflow implemented convert these interactions into knowledge articles that can be pushed out through web self-service. This adds another KPI to the mix, with more relevant knowledge available to customers there will be an increase in call deflection and a decrease in creation of incidents that positively affects return on investment (ROI).

collaborate

 

paPolicy Automation (PA)

In August we have more changes in policy automation within interview experience, modeling and deployment. If you are not sure what you would use PA  for think about process you walk through like determining benefit eligibility, comparing car insurance rates or upgrading your phone.

Interview Experience

The layout of the interview experience can now be enhanced with embedded images, controls that can be displayed side-by-side and sections that can dynamically show or hide. A streamlined audit process that allows the viewing of decision reports within Service Cloud’s agent desktop or any other application that it is connected to has been introduced. Finally you can also capture evidence by uploading any document and viewing it in the agent desktop.

 layout

 

Modeling Productivity

There is now the ability to work collaboratively on multiple people on the same project while keeping track of what was changed and why. Also new sample projects have been added for industries like Retail, Travel & Transportation, Licensing they can be used to create new interviews or enhance existing ones.

Deployment Efficiency

In August a new, cleaner more simplified user interface has been added that allows you to audit changes made to projects and deployments separately providing a more robust history. The web service connector will allow you to securely integrate to Service cloud and other applications in a standard way that makes mapping to a data model easier.

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PlatformPlatform

Within the Service Cloud Platform support has been added for both ODBC and JDBC drivers. These are cloud agnostic drivers that will work even in a PCI cloud without firewall configuration and allow quick, easy access to common data management, ETL, and analytics tools.

Roadmap

In the next year the key features I am most looking forward to are Browser Based Agent UI, Oracle BI integration, Advance knowledge and last but not least REST APIs. See below for an overview however understand that Oracle always caveats these roadmaps with the disclaimer that features may change at any time especially in the “Next 12 Months” bucket.

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 Rhianna Blue BlazerHeadshot2About the author: Rhianna Albert (Just Rhianna) has an extensive background in customer support systems and processes, is an active member of the CX community and has been implementing and integrating RightNow solutions for seven years.

 

For more information on the August 2014 version including release notes, manuals, webcasts, tutorials and community posts. Please review at the official RightNow documentation overview page.

If you are interested in learning more or have questions feel free to reach out to me at cx@evergegroup.com

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive experience. For more information about Oracle RightNow CX and our other business solutions, contact us through our website: http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

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First things first

Remember in my last post when I said we would start reworking the multiline widget to display different content than it does out of the box?

I have a confession to make.

I lied.

Before we can look into extending a view to do something new and interesting, we should first look into widget extension itself, and how the wizard works. While it is still possible to create a new widget without using the wizard, in the vast majority of cases, you will want to use this. It will create the scaffolding correctly for you, stub out methods for easy overriding and create the yui file for you. If you later decide you have to add more functionality to the widget (I actually needed to extend the logic file…or I need an AJAX endpoint in my controller) then you have two options, you can either update the other files and edit the yml file manually (later post), or you can back up the work you’ve done, delete your widget, create a new one, and replace the code you’ve already developed. In most cases, I would recommend this as constructing your own logic or controller extension file is something of a pain.

So, what should we expect from the widget wizard? Well, first you have to figure out if you’re going from scratch or extending a current widget.

Step 1

It all starts here

If you’re old school, this is a pretty easy decision to understand. If you would go in and copy the Sample widget, rename it and then start creating your own view, logic and controller code, you’re going to want to select Create a New Widget. If, instead, you were going to go copy a widget to custom, rename it and then start tweaking, you’re going to want to select extend the widget. Details for creating a new widget may come in a future post, but for today, in order to get our feet wet with updating an existing widget, we’re going to select extend a widget.

Clicking this presents us with three input boxes, the first asks what widget we are extending. Just start typing the widget you want to use in, then select it from the drop down. Simple. Next, we are asked what we want to call our custom widget. There is code in the wizard that makes sure your widget name doesn’t already exist in the path you specify (more on that in the third field) and, should you accidentally be creating a duplicate widget, the system will save you from yourself and not let you create the widget. Finally, you’re asked what path you want to put the widget in. This is something of a change from the old file scheme, and generally a welcome one. All widgets must be nested in a folder, you can no longer create a widget at the root /custom/ level. This forces us to categorize our widgets. In the case of custom ones, this is generally pretty easy. In most cases, you will use the same subfolder in custom that you copied from in standard.

Major Decisions Here

Major Decisions here

Next up we get to define the components of our new widget. As we are extending from another widget (in this case a ProductCategorySearchFilter widget) we have to tell the wizard what parts we want to extend. For anything server side, such as form submission, retrieving data from the database, writing data TO the database (usually db writes will happen as part of an AJAX based form submission), new data components being exposed to the view, or other server side actions, such as working with a session variable and data manipulation, we need to extend the controller. If you’re going to add new communication between front end and back end, such as looking something up from the DB based upon user interaction on the page, you will need to both extend the controller and select yes for the controller doing its own AJAX handling, which brings us into the second radio button. Spending a bit more time on the first though, the effect of selecting yes to the widget having its own controller is to cause the system to generate a controller file with a baseline constructor which pulls in all the code of its parent, and stubs for all of the methods of the controller allowing you to either add to, or override those methods. If you decide to override a method, bear in mind that future updates to that widget that touch those methods might impact your widget. RNT/Oracle will generally communicate in the patch notes if these updates are likely to impact custom code. If so, you can choose on a per widget basis not to go to the new widget version until you have sanity checked that your own widget does not break.

Selecting yes to the widget doing its own AJAX handling will do three things. First, it will create a stub method in your controller to handle the AJAX request, secondly, it will automatically select yes for you on the Does this widget have its own JavaScript question and thirdly, it will stub out a JS endpoint for your AJAX request. As mentioned above, this is necessary if you are going to need to have any front end/back end interactions between your custom widget. This can also be used if you want to alter how the AJAX interaction of the parent widget operates.

Next you need to select if your widget modifies the parent view. This is probably the most common type of edit you would do to a widget (outside of basic CSS restyling), though getting used to extending a view can take some effort. The recommended option is to extend the view. This allows you to add content to the widget between the block tags that exist within the parent widget. In cases of view code contained between block declarations in the view, this allows you to override that section of HTML/PHP. This takes some getting used to as some view code is not contained between blocks and has to, in my experience be duplicated within a block and then the original removed from the DOM using the logic file, but this allows you to more cleanly edit the view without erasing the content already there. Short upshot of view extending, if you’re just adding content, you’re golden no matter what. If you’re changing content in the parent view, and that content exists between an opening and closing block tag, you can override it (more on this in the extending the view tutorial), and if it exists outside of an opening and closing block tag, you create your own DOM elements either before or after the element in question and then use JS to remove the original element from the DOM.

Your other option with a view modification is to override it. Use this option sparingly. There are two reasons for this. First, it obviously breaks the entire view for later inheritance. More importantly, however, it breaks the link to the logic file, forcing you to construct your own. This is likely due to the tight interaction between the DOM, generally presented by the view and the JS logic that acts on it with subscriptions, events, etc. For this reason, overriding the view will, in nearly all circumstances, cause functionality to fail and should generally be avoided.

View also asks you if you want to include the parent CSS. In most cases, you will want to do this (I don’t know why this isn’t defaulted to yes) as you will want to start from the basic look and feel and then potentially tweak the css from there. If you leave it set to no, the widget will not have its parent css applied and you will have to create your own styling from scratch.

The final heading to deal with here is the JavaScript heading. First you determine if the widget has its own JavaScript. This will create a logic.js stub for you to add your own methods to, modify the constructor and override existing methods, much like extending the controller. If you are adding new YUI components to the widget (such as adding autocomplete to the keyword widget) then you will specify these on the next line where it says Add module. This link will give you a dialog that allows you to begin typing a YUI module for inclusion into the widget. If you miss a module post-creation, not to worry, a simple edit of the YML file, which is created with all widgets, can get it added.

Also in the JavaScript heading is if you want to include the JS templates. These are typically used when the page does an AJAX refresh, such as with the Multiline widget. When a new search happens and data comes back, it uses this JS template to define the ‘new’ view.

Step-3

New Attributes

Old school CP developers will remember attributes living in the Controller file. These days they exist in the YML file and can be manually added and edited there, however the widget allows you a user friendly mode of adding new attributes, for use by the controller, view or logic files. These populate to the ci/admin page for your widget and allow for easy reference of what attributes the widget has.

Step-4

Description

This final piece might not seem important at first, but two years later when you’re doing a code audit, you’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t pay special attention to the Additional Details drop down. This allows you to add a Widget description to the reference page. Here is where you are going to want to outline exactly what your widget does, and how it differs from the baseline widget. This will make it easy for you to go in on a code review and bring that widget up to standard as you will know where in the widget to look. Please don’t ever ignore this.

Step-5

Success!

Finally, you will be presented with the following page showing you all the files you have created with the widget generator. Feel free to drop the widget onto your page now..it should be fully functional as-is…but it will be a clone of its parent. From here you can go into the view, the controller or the logic files (if you created them) and begin editing. Next up, we go in and look at one of those view extension files and talk about how we can modify the view of the widget we’re working with.

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Customer Portal 3 – Brave New World

Dystopian connotations aside, the new framework is fully upon us a year in and it’s time for many to begin looking at the road forward. Those just starting on RNT will already be on CP3 and learning things right from the ground up (in theory). Those of us working on older sites have a bit of work ahead of us. Fortunately this work, when done right, can be a great way to learn how things are constructed now. If you’re like me, this will be hard at first (VERY hard in my case), but the work of upgrading a customized site from CP2 to CP3 will give you the chance to experience the changes and get a firm grip on them. If your site is highly customized you’ll be getting that grip for weeks to come. In order to document the various things to understand and pitfalls as well as best (or, lacking true expert opinion, at least decent) practices, I felt this would be a good time to begin blogging on the way things are done in CP3, using real world examples to document how things were, and how things are. We will start with the most basic of functions and then branch out to ever deeper customizations. To start, however, understand that it is not my intention at this time to go over basic MVC and how CodeIgniter itself works. While that may be post-fodder for a later date, these first handful of posts will handle CP3 itself, beginning with this first post, a broad overview of CP3 and how it works differently from CP2.

Back in the old days </grandpa voice> when we wanted to change a widget in any way other than by CSS, we had to copy that widget and make our changes to the view, controller or logic files as the case required. This came with a lot of flexibility, but also had the downside of divorcing that widget from the parent from that point forward. Your Multiline widget gets some neat new highlighting feature? Your CustomMultiline copy will never know about it. You’re going to have to go in and update your code…and who among us has that kind of time? With CP3, some real inheritance/extension has been introduced into widgets. When we create a widget we can choose to extend it from a base widget, and then determine what part of that widget we are impacting. Want to rearrange the display of the answers that the Multiline widget exposes? Then you’re going to modify just the view and ideally extend it. Need some neat new YUI features attached to your input box? Simply extend the logic file. Want to cause your input boxes to do a database write before form submission? Extend the controller with its own built in AJAX endpoint (more on that in a later post) and add a listener to the extended logic file for onBlur.

What all of this means is, we now have the potential to layer code on top of existing code in a way that preserves the baseline. If that baseline updates, our new widget gets the update as well. If we need to go one step further and override a method, either in the controller or logic, and we can’t simply include the parent (in the vast majority of cases we can) then only that small part of the whole codebase gets divorced, the rest of the code inherits just fine. There are exceptions to all of this, which we will go into in later posts, but by and large, inheritance is the watchword of the new framework. How things are done is going to feel very different, but hopefully through the following weeks, with plenty of examples, that learning curve can be simplified. Real world examples are critical for something like this, so the next post will be for performing what is likely the most basic extension for a widget, modifying the view. We will walk through, step by step, how to take the multiline widget and both add to as well as modify how it functions. There are a few gotchas in there, and I’ll go over those as they become relevant.

Stay tuned.

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Siebel and Oracle RightNow CX can coexist! – May 2014 Part 2

May 2014 Part 2

In the previous post we focused on enhancements to the UI framework and mobile surveys. Since there are so many enhancements and features in the May 2014 release of Oracle Service Cloud RightNow, this is a multi-part series. If you did not read part one, I suggest you read that first: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=1275

Siebel Integration

Siebel is a best of breed on premise solution that is another component of Oracle’s CX suite of products. As a first step to bringing these two solutions together, Oracle has introduced an integration that allows the use of RightNow’s customer portal to submit service requests that will in turn be created in Siebel. This allows businesses to use a hybrid solution that leverages their on-premise Siebel CRM alongside RightNow’s robust knowledge base.

siebel1

As an advanced step towards integrating cloud and ground solutions, eVerge has built an integration that allows the submission of service requests through customer portal either through the use of web services or Open UI embedded within the RightNow customer portal framework. A customer logging into the portal can use the same login as they previously used for Siebel eService allowing Single Sign-on (SSO) between the two systems. This can be implemented using a third party identity provider, SAML or Pass-through authentication (PTA).

siebel2b

Once logged in to the Portal a customer can do all of the usual activities that RightNow offers like viewing open and resolved incidents (Siebel equivalent of service requests), changing password, updating profile, chatting with an agent or searching for knowledge.

From an agent perspective the eVerge solution includes the ability for agents in a call center to:

  • search answers
  • propose new content
  • update existing content
  • associate a specific piece of knowledge (answer) with a service request

This is all done from within Siebel through an integration using Rightnow’s knowledge foundation and Connect for web services APIs. This means that agents in the call center get the benefit of added functionality without the need to learn a new tool.

siebel3

 

Knowledge management personnel using the RightNow desktop are alerted when new answers have been proposed or an update has been requested and who submitted it. Through the use of exceptions in analytic reports knowledge managers are also able to keep track of which answers require updates and if it has not been reviewed within an acceptable timeframe a notification is sent to the supervisor.  There are other moving parts as well that can be configured to meet the business needs of any organization.

This is a crucial time in the evolution of cloud solutions and the continued viability of ground. Both will peacefully coexist and businesses do not need to sacrifice investments to abandon on premise architecture. There has been an increase lately in the number of articles that address this topic both Gartner and Forrester addressed the hybridization of cloud and on premise solution in their top technology trends fro 2014.

Integration and coexist strategies are technological imperatives that will shape the future of customer experience. I will be speaking about the topic of integration and coexistence as it applies to customer experience in September at Open World. If you want to attend Open world make sure you register early: https://www.oracle.com/openworld/index.html

siebel4

More information about the sessions I will be presenting at can be found in the catalog: https://oracleus.activeevents.com/2014/connect/speakerDetail.ww?PERSON_ID=76D52C98D2DB1449F2991D697C3997B0

We have implemented a similar solution for one of our key customers who have agreed to share the stage with us at Open World and share more information with others who may already be using Siebel but want to expand their footprint and improve customer experience by implementing a modern, robust self-service customer portal.

For more information on the May 2014 version including release notes, manuals, webcasts, tutorials and community posts. Please review at the official RightNow documentation overview page.

If you are interested in learning more or have questions feel free to reach out to me at cx@evergegroup.com

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive experience. For more information about Oracle RightNow CX and our other business solutions, contact us through our website: http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

About the author: Rhianna Albert (Just Rhianna) has an extensive background in customer support systems and processes, is an active member of the CX community and has been implementing and integrating RightNow solutions for seven years.

 

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What’s in the Box? Oracle RightNow CX: May 2014 Part 1

There are so many enhancements and features in the May 2014 release of Oracle Service Cloud aka RightNow that this will be part one of a multiple part series. In this post we will focus on two of the major new features updated UI framework and mobile surveys.

Updated UI framework

One of the biggest new features is the new Agent console. It allows Agents and Administrators to customize the layout to their personal preferences and optimize it based on preference. There are eight key features to consider when using the new User Interface (UI).

Change in console configuration: By default a second navigation pane has been added on the right of the content pane, for more flexibility when arranging the different elements.

may1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movable tool windows: may2

Recent Items, Navigation and the Quick Search tool windows can be arranged in any order, moved to other areas, displayed as a floating window or    removed from the console completely.

 

Customizable tool windows: New buttons near window titles allow custom actions like Close, Minimize, and Customize List.

Ability to undock editors: You can now undock any administration or workspaces editor and display it in a separate window. This provides you with another way to optimize screen layout.

Simplified workgroup functionality: As part of the new UI workgroup functionality may3has been simplified to include sub-tabs. When you have an incident open the contact record now opens on a sub-tab below the incident’s content pane tab.

 

 

 

New application options: You can now choose which tool display on the navigation pane for all navigation buttons. A Reset Tool Windows shortcut has also been added to revert windows to their default locations.

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Expanded auto-complete functionality: When assigning a common object like incidents  from a report, auto-complete works identical to when assigning directly from the incidents editor.

Customizable Search window layouts: This is one of those new features that I have been personally asking and waiting for patiently. I had many requests for this from clients; you can now customize the Search window used in reports and dashboards. You can define positions, sizes, ordering of filters and you can manage whitespace by stacking smaller filters and wrapping date range filters.

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Mobile surveys

may6At long last surveys can be rendered and optimized in a format that works well on various sized mobile devices. You now have ability to preview surveys in a mobile optimized format right from the ribbon bar or survey tasks section. There are four new reports that comprise a Mobile Trends Dashboard to assist with analyzing things like mobile versus desktop software usage. Other new options include conditional and case sections as well as the ability to switch between desktop and mobile mode on a device.

 

may7

For more information on the May 2014 version including release notes, manuals, webcasts, tutorials and community posts. Please review at the official RightNow documentation overview page.

If you are interested in learning more or have questions feel free to reach out to me at cx@evergegroup.com

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive experience. For more information about Oracle RightNow CX and our other business solutions, contact us through our website: http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

About the author: Rhianna Albert (Just Rhianna) has an extensive background in customer support systems and processes, is an active member of the CX community and has been implementing and integrating RightNow solutions for seven years.

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Key Tools to Navigate in the Social Stratosphere

Some of you may know that I travel quite frequently to attend events, meet with clients and more but did you know I recently was in an emergency landing on a nationally known airline? I am not going to go into the specifics of what I felt or how others around me were dealing with the announcement of a possible water landing but it got me thinking about social and the importance of being connected. Why on earth have I been thinking about this? I have two answers to this, first the wi-fi service was not working on the entire flight so I could not alert my family that we were being diverted to another airport with a longer runway or yes potentially send them one last I love you.

My photo used on the Today show. They contacted me after seeing my tweets. We know they are using social tools.

Second, when we did land and we were stuck in the grass while FDNY in hazmat suits approached and someone took pictures of us and tweeted them out I was assured by the @nationallyknownairline on twitter that they were doing everything they could to get us off the plane immediately.

Don’t they tell us that in case of emergency evacuate as soon as possible?

Let’s get back to the point, staying connected in an era where social and the customers that use it are shaping how companies engage. I have since done some experimenting with companies that I know respond at least some of the time to tweets. On average if it is a company I know does some type of social monitoring and I ask a direct question I will get a response 25% of the time. This is generous estimate. If I merely mention the company or the twitter account that is being monitored I get a response less than 5% of the time.  There are a lot of statistics out there that tell companies they need to be doing more but are they listening? I think slowly they are beginning to. Social channels are maturing and new ones are constantly popping up. This time last year most people probably had never heard of pinterest, snapchat or even Instagram. Now they are regularly on the news and even mentioned in nightly television programs and sitcoms.

Two weeks ago I attended the Oracle CX Summit for partners at Oracle Headquarters in Redwood Shores, California and I had the chance to listen to information about updates to Oracle’s CX suite of products including RightNow, SRM (Social Relationship Management) and Eloqua. There were other products featured as well but these three stand out because they have a social footprint to varying degrees.

#CXSummit Twitter feed

 

I asked @nationallyknownairline  what product they use to monitor twitter and keeping with the typical pattern I have been seeing they did not respond. However after some internet research I came across a video of their social lab where the agents who used to be reservations agents were taught to monitor twitter. The lab had a wall of monitors displaying facebook, twitter, live tv, tweetdeck and hootesuite. When asked why they use so many different tools they responded that they want to take advantage of different benefits and nuances of each tool. While I commend them for even having a social lab to begin with they have a long way to go.

 

Being that I am the most familiar with RightNow (Service Cloud) I will begin there. Social monitoring was introduced in the product a few years ago and has been continually enhanced with each quarterly release.  Being that RightNow is primarily a call center application many times the departments using this feature are part of the customer support organization and use it purely in a service capacity. Many companies using it are still at an early stage where they have some searches set up, may respond occasionally but that is all.

Ideally they should be using it as a legitimate channel and reach out to customers that are having a problem and generate an incident. They could also use it to proactively communicate information such as upcoming product releases, service advisories or even to identify potential problems before it is too late. If you have been in the customer service industry you have heard that 89% of customers will switch brands after one negative experience but what if that one person tweeted about it and all their friends in turn retweeted it. 

A company could be quickly facing some very unwanted sentiment from the social ether.  The February 2014 release of RightNow had some nice updates to this feature.  If you want to read more about it peruse one of my previous posts, email me or find me on twitter @just_rhianna  and request a demonstration.

For general information on Social monitoring in Oracle’s Service Cloud read this and make sure to read some of the whitepapers and case studies: http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/rightnow/social-experience/social-monitor/overview/index.html

 

SRM is a purely browser based application where you can set up listeners, social pages, workflows and even integrations to RightNow and Eloqua. It is classified as part of the Oracle Social Cloud. The audience for this application is primarily the marketing arm of a business but can be used by support as well. In fact I know at least one electronics manufacturer where customer support falls under marketing. Yes it makes for some interesting internal conversations but how powerful would that be if your marketers were listening to social chatter, identified some potential fires and were able to seamlessly pass them on to the call center agents that were using RightNow? Everyone one wants a 360 degree view of the customer, don’t they? The answer is they should!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on Oracle Social Cloud: http://www.oracle.com/us/solutions/social/overview/index.html

The anchor of Oracle’s Marketing cloud is Eloqua, it is geared towards marketing and deals mainly with the more traditional channel of email.  There are still large demographics of people that are not adopting newer social channels therefore I do not see email going the way of the CD just yet.

 With Social Sign-on Apps from Eloqua, businesses can prompt visitors to sign on with their Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter login to access their marketing asset. Eloqua Social landing page apps are accessible directly within the landing page editor. Each tool, such as the social sharing tools for Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter can be dragged onto the landing page canvas with a single click and quickly configured.  Allow users to share content with their network within Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter!

Integrate with Oracle SRM to better target your campaigns to address what is being discussed by your targets.

In fact, each of the solutions I spoke about have integrations that allow them to seamlessly interact and provide better insight into customer activity whether it be purely social, marketing or service. More information can be found in this data sheet: http://www.oracle.com/us/products/social-relationship-mgmt-brief-1915605.pdf?ssSourceSiteId=opn

At eVerge Group we have a vast amount of experience across CX, Marketing and Social and can provide assistance with assessments, best practices, implementations, integrations and more. I would like to thank Jim Sibley for his contribution to this article and for continuing to share his knowledge of Eloqua with me.

If you are interested in learning more or have questions feel free to reach out to me at cx@evergegroup.com

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive experience. For more information about Oracle RightNow CX and our other business solutions, contact us through our website: http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

About the author: Rhianna Albert (Just Rhianna) has an extensive background in customer support systems and processes, is an active member of the CX community and has been implementing and integrating RightNow solutions for six years.

 

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Oracle BI Mobile Application Designer (MAD)

Oracle introduced another great application called “Oracle BI Mobile App Designer (MAD)” in Release 11.1.1.7.1 of Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (Oracle BI EE).

The Oracle BI Mobile App Designer (MAD) is a new design tool for business users to easily create stunning and interactive analytical applications for use on any major mobile device.  With Oracle BI Mobile, businesses have been able to deploy full interactive dashboards with no additional development using Oracle BI Mobile HD on iOS devices. Now, you can create purpose-built mobile analytic applications for any smartphones and tablets with drag-and-drop simplicity using Oracle BI Mobile App Designer. BI Mobile App Designer complements BI Mobile HD and is packaged with Oracle BI Foundation Suite and the BI Mobile option to OBIEE.  Some of the MAD highlights include:

Mobile-first Business Apps – BI Mobile App Designer is the ideal solution for users that want targeted, business-specific mobile apps that are easy and fast to build, require no programming expertise, and can be delivered to users across all the major mobile platforms and devices. Apps are built with support for touch and gestural interactions built in.

Intuitive App Design Interface – BI Mobile App Designer has a simple drag-and-drop interface that allows business users to select their data visualizations, including: tables, charts, navigation panels, repeating grids, images, text narrative, etc. These elements can then be dropped onto a palette to create mobile apps within minutes. Third-party plug-ins like Google Maps, Sunburst Visualizer, etc., can be incorporated and used in a similar manner. A preview function allows users to see their apps within a computer’s browser, or on a mobile device by scanning a QR code, without requiring any installation or configuration.

Portable Device, Platform, Screen-size Design  – BI Mobile App Designer is certified to support iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile Smartphones and Tablets. Since it supports HTML5, most mobile browsers can run BI Mobile App Designer apps. No plug-in, installation, or download from a third-party app store, is required.

Enterprise Integration – Oracle BI Mobile App Designer is a part of and is fully integrated with the Oracle BI Foundation. Users can create mobile apps with enterprise data from the BI Semantic Layer (RPD), with data from BI Publisher data models, or Excel data files with seamless support for, and the benefits of, role-based data-level security that the Oracle BI Foundation suite provides.

Drag and Drop – The easiest way to create UI is to drag and drop. MAD has beautifully incorporated this feature where one can build the entire BI Mobile Application just by dragging and dropping components and data fields as required.

Oracle Mobile Application Designer Drag n Drop

Interactive  – MAD is based on the “gestural” principal of touch and swipe. As most mobile apps use this technology for interaction, MAD has followed suit to adapt gesture interactivity for all the components in its libraries.

App Library – Users can share their new mobile apps across organizations using the publish feature. They can subscribe to these apps and receive updates when changes are being propagated to their subscribed apps.

Security – As MAD is integrated with Oracle BI Foundation Suite, the BI content has proven enterprise level security and performance capabilities.

HTML5 – The complete BI Mobile Application Designer output is generated in HTML5 including the data visualization charts. It can run on any platform device or operating system without any glitches. MAD follows the philosophy of “Build once, distribute anywhere.”

A sample Mobile App Designer Screen:

The result in iPad:

Other features include…

  • Supports drill down charts.
  • MAD comes with a separate filter component.
  • Multiple types of data visualization supported such as; Line, Bar, Area, Bubble, Pie, 3D graphs, Circular and Funnel.
  • Simple tables as well as complex pivot tables can be built.
  • Images can be added by uploading them, using the URL link, or inserting them from a database field.
  • MAD’s greatest strength is its repeater components! (ex: Tile and Accordion.)
  • Complex frame sets can be created by including frames for laying out the components to make them aesthetically appealing.
  • Choice of many Black and White themes.
  • MAD applications can be built using three types of data sources: subject area, data sources, and external excel files.
  • Drag and drop feature of the data fields from data source into the visual components.
  • Clean layout, perfectly aligned component sets and toolbars help in building complex dashboards using few clicks.

Limitations of MAD include…

  • Have to build support dashboards for Mobile and Tablet devices
  • Theme change effect is not being applied to all the properties of components (you can see the black text on chart labels in the black theme). These kinds of glitches can also be seen on the tables
  • Backspace does not work
  • Deleting a column from a table is not user friendly
  • Cannot add columns if there is no space

How do you get this?

  • BI Mobile App Designer is available now as a patch to Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition, version 11.1.1.7.1. (patch number 17220944 at support.oracle.com)
  • BI Mobile App Designer is licensed at no extra charge with Oracle BI Foundation Suite and Oracle BI Mobile

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive Oracle implementation experience in Oracle Business Intelligence. For more information about our business solutions, contact us at our website. http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

About the author: Garrett is Director of EPM Solutions who has worked with eVerge Group since 2005.

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BI Success Checklist

It goes without saying that there are many reasons why BI implementations fail or succeed.  However, my experience over the years has taught me that some are more important than others.  My top ten are….

  1. Choose the right tools
  2. Obtain buy-in from stakeholders (business support is paramount)
  3. Agile implementations win
  4. Bring the right competence on-board (the right skill sets make a world of difference)
  5. Set goals, make plans and follow through
  6. Set up routines for data quality (your data is likely worse than you think)
  7. Set up and maintain meta-data (think re-usability)
  8. Do not forget about scale and performance
  9. Ensure organization is mature
  10. Make it last  –> BI is a journey

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive Oracle implementation experience in Oracle Business Intelligence. For more information about our business solutions, contact us at our website. http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

About the author: Garrett is Director of EPM Solutions who has worked with eVerge Group since 2005.

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Formulating and Executing a BI Strategy

A good BI Strategy has been and continues to be a hot topic.  How to start?  Where to start? Who and what do we focus on?  These are all valid questions and can go in many directions.  Having worked with many organizations, I’ve found that a good BI Strategy focuses on three primary aspects.

Faster

Today, companies get their financial and performance metrics in a number of ways. More than likely, it involves analysts in the organization combing existing excel spreadsheets and/or reports to aggregate the data to build a performance dashboard which is then circulated and elevated to the executive team. A good BI strategy starts with understanding these existing processes, and works to build solutions that expedite this process and enables ad hoc reporting.

A CFO should be able to open a BI tool, and ask whatever question they might have around their financial performance and get an accurate response within a certain level of detail (state vs city, product vs SKU, etc). If they have to wait a week and worry about accuracy, then it’s a key pain point to focus on during the faster aspect of the strategy.

Smarter

Beyond simply providing faster analysis within an organization, a good BI solution should make people smarter about their company by providing analysis and insights they couldn’t otherwise get on their own. As I mentioned in the previous section, organizations are getting reports today and know roughly how they’re doing (especially if they’re public) but having correlations between different silo’s of data can reveal things that executives may have not noticed before. This is a big reason for big data, but you can have very little data from different groups tied together in a single data warehouse and then leverage BI tools to help pull it together in a report, and get a great deal of value. A good BI strategy will focus not just on existing data, but new insights gained as well, from the BI activity.

Clearer

Getting good analysis, and smarter insights doesn’t guarantee that everyone has a single version of the truth and that they all understand what they’re seeing. Having a plan for how the data will be visualized, and ensuring the right controls are in place to validate the output is essential. Putting checks and balances in, so you can leverage tools like Oracle Business Intelligence to build new types of visualizations can make all the difference on transformation useful data to actionable data.

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive Oracle implementation experience in Oracle Business Intelligence. For more information about our business solutions, contact us at our website. http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

About the author: Garrett is Director of EPM Solutions who has worked with eVerge Group since 2005.

 

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Spotlight on Oracle RightNow CX: February 2014 Part 2

Oracle RightNow CX: February 2014 Part 2

As I stated in part one of my spotlight on the February 2014 release of Oracle Service Cloud aka RightNow, this release includes many new major features, enhancement of existing features spanning all areas of the product and new tutorials. I am happy to report that I have just received my new February 2014 demo site and will be taking full advantage of the new bells and whistles. This part will focus on the second half of the new features and will wrap up the two part series. Read Part One if you missed it last week.

Cross-Channel Contact Center

Feedback which is the RightNow module that contains transactional, broadcast and polling surveys has finally been enhanced to allow all users to respond to surveys that have been sent to them even people that require compatibility with accessibility tools. It is worth noting that web accessibility optimization for feedback surveys is listed in the release notes as one of the Major New Features and that adding a question to a new or existing survey will trigger the accessibility enhancements to be automatically applied. In the User Guide for February 2014 reading about new accessibility enhancement will refer you to Oracle’s Accessibility Program for more information. I did a quick review of the page and it included detailed policy information, news, how-to articles as well as quotes about the initiatives like the one below:

“Oracle is committed to creating accessible technologies and products that enhance the overall workplace environment and contribute to the productivity of our employees, our customers, and our customers’ customers.”
—Safra Catz, President, Oracle

 

Analytics Report Delivery Options have been enhanced to include a compressed csv format that will allow an increased amount of data to be sent up to one million rows. This is good if you are trying to run large reports with data that goes back a few years. Prior to this Major Feature you were limited to running reports with a max row count of 10,000. The row count was increased in Excel in 2010 to allow one million rows so if you worked for a company that had adopted office 2010 then you would have to limit the date range on reports generated in RightNow, export many multiples and merge them back together in excel. With the new feature you will save time, decrease the risk of errors and report failures. Although this is a little overdue at this point it is still a welcome enhancement that improves usability, decreases defects and increases capacity. There are some restrictions that I have included below from the user guide:

 

Outlook Integration has been around for quite some time from an Administrative and Agent perspective I think this feature will not make your job easier if you are used to the robustness available in the .Net client. However if you have Executives, Sales representatives or other staff who are on the go a lot or do not need the full .Net client this is an option that is extremely convenient and requires little training once implemented. The difference in February is that RightNow has added support for both Outlook 2010 and 2013 64-bit so now you can have outlook integration on a wider set of versions. The integration allows the user to sync contacts, tasks and email from a button that appears at the top of the Outlook window in the Ribbon bar.

 

Policy Automation (OPA) was released in February 2013 and is used for businesses that have a lot of policies examples of use cases are eligibility for social programs like food stands or finding out if you qualify for a student loan. I previously reviewed OPA when it was introduced if you want to know more you can read about it in my February 2013 review. In order to update a policy business users update a word document and then upload to the Service cloud with a click of a button.

OPA Interview Enhancements include:

  1. New pop-up date control option for calendars
  2. Ability to collect rows of data in a tabular entity collection which is column based

 

 

OPA Agent Desktop Enhancements include:

  1. Ability to run multiple agent interviews at the same time
  2. Allow sub-interviews to allow a natural customer interaction flow
  3. Keep an accurate record of customer experience interaction by automatically saving incident thread.

 

OPA Enhanced Rules Navigation improves productivity for staff modeling and testing policies.

  1. Use word to navigate rule structure
  2. Highlight a section of the document in word or excel to launch the debugger tool and debug the current rule or test case

 

 

 

 

OPA New Sample Project Templates include options for financial services, higher education, media and entertainment. You can enhance existing interviews by features from the new samples and use as a framework for new interviews.

Oracle Service Cloud Integration enhancements will be covered as a separate post.

There is a wealth of information on the different releases available including release notes, manuals, webcasts, tutorials and community posts. Please review at the official RightNow documentation overview page.

If you are interested in learning more or have questions feel free to reach out to me at cx@evergegroup.com

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive experience. For more information about Oracle RightNow CX and our other business solutions, contact us through our website: http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

About the author: Rhianna Albert (Just Rhianna) has an extensive background in customer support systems and processes, is an active member of the CX community and has been implementing and integrating RightNow solutions for six years.

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