Oracle RightNow CX Feature Focus: Config and Message Base Redesign

The sixth installment of the 2012 RightNow CX feature focus series takes a first look at August 2012. The configuration settings and message base redesign was long overdue. The previous incarnation of these tools were unintuitive and difficult to navigate. I often had to refer to the RightNow Knowledge base at http://cx.rightnow.com or the user manual just to find where the settings or message bases I wanted to change resided, if they were even editable to begin with. Below you will what the menus looked like in releases prior to August 2012. If you missed any of the previous installments in this series you can find them under the CX category at http://blog.evergegroup.com/?cat=56

 Configuration Settings and Message Bases Redesign

 From the release notes:

 A redesign of the Configuration Settings and Message Bases editors gives you more control over configuring and customizing your site. Both editors now display as their own respective reports with category folders and run-time selectable filters that make searching more effective. In addition, values for configuration settings and message bases text can now be edited inline.

What does this mean?

            For administrators familiar with the old format it means learning something new but once that has been achieved I promise you will be gaining back hours of your life. You can now search effectively, items are stored in user friendly folders that make sense, the audit log keeps track of changes (who, what and when) and you do not need to back out to the main menu if you need to edit a setting in another category. If you have used analytics in RightNow the settings are now reports and the individual items can be accessed by clicking on a line item.

 Both configuration settings and message bases look similar now as illustrated below.

 

You can see in image directly above that the message base I want to edit is highlighted in orange. To change it you can either start typing something completely new in the column labeled “custom text” or copy what is in “default text” by right clicking and selecting copy cell to clipboard and then pasting and editing to suit your business needs. To save you just click the save button in the upper left corner of the console. If you notice something has changed and you want to find out who made the change, what was changed and when you would click on audit log.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although it might not be apparent from the above screen shot of the audit log if you hover over any of the columns with your mouse it will give you the full text that was changed. This provides the administrator with the ability to see the complete history and take steps to manually rollback to a previous change. If you are interested in learning more or have questions about RightNow CX please contact me at cx@evergegroup.com

Useful Links:

You can read more about this feature in the August 2012 documentation. https://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/docs/august2012/olh/wwhelp/wwhimpl/js/html/wwhelp.htm

To learn how to edit settings post redesign refer to answer id 5453: https://cx.rightnow.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5453/kw/configuration%20settings

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 over five years.

eVerge experience with Oracle HCM Fusion – Workforce Compensation

eVerge Group is live with the full suite of Fusion HCM products – HR, Benefits, Payroll, Workforce Compensation, and Talent Management.  Keep reading to follow the path we took to get there — focusing here on Workforce Compensation Management.

In our current organization, there are two legal entities – one in the US and one in India. We have multiple business units, department, locations and jobs with a centralized HR function.

Workforce Compensation went live in January of 2013.  The legacy process included multiple salary planning spreadsheets that were built manually and emailed to each manager.  The process was time consuming, as information had to be extracted from several sources.  In addition, many emails were traded between Accounting and the managers with revised data.  This process consistently lent itself to a high level of potential human error through ongoing data manipulation.

Once we were live on Fusion HR and Performance Management, we were ready to leverage the integration these products offered with Workforce Compensation.  To meet the organization structure and the functional requirements, there were many decisions that had to be incorporated:

  • Compensation plans with multiple worksheets were implemented.  This minimized the number of plans we had to maintain and provided a more usable solution for the end users.  
  • With multiple worksheets in a single plan, eligibility rules were built so users could easily filter ineligible participants for a particular worksheet.
  • Incorporated Performance Management into the process to give managers and compensation “approvers” visibility into appraisal scores and details directly from the worksheet.
  • Utilized the delivered 1-Up approval process to route worksheets for final approval.
  • Configured the compensation plans to allow for processing transactions in Fusion HR and Payroll.

Below is a sample of a manager’s view of a quarterly bonus worksheet.

Below are some lessons we learned during the implementation of Compensation Management:

  • Configure the plan foundation, including the Plan Cycles, Eligibility, Alerts, Performance Rating and Worksheet Display for each plan separately and test as you go.
  • Fusion Compensation offers flexibility in Plan Eligibility and selection process. In some cases, multiple eligibility rules had to be constructed to achieve the desired results.  A clear understanding of how eligibility profiles work was needed.
  • Custom columns were used extensively in the worksheet for data entry and dynamic calculations.  We learned that transactions to HR and Payroll had to utilize seeded columns.
  • We used Fast Formulas to retrieve data that is not provided as a seeded column for a worksheet.  As an example, to display a custom column for our annual bonus amount, a Fast Formula was attached to retrieve the appropriate database column.
  • Be diligent in understanding how date tracking compensation plan elements should work.   During our testing, information elements that did not contain an end date resulted in duplicate rows in the worksheets.  We had to reconstruct the history for this element to get the desired result. 
  • Fusion offers delivered flexibility in migrating compensation plans from one environment to another. Using the delivered utility, plan configurations were exported from the Parallel POD to the Production POD.   We did discover that Fast Formulas and Eligibility Profiles had to be added to the compensation plans after migration.   In the end, the delivered migration facility exported and imported complex configurations in less time and reduced human error.
  • Involve the end users from the beginning to discover what they wanted and needed to see in the compensation plan worksheet.  There are a significant number of options to display data.  By reviewing and prototyping the requirements with the users, you are assured they have the tools they need to complete the compensation plan process.         

We also used the delivered Export/Import process to maintain data in the Fusion Compensation worksheet. By using this functionality, managers were able to download worksheet data to Excel.  Managers were then able to modify the appropriate columns of data and import those changes back into their worksheet.

 

Working closely with Oracle Support on POD management including data refresh, patching, upgrades, etc…is critical to a successful implementation. It is important to ensure that the latest code level and HCM data is being tested. During testing, fixes were applied to the POD to resolve system issues that occurred during the validation cycle.  Our Oracle COE liaison played a critical role during each phase of our implementation.

Watch for an upcoming blog about Talent Management and our Open Enrollment go live. We are also live with HCM Core, Payroll, Benefits and Talent Management … keep coming back to see more blogs over the next few weeks!

The author of this article/blog is Pete Kumar.  Pete is a Senior Fusion HCM Implementation Consultant resource for eVerge Group with more than 20 years of Software Packages implementation and support experience.

To learn more about Fusion and how we can help implement Fusion for your organization, please contact us at 888-548-1973.

 

Oracle RightNow CX Feature Focus: Previous Version Cleanup

For our fifth installment of the 2012 RightNow CX feature focus series we are going to wrap up May 2012. How are we going to do that you ask? By addressing something no one wants to do but everyone has to do, taking out the trash and cleaning up the house. To do this we need a little assistance from a trusted friend and super hero.

If you missed any of the previous installments in this series you can find them under the CX category at http://blog.evergegroup.com/?cat=56

Previous Version Cleanup

From the release notes:

When logging in to a newly upgraded site, RightNow CX now streamlines the deployment by removing application files (such as program binaries) for versions previously run for the same site. However, user-specific settings and cache files are retained to ensure a smooth transition and consistent experience for staff members.

Why does this matter?

While I agree that it certainly isn’t the most glamorous or interesting of subjects, it is still one of those things that need to be done in life and technology. We have known this since we were children when our parents implored us to take out the trash the night before the garbage truck was scheduled to come or when they barked at us for having dirty clothes, clean clothes and toys all mixed together in our rooms. Tidying up keeps order from turning into chaos and allows for an efficient environment whether we are talking about a physical or metaphorical house.

It is always a breath of fresh air when I see this in the release notes of any software as I know it means I will be gaining back efficiencies and hopefully be relieved of annoying bugs or defects that as a heavy software user I have had to find work-arounds or hacks to avoid. Before my days as an Oracle partner, when I was still a customer, I built up quite a reputation with technical support for the list of defects reported with my name attached. This is not to say any version of software is bad, it happens in every product we deal with in our daily lives but still a clean house just smells better and is warm and inviting. It always reminds me of homemade cookies. So before I make all of you hungry, I will stop talking about cookies and just say “Thank You” to the product team at Oracle for making their parents proud.

The version cleanup in this case means no need to uninstall old versions or manually delete remnant files left over. In fact no need to reinstall at all unless you encounter an issue. For call centers with 100s or 1000s of PCs with CX installed on them this is a huge win. Next time I will be taking our first look at August 2012 and getting a little closer to February 2013!

 

Useful Links:

You can read more about this feature in the May 2012 documentation. https://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/docs/may2012/olh/wwhelp/wwhimpl/js/html/wwhelp.htm

Cloud Service Capabilities: http://www.oracle.com/us/media1/cloud-service-capabilities-benefits-1632971.pdf

 

If you are interested in learning more or have questions about RightNow CX please contact 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 over five years.

 

Oracle RightNow CX Feature Focus: Fusion Sales Integration

For our fourth installment of the 2012 RightNow CX feature focus, we are going to talk about Fusion. Rest assured this type of fusion does not require an advanced degree in physics. If you missed any of the previous installments you can find them under the CX category: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?cat=56

 

eVerge is an early adopter of Fusion CRM and Fusion HCM and are the first organization to have a live implementation of Fusion HCM. You can read more about it here: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?cat=11. As such we are huge proponents of Fusion in all flavors so I was extremely excited to have the chance to do this integration personally on one of our partner demo sites. It is admittedly a work in progress but one word comes to mind when looking at the potential it has, “Powerful” just like the nuclear kind.

 

 Oracle Fusion Sales Integration

From the release notes:

RightNow CX can now be integrated with Oracle Fusion Sales so that RightNow CX staff members can see existing Fusion Sales opportunities. This provides awareness of Fusion Sales history for those staff members handling incidents to help prioritize issue resolution and identify cross-sell opportunities.

  • When a sales account is created in Fusion Sales, an organization is automatically created in RightNow CX.
  • When an organization is created in RightNow CX, a sales account is automatically created in Fusion Sales.
  • RightNow CX staff can view Fusion Sales opportunities in an OBIEE (Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition) report that displays on a workspace.
  • Fusion Sales staff can view RightNow CX incidents as an OBIEE report.

This first phase of Fusion Sales integration gives RightNow CX and Fusion Sales staff member’s visibility into the corresponding application’s data to help guide communication with prospects and service requests. When your organization leverages both sales and service history, you can identify new opportunities and increase deal size as well as increase conversion rates with targeted, personalized offers.

Why is this new feature important?

The Fusion Sales Phase 1 integration expands the functionality currently available in RightNow Sales. It is not meant as a replacement for RightNow Sales, which is being rebranded as Opportunity tracking. I have always believed that Opportunity tracking was a solid piece of the RightNow CX software; however, for mature sales organizations who are interested in doing deeper dives and trying to anticipate pipeline in an intelligent way, this integration moves them toward that. Service agents will be able to see what clients have purchased as well as their service history. On the other side of this integration Sales staff using Fusion SFA will have the ability to see service history of clients.

Providing both the sales and service sides of an organization with a 360 degree view of client history is a huge milestone in customer experience. Coming from a call center background I can attest to how useful this will be for any organization. Clients have better relationships with organizations that don’t have information silos because they feel like the company they are doing business with really cares and understand their needs.

How hard is it to implement?

This is a very difficult question to answer because everyone has a different skill-set and not all organizations have staff dedicated or trained in both RightNow and Fusion. There are configurations changes that need to be done in both systems to get them talking as well as some reports and workspace modifications. This is where eVerge can help, as all of our staff are trained/Oracle certified professionals. Many have been trained across multiple Oracle products.

 

 

 

 

 

Useful Links:

You can read more about this integration in the May 2012 documentation. https://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/docs/may2012/olh/wwhelp/wwhimpl/js/html/wwhelp.htm

Cloud Service Capabilities: http://www.oracle.com/us/media1/cloud-service-capabilities-benefits-1632971.pdf

If you are interested in learning more or have questions about the Fusion integration for RightNow CX please contact 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 over five years.

Oracle Exalytics and 120 Million Records: Airline Traffic Delays Analysis on Exalytics

In this video, an analyst for an airline consumer group is portrayed studying airline traffic delays.  Oracle’s Exalytics performance against massive amounts of enterprise data permits a speed-of-thought style of analysis to make sense of complex business information. As in your industry, airline schedules have many dimensions… routes, flights, airlines, airports, delays, dates, etc. Oracle Exalytics provides many ways to visualize the multi-dimensional relationships (via numerous styles of charts and geo-maps as well as visually-coded data) rather than crunching numbers. For more information and how eVerge can help implement for your organization, please contact us at 888-548-1973.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NMqPjdeCVU

The Game Changer: Answering the Million Dollar Question with Oracle Endeca

Do your business analysts want to leverage the insights of social media, product reviews, and 3rd party data sources?  Traditionally, cleansing and conforming these ever changing sources of data is a huge undertaking.  Watch how Anna gained insight while the data was still relevant and solved the problem with Oracle Endeca Information Discovery (OEID).

To learn more about Oracle Endeca Information Discovery and how eVerge can help implement for your organization, please contact us at 888-548-1973.

First Steps in Planning for Big Data

I’m sure you’ve read a number of articles about how Big Data is the next big thing and if you aren’t on board you’ll be left behind.  I’m sure you’ve also read how Big Data is just data combined hype, and that the bubble is bursting already.  I believe, as is often the case, the truth is a little unclear but somewhere in the middle.

Planning your approach on how you might exploit Big Data is no different than the process of investigating any other technology opportunity or new source of data.  In this case, though, you are trying to uncover ‘nuggets‘ of valuable information in a larger sea of data. The Big Data tools might be new and unfamiliar, the skills may be slightly different, but the process is not rocket science.

Develop a Plan

    1. Obtain approval to move forward (i.e. time and money for discovery)
    2. Define Goals and Objectives – Understanding the organizational goals and objectives first will set the foundation for the rest of the plan.
    3. Obsess on Users – When discussing and reviewing with the potential business community, challenge how they use data in reaching conclusions and making decisions. Focus on what they don’t have and cannot do in the current environment.
    4. Identify Sources of data – PDFs, location data from cell phones, email, twitter, blogs, HR documents, warehouse records, call center notes, field service notes, etc.
    5. Business Justification – Quantifying exact cost reductions, increase in income (revenue), or customer satisfaction can be tricky , but remember we are talking about a discovery process, not a full-fledged implementation.
    6. Determine Budget – Also tricky, since we are not talking Big Data tools just yet.  The budget is dependent on the cost of acquiring and storing the data you are interested in.  The number of staff and duration of the project will depend on how ‘close to the surface’ the valuable data is, and how much work is required to expose the ‘nuggets’.  It can help to talk to other organizations or experts who have worked on this type or project before.
    7. Identify Tools and Technologies – Identification of candidate tools/technologies that align with business goals and budget is also critical.  Not all solutions are created the same (nor are they priced the same).  You do not want to spend months evaluating ALL the possible solutions in the marketplace.
    8. Make Room for Experimentation – Allow time for experimentation in the project. There is a good chance that you’ll make an unexpected discovery.  Don’t eliminate that possibility.

At a high level, it should be more obvious that getting into Big Data is not too different than exploring any other new project or technology.   Having an idea of what you’re trying to achieve, knowing how long and how much you can afford to invest, and keeping an eye out for the unexpected are the most important aspects of the discovery process.

Finding people with the right expertise and a track record are in high demand, but the eVerge Group has skilled people who can provide assistance. This help could be simply providing details of case studies demonstrating success stories of similar organizations.  It could also be helping to develop a business plan, then executing the project to show the return on investment possible when you exploit that ‘Big Data’.

Check out Oracle’s website for information on Oracle’s Big Data Solutions offering.

Oracle Big Data

This short video uses a very simple analogy of a fishing trawler to explain big data, and the steps involved in gaining competitive advantage by combining new sources of data within existing, structured and unstructured data.  Referenced solutions include the Oracle Big Data Appliance, Hadoop, NoSQL, and Oracle Endeca Information Discovery (OEID).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GU4Imbo6R8&feature=youtu.be

 

eVerge Group goes live with Oracle HCM Fusion Benefits

 eVerge Group is live with the full suite of Fusion HCM products – HR, Benefits, Payroll, Compensation, and Performance.  Keep reading to follow the path we took to get there — focusing here on Benefits.

HR went live in the Spring of 2012.  We have two Legal Entities – one in the US and one in India.  We have multiple business units, departments, locations and jobs with a centralized HR function.  

Benefits was on target to roll out in October 2012; but as payroll testing efforts ramped up for the January 2013 target, it was quickly learned additional Benefit configurations and related enrollment data would be needed to support payroll.  These included items like GTL and LTD imputed income calculations, as well as changes to element configurations to support payroll deductions.  The decision was made to roll out Benefits and Payroll simultaneously to ensure cross module integration.

 Here are some of the lessons we learned while configuring Benefits:

  • Configure the basic plan types, options, plans, rates, eligibility profiles, programs, and elements one at a time and test as you go.  It is easier to “undo” and revise your benefits structure with only a few existing values rather than a full suite of benefit options during early testing.   Once good test results are obtained, configurations can be expanded and then replicated in the production pod as appropriate.
  • Be diligent in documenting the configurations you have built and tested.  In the early releases of Fusion, current Functional Setup Manager (FSM) functionality does not allow migration of benefit configurations from pod to pod.  This means manual re-entry of configurations – which can be complex depending how complicated your benefit offerings may be.
  • Fusion Benefits offers great flexibility in administering plan eligibility and processing – realize this translates to additional configurations and testing!  While there is sometimes a need for such complexity, try to keep configurations as simple as possible.  This may eliminate additional technical support later in the process.

We used the File Based Loader (FBL) functionality to convert in current Benefit elections.  We did not include any historical election data.  We did, however, include Original Enrollment Dates for the various elections to ensure this data is available when we begin automated interfacing with vendors.

  • Data formatting is critical to successful FBL loads.  We started by consolidating all of the necessary employee and contact (dependent) data from our various vendor sources.  A program was then written to “transform” this data into the FBL format.   Allow sufficient time for testing.  Depending on the size of your organization, this will likely be complex and needs careful analysis to ensure desired results.  Take time to get it right!
  • Decisions need to be made in advance of the level of election data you want available in Fusion; i.e. Waive rows for various plans if the employee does not have a current election, etc.  This dictates the number of plans/rows that need to exist in the FBL source file to load related elections.
  • Contact information was entered manually before we could successfully load benefit election data that included dependent designations (i.e., attaching dependents to various plan coverages).  There is some available functionality to convert Contact data but we did not utilize this for our project.

 Here is a glance at what our HR/Benefits Administrator can view online to get a quick summary view of current benefit elections.   Employees are able to see similar information through delivered self service via My Portrait > Benefits.

 

Working closely with Oracle on pod management, refreshes, patching, etc. is critical.  You want to ensure you are always testing with the “latest and greatest” configurations.  Sometimes this was based on new configs being added/tested in a Staging/Test pod followed by migration to production.  Other times this meant entering data in production (i.e., Contacts) to have it available when a pod refresh was taken so the data would exist for the next level of testing.

 Benefit self service will be used during our upcoming Open Enrollment period.  We have a different plan year for our main benefits (medical, dental, vision, and life plans) as opposed to FSA elections which naturally follow a calendar year.  We are currently testing the OE functionality in Fusion with a target of a 2 week OE period in March – ensuring all data is in place for April 1 when new rates will go into effect.  In conjunction with OE being completed via employee self service, employees will also be able to initiate Life Event changes online for things such as marriage, new babies, etc.

 Watch for an upcoming blog about our Fusion Payroll go live.  We are also live with Compensation Management and Performance … one good experience after another …  Keep coming back to see more blogs over the next few weeks!

The author of this article/blog is Laurie Long.   Ms. Long is a Senior Fusion HCM Implementation Consultant resource for eVerge Group with more than 20 years of HCM implementation and support experience.

 To learn more about Fusion and how we can help implement Benefits for your organization, please contact us at 888-548-1973.