Category Archives: Oracle implementation

CX Resolutions for 2014: Customer Experience

Last week we explored the concept of Commitment and the reciprocal relationship that must exist between an organization and its customers if an organization wants to truly maximize the benefits by adopting this concept as a resolution in 2014. If you have not read the previous post or others in the series on business resolutions you can find them here:

What do you think is the most important #CX resolution that companies should keep in 2014?— Oracle CX (@OracleCX) January 16, 2014

Customer Experience is another must in the list of concepts presented by @OracleCX in the above image. On their website Oracle describes Customer experience as: the set of perceptions a customer has with a company throughout the buying and owning interactions. Positive customer experiences enable businesses to attract more, retain more, sell more, sell for more, and do more”. (


The first time I really heard Customer Experience used as a phrase meant to define a movement was in 2008 when a solutions consultant working for the then RightNow Technologies handed me a book called Eight to Great written by Greg Gianforte the CEO and founder of the company. Before this time you heard about customer satisfaction and customer relationship management (CRM) but customer experience was still almost an afterthought at many organizations. In my almost two decades of experience working in or with customer service departments it was very clear at least for the first half that service was treated like the dirty secret that you needed to keep in the closet. The view from us soldiers in the trenches was that the big business didn’t care about us because we weren’t revenue generating, however what started to happen is that smart people outside the trenches began to realize what we knew all along. Supporting existing revenue had an impact on the way new revenue was generated, in other words happy customers equals more purchases for your brand.


In 2011 RightNow renamed the releases of its product to include CX in the name bringing even more attention to Customer Experience. If we jump ahead to later in 2011 the morning of the RightNow summit in Colorado I was sitting in Starbucks with a colleague and my phone starts going crazy with text messages, emails, google alerts all about one thing. RightNow has been bought by software giant Oracle. I remember very clearly there was a lot of anxiety at the summit that year as people waited with baited breath to hear what Greg Gianforte would tell them at the Keynote.


There was a very interesting video on the future of CX played that day and while yes it turns the typical daily interactions that most people dread into a sort of utopia I try to share it with people whenever I can. This video gives a glimpse of the future and how one might leverage a best of breed suite like RightNow in their business.


Jump ahead to 2014 and CX has been an almost colloquial phrase within customer oriented organizations. There is so much activity on #CX on twitter that I can’t keep up anymore. Even with all of these strides there is still plenty of room for growth and improvement. Organizations should still keep a careful watch on customer experience and strongly consider adopting it not just as a resolution for 2014 but as part of their core values.


In an Oracle Blog post from David Vap Group VP (another veteran of customer experience) he summarizes 8 predictions for customer service in 2014 and mentions how customer experience is transforming and will continue to do so into 2015 and beyond. At Open World 2013 in San Francisco I saw an amusing and thoughts provoking demonstration on how a coffee maker’s internal systems are being integrated with RightNow CX. David played the upset customer in good fun but the message behind it was this, not only are customers continuing to expect contact points across all channels but now they want their devices to do their own service or at the very least they want YOU the Organization to know who they are when they are calling and what they own 360 degree view.

Is it a coincidence that Greg’s book, David’s blog and the customer lifecycle are all based on infinity loops? I think not.




News FLASH: The February release has become generally available as I write this. Be sure to watch this space as I take a short break from the resolution series to review what’s new. If you missed the release you can find documentation ad a webcast about the new version here:

If you are interested in learning more or have questions feel free to reach out to me at

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:

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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CX Resolutions for 2014: Customer Satisfaction

My last post took a look at Customer Loyalty and how a business can be impacted negatively when loyalty is lost. If you did not read the previous post you can find the contents here: CX Resolutions for 2014: Customer Loyalty

What do you think is the most important #CX resolution that companies should keep in 2014?

— Oracle CX (@OracleCX) January 16, 2014

The second concept in the image above is Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) this is a strategic key performance indicator (KPI) that every business that is looking at improving overall customer experience, more specifically in the area of retention should be intimately familiar with.  I recall reading an Oracle whitepaper back in 2012 titled, “Customer Experience (CX) Metrics and Key Performance Indicatorsand thinking, “Wow this would have been really useful when I was a RightNow administrator trying to refine call center processes and enhance the quality of the analytics I delivered.”

The paper explains that there are three CX practice areas that businesses should draw KPIs from, these include acquisition, retention and efficiency.

Retention focuses on how organizations keep their customers, to reduce churn and to increase their life-time value.

Customer Satisfaction is the mean satisfaction score of customers for a given experience.

Notice how closely satisfaction is tied to loyalty. I am starting to develop a picture in my mind of machine with interlocking gears, coils and sprockets. However it is not yet clear if they are turly dependant on one another.

Every year Gartner and 1 to 1 Media give away awards at their 360 summit to businesses with a commitment to the innovative design and delivery of superior customer experiences at all points of interaction. This is demonstrated by significant improvements in customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. Every year several businesses with RightNow implementations manage to secure an award or two.

RightNow has the ability to send transactional, by proxy and proactive surveys, comes equipped with many standard reports dedicated to understanding CSAT and has a robust suite of social monitoring and engagement tools. In May 2013 Gartner positioned RightNow as a leader in Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center.  According to the report, “the blend of social media engagement with CRM software is evolving the contact center into the customer engagement center. Gartner’s 2013 CRM customer engagement center Magic Quadrant looks at vendors that respond to the challenge of any channel customer service engagement”.


This is a testament to the strength RightNow offers in areas of customer satisfaction. In early 2012 it was a strategic acquisition by Oracle to boost its SaaS portfolio for good reason. With the development capabilities and budget that Oracle has and will continue to put into scaling RightNow I do not foresee it moving out of the leader position any time in the near future.


February release is only weeks away from being available. Be sure to read up on all the latest RightNow specific information at:

If you are interested in learning more or have questions feel free to reach out to me at

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:

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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eVerge Upgrades Fusion HCM to Release 7: January 2014

We recently upgraded our Oracle Fusion HCM install from Release 5 to 7.  In this blog, the focus is on the new features and functionality of Release 7.   This release touted new features spanning many of the Fusion HCM products.  The major features of interest to our project team included the Simplified User Interface, OTBI Reporting, Talent Management and Workforce Compensation enhancements, as well as Payroll reporting.

Below you will find a sampling of what Release 7 has to offer us and our customers:

Simplified User Interface:

From Oracle: The simplified user interface for the Oracle Applications Cloud is a modern, intuitive, streamlined user interface for self-service users who need access to HR related tasks and information.  The Simplified User Interface is a quick access point for casual users to perform the most common HR tasks.

Our take: Our compensation plans are already configured with custom alerts to aid our managers with the compensation process.  Some of the alerts we had already incorporated are identifying terminated employees and recent new hires.  We plan to take advantage of this new feature for our upcoming quarterly bonus payout plan.  Providing our managers with real time changes will further enhance our compensation process.

Copy/Export/Import Extract Definition Functionality

From Oracle: You can now create new extract definitions through copy or export/import. Copy, Export, and Import process options are available on the table header of the Search Results table on the Manage Definitions page. Copy allows you to copy an extract definition within the same Legislative Data Group (LDG).  Export allows you to create an .xsd file with all the extract definition details. This .xsd file can be imported in any Fusion HCM pod (instance) across releases. You can use Export/Import to copy the extract definitions across different LDGs. You need to specify the target LDG while importing the .xsd file.

Our take: Our project team was successfully able to migrate data using the delivered Export/Import process. By using the delivered utility, we were able to eliminate data entry errors; and in addition, reduced the time for validation and verification. In addition to the LDG enhancement, we used the Export/Import delivered utility to migrate Implementation Project Plans from one Fusion HCM Pod to another. Our project team will definitely leverage the enhanced Export/Import utility for ongoing implementation efforts.

Oracle Transactional Business Intelligence (OTBI) Enhancements

If you are not familiar with OTBI, it is essentially a set of pre-seeded yet customizable analysis structures that Fusion Applications users can access to create ad hoc reports, dashboards and alerts to aid daily decision-making.

From Oracle: The following OTBI features were added or changed since the last release of Oracle Fusion Applications:

•           Gender and Ethnicity have been added to the Worker dimension in all subject areas. The most recent gender and the primary ethnicity for the country or legislation of the worker’s primary assignment are used.

 •           A new Department Hierarchy dimension has been created to allow hierarchical aggregated reporting from the most recent active department tree, which contains only HCM Department Organizations. This dimension has been added to the Real Time subject areas.

 •           Assignment Count has been added to the Worker Assignment fact in the Workforce Management Real Time subject area.

 Our take: OTBI has had several iterations and continues to evolve over the life of the HCM Fusion product, but all reporting as needed for trends and analytics becomes more prominent. OTBI in Oracle’s Fusion HCM allows users to develop reports using Subject areas with a graphical interface and publish the analytics under one console. The figure shown is example of an analysis using Assignment Count fact measure. During the recruiting process, Worker analysis is performed for the staffing needs. That being said, the new enhancements in OTBI will help us match the skill set with the job requirements. 


Performance Management Enhancements

From Oracle: Performance Management Overview Pages Redesign; The Worker Overview page and My Directs tab in the Manager Overview page have been redesigned to a worker-centric layout.  In the new design, the page displays all performance documents for which each worker is eligible.  In previous versions My Directs tab on the Manager Overview page, a performance document had to be selected first to determine which workers were eligible to access it.

Our take: Oracle really listened to their customers by redesigning the manager’s view into their people’s performance documents.  This was a frustrating experience for our managers prior to Release 7.  This was the case especially for managers with a large number of direct reports.  The new overview displays the manager’s direct reports and the documents that are eligible and ready for evaluation.  Also, filtering capabilities are provided to list direct reports by document name, status and direct report. 


From Oracle: Performance document calculated ratings can now become the official rating.  Template configuration options are now available to define section ratings to be the calculated rating.  Prior to release 7 the calculated rating served as a guide for employees and managers to manually select a rating. 

Our take: Once again Oracle listened to their customers.  Our performance process is designed to rely on the calculated ratings.  Prior to Release 7, manually selecting a section rating was an additional step for our users.  Also, in many cases the incorrect section rating was selected and required administrative assistance to correct the ratings.  Today our users simply rate the individual items in a section and let the system do the rest.

Workforce Compensation: Alert Managers When Amounts They Enter Are Overridden

From Oracle: You can now create custom alerts to notify managers when a higher manager overrides a compensation amount. New columns can be used as conditions when building alerts, to identify the name of the manager who originally entered an amount and the name of the manager who last updated an amount. Previously, these columns were not available for use as conditions when building custom alerts, so managers had no clear visibility when an amount that they entered was modified by someone else.

Our take: Our compensation plans are already configured with custom alerts to aid our managers with the compensation process.  Some of the alerts we had already incorporated are identifying terminated employees and recent new hires.  We plan to take advantage of this new feature for our upcoming quarterly bonus payout plan.  Providing our managers with real time changes will further enhance our compensation process.


Payroll Enhancements

From Oracle: Several reports are now available for Fusion Payroll.  Oracle has delivered on several new reports including the Gross To Net, Activity Report, and Payroll Register.

Our take: Prior to Release 7 we had to rely on custom reports.  These new delivered reports are a positive step in the right direction, and we look forward to additional delivered reports in the future to help streamline our payroll process.

You can find more information for Release 7 by reading the release notes or attending HCM Live webinars.

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive experience in HCM. To learn more about HCM Fusion and how we can help implement HCM Fusion for your organization, please contact us at 888-548-1973 or through our website


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Fusion HCM BenefiX Integration

In every organization that manages employee benefits in house, integrations to multiple benefits providers are a necessary business process.  There are several challenges in these processes.  For smaller organizations, the processes are more than likely manual.  Usually the Benefits Administrator enters the updates through an online session on the provider’s website.  Each provider would have their own site along with their own data entry methods.  This process is inherently slow and prone to data entry errors.  The paperwork for the updates must be tracked to ensure that the information was entered into the in house benefits system as well as the benefits provider’s website.  If the updates are not timely or are missed altogether, employees may not get the coverage when claims are submitted and have to go through the inconvenience of communicating with the Benefits Administrator to get the matter resolved and the claim processed.  These issues may result in:

  • A negative employee experience
  • Unproductive time spent resolving the issue

Midsize to large organizations frequently have an electronic interface that transfers eligibility updates to their benefit providers.  These electronic interfaces have their own challenges.   Each provider will have their own format or may utilize the 834 industry standard format for the data being transmitted.  The interfaces are typically custom code that is maintained by an internal IT function.  Anytime there are changes to the format or when new providers are engaged, it is up to the IT department to make the changes to the interfaces affected or develop an entirely new extract.  The benefits department then has to test these interfaces before the new or modified integration can be deployed to production.  This could be a significant effort on the in house staff depending on the complexity of the integration and the amount of testing required.

eVerge Group fit into the first category, making manual updates for all benefit eligibility changes directly with their vendors.  Some of the primary business reasons eVerge implemented HCM Fusion was to consolidate, automate and simplify business processes.  To that end, eVerge implemented Fusion Automated Benefits.  Delivered with Fusion Benefits is a standard benefits extract process that can be used to transfer benefit eligibility updates and changes to 3rd party benefits administrators/vendors.  The challenge with this extract process is that different benefit vendors (and there are a lot of them!) have different formats that do not match this delivered extract, therefore requiring a custom version to be created for each vendor.  eVerge’s solution to this problem was to engage an Oracle solutions partner called Benefits XML (BenefiX). BenefiX provides a service where the Fusion delivered benefits extract is transmitted to BenefiX. The data is then reformatted to each benefit vendor’s specifications and submitted to them on eVerge’s behalf. BenefiX has the responsibility for setting up and then maintaining distinct vendor interface formats. 

Setting Up the BenefiX Integration

eVerge was responsible for initial setup of a Structure Spreadsheet for each vendor’s specifications. These spreadsheets acted as requirements documents for how to map employer-specific information needed for each vendor’s interface file.  Initial mapping and setup included Tax Id, Policy Id, Group Policy name as well as other vendor specific information.   BenefiX then used this information to prepare the vendor specific files with the data from the Fusion Benefits extract.  

The file transfer protocol details were provided by BenefiX and were setup in the Manage Plan Carriers area in Fusion.   


Additional configurations were needed in the Plan Setup area.


Tip:  Oracle or BenefiX can provide a ‘How to Document’ with screenshots that are very helpful in completing the additional setup.  The document is “Configuring Benefits for Integration with 3rd Party Provider.doc”.

The Benefits Extract file is generated and transmitted securely (encrypted) to the BenefiX SFTP site. 


Benefits extract detail can be reviewed to verify the data being transmitted.  This page link retrieves up to 500 rows and is used to do a cursory review of the file information. 


Tip:  This link can be used to review the data and can be downloaded to an Excel Spreadsheet for more detailed review.  This is especially helpful when trouble shooting data issues.

The files are processed by BenefiX at which time audits are performed and a summary report is sent back to eVerge.  If any errors are identified in the file by BenefiX, for example a missing social security number for a covered dependent, they are addressed or corrected within Fusion and a new file is re-transmitted.

If the file has no errors, the data is reformatted by BenefiX into the appropriate benefit vendor format and then transmitted to each vendor.  A copy of the reformatted ‘vendor’ file is also sent back to eVerge to be used in trouble shooting any issues.  The vendors receive the reformatted file, process the information and send eVerge the results including any potential errors/exceptions that need to be corrected.

Lessons Learned

Here are some “Bumps in the Road” we encountered while implementing the Benefits extract integration.

  • Data issues in the Contact (Dependents) information where corrections were made by our users to the most current effective dated row only and the historical rows were not changed.  This caused a duplication of dependent info that was being extracted.

Lesson: Pay close attention to Historical rows when doing corrections


  • During test runs, data errors were encountered such as missing or mismatched SSNs between Fusion data and what the carriers had on file. This actually ended up being a good thing because it helped us get our data cleaned up before going live in production with the interface.

Lesson: Use the testing phase to help identify and clean up data issues.


  • Being such a new option on an early release of Fusion (Release 5), we did encounter some bugs that needed Oracle support to resolve.  Fortunately they were few and easily resolved.  There will probably be some more “challenges” until the processes have been through several more implementations.

Lesson: Be prepared to engage Oracle Support as well as your BenefiX liaison and/or Benefits Vendor representative when an issue comes up with the processing.

The cost for services provided by BenefiX were very reasonable in our estimation, once you factor in the amount of time spent manually maintaining benefits eligibility with multiple vendors for all of our employees and their families!  You will pay a one-time setup fee for each vendor and then a nominal monthly cost per employee for the services BenefiX provides.

The author of this article/blog is Zack Bakarich.  Zack is a Principal 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.  Watch for upcoming blogs about our Fusion HCM Release 7 upgrade project, year-end payroll processing and more!

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