CX Resolutions for 2014: Commitment

The previous post in this series explored Customer Satisfaction and the role it plays as a strategic KPI particularly for business where improving customer experience is a mission critical driver. If you have not read the previous post or others in the series on business resolutions you can find them here:

CX Resolutions for 2014: Overview
CX Resolutions for 2014: Customer Loyalty
CX Resolutions for 2014: Customer Satisfaction

 

There has been a lot of research on the different components of commitment with respect to how an individual working for a company relates to it. In 2007 a research duo by the name Meyer and Allen published a book based on their research and the research of their predecessors. In the Human resource Management Review, Meyer and Allen take concepts that were already familiar and created a three component model that could be applied to the level of commitment between employee-organization. I would argue that those components could indeed be applied with respect to the customer-organization relationship as well.

Three Mindsets (adapted from Meyer and Allen and applied to the customer-organization relationship)
1. Normative commitment is the desire to remain a customer of an organization due to a feeling of obligation.
In my opinion normative is never where you want to be in any kind of relationship. Who wants to be the “old stand by”? Any organization who is seriously trying to improve customer commitment should try to change the mindset of these customers. Engage them whether through a loyalty program, focus groups, surveys or something more cutting edge like gamifcation (I would recommend reading Gamification by design published by O’Reilly. Their books have never failed me and I recommend them always to friends and colleagues interested in technology). People want to be important so tell them that they are.

2. Continuance commitment is the desire to remain a customer of an organization because of an awareness of the costs associated with leaving.
Well this is another one that organizations should try to change. Do not continue with continuance because once the costs associated with leaving are no longer a factor you will see attrition rates increase. A good example that illustrates this comes from a conversation I had just yesterday with my parents. They are in a contract with a certain cell phone provider who has become more expensive and seemingly more difficult to deal with than other providers. Yet my parents do not switch because of the perceived high cost associated with cancelling the contract early. However if we do some quick arithmetic it becomes apparent that the savings obtained over the next year far exceed the cost of cancelling today.
3. Affective commitment is the desire to remain a customer of an organization due to an emotional attachment to, and involvement with, that organization.
YES! This is the sweet spot, where you want your customers to be. They should be in love with your brand, your products, your services and even your customer support infrastructure. If your customers have an emotional attachment they will become your biggest champions and evangelists. To be effective you must be affective.

Customer Commitment is the desire of a consumer to remain a customer of an organization. While this is definitely true it is not the whole picture. Anyone who has ever been in a relationship be it personal or business or has strived to achieve a goal knows that commitment is a two way street. If an organization wants to feel the love from their customers they need to give the love.
I have three boys and bought Fisher Price Geo Trax train sets for all of them because I have an affective commitment with them and I feel they have one with their customer base. The toys are made well, durable enough to withstand being thrown in the mud, slammed against trees and taken in the tub. On two occasions when I had a customer service issue they assisted me quickly and replaced my item no questions asked. They sent me a coupon for another item of my choice and followed up with an email a few days after I received the replacement.

Where does RightNow come in?

That is an easy one to answer. It is a best of breed customer management solution that enables organizations who implement it to have a 360 degree view of their relationship with their customers.

 

With RightNow Web Experience organizations can provide chat, mobile, web self-service, an email management to customers.

With RightNow Social Experience organizations give customers an opportunity to reach out through facebook and twitter. Customers can partake in ongoing support conversations with like-minded individuals or propose innovative new ideas that can be voted on by their peers. Organizations can even gamify their social channels and online communities by offering recognition or even prizes to build commitment.

With RightNow Engage customers can receive email blasts about new promotions, safety advisories, surveys and much more.

Other offerings in the RightNow suite can be equally as useful but I wanted to highlight just a few.

I recently watched a video that I thought was a nice example of the fruits of commitment and figured it would be a good way to close our discussion on commitment. When I was at Open World this past September the America’s cup was going on at the same time so every day there were updates about how Team USA (sponsored by Oracle) was doing. Early on there were some pretty big setbacks and the team faced what appeared to be certain defeat but with a lot of commitment on the part of the team they pulled off one of the biggest comebacks in the history of the race. I hope you enjoy.

February release is just a week or so away from being generally available. Be sure to read up on all the latest RightNow specific information at: http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/rightnow/overview/index.html

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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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? pic.twitter.com/xJK2bOUC9O

— 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: http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/rightnow/overview/index.html

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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CX Resolutions for 2014 and leveraging RightNow

With each New Year people make personal and business related resolutions throughout the world. Some are successful and others are not, however I recently read that as much as 46% of the people who do make resolutions attain some degree of success. I decided on two business related resolutions:  to finally bite the bullet and take the dreaded exam and get my official Oracle RightNow Implementation certification; as well as to be more diligent about reading my work related twitter feeds.
Last week on Wednesday January 15th I succeeded in resolution one and got the piece of paper certifying me through Oracle. It was a very tough exam but I was happy to knock that goal out so early. While fulfilling resolution number two on Thursday January 16th and perusing my twitter feed, specifically everything related to #CX,  I saw an interesting question about corporate resolutions with an equally interesting picture tweeted by @OracleCX. Considering part of my job dictates living and breathing CX, I found myself pondering the question several times throughout the remainder of the week and over the weekend. The question continued to remain at the front of my thoughts as I read various other tweets and articles, as well as listening to what was going on in the news.
The tweet asked: What do you think is the most important #CX resolution that companies should keep in 2014?

As I said, I did find it quite thought provoking so much that I think it will take several posts to fully explore. Each of these initiatives is extremely important so just how does a company choose to focus on one over the other? Is it reasonable to assume that choosing just one will equate to a successful year for your brand? Perhaps or possibly there is a special blend that would work best. I think through careful consideration of what each of them loyalty, satisfaction, commitment, experience and trust bring to the table we will be able to derive the solution.
While exploring each of these initiatives I will also include information where relevant as to how I think a brand can leverage features within RightNow CX in order to be successful. If you currently own RightNow or are considering implementing it, the February release is only a month away from being available. Be sure to read up on all the latest RightNow specific information at: http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/rightnow/overview/index.html

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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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 http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

 

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Oracle RightNow CX: May 2013

August 2013 was released a few weeks ago and I will definitely be taking a look at what the new version has to offer but for the moment I have been living and breathing May 2013 since the start of a new client project in July. I have decided that since I have become intimately familiar with the May version I might devote some time in another blog to report on any quirks or tricks I have run into that others would find useful.

If you are not already a member of the RightNow community you should be. Sign up at http://cx.rightnow.com and then you will be able to access tons of content from customers, users, partners and developers. Perhaps the most helpful with respect to May documentation is the post regarding the release which includes a recording of the release announcement. http://communities.rightnow.com/posts/9d8a2aec63

You can find much more information on the different releases by reading the release notes for each version, looking through the manuals and listening to tutorials.

 

Key Areas of enhanced functionality:

  • • Simple Browser Implementation for Portable/Mobile Devices
    • Mobile Image Attachments
    • Mobile SEO
    • Addin Support for Chat
    • Social Monitor
    • New Standard Reports
    • Community Moderation
    • Mobile Agent App
    • Report Management Module

I will discuss a few of these below.

 

Simple Browser Implementation for Portable/Mobile Devices

According to Christopher Patterson, Senior Director Product Management for Oracle RightNow CX, 1 in 7 Customer Portal sessions coming in to Oracle’s data centers are originating from a mobile device. Not all of these devices however are smartphones. This is the same ratio as Google searches from mobile devices.

 

Can you say WOW? WOW!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Social Monitor

From the release notes:

Social trend and conversation monitoring

Sentiment trending and social engagement reports—A new set of sentiment trend reports displays spikes of hourly/daily/monthly activity and filters for content that conveys a negative sentiment to help agents quickly identify and reverse negative trends. In addition, new Engaged Cloud Results Trend and Social Monitor Activity by Channel reports provide an overview of incoming posts and agent responses across all monitored social media platforms, tracking the effectiveness of agent engagement over the channels most preferred by customers.

 

Twitter mention searches—With the new Monitor @Mentions option available for

cloud searches, agents can monitor for mentions of their organization’s Twitter

accounts to more easily track tweets and replies sent from customers. Results are included in the Subscriptions and Mentions section of the cloud monitor.

 

Conversation thread monitoring—When an agent responds to a Facebook or Twitter post and leaves the incident set to a non-Solved status, and the customer replies publicly through the same channel, the reply is now automatically appended to the incident thread. Automatically maintaining the integrity of a social media conversation makes it

easier to communicate with customers through Facebook and Twitter.

****

 

All of the above are enhancements to the pre-existing social monitor previously known as Cloud monitor. This allows real-time monitoring and proactive engagement with customers/end users through the channel they are choosing to adopt. As a user of social media this is a key value. When I tweet about an experience negative or positive it goes a long way to know that the companies are listening.

 

Mobile Agent App

You can now view, edit, and create tasks and notes from your Apple iPad device. In addition, you can create incidents and view incident attachments using the Mobile Agent App. This is certainly a step in the right direction but the major drawback is it is for iPad only so if your corporation has invested in another tablet you will need to wait a little longer or create a custom application.

 

LOOKING AHEAD

Perhaps even more exciting than the current features is the fact that the web browser enabled Agent UI is finally in the roadmap but still far too long away. This is a feature I will be watching closing as I have been personally asking for a non .Net client version for years. Too bad I am not using a Macbook Pro for work anymore.

 

Useful Links:

May 2013 release notes: http://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/docs/may2013/pdfs/may2013_release_notes.pdf

 

May 2013 documentation: https://cx.rightnow.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5756

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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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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Oracle RightNow CX: February 2013

I know I promised a while ago to give you my opinion on February 2013 but lots of great things have been happening at eVerge and I have been traveling about 80% of the time for the past month, so please forgive my absence. Hopefully during my sabbatical from the blog you have had a chance to read the February release notes as well as all of eVerge Group’s other blogs – not just what I write about. If you haven’t, you can go to http://blog.evergegroup.com/ and you will find a wealth of information on RightNow CX, Fusion HCM and more. After all we are all Oracle all the time.

I honestly was thinking about skipping February and going right into May being that is where we are at the moment release-wise, but my good pal and newest co-worker Shiloh (we’ve been hanging around the RNT community for a long time) convinced me otherwise. So you can thank him and welcome him to eVerge at the same time.

I am not going to speak about all of the new features but instead will pick a few to highlight.  I have included a link to the full release notes at the end of this post.

Custom widget deletion

From the release notes:

The November 2012 release of Customer Portal Framework Version 3.0 allowed you to deactivate widgets you were not using, but deactivation does not delete widgets from the WebDAV file structure or from the list of all widgets on the Widget Versions page. Now, in addition to deactivating a widget, the framework version released in February 2013 also lets you delete custom widgets. (You can only deactivate, not delete, standard widgets.)

When you click Delete This Widget on the widget’s information page on the Customer Portal Administration site, a message tells you if the widget is being used anywhere on your customer portal, either on a template or page or within another widget, so you can view where it is used. After confirming that you want to delete the widget, it no longer appears in the list of widgets on the Widget Versions page. The widget is deactivated and all of its associated files are removed from the WebDAV file structure.

Clean house

If you have been following this series, you already know that I do like a clean house! Having deactivated widgets hanging around just makes a mess of the file structure. If you have widgets that are old, obsolete or just never quite worked and you know you will never be dusting them off to steal code bits from, then you can delete to your heart’s content. I typically do not delete anything. I have email from 1996 but as I have matured in my career I have also craved more organization. So if you prefer you can always move the widgets to an “island of misfit toys” folder or you can expunge them from history. The choice is yours.

Oracle Policy Automation Cloud Service

From the release notes:

Oracle Policy Automation Cloud Service allows you to build dynamic, interactive questionnaires based on your business requirements and complex policy documents. These questionnaires can be served to customers through your customer portal or any other web site. With policy automation, you can:

• Deliver consistent, accurate, and transparent self-service advice that is easily kept up-to date with the latest legislation and policies.

• Improve customer satisfaction by guiding your customers to apply for only those benefits and services that are relevant to their circumstances.

• Document and justify each step of the decision process.

For example, you could use policy automation to:

• Determine a customer’s eligibility for a benefit, permit, loan, discount, license, product upgrade, or parental leave.

• Determine a customer’s rate of benefit, allowance, deduction, tax, discount, waiting period, or follow-up.

• Create online forms, such as online self-service applications, change-of-circumstance forms, agent checklists, decision summaries, or audit reports.

A whole new level of Customer Experience

There is quite a bit of information that Oracle has put out to help you decide if OPA is right for your business. I have admittedly only played with it a little but saw a pretty cool use case for it demonstrated to me by an Oracle Solutions Consultant in Public Sector. I definitely suggest perusing the OPA user guide: http://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/devdocs/february2013/PolicyAutomation/Default.htm

Contained within the larger document on the front screen is a link to a RightNow quick start guide with some steps to follow that will be very helpful to anyone using it for the first time.

http://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/devdocs/february2013/PolicyAutomation/Default.htm#Quick_start_RightNow_users.htm

Within the guide are visual examples to help the user get a better idea of how it all fits together. I can see how this tool would be useful with business that has service level agreements, a registration process, healthcare screening and much more.

Other features or enhancements worth mentioning

Removal of XML API and Connect Data Integration

We finally say goodbye to these old friends. These APIs will continue to function on pre-February 2013 sites but if you upgrade or implement a new site they will not work or be available to use. If you currently use one of these APIs and you have an upgrade planned your customization will need to be modified. Word to the wise, test, test, test.

Connect Common Object Model

The Holiday object now has full CRUD (create, update, destroy) capabilities in both the RightNow Connect PHP and Web services for SOAP APIs. The list of objects now available for use in these APIs is getting better with each release.

You can find out more about the common object model in the developer documentation:

SOAP: http://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/devdocs/february2013/Connect_Web_Services_for_SOAP/Default.htm

PHP: http://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/devdocs/february2013/Connect_PHP/Default.htm

Mobility for Agent Desktop

You can now manage incidents on the go using your Apple iPad device, the Oracle

Fusion Tap application and your Oracle RightNow CX credentials. You can view, assign, escalate, and add to the threads of incidents from anywhere. In addition, you can search and view contact and organization records and staff accounts. For information about enabling the Mobile Agent App refer to Answer ID 5493: https://cx.rightnow.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5493

You can find much more information on the different releases by reading the release notes for each version, looking through the manuals and listening to tutorials.

Useful Links:

February 2013 release notes: http://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/docs/february2013/pdfs/february2013_release_notes.pdf

February 2013 documentation: https://cx.rightnow.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5496

Oracle Policy Automation Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rmm1-M5wOw

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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eVerge Fusion HCM Phased Deployment

eVerge Group is now live with the full suite of Fusion HCM products – HR, Benefits, Payroll, Workforce Compensation and Talent Management!   A multi-phased implementation approach was leveraged to ensure that the right internal ‘business’ resources were available to focus on specific module deployment efforts.

Open-Enrollment for benefits was deployed for use by our employees in March 2013 for the new plan year which started in April and we experienced a 98% usage rate!  This blog focuses on our recent success upgrading to Fusion HCM Release 5.

Having been on release 4 for over 8 months we were ready to address an upgrade of our application and technology stack to the latest available release point.  Around mid-March, our efforts focused on preparing for a release 5 upgrade.  Working with Oracle, the upgrade was scheduled for the first week of April to our staging (test) pod.  With Oracle’s advance notice, we leveraged that time to adequately prepare for the upgrade.  The upgrade to our staging pod was completed over a weekend and ready for us to start testing the following Monday morning.  We began our extensive end to end system testing, and, as a result, we identified several mission critical issues.  Oracle Support worked with us to ensure these high priority issues were resolved in a timely manner.  In addition, Oracle worked with us on the upgrade timeline to ensure we were comfortable with the new release before upgrading our production pod.  With the successful testing and the user community prepared for the new release, Oracle cloud support upgraded our Production pod the first weekend of June 2013.

 Highlights from the upgrade process: 

  • The upgrade process occurred first in our Staging environment to make sure there would be no surprises.  When we were ready to subsequently upgrade the Production environment, the upgrade was also completed over a weekend.  An additional test pod used for payroll parallel testing as part of our go live effort was refreshed from Production and upgraded the same weekend as production.
  • Our system testing included an entire payroll process flow in parallel with our production cycle.  The Quick Pay process  flow was also incorporated into that testing.
  • As part of the parallel pay cycle, we included our Workforce Compensation processes with a quarterly bonus payout and merit increases.  These transactions were processed and a supplemental payroll was generated as part of the parallel process.
  • Not only did we parallel our production pay cycle, but time was allocated to verify our current Vertex taxation rate updates were part of the upgrade.
  • We also validated all custom reports which had been developed and are used to verify payroll calculations and audit those processes.
  • The upgrade timeline afforded us the luxury of testing additional benefit life events as part of the upgrade.  While we did not need a full complement of events for initial go live, we knew there would be several event types needed over the next 4-6 months.  These life events were successfully tested and migrated to Production as part of our post upgrade deployment plan.

Issues encountered during upgrade testing: 

  • We were unable to recompile our payroll Fast Formulas.  As a result, we were not able to calculate a payroll.  We were able to determine the specific Fast Formula failed and is for calculating payroll for hourly employees.  We worked with Oracle to get this resolved in a timely manner and it did not affect our upgrade schedule.
  • We identified an issue when validating the Medicare Employee Surcharge.  The surcharge was not reducing net pay.  Oracle assisted us with updating the Medicare Surcharge element with an element feed that would reduce the employee’s net pay. 
  • An issue was uncovered with the ACH direct deposit file when validating our outbound interfaces.  The ACH File was not being created.  Oracle identified an issue with the technology stack team on caching when the report generated multiple outputs.  Oracle Support was able to back port a fix for release 5.
  • We uncovered an issue with the termination life event that existed in our upgraded and, at the time, release 4 Production pod.  Our test plan included steps to ensure existing benefit life events were still processing as expected.   We were able to track down the cause that impacted coverage end dates.  Oracle support quickly provided a patch, which we successfully tested in the upgraded Staging pod.  The next step was for Oracle to apply the patch to Production.

Lessons  learned while upgrading to release 5:

  • To ensure a successful upgrade, we approached this effort like any major HCM upgrade with proper planning, including  project, testing and change management plans.  We followed that with regular status meetings and task/issue tracking.  We also included other resources from the business to help make the initiative successful.
  • Do not assume that your upgraded pod is at the most current release level.  We found ourselves at the leading edge while on release 4, since we had implemented all Fusion modules.  Several issues we reported and later resolved for release 4 were not part of release 5.  Our thorough system testing identified these differences early and helped us stay on track.
  • Browsers and the different versions continue to work differently depending on what UI you are working with in Fusion HCM.  We found that for release 5 that IE v9 and Fire Fox provided us with the best results.  As part of your testing, be sure to use different browsers to isolate the issue and identify possible resolutions.
  • After you cutover to production, start your payroll processing for the upcoming pay cycle as early as possible.  This applies to any mission critical processing, not just payroll, and will allow you enough time to react to any unexpected issue arising after the upgrade. 

Next steps for eVerge Group: 

We are now preparing to take advantage of new functionality either available now or future releases that include:

  • Oracle Fusion Tap, that provides for the use of applications on the iPad
  • Workforce Lifecycle Manager
  • BenefiX integration to provide eligibility updates to our multiple benefit vendors and administrators
  • Total Compensation statements
  • Year End processing and W2 generation out of Fusion!

The author of this article/blog is Steve Stuart. Steve is a Senior Fusion HCM Implementation Consultant resource for eVerge Group with more than 16 years of Software Packages implementation and support experience. To learn more about Fusion and how we can help prepare for your upcoming upgrade efforts, please contact us at 888-548-1973. begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting

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Oracle RightNow CX: Wrapping up the Top 10 of 2012

I admit it took a little longer to get here than initially planned but I’ve been busy with lots of RightNow practice activity, getting up to speed on some other Oracle products – and that is a really good thing because it means I will have even more insights to share. When we started this series in January, I promised there would be a final summary blog which would wrap up the top ten discussed. I have included the list as well as links to each of the individual installments for your reading enjoyment. Feel free to share this with anyone who you think will benefit. The  next time we see each other I will be talking about February 2013 so if you are interested in reading the release notes beforehand you can find them here: http://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/docs/february2013/pdfs/february2013_release_notes.pdf

  1. Knowledge Foundation API – February 2012: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=496
  2. Cloud Monitor – February 2012: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=521
  3. Chat Availability Controls – May 2012: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=534
  4. Fusion Sales Integration – May 2012: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=613
  5. Previous Version Cleanup – May 2012: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=622
  6. Config and Message Base Redesign – August 2012: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=637
  7. Customer Portal Security Enhancements – August 2012: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=652
  8. Message Templates for Notifications and Emails – November 2012: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=671
  9. Customer Portal Version 3 Part 1 – November 2012: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=685

10. Customer Portal Version 3 Part 2 – November 2012: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=720

You can find much more information on the different releases by reading the release notes for each version, looking through the manuals and listening to tutorials.

Full Document Overviews:

February 2012 documentation: https://cx.rightnow.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5146

May 2012 documentation: https://cx.rightnow.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5095

August 2012 documentation: https://cx.rightnow.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5213

November 2012 documentation: https://cx.rightnow.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5395

 

Throughout this series we have been speaking about different features, how they improve the product and what it means for businesses.  No matter what the feature, they all have the ultimate goal of improving Customer Experience. So with that thought in mind, I wanted to include the Customer Experience lifecycle which many of you may be familiar with, although I am sure there are some out there who have no idea. eVerge has resources that can help in the different areas of the lifecycle, whether it is through best practice recommendations, new implementations, upgrades, customizations or managed services.

 

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 RightNow CX Feature Focus: Customer Portal Framework Version 3 part 2

The tenth installment in our series continues where the ninth left off and takes a comprehensive look into the new Customer Portal Framework. 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

Customer Portal Framework Version 3

What we will cover in this blog is from the release notes (for part 1 http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=685):

 Widget changes—Changes to widgets in Framework Version 3.0 of the Customer Portal include the following.

  YAML information file—A new YAML information file provides information about a widget’s dependencies, requirements, attributes, and URL parameters.
  Widget version management—Widgets also use a versioning system in Framework Version 3.0 to let you adopt the widget features you want at your convenience without requiring you to replace all widgets on your customer portal

 

  Widget information page—The Customer Portal Administration site provides comprehensive information about each standard and custom widget. Each widget page includes a preview of the widget, including the available version, recent changes, and the pages and templates that use the widget. A documentation page for the widget includes default code, a list of its attributes and their values, the controller class that is used, path information, and URL parameters.

Widget builder—the new widget builder in Framework Version 3.0 helps you create a new widget by extending an existing widget. Then, when functionality or bug fixes are added to the standard widget used to extend the custom widget, the custom widget is also modified to incorporate the enhancement or fix. The widget builder generates custom widget code when you answer a series of questions about the widget you want to create, thereby reducing the amount of custom code you must write yourself.

Dreamweaver support—The Dreamweaver extension that was included in previous Customer Portal frameworks is not included in Framework Version 3.0, although it will continue to be supported if you are migrating from Framework Version 2 to Framework Version 3.0.

 Widget Changes: Widget Version Management

 Much like framework versioning this too is probably a huge relief to existing install base clients because you can upgrade to the latest and greatest version of individual widgets to take advantage of new features without breaking functionality of other customizations. To find out more about framework versioning read part 1: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=685.

As with any major migration or changes I strongly suggest you backup your Customer portal widgets and read the migration guide supplied compliments of the Customer Portal development team: http://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/docs/november2012/cp_resources/migration/migration_guide.pdf

Widget Changes: Widget Information Page

This page has been around for some time however it keeps getting more and more useful. Now there is left pane navigation, easier searching and a tab subset to provide information about available versions, widget usage and recent version changes. This is a nice extension of an existing feature for Customer Portal Administrators.

 

Widget Builder

I absolutely love this. Why? Well, one of the most common things I have done with widgets is alter a standard one, sometimes where I was only altering one or two items. Now you can use this tool which I call “the widget wizard” and build an entirely custom widget or extend an existing one.

 

In this example I am going to extend the Open Login Widget.

 

Next, after I select the login/OpenLogin widget from the list that appeared as I began typing, I will decide on a name and pick the parent folder.

 

*Quick Tip: Do not use a hyphen in the name like I did above. It is apparently not an acceptable character for naming. I got stuck for about five minutes trying to figure out why the continue button was not appearing and that was the reason. I thought about removing the above screen shot and not saying anything but I felt like this is something others might do in error as well.

 

Once you hit the continue button, Section 3 will appear with a series of yes/no questions. Read through each question and depending on your answers some subsections may appear.

 

Section 4 will appear after hitting continues again and it will contain a long list of the attributes from the existing widget. Here you will be given the opportunity to change default values (change the type i.e. string or Boolean) and set it to required.

 

Once you have gone about the task of updating the existing attributes you can scroll to the bottom of the page to add a new attribute or continue.

 

If you choose to Add an Attribute you can choose the type, description, default value and whether it is required just like any of the existing attributes.

 

 Once you are happy with the attributes clicking continue will allow you to add optional additional details like URL parameters or you can then create the widget.

 Once you choose to create the last page comes up with a full summary about the widget and links to the generated files, the ability to view code and documentation. Now RightNow CX users with little or no PHP knowledge can make changes to widgets.

 

Dreamweaver Support

From what I understand based on to conversations I had at several developer conferences, it was becoming more and more difficult with each new release of Dreamweaver to keep changing the RightNow extension. Not to mention the fact that it was always slow and buggy. There are many options for editing customer portal and Dreamweaver is just one. I have used Aptana which is free, Visual Studio, CoffeeCup and others to name a few. I admittedly default back to Dreamweaver most of the time because it is what I am most comfortable with unless I want to be nostalgic and login to Linux box and use VI or emacs.

Although it is never good to see a feature depreciated with the changes made in the widget documentation and the widget builder I do not see a lot of tears being shed over this loss.

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 November 2012 documentation. https://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/docs/november2012/olh/wwhelp/wwhimpl/js/html/wwhelp.htm

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 Buy levitra lowest pricesand processes, is an active member of the CX community and has been implementing and integrating RightNow solutions for over five years.

 

 

 

 

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