Tag Archives: Oracle implementation partners

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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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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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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eVerge Open Enrollment Success in HCM Fusion

eVerge Group is now live with the full suite of Fusion HCM products – HR, Benefits, Payroll, Workforce Compensation and Talent Management.   Fusion Benefits and Payroll went live in January 2013.  This blog focuses on our recent Open Enrollment success in Fusion.

We have a split benefit plan year with FSA plans running on a calendar year, while the medical, dental, vision, life and disability plans have a plan year beginning April 1-March 31.  Part of the conversion effort for our January Benefits go live included new 2013 FSA elections,as well as current benefit elections for each employee.

Beginning in February, efforts focused on preparing for Open Enrollment in Fusion.  Our target timeframe was the first week of March for employees to use SelfService to make new elections that would become effective April 1.   This week was chosen to ensure completion of all elections before spring break, as many employees take vacation with family during this school holiday.  This also allowed sufficient time to review and audit these first time Fusion elections before sending data files to vendors.

The following changes were included for the April 1 plan year.  All Fusion configuration changes were made initially in our Staging test pod.

  • Two medical plans were reduced to a single plan.  The eliminated plan was end dated in Fusion so it would not appear in Open Enrollment options.
  • New vendors were chosen for the dental and vision plans.   No configuration changes were necessary since initial set-up for these two plans was generic and did not include anything vendor specific.
  • Rate updates were made for medical, dental, and vision plans with an effective date of 4/1/13.
  • All other necessary benefit configuration tables were updated to include the Open event (Enrollment, Designate Requirements, etc.)

After necessary configuration and rate updates were complete, we did a full range of testing.  We wanted to understand how various enrollment combinations would be handled online through both the Benefits Service Center as well as employees through Self Service.  The following items were part of testing:

  • Manually triggered an Open event for sample employees; this allowed an initial review of plans included for election, current plan enrollments were coming forward as expected, new rates shown for plans, etc.
  • We have a yearly April 1 “Age Up” for life insurance calculations that required a Fast Formula.  Testing ensured that new salary amounts and ages as of 4/1 were included in calculations.
  • Once all necessary updates were resolved for sample employees, we then used the delivered Evaluate Scheduled Event Participation process in “Roll Back” mode to confirm which employees would receive an Open event.  This allowed us to verify the count of US employees, as well as confirm that our India location employees would not have an Open event created.
  • Used the delivered process in “Save – Database update” mode to create an Open event for all US employees.
  • Completed sample enrollment changes through Benefits Service Center as well as Self Service Benefits to ensure expected results.
  • Reviewed online enrollment results as well as Element Entries and amounts created for Payroll deductions.
  • Ran Payroll Quick Pay processing on sample employees to confirm correct April deductions.
  • Used the delivered process to Close Enrollment events for all employees.
  • Generated files using the delivered Benefit extract process to generate enrollment files for all vendors with new April elections.

Once testing was complete, we made the necessary configuration updates in our production pod.   We then manually triggered a few Open events for Fusion team members to quickly review.  Once we knew these looked accurate, the process was run for the rest of the employees.  We found the process took significantly longer to run in our Production pod than we had seen in the Staging test pod.  Some analysis was completed by Oracle to determine if there was any reason for the time variance; nothing significant was found.  All employees had an Open event – which was the ultimate goal!

The HR Manager had previously communicated about the upcoming Open Enrollment process so employees were ready to begin reviewing and updating their elections.  While we have a computer-savvy employee population, a brief enrollment training video was prepared by the HR Manager that employees could refer to while making their online elections.

 All employees were asked to review their elections as part of the Open Enrollment period.  Although we did extensive parallel payroll testing as part of go-live efforts, this was the first opportunity many employees had to review their benefit elections online in Fusion.   The open enrollment employee participation rate within Fusion was 98%; this was tracked by reports we developed to identify when an employee had “touched” their Open event.   We were very pleased with this result.

Below is a sample screen shot of what the employee sees while making elections online:

 

 At the end of the enrollment period, audits were completed for elections to ensure all employees had valid elections.  The extract files were then generated and sent to the various vendors – allowing them time to generate new ID cards for employees in advance of the April 1 coverage dates.

Below are some of the lessons we learned during our first Open Enrollment experience:

  • Do not assume anything related to go live configurations will automatically work for Open enrollment.  It was necessary to add the Open life event in each plan you wanted to display in the event, as well as collecting covered dependent data, etc.
  • Updates to Contact data through Benefits Self Service while there was an active Open event caused issues with conversion row elections.  We continue to work with Oracle on this item and have temporarily suspended employee access to Contacts to ensure no negative impact on coverages and related payroll deductions until this is resolved.
  • The “Print Benefits Report” functionality on the Self Service Benefits Overview page produces inconsistent data.  This is currently an open SR being evaluated by Oracle Support.

 Next steps for Benefits …

  • Collecting life insurance beneficiary data via Self Service Benefits
  • Allowing employees to submit life events via Self Service Benefits
    • Marital Status Changes
    • New baby/children additions
    • Other life event changes – loss of dependent, gaining other coverage, etc.
    • BenefiX extracts to our medical, dental, and vision vendors

The author of this article/blog is Laurie Long.  Laurie 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 prepare for your upcoming Open Enrollment efforts, please contact us at 888-548-1973.

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Oracle RightNow CX Feature Focus: Customer Portal Framework Version 3

The ninth and tenth installment in our series will take a comprehensive look into the new Customer Portal Framework. So much has been changed in version 3 that it earned two spots in the top ten features of 2012. This blog will focus on two of version 3’s major features. 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

From the release notes:

Although your customers may not notice significant changes, the November 2012 release of Oracle RightNow CX includes major changes to the framework of Oracle RightNow Customer Portal Cloud Service (Customer Portal). This new framework is called Framework Version 3.0 and was designed to support dynamic upgrades of your customer support site. The previous framework, referred to in earlier documentation as the November 09 framework, will now be identified as Framework Version 2, and the original Customer Portal released in August 2008 will be referred to as Framework Version 1.

Customer Portal Framework Version 3.0 sets the stage for simplified future migration and reduced impact on the customizations you make to your customer portal. It offers control and flexibility to let you decide what features you want to adopt and when you want to adopt them. The ability to extend standard widgets means that you need to write less custom code, and an updated Customer Portal Administration site clearly identifies the version of your framework and each widget and spells out what has changed from previous versions. Major new features include the following.

New file structure—Framework Version 3.0 offers an intuitive, easy-to-navigate file structure that lets you clearly identify the files you can edit. The main directory of Framework Version 3.0 is called “cp”, and it includes four main folders: core, customer, generated, and logs. Your development work will be done in the customer folder.

Connect PHP API—Framework Version 3.0 is built on Oracle RightNow Connect PHP API Cloud Service (Connect PHP API) and uses data objects from the Connect PHP API rather than internal APIs. Instead of accessing the database directly as in previous Customer Portal frameworks, Framework Version 3.0 provides a managed equivalent to meet your needs. You’ll still be able to access and leverage the Oracle RightNow CX platform to develop custom applications and integrations, including the ability to create, read, update, and delete data through Customer Portal functionality.

PHP namespacing—Framework Version 2 included JavaScript namespacing to prevent naming conflicts between Customer Portal reference implementation files and your custom files. This functionality has been added for PHP in Customer Portal Framework Version 3.0. The two core namespaces are Rightnow and Custom, and they are designated using a backslash (\) notation.

Framework versioning—The new versioning system of the Customer Portal framework lets you upgrade to newer versions of Oracle RightNow CX while leaving your customer portal site untouched because the Customer Portal is versioned independently of the product application. This gives you control to migrate to a new Customer Portal framework when it’s convenient for your schedule rather than being forced to migrate because of your organization’s upgrade to Oracle RightNow CX.

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.

 New File Structure

In reviewing the new file structure I decided that in order to both wrap my own head around it and speak intelligently to other about it, I would develop a matrix to serve as a proverbial cheat sheet until I was comfortable with navigating the new file structure. Now that I have retrained my brain, I find the new structure much more intuitive and cleaner from a usability perspective. It was a much needed revamp of the file structure. I have been using Customer Portal since it was first introduced and used both the old file manager (Classic) as well as the November 07 page set, so I can say with confidence that the evolution has been exponential.

  

Tip: Oracle recommends using Cyberduck for WebDAV access to Customer Portal files. Cyberduck is donationware, and Customer Portal developers appreciate its speed and robust performance on Mac and PC platforms. (I have tried to use Windows built in networking drive mapping to use WebDAV and it is painfully slow, therefore, I would have to agree with this recommendation.

 Framework versioning

This is probably a huge relief to existing install base clients because you can upgrade to the latest and greatest version of CX without having to migrate customer portal as well and worry about whether or not your custom widgets or other customizations will be compatible. Another great thing about this is versioning within the framework itself. What do I mean by this? Selective adoption of changes. Once you do decide you are ready to migrate you can review within the customer portal administrator pages what versions of widgets you are using and decide if you want to upgrade all or only specific ones.

Before you migrate I strongly suggest you 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

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 and 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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Fusion HCM – Talent Management implementation with eVerge

eVerge Group is now 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 Talent Management.

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

Fusion Talent Management went live in October of 2012.  Prior to Fusion, we were managing multiple systems to track employee goals, performance, skills and qualifications.  As a result, an excessive amount of time was spent maintaining and searching for talent-related information.  With Fusion HR fully implemented, we were ready to leverage the integration with Goal Management, Performance Management and Talent Profiles. 

Here are some of the lessons we learned while configuring Talent Management:

  • Be strategic in applying configuration changes and maintaining your test data and scenarios.  In some instances, once testing starts, configuration changes can’t be applied.  The testing will have to be rolled back and scenarios reapplied after the configuration changes.
  • Fusion Performance Management offers flexibility in template eligibility by configuring Eligibility Profiles.  With five different templates, we designed rules based on job function, so employees don’t have to make a selection.  However, during the testing phase, we discovered that the default template was not always correct.  We reported the bug and Oracle has since corrected the issue.
  • It is never too early to capture and standardize the talent profile content to track and monitor employee skills and accomplishments.  Content should be defined by the business owners and be near completion before the project starts.   Otherwise, you run the risk that it becomes a phase II project. 
  • Synchronize your goal planning with your performance review period.  This will facilitate integration to push goals to the performance review.
  • Working closely with Oracle on instance (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 data is being tested.  Also, data refreshes means ensuring that the testing Pod was current to minimize dual entry for the Production Pod.

Below are configuration, business process and project decisions that played a part in our success in “standing up” Fusion Talent management:

  • We solicited help from others in the organization who were not part of the implementation team.  They provided feedback that was important to identify configuration considerations early in the project.  Their involvement provided familiarity with the new functionality and processes and their transition to Fusion Talent Management was seamless.
  • There were a mixture of anniversary and calendar-based performance reviews.  We took the opportunity from the onset to streamline the process and line-up review periods with our compensation plans.
  • The legacy performance system was designed to address performance and development goals.  With Fusion, we were able to configure goal management to separate these goal types.  As a result, only performance goals are pushed to employee reviews.
  • We took the time up front to review our Competencies and eliminate redundancy.
  • Goal management was designed to enable Target Outcomes.  When an employee completes a goal, the associated skill or accomplishment is pushed to their talent profile automatically.

Below is a snapshot of a performance review document from a manager’s perspective.  Much of the structure and content you see here is highly configurable to meet your specific business needs.

 

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

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.

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eVerge Group experience with Functional Setup Manager (FSM) for internal implementation

We want to take a few minutes to review the benefits eVerge Group has recognized leveraging the Functional Setup Manager (FSM) within Fusion during our own internal implementation of HCM.

Oracle’s Fusion Functional Setup Manager is a new feature in Oracle Fusion applications that provides a “launch pad” to perform all tasks related to application setup.  FSM produces pre-packaged, sequential task lists based on the responses to a list of functionality questions. The task lists allow project managers and implementation team members the ability to plan and manage configuration activities.

FSM is a separate module within Fusion, which manages all the setups of the various offerings you have licensed (been provisioned) within the application.  This includes various pre-defined and configurable checklists for project resources to setup and monitor.  Tasks can be assigned to various Fusion project users; status of task completion is reported at parent task and implementation project level.  This functionality also allows users to migrate configurations from one instance to another (Test/Production).

 

 Some of the key functions and benefits of the Fusion Functional Setup Manager are: 

  • Setup Offerings:  A built in decision tree to fine tune your configuration requirements which creates pre-packaged, extensible setup plans and tasks.  This results in personalized setup needs down to the business user level. 
  • Setup Manager:  An easy to use interface that is used to manage all aspects of functional setup in one single point of entry that includes task assignments, due dates and delivered dashboards. 
  • Setup Export & Import:  FSM allows users to identify the configuration that they want to package to move setup across systems, primarily used for Export & Import of setup data. 
  • Setup Reporting:  FSM offers built-in collaboration and reporting.  This is used for reporting on the status of functional configurations and the validation of those configurations and setup data.

 Whether you are implementing Fusion applications for the first time, or you are adding a new module to an existing implementation, or perhaps changing the existing setup data, any implementation project will go through Planning, Implementation and Deployment.  Fusion FSM manages and facilitates all 3 phases of configuration.

 So, why should your organization fully utilize Fusion’s Functional Setup Manager?  It minimizes time to deploy with predefined setup offerings, guided and sequential task lists, and the ability to set up once and import or export to other instances.  Your organization will reduce implementation time using the rapid start that FSM provides.

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

 

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Oracle RightNow CX Feature Focus: Chat Availability Controls

Welcome to the third installment of the 2012 RightNow CX feature focus. In the last installment we discussed the updates to Cloud Monitor in the February 2012 release. If you missed the review you can find it here: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=521

Today let’s talk about a major change to Chat from the May 2012 release. I have worked on several projects implementing Chat and at one point I worked very closely with some folks at Oracle/RightNow to do a proof of concept app (very cool) for mobile devices that was demoed at the last RightNow summit at the Broadmoor in Colorado. But I digress, back to a very cool piece of PHP code: the ConditionalChatLink widget that will truly help customers on their quest “To Rid the World of Bad Experiences”.

 

 

Chat Availability Controls

From the release notes:

The new ConditionalChatLink widget for the customer portal lets customers know whether chat sessions are currently available, if agents are available, and what the expected wait time is. When customers click the link, the Live Help page opens. By default, the widget checks for agent availability every five seconds for the first ten minutes, then every minute thereafter. In the reference implementation, the widget appears in the sidebar, but you can place it on any customer portal page. A syndicated ConditionalChatLink widget is also available to let you add a chat link to any external page.

How does this change impact the customer?

The ConditionalChatLink widget provides visibility to the customer and prevents the frustration that comes from thinking chat is available and clicking only to find out that their efforts were in vain. Providing  the customer with an almost real time status on the availability of Chat Agents goes a long way in solidifying a company’s status as one focused on Customer Experience. It is these types of simple changes that pave the way for the future of customer experience.

 

With this widget you can now also extend the ability of the syndicated chat widget and have the status update on external pages as well as those hosted on the Customer Portal.

The following configuration options are available for the ConditionalChatLink widget. You can read more about what each feature does and how to configure the widget in the May 2012 documentation. https://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/docs/may2012/olh/wwhelp/wwhimpl/js/html/wwhelp.htm

 

  • Detect incident ID automatically
  • Open a different chat launch page
  • Hide the link when agents are unavailable
  • Ignore chat session pre-routing information
  • Initiate the link by event
  • Configure additional attributes

Oracle RightNow Chat Cloud Service is both a powerful and effective live communication channel that is continuing to grow dramatically alongside the newer less traditional social channels like Facebook and Twitter. The Oracle team published a great best practices guide that I have used many times when implementing chat for clients. It was written between the February and May 2012 releases but much of it is still quite relevant. It is a fairly quick read of about 12 pages and I would strongly suggest it for anyone looking to build a business case to implement or to improve a current implementation.

 http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/best-pratce-chat-deploy-wp-1560487.pdf

 If you are interested in learning more or have questions about  the Chat widget 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 over five years.

 

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Oracle Names eVerge Group as "Specialized Partner of the Year"

 

eVerge Group was presented the 2012 Oracle Excellence Award for Specialized Partner of the Year – North America in the Communications, Media & Entertainment Industry for its highly successful CRM implementation at a major satellite communications company.  This is the fifth time in the last three years that eVerge Group has earned the prestigious award for implementation excellence.  According to eVerge Group’s company president, Esteban Neely, “eVerge Group hires and develops some of the best consultants in the industry and applies its proprietary PrecisionFit implementation methodology to ensure that we deliver the results our clients expect.  We are pleased that this focus on client success continues to be recognized by Oracle.”

 

Mike Burns and Ajay Pandey accept the “Specialized Partner of the Year” award on behalf of eVerge Group.

 

 

 

This award was previously known as the Oracle “Titan Award”, which eVerge has won five times previously:

2011 – Titan Award: Energy and Utilities Industry Solution

2011 – Titan Award: Education Industry Solution

2010 – Titan Award: Financial Services and Insurance Industry Solution

2010 – Titan Award: Financial Management Solution

2006 – Titan Award: Partner of the Year – Small and Medium Business

 “eVerge Group has demonstrated an outstanding level of innovation in delivering proven, Oracle-based solutions that solve our joint customers’ most critical business challenges,” said Lydia Smyers, group vice president, Worldwide Alliances & Channels Programs and Communications, Oracle. “We congratulate eVerge Group in achieving the 2012 Oracle Excellence Award for Specialized Partner of the Year – North America in the Communications, Media & Entertainment Industry. This achievement is a testament to their dedication to excellence and to providing customers CRM, ERP, BI and MDM solutions that drive real business value and results.”

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Oracle Implementation Partners Exhibit at OpenWorld

Oracle Implementation Partners at OpenWorldIf you have ever attended Oracle OpenWorld, you know what a valuable experience it is for Oracle implementation partners, customers, and technologists. This year, the event will feature the Oracle Develop event as an official  Oracle OpenWorld stream, with a MySQL track added to the database stream. There is no more efficient and cost-effective way to stay on the cutting edge of technology than attending the most important event of the year for Oracle education and networking.

OpenWorld fires up on Sunday, October 2nd, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, and the theme is engineered innovation. This is the only conference that goes this far into Oracle technology, and it will feature thousands of sessions and hundreds of demos. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn how to increase your company’s results with its existing technology, and plan for the technology it will need to maintain a competitive edge in the future.  The new skills, connections and ideas gained at OpenWorld equate to unsurpassed learning that will increase the value of your company’s IT investments exponentially.

The keynote speakers at this year’s OracleWorld are varied and informative, designed to keep you abreast of rapidly changing technology, in order to help your company to reach new levels of productivity and efficiency. From Sunday through Wednesday, there will be presentations on the latest innovations in technology, from Oracle Fusion Applications, to cloud computing, to solutions in areas such as cloud computing, security, mobility, and data management. These keynote addresses will be delivered by such knowledgeable industry leaders as Oracle’s CEO, Larry Ellison, Michael Dell, the Chairman and CEO of Dell, John Chambers, the Chairman and CEO of Cisco, Joseph M. Tucci, the CEO of EMC, and other top executives in different areas of technology and applications development.

The exhibition halls will be packed full of partner exhibits and demos, and eVerge will be right there in the thick of things, as an Oracle Platinum Partner, consistently recognized the company for excellence through Titan Awards and Specializations.  Visit Oracle’s OpenWorld website for a map and exhibitor list, and join the tens of thousands of visitors who will learn how Oracle and their implementation partners can improve their businesses. Be sure to stop by eVerge’s booth- 3324 Moscone West.

As a longtime Oracle Platinum Partner eVerge Group delivers best-in-class  results to customers in commercial, public sector, and not-for-profit industry segments. Armed with solid technical experience, broad functional knowledge and hands-on industry expertise, eVerge consultants are all Oracle-certified, and committed to delivering true business value and ROI. Visit the booth at OpenWorld to see how eVerge Group can improve your business through Oracle implementation.

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