Oracle Siebel CRM Roadshow, Utrecht 2016: Day two

Posted by Pedro Malheiro on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 @ 4:36 PM

Earlier this month, Boxfusion was invited to participate in Oracle’s two day Siebel CRM Roadshow, which took place on 5th and 6th September 2016 in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The event had a number of Siebel partners and customers involved, all eager to hear about the future of Siebel.

A few days ago, Boxfusion published a summary from day one at the Siebel CRM roadshow in a blog entitled, ‘Oracle Siebel CRM Roadshow, Utrecht 2016 – Day one’. This blog covered key notable updates such as the 2030+ Siebel CRM roadmap, IP 2017 expected functionality, Integrated Cloud Service (ICS), Oracle Policy Automation (OPA) and ID Graph.

This blog will provide a summary of the key outputs from the second day of the roadshow, including feedback regarding Siebel on the cloud, Workspaces and visual modelling automation for testing.

Siebel on the Cloud: IaaS/PaaS

Fig. 1: Siebel CRM’s Oracle Public Cloud (OPC)

The start of day two of the Siebel CRM Roadshow in Utrecht began with a presentation by Oracle on their support for deploying Siebel on a cloud infrastructure.

It allows for full cloud or a hybrid solution, meaning that it is possible to either put the Siebel server on the cloud whilst keeping the database on premise or indeed migrating the database to a Database-as-a-Service (DbaaS) option with Siebel fully deployed on the cloud.

The main benefits of this were linked to:

  • Performance
  • Automated backups
  • In-built disaster recovery
  • Cost reductions:
    - No need to maintain datacentres including hardware and network, therefore;
    - No additional costs incurred getting staff to maintain them

A number of clients were portrayed to already be taking advantage of these benefits, including Vodafone and Lexmark. Oracle discussed some of these cases, indicating that a migration from Siebel on premise to Siebel in the cloud would take from three to six days, as the process is so simple.

Oracle did a quick demonstration of the steps to take on IaaS/PaaS to run through the Siebel to cloud deployment process. It was a case of:

  1. Creating a Virtualbox image of the current Siebel server
  2. Access Oracle Cloud Marketplace
  3. Selecting Siebel IP 2015 or IP 2016, then following the steps to deploy the image

However, not everything is this simple, and the biggest issue with this type of solution, as with any cloud-based solution, is internet access limitations. For example, if customers often upload excel spreadsheets to import vast amounts of data, it’ll be important to calculate if the speed of doing this is going to be impacted.

Siebel CRM Workspaces, Composer & REST APIs

As of the IP 2016 latest patch set, Workspaces are available for complete use on Siebel CRM projects. Duncan Ford (Product Development, Oracle) performed a live demonstration of Workspaces functionality in Siebel and how it can both speed up development as well as bring a more robust solution to development and deployment strategies. Workspaces are available in both Siebel tools and Composer and, in short, allow for versioning, rebasing, merging, version difference checking and delivery.

There was a question from the audience about whether Workspaces also apply to reference/static data such as List of Values (LOVs). The answer was interesting: at the moment (IP2016) it does not, but the development team do intend to deliver such a feature in IP2017! This might be very interesting for projects that intend to automate and speed up the deployment processes from environment to environment.

Duncan also went through the composer which, as mentioned before, is expected to be fully featured in the IP 2017 release of Siebel. Composer will not only replace Siebel tools, it will also move into the area of user analysis as well as system testing. Using composer capabilities, project teams can ask end users to sit down and use the application for a short period of time (ten minutes for example). This will record the user’s actions which, in turn, can be leveraged for automated testing (by replicating the user’s exact actions) as well as application improvements. This begs the question ‘Can we remove what the user doesn’t use and improve what he uses most?’.

Duncan then moved on to the topic of REST APIs at a low level, much to the delight of all the ‘techies’ present in the session! A few key points were discussed that are relevant to pass on:

  • Siebel uses JSON for REST APIs
  • The main purpose of the REST API development in Siebel was to allow other applications access to all Siebel data. This will now allow any tool to access any part of Siebel, including custom objects, directly through the REST APIs and without a need for Siebel development
  • Access to these APIs can be controlled and restricted. There is a new view in Siebel to control precisely this
  • Tools has a new option in Integration Objects for REST

Duncan also gave a tip during this session: if you want to start playing with Siebel REST APIs, use “POSTMAN”.

e-Tools: Visual Modelling Automation for Testing

Using the new pattern tracking functionality in Siebel e-Tools allows testing teams to record user activity and play back for testing scripts. New to IP 2016, a particularly popular item mentioned during the conference was the Keyword Automation function, which comes out-of-the-box (OOTB) in eCommunications. This can be integrated with e-Tools.

For Boxfusion, this was an interesting development as it was one of the solutions prototyped when exploring Open UI’s capabilities very early on. You can find this development explained in the blog, ‘Siebel Open UI – Automated Testing’.

Conclusion

This was a very interesting two day event from Oracle and gave both customers and partners visibility into the investment that is still being made into Siebel. The Siebel roadmap which highlighted activity up until 2030+ proves this quite well. Of course, like everything Oracle-related at the moment, the cloud remains a number one priority for the firm. Therefore, discussions regarding Oracle Cloud, including how to deploy Siebel within it, dominated the event a significant amount.

Fig. 2: Oracle Service Cloud merchandise

On another less pertinent note, and to add to my takeaways from the conference, the best participants from the audience (including myself) were rewarded with an Oracle mobile phone battery extension. Much to the surprise of the attendees, it wasn’t branded ‘Siebel’…

More information

Boxfusion Consulting are an Oracle Platinum Partner and recognised by Oracle as specialised in the implementation of Oracle Siebel CRM. We deliver tangible business benefits for our customers through optimising their Siebel systems. To achieve this, we provide the complete set of development, design and support services for Siebel CRM and Siebel Open UI.

If you would like to hear more about how you can leverage Oracle Siebel CRM to deliver business benefits that meet your expectations and those of your user community, or you would like to know how Boxfusion can help you gain more intelligence from your data, give us a call on +44 203 283 4315 or contact us here.

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