Open UI - Question and Answer Session

During our Open UI Event we were asked a lot of really great questions by attendees throughout the day, this blog post lists the most popular questions  and answers.

During our Open UI Event we were asked a lot of really great questions by attendees throughout the day and during the experts panel session in particular, this blog post lists the most popular questions  and answers from the day.

We do hope you will find this list useful but if you do have any questions that aren’t answered here, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us here.

1. With Open UI development, what do we need to consider with regards to governance processes and release management of the Open UI elements?

These sit outside the Siebel repository (e.g. CSS and JavaScript) - how do you manage the complexity of Siebel deployment now that there are these new files in terms of js and css, on top of the application itself and other static data – are there any recommended best practices?

This is a very good question and certainly is something to be considered now when developing with Open UI. Traditional web development governance approaches should be incorporated into the overall Siebel release governance for elements that sit outside of the Siebel repository. Boxfusion have developed practices with standard source code control tools and we would recommend this is considered at the outset of a project to develop and make changes to the Open UI framework. Does your organisation already have a source code control tool licenced and in use either by Siebel Developers already or perhaps by a web development team? The other option is to consider introducing tools to support this – there are a wide set of tools that are available such as Sourcesafe, Git and SVN that can easily used to version control and automate release processes for these elements.

2. We want our users out in the field to be able to use tools such as Google/Microsoft calendar and email, maps with maybe geolocation, photocapturing, digital signature. How can we do this, and how does that fit with Open UI?

We can synchronize Exchange calendars with Siebel Calendar via SSSE.  We can access Gmail or Exchange email boxes via Email Response.  If users are using Outlook connected to either Gmail or Exchange (or Exchange 365), they could use CRM Desktop to see their CRM data and the Gmail/Exchange tasks/emails/calendar/contacts all in the same place.

Oracle provide digital signature capture in OOTB functionality. You can also capture a photo and associate it with a Siebel object and Oracle provides map integration. We have also seen one of our customers integrate with Google Calendar as users were used to Google Calendar.

All of these things can be integrated via iframe integration in Open UI but, if the other items are not on the same domain, IP2014 is recommended.

3. Does Siebel have a solution for searching attachments?

We want to be able to search attachments based on a person’s name for example. Is there any OOTB integration that will enable this?

Oracle Secured Enterprise Search (OSES) is fully integrated with Siebel Open UI – so where you have it incorporated into your existing HI application you won’t have to do anything upon upgrade. OSES supports crawling across different data sources and file attachments, which can all be indexed in real-time or batch. For more information about OSES, please see http://www.oracle.com/uk/products/database/secure-enterprise-search/overview/index.html.

4. Are there any customers using Product Configurator with OpenUI?

There are customers at different points of the project lifecycle with Open UI and product configurator. One notable customer is Telstra, who are live today with Configurator and OUI.

5. Salesforce dotcom’s UI has field hover popup (bubble) functionality, where you can also make a selection in the hover popup. You can configure all this in an Admin screen. In OpenUI how is this achieved?

Does Siebel have any plans to do something similar in OOTB OpenUI?

Oracle - Customers can add hover popup as extensibility. However it is not provided out of the box, in part beacause the hover features can be quite overwhelming for the user. Boxfusion have implemented very similar functionality quickly for a customer who had a request for this in Open UI – the framework enables development teams to achieve this sort of functionality quickly where they have a requirement.

6. Do you have any recommendations as to the level of changes we should undertake in terms of OpenUI JavaScript?

Obviously developers could add a great deal of customization but this will increase maintenance - do Oracle/Boxfusion have any recommendations around risk or when to make or not make a change?

This largely comes down to two things:

  1. General configuration best practice. This is similar to previous approaches of Siebel scripting, in particular browser scripting and standard configuration. You should always try to configure what can be done through business logic in the repository rather than in scripted methods. After that, the framework is there for you to use and each organisation is likely to have differing attitudes to risk and maintenance concerns – there are now web development best practices to keep in mind when using that framework.
  2. Overall attitude to risk. As with traditional Siebel development, each organisation using Siebel will have varying degrees of comfort with regard to risk on change to the application. You may be happy to have developers making changes in the Open UI layer quickly and deploying to production (after some specific user interface testing) utilising the benefits of making many changes without system downtime. In some cases Open UI changes could be moved to the business layer later as part of a formal release.

7. What is your opinion on customising Open UI to different business units?

For example, hiding and showing sections, which are completely customisable to help user adoptions etc – is this the right way to do it from a performance and TCO point of view? Is dynamically hiding fields based on role/user, a good idea?

Currently, data is still sent across from the server regardless of whether you want to display it to the user of not, but hiding (altering the page) doesn’t significantly harm performance. Boxfusion have implemented functionality like this in some cases for customers as it does add a lot of value.

In terms of the product roadmap, in IP2015 only data required on the client for a specific device will be included in the framework and pushed to the device and hence there you will see improved performance.

8. Is there specific Open UI training or is it wrapped into Siebel training? How would you recommend a developer get skilled up on Open UI?

Boxfusion and Oracle University provide Open UI training.

The Boxfusion course is led by Open UI experts who have real world experience of implementing Open UI, the issue that can be encountered and the practical best practice approaches.

The Boxfusion Siebel Open UI Master Class courses allow delegates to learn the skill sets needed to exploit the full potential of Siebel Open UI, to not only meet complex user requirements but also to better support usability and accessibility, and ultimately deliver real business benefits.

Boxfusion course outlines can be found at: https://www.boxfusionconsulting.com/services/siebel-crm-oracle-bi-experts/training/siebel-open-ui-training-master-classes/

9. How long is Oracle going to support IE8 for?

IE8 will be supported for HI until the end of life of Internet Explorer in premier support. Customers are advised to go to Open UI which is the replacement. Boxfusion can work with you to migrate to Open UI and have the capability and experience across many such migrations to make the transition as low risk as possible.

10. How long will it typically take to upgrade from 8.1.1.8 to Open UI?

The honest answer is that it varies – unfortunately no two Siebel applications are the same. We have worked with customers to upgrade and enable Open UI in under 3 months end to end. It also depends on your deployment approach - you could for example choose to take a low risk option and slowly deploy Open UI to a small group of users in production and run the existing HI client in parallel.

We generally advise customers to start with a POC Open UI enablement to understand the potential complexity and then allow them to make informed decisions on the best approach to full Open UI enablement.

11. As we become more agile & Open UI is more flexible users will expect more rapid changes – where is the line on rapid changes?

Different organisations and industries are willing to accept different levels of risk with regards the vigour of testing and release procedures. There is a balance between the ability to make changes and the potential impact a change can have. A more agile approach to development and release should be counter balanced with an appropriate risk assessment of potential issues and their impact and off set with appropriate levels of testing. There will likely be areas of applications that can have Open UI changes applied, with zero downtime and a very low risk of negative impacts, and this is where Open UI offers customers more potential agility than in the past with Siebel.

Some changes to support new Open UI functionality may require SRF changes - the line here is similar to historical Siebel changes really and comes down to the organisation and the level of risk they are willing to take.

12. Will the length of time of upgrades reduce going forward?

Now we have yearly upgrades, how long is it going to take to upgrade from 8.1.1.11 to 8.1.1.12 for example?

Going forward, this impact has been reducing with each release and Oracle have had a focus on improvements to the IRM (Incremental Repository Merge) process. It is worth stating that it isn’t just a patch and does include a lot of enhanced functionality, so it does require some planning. The length of time to implement will largely be driven by the complexity of a customer’s implementation and therefore the amount of regression testing required – Boxfusion have recently completed an 8.1.1.10 to 8.1.1.11 upgrade for a Live Open UI customer in just a few weeks with a two person team (this was a ~200 user implementation).

One consideration is that upgrades can be incorporated into ongoing development releases. The size of the gap between current version and latest release is always going to be a consideration and in general the smaller the jump the less risk can be assumed. With Open UI, Boxfusion have been developing approaches that include automated regression test scripts that can quickly assess the impact of the upgrade on your application.