Siebel Reinvents with Innovation Pack 17
CRM has been growing in recent years. It is exploding as companies realize it is crucial to invest in CRM to stay current with the technology industry.
Consider these statistics:
- CRM usage increased from 56% to 74% in 2016
- In 2008, only 12% of businesses used cloud based CRM compared to 87% in 2017
- 91% of businesses with over 11 employees use CRM
Since Oracle acquired Siebel in 2006, Siebel CRM releases have been continuous — and so have the innovation packs released every year with new features that have come to include 50 new products and over 700 new features. The Siebel CRM Strategy and Road Map shows Oracle has plans that will continue for over 10 years.
Although there has been a rise in Cloud CRM usage, On-premise is still being widely used. The main reason may be security, as not everyone has come to trust cloud-based applications. On-premise also allows companies to have full control over their data. It would also be much simpler to integrate on-premise CRM with other on-premise systems already in use.
Some companies have been using a hybrid solution that uses a combination of an on premise solution and integrating cloud services. This solution allows companies to choose the technology that best fits their needs. The hybrid solution is perfect for those hesitant to use the Cloud because of security reasons, but still want to use a cloud-based CRM system that allows off-premise teams to access customer information. Not only is a hybrid solution cost effective, it also minimizes risk because CRM is managed internally.
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Siebel CRM Roadshow 2017
Oracle & SoftClouds co-hosted the Siebel CRM Roadshow 2017 on Aug 29, 2017 in Phoenix, AZ. The event was very successful and attended by a number of Siebel Partners and Customers, all eager to hear about Siebel IP17 and the future of Siebel.
George Jacob (Group VP — CRM Applications, Oracle) kicked off the discussion with introductions of the Oracle and SoftClouds teams — and then had everyone introduce themselves and their roles at their organizations. George followed up with an electrifying speech on the Siebel CRM Roadmap, Long Term Strategy and Vision for Siebel and then presented a set of innovations in Siebel IP17. The session was very interactive with customers asking questions around strategy and vision of Siebel and also about the features of IP17.
Mark Farrier (Director, Product Management, Siebel CRM Applications, Oracle) followed up on George's presentation with a technical deep dive on features of IP16 and then followed it up with an in-depth discussion on the features of IP17. The conversation centered around the cool new features with interest in the Cloud, Provisioning and Scaling aspects of IP17.
The best part of the event was a Customer Success Case Study presented by Krishna Jeereddy (IT Manager, Applications Development) of American Airlines. Krishna discussed how American Airlines upgraded premium services with Siebel IP2016 and how AA Premium customer services leverages Open UI to provide exceptional customer experiences.
The presentation on Next Gen Customer Experience with Siebel by Balaji Ramachandran (CEO, SoftClouds) was impressive. Bala discussed the Future of CX, Technologies impacting CX & CRM. Bala showcased some of the cool innovations around IoT and Natural Language Processing coming out of the SoftClouds' Center of Excellence. Bala also highlighted a solution where SoftClouds is implementing a hybrid solution with Siebel & Oracle Service Cloud for a large Automotive OEM. Bala spoke about the various Open UI Innovations & Implementations that SoftClouds has done for various enterprise customers.
It was a wonderful day where all the attendees got to learn about the cool new features of IP17, the strategy and vision of Siebel, and innovations around Siebel keeps up with the customer experience of the future. Another Beautiful Day well spent with the right folks — Oracle, SoftClouds, Customers & Users in the CRM Ecosystem.
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Siebel IP17 — An Intro
The Siebel IP 2017 release is focused on development agility. Oracle describes it as "the biggest, boldest and most innovative release in the last 5 years." The new release aims to revolutionize how customers configure, manage and deploy the Siebel CRM application while providing developers the ability of parallel, collaborative and distributed team development. It focuses on Big Data, IoT, AI, process automation, machine learning, and real-time analytics.
The following are the features and advantages in IP2017
1. Simple & Quick Setup of New Instances
Siebel instances can be made ready in less than an hour on Oracle Cloud. IP2017 allows for Silent Install or can be deployed via VM Images, CHEF, Docker, etc. With IP 2017, no Web Server pre-install is needed as Siebel IP2017 comes with a pre-installed Tomcat server. The Application Container is also installed automatically.
This simple and quick setup process of IP2017 helps enterprises with reduced costs & less technical implementation issues.
2. Customization & Development
2.1 Application Configuration with Siebel Composer
The Siebel Composer is browser based and emulates Siebel Tools. This simplifies & speeds up configuring Siebel Business Applications. It features a one-stop application for configuring all aspects of a Siebel Development and Deployment, enables the configuration of Siebel from anywhere via a browser.
Key Features include:
- Zero Downtime for configuration changes
- Visual, Guided, Web Based Integrated Developer Environment for the customization of Siebel CRM applications
- Simplified Siebel Configuration Model without the complexity of underlying Siebel Repository
- Role-based Configuration
- Pre-packaged and customizable Application Design Modules
2.2 Online Web template Editor
The Web Template editor features smart editing and preview. It is a Rich HTML editor that is embedded into tools. Smart editing capabilities include:
- Quick access to templates
- Code folding and numbering
- Code hints, code tidy and code indent
2.3 Workspace Sharing
Workspaces is an alternative of Siebel local database. It consists of a sandbox for editing and allows multiple developers to simultaneously work on the same repository objects in the Siebel database. It is enhanced in the 2017 version for full multi-level branching to support parallel, multi-release development. Workspaces allow developers to have their own sandbox to configure applications and verify changes before delivering to the parent or main workspace.
Parallel development using Workspaces means:
§ Deeper hierarchy of workspaces
- Integration Workspaces
- Developer Workspaces
§ Integration Workspaces represents a release
- E.g. Summer Release & Winter Release development in parallel
- E.g. EMEA Release & North America Release in parallel
§ Developer Workspaces represents a private space for localized development
2.4 Deployment with No Downtime
Preview & Publish configuration changes without downtime — no Siebel Repository File (SRF), no Siebel Server restart is needed. IP2017 allows CRUD operations against repository data and publishing them without the need for an SRF.
2.5 Siebel Approval Manager
The features of the Siebel Approval Manager include:
- Governance tool to manage approvals of development work
- Designed to work for Siebel CRM development but lightweight application can be deployed independent of Siebel
- Email integration for both notifications and approvals across the development team
- Adapter architecture integrates with several 3rd party issue tracking and source control systems
- Mobile and device friendly UI
2.6 Provisioning Siebel IP2017 In Oracle Cloud
2.6.1 Browser based setup
IP2017 focuses on agility and is a browser based setup. With the web-based console, users can configure Siebel from anywhere via a browser. Provisioning Profiles can be managed and features include a Provision Application Interface, Enterprise Cache and Siebel Enterprise & Siebel Servers. Server Management is planned for future releases.
Siebel 2017 features a Dynamic Gateway. The redesigned gateway server allows user to add and remove servers without down time. It also features different API styles to access web services, including Representational State Transfer (REST) and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) interface. Furthermore, with command line tools, ADM (Application Deployment Manager) Dev 2 prod Deployment using browser based UI is easy to do.
2.6.3 Testing — Manual and Automation
Test Automation Suite is simple to use and provides automated batch/lights-out execution, and test automation. This tool provides Record and Playback capabilities for Automated Test creation. An administration module allows users to manage the Test Scripts centrally and group them into Test Suites for batch execution.
The Built-in Automation Framework allows you to record and playback UI flows within the application and no automation scripting is required. With end-to-end Test Management, users can manage Test Cases and Test Cycles and schedule automated batch runs. It also allows for quality measurement and traceability. Siebel Test Execution Framework enables simplified set up of automation clients and features a Jenkins plug-in to manage distributed and parallel automated batch runs and provides consolidated test results in Siebel.
2.6.4 Easy Scaling of Cloud based deployments
IP2017 can be easily scaled up/down for Cloud Deployed Siebel Instances. New Enhancements include:
§ Dashboard style Home Pages for all Applications
§ List applet scrolling enhancements
§ Open UI warm login time improvements
§ MS Outlook 64-bit support for Outlook to Siebel File Drag and Drop Plugin
§ Desktop Integration Siebel Agent (DISA)
- Integrated IE web notifications with Siebel CTI and Chat
- Enabled multi-file read-only access
- Citrix multi-user environment support
§ Scaling can be done anytime by adding necessary hardware/software based on the user load
§ Scaling can be done with no upfront hardware costs
Our Thoughts on IP2017 & Beyond
Although Cloud CRM has caught on, enterprise customers want to keep Siebel and connect to newer cloud based services.
Oracle also continues to release updates through Innovation Packs and monthly patch sets that include new features and innovations. Oracle has a strong roadmap for enhancements over the next few years. The roadmap includes three main strategic thoughts: Customer Experience, Industry Innovation, and Business Agility — that add value to the business.
SoftClouds has been innovating on top of Siebel Solutions with NLP based solutions like our solutions like Qupplet, that allows accurate, relevant and fast search results. Other innovative features being looked into are voice command, graphical representation of search results, multi-language input, and auto-completion of questions. Siebel IP17 brings more business agility to the existing CRM implementations and helps enterprises position themselves for the future. With IP 2017, Siebel CRM is easier and faster to install and it makes it simpler for businesses to upgrade and change as needed to address requirements.
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Hope you found the information on IP17 useful — and here are a few questions for you.
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This post was written by Balaji Ramachandran, Founder & CEO of SoftClouds. He has over two decades of experience in Technology, Business Development and Operations and a very strong foundation in Customer Relationship Management for SMB and Enterprise. Utilizing his profound expertise, he has spoken at conferences around CRM & Technology around the world.