Category: Oracle Fusion CRM

New Age Customer Self Service Portals for CRM

Traditionally, CRM self service portals used to be the web support channel for customers. Some companies extended this concept and used such portals for employee management, dealer management etc. However, such use cases are very minimal.

Even today, majority of the self service portals in the market focus on these standard functions only:

  • Register / Login
  • Search / View Knowledgebase published by the company
  • Create Service Requests

While these basic features are required, modern web support (whether it is self service or assisted) wants to go a step beyond this. For example, let us take an example of a college, deploying their own self service portal for students.

  • College students get a login (or can register) in the portal
  • They can login, see the college knowledge base / download documents
  • In case they have a support requirement, they can create a service request

Wait a minute, when you say “Service request” what do you mean?

For a student, it may mean many things: Requesting for a mark sheet, Requesting for an attendance certificate, Requesting for a change in the profile phone number etc.

While all these are service requests, their nature is not the same. For example, when requesting for a mark sheet, they may have to provide additional details such as their examination number, year of exam etc. When requesting for an attendance certificate, they may have to say this certificate is required for what purpose, from which date to which date etc.

This means, even though portals call it with a single term “Service Request”, it actually means many things. You can’t have a single form and expect that to serve every possible service request case. Either that form will be too generic not serving the purpose, or it will be too long and users will run away.

Customer Service Management

To take care of such problems, CRMIT’s CRM++ Self Service Portal is moving in the direction of dynamic SR Types Management feature. This means, companies implementing CRM++ SSP can design their own types of Service Requests, and design unique forms for each one of them, with specific fields, labels they are looking for. Customers will love this because only targeted questions are asked, Agents will love this because all the information they need to solve a particular problem is right in their hands.

Stay tuned for our next SSP release.

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Oracle Sales Cloud (Fusion CRM) release 7, winning back core SFA!

Sales Cloud (Fusion CRM) release 7 is quite refreshing for those using the application since earlier releases. When I drove through the latest release 7, I knew the wait and the hype built around this release are justified.

Apart from bringing much anticipated enhancements around improving user experience, this release tried to take Mobile, Social & Analytics features to a new level.

From the perspective of an administrator, attempts made in the areas of Extensibility, Data Management and Environment Migration are appreciated.

Let me give you few specifics

User Experience: Navigation
Navigation was a major concern in previous releases. It was complicated and inconsistent or was just not there.

Now I see lot more availability and consistency in desktop UI.

Except Sales Calendar where the context of a calendar item isn’t completely built {this observation is addressed by FUSE (Simplified UI)}, navigation among core sales entities is fully enabled.

User Experience: Search
Enhancements in this area are focused around removing constraints, de-coupling search options and predefined lists and rectifying issues with filters etc.

Other notable improvements are role based saved searches (driven by admin), user level personalization of filters and introduction of record set attribute etc.

User Experience: Contextual Help
Contextual help is consistently available across all high use pages in the application. The help directory content is now fully aligned with the section form where it is invoked.

User Experience: FUSE
FUSE (Simplified UI) is for quick performance of regular tasks. A major enhancement to achieve buy-in from Sales folks.

You could perform all actions at par with desktop UI and can also quickly move to desktop UI to access more advanced features or more detailed information.

You could personalize the user experience by setting up required logo, theme etc. and setup a homepage announcement.

Though role based customization of simplified UI is possible, it is limited to overview/list pages only.

FUSE (Simplified UI) screenshot
FUSE (Simplified UI) screenshot

Core SFA: Sales Process Management
FUSE (Simplified UI) for quick action and Search, Navigation enhancements across core SFA modules brought this area back.

Other enhancements include
• Marketing insights for a Lead and Contact from Eloqua
• Customer Center Improvements –
> Competitive Presence – For Sales/Account Planning
> Graphical demonstration of Account Hierarchy (vs. Org. hierarchy)
> Tracking Contact ‘relationships’ by timeframe – An important detail sought by many customers/prospects alike.
• Lead Qualification/Management is now moved to Sales functional area

Core SFA: Sales Performance Management
Except few incremental improvements, enhancements in this area are minimal. From our experience simplification of Territory Management is very much required and it is a roadmap item.

Business Process Composer
Business Process composer is another big leap enhancement and kind of re-introduced in release 7.

As part of Oracle SOA Suite, the Oracle Business Process Management Suite contains a design-time tool for creating and adjusting BPMN 2.0 compliant BPEL processes, known as the Process Composer. Logically, as this tool can make significant changes to the way functionality runs, it is not therefore for use by normal end-users or administrators, and so is not found embedded inside Fusion Applications.

The Process Composer contains extensive options for creating new processes, as well as importing, adjusting, and redeploying the standard BPEL processes provided by Fusion Applications. Amongst other things, this includes support for manipulating Oracle Business Rules (OBR) to add complex conditional processing logic, as well as Human Workflow for interacting with users for hands-on activities, such as approvals.

Business process flows (e.g. approval flows) created using the process composer could be triggered using object workflows (e.g. of an Opportunity) that initiate based on some change in an object e.g. field update.

The seeded templates in Oracle Business Process Composer provide services, business rules, and tasks, which we can use for configuring customized processes.

Business Process Composer-Seeded flow screenshot
Business Process Composer-Seeded flow screenshot

 

Marketing: Eloqua Integration
Eloqua integration with Sales cloud is expected to augment customer interaction history in Sales Cloud, provide bi-directional lead nurturing between marketing and sales along with fully enabled Marketing automation and multi-channel campaign capabilities. Following table demonstrates what Eloqua Marketing cloud has to offer in comparison to Fusion Marketing (though it is purely driven by what is missing in Fusion Marketing)

Eloqua Marketing Cloud Vs. Fusion Marketing
Eloqua Marketing Cloud Vs. Fusion Marketing

Reports
Most anticipated feature in the area of reports is ability to drill/navigate from a report to a transactional record using Action Links and it is available in release 7. It is facilitated through calling web pages instead of using ADF contextual event.

Action Links are available for the following objects:
• Customer
• Contact
• Lead
• Opportunity

Other enhancements include
> Use alerts to proactively detect issues and business potential (condition based report scheduling)
> Add enhanced visualizations, like a waterfall chart to your reports
> Embedding OSN conversations in custom report/dashboard (i.e. see all conversations for a record in one place using report view)

Environment Migration
This allows export and import of setup data and customizations across Oracle Sales Cloud environments on the same release and patch.

Life Cycle Management
Life Cycle Management

Functional Setup Manager (FSM) is used to migrate setup data.
Customizations Migration used to migrate:
• All Sales Cloud customizations, including
> Customizations created with Application Composer, and Page Composer
> Sales Cloud security changes (role hierarchy changes)
• Customizations for other Fusion Applications (not just Sales and Marketing)

Currently available ‘Extensions Manager’ used to migrate customizations created with Application Composer (Sales and Marketing only) would be phased out.

Refer to My Oracle Support Doc ID 1534289.1 (for Setup Data) and Oracle Fusion Applications Extensibility Guide(for Customizations) migration possibilities.

Modularity Consolidation
Now we can
> Call attributes from one object to the other. This is limited to ‘Common’ application area and limited to Sales Account.
> Build relationships among objects from across application areas e.g. now we can connect a custom object created under Sales application area with a custom object created under ‘common’ application area.
> Build cross application validations e.g. When a sales account (Customer Center application area) status is turned ‘Inactive’ prevent sales user from creating an opportunity (sales application area)

Brief detail of other enhancements

Groovy Web Services Invocation
This is great. Now we could invoke a web service using the groovy in object workflows.

E.g. when an opportunity has reached ‘Closed/Won’ stage, invoke a service to create a quotation through Big Machine and update finally approved quote value back to sales cloud.

Mobile: Fusion Mobile Sales (SMARTPHONE)
Oracle Fusion Mobile Sales includes several enhancements in Release 7, including:

• Child Objects for Leads
• Forecasts
• Contact Photo
• Android Support

Mobile: Fusion TAP
Oracle Sales Cloud on iPad using Fusion Tap has become ‘general availability’ from release 7 which is a specialized application for tablet devices.
With Release 7, Oracle Fusion Tap is available in 21 languages.

Mobile Analytics: Fusion Mobile Sales
Apart from 6 standard reports, release 7 allows users to access custom reports as part of Mobile Sales application. Users can change report views and apply report filters.

Mobile Analytics: Fusion TAP
From release 7, users can access custom reports.

Social Network (OSN)
Social objects available to be enabled in Release 7 are Customer, Opportunity, Lead, Partner Account, Reference, Competitor, Organization, Person and Group. Sales Cloud administration can decide which objects to enable as social, and which fields to expose on the objects’ Wall.

Desktop UI Configuration
In Release 7, we can edit subtabs using Page Composer.

In summary, Oracle Sales Cloud release 7 is simple to use, considerably improved and strengthened its core SFA solution and ahead of competition in providing Sales Performance Management and Customer Data Management functionalists.

I would like to thank my colleagues at CRMIT Solutions for their support in writing this article.

C.A.Mohammed
Senior Principle Business Consultant, CRMIT

Originally Published on Ahmed’s Blog

Stop Typing and Start Speaking to your CRM

Does it sound interesting? Yes, it is  fact that Oracle is working on a new app “Oracle Voice” that works with Oracle Sales Cloud facilitating data entry / update in CRM by Sales team over voice than typing it out …

 

As you see over there some of the most common tasks like contact creation, task creation, opportunity update, meeting notes etc can all be entered by speaking over to your phone than typing it.  The added advantage over here as you see in the right side of the image is an interactive step by step Wizard where the system speaks to you to gather info in a logical manner to update it in CRM ….

The application is expected to be available soon, stay tuned …

Venkatesan Sundaram
Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published on Venky’s Blog

Fusion CRM (Oracle Sales Cloud) and User Experience (UX)

No wonder CRM selection committees consider User Experience (UX) as the most important parameter in selecting right CRM solution as it is proved repeatedly that a good user experience (UX) is the driving factor behind User Acceptance. User Acceptance is a key driver that differentiates a successful versus doomed CRM implementation.

Oracle Fusion CRM is built from scratch with User Experience (UX) as the core central theme. For beginners on UX it is important to note that the UX extends beyond the look & feel and application performance. It touches multiple aspects of an application and few of the important ones are below

  • Supporting the natural user workflows in the system
  • Built in tools that help the users to perform their day to activities
  • Embedded reports / dashboards that provide insights on customers / territories / markets and
  • Access to right information at right time to CRM users

Here in this blog I would present some of the interesting UX features in Oracle Fusion CRM.

The key UX challenge in designing the application for a “Sales Manager” is to organize all relevant information that is required for “Sales Manager” in one central location. Fusion CRM “Territory Management” module is one single location where a Sales Manager can effectively perform all his day to day operations.

Sales territory management – In one centralized place, a sales manager can define the set of products / customers / geography that every sales person reporting to him is mandated to sell along with his Sales Quota. As this is a crucial activity for a sales manager to perform, the system provides certain interesting tools to make the sales manager’s life easier.

To start with rather than hard-coding the sales territories, system provides a dynamic way to assign territories by one of the eight standard dimensions that are predefined in the product (Geography, Product, Organization Type, Business Size, Sales Channel, Account and Account Type). The territory can be a combination of one or more dimensions

If you are sales manager managing dozen of sales team members, the system provides flexibility to quickly check whether there are any Overlaps / Gaps on click of a button. Overlap basically helps to find out whether the same territory is added to someone else and Gaps would let you know the territories for which you still haven’t assigned the owner.

territory2

You can also select a territory and on click of a button understand the Potential Accounts / Revenue lines that are assigned to the territory on basis of territory dimension. This gives a quick short-cut to check how well balanced the territory assignments are and if required re-balance it in an iterative manner

From a day to day operation stand-point the system provides flexibility to define multiple metrics on territories like Number of Accounts, Closed Revenue, Market Potential, and Forecasted Revenue etc by “Time Period” dimension. On click of button “Show Analytics” you would get a detailed view of these metric figures along with interactive reports for each of the territory on the metrics that you have defined. The reports are good to cover various time periods as well as compare and contrast performance of one territory against another and multiple child territories under one parent.

territory1

Now coming back to the role of Sales representative, the customer center is a single place to get the complete 360 degree view of the customer right from basic customer profile information to contacts, organization chart, interactions, tasks appointments, leads, opportunities, revenue lines etc. In addition to the above it provides an interactive assessment tool to assess the quality of leads using a well structured predefined questionnaire.

customer_center

On Collaboration front, the system has an embedded “Discussion Thread” to collaborate on the account with Account Team members and Oracle Social Network for Social Styled Conversation on an opportunity or account.

osn

Similarly with sales representative’s limited bandwidth, the optimal outcome would come out only by working on most promising opportunities. Fusion CRM Predictive Analysis Engine helps the sales representative to get answers for some fundamental questions like product that he should consider offering for a prospect / customer, kinds of customers buying certain type of products, potential revenue impact of the deal and the sales cycle time to close the deal etc. It does all the above by comparing Sales transaction history against the customer / account history.

predictor

On Mobility / Multi-channel access front Fusion CRM provides multiple ways to access your CRM information including critical reports / dashboards via Tablets, Mobile Phones as well as in your Outlook. The applications are designed in such a way that common tasks handled by people on the field can be captured using these devices when they don’t have an online access to Fusion CRM over the web. The information that you capture in your local device can be synchronized back to the server whenever you get the internet connectivity

tap iphone outlook

In addition to the above the release 7 of fusion CRM provides a Sleek Clutter Free interface as an optional interface via web to the users to perform the most common sales tasks without getting hindered with too many details. It is a so sleek that it can provide a consistent interface across multiple devices you can potentially use to access the application.

fuse_ui

For Tele-Marketing / Call Center users the application provides a Robust Telephony Interface framework that you can use to plug your back-end telephony systems to Fusion CRM. Once you are done with it, the system provides Click-To-Dial (Dial on click of a phone field) as well as Incoming Call Pop-Up on basis of caller information wherever application.

In net if you look into the aspect of User Experience in a holistic manner beyond look & feel and application performance, I would say Fusion CRM is an application that is really designed for UX….

Venkatesan Sundaram
Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published on Venky’s Blog

Oracle SRM

Oracle recently released a wonderful video on SRM : Social Relationship Management, and what their vision is, in terms of a “Social Enabled Enterprise”. This 30 minutes video is recommended to anyone interested in these topics:

http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/events/srm/index.html

To help you further, CRMIT has made Notes from this session, which you can access in full size here : http://blog.crmit.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Oracle-Vision-Social-Enabled-Enterprise-1024×557.png