Forrester Wave: CRM Suites for Enterprise Organisations, Q4 2016

Following the Q4, 2016 Forrester Wave: CRM Suites for Midsize Organisations, Oracle is also leading the pack on the Forrester Wave: CRM Suites for Enterprise Organisations.

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Forrester Wave: CRM Suites for Midsize Organizations, Q4 2016

Once more Forrester researched, analysed and scored the CRM suites in the market for midsize organisations. Using their 36-criteria assessment, Forrester identified the 11 most significant vendors.

Unsurprisingly Oracle, Salesforce and Microsoft lead the pack. With Oracle being the strongest in the market among the “Leaders”.

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Nov 16 release now available

The Nov 16 release of Oracle Service Cloud is now available and it brings some exciting and unexpected new functionality.

Live Chat – Sneak Preview

This new release of OSvC introduces a very cool feature for the Live Chat. It is called Sneak Preview and will allow agents to see what a customer is typing before they actually submit it. This could enable agents to preempt, prepare and respond quicker to the customer.

This feature, despite being something that some users and Oracle clients have been asking for, could be controversial. Nonetheless, it is definitely something that many will want to use and welcome.

Important Note: Sneak Preview will only work in CP framework version 3.5 or later.

Analytics – Visualisation

Visualisation is trending. It helps users make sense and have a quicker understanding of their data, and allows them to make better and easier decisions. The new release of OSvC introduces more visualisations for reports – like modern LED, horizontal, and circular-gauges – as well as new rendering options that will allow better rendering of charts and new, more modern, layout themes.

Additionally there is a new dashboard concept, called Infolets, which are available out-of-the-box. Infolets have single metric charts with real-time KPIs (e.g. open incidents by severity, SLA, FCR, new incidents by channel). And similar to reports, Infolets can be schedule and sent by email to key stakeholders.

Browser UI

Despite the power of the Dynamic Agent Desktop, and all the advantages of using a thick client, it is becoming more and more important to allow users to access OSvC on a browser-based UI. Oracle is responding to that with further developments to the OSvC Browser UI.

Significant enhancements were made to the Browser UI architecture, to allow high interactivity and a broad range of analytics capabilities, which were not possible thus far – like rollup, slicing, calculations, sorting, hiding, etc.

The Browser UI is now also backward compatible – which will enable customers with OSvC versions from May 2015 to take advantage of the latest Browser UI capabilities without having to undergo an upgrade of their entire implementation.

The theme was also updated, in order to be consistent with all other Oracle applications in the CX suite. And Live Chat is now a fully supported channel, with contacts automatically being matched and the contact and chat workspaces integrated.

Additionally, and on the knowledge side, content authors and knowledge managers can now use the Browser UI to create and edit knowledge base answers with a new HTML editor with HTML5 support.

Platform

Also very important to take into account are the changes or enhancements to the platform. The Nov 16 release of OSvC adds support to the following browsers, Operating Systems and .NET versions:

  • End-User
    • Firefox v47 or greater
    • Chrome v51 or greater
    • Android v5.x through v6.x (Drop support for Android v4.x)
  • Browser UI
    • Firefox v47 or greater
    • Chrome v51 or greater
    • Edge in Win 10
    • Android 5.x through v6.x (tablets only)
  • Agent Desktop
    • Ensure compatibility with TLS 1.1 or TLS 1.2
    • i.e. must have .NET framework 4.5.2, 4.6, or 4.6.1

Integration

Following previous developments and integration efforts, Oracle has released another two accelerators to integrate OSvC with Oracle Marketing Cloud and IoT, using its Oracle Integration Cloud Service (ICS).

Oracle ICS has two new connectors to integrate OSvC and Oracle Marketing Cloud (Responsys and Eloqua). These integrations provide a two-way synchronisation between both databases and applications.

The biggest innovation in the Nov 16 release is the Internet of Things (IoT) Accelerator, which provides a two-way integration between OSvC and Oracle IoT Cloud Service. This integration also uses Oracle ICS. Watch this video to know more about it.

CX Day 2016


On this CX day, 5 October, remember the essential. Technology is a brilliant enabler, but Customer Experience is much more than that.

Aug 16 release now available

The August 2016 release of Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) is now available and many customers – mainly those that registered for the auto-upgrade programme – are already on their way to the upgrade.

This release brings new capabilities across many aspects of OSvC namely: Web Customer Service, Knowledge Management, Integration, and the platform itself.

The enhancements on the Web Customer Service side are around the community.

  • Rating widgets: For customers to influence answers and make sure answers with the highest ratings feature at the top of a search. Thumbs-up/down rating functionality comes to complement the already existing up-vote and five-star ratings options. Community admins can remove ratings also. You should activate the SocialContentRating
  • Roll set callouts: Allow users to highlight content written by author with certain roles (e.g. Moderators or employees of certain organisation). You should activate the QuestionDetail and QuestionComment widgets, and define the Role Set callouts.
  • Banner accessibility: Thinking about users that need accessibility tools, this capability adds color-coding to the banner messages. For example, green = success, yellow = warning, red = error.

On the Knowledge Management area, the news is around advanced knowledge within the customer portal.

  • Customer Portal – content recommendation: With a focus on helping companies (and their knowledge managers/teams) improve the content made available to web self-service, the Knowledge Advanced functionalities on the CP now allows customers to recommend new content or suggest changes to existing content.
  • Customer Portal – related answers: The ability to have answers that were manually or automatically (self-learning) related was already available with the OSvC knowledge base, but are now also available with knowledge advanced.
  • Analytics – New Dashboard & Reports: There are new reports and dashboards that will help knowledge managers/teams make sure content is always fresh, useful and up-to-date. A few examples are: Successful Intents Report and Most and Least Useful Articles Report.
  • Analytics – Changes to Filter Names: For report terminology consistency and to allow reports to be grouped accurately within dashboards, this release brings some changes to report filter names. These changes affect custom code that calls the reports in question and uses these filters in those calls. Therefore it is recommended that those who have created custom code that calls any of these reports using the CWS API update the code to use the renamed filter names. Reports affected:
    • Answer Viewed by Category (filter “Date Range” renamed to “Date”)
    • Answer Viewed by Product (filter “Date Range” renamed to “Date”)
    • Article Incident Link Usage Date (filter “Usage Date” renamed to “Date” and “Answer_Id” renamed to “Answer ID”)
    • Keyword Search (filter “Date Range” renamed to “Date”)
    • Intent Frequency (filter “Date Range” renamed to “Date”)

Note: Please consult answer ID 8019: Enable Knowledge Advanced on Customer Portal.

On the Integration side of things, Oracle continues the investment on Accelerators to try and bring all applications together. This release introduces two as accelerator for the development of (multi-platform) mobile applications.

  • Mobile accelerator: helps businesses clients or partners develop mobile applications that would allow users access to OsvC on mobile devices – contacts, incidents, tasks, reports and dashboards, etc. The Mobile Accelerator leverages Oracle’s Mobile Application Framework (MAF). Common development frameworks like Java, JavaScript and HTML5 will enable the developments of single code base applications that run on multiple platforms (iOS, Android, Windows). Capabilities like Multi-window, S-Pen, Camera and Barcode scanner can also be made available. And offline and Device Management Capabilities can be provided by integrating MAF to Mobile Cloud Service (MCS).

Note: For those who are not familiar with the Accelerators, they are no more than sample code, sample workflows, best practices, documentation and design guidance, developed and shared by Oracle to guide clients and partners on the integration of Oracle Service Cloud.

From a Platform perspective, here the enhancements are the following.

  • .NET 4.6.1 Framework: This release adds support for .NET 4.6.1 on the Dynamic Agent Desktop (Console)
  • Browsers not supported: The following browsers are no longer supported (across the product):
    • Google Chrome version 48 and lower
    • Mozilla Firefox version 44 and lower
  • Cryptography API expansion: Changes to the Cryptography API include support for additional encryption algorithms and hashing. You should consult the documentation for the Connect PHP API.
  • PHP Upgrade: In order to improve security, performance, efficiency, and comply with industry standards, this new release includes an upgrade from PHP 5.3 to PHP 5.6. This means that developers need now to develop their custom code in PHP 5.6. See answer ID 8409: PHP 5.6.18 Upgrade, for more info.
  • OAUTH: This new feature enables OSvC to validate OAUTH for secure data exchange with other applications. You should enable the SSO_ENABLE_EXTERNAL_IDP configuration setting and configure SSO. Also, consult the Connect REST API documentation for more info.
  • Optlist framework for accounts setup: Enhancements have improved the scalability of the dropdown list for staff accounts, and developers or system admins can now add 100,000 staff accounts.

As always, there are also enhancements around Policy Automation, and Field Service, which are part of the Oracle Service Cloud offering, and you can consult here.

Interview at the Oracle CX event in Vegas

As you know I have attended the Modern Service Experience 2016 in Las Vegas back in April this year. It was a pleasure to have met so many Oracle Service Cloud specialists once again, and some of them for the first time. I look forward to next year’s event. Below is my testimonial. Thank you to Stephanie Kaleva (Oracle’s Manager for Executive Programs Customer Advocacy) who invited me to do this.