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.

Legacy OSvC console end-of-life

Some of you might already know, but most people are not aware that the legacy Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) console is reaching its end-of-life.

From Feb 2017 the only console available in OSvC will be the enhanced console, which was introduced in the May 2014 release, but not adopted by all users.

Therefore all organisations using OSvC that are still using the legacy console are advised to migrate to the enhanced console as soon as possible.

That might be as easy as enabling the enhanced console (see how to Enable the Enhanced Service Console) but it could also require significant effort.

The reason why some didn’t adopt the enhanced console was because customisations (add-ins, integrations…) would stop working, and that would force re-developments.

With the deprecation of the legacy console, there is no alternative and you will have to re-view – and potentially re-develop – configuration and customisations.

maps1

Legacy console (left) vs Enhanced Console (right)

Our specialist team, at Capventis, can not only help with a smooth migration/transition to the new console, but also do a health-check and review/amend configurations and customisations.

P.S. – For more information see the official announcement from Oracle in answer id 4814

Self-deception on Contact Centres

The “Effortless Experience” presents some key findings around Customer Experience, and prove that there is a correlation between Customer Loyalty and Customer Effort. One of the interesting findings is that Customer Service interactions tend to drive disloyalty, not loyalty; and another extremely important finding is that the key to mitigating disloyalty is to reduce customer effort.

And in the middle of some great insight, the author puts the finger in the wound: “Most metrics used in contact centres today suffer from a kind of myopia: They take a very narrow view of things that tend to make service organisations look much better than they really are (…) an example: Most companies measure transfer rates by relying on switch data, which is captured when calls are handed from one agent to another. But when you interview customers, it turns out they have a different definition of a “transfer”. What if the customer started on the web – maybe in a chat session – and then had to call the contact centre? In the customer’s mind, that is a transfer. If the customer started on the IVR and then bailed out to speak to a live person? Transfer. Same thing with repeated contacts, repeating information, channel switching, and so on”.

It is true that many contact centres and service organisations are still looking too much at themselves, and (intentionally?!) forgetting the customer. But the truth is that they aren’t doing anyone any favours. Self-deception will only cause customers to leave, the company to lose and thence the self service organisation to suffer.

The author concludes by saying what any good consultant would advise: “we’ll argue for reengineering customer service metrics to better align to the customer view of things. It’s not a beauty contest – these measures will likely make you look much worse than your old ones, at first – but the important thing is that you will have reoriented your dashboard toward capturing what really matters to customers (…) and ultimately that’s where loyalty, and disloyalty, come from“.

Attachment Bulk Download

Oracle Service Cloud allows the attachment of files to all standard and custom objects. The most common uses are when staff attach files to Contacts, or when customers attach files to Incidents.

But in order to access those files a user would normally have to search for the desired record, open it, go to the “Attachments” tab and open or download the file attached.

This was not manageable for one of our clients. They were asking many of their customers to upload a file through the portal, and then they wanted a specific team to analyse all files uploaded by the customers. Obviously it was not feasible to go into each and every record, download the file, etc.

So they asked us, at Capventis, if it was possible to bulk download all attachments. Actually, they wanted something even more clever. The ability to search in an object, for all records that had attachments, by date range and type, then select only the ones they wanted, and download the files to their local/shared drive.

Our team discussed and it was definitely possible to build such capability using an add-in. But why re-invent the wheel, when we were certain that our long-standing partners in Holland, WeSquare, surely had something similar or that would fit, as they dedicate themselves to develop add-ins for Oracle Service Cloud.

We were right, and in a few days WeSquare had developed an Attachment Bulk Download add-in perfectly aligned with our customer’s needs. Once more the partnership was a success and WeSquare demonstrated their specialism and knowledge.

Open the add-in from the Navigation Set.

OSvC_Attachments_Download1

Search for all records that contain an attachment, by date range and type.

OSvC_Attachments_Download2

Select only the records from which you want to download the files attached. Ability to “Select/Unselect All”

OSvC_Attachments_Download3.png

Click “Download” and select the location to where files will be downloaded.

OSvC_Attachments_Download4

 

File Attachments – Open vs Download

As you know Oracle Service Cloud has a capability that allows users to attach files to any object, standard (e.g. contact, incidents) or custom object.

This causes some security concerns as hackers can attempt to send files with attacks. And despite all attachments are scanned for malware, some hackers could be able to evade detection.

That is why there is a configuration setting that prevents users of Oracle Service Cloud from opening files, and forces them to download the file if they want to open it.

This configuration setting is set to “No” by default in order to protect not only Oracle Service Cloud but also its data.

FATTACH_OPEN_ENABLED is the key/name of the configuration setting, with the following description: “Enables the option to open file attachments in the Oracle Service Cloud Console. If disabled, file attachments can only be downloaded“.

OSvC_FATTACH_CONFIG_SETTING

As it says on the description, if this configuration setting is set to “Yes” users will be allowed to open the file directly from the console (having the “Open” link active on the attachments report/control.

OSvC_FATTACH_CONFIG_SETTING_Open.png

But if the configuration setting is set to “No” the “Open” link in the the attachments report/control will be disabled (greyed out) and users will only have the option to download by clicking the “Download” link.

OSvC_FATTACH_CONFIG_SETTING_Download

Gartner Magic Quadrant “CRM Customer Engagement Centre”

Gartner recently published their latest Magic Quadrant for “CRM Customer Engagement Centre” (CEC), where Oracle Service Cloud is amongst the Leaders.

This magic quadrant, says Gartner, reflects “the growing demand for cloud-based customer service applications to support agents who engage with customers through multiple channels”, but even though there are a few good choices “no vendor offers a suite that meets all global and cross-industry needs”.

The report points out that the selection of SaaS platforms to support complex business processes is increasing, and will become key to all organisations. Gartner envisages “an ecosystem containing at least four types of product will be required to build the ideal CEC, the core of which will be an intelligent system for CRM case management”.

Key, for Gartner, is that this platform has “knowledge-enabled service resolution, social media and community management, interaction assistance tools and service analytics dashboards” as well as tools for both agents and customers, designed on a common platform – and this has Oracle Service Cloud written all over it.

20160501 Gartner Magic Quadrant for CRM Customer Engagement Centre

Oracle Service Cloud is amongst the 5 leaders – alongside Salesforce, Pegasystems, Microsoft Dynamics, and Zendesk – and here are the key strengths Gartner found in Oracle Service Cloud:

  1. offer good cost of ownership
  2. has very good complementary applications, such as for field service, mobile customer service, analytics, co-browsing, policy automation, chat, email and knowledge management
  3. delivered as a subscription service using a cloud model, is straightforward to set up and configure, and does not require deep involvement from IT staff
  4. has a strong global presence

But, for Gartner, not everything is pink when it comes to Oracle Service Cloud, and says that customers “have encountered problems upgrading, performance issues, the need for a Microsoft .NET client”.

The truth is Oracle has addressed these recently, reforming and enhancing their upgrade processes, making it easy and smooth to upgrade, and have invested heavily – since Nov 2014 release – on the Browser UI which will eventually replace Smart Client (.Net client).

Gartner is also worried that it “see no evidence that Oracle is committed to creating more seamless integration with other Oracle business applications”.

Well, the truth is Oracle has not only built seamless integrations between Oracle Service Cloud and other products that are part of the CX Suite (Sales Cloud, Social Cloud), but has invested in the Accelerators (integrate Oracle Service Cloud with CTI, Oracle eBus Suite, Siebel, Sales Cloud), the Cloud Adaptors (integrate Oracle Service Cloud with Oracle Fusion Middleware/SOA suite platform), as well as Oracle Integration Cloud Service (easy integration SaaS-to-SaaS and SaaS-to-On premise).

Lastly, Gartner says it “has seen only emerging evidence of large deployment teams or configuration teams among the largest SI’s and global consultancies (such as Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte and IBM) for the CEC or traditional contact centre desktop”.

For that, it would be a pleasure to have Gartner visit Capventis and talk to our team that currently supports and implements Oracle Service Cloud in our client’s Contact and Customer Engagement Centres.

Capventis is not a large SI, but a 30 people company whose mission is “To enable exceptional, sustainable value for all our stakeholders – customers, employees, partners and investors – by delivering brilliant solutions for Business Intelligence (BI), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Experience (CX), using our specialist knowledge and experience. By brilliant, we mean Fast, Innovative, Relevant, Successful”.