Siebel 17 – FAQs

I’ve just seen a load of excellent posts on John Bedfords “Oracle Siebel CRM” blog, answering many of the frequently asked questions related to the upcoming release of Siebel IP 2017:
Some really interesting reading in there and I cannot wait for the GA release! I’ve some VMs prep’d and ready… must be coming soon!
Stay tuned for more information and hopefully and in depth review!

Siebel IP 2017 is coming…

My time away from Siebel is almost at an end: we’re looking at our Siebel 8.1 UCM service and are kicking off a project to bring in IP 2017. I’ll admit to being quite excited about getting back onto familiar ground and to see what has become of my beloved technology.

This is a big deal for us, as we’re not only upgrading Siebel but potentially moving to a cloud infrastructure, upgraded OS and the UCM product brings with it a whole raft of additional software changes: Oracle EDQ, the deprecation of IIR and Haley Business Rules, all make this an interesting technical and functional challenge.

I was hoping to see IP 2017 surface in May, but it’s now June and no sign of a download. However, there are signs that Oracle are gearing up for the official General Availability release. I noted recently that my old friend John Bedford has posted up details of some IP 2017 Webinar sessions being run by Oracle. My team and I will following these with great interest – and I’m sure we’re not the only ones excited about the possibilities of CRM Composer. You can find details of the sessions, as well as instructions for registration, on John’s official Oracle Siebel Blog.

Stay tuned for a full IP 2017 breakdown and review, on this site, as soon as it becomes GA.

Oracle Enterprise Data Quality 12

With my new customer architect hat on, I’m looking across a broad range of applications and services to help my organisation be more effective and productive. As a large retail organisation, customer data quality is key to our ability to talk to our customers effectively. Imagine sending letters out to customers – in the digital age, that’s a pretty expensive channel but one which is required none-the-less. If we get the address wrong, or we have duplicate entries for a customer, we end up with a failed communication (really bad for our customer) or duplicate communications (annoying for our customer and bad for our bottom line). Oracle Enterprise Data Quality can help us resolve such problems.

Quickstats Profiler on the S_CONTACT table

I’m running Oracle Customer Hub (the Customer Master Data Management solution formerly known as UCM or Universal Customer Master), which is a Siebel vertical product that orchestrates and governs a process to take data in from sources, cleanse, enrich, match and de-duplicate, before publishing to consuming systems.

EDQ is a critical component of this solution, as it fills the cleanse, enrich and match capabilities of our end to end MDM process. It’s also an extremely impressive and feature rich product and I’m going to explore some of it’s features over the coming months. First things first, let’s download and install Oracle EDQ release 12:

  1. First up, you’ll need a Java JRE to run the front end components, so download and install a 64-bit JRE 8 from Oracle’s Java home
  2. Now, let’s get a trial copy of EDQ installed on a VM so we can have a bit of a mess around. Skipping the usual eDelivery route, head straight to the EDQ product page to download the product
  3. I’ve gone for the standalone 12.2.1.0 Windows installer version, since I’m running a Windows 2012 R2 server VM, but you can sit the newer 12.2.2.0 installation on top of a Weblogic server running on whatever host OS you choose
  4. Once downloaded, run the installer and simply following the instructions – it’s really straight forward for an Oracle product
  5. You’ll find a shortcut to the Launchpad – this is where you’ll find shortcuts to all of the features of the platform

    The EDQ Launchpad

  6. Launch Director, where you’ll set up EDQ to point to your data source and carry out activities. If you’re prompted to open a JNLP file, and your installation does not automatically associate this with the Java Web Start, then navigate to your Java installation folder and associate it with “javaws.exe”
  7. The default username and password is dnadmin/dnadmin – be sure to change the password to something memorable. Log in and you’re ready to go

    EDQ Director

Simple as that! Next time, we’ll connect EDQ up to our Siebel server database (you know, the one with all the lovely sample DB data in it) and run some profiling jobs.

 

So what is life like, after Siebel?

It has been many, many months since my last blog update. Life has changed considerably for me in 2016 with my two kids growing up, school drop offs, homework and being aeroplanes in the garden taking precedence over writing articles and installing Siebel patches.

In addition to my focus on family life, I’ve also closed down my consultancy (the imaginatively named “Ollerenshaw IT Ltd”), hung up my Siebel gloves and explored the world of full time roles in the great wide world.

It’s been fun, if a little daunting: I’ve worked almost exclusively with Siebel for over 15 years, so immersing myself in other technologies and roles has been difficult. I’ve found that my new roles involve a lot less hands on technology and I now find myself in the fuzzy world of architecture and strategy. It’s no bad thing, and I enjoy the challenge of taking greater responsibility for overall solution designs, working with businesses to understand what’s really important and how I can help them achieve those goals. To me, it’s an important role as it’s always been the case that shiny, snazzy Siebel solutions (including some of the “awesome” capabilities of OpenUI) often exist in the world to satiate the appetites of hungry developers – there’s often little to no business or user benefit in a lot of what happens in technically focused IT.

As part of my current role, I get involved in a lot of talk about strategy and planning for the future. It’s interesting to hear, from the coal face as it were, what’s getting the IT industry excited. I work for a retail organisation, and each vertical has different needs and wants and different solutions appeal, but for us there’s something that currently stands out: Big Data.

bigdata

Of course, we’re very excited here about the prospect of Cloud, including Infrastructure As A Service, Azure and AWS. We’re also excited about Software As A Service, which is now at a level of maturity where we believe we can actually start to map some of our business need onto these types of cloud services. Though not something we’re looking at here, Birst is a great example of SaaS: it’s Cloud BI by two of the guys responsible for OBIEE nee Siebel Analytics.

But Big Data is what it’s all about here. We’re talking Hadoop, MapR – we’re looking at some of the big players and some not so big. We’re also looking at data visualisation platforms – Tableau, PowerBI, Business Objects and many others. With a bit of luck, if the kids allow me the time to do so, I’ll pen some articles on my experiences in this ever growing buzz space.

Until then, wishing everyone in Siebel Land the very best for now and the future!

Loading Siebel Sample Data into Oracle Server

Oracle XE is a a bit of beast, a pain in the proverbial to install and overkill for the purpose of a local Siebel database. However, it is at least an Oracle database and not a Sybase database, as it was in days gone by.

What this means is that it is possible to use Oracle tools to access and manipulate the data. Gone are the days of disql and it’s more than limited functionality. We can now access the local and sample databases using SQL Developer and other Oracle tools, such as import / export and data pump. I used this fact to my advantage, recently, to populate a fresh Siebel 16 server installation with demo data. This lets me use the full gamut of thin client apps, with useful data and users.

Terry Smythe's Accounts!

Terry Smythe’s Accounts!

Install the Sample DB

First up, we need to install the XE sample using the Tools or Client installers. All straight forward (as of 16.2, anyway) and you’ll be left with an XE Service that’s running and listening on localhost, port 1521.

Reset the System Password

We now need to get access to the system account, so that we can mess around. Bring up a command prompt and enter:

This will reset the “system” password. Note that SADMIN and SIEBEL use the equivalent value for logging in.

Export the XE Sample Data

You can use Oracle Data Pump (impdp / expdp) to do this, but I found it to be a bit of a hassle – my target is an RDS instance on Amazon, so I’d have to push a load of files up in order for data pump to suck them in. As it is, I used the old fashion import / export (imp / exp) commands in XE to do the job.

First up, we don’t want all the data from sample – we really only want “S_” tables and we want to exclude the Repository tables. As such, I selected out the tables I wanted directly from S_TABLE:

I then saved this to a text file (tables.par) and modified this to work as a parameter file input into the “exp” command:

I then initiated an export from my XE database. Note that the exp command can be found in the Tools installation folder, <TOOLS>\oraclexe\app\oracle\product\11.2.0\server\bin:

This took roughly 15 minutes to complete and I’m left with a “.dmp” file of around 4GB in size.

Import the Sample Data into Oracle Server

You can probably guess the next step – using the “imp” command to import the data into my Server Oracle instance. The process is much the same as for export – the main point of note here is that we want to explicitly ignore errors. Even though we’re pushing sample data into a “clean” Siebel Database, there’s still a load of seed data in there that we don’t want duplicated. By ignoring errors, the indexes will keep duplicates out while allowing the whole process to complete without terminating:

Create our test users

Now that we have all the sample data in the server DB, we must create some users to match the thousand or so S_USER records that have been created for our use across the sample system. Again, I put Oracle’s own tools to good use and created a SQL script in SQL Developer:

Execute this script and users will be created. Be careful to exclude any users you don’t want to affect (SIEBEL and SADMIN being the main ones) as the script will reset their passwords. You can find a list of relevant test users for each Siebel vertical in this Bookshelf Guide.

Login as Casey Cheng!

It’s what you’ve always wanted, right? Fire up Siebel Call Center and login as CCHENG. Ah, memories!

Now sit back and enjoy perusing the sample data from the comfort of your full Siebel installation.