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Open UI Opens Doors

WHAT WE THINK...


Siebel Open UI – Making the Business Case

In the last few years, no functionality has excited the Siebel install base as much as the Siebel Open UI. It has been a long wait to get here. The Open UI has now been available in GA form in Siebel 8.1.1.9 for over 6 months. We have had access to this functionality for almost a year and have spoken with a number of our customers who have expressed interest in it.

Open UI opens doors

With Open UI, one can circumvent the closed system under SWE (Siebel Web Engine). Users are now free of the yoke of Internet Explorer and Windows platform. Developers can now invoke Siebel capabilities through alternate UI languages (Javascript, HTML/HTML5, Java, Flex, etc.). One can design alternate UI paradigms without being constrained by the traditional Siebel Screen-view-applet format.

What’s the verdict so far – many presentations and conversations, no real action. Customers haven’t yet taken the plunge and rolled it out to their users. We sense a lot of hesitation and caution on part of customers. Why?

Here are some of the challenges that we have seen:

What's the Difference – Looks like old Siebel.

Looks are an issue. Open UI based Siebel looks hardly any different from regular Siebel. We have had to demo Open UI to customers using a Mac to highlight the difference!

While familiarity is very helpful in reducing the change management required in rolling out a new UI paradigm, this very factor is working against it. Users are asking, so what’s new?

Given the breadth and diversity of Siebel install base, Oracle has the unenviable challenge of creating new UI designs and flows with the “difference” users are looking for. Perhaps, the current approach of releasing the Open UI as a toolkit and letting customers exercise their imagination is the most pragmatic solution.

What Users Want.

Our interactions with customers on this subject have led us to ask, so why was everyone waiting so expectantly for this functionality? We discovered that users were really yearning for a fix to the usability and user adoption issues with the Siebel application. Replicating the old Siebel UI using the latest technology does not address the underlying usability issues.

So Many Views, Where Do We Start?

If merely exposing the Open UI and letting the users loose on it is not enough to address usability, then what is? Does it make sense to redesign and rebuilt the views now that Open UI toolkit provides one with that freedom? Based on the work we have done in Siebel Usage Analyses with customers (see this blog entry - our our website) , this is a monumental task. There are well over 5000 views available in Siebel! This could be a never-ending project with questionable ROI.

Making the Business Case – The 5 Point Plan
  • Know your Customer (i.e., the User)
  • Start Small, Think Big
  • Its about Flows, Not Fancy Forms and Views
  • Estimate the Cost of Pain and Benefits of Gain
  • Staff with Right Skills

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