7 OSvC features to comply with GDPR

GDPR came into play 3 months ago, but companies are still struggling. One of the main concerns is related to the systems and databases where they hold customer data – be it personal, operational or experience data.

A significant number of Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) administrators and super-users have recently contacted me, asking what actions to take to ensure they are GDPR-compliant. Like so many other technology vendors, Oracle is developing the platform.

Last week the OSvC product/development teams at Oracle and the OSvC All Stars got together to review the features available, look at the roadmap, and discuss what other solutions or developments could help the companies who use OSvC.

The truth is that the features that will help comply with GDPR are being released since 17C (Aug 2017), and there is a very busy roadmap, with other features coming.

1. The Bulk Delete API was released in 17C for Incident and Opportunity objects, expanded in 17D for Contacts and Custom objects, and expanded further in 18A for Accounts and Organisation objects. It allows you to efficiently delete large data sets, having the flexibility to select the data to delete using ROQL queries.

2. Until now, when you created a test environment, you would get a clone of your instance with all your data. The difference is that the emails had a .invalid suffix. Having real/production data in a test environment could be a GDPR breach. Since release 18B it is possible for administrators to create a test instance without standard transactional data.

3. Various enhancements to the Audit Log are going to be released in the next few versions of OSvC. 18C provides the ability to capture viewing of Contact records, as well as report downloads. 18D and 19A will introduce Field Level Audit Logs on individual attributes of the Contact object. And to answer your questions re. space, the Audit Logs will be written to a secondary store, unloading the primary database.

4. Bulk Data Extract capability will be available from release 18D, for Incident and related sub-objects. This would be supported by an asynchronous REST API that will allow you to extract large volumes of data, into compressed .csv files. Enabling organisations to archive data that is old or not needed, but needs to be retained.

5. Deleting OSvC interfaces was something that companies struggled with, as it usually went wrong, impacting other interfaces. Since 18C this capability was enhanced by Oracle, allowing you to contact Customer Care and request interface deletion, to reduce database size.

6. The Data Lifecycle Policies user interface is available since release 18A, and allows you to easily manage data lifecycle policies for objects. In 18A it supported a limited number of transactional objects, 18B brought it to Incident archive/purge, and 18C for Custom Objects and indexed system attributes on Incident and Contact objects.

OSvC - Data Lifecycle Policies.png

7. Finally, in release 18C you can redact or anonymise sensitive information in Incident Threads.

Oracle Service Cloud 18B release now available (Part II)

The 18B release of Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) is now generally available and it brings some very interesting new features and enhancements, in particular to the Browser User Interface (BUI). I broke it down in separate posts. This is the second post (see the first here).

BUI – Chat Supervisor Monitoring

This functionality was available in the Dynamic Agent Desktop (DAD) or Console, and it is now also available in the BUI, allowing contact centre or team supervisors to monitor live chat sessions.

Similar to the functionality available in the DAD, supervisors can join or leave chat sessions, as well as send private messages to the agent. The functionality will be readily available if you have chat enabled, and you will be able to see a Monitor button is the following reports:

  • All Chats
  • Chat Supervisor Queue Snapshot
  • Chat Supervisor Snapshot
  • Current Chat Sessions
  • Chat Audit Report
  • Chat Supervisor Home Dashboard


BUI – Chat Knowledge Foundation Integration

This new feature will allow agents, using the BUI, to attach knowledge base (Foundation) answers to a chat session, as they would do when using the DAD. Agents can add answers as a link (see screenshot below), or as text, and they also have the ability to preview and print answers.


BUI – Respond Using Alternative Email

Some of you may be familiar with the configuration setting that determines how email responses will be sent to the customer – OE_SVC_SENDMAIL_SINGLE_ADDRESS. If enabled (set to “Yes”) email responses will be sent to only one address for the contact associated with the incident. If disabled (set to “No”) email responses will be sent to all email addresses captured in that contact record.

If it is enabled, the agent is allowed to choose which email address to use, primary email or alternative email. The screenshot below shows how the “compose” area of the incident thread looked like before, and what it will look like in 18B when you enable the configuration setting.


BUI – Workspace Field Label Font Properties

In previous releases the BUI would ignore , and not render, any changes in field label font properties – which you have available in the DAD workspace designer:

  • Font Family
  • Font Size
  • Bold
  • Underline
  • Italicize
  • Strikethru

From release 18B onward, these are now available in the BUI. The screenshot below shows a BUI contact workspace, where you can see the “First Name” label which is set to Bold, Italic, Underline and Strikethru.


BUI – HTML Format Type Support for Workspace Answer Control

I’m sure most of you are familiar with Workspace Controls, which can be used to add features to the workspace (e.g. buttons, text labels, reports, tables, tab sets). Controls are added to workspaces from the workspace designer – find it in “Insert Control” tab.

One of the controls available in the incident workspace is “Answer Display” which displays a knowledge base (foundation) answer on a workspace. Once you added the control, you must select the answer you want, by setting “Answer ID” on the “Design” tab.

In previous releases, if you set the control to display an answer that had been created with type HTML, the BUI would render a link that the agent would need to click to bring up a separate browser window with the answer.

In 18B release, the HTML-type answer will now display in the BUI itself, and won’t require the agent to click any link to view the contents of the Answer.


Oracle Service Cloud 18B release now available (Part I)

The 18B release of Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) is now generally available and it brings some very interesting new features and enhancements. I will break them down in separate posts. This is the first post.


Chat – Virtual Assistant

One of those exciting enhancements is the launch of the Virtual Assistant (VA). Some of you may be asking “wasn’t the Virtual Assistant launched 5 years ago?“. Yes, back in Nov 2013 Oracle announced the VA which, at the time, was based on a separate product called Intent Guide and forced users to use a different application (login and user interface) to configure it.

The 18B release brings a much more integrated, seamless and powerful VA capability, which can be accessed, configured and fine tuned by OSvC administrators, using a VA editor in the OSvC interface. Nonetheless, it is still based on the aforementioned Oracle RightNow Intent Guide Cloud Service (find here the admin user guide).

This enhanced VA will hopefully be a step in the right direction and allow companies to not only decrease the volume of chat sessions that require an agent, but also improve the customer experience.


Simple questions with straightforward answers – aka high volume/low value queries – should be picked up and answered by the VA, using the information in the knowledge base. Making service more efficient and effective.

The new (or enhanced) OSvC VA allows you to configure escalation rules, that will route the chat session to the right queue and agent, when the VA cannot answer, as well as pass the conversation thread to the agent, for context.


Additionally it allows you to test scenarios and provides real-time dashboard so you can monitor performance and questions being asked, as well as identify new content that can be added to the VA and knowledgebase.


In order do use the VA you should ask Oracle (your account manager) to enable it and then perform the following steps:

  1. Assign the Virtual Assistant Edit permission to your profile (you will find this permission in Profile > Permissions > Administration tab)
  2. Add the Virtual Assistant editor to a navigation set (you will find this in Navigation Sets > Configuration > Components > Common)
  3. Create the VA profile and account (to define the VA name that will display to customers e.g. “Siri”), as well as the VA chat queue (which will handle incoming chats and escalation)
  4. Create chat rules to route virtual assistant chats and escalate virtual assistant chats to agents when necessary.

Note: You can have only one VA account and one VA queue. The VA profile, account, and queue cannot be deleted. However, account and queue names can be changed.

Oracle Service Cloud 18A release now available

The 18A release of Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) is now generally available and it brings some great new features and enhancements.

Browser UI – Multi-Edit Workspaces

Multi-Edit Workspaces is a really basic but very useful functionality that was available in the Dynamic Agent Desktop (.NET Console) but still missing on the Browser User Interface (BUI). This release adds BUI support for Multi-Edit Workspaces for standard objects (Contacts, Organisations, Tasks, Answers, Assets) as well as custom objects.

This means that you are now able to update more than one record in a single operation instead of doing it on each individual record, saving you time when you need to make the same change to more than one record (e.g. updating Incident Status).

Knowledge Advanced – Product/Category Landing Pages

Customer Portal (CP) developers are now able to create product/category-specific pages. This will allow customers to select a product or a category and navigate their hierarchies using breadcrumbs and images. Additionally, any searches attempted from those pages will automatically use the selected product or category, and answers displayed will be specific to that product or category.

Knowledge Foundation – CKEditor for Answers

The Aug 17 release of OSvC announced a CKEditor for Community Self-Service. “The CKEditor is an open source text editor, written in JavaScript, designed to standardise text editors and features in web pages. And is widely used (…) giving customers a much better and improved text editor, when submitting questions or comments (…) Customers will have a WYSIWYG bar to edit text, ability to paste text from MS Word, and do custom HTML formatting”.

The CKEditor was only available in the BUI, but 18A release enabled it across both BUI and the Dynamic Agent Desktop (.NET Console), also for Answers.

Knowledge Foundation – Answers Versioning

Answer Versioning is a functionality that many users of OSvC, namely the knowledge managers, were (desperately!) requesting for a while. Almost 3,5 years ago I published a blog post to present Ideqa’s VersionCX – an add-in that allowed storing of historical versions of Answers.

18A release of OSvC finally includes this feature – even though it is only available in the the Dynamic Agent Desktop (.NET Console). Answer versioning will allow knowledge managers and authors to draft and publish versions of answers, compare versions and view historical, as well as live, versions of answers.

Platform – Bulk Delete API for Organisations

The Bulk Delete API was announced back in Feb 17 and Aug 17 releases, but was still not fully available. In the 18A release the Bulk Delete API supports Organisations and Accounts allowing you to purge accounts and organisations in bulk, using the API. Additionally, it allows the flexibility to delete selective data based on custom ROQL queries.

Platform – MySQL and PHP Upgrades

With the 18A release, OSvC will be upgraded to MySQL 5.7 from MySQL 5.1.

Additionally, a PHP upgrade has been performed for security compliance, from 5.6.18 to 5.6.31.

17D Release now available (Part II)

The 17 D release of Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) is now generally available and it brings fantastic new features and enhancements. You can read Part I here.

OSvC Platform – Element Manager

This is probably the feature that most system integrators (SIs) and admins craved for. The ability to “package up” configurations and release them to another environment, in an automated fashion.

It is particularly useful when deploying changes from DEV to TEST or from TEST to LIVE environments. Or, when you have many interfaces (e.g. due to different languages) and need to replicate changes.

It allows packaging of configurations, customisations or developments, for migration into other OSvC interfaces or instances, managing dependencies automatically, and allowing roll-back of most recently deployment.

Important Note: The Element Manager only works from the Browser UI (BUI) and in the current release only allows the migration of reports, workspaces, workflows, and dashboards.

When fully deployed the Element Manager will not only benefit SIs but clients themselves as this feature will avoid manual replication of configurations across interfaces and instances, which significantly increases deployment time, effort and cost.

The link below includes a step-by-step demo provided by Oracle, on how the Element Manager works, and confirm how easy-to-use and user-friendly it is.

Oracle Service Cloud – Element Manager – Step-by-Step Demo



17D Release now available (Part I)

The 17 D release of Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) is now generally available and it brings exciting new features and enhancements to the ever more exciting Browser User Interface (BUI) – by the way if you’re confused about the release terminology, read this post “Oracle changing version terminology“.

Browser UI – Best and Proposed Answers

The new release allows agents, using the BUI, to select the answer(s) that helped them resolve the incident (from the list of all answers listed). Marked answer(s) will be given greater deference by the SmartAssistant.

Additionally, the well known Propose Answer functionality, available in the console (.NET client) is also available in the BUI now. Allowing agents to propose incident response as a new or potential answer in the knowledge base.

Browser UI – Assets, Agent Scripts, Multi-Edit, Product Linking

17D brings a whole raft of very useful functionality (previously available in the console) into the BUI. The ability to display and work Assets as well as use Agent Scripts is definitely something that many users will welcome.

Product linking is also available now, allowing those who have large numbers of products, categories and dispositions, to avoid going through long lists of menu items to find the appropriate option, simplifying the agent’s job.

Lastly, users can now take advantage of the multi-edit workspaces capability to edit multiple records in one go – something that I’m sure most of you would have been crying for in the BUI.


Browser UI – Input Controls

Continuing to enhance the functionality in the BUI, Oracle has made available in  the 17D release the the following controls:

  • Radio button
  • Text Box
  • Menu
  • List Box

Additionally 17D release supports workspace rule triggers, conditions and actions for those input controls. With this capability the BUI now supports the ability to trigger workspace rules, apply conditions and set the value on those input controls, as well as assign a value of the Text Box control to a field.

Browser UI – Workflows (Phase 1)

Desktop Workflows are widely used by the OSvC community, but so far weren’t available in the BUI. But, the new release supports workflows for workspaces and page navigation., even though it is still at a limited capacity.

The workspace elements supported are: Decision, Set Fields (except relative date field values), Create and Workspace (except assets), and Connector elements (except Exit Guide and Exit/Finish script connectors).

More detail on the Desktop Workflow elements supported by the BUI is shared in Answer ID 9845.

Browser UI – Service Level Agreements

The new release also brings SLAs runtime support to the BUI, adding the SLA container control (Relationship items) and SLA instance view control for Organisation and Contact workspaces.

Agents can then manage customers’ SLAs (type and amount of support you offered), complementing the capability of selecting the SLA instance in the incident (which was already there).

Important Note: The SLA management and configuration page is not yet available in the BUI, thus admins will have to still use the console to create and edit SLA instances, set response requirements, initial response and incident resolution times.

Browser UI – Analytics Auto Filtering and Report Queuing

Auto-filtering is now available in the BUI, and can be turned on and off at runtime. For those not familiar with it: with a report filter only the records that match the filter values are returned from the database and displayed on the report. On the other hand, with the auto-filter records that do not match the filter values are hidden, but not removed from the report’s output.

Auto-filter values selected apply only to the report page displayed, and will be lost as soon as the report refreshes, or when agents move to another report page. Even though, it is possible to lock auto-filter values.

It is also important to know that auto-filter fields are associated with the visible columns on the report, auto-filter values will definitely be lost when agents move to a different report level or linked report. Those will then have their own auto-filter options.

The coolest thing about it is that Oracle developed the auto-filter functionality following concepts of modern web design.


Oracle changing version terminology

As I’m sure most of you know, Oracle releases new versions of Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) every quarter. And does it always in the months of February, May, August and November. That is why when we talk about versions we either say “May 16” or “16.5“… “Nov 15” or “15.11“.

But Oracle announced recently that it is going to change the naming and terminology of versions. And the reason they are going to do that is for “clarity and consistency“. This change will take effect from October 2017.

Oracle is going to use the last two digits of the calendar year (e.g. “17” for 2017 or “18” for 2018), and then the letters “A”, “B”, “C”, and “D” for the four calendar quarters – as releases will continue being delivered in February, May, August and November.

So, here is how it is going to wor…

  • In November 2017, the OSvC release will be “17D
  • In February 2018, the OSvC release will be “18A
  • In May 2018, the OSvC release will be “18B”
  • In August 2018, the OSvC release will be “18C”
  • In November 2018, the OSvC release will be “18D”
  • and so on and so forth…

When it comes to the “Maintenance Packs”, they will be applied on a monthly basis, and “patches” applied as needed. When it comes to terminology, Oracle will name them “Oracle Service Cloud <version> <month> Maintenance Pack”.

So, here is how it is going to work…

  • In December 2017, the OSvC maintenance pack will be called “Oracle Service Cloud 17D December Maintenance Pack
  • In March 2018, the OSvC maintenance pack will be called “Oracle Service Cloud 18A March Maintenance Pack
  • and so on and so forth…

As a side note, updates to Browser User Interface (BUI), the Auto-Upgrade Program, and the Legacy Upgrade Process will not change.

Aug 17 Release now available (Part III)

The August 2017 (17.8) release of Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) is now generally available and it brings so many exciting new features and enhancements that, this time, I am braking my thoughts down in various posts. You can read the first one here, and the second one here.

Community Self-Service – CKEditor

The CKEditor is an open source text editor, written in JavaScript, designed to standardise text editors and features in web pages. And is widely used.

The 17.8 release of OSvC adds CKEditor to the Community Self-Service, giving customers a much better and improved text editor, when submitting questions or comments.

Customers will have a WYSIWYG bar to edit text, ability to paste text from MS Word, and do custom HTML formatting. CKEditor also supports accessibility with WCAG 2.0 standards – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.


Community Self-Service – File Attachments

The new release also brings the ability for customers to attach files to questions and comments. This is a great enhancement as it allows users to provide extra (and most times extremely useful) information or pictures to their questions or comments.

Notice that, similar to the file attachments functionality of assisted service, as an admin you can control file size limits and also valid file extensions.


Community Self-Service – Widgets

In terms of widget functionality, the 17.8 release brings a couple of new things. You can now select or pin a forum to the ForumList Widget on the home page, as well as set different sorting options – including sort by, last activity, questions, comments or Product ID.


Additional sorting options are now also available in the QuestionList Widget, from last activity to a relevant time period – including sort by year, month, day, week or any date range.


Lastly, customers will now also be able to quote other people’s comments when replying to them.


Platform – Custom Process Logging

The 17.8 release of OSvC adds a new feature that enables you (as a developer) to log errors and custom messages through scripts. You can access and review data logs, as well as enable or disable logging without code modification.

This allows you to debug runtime problems, with custom process scripts, during development and testing. Notice that two entities are used in custom process logging:

  • Terminals – The Terminal class provides the logging function. You define terminals in PHP scripts that you import into the Process Designer. The Terminal class is provided with Connect Common Object Model (CCOM) version 1.3 and later.
  • Probes – Probes control which terminals are used for logging. You create probes in the Browser UI using the Probe Designer.

Please notice that the Probe Designer is only available in the BUI, even though you develop the custom process models in the Console.

This capability must be enabled, via the ENABLE_CPM_LOGGING configuration setting, as it is not enabled by default. You should not be able to see this configuration setting, thus need to submit SR with Oracle support to request it.

You can find more information about this, how to use and setup in this section of the guide.

Platform – Connect v1.4

Connect v1.4 also brings some new features like consistency across Connect APIs. Included are metadata improvements, support for bulk APIs for delete and extract operations, and unified metadata for Marketing and Mail APIs.

Additionally it seems to also bring a correction to a bug that we found not long ago (and reported to Oracle Support) when we were extracting data from a custom object using the REST API, and found discrepancies on date fields (e.g. Start Date, End Date).

In the console/BUI workspace) we could see Start Date: 01/05/2017 and End Date: 30/04/1018. But in the response back from the API it was Start Date: 30/04/2017, End Date: 29/04/1018.

Platform – OpenID Protocol Support

OpenID-based single sign-on (SSO) is now supported, and will allow your agents to log in to multiple OpenID Connect (OIDC) providers such as Google, etc.

If you are not familiar with it, OIDC is widely used as an authorisation protocol based on REST, JSON, and OAUTH 2.0 standards.

It will be very useful for you be able to define and manage OIDC providers in the Browser UI, allowing your agents to SSO.

Among the various benefits of OIDC are the fact that it can be used for both web SSO and APIs, and unlike SAML, it can be used on mobile platforms.

To enable this capability you should ask Oracle support to enable the configuration setting SSO_ENABLE_EXTERNAL_IDP.

Platform – Bulk Delete API

This will give you the ability to delete large amounts of data (incidents and related data) using ROQL. In order to use it you will need to go to the Profile permissions (Admin area) and enable the “Bulk Delete” permission. Please notice that the 1,000 is the maximum number of records that can be deleted at a time.

Aug 17 Release now available (Part II)

The August 2017 (17.8) release of Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) is now generally available and it brings so many exciting new features and enhancements that, this time, I am braking my thoughts down in various posts. You can read the first one here.

Browser UI – Report Inline Editing

With the latest release this feature is now supported in the Browser UI (BUI) allowing you to edit data in reports without having to open the object/record. If this capability is enabled in the report, you can edit the data in a field on the report cell, including fields of type drop-down menu.


Browser UI – Report Cross Tab and Forward

For those who are not familiar with it, Cross Tab is a feature of OSvC reports that allows you to compile, into a few lines, data that could span through various pages. This functionality is now supported at runtime within the BUI, with the 17.8 release.

Additionally it is now also possible, from the BUI, to forward reports and dashboards to other users (via email) using HTML format.


Browser UI – Guided Assistance and OPA Integration

One other thing that was still missing on the BUI was the ability to use Guides and OPA interviews, within a workspace – capability that has been available in the console. The new 17.8 release supports this functionality, allowing you to provide these very useful aids to your agents, which sometimes are key when supporting customers on the phone or over a live web chat session.


Business Rules 2.0

Finally the best for last! As an OSvC expert and implementation specialist, this is probably one of my favourite enhancements for the last few releases. Oracle called it Business Rules 2.0 as it is a complete re-vamp of the Business Rules editor and capability.

But caveats first… this is not yet available for standard objects, only for custom objects. It will come for Organisations, Contacts, Incidents, Tasks, and Opportunities further down the line. And it is available in the BUI.

The new Business Rules editor not only has a much more modern and intuitive look and feel, but it supports business rules for custom objects. Which means that you will no longer need to write as much code as you used to (in custom scripts/processes) if you need to create automation in custom objects.


As an administrator or implementor you can view and manage all rules within a rule set (or object) at a glance.


And create new rules in a much more intuitive and easy to use interface.


Additionally, you can search for rules and values used within your rules.


Keep your eye on the next post – Aug 2017 release now available (Part III) – in which I will tell you a bit more about some of the most exciting enhancements in this Aug 2017 release.

Aug 2017 release now available (Part I)

The August 2017 (17.8) release of Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) is now generally available and it brings so many exciting new features and enhancements that, this time, I will break down my thoughts in three posts.

Site Configuration – Mailboxes

Until now, mailboxes were interface-specific items. To configure or manage a mailbox, you would have to be logged in to the interface where it was being used. Not any more!

From the Aug 17 release you can manage and configure all mailboxes from a single place (the interface of your choice) making it easier and more efficient for you to manage several mailboxes, in particular when you have multi-language interfaces and you don’t happen to speak them all!

The below screenshot shows the new Mailbox configuration screen, where you have a new tree structure with the list of mailboxes nested under type of mailbox, which in turn is under interface name.


Site Configuration – Message Templates

As you know Message Templates are broken down in 3 types: Admin Notifications, Admin Emails and Customer Emails. They allow you to customise the outgoing messages (for Admins, Agents or Customers) for each of your interfaces.

The 17.8 release brings a new feature for the Admin Notifications, that can be extremely useful and increase agent efficiency. You can now add – only to the Incident Assigned message template – a link to the Browser UI (BUI), which will take the agent directly to that particular incident record, in the BUI.


Configuration Assistant – Browser UI

Speaking about BUI, you no longer have to ask Oracle to enable it for you, and wait for them to “approve” or “agree” to do it for your company. You can now enable the BUI yourself via the Configuration Assistant (which you can reach in https://ossc-gb.custhelp.com).

Once you login the Configuration Assistant this is what you need to do

  1. Select the site (by clicking the site name/link)
  2. Go to the Integrations area (by clicking the Integrations box)
  3. Scroll down to the Browser User Interface section.
  4. Click the Enable BUI button

Once it is active you will see the message “Browser User Interface is enabled on this service site” as well as the URL, which should be something along the lines of: http:// <yourdomain> .custhelp.com/AgentWeb/

Please remember that the BUI will only be available for your site, if you are in one of the last 5 releases.


Browser UI – Service  Level Agreements

The 17.8 release closes one important gap in previous releases of the BUI. Service Level Agreement (SLA) fields are now supported in the BUI. You can place them on the workspace and agents can view and edit Organisation and Contact SLAs, as well as assign the desired SLA to an incident.


Keep your eye on the next post – Aug 2017 release now available (Part II) – in which I will tell you a bit more about some of the most exciting enhancements in this Aug 2017 release.