OSvC Upgrades in 5 Steps

I have been noticing that the Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) upgrade process is still a bit of an unknown (to used a light term… as some call it “nightmare“) for some people, and hopefully this post will help put things in perspective and demystify it.

Since May 2014 release, Oracle decided to auto-enrol all new OSvC clients to the Auto Upgrade Programme (AUP). Nonetheless there are still many of you out there on the old model, only upgrading when you feel like, and request.

Even though it is not mandatory for you  to upgrade each time Oracle releases a new version of OSvC – i.e. every quarter (February, May, August, November) – it is recommended that you stay as current as possible.

This will ensure that your OSvC environment is as safe and stable as possible; any issues discovered in production sites are fixed; and that you face no delays when you are ready and willing to roll-out, and adopt, new features.

It is also important to know that once an environment is 1 year behind the latest release (i.e. 4 releases without upgrading) it will no longer receive Service Packs. And after 2 years without upgrading (i.e. missing last 8 releases) you will lose Oracle’s support.

So, with or without AUP, when you request or accept an upgrade, here are the 5 main steps of the upgrade, which you should look out for and/or carry out.

  • Step 1 – When a new release is out, Oracle will send you an email notification…
    • Announcing of General Availability of the new release
    • Confirming the date on which your site will be cloned into an Upgrade Site
    • Advising that the upgrade cutover will occur 14 days after the Upgrade Site creation

Note: If you have any ongoing projects, changes or developments that may interfere with the upgrade, then you should contact Oracle to reschedule or skip the upgrade, and you can do that by raising a Service Request in the support site.

  • Step 2 – On the agreed date, Oracle will create the Upgrade Site and send you an email notification…
    • Sharing the Upgrade Site URLs (usually domain–upgrade.custhelp.com)
    • Confirming the Cutover date (which should be set two weeks in the future)

Note: If you do not have availability to perform the necessary User Acceptance Testing (UAT) within the next two weeks, you should reschedule the upgrade Cutover using the Hosting Management System.

  • Step 3 – You should perform any necessary regression and user acceptance testing in order to assure that the upgrade did not impact any standard or custom functionality.
    • Prepare the upgrade site for testing by re-configuring mailboxes (point to test mailboxes), integrations (point to test web service end points)
    • Test core functionality
    • Test channel interactions (email, chat, social)
    • Test customisations (add-ins, custom scripts, etc.)
    • Test customer portal
    • Test automation (business rules, workspace rules, etc.)
    • Test integrations (real-time, batch, etc.)
    • Test new functionality made available in latest release

Note: If you have any questions or find any problems in the Upgrade Site you should report them to Oracle following the normal support route, raising a Service Request in the support site.

  • Step 4 – Oracle will perform Cutover and upgrade your production site to the new version.
    • During the cutover your site is inaccessible for both Agents (Console) and Customers (Portal). Customers will see a general message indicating that the site is undergoing maintenance. And it is possible to have a custom splash page display (see Answer ID 1306)
    • Customer won’t be able to access answers or submit incidents via the Customer Portal. However, emails can be sent to a Service mailbox, and will be queued in the mailbox(es) and incidents created when the Techmail utility runs for the upgraded site. Therefore, no incidents submitted via email are lost during the upgrade process
    • When your production site is upgraded the database from the existing production site is merged with the configuration files of the upgrade site. Please check Answer ID 1925 to see which changes are carried from the production and the upgrade site.

Note: You can request an adjustment of the cutover date and time. Oracle will send email notifications to confirm cutover start and completion.

  • Step 5 – You should perform any necessary final checks, tests, etc.

Note: If you have any questions or find any problems you should report them to Oracle following the normal support route, raising a Service Request in the support site.

Depending on how much time you need to do the regression and user acceptance testing, the upgrade process may take between 6 and 8 or 10 weeks. And there is a crucial period you must not forget: the code freeze – from the moment Oracle creates the Upgrade Site (Step 2) until the upgrade itself is complete (Step 4).

May 2017 release now available

The May 2017 release of Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) is now generally available and, as always, brings some exciting new features and functionality that touch the Customer Portal (CP), the Browser UI (BUI), the Knowledge Base (KB), Oracle Policy Automation (OPA), and the underlying platform.

Community Home Page and Widgets

A “Home Page” is now available for the community, acting as the landing page and facilitating – through a series of new (and existing) widgets – an immediate overview. It also provides an easy navigation to the areas of the community that are most relevant to the customer, making things more user friendly and smooth. Some of the new widgets (listed below) are shown in the following screenshot.

  • Announcements
  • Forums List
  • User List (most comments)
  • User List (most questions)
  • Recently Active Users
  • Twitter

This new release also includes other new features on the discussion and account management pages, as well as allows community members to use Facebook profile picture as community avatar.

Oracle_Service_Cloud_Community_New_Widgets2

Customer Portal – CAPTCHA

The CAPTCHA widget was also enhanced in the May 2017 release of OSvC and is not in-line with the latest Google “reCAPTCHA” widget, which increases security and makes it easier for the customer – as the new reCAPTCHA allows users to attest they are humans with a single click, without having to solve a CAPTCHA.

Browser User Interface (BUI)

Following up on the development of agent-facing functionality into the BUI, on the May 2017 release Oracle Policy Automation (OPA) is fully integrated, allowing users to complete OPA interviews withing the BUI – as they would in the Dynamic Agent Desktop.

On top of that, the May 2017 release brings a significant number of enhancements to the BUI, when it comes to reports.

  • Report Inline Editing is now available – allowing users to update data directly in a report.
  • Cross Tabs reports are now supported – allowing users to group data by row and column output.
  • Additional export formats are now available
  • Dashboards can now be exported

Knowledge Base

The May 2017 release adds new capabilities to the Knowledge Base (KB) namely to the Knowledge Advanced, for either the Customer Portal and Agent Desktop.

One of the most interesting capabilities is the multi-language search, which will be particularly useful for those companies that support multiple countries, and have KB answers in various languages. Based on user preferences, this feature limits search results on the KB search report/window, to answers in the languages selected on the user profile.

Oracle_Service_Cloud_Knowledge_Advance_language_Search

Another very useful enhancement on the KB capabilities is the new API functionality to:

  • bulk import images – allowing the upload and deletion of images (used in KB content) in bulk, using the API as an alternative to the authoring tool.
  • mass update content with inline images
  • migrate documents from other environments or legacy knowledge bases

Another new capability on the Knowledge Advanced front is the ability to enable search by Product and Category in the customer portal. This will allow customers to browse KB content by product and category, improving usability and web self-service capability.

Oracle_Service_Cloud_Knowledge_Advanced_product_category_search.png

The May 2017 release also brings to Knowledge Advanced enhanced support for file types upload. Adding to the ability to upload images (jpeg, png, bmp, gif), Administrators can now configure and allow Knowledge Managers or Authors to upload further file types (PDF, DOC, XLS, PPT, TXT…).

Oracle_Service_Cloud_Knowledge_Advanced_upload_file_types

Finally, in this new release, the Site Wide Link Checker (which was introduced in Nov 2015 release) is now able to check Knowledge Advanced answer links, allowing knowledge managers to easily identify broken links within KB content, and fix them.

Oracle_Service_Cloud_Knowledge_Advanced_Site Wide Link Checker

Oracle Service Cloud Platform

Some exciting news at the platform level. As advanced in the Las Vegas conference, Oracle is releasing the Enterprise Extension Manager which will basically be a release management tool, allowing the export and import of configuration changes and packages between environments and interfaces. This is an extremely useful and long-requested feature, by admins and developers, which is not yet complete and Oracle advises has “controlled availability in May 2017 release“.

The May 2017 release also brings enhancements on data management, including Cloud Auxiliary Storage Service. A scalable data storage that provides real-time read/write functionality for non-operational data.

Lastly, Managed Tables are improved in order to expose and allow access to additional OSvC through RightNow Object Query Language (ROQL). The following managed tables are now available for ROQL queries:

  • ChatQueue
  • Flow
  • FlowQuestion
  • IncidentQueue
  • Profile

If you want to know more about May 2017 release and access the release documentation, please visit the Customer Success Blog

Feb 17 release now available

The February 2017 Release of Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) is now available to the public and brings some cool new features and functionality that touch the Customer Portal (CP), the Contact Centre experience, the Knowledge Base (KB) and Oracle Policy Automation (OPA).

Experience/Skills-based routing for all channels

This is one of the features that many OSvC users have been waiting for. The Feb 17 release now supports Experience/Skills-based Routing not only for Chat (introduced on the May 14 release) but for all channels – email, social, web.

This means that the assignment of all incidents, based on agent’s skills will be possible, and allow you to optimise the routing of incidents – assigning it not only to the right team, but to the best person, increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome and first contact resolution.

To have this, make sure you ask Oracle to enable the “Smart Interaction Hub”.

oracle-service-cloud-skills-based-routing

Widget Inspector

The widget inspector aims to make life easier for developers and CP administrators. It helps you identify widgets and inspect its attributes and settings. This new feature allows you to access CP admin pages, inspect widgets and change them without having to touch any code.

You can highlight and inspect widgets on a CP page, while in development mode. When you select a widget (or more than one) the page shows the widget being highlighted with the widget name superimposed over the top of the widget. Then, by selecting the widget name you can see the attributes of that widget.

Knowledge Advanced

The new features in Knowledge Advance bring additional reports that will help you look into agent knowledge usage, allowing knowledge managers to differentiate usage of knowledge articles by customers on the Customer Portal, and by agents on the Agent Desktop.

These new reports provide knowledge manages additional insight and key metrics on agent behaviour and engagement, helping them improve the effectiveness of knowledge based articles.

oracle-service-cloud-kb-reports

Another new feature is related to Travel Ontology (industry dictionary). Oracle added the latest terms and abbreviations for the travel industry, including IATA airport codes to the dictionary, in 22 languages. This will improve search results via contextual recognition of IATA airport codes.

The Recently Viewed Answers widget has now also been extended to the Advanced Knowledge (it was already available for Knowledge Foundation), and will help improve navigation, UX and ultimately CX.

oracle-service-cloud-recently-viewed-answers

Lastly for Knowledge Advance, a new feature that will allow the automatic notification of knowledge managers and authors on changes or updates needed on answers assigned to them. The Author Task Notifications is now available to be configured and will make things much more pro-active and efficient.

Oracle Policy Automation

In Feb 17 release, Oracle introduced some Connection Enhancements which will allow various users to use one OPA interview, including anonymous users, logged-in customers, and staff/agents.

Another new feature coming to OPA is the ability to synchronise OPA HUB users with other systems, enabling automatic creation of user accounts using the OPA HUB REST API.

The OPA HUB REST API for deployments will also help to automate policy life-cycle tasks, like the promotion from Test to Production environments, and the ability to deploy, explore, activate, and retrieve policy models on an OPA hub.

Also, the new export project data model feature allows you to export the attributes that define an OPA project’s data model. The new capability enables you to review and analyse attribute metadata and detailed entity and relationship information.

REST API Enhancements

The Feb 17 release bring enhancements to the REST API allowing you to download multiple file attachments as a single compressed file. Additionally, the Campaign (Outreach) object is now available in CCOM to retrieve information on email outreach campaigns via Connect API.

High Volume Bulk Delete API

Another of the features many of us will be happy to hear about is the High Volume Bulk Delete API, which allows you to delete large volumes of incidents in a single API for incident archiving or purge.

Oracle Social Cloud Accelerator

Adding to the list of current “accelerators”, Oracle is releasing the new Social Relationship Management (SRM) accelerator. Allowing you to respond to SRM posts from Oracle Service Cloud, configure private and public channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), prevent duplicates with interactive contact matching and view full conversations in Oracle Service Cloud.

Note: One of the novelties Oracle Product Management Team introduced in the last few releases was a video where one of the guys presents and talks us through the new features. You can see it here. This time is Jeff Wartgow, Director of Product Management, who presents.

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.

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.

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

May 16 release now available

The May 16 release of Oracle Service Cloud is now available and a set of new features and functionalities has been added, enhancing even more the power of the platform.

Browser User Interface (BUI)

Oracle continues to improve and develop the BUI, in the journey to enrich this UI with all the features and functionalities available today in the Dynamic Agent Desktop (DAD). This new release adds the following:

Workspace Controls – “Button” and “Title Bar” controls are now now supported in the BUI and available to add to workspaces.

BUI online help – A new icon in the global header takes the user directly to the BUI online help, which opens in a separate browser window.

Data modified warning on browser close – A warning pop up window will displayed when a browser window or tab running on the BUI is closed explicitly from the browser itself.

Change Action menu item labels – The label text of the items displayed in the BUI Action menu can now be changed (using the DAD Ribbon designer).

Browser compatibility dialog window – The browser compatibility dialog window that displays when the workspace designer is opened will now also display when the report or dashboard designer are opened.

Enhanced Quick Search – A new persistent text field was added to the Quick Search feature, allowing users to enter a value for that single filter and click the search icon to initiate the search.

Collaboration Enhancements – Agents using BUI can now see the conversation re. the incidents on the My Incident Conversation report – providing Oracle Social Network (OSN) is enabled on the site and the My Incident Conversation item is added to the navigation set of agents with collaboration permission. An administrator can also designate a profile or set of users as “tenant administrators”, who have permission to administer OSN.

Chat Enhancements – Additional chat features were added to the BUI, including the ability to conference other agents and transfer chats. Also, there is an improved capability for multi-chat  handling, with the BUI providing information to the agent in the chat panel, when agent has multiple chat sessions open – colour cues, message counts, timers and a wrap-up timer.

Workspace rules – Additional workspace rules actions are now supported, including: Add standard text to a thread, Execute editor command (Copy, Delete, Forward, new, Print, Refresh, Save, Save and Close), and Make the editor read only.

JavaScript API – Using this API it is now possible to extend the BUI, which now supports SaveSave & Close, Copy, extension loading, and editor tab-changing events; browser controls, editor commands, and workspace refresh methods; workspace properties; using ID or name of an object when updating a field value.

Outreach and Feedback

Surprise for those who have been saying that Oracle would not improve the Outreach capabilities of OSvC due to the fact that Oracle Marketing Cloud is the preferred product.

Scalable audience calculation for broadcast mailings – The audience generation in mailings was improved to mine audience members in chunks, as subsets, and then compiling the full list for the mailing’s send step. This ensures time-sensitive content can be sent with minimal impact to your site. The entire process happens behind the scenes, requiring no configuration, and applies to all broadcast mailings.

Staff Management

The Profile editor now includes an option to set the .NET browser control to run in IE11 emulation mode rather than the default IE7 mode. Administrators select the Set Browser Controls to use IE11 emulation mode check box on the Other tab of the Profile editor to enable this function. The check box is not selected by default. In addition, browser controls in workspaces should have the Open popups in new browser control option set.

Co-Browse Audit Reports

Audit reports, with all changes made to the configuration of the co-browse functionality are now available for Administrators, giving information about who/when/what changes were made.

Turkish Language Support

Another language added to the list of almost 40 that Oracle Service Cloud supports. With the May 2016 release, the Turkish language is now fully supported within the Dynamic Agent Desktop (DAD) and Customer Portal (CP). All labels in the CP and message bases in the DAD support Turkish. Turkish spell check is included as well.

Enhanced Email Processing

This is probably the most exciting new feature of the May 2016 release.

Near Real-Time Incident Creation – the processing speed was increased and emails are now processed almost immediately after arriving to the Oracle-managed mailboxes, allowing for a near real-time creation of incidents. (note: this change is automatically available to all customers with Oracle-managed mailboxes on May 2016 versions and later).

Inline Images – It is now possible to add inline images as MIME types to the message templates, instead of linking to a file attachment server.

Policy Automation

The policy automation part of OSvC (powered by OPA in the cloud) continues to be enhanced as well with some important new features.

Interview Checkpoints – Customers and agents are now able to save an in-progress or incomplete interview and resume it later, either starting at the same point they’ve left it or bfrom the beggining. This is available on interviews launched from the Customer Portal or from the Dynamic Agent Desktop. Administrators have the power to configure interview checkpoints on every page or after a set number of pages.

Signatures – It is now possible to add signatures to the end of the online interview.

Oracle Service Cloud Platform

REST API enhancements – This May 2016 release brings enhancements to the REST API including enhanced metadata and new API methods like reset password, send
mailing to contacts, and executive marketing flows.

Encryption/Crypto PHP API – to protect sensitive data in integrations and customisations, the encryption/crypto PHP API in CPHP supports encryption/decryption and other cryptographic functions.

 

Feb 2016 release now available

The first release of 2016 is there already with loads of new features. The Feb 16 release of Oracle Service Cloud brings many cool and useful stuff that we were all looking forward to.

Reporting and Analytics

Consolidated Dashboard layouts

A new dashboard layout is available on the Dashboards editor. Unlike other layouts, which determine where the individual reports display on the dashboard, the Consolidated Dashboard layout groups information from all reports on the dashboard into a single report. This lets you display data from multiple, unrelated tables in a single report. While single reports can pull information from unrelated tables, they may fail to run due to database query limits. All reports used in the dashboard must have the same number of columns and the corresponding columns in each report must have the same data type.

Column details available in Report Management reports

The “Reports by Description” and “View Report Descriptions” reports in the Report Management module now include links to column descriptions. For instance, when you run the “View Report Descriptions” report to see descriptions of Oracle Service Cloud reports, you can click the Details link next to a report name to view information about every column included in the report.

Dynamic Agent Desktop Configuration

Recent items

Changes were made to aid organisation and searching. Recent items are now grouped into three additional categories depending on when the record was last opened. Groups include Today, Yesterday, and Older, in addition to Pinned. You can search for records using a text search and filter by type.

Single Sign-on enhancement

The entity ID used in the metadata you export from the Single Sign-on Configurations editor can now be customised. The custom value is used instead of the entity ID that is generated when your Oracle Service Cloud Site is created. By using a custom ID, problems associated with external systems recognising special characters can be avoided.

Properties

Two new workspace and script options properties have been added in the February 2016 release.

  • “Refresh When New Record is Saved” is a new option property for the Policy Automation (OPA) control. When selected, it ensures an agent sees the correct PK ID displayed on the Policy Automation control after the initial save of the created object.
  • “Hide Options Button” is a new options property for reports and relationship items which contain the Options When selected, it removes the Options button from displaying in workspaces and scripts.

Customer Portal

Interactive Spellcheck

The Feb 2016 release adds “Interactive Spellcheck” to the Customer Portal. “Interactive Spellcheck” improves the customer experience with interactive correction of misspelled search terms. If a mistake in typing or spelling occurs, customers are now offered query correction options.

Recent Search

Customer Portal for Knowledge Advanced now displays recent searches within a drop-down list. This feature is designed to improve usability on Customer Portal by displaying a list of recent searches performed by a customer during their session.

Browser UI

Browser extensibility

The following enhancements have been made available to the Agent Browser UI Extensibility Framework:

  • Creating, editing, deleting, finding, and opening workspace records
  • Including and excluding menu items in simple and hierarchical menu fields
  • Additional validation and business logic on saving and closing workspaces

Change user password

You can now change your Oracle Service Cloud user password using the Change Password option in the Settings and Actions drop-down menu. This option is not available when SSO Login is enabled.

Persistent Summary panel

A new workspace Options property allows you to display the summary panel in a workspace as a persistent panel located directly above the primary tab set or as the first tab in the primary tab set. The Options property, named “Summary Panel Alignment”, is available when the primary Tab Set control is selected, and applies only to workspaces in the Agent Browser UI. For existing workspaces, the default value is First Tab, whereas the default value for new workspaces is Top.

Expanded version information in the About dialog

When you select About from the Actions and Settings drop-down menu, you will see expanded version information, including information about both your Oracle Service Cloud and Agent Browser UI product release versions.

Send broadcast Notification message to all logged in users

When you click the Create button in the Notifications window, the “Send To All Logged In Users” check box appears, allowing you to send a message to all staff members currently logged into the system. When you select the check box, the “To” field is disabled.

View Social results and create Social incidents

You can now view social monitor results and create incidents from those results using the Agent Browser UI.

  • Two new reports for viewing and managing social monitoring results are available specifically for the Agent Browser UI. The “Social Monitor Search Results” report is a top level report that allows you to view all searches and drill down to results. The “Social Monitor New Results” report displays all new results.
  • After selecting a specific social monitor post (Twitter public, Twitter @mention, Facebook subscription, or Facebook private message), the “Create Incident” button is displayed if an incident has not already been created for the post which allows you to create a new social incident.

 Enhancements to incident threads

Several new functions related to incident threads are now supported in the Agent Browser UI.

  • An attachment icon now appears on an incident response thread header when an attachment has been sent with that response. Click on the attachment icon for a list of attachments sent with the response, then click on an attachment in the list to view the attachment.
  • When you copy an existing incident, you can edit or delete all thread entries in order to modify the new incident as desired. After the new incident has been saved, you can no longer modify or delete those threads.
  • The “Read Only” behaviour properties for the Rich Text Incident Thread control on the incident workspace – Read Only On New, Read Only On Edit, or Read Only/Profile Based – are now supported by the Agent Browser UI.

Workspace rules

Additional workspace rules triggers, conditions, and actions are now supported.

JavaScript API

In addition to workspace rules, the Agent Browser interface can be further extended using the JavaScript API. With the JavaScript API, developers can use standard web technologies to create UI and data mashups.

Knowledge Advanced enhancements

Additional Knowledge Advanced features available in Agent Browser UI include:

  • Hot keys for “Add As Text” and “Add As Link”, used to add an answer to a message body, are now available.
  • When an answer is added to a message body as a link or as text or when an answer is viewed, these events are tracked and are reported in the “Answers Utilized by Agents”, which is accessed from Oracle Service Cloud Smart Client (or Dynamic Agent Desktop).

 Analytics

The Report Behaviour options “Create New Records in Separate Workgroup” and “Open Existing Records in Separate Workgroup” for the report control are now supported in the Agent Browser UI, allowing the new record or opened record to be saved independently from the record the control is on.

 Enhanced user interface look and feel

A number of changes to the workspace toolbar, primary tabs, and secondary tabs will provide more visual cues to the user.

  • On the workspace toolbar, the “Refresh”, “Save”, and “Save and Close” buttons now have appropriate icons to the left of the button text.
  • The selected primary workspace tab has a blue bar below the tab text to indicate it is the selected tab.
  • Secondary tabs include an appropriate icon to the left of the tab text to indicate the record type.

The selected secondary tab will have a border around the tab text and icon and the tab text will have bold blue formatting.

November 2015 release review

Browser UI Enhancements

Oracle continues to improve the OSrvC Browser UI and the Nov 2015 release comes many new capabilities for the web-based agent desktop. Apart from the new features, the other good news is that the Browser UI is compatible with any OSrvC, since Nov 2014 release, meaning that there is no need to upgrade to the latest releases to use the Browser UI.

  • Workspace Rules are now supported, allowing the trigger of certain actions based on specific conditions.
  • The Survey by Proxy control is also available in Incidents, Contacts and Custom Objects workspaces, allowing agents to complete surveys on behalf of customers.
  • A new API was created to allow the extensibility of the Browser UI. The Browser UI Extensibility Framework allows the writing of JavaScript code to read and write data (Contacts, Incidents and Organisations) as well as create UI mashups.
  • Cc, Bcc, attachments and responses to social  media (Twitter, Facebook) messages are now supported.

OSrvC_Browser_UI_1

  • Live Chat is now available, even though it is limited to 10 agents per site (Oracle wants to make sure it works well before rolling out fully)

OSrvC_Browser_UI_Chat.png

  • Alongside Live Chat, the Co-Browse is also available on the Browser UI, but only on a limited level as well (view or point).

OSrvC_Browser_UI_C0Browse

  • The Knowledgebase (Advanced) is also available for agents working from the Browser UI.

OSrvC_Browser_UI_KB

  • And super-users can also use the Browser UI now to manage knowledgebase content, editing questions and answers.

OSrvC_Browser_UI_KB_Answer

  • OSN (Oracle Social Network) or Collaboration was also included in this release and can now be used from the Browser UI.

OSrvC_Browser_UI_OSN

Dynamic Agent Desktop

The Dynamic Agent Desktop (DAD) also continues to be improved, giving the normal contact centre or back-office agent more options and flexibility. In this release, the improvements are all related to the look & feel of the DAD. There is an option to enable a web theme that follows web UI patterns. New elements like toolbars, icons, navigation menus and tabs will make the DAD consistent with other Oracle Cloud products and closet to the Browser UI.

OSrvC_DAD_WebTheme

Single Sign On

The ability to log in to Oracle Service Cloud using external identity providers (IdP) was introduced in the May 2015 release. In this new Nov 2015 release OSrvC supports authentication via multiple IdPs, and it is also possible to configure SAML tokens to supports different subject types for different IdPs.

REST API

The REST API was also introduced in the May 2015 release of OSrvC. At the time it was limited to CRUD operations. Later in the Aug 2015 release it was improved to support ROQL for object queries. And now in the new Nov 2015 release it has even more capabilities for non-CRUD operations. It allows the:

  • Upload and download of attachments.
  • Execution of reports.
  • Pagination and sorting of large amounts of data.

Co-Browse

The co-browse functionality has been part of OSrvC for a long time. Recently it was enhanced to support not only co-browsing on web and mobile browsers but also in native iOS apps.

The Nov 2015 release extends even more this capability, allowing the addition of co-browse to native Android apps.

Accelerators

Oracle keeps on enhancing the Accelerators that help with the integration of OSrvC and other Oracle products. One of the accelerators out there is for the integrations with Sales Cloud, but it was very limited. This new version comes with:

  • Full contact and organisation synchronization.
  • Ability to create and update opportunities in OSrvC, and save to Sales Cloud.
  • Ability to create and update incidents in Sales Cloud, and save to OSrvC.

The other great feature that comes with the Nov 2015 release is the Read/Write Report Add-in. This can be used, for example, in the integration with Siebel or eBusiness Suite, and allows the surfacing and editing of data in those system’s database from within the OSrvC agent desktop.

OSrvC_Report_Add_in

These reports can be easily built from within OSrvC Analytics module. In the data dictionary of the Reports Explorer, admins will be able to see virtual 3rd party tables (created by the add-in) and just drag-drop fields into the report.

OSrvC_Report_Add_in2

Advanced Knowledge

The new OSrvC Advanced Knowledge capability (recap: this is the Oracle Knowledge product but converted into a cloud product) continues to be improved and the Nov 2015 release introduces:

  • Search in multiple sources
  • Sophisticated authoring and workflow
  • Ability to support many languages and geographies
  • REST API to support integration and extension
  • Ability to subscribe to content articles
  • Wizard to manage intent based responses
  • Updated Industry dictionaries
  • Ability to search within MS Office 2013 documents (e.g. Word and Excel)

August 2015 release is now available

Unified Search for Self-Service

For those organisations who use the support community (peer-to-peer community where users support each other) the new search capability unifies and integrates both answers from the knowledge base and articles from the community. This will not only improve web self-service from the customer’s perspective but also help knowledge manager find gaps in the knowledge base, by using the new set of reports that display the number of answers vs discussions viewed for a particular topic.

OSrvC_Discussion_Report

Unified Content for SmartAssistant

Following the above, discussions from the support community will also display in the SmartAssistant, to make use of the other customer’s knowledge to resolve even more questions online.

Customer Portal Framework v3.3

The August 2015 release of Oracle Service Cloud includes Customer Portal Framework Version 3.3. This new version includes changes to support the new web self-service features, as well as a new reference implementation, with the same standard functionality but new out-of-the-box pages with a cleaner and more modern look & feel.

Customer Portal Responsive Design

The new version of Oracle Service Cloud comes with responsive design for the customer portal reference implementation. i.e. customer portal pages will responds and adapt to the customer’s device, regardless of it being a phone, tablet, lap or desktop.

Nevertheless this does not mean that the set of mobile pages will be deprecated. No, they will still be there for those who chose to use them.

Customer Portal Product Pages

The new version also comes with Product pages. A set of pages that group content about particular products. This is more of a landing page for products. A “answer list” page filtered by product if you whish. This could and was done in the passed with custom pages and reports, but now comes with the reference implementation.

Enhanced Co-Browse for iOS

The co-browse functionality was enhanced to support co-browsing with customers on mobile devices on native iOS applications. In the past, when co-browsing with mobile customers, agents could only see the web browser, but now they will be able to see native apps as well.

Larger Email Attachments

The maximum attachment size for incoming emails (incidents) has been 5 MB. This was set on the Mailbox configurations when admins were configuring the settings for incoming email. From now on, the maximum attachment size will be 25 MB, but only on hosted mailboxes.

Limiting Source Editing in Answers

This new feature allows managers to limit the ability of agents to edit knowledge base answers inserted within an email (incident) response. This is true when agents are changing answers in HTML or source mode. Managers can control what answer content agents can edit. This is controlled at the Profile level on the Services Permissions.

Incident Response Failure

In case the email (incident) response fails (or bounces) the agent will now immediately be notified by a toast notification in the agent desktop.

OSrvC_Incident_Response_Fail_Notification

Agent Browser UI Enhancements

The new version of Oracle Service Cloud brings a few enhancements to the Browser UI – which is now available for all customers, even though Oracle recommends some hand-holding when implementing it. Amongst those are the ability for agents to:

  • Forward incidents with attachments
  • Quickly insert pre-formatted text into incidents with standard text.

The reports displayed in the Browser UI were expanded and are now closer to the ones in the Agent Desktop Enhanced Console, now supporting more charts types and search capabilities (filters).

It is now possible to use a browser-type control in the Browser UI workspace in order to do surfacing type (mashup) integrations with 3rd party websites or web-based systems, with the ability to also pass data as parameter.

Routing Social Incidents

The integration between Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Social Cloud (fka Oracle SRM) was enhanced and a most wanted functionality was included to help organisations to route incidents to the right team or agent. It is now possible to pass the Oracle Social Cloud tags (created automatically or manually) to Oracle Service Cloud and use them as criteria in the business rules to route incidents to the a specific queue.

OSrvC_Social_Route_Tags

Twitter Private Messaging

Oracle Service Cloud now supports the new Twitter policy for private messaging, which allows organisations to reply to customers via direct message even if the customer is not following the organisation’s Twitter account.

Message Templates Enhancements

It is now possible to truncate text-based merge fields in order to control the size of emails. Admins can set a maximum number of character for text-based merge fields. This will truncate the text that displays in the email. It is also possible to append an ellipsis to the displayed text to indicate there is more to read if the text length limit is exceeded. This feature is also available in Outreach and Feedback emails.

Facebook Graph API v2.0 Migration

The Facebook Graph API enables developers to read from and write data into Facebook. Facebook has migrated all applications to version 2.0 of the Graph API which results in a few changes as Facebook has tightened control over shared information and customers. For example, keyword search across all Facebook content is no longer supported. However it is possible to do keyword search on Facebook fan pages.

API Enhancements

It is now possible to use the APIs to query survey data (questions and responses) using ROQL queries.

Additional capabilities have been added to PHP Mail API mailboxes, like the ability to select any mailbox when sending e-mails and override “reply to” and “friendly from” addresses.

The REST API was extended and now support ROQL for object and tabular queries.

Supported Platform Changes

The new release of Oracle Service Cloud discontinues support for the following deprecated browsers:

  • Windows Server 2003 as a terminal service
  • Firefox v35 on the Agent Browser UI and end-user applications
  • Safari v7.1 on the Agent Browser UI and end-user applications
  • Android v2.3 and v3.x operating systems for end-user applications