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Category Archives: Service Cloud

Using Oracle Cloud Applications to Augment On-Premises Applications [CAS3942]

Using Oracle Cloud Applications to Augment On-Premises Applications

Sometimes at Oracle OpenWorld it can seem like the presentations just merge into one long PowerPoint presentation. Thankfully this was not the case this year, and the Thursday afternoon had a succession of really very interesting sessions. Let’s  start with CAS3942 all about Using Oracle Cloud Applications to Augment On-Premises, with a very concrete scenario.

The speaker from Toronto Legal Aid in this presentation (“Using Oracle Cloud Applications to Augment On-Premises Applications”) gave very interesting insight into the challenges facing the organization in respect of key stakeholders (the public, the providers and the organization itself) and the evolutionary pressures the organization is under (the need to take into account the generational nature of contact channel preferences, the need for organizational culture change in the face of digitalization, the importance of understanding client priority needs).

Of course the arrival of tools such as Oracle Service Cloud RightNow and Oracle Policy Automation (both Cloud-based) into a world currently using Oracle PeopleSoft (on-premise) will help drive that strategy forward in a future-proofed way. Satisfyingly, this presentation was not all about the technology and the “How we did it”, but it also dived deep into the vision behind this project : that of a citizen-driven future. The section on Transformation Tips was particularly interesting.

Below you will find a series of somewhat blurred photos that I took during the presentation and I hope that you can read them, at least well enough to get some value and think about these performance indicators and drivers for your own project.

Thanks to Karl Martineau, CIO of Toronto Legal Aid  for presenting, and also for not being afraid to take questions on the fly, and demo some of the pieces of their solution without hesitation, deviation or repetition (as the saying goes on the BBC).

This was the last of the Oracle Policy Automation-related presentations for 2018, so I look forward to picking up with the next ones in Modern CX Las Vegas 2019 which is already open for registration.

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General Session: Next Generation of Customer Service [GEN1048]

General Session: Next Generation of Customer Service [GEN1048]

Awesome general session looking at the evolution of customer service, the evolution of humans (have you seen how kids use technology today?) and the evolution of channels.

The key theme was organic, knowledge driven customer service. There is so much out there but the next challenge will be to unify all the data, predict and automate decisions, and finally unlocking that tribal knowledge that we can call yelp, TripAdvisor and the masses of other human-driven sites in the data Cloud. What about all those power users out there : in fact most of us would say we are power users of the software we work with.

The demonstration with BeachBody and Directly was a fantastic example of this new concept of being able to systematically leverage the knowledge of the community.

The demonstration was in real time and showed the power of real-time  interaction with experts in the community. In the screenshot below you can see the key points. Chat (right hand side) within the customer portal (centre) handing off to the experts in the community, the expert (left hand side) getting pulled in to the chat with the customer, with Oracle Service Cloud remaining the system of record.

The second major element was , of course, the Internet of Things. For the first time I actually heard someone correctly describe what IOT really feels like today (suggestion, search for cheezoid on YouTube).

Laughs aside this was an AWESOME demonstration of how Contact Center, Policy Automation, Thingworks IOT, Knowledge articles, Commerce Cloud, Field Service all came together in a demo of automated service.

Then came the pièce de résistance : Pepper hooked up to all those components and actually automate the final pieces of the flow.

Virtual assistant, policy automation, commerce Cloud and marketing Cloud all fused together. Awesome demonstrations and a great light-hearted presentation team – but key concepts for any forward thinking company.

 

 

Modern CX : Mundane to Modern : Innovating your Service Cloud Core THT1315

Mundane to Modern : Innovating your Service Cloud Core THT1315

Just time to tell you about this Theatre Session run by Eventus. In all this talk of IOT and super-modern stuff it is nice to get to see somebody focusing on the core application. Oracle Service Cloud core is great but the neat customisation they illustrated were perfect examples of how a step change can sometimes come from a small effort.

  • SMS Channel in Incident Creation and Responses
  • Predictive Searches in the Customer Portal

Eventus also produce a set of enhancements that they briefly touched on : agent desktop extensions, mail merge, credit card processing in the Customer Portal and so forth.

The SMS channel was presented with a cool demonstration (kudos for doing it live guys) and it was th opportunity to consider the uniqueness of SMS : sometimes it is as fluid and frequent as live chat, but it can just as easily segue back into an email-style timescale.
Service Cloud

One of the different tools that was part of the demonstration with Service Cloud was Mightytext.net : Text from your computer, sync’d with your Android phone & number.

I hope to pop on by their booth later.

Anyway it was a good theatre session and I enjoyed the relaxed style.

 

Guest Post : Using Oracle Policy Automation Public Cloud with Oracle Service Cloud (RightNow): Part 4

We are continuing our Lazy Expert series of posts, with an explanation of how Oracle Policy Automation Public Cloud, and the rulebases deployed there, can be used within the Oracle Service Cloud application. In case you have missed out on the original post of this series, you can find it here . With the right Nudge, our Lazy Expert is not so lazy after all.

Part 1  looked at exploring, deploying and verifying the “RightNowSimple” rulebase to work with the Service Cloud Connection. The rulebase was launched directly using the Interview Session URL.

Part 2  looked at embedding this Interview into the Consumer Portal of Service Cloud so that anonymous visitors to the portal can use this same interview in self-service mode. This is accomplished by publishing an “Answer” in the knowledgebase, with the Interview Session URL embedded in an IFRAME, to the Consumer Portal. Optionally you can add some logic to your PHP and conditionally display the Interview.

Part 3 looked at embedding another sample Oracle Policy Automation Rulebase into the Service Cloud Consumer Portal so that “known” (logged-in) contacts can use the Interview Session for an appropriate determination to be provided by the Oracle Policy Automation rulebase. The Interview session will be launched in the context of a known user/contact and hence it is possible to pre-seed the Interview with the data from Service Cloud and, once the determination is completed in Oracle Policy Automation, save the data back into Service Cloud using the Service Cloud Connector.

This article will look at embedding the same Oracle Policy Automation interview that we saw in Part 3, StudentBenefits, and how this can be invoked from within the Agent Desktop. This is an example of using Oracle Policy Automation Cloud for providing assisted services to customers, by Agents, through the Agent Desktop UI.

Pre-requisites:

  • The StudentBenefits sample Rulebase is deployed and the Service Cloud Connector is verified to be working as advertised.
  • Most of the configuration is performed in the Agent Desktop and hence an appropriate credential with sufficient permissions in the Service Cloud is also needed.

Create a Custom Workspace (UI) in Service Cloud, for the Contact record

  1. If you do not already have a custom Workspace in Service Cloud, for the Contact record, you should create one from Configuration -> Application Appearance -> Workspaces / Workflows

In our example, we create a custom workspace named “CustomContact” using the steps listed below.

  • Copy the Standard Contact Workspace as CustomContact into the Custom Folder.
  • Open this new CustomContact Workspace and add a new tab labelled “Student Benefits”

  • Drag and Drop the “OPA” control onto this new tab and specify the control properties that point to the deployed StudentBenefits rulebase, the chosen locale for the UI and the refresh behavior.

  • You should then configure the control, setting the Policy Model, Locale and the Refresh behavior, so that when a new record is created and saved in the Agent Desktop, the Interview shows correctly. When you have done that, save the Custom Workspace.

Assign the new CustomContact Workspace to a relevant user assignable Profile (if required)

If you added the Oracle Policy Automation Control to a new Workspace, then you will need to assign it to somebody, so that you can test it. If you added it to an existing Workspace you can skip this step and proceed to verify the results.

  • Open the “Profile” which should provide access to our CustomContact workspace, from Configuration -> Staff Management -> Profiles, and assign the new Workspace to the Contact record by clicking the Magnifying Glass icon to display the popup window.

Verify the results in Oracle Service Cloud Agent Desktop UI

  1. Login to the Agent Desktop as a user who is assigned the above Profile.
  2. Search / Navigate to a known Contact record and navigate to the Student Benefits sub-tab that you added

You can now work through the Oracle Policy Automation wizard and examine the results in the Service Cloud database.

This explains how the benefits of an Oracle Policy Automation rulebase and the designed Interview sessions can be made available for known Contacts / Users using the Service Cloud Agent Desktop.

This article also concludes my 4 part series of using Oracle Policy Automation Cloud and the provided Service Cloud Connector.

I’ll be starting a new series of articles soon. In the meantime, any comments and/or suggestions on improving these articles are most welcome…

Guest Post : Using Oracle Policy Automation Public Cloud with Oracle Service Cloud : Part 3

Using Oracle Policy Automation Public Cloud with Oracle Service Cloud (RightNow): Part 3

We are continuing our Lazy Expert series of posts, with an explanation of how OPA Public Cloud, and the rulebases deployed there, can be used within the Oracle Service Cloud application. In case you have missed out on our first part of this series, you can find it here. With the right nudge, our Lazy Expert is not so lazy after all.

Part 1  looked at exploring, deploying and verifying the “RightNowSimple” rulebase to work with the Service Cloud Connection. The rulebase was launched directly using the Interview Session URL.

Part 2  looked at embedding this Interview into the Consumer Portal of Service Cloud so that anonymous visitors to the portal can use this same interview in self-service mode. This is accomplished by publishing an “Answer”, with Interview Session URL embedded in an IFRAME, to the Consumer Portal.

This post will look into embedding another sample OPA Rulebase into the Service Cloud Consumer Portal so that “known” (read logged-in) contacts can use the Interview Session for an appropriate determination to be provided by the OPA Rulebase. The Interview session will be launched in the context of a known user/contact and hence it is possible to pre-seed the Interview with the data from Service Cloud and, once the determination is completed in OPA, save the data back into Service Cloud using the Service Cloud Connector.

Pre-requisites:

  1. Steps in Part 1 are completed and the Service Cloud Connector is verified to be working fine.
  2. Explore / Deploy / Activate the “StudentBenefits” sample Rulebase into the OPA Cloud Policy Hub and obtain the Interview Session launch URL. Be sure to specify the correct Oracle Service Cloud connection to be used by this Rulebase.

Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Policy Automation

Do remember to explore the mapped-in and mapped-out attributes in the Data Model used by this Rulebase.

Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Policy Automation

After you have deployed the Rulebase to your OPA Hub, don’t forget to note the URL.

 

Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Policy Automation

Retrieve the Shared Secret used with the Service Cloud Connection

  1. The shared secret can be obtained from the Service Cloud Connection administration page. This is used for the purposes of encrypting the URL parameter “user”, as it is launched from within the Service Cloud Consumer Portal. If necessary, a new shared secret can be generated from within this admin page itself.

Deploy and configure the sample OPA Widget to Service Cloud

1. The relevant artifacts (for OPA Cloud Nov 2016 Release) and the detailed instructions for installation can be found on the official documentation website.

2. Download and Save the file Oracle_Policy_Automation_Cloud_Examples_Nov2016.zip and Unzip or extract the contents of the file to a local folder. Bear in mind that both of these URLs will probably evolve over time.

3. Verify and, if required, enable MOD_CP_DEVELOPMENT_ENABLED configuration setting for your Service Cloud Instance. This setting is most likely configured by the Oracle team, during the provisioning of your connected OPA Cloud Instance. If necessary, enable this setting under Configuration > Site Configuration -> Configuration Settings and changing the key value to “Yes”. This will enable you to work with the next steps of configuration within the Customer Portal.

4. Upload the required files to your Oracle Service Cloud instance using any WebDAV client, using the following sequence of steps. Tools you can user for this step include Cyberduck V4.4 (free, recommended by Oracle), WinSCP and even the good old “Mapped Network Drive” in Windows, to work with and explore the Customer Portal files available at the URL https://<your_site>/dav, using the WebDAV protocol.#

For the sake of brevity, these next steps are more focused on OPA. Please refer to the Service Cloud documentation, for the specific development process / best practices to be followed.

a. Configure/update the Shared Secret value into the file “…\customer-portal\widget\opa-helper.php” by placing it into the $shared_secret variable, using any plain text editor.

You will observe from the highlighted code snipped below that this shared secret is used to encrypt the user (contactID) parameter that is passed on to OPA Interview Session through the launch URL. You don’t really need to understand the code, just understand that you don’t want URL parameters that are readable with the naked eye.

Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Policy Automationb. For Oracle Service Cloud version November 2012 and later, we need to use Customer Portal framework version 3:

  • Upload the directory OPAWidget from customer-portal/widget/v3 to dav/cp/customer/development/widgets/custom/opa
  • Upload the file opa-helper.php from customer-portal/widget to dav/cp/customer/development/helpers

Note: You must have incorporated the “shared secret” before uploading this file.

Activate the OPAWidget using the “Development Mode” in Service Cloud’s Customer Portal administration page.

  • Open the Customer Portal Administration site at https://<your_site>/ci/admin.
  • In the menu bar, select “Settings”, then “Set Environment”.

Select Site Mode as “Development” and verify that you are actually browsing the development version of the customer portal:

Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Policy Automation

So you should see something like this:

Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Policy Automation

Now you are ready to activate the OPA Widget that you have uploaded to your environment.

  1. Navigate back to the Custom Portal Admin Dashboard page.
  2. In the menu bar, select Widgets, then Browse Widgets.
  3. On the Widgets page, select Custom Widgets, then opa, and then OPAWidget.
  4. In the custom/opa/OPAWidget view, with version 1.1 selected, click the “Activate this version” button.

When activated without errors the version drop-down will change to “1.1 (currently in use)”. In the picture below you can see the 1.1 version is activated. You will find it easier to use the search function highlighted rather than scrolling through the myriad of widgets.

Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Policy Automation

The final part of this rather convoluted process is similar to what you did in part two, namely you will now insert something into an Answer. Whereas in the previous example you inserted a bit of HTML that you could make yourself, this time OPA will be added to the Answer using the eponymous widget.

Insert the OPAWidget into an “Answer” in the Service Cloud Customer Portal:

  1. Create a new “Public” Answer in Service Cloud as shown below.

Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Policy AutomationSelect an appropriate “Access Level” on your site for this Answer, to ensure that only logged-in users will be able to access this answer from the customer portal. A logged-in user is necessary for pre-seeding the Contact information while launching the embedded OPA interview session.

  • Save the Answer record and note down the Record ID. We will use this Record ID to ensure that the OPA Widget is visible only when this particular answer is accessed by users in the customer portal. In our case, this ID is “134”.

Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Policy Automation

  • Edit the Answer Page design to conditionally include the OPAWidget. The page to be edited is detail.php at the path /dav/cp/customer/development/views/pages/answers

I used Cyberduck and Notepad++ as the editor, with the default character encoding as UTF-8. Cyberduck ensured that every save in the chosen editor was updated into the WebDAV development folder immediately. Nice!

Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Policy Automation

As an example, here I have edited the file to only display the Web Determination that we want to display, namely StudentBenefits, when we are showing Answer number 134.

Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Policy Automation

Verify the results in Oracle Service Cloud Consumer Portal

  • Search / Navigate to the Answer record in the Consumer Portal, as a logged-in contact/user. If you don’t login, you can expect to see the following warning message:

Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Policy AutomationView the details of this Answer and work with the embedded Interview Session. You will observe that some of the contact information is pre-seeded as you work through the interview session and the final assessment / determination is saved back into Service Cloud.

Assuming you have logged in however, this is what you will see :

Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Policy Automation

Those of you who have followed this sometimes serpentine chapter of our adventures from the beginning will note that I have logged in with a Portal profile of a user called Richard (who might that be?) and the interview has read that information.

Congratulations on getting this far. So we have discovered yet another way to nudge our lazy expert into giving us something useful. In the fourth and final part of this series I will go behind the curtain and work in the Agent Desktop. See you soon!

Raj

Guest Post : The Lazy Expert – Oracle Policy Automation Public Cloud with Oracle Service Cloud Part 2

The Lazy Expert -Oracle Policy Automation Public Cloud with Oracle Service Cloud Part 2

Introduction

We are continuing our Lazy Expert series of posts, with an explanation of how OPA Public Cloud, and the rulebases deployed there, can be used within the Oracle Service Cloud application. In case you have missed out on our first port of this series, you can find it here. With the right Nudge, our Lazy Expert is not so lazy after all. If you are missing the original post about the lazy expert, here it is.

Part 1  looked at exploring, deploying and verifying the”RightNowSimple” rulebase to work with your Service Cloud Connection. The rulebase was launched directly using the Interview Session URL. In this post, we will be looking at embedding this Interview into the Consumer Portal of Service Cloud so that anonymous visitors to the portal can use this same interview in self-service mode. This is accomplished by publishing an “Answer”, with Interview Session URL embedded in an IFRAME, to the Consumer Portal.

Pre-requisites

  1. Steps in Part 1 are completed and the Service Cloud Connector is verified to be working as expected.

Publish the “Answer” to Service Cloud Portal for anonymous use

In our simple example, we are going to embed the interview from Oracle Policy Automation as a publicly accessible page in a mythical “portal” website. Customers will be able to browse the website without in any way identifying themselves – anonymously.

  1. Create a new “Public” Answer in Service Cloud as shown below.
  1. In the Answer Tab, Source Sub tab, specify the content using an IFRAME tag as shown below.

The IFRAME tag is of the format

<iframe height="580" src="https://server/path/web-determinations/startsession/RightNowSimple" width="100%"></iframe>

where the “server/path” should be replaced with the values appropriate for your Oracle Policy Automation Cloud environment.

Oracle Policy Automation Public Cloud

  1. Save the Answer record. Make sure that the Answer you have created was using Source mode, otherwise your IFRAME will not display properly.

Verify the results in Oracle Service Cloud Consumer Portal

  1. Search / Navigate to the Answer record in the Consumer Portal, as an anonymous user using the keyword or text that you entered when creating the Answer above.
  2. View the details of this Answer and work with the Interview Session as normal. The result will be the same – the Contact is saved in your Service Cloud instance.

Oracle Policy Automation Public CloudSummary

This post explains how the benefits of an OPA rulebase and the corresponding Interview experience can be made available for anonymous users using the Service Cloud Consumer Portal. Check this space when we will continue next with part 3 of this series that focuses on embedding such interview sessions into the Consumer Portal of Oracle Service Cloud for known contact users…

 

Oracle Policy Automation Public Cloud with Oracle Service Cloud #1

Using Oracle Policy Automation Public Cloud with Oracle Service Cloud

Introduction

We are continuing our Lazy Expert series of posts, with an explanation of how OPA Public Cloud, and the rulebases deployed there, can be used within the Oracle Service Cloud application. In case you have missed out on our first part of this series, you can find it here. With the right Nudge, our Lazy Expert is not so lazy after all.

One of the earliest pre-built connectors for OPA comes from the Oracle Service Cloud Service, to connect with an Oracle Policy Automation Public Cloud Instance. Since then, we have seen multiple releases of this connector and each subsequent release improves the functionality available with the OPA Public Cloud Service, as well as how it is used together with the Oracle Service Cloud Service. For the rest of this content, we will be referring to these applications as OPA Cloud and Service Cloud respectively to gain a few centimeters of white space.

OPA Runtime Nudge (Trigger) Possible Scale of Invocations / Volume Typical Application / Solution Architecture Use by Service Cloud
Policy Hub (OPA Public Cloud) HTTP(s) URL based invocation of the Interview Service 100s of Thousands of invocations a day OPA Policy Hub, as another Web Application, provides the Interview Session screens using the UI as configured by the rule author.

 

This Assessment wizard can be made available within the “Agent Desktop” for the agent who is providing assisted service as well as embedded into the “Consumer Portal” for the consumer who is interested in achieving self-service.

 

It is possible to pass additional parameters through the URL, pre-load the Interview session with data from Oracle Service Cloud application and,

 

Persist / Save the data back into the Service Cloud application itself on completion of the interview and an appropriate assessment is made by our expert.

OPA RightNow Connector is a special implementation of the Web Service Connector architecture provided by OPA Policy Hub.

 

This “Connector” connects to a Service Cloud Instance as a data source and supports pre-loading and saving of data to / from the connected Service Cloud Instance.

For those of us trying to figure out the inner working of this connector, we will be using the sample rulebases provided by OPA Cloud. The complete list of example projects for the (freshly minted) Nov 2016 release of OPA can be found here. Such a hands-on exploration works best if you know both the applications well enough to administer and configure them, or spend some time together as a team that has the collective knowledge of both the applications.

The sample rulebase we use for this post is “RightNowSimple”. This is a fairly simple project that can be used to test the connectivity with the Service Cloud Instance from OPA Cloud and without making any changes to the Service Cloud Application. The supported objectives of this rulebase are

  • To collect the basic user profile information and their opt-in preference for marketing emails
  • If they opt-in, and only if, then collect the additional email address information
  • With the collected information and preferences, create a new “Contact” Record and the associated follow-up “Tasks” to be performed in the connected Service Cloud Instance.

Pre-requisites:

  1. OPA Cloud Instance provisioned with the necessary connection to the Service Cloud Instance. This is an improvement from earlier versions in that Oracle, along with provisioning the OPA Cloud Instance, will also perform some of the initial setup tasks needed to connect to a Service Cloud Instance from OPA Cloud. If this is all done correctly during provisioning, you should see the following entry in the “Connections” tab of the OPA Policy Hub administration site. The green check mark against the Oracle Service Cloud Connection signifies that the provisioning is all done correctly and that the Oracle Service Cloud connection is ready to use. Please also note the use of the SOAP service end-point for the associated Service Cloud Instance.

Oracle Policy Automation Public Cloud

  1. The new Permission model in OPA Cloud allows for “Collections” to be created, for the purpose of grouping rulebases and granting permissions to users at the Collection-level. In our case, we created a collection named “Service Cloud Collection” to group all the rulebases related to Service Cloud. If this is not available, you can always use the “Default Collection”, which is made available by default in OPA Cloud. Also the OPA Cloud Admin can specify which connections each of these collections will have access to. You will further see its impact when we are ready to deploy the rulebase.
  1. Oracle Policy Modeling Version 2016 is installed on your local machine with all its pre-requisites like Java RunTime Environment and Microsoft Office Word and Excel. Note that the Java RunTime requirement is now for version 8.

Explore the RightNowSimple Rulebase:

  1. Open Oracle Policy Modeling Nov 2016 release
  1. Click on “Example Projects”, search for RightNowSimple and select the project to create the local project on your default Projects folder.
  1. Review the Rules.docx rule document and the Data tab for the included entity model, its usage of Inferred Entity Instances and application of additional reasoning with the inferred entity instance attributes.
  1. Review the Interview screen design and its usage of rules for Screen Visibility (for “email address” Screen) and Screen Control Visibility (for “Interview Complete” Screen).
  1. Review the Data Model for the entities “Global” and “the task”, their containment relationship, their respective mapping to “Contact” and “Task” entities of Service Cloud, their attributes and public “Names” for those attributes, “Mapped Out” attributes for all the inputs being sent to “Service Cloud” and the “Mapped In” attributes for the outputs being received from Service Cloud.

 

Oracle Policy Automation Public Cloud

  1. As per the above rulebase configuration, when the Interview is saved / submitted, a new contact record and the associated follow-up tasks are created in the Service Cloud database.

Deploy and run the RightNowSimple Rulebase

Let us now deploy this RightNowSimple rulebase to the OPA Cloud Policy Hub, using the Service Cloud Collection that is now available in the Policy Hub.

  1. Connect to the OPA Cloud Policy Hub using the appropriate admin credentials for your instance.
  1. Update the Connection used by the RightNowSimple rulebase, to make it ready for deployment.

Oracle Policy Automation Public Cloud

This can be done by clicking on the “Mapping Settings” in the tool bar or the “Global” Entity to open the “Mapping Settings” dialog, changing/selecting the Service Cloud connection used by the rulebase and then refreshing the “meta data” that is made available through this Service Cloud connection. This meta data is required to accomplish the necessary mapping between the OPA Entity model and the Service Cloud entities.

  1. Deploy a Snapshot / Activate the rulebase on the OPA Cloud Policy Hub, using the appropriate Policy Hub Admin credentials for your OPA Cloud instance. For a quick deployment and test of the rulebase, make sure that the “Activate Immediately” check box is selected and deploy. Note Down the URL.
  1. Once the deployment is complete in the previous step, you will be able to copy the Interview launch URL for this rulebase. Go ahead and launch run the interview session with any input you would like to use and complete the Interview as per the instructions provided on the screen.

Verify the results in Oracle Service Cloud:

  1. The New Contact ID displayed on the summary screen, on Interview Completion indicates that the connector worked behind the scene, using the mapping configuration modeled in the rulebase, and created the contact record in the Service Cloud instance.
  2. Now login to your Oracle Service Cloud instance to verify the new Contact record created and the associated tasks, as inferred in the rulebase. Also compare the mapping settings in the rulebase to the actual filed values that are now inserted into the Service Cloud Instance.

Oracle Policy Automation Public Cloud

With this detailed background, check this space when we will continue next with part 2 of this blog that focuses on embedding such interview sessions into the Consumer Portal of Oracle Service Cloud.

 

The Lazy Expert - OPA Rules in English

Guest Post : The Lazy Expert

The Lazy Expert

Firstly thanks to Richard who encouraged me to move forward and start blogging alongside him; just like a very good, loyal and trusted old friend that he is.[Richard’s Note : less of the “old” please :)]. When he asked if I had any immediate ideas for a blog, the first thing that came to my mind is the analogy that I have always used during so many of my OPA class teaches over the years, “Lazy Expert” and, bingo, that is the title for this post.

This now begs answering the question, why in the world a “Lazy Expert”? Particularly when OPA does so many things so very well. I do hope that you will agree with me in a few moments from now.

What does Lazy (as an adjective) mean?

The Oxford Dictionary says;

Unwilling to work or use energy

The Cambridge Dictionary is a little more elaborate;

Not willing or not wanting to work or use effort to do something

Who is an Expert?

Oxford Dictionary is all praise for someone who is an expert;

A person who is very knowledgeable about or skillful in a particular area

Cambridge Dictionary is not far behind with its own version of praise;

A person having a high level of knowledge or skill in a particular subject

The OPA Analogy

It is not difficult to imagine a person who is an expert and lazy, right? Who wouldn’t want to be? Now, let us see how Oracle Policy Automation is cajoled into doing anything at all…

Building a Rule Model and authoring business rules

The Oracle Policy Modeling tool is used to author business rules, validations, interview screen designs etc. and make sure the subject matter expertise is converted into a reusable repository of rules. It is indeed impressive that these rules can be written in practically unlimited number of languages of which 21 are supported natively (in other words, OPA is syntactically aware of these 21 languages).

This effectively made you, the rule author and the subject matter experts you worked with, the creators who created this expert.
OK, we now have a compiled rule model, the epitome of an expert. But nothing useful can still come out of this rule base archive (.zip file) sitting in a file system, unless we are able to make use of this expertise. The origins of laziness are now clearly visible.

Deploy to a run time

The rule base zip file can be deployed to the policy hub (version 12.x, public and private cloud options) or in the earlier 10.x versions, to a Determinations Server or Web Determinations. It can also be copied into a specific file system folder, targeted at the batch processor runtime or for use by the determinations engine implementation used natively by a Java or a .NET application. Whatever may be the customer’s choice of deployment environment, we have a way of making OPA available. All exciting and so far, all good…

Still nothing happens by itself, right? Policy Hub, Determinations Server, Web Determinations, Determinations Engine API, all of them do nothing with the expertise now embedded into them except, proverbially (or rather notoriously), “wait”. That’s our “Lazy Expert”

Make the expert do our bidding

The Nudge

We need some external trigger or a request before our “Expert” starts applying the expertise and responds with the decision and/or recommendation. The key is in finding the fright trigger that nudges our Expert in the most optimal way. The choice of the run time is critical in extracting the best from our Lazy Expert.

The antidote to laziness

The following table lists the different run-time options available with OPA and the different way sin which to nudge / trigger OPA to provide the expert decisions that it is indeed very much capable of.

OPA Runtime Nudge (Trigger) Possible Scale of Invocations / Volume Typical Application / Solution Architecture Used by (Oracle Application / Integration Adapter)
Policy Hub (Cloud / On Premise) Programmatic Invocation of “Assess” Web Service Millions of hits a day OPA acts as the Server providing the assessment as a service and typically, the client application or the middleware collects all the information necessary for our expert to provide a decision or determine the outcome. OPA Siebel Integration, as used by the Siebel Public Sector vertical solution.

 

 

  HTTP(s) URL based invocation of the Interview Service 100s of Thousands of invocations a day OPA, as another Web Application, provides the Interview Session screens using the UI as configured by the rule author. It is also possible to pass additional parameters through the URL, pre-load the Interview session with data from the source application and later persist the data back into the source application itself on completion of the interview and an appropriate assessment is made by our expert. OPA RightNow Connector, which provides an assessment wizard for both the Agent (providing assisted service) as well as to the consumer (who is interested in achieving self-service)
Batch Processor Command line tools invoking the Batch Processor, on demand or easily scheduled for periodic processing Millions of data records per run OPA is run in batch mode against the date that is collected into a set of tables marked for processing by our expert. Simple mapping files tell OPA as to which tables to take in as input and which ones to write into after the expert assessment has been made. A very similar architecture is adopted by the “Oracle In-Memory Policy Analytics product.
Mobile SDK A generic Mobile Application allowing the end user to select and specifically invoke the rule base that they are interested in. 100s of Thousands of Invocations a day A generic / native mobile application, from the respective application store for iOS and Android, connected to a Policy Hub can provide the standalone expert assessments that an end-user needs.

 

But typically requires custom mobile application development to provide a complete solution that is integrated to another line of business application, ether Hosted or On Premise, for a more complete business solution.

The native mobile application, provided by Oracle in the respective iOS App Store and Android Play Store.
Web Determinations Similar to the Interview Service of Policy Hub Millions of Hits a day Applicable to version 10.x of Oracle Policy Automation runtime
Determinations Server Similar to the Assess Service of the Policy Hub 100s of Thousands of invocations a day Applicable to version 10.x of Oracle Policy Automation runtime

These are so many ways to make our expert work for us and more are being discovered each passing day. With the right Nudge, our Lazy Expert is not so lazy after all!

Coming Soon

Watch this space as we come up with more details on the various adapters and other exciting ways of making our expert work well for us…

The home page for OPA documentation can be found here.

Welcome to Raj, our new Content Creator!

Welcome to Raj, our new Content Creator!

It is with the greatest pleasure that ODE OPA Blog welcomes Raj Nandyala to our website.

As we continue to grow our range of content about Oracle Policy Automation here on the site, we are very excited to have Raj on board. Raj and I go back a very long way, and I have the utmost respect for him in the Oracle Policy Automation field and in the CX world in general.

His unique insights and experience are a great scoop for the ODE OPA Blog, and we are looking forward to growing our content further with his input.

Raj Nandyala – Profile

An expert voice in the fields of Siebel CRM, Oracle CX and CRM On Demand,  long time Oracle Policy Automation trainer, writer and consultant. Former Director, Creative Probers Software and Services India Pvt Ltd, and former Director, InFact Group.

Raj already has an article in the pipeline, based on his very successful training sessions – he calls it the “lazy expert”. I’m not sure if he is referring to anyone in particular – actually I know he is referring to Oracle Policy Automation itself.

Look out for articles with his byline in the coming weeks, and we hope to have some more news about his contributions in the near future.