Category: Training

Intelligent Advisor Video Training : Free Modules

As many of you know, the OPA Hub Website offers many video training modules. For our first offerings, we concentrated on the basics – helping new starters get an overview of the product, without drowning them in too much detail. So most of the modules are sort of 30 minutes long, maximum. We recently added a second set of video training to the list, so we currently have 22 or so Intelligent Advisor Video Training modules.

At the same time, we have decided to release a series of introductory videos about more technical subjects, with the first being the Label Control Extension which was released about a week ago. The next one will be coming soon. These modules will remain free – and probably on YouTube.

In light of the difficulties that a lot of people are facing right now, we have taken the decision to make some of the modules available free of charge – so if you are unable to attend training right now – virtually or physically – then you can at least get started and see a bit of what Intelligent Advisor is all about.

The free Intelligent Advisor Video Training modules are :

Module 1 – The Platform
Module 2 – Before You Start
Module 3 – Projects
Module 4 – Attributes and Rules
Module 5 – Functions
Module 6 – Entities

Customers who purchased these modules will soon be provided with access to other modules to the same value. Hopefully this initiative will enable more people to get into Intelligent Advisor in spite of the challenges that exist at the moment. We will be in touch as soon as the next technical Intelligent Advisor Video Training modules are available.

If you or your colleagues have any suggestions or requests for training modules that would help speed up the adoption of Intelligent Advisor, then please just leave a note in the comments, or alternatively use the Contact Us option in the menu.

Intelligent Advisor Video Training
Book now available worldwide
About Intelligent Advisor Certification #4

About Intelligent Advisor Certification #4

Now we move to the final part in this set of posts. For reference, the previous parts are linked here : one, two, three. I appreciate that some people may be approaching the certification exam for the first time, and like all examinations in those circumstances, fear of the unknown is your worst enemy.

I’ve taken lots of certification examinations over the (many) years I’ve been in this business, whether it be Oracle, Siebel, Salesforce or non-IT things like First Aid. And the Intelligent Advisor / Oracle Policy Modeling certification exam is certainly unique in the sense that it has so many different kinds of question, and so many different kinds of audience. I’ve seen Subject Matter Experts turn into Intelligent Advisor wizards, and I’ve seen technical people jump in a prosper with Intelligent Advisor too. It’s part of the unique strength of the product in fact – how accessible it is, and much closer to true mixed teams you can get, merging strengths from the business for conception and testing, and strengths from the IT side for the delivery of the specifications. Part of that is because it uses Word and Excel – and if you have not already taken part in our Future of Rule Authoring Survey please do so (one question!) .

Back to business – trying to remove the fear of the unknown was part of the reason for creating this series of posts (and to a certain extent, this entire blog is about demystifying IA). So here are some more kinds of question that you probably will come up against. Remember that in the exam – if you choose to take the exam in a test center – you will be provided with a whiteboard and a marker pen, so that you can write out ideas, sketch data models and so on. The whiteboard is not part of the exam, and nobody cares about your drawing ability – it is just a helping hand.

The Debugging Questions

I’ve come across these a few times, so I’m adding one here. These questions are testing your knowledge not just of the product (where is the debugger, how does it work and so on) but also your ability to understand Intelligent Advisor vocabulary (intermediate attributes versus base attributes etc.).

Certification Question Example

The above diagram represents a policy model. D and E are linked by a disjunction. E and F by a conjunction. B and C are linked by a disjunction to A. The rule author wishes to debug the behaviour of the attribute B. What should they do

  1. Run the Debugger and enter a value for A,B and C, then right-click B and select Show Decision
  2. Run the Debugger and enter a value for D and E then right-click B and select Show Decision
  3. Run the Debugger and enter a value for D then right-click B and select Investigate
  4. Run the Debugger and enter a value for D then right-click B and select Show Decision

And so on and so on…(answers in the comments please).

The OPA Hub Role Questions

The OPA Hub forms a section of the examination, and whilst I have already mentioned the kind of question you might get that involves the Hub (see the Memory Question) there will of course be questions that specifically target Hub functionality. Here’s a variation on one I’ve seen before.

Bob works on a Project on his laptop. Janet wants to collaborate on the same project. What steps must occur on the Hub for this to happen

  1. Bob must upload his project to the Hub.
  2. Bob must share a Zip copy of the project
  3. Janet must be created as a Hub User with the Author role
  4. Janet must change her password
  5. Bob must approve Janet’s share request
  6. Janet must download the latest version from the Hub
  7. Janel must have access to the Collection
  8. Bob must store the project in a Collection that he has access to.
  9. Janet must email Bob to ask for the project.

You will notice that it is a variation on some of the other questions that rely on remembering all the steps of a given process. I do these things all day every day but I still find it hard to remember exactly every step. Practice makes perfect.

The Service Cloud Question (type A)

Obviously, since Intelligent Advisor has historically been marketed as part of Service Cloud (amongst other dubious decisions), you can expect a few certification exam questions that specifically target Service Cloud knowledge. Here are two that you will come across.

How many objects can the Global object be mapped to in a Service Cloud data mapping

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. More than Two

Answers in the comments please. The trick here is to understand the unique nature of Service Cloud mapping and the types of Interview that can be delivered.

The Service Cloud Question (type B)

The commonest form of certification question that I have seen has been those that focus on the different options available to Service Cloud connections. For example:

Bob wants to create an Interview accessible to customer service agents. He wants to load and update an Incident if one exists already, and create one if it does not. What settings should he choose in the Service Cloud Mapping Settings Dialog?

  1. Select Customer Service Agent
  2. Select Contact Center Agent
  3. Select Load at Start Incident
  4. Select At End of Interview Update Incident
  5. Select At End of Interview Create Incident
  6. Check the Or Create Interview if none is loaded checkbox
  7. Check the loading data is optional checkbox
  8. Embed the Interview in the Incident Workspace
  9. Embed the Interview in the User Workspace

Answers in the comments if you know the answers. More details here.

The Service Cloud Question (type C)

Service Cloud provides Value List integration for a number of built-in lists and menus from Service Cloud. How can a rule designer use a custom Value List in Intelligent Advisor for data mapping?

  1. They cannot.
  2. They can only map in an out. No Value List is created.
  3. They can refresh the data model and use the Value List that will be automatically added
  4. They can only be used with Anonymous interviews.

Answers in the comments if you know.

So that just about wraps it up for our little certification series – if there are any question types that you remember and would like us to add, then just write them in the comments and we will be happy to oblige.

About Intelligent Advisor Certification #3

About Intelligent Advisor Certification #3

And so we come to the third part in this little series of posts about Intelligent Advisor Certification. For reference, parts one and two of this same series are available by clicking the links. As before, the goal is not to give you questions and answers (more about that at the end of the series) rather to introduce you to the kind of questions that you are likely to see. In this post, we look at two specific types that I personally can find a little tricky. I am a great believer that familiarity helps dispel nervousness – and so here are some to look out for.

The Visual Question based on Rule Content

This kind of question comes up several times, and I’ve probably seen at least one version in every Oracle Policy Automation or Intelligent Advisor Certification I’ve ever taken:

Intelligent Advisor Certification Question Type Example

Which of the above is the correct syntax for the rule? Answers in the comments please.

Another variation on this theme, and a very common question, involves table rules. I’ve kind of exaggerated it a bit in my image, but the basic tenet is this – learn where the different formatting in a table should be!

Intelligent Advisor Certification Question Type Example 2

The table above does not validate in Oracle Policy Modeling. Select all items that should be corrected for it to validate successfully. Of course not all are correct:

  1. The conclusion must be formatted as a conclusion
  2. The otherwise must be formatted as a condition
  3. The otherwise must be moved to the right hand corner
  4. The TRUE and FALSE must be written in lower case
  5. The first condition is met must be moved to the left and
  6. The second condition is met must be moved above the first condition
  7. The conditions must be formatted as condition level 1

And so on!

Interview Design Questions

This is an example of a series of questions that I have seen over the years, and you would do well to prepare for something in this style.

A Policy Model contains an interview Screen that collects information about a customer’s name and address. The Interview is used by a sporting goods shop to provide assistance to customers who would like to visit the shop. The following attributes are collected : the customer’s name and the customer’s city. The objective of the interview is to display the address of the sporting goods store to customers who are in the same city, and the email address to those who are not. How would you achieve this?

For example you might create two labels (one for the address, one for the email address), place them on a Screen, and create Show If logic by adding a boolean visibility attribute such as the address details should be displayed based on the city of the sporting goods shop = the customer’s city. You could do the same for the email address using the same attribute only in the negative.

There will of course be 5 or 6 different answers for you to choose from. The question is definitely aiming to test your understanding of Interview Screen Controls and Visibility settings.

Usually this question does not actually come with an image, but it can help to imagine what this would look like. The above example (which is not the most efficient way of doing it but it corresponds to the example given)

Intelligent Advisor Certification Question Type Example 3

And so we hope this little series has begun to familiarise you with the sort of questions that you might get in the Intelligent Advisor Certification exam. In the next post in the series we will look at some more question types that you should prepare for!

About Intelligent Advisor Certification #2

About Intelligent Advisor Certification #2

In this second post about Intelligent Advisor Certification I want to highlight, as in the previous post in the series, a few question types that you are likely to be confronted with if you choose to take the Intelligent Advisor Certification exam in the near future. While we are on the subject, it is obviously in your interest to take the examination if you are ready, because it is an objective measure of your knowledge of the product. We all know that it is an imperfect measure, and that you may start at an advantage or disadvantage depending on your background, native language and so forth. But it is better than nothing.

So, without further preamble, on to the subject at hand. You will certainly come across the following question type.

The Memory Question

Bob and Janet work together. Janet has already begun working on a project in Intelligent Advisor and has stored it in the repository. Bob wants to work on the same project and add some rules to the existing project. What are the minimum steps to achieve this. If a step is required more than once, only note the first time it is done.

And so you will be required to make some sort of very long process guide:

Login to Hub > Download Oracle Policy Modeling > Enter Hub Details > Download Project > Open Word and Validate Changes > Upload Changes > Deploy Changes

(these are just example steps)

I’ve seen it come up several times with similar concepts. What I can give you as advice is

  • Think very carefully about the correct (as in, official) way to do things. For example, a lot of people might not actually install Oracle Policy Modeling themselves, or they might get it from or elsewhere. But it can be downloaded from the front page of your Hub, from the hyperlink shown below. It’s very easy to miss it.
Intelligent Advisor Certification  Question Example
  • Again, think about every step – downloading, uploading, validating, and so on. Practice a few times so you can really get the feel of it. If you have a self-study environment, create two users and play around with the process. I used to have an VM with one user and my laptop with the other. It’s a great way to see all the error messages and conflicts that can happen.

The Visual Structure Question

These have been in the exam for as long as I remember, and they vary in form but all revolve around the same idea – get the student to demonstrate they understand the vocabulary of logical operators and show they can think logically.

The diagram below represents a policy model with a goal, A. B is derived from a disjunction of D and E. C is derived from a conjunction of E and F. A is derived from a conjunction of B and C. What is the minimum set of base attribute values that must be provided to successfully conclude A?

Intelligent Advisor Certification  Diagram Example
Some Balls in a Diagram

First things first : a disjunction is OR, and a conjunction is AND. So now you can write out the different elements:

B is true if D or E are true. C is true if E and F are true. A is true if B or C are true. And finding the fastest route to A becomes much easier. There are several of this nature, often using a mixture of mathematic (disjunction, conjunction) and Policy Modeling (base, intermediate, goal, inferred) vocabulary.

So that’s it for today, with these two it is very simple – practice and practice. Make your own project in Oracle Policy Modeling and experiment with these concepts until you are comfortable “regurgitating” it all on paper.

In the next part of the series, we will look at two more common question types. Remember you can learn more about the certification and learning path here. And of course you can get details of our own online learning right here.

About Intelligent Advisor Certification #1

About Intelligent Advisor Certification #1

I recently updated my Intelligent Advisor certification to the 2020 version of the examination (details of which you can find online here – remember that in your country the arrangements for taking the certification exam may have changed). I was lucky enough to have a testing centre close to my office, as I wanted to take it in person. Having experienced an online examination a year or so ago, I resolved not to do it again unless I had no choice.

Anyway, I wanted to give some feedback and pointers to anyone who is thinking about applying themselves to this examination during the current period of working from home / confinement. Of course I do not intend to give any Intelligent Advisor Certification specifics but I feel it would be useful to share some things about the question styles with you.

So, for this first post, I’m going to introduce two of the types of question you are very likely to get:

The Business Scenario Question

The XYZ Corporation is deploying Intelligent Advisor to create Interviews to manage time off permissions. The scenario is as follows. Any staff working full time over the age of 18, or between 16 and 18 but working part time, are eligible for the standard amount of time off, unless they have chosen to opt out of the time off scheme in which case they are not eligible (this is only for full time workers).

What are the minimum attributes needed in the Policy Model to test whether an employee is eligible for the standard amount of time off?

The Animal Scenario Question

The Government decrees that any citizen wishing to keep a pet donkey in their garden must have been living in the state for at least 28 days and must have been the registered owner for at least 1 week. The citizen must be over 18 years of age, and the donkey must be at least 6 months of age. Special breeds of donkey require a certificate of authenticity and the minimum citizen age is raised to 25. Proof of rabies vaccination is only required when living in Arizona.

What are the minimum attributes needed to check if a citizen can keep the donkey in the garden?

Each question has 4 or 5 different suggestions, often confusing the reader by seeming to be very close to the requirement, of course.

(Both of these check your ability to extract a model from source material. There are many variations on the same theme, but they typically are looking for the ability to extrapolate business concepts into base attributes – for example knowing how to envisage intermediate attributes such as the age of the citizen from a date of birth and so on)

These questions are multiple choice, so you can expect 4 or 5 very similar answers!

The Business Scenario with Entities Question

Bob is implementing a Policy Model. He needs to design rules that define a family unit as having zero to many members. Each member can have one or more jobs, with a defined monthly salary. He needs to calculate the total monthly salary per family member and for the family as a whole.

Does he build :

  1. An entity called the family, another called the member and another called the job, with a reference relationship between the family and the job, to calculate the total salary using InstanceSum()
  2. An entity called the family member, another called the job, with a containment relationship with the family member as the source. He uses InstanceSum() to calculate the job salary for each family member. He creates a reference relationship between the job and Global to calculate the total salary for all family members.
  3. An entity called the family member and another called the job. Both have containment relationships. He uses InstanceSum() on the job salary attribute to calculate the family member’s salary. He then uses a global attribute to sum the salary for each family member

(and so on – expect at least 5 different yet similar versions. This Intelligent Advisor Certification question is clearly designed to check your understanding of singleton entities, relationship types and function usage).

If you are looking to keep your brain ready and fancy a few tricky questions, then head over to our huge quiz section. In the next post, we will look at some of the visual question types you might get in your Intelligent Advisor Certification.

PS – For these questions, don’t hesitate to give your answer in the comments 🙂

OPA Hub Website Academy : 12 New Modules

OPA Hub Website Academy : 12 New Modules

The OPA Hub Website Academy is pleased to announce the release of another 11 modules in the training catalogue. Recorded in the studio in July 2020, they complete the video modules to accompany the recent release of the Consultant’s Guide to Intelligent Advisor book. A special offer awaits you if you purchase before August 30th 2020.

As of today, the catalogue looks like this:

Online Training Available

Online Training Course Available  Consultant’s Introduction to Intelligent Advisor Part One 

Online Training Course Available Consultant’s Introduction to Intelligent Advisor Part Two

The following are available as individual Online Training Modules:

Module 1 – The Platform 

Module 2 –  Before you Start 

Module 3 – About Projects

Module 4 – Attributes and Rules

Module 5 – Functions

Module 6 – Entities

Module 7 – Entity Functions

Module 8 – Basic Interviews

Module 9 – Improving Interviews

Module 10 – Entity Interviews

Module 11 – Deployment Basics

Module 12 : Users and Permissions 

Module 13 : Collaboration 

Module 14 : Command Line Tools

Module 15 : Inferring Entity Instances

Module 16 : Explanations

Module 17 : Forms

Module 18 : Temporal Reasoning

Module 19 : Test Cases

Module 20 : Internationalization

Module 21 : Connections

Module 22 : Embedding

OPA Hub Website Academy
The OPA Hub Website Academy – Content Catalogue growing fast

The OPA Hub Academy will be releasing more titles in Q4 2020, and if you have ideas for modules then please leave a comment. If your company is interested in licensing the raw high-resolution studio video files then please reach out to the OPA Hub Website Page on LinkedIn.

The Consultant’s Guide to Oracle Intelligent Advisor

Well, it has taken a bit longer than originally intended (the current lockdown kind of slowed things down) but I’m happy to say that the new book is available for preorder now. It’s been retitled and significantly reworked, in the new book we have thirty four chapters and lots of examples in Zip Archives to play with. We’ve really tried to create the Consultant’s Guide to Oracle Intelligent Advisor.

It has been reviewed and many chapters rewritten to be bang up-to-date for Intelligent Advisor latest release 20B. Of course it covers all the things a new starter needs to know, and should be a useful reference to anyone working with Intelligent Advisor. We even fixed all the URLs to match the new standards of Oracle documentation (as I am sure you have noticed, Intelligent Advisor is now in the URLs).

This kind of book of course can only be possible when so many people help out – the Oracle team have been absolutely fantastic, as always, and provided lots of ideas and help. And the readers of this website have also provided so many things for the book, the community really stepped up.

In the next 10 days or so, we will also be releasing the complete set of videos (there are about another fifteen or so to finish in the studio) and they will be available as a package with the book. I’ll let you know as soon as that is done.

For the time being however, you can read all about the Consultant’s Guide to Oracle Intelligent Advisor over on P8 Tech (the Publisher’s Website). The book will be the OPA Hub Shop as well.

Introducing the OPA Hub Website Academy

Introducing the OPA Hub Website Academy

We’re thrilled to be able to announce the launch of the first of our training classes available in recorded format. The course, entitled “First Day at the Office” is made up of 11 modules to help new starters get to grips with what Oracle Intelligent Advisor (Oracle Policy Automation) actually entails. The modules are presented in an engaging, easy to follow style. Where needed, example projects are available for download.

Recorded in a professional studio, they have excellent sound and video and playback on any device. For corporate clients wishing to acquire larger scale use, please contact us for pricing of the raw 4K Video.

Training - Module 1
Module 1 – The Platform

Think of it as the way to answer all those questions that come up once the product is purchased, when you or your team are sitting, wondering:

  • Where do we start?
  • What happens now?
  • How does my team get up to speed?
  • What’s a good way to knowledge transfer?
  • How do I?

And many more…there is often a period of disarray following the acquisition of any software, and without practical guidance it can be hard to get started, even with Oracle Intelligent Advisor. That’s why these modules were created. Find out more on the OPA Hub Academy First Day at the Office Training page.

Combine with Book or eBook

This course can be easily built into an onboarding program for any new starter. The other courses in the Academy take the student further in their learning program and build on these initial chapters. The chapters also combine logically and practically with the Getting Started with Oracle Intelligent Advisor book from P8 Tech Publishers for a complete learning experience.

Further Training Classes

Already planned are:

  • The complete series (Second Day in the Office, Third Day in the Office) on getting to grips with the basics.
  • The JavaScript Series (dealing with extensions for Interviews)
  • Integrating with Siebel CRM (step by step guide)

And the Training Survey Prize Draw Winner Is…

And the Training Survey Prize Draw Winner Is…

So, the results of our Training Survey Snap Poll have been collated, and we are ready to announce the winner in just a moment. First, let’s get the results off our chests and see what the community thinks about Oracle Intelligent Advisor (see what we did there?) and Training Requirements. So the OPA Hub Training & Documentation Survey started with the following question:

Q1: Which of the following training products would you consider the most suitable training format for OPA?


Training Survey 1

Interested in the Training Survey data breakdown? OPA Hub Website supporters can download the PDF here. You can get a quick glimpse of the latest results on this public dashboard.

The two “in class” options beat the other answers hands-down. Consultants and users, in contrast (often) to their employers, still regard in class training as the premium format. Then comes interactive online training, finally we have recorded / non-interactive online training. Managers, Training Departments, take note! We’ve been in the training business for 30 years, and the answers were the same 30 years ago (albeit with CD-ROM or computer based training instead of on-line). At some point, the value for money equation became focused on the cost rather than the benefit. And it all went wrong from there :).

Training Survey Q2: Which of the following have you personally used most recently in relation to Policy Automation?


Training Survey 2

And so we come to the reality on the ground. If question one represented what you wanted, this is what you got! Very low numbers for in class training, and much higher for online. The Other option revealed that a fair number of you don’t even get that option, instead you have to read the documentation, forums, websites like this one, or just asking colleagues. What does that say about the availability and cost of training in your area, or the unwillingness of employers to pay for training? Some might blame the Salesforce Effect “Trailhead means I don’t have to buy any training for my staff ever again”. Yeah, right.

Training Survey Q6: In which region are you based?

S0 does Oracle Policy Automation only exist in your area?

Training Survey 4

These are only 3 of the Training Survey questions – we don’t want to bore you with all this unless you are interested in the full data breakdown? OPA Hub Website supporters can download the data here. You can get a quick glimpse of the latest results on this public dashboard.

So who the heck is the winner?

The OPA Hub Website is pleased to announce three winners (yes, we came over all “Holiday Season”).

Mr O.Rodrigues (France)

Mr Manohar Veeraiah (India)

Miss A.Fisher (Australia)

The winners should leave their details in a message using the Contact Form of this website.

Input Extensions – DropDowns

Input Extensions – DropDowns

Many thanks to long-time reader and Oracle Policy Automation expert Aaron H for an interesting discussion just before the holiday season. The subject for this post is as you can tell, Input extensions that are dropdowns.

Our conversation was wide ranging but this article will focus on a couple of things

  1. How to ensure that the extension displays and handles the text and value elements of your list of values
  2. How to handle <uncertain>
  3. How to have a different label for <uncertain>

Along the way this will give us the opportunity to understand the usefulness of the Value() function in a rule. In later posts in this series we will look at other forms of Input, also beyond the basic INPUT or SELECT tag.

So let’s begin with a simple setup – the Zip Archive is available in the OPA Hub Shop by the way) – starting with just one attribute and a Value List:

The initial Value List looks like this – notice that in this case, there is no distinction between the displayed text and the actual value:

Input Extensions - DropDowns

In this simple scenario, one often sees extension code that focuses on the control.getOptions() method and then iterating through the various options from the returned object, something a little like this (for educational purposes only) :

var myChoices = control.getOptions();
for (key in myChoices) {
$('#xDropDown').append('<option value="' + myChoices[key]..text.toString() + '">' + myChoices[key].text.toString() + '</option>');

The code works fine, but makes a few assumptions that can come back and bite later when the rule designer has made changes.

  1. It does not take into account the possible change in the Value List to include display and values.
  2. It will error out if the dropdown becomes non-mandatory since “uncertain” will cause .toString() to fail

So when the developer of the rule changes the Value List to something like this:

Input Extensions - DropDowns 2

The code would no longer be useful since the [key].text and [key].value are two different values. And if we are updating the underlying control, we need to remember that we call control.setValue() so it is expecting a value, not the display value.

So maybe the code gets changed to :

 $('#xDropDown').append('<option value="' + myChoices[key].value + '">' + myChoices[key].text.toString() + '</option>');

Or something similar. All is well and the dropdown is correctly handling things :

Until the attribute is defined as non-mandatory in the Screen where it is displayed. At which point the code breaks again, as the uncertain value is not handled. Let’s take a step back and remind ourselves of the defaut behaviour in these situations, without an extension:

The standard control renders an empty option for the uncertain value. I’ve always considered it a bit of a bug that it does not respect the optional Display Value (in my case, “Not Sure” – see the screenshot a little further up) but always renders a blank, at least in all my browsers.

So in the case of an Input Extension that needs to render the uncertain value (because the control is not mandatory) and also wants to show the Display Value, the code will probably need to have another quick change:

Input Extensions DropDown Code Last One

Which will ensure that the dropdown is rendered with the correct text and value, if there is one. Also, the added bonus is that the display text of uncertain is rendered as we would expect:

Input Extension Showing Uncertain Vlaue

And finally, we have good use of the Value() function so that we can be sure that the correct value is stored in our Interview:

The function above, in a Word document for example, will return the value rather than the display value. So you can drop it onto the final Screen of your testing Project and compare the two to make sure you have gathered the correct one.

Hopefully that was fun and interesting, and you can practice yourself with your own project. As mentioned above the code is available in the OPA Hub Shop. The documentation is of course on the Oracle Intelligent Advisor website.

Logo by Southpaw Projects LLC