Top 10 things you need to know about Siebel Open UI

This article has been contributed by Aboli Kulkarni of Acrotrend. A really useful article basically forming FAQ of Open UI.

Oracle Siebel CRM has been the worlds leading CRM package for more than 2 decades. Over the period, Oracle has contributed to make the CRM function and application more complete, robust and easy to use by providing various add-ons like prebuilt industry modules, workflows for additional business processes, data validations, large volume data migrations abilities and scripting for extremely complex processes. The only non-extensible feature in Siebel was the UI layer.

In our experience, we have worked with a many Siebel customers and have helped them build custom presentation layer and integrating it with Siebel CRM, to overcome the limitations of the UI capabilities of the CRM platform. Custom built UI primarily provided only the information that users were interested in,  simplified navigation and increased easy to use and hence adoption of the application. And this being the requirement for almost every organization using Siebel for their CRM processes, Oracle observed a clear trend amongst their Siebel Customers –  migrating to other CRM platforms. And oracle responded with a very compelling proposition, another add-on to address all the current UI limitations and customer requirements. Siebel Open UI opens up the UI layer to meet the customer requirements of styling, deployment to portable and hand-held devices, embedding key CRM information in enterprise portals and many others. And this has definitely got the existing Siebel user community excited.

We have evaluated Open UI fitment and implemented POCs for some of our customers. And we have consolidated top 10 questions we have been helping our clients with here which will help you  know more about Open UI to make a decision to implement it for your CRM installations.

1. What is Siebel Open UI?
The answer is in the name. “Open UI”!! Siebel application architecture has 4 layers; Data layer (Tables and Columns), Objects Layer (BOs and BCs), UI Layer (Views and Applets) and Physical UI Layer (View and Applet Web Template). Siebel Tools allowed us to modify/design Data Layer, Objects Layer and UI Layer. The binding between UI layer and Physical UI Layer was also created in Siebel tools but there was limited ability to modify the Physical UI layer. The page was rendered on the browser with the help of ActiveX Objects. With the introduction of “Open UI” Siebel has opened Physical UI Layer to the developers. You are no longer bound by the web templates that are provided by Siebel. You can create any kind of html page for rendering the Siebel application.

Siebel Open UI runs on accepted browser standards like HTML4.01, CSS2.1 and JavaScript. This allows Siebel Open UI to become platform independent and supported by any browser, smart phone or tablet. Just like any other website.

2. My current version is Siebel 7.x/8.x. What do I need to do to implement Siebel Open UI?
Siebel is the minimum version required to implement Siebel Open UI.  All customers who are already on 8.1.x only need to install the latest 8.1.1.x patch available on to implement Open UI.

If you are on a version lower than 8.1.x please identify the upgrade path from table below.

All Non Public Sector Customers: Upgrading to 8.1.1

Current Release Upgrade Approach Upgrade Path
7.8 SEA 1 – Step Upgrade 7.8 SEA to SIA
Apply latest 8.1.1.x patch
8.0 SEA 2 – Step Upgrade Step 1: 8.0 SEA to 8.1.1 SEA
Step 2: 8.1.1 SEA to 8.1.1. SIA

All Public Sector Customers: Upgrading to 8.2.2

Current Release Upgrade Approach Upgrade Path
7.8 SEA 1 – Step Upgrade 7.8 SEA to 8.2.2 SIA
8.0 SEA 1 – Step Upgrade 8.0 SEA to 8.2.2 SIA
8.1.1 SEA 1 – Step Upgrade 8.1.1 SEA to 8.2.2 SIA

Please see the picture for Oracle’s strategy for upgrade. Once all customers are moved to the same repository they won’t require to do a major upgrade.clip_image001 All enhancements will be released in form of patches. We are moving into an Oracle Siebel era of no upgrade.

3. How are the new features going to be released after all customers are on 8.1.1.x SIA?
Going forward all innovations will be released in the form of Innovation Packs. These packs will be versioned 8.1.1.x and will be available in eDelivery. The latest innovation pack at the time of writing this blog is The innovation packs will be available in eDelivery. You can apply innovation pack after creating a image using Oracle image creator utility.

Oracle will release a minimum of 1 Innovation Pack (IP) every year. Any bugs reported in these innovation packs will be resolved and released in the form of Quick Fix patches.

4. If I want to apply the 8.1.1.n IP, where ‘n’ is the patch number. Do I need to apply all the earlier IPs?
You will need to apply only the latest IP. All the new IPs will be accumulative of the features released in the earlier IPs and the quick fixes.

5. Can I embed some data from Siebel in a portlet on my enterprise application using Open UI?
Yes. Siebel Open UI allows you to access data rendered by applet. You can selectively display this data using any styling within the enterprise application.

6. Will I require a SRF change to expose a new field in the Open UI?
Only the new fields that are added to the Siebel Applet require you to change SRF. All existing fields on the applet are always available to the javascript for rendering on any application.

7. What are the business benefits of implementing Siebel Open UI
The immediate apparent benefits are that it allows companies to upgrade their enterprise infrastructure which was earlier locked down due to the client requirements of Siebel. The other benefit is for the field representatives. Siebel becomes device, platform and browser independent. Siebel application UI can be designed once and deployed to all mobile devices.

8. Do I need to buy Open UI license separately?
Siebel Open UI does not need separate production license. All customers on Siebel and above can have Open UI application and the Siebel standard application running together. Siebel mobile license will have to be procured to deploy Siebel on mobile devices

9.  Is it as easy as doing a patch fix and enabling new application.
There is a certain amount of development work and a good deal of testing effort involved. Siebel tools configuration and javascript files will have to be modified to meet the design requirements. The Siebel browser scripts, if any, will also have to be looked at and fixed.

10.  What features of html5 that can be leveraged to create a custom Siebel Open UI.
HTML5 has special tags for audio, video, voice input and graphics. It is possible to build a very visually appealing presentation layer for Siebel CRM and seamlessly embed contents from other enterprise applications.

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