Tuesday Apr 19, 2016

Field Service USA 2016: Let’s Discuss the Field Technician of the Future

Oracle is heading to Palm Springs, California next week, April 25-28, for the annual Field Service USA show at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa. We’re looking forward to speaking with customers about their field service strategies, attending hands-on workshops led by industry experts to learn about field service best practices and leveraging everything we learn about the future of field service and our customers’ needs to keep driving product innovation in our Oracle Field Service Cloud solution suite.[Read More]

Thursday Apr 07, 2016

Convert Omni-Channel Hype into Real Contact Center Success!

Save the date for the upcoming Oracle Service Cloud webinar, April 14th, 2016 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET

Omni-channel: Everybody is talking about it, but only a few best-in-class businesses have turned the promise of omni-channel into a profitable reality - earning highly loyal customers, reduced support costs, and growth in revenue. 

Join this upcoming webinar to learn how you too can achieve these results. Aberdeen Group Research Director of Contact Center & Customer Experience, Omer Minkara, and Oracle's Senior Director of Applications Product Management, Chris Hamilton, will show you how to deliver an integrated, omni-chhannel service experience. They’ll also discuss:

  • Why most omni-channel programs fail (and what that costs your company!)
  • What makes a contact center “Best-in-Class”
  • How to align channel-mix and customer preferences
  • Steps you can take to harness the power of omni-channel

You will come away with next steps for advancing your omni-channel strategy!

Register Now

Wednesday Mar 16, 2016

5 Reasons to Register for Modern Sales Experience

Spring is in the air, which means a few things—jacket weather, spring cleaning, and conference season. While you’re contemplating the conferences you’ll attend, consider an event that will tidy up your sales strategies for the year to come: The Modern Sales Experience.  Here are five reasons to attend the Modern Sales Experience in Las Vegas, April 26-28, 2016.

1. Sales Thought Leadership and Inspiring Speakers


The Modern Sales Experience features more than 25 sessions led by world-class industry analysts, successful global companies and Oracle thought leaders. Take a look at the conference program to search for your area of interest. 

 The conference is full of leading minds in digital and business.  The Conference Keynote will be delivered by Siva Sundaresan, Group VP of Oracle Sales Applications on Tuesday at 3pm in the MGM Grand Conference Center.  On Wednesday at 9am, don’t miss the Modern Experience Keynote presented by Mark Hurd, CEO, Oracle at the MGM Garden Arena.  This is followed by the Sales Keynote with R “Ray” Wang, Chairman and Founder of Constellation Research at 11am in the MGM Grand Conference Center.

Additional general sessions and speakers for the conference include:

  • Human Factors: Unleashing the Value of Technology: Rebecca Wettemann, Vice President of Research, Nucleus Research
  • The Quest for Optimal Sales Performance, Mark Smith, CEO & EVP of Research, Ventana Research
  • Revolutionizing Partner Engagement: Jerri Paul, Business Architect Director Federal Business, Dell, Inc. & David Claflin, IT Management, Dell, Inc.
  • Masterminding Your Technology Landscape: Rhiannon Ainge, Business Systems & Marketing Manager, Panasonic Computer Products Europe
  • The Future of Customer Experience and Digitalization at Siemens: Peter Gapp, Vice President CRM IT Transformation, Siemens A.G.
  • The Future of Work: UNLV Lee Business School Student Panel, moderated by Rebecca Wettemann, Nucleus Research

2. Product Experts

There are many ways to interact with partners and Oracle product experts to gain deeper insights and more intimate live discussions. You’ll find a number of smaller sessions focusing on Configure, Price, and Quote (CPQ) Cloud and Sales Cloud topics.  In addition to customer-led sessions, Oracle product managers will lead roadmap and other product sessions. There’s also a CPQ Tech Track for Technical Administrators.

Sales session highlights:

  • Industry Solution Showcase for Sales, Scott Creighton, VP Oracle CX Cloud Industry Solutions, Oracle
  • Securing Data between Cloud & On-Premises for Optimal CX Solutions: David Canellos, SVP Advanced Technology, Blue Coat Systems

CPQ session highlights:

  • Opportunity to Cash: Fully Using CPQ in your Business: Jim Toporski, IT Manager & Caroline Gillis, CPQ Senior Manager, Panduit
  • How OneNeck used CPQ to support is Acquisition Strategy: John Hein, Director, Solution Sales Architecture, OneNeck
  • How FANUC America Simplified a Complex Product Quoting Process: Zach Heuer, GM, FANUC America
  • CPQ Tech Track for Technical Administrators

Birds of a Feather: Conference attendees have the opportunity to meet face to face with Oracle product experts.  Choose from five topics of interest at designated tables in the breakfast and lunch areas for the Birds of a Feather program.  This is located in the Solution Center (MGM Grand Marquee Ballroom).

Theater Presentations in the Solutions Center: The Solution Center is where you’ll find Oracle Sales Consultants and Partners.  Visit a demonstration kiosk or a presentation at the Sales Solutions Showcase Theater.  Find your topic of interest whether it’s sales force automation, sales performance management, partner relationship management, customer data management, pre-configured industry solutions or sales analytics.   It’s all there for the taking.

Some of the most important conversations happen in hallways and some of the most valuable relationships are built face to face. Modern Sales Experience has networking breaks designed to give you the chance to network with other Oracle Sales Cloud customers and Oracle leadership. Not to mention the Customer Appreciation Event at the MGM Grand Arena, but we’ll get into that later. 

3. A Unified and Seamless CX Approach

In addition to sales sessions, attendees are encouraged to attend cross-experience sessions. These sessions will reveal how every experience with your brand matters and why it’s critical to strive for a unified and seamless CX approach.  Sessions will cover topics ranging from Industry Solutions, CX Platform, CX suites and integrations, the CX Marketplace, social CRM, CX Cloud for Midsize, and Cloud user experience. These sessions hit upon the hottest trends and challenges customer experiences professionals are facing in 2016. Highlights include a session by Social CRM influencer Paul Greenberg on “Social: the secret Weapon for Customer Experience Success,” and Oracle Application and User Experience GVP Jeremy Ashley will lead a session focused on “Cloud User Experience: The Way Forward.” Take a look at the full program and start planning your schedule.

4. The Las Vegas Experience – Networking and Entertainment


Need we say more?

Cirque du Soleil themed Dinner & Party at the Ling Ling Club at Hakkasan Nightclub: It’s “Fire” at the Ling Ling Club at Hakkasan Nightclub for all Sales conference attendees.  Come prepared for an amazing experience themed around “Fire”, surrounded by performing artists, music and great food on Tuesday from 7-9pm at Hakkasan in the MGM Grand.

5. A Customer Appreciation Event for the Books

Because it wouldn’t be Vegas without a night of world-class entertainment, we’re excited to have booked Goo Goo Dolls to perform a private concert for attendees. Goo Goo Dolls will play in the MGM Grand Arena on Wednesday evening at 10:30pm. The Oracle Customer Appreciation Event is our way to say thanks—we hope you enjoy the night of food, drinks, and amazing entertainment. 

See what attendees are already saying about Modern Sales Experience by joining the conversation on social. Use the hashtag #SalesX16.

Planning meetings with Oracle Partners while onsite? Find the list of sponsors and exhibitors here. Thank you to our Silver Sponsor, Config Consultants!

EXCITING UPDATE: We’ve extended the Early Bird Rate for Modern Sales Experience. Take advantage of $200 off the conference price by registering before March 20. 


See you in Las Vegas!

Wednesday Mar 09, 2016

Five Reasons to Attend Oracle’s Modern Service Experience 2016

Oracle’s Modern Service Experience 2016 is again lighting up fabulous Las Vegas April 26-28, and we’re betting this will be our best event yet. From the speaker lineup and session catalog to the networking experiences and Customer Appreciation Event, we’re going “all in,” and we hope you’ll join us. Here are five reasons you should head to Las Vegas this April for the Modern Service Experience:

1. In-Depth Service Content

The Modern Service Experience features more than 40 sessions led by customer service experts, analysts, and top brands. Through the keynotes, general sessions and breakouts, you’ll hear about current and future trends in customer service and will walk away inspired and ready to turn your insights into actions. Take a look at the just-launched conference program to see the impressive speaker lineup.

The conference program features content for everyone regardless of your role. Attend sessions in the following tracks:

  • Cross-Channel Contact Center
  • Executive
  • Field Service Management
  • Industry
  • Knowledge
  • Oracle Policy Management
  • Platform
  • Web Customer Service
  • Customer Experience

In addition, you’ll hear about Oracle Service Cloud’s vision and product roadmap. Within the breakouts, you’ll learn about new product functionality and how to get the most out of your implementation. In the expo hall, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in interactive demos.

2. One-of-a-Kind Networking

In addition to hearing best practices and soaking up insights from session and keynote speakers, some of the best information you’ll gather at the Modern Service Experience will come from your peers. Customer service leaders from some of the world’s top brands are attending the Modern Service Experience. The conference provides many opportunities to network with peers as well as Oracle product experts, sales, executives, and partners.

Before you head to Las Vegas, see who else is attending and start broadening your network through social media. Use the hashtag #ServiceX16, and join the conversation.

3. Thought Leaders & Inspiring Speakers

Attend the Modern Service Experience to hear from some of the leading minds in modern customer service. The featured speaker lineup includes:

  • Mark Hurd, CEO, Oracle
  • Jean-Claude Porretti, Customer Care Worldwide Manager, Peugeot Citroën
  • Scott McBain, Manager, Application Development, Overhead Door Corporation
  • Sara Knetzger, Applications Administrator, Corporate Applications, WageWorks
  • Ian Jacobs, Senior Analyst Serving Application Development & Delivery Professionals, Forrester Research
  • Kate Leggett, VP, Principal Analyst Serving Application Development & Delivery Professionals, Forrester Research
  • Ray Wang, Principal Analyst, Founder, and Chairman, Constellation Research, Inc.
  • Denis Pombriant, founder, managing principal, Beagle Research
4. More Opportunities for Increasing Your Knowledge

First, take advantage of our pre-conference workshops. You’ll probably have to roll the dice to decide which of the three you’ll attend: Get Prepared for the Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS) Practices v5 Certification, Head off to the Races with Agent Desktop Automation, and Step off the Beaten Path with Oracle Service Cloud Reporting.

Next, schedule time with an Oracle Service Cloud mastermind and get answers to your burning questions as part of the Ask the Experts program (sponsored by Oracle Gold Partner Helix).

Last, connect with your peers during lunch and participate in our birds of a feather program around popular topics.

5. Celebrate with Your Fellow Customers

To show our appreciation for our customers, we’re hosting a night of food, drinks, and amazing entertainment. Goo Goo Dolls will play a private concert for attendees at the MGM Grand Arena on Wednesday evening. The Oracle Customer Appreciation Event rarely disappoints—don’t miss it. 

Finally, at 1 p.m. on Thursday April 26, during our annual awards ceremony, we’ll recognize leading organizations and individuals in the customer service space, highlighting their impressive stories about innovation and differentiation. Guaranteed, you’ll leave motivated and energized.

What did last year’s customers have to say?

"Oracle Modern Service Experience 2015 was a top-notch event that provided me with the opportunity to learn about new Oracle Service Cloud capabilities and connected me with federal and private sector peers who have since influenced my direction as the Air Force Reserve's Chief Digital Officer, enabling me to drive the organization to a new level of innovation and efficiency this past year."

 – Lt Col Michael Ortiz, HQ Air Reserve Personnel Center

"The Modern Service Experience is a must for customers looking to maximize their effectiveness with Oracle Service Cloud."

 – Michael Morris, Match.com

See you in Las Vegas!

EXCITING UPDATE: We’ve extended the Early Bird Rate for Modern Service Experience. Take advantage of $200 off the conference price by registering before March 20.

Monday Mar 07, 2016

Bridging the Gap Between Mobile and Customer Service

By Daniel Foppen, Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle Service Cloud

Twenty years ago, mobile devices were just getting started.  In fact, back in 1995 only one percent of the population had access to a mobile device. Today, there are over 5.2 billion mobile phone users comprising 73% of the global population.  Mobile devices now have an impact on just about every part of our daily lives – from communication and social interaction to mobile commerce.  To say that mobile is a trend is an understatement.  The rise of mobile is fundamentally changing the way we interact – and is spawning a whole new generation of technology, applications and businesses.  Particularly within the service space, mobile is not only pushing how organizations should assess evolving customer engagement, but how best to tackle mobilizing the modern customer service organization. 

We see a trend in business software that is focused around the mobile experience, in which employees across the enterprise use software for a wide variety of functions including customer service, sales force automation, collaboration and communication, all while on the move, using their phones and tablets. There is great value in terms of agility, productivity and employee experience to increase your organization’s mobility.  Yet, we would encourage you to not translate this into, "we need a mobile app or responsive user interface for all of our software."

There are use cases in which it makes sense, and there are use cases in which it clearly doesn’t. A customer service representative (CSR) working for a large B2C contact center, handling complex cases from many different channels, has a need for a highly productive work environment.  It just doesn't make sense to try to make that CSR handle these cases on a mobile phone or tablet.  A sales representative on the road, or a field service representative however, is on the move every day. In both scenarios, a mobile experience makes perfect sense.

To Mobile, Or Not To Mobile (That’s The Question)

Before jumping into relevant use cases, it is helpful to clarify a common misconception about mobile: Mobile isn't just about mobile phones.

A lot of investments have gone into making specific applications for specific types of devices, e.g. a desktop application, a mobile application or a tablet application. Yet, it becomes less and less important to talk about device-specific software, as the lines between these categories are blurring.  Mobile is about understanding specific tasks and use-cases, providing the tools that make the greatest impact, and making sure these different tools are consistent and connected. Let’s review some use cases within different areas of customer service…

Mobile Scenarios in Customer Service

Agents working in multi-channel contact centers spend the majority of their day solving cases coming in from a range of different channels. They need an interface in which productivity is key. They need all the context and data available to solve the customer issue as efficiently as possible. They need a unified desktop, integrated with sensitive data from back-end systems through behind-the-firewall integration. Also, they are likely using two or three big monitors (flanked by yellow post-it notes and cute pictures of kids and dogs). Clearly this is not a great use case for mobile.

However, when you think about supervisors and managers that walk around the contact center, mobile access could be of great value.  Still, mobile access doesn't necessarily mean this persona would access the system through a mobile phone. Supervisors and managers may want to monitor their operations, yet get deeper into cases when needed. Access through a tablet would probably make most sense.

Similarly, when customer service is decentralized and service is delivered via face-to-face support in stores, at airports, front-desks, branches, etc. users will occasionally need to review cases, update contact information and access customer product information. They will need easy access to this information on a computer, laptop or tablet outside the contact center in order to deliver a connected customer experience.

Uberization Of Field Service

When determining where to apply a mobile experience, it might be easy to overlook some of the most obvious use cases. Let’s explore the ultimate mobile use case: field service.  Advancements in mobile technology have not just changed how field service representatives engage with a device, but also the type of work they perform, as well as how they manage their day.

Today, customers expect every service agent they engage with to solve all of their problems. For field service, this means that the customer expects a field representative to understand everything that has occurred in the service journey before arriving onsite for a job.  In addition, the customer expects the field representative to have the same abilities and tools as every other person on the customer service organization. The result is that all of these new tasks need a mobile interface that can quickly be accessed by a field service representative. 

Furthermore, advancements in mobile technologies are allowing a complete shift in how field organizations are structured and managed. Mobile technology and the sharing economy are now allowing for non-centralized field service organizations. This is a trend we refer to as the “Uberization” of field service, which means that through mobile access and automation, the field can dispatch their own work, create their own schedules, and make adjustments as the day changes, all while operating at an optimal level.

Complex Service On The Move

Another great example where we see mobility is around complex rule or policy processes, such as immigration cases. Typically officials assess such cases from their office desks, using lengthy forms and rubber stamps, with long queues of applicants waiting outside. Now, with greater numbers of refugees entering Europe, we see mobile solutions that equip officials outside of their offices. This is where the refugees are arriving, and officials are now able conduct the assessment on-the-spot with a tablet app and simple interview screens to determine the appropriate asylum status. Mobile decisioning is providing better agility by enabling consistent service regardless of device or channel.

Don’t Forget Your Customers

25% of our customers’ customers already use a mobile device to navigate to your support portal. Is your website prepared for that? Using responsive design you can ensure the support section on your website is presented in the optimal way for each type of screen. Also make sure your knowledge articles are structured in a way the content can be easily consumed on a smaller screen.  In addition to self-service and knowledge we would also recommend looking at mobile use cases for assisted service experiences. For instance, with in-app mobile co-browse, live chat over mobile phones, as well as video chat.

Mobile is undoubtedly changing both our personal and professional lives. Customer service organizations should decide on a strategy to bridge the gap between mobile and customer service. This requires a strategic review of value drivers, combined with a tactical search for relevant use cases.

Don’t fall in the “we need an app for everything” trap – some users need big screens, some users don’t.  Investigate how to use mobile technologies to change your field technicians into versatile brand ambassadors, and explore opportunities to increase agility and mobility by bringing complex policy and rule processes to a mobile environment.  Finally, consumers will ever more use their mobile devices to contact you, so your website and contact centers need to be ready for this new reality.

Wednesday Mar 02, 2016

Building Agility into your Field Service Operations with Mobile Solutions

By Christine Friscic, Product Manager, Oracle Service Cloud

Service is now a critical way for organizations to differentiate against the competition. It provides an important opportunity to directly impact the relationship businesses have with their customers with a smooth, personalized and end-to-end service experience. When managed efficiently, service can also give companies the ability to better control support costs by boosting productivity, while reducing overtime and travel time.

At the same time, mobile has taken center stage as an integral part of our everyday lives. We rely on our smartphones for almost everything, and the same access and connectivity that these devices provide can be applied to the way that organizations deliver service. Mobile devices and the robust software solutions that they enable can empower organizations to provide effortless service to their customers, especially when it comes to field service management.

For field service organizations, mobility means achieving greater agility in their operations. Processes can be streamlined. Service can be personalized for each customer or machine.  And, field service resources can be empowered to work faster and more intelligently through greater access to information, coupled with the ability to collaborate remotely with their peers.

There are numerous ways that mobility can improve your organization’s operations. Here are just a few of our favorite ways to leverage mobility and drive more agile field service operations:

Increase your field team’s ability to respond faster.

With the powerful mobile tools available, field service managers and supervisors are no longer tied to the back office. As a result, they now have the ability to completely manage their teams from remote locations. They are empowered to view team schedules and real-time progress throughout the day from their mobile devices, and take action if necessary. 

For example, Oracle Field Service Cloud recently released its Field Resource Manager. This new feature enables supervisors that are out in the field with their teams to actually build field resources’ schedules and adjust shifts as needed from their smartphones or tablets. Field supervisors can now see when their teams have extra availability, and easily assign unscheduled work to them, ensuring that the team is responding to and completing work as quickly as possible.

Improve collaboration in the field.

An important way that mobile tools are creating more agile field service teams is with the ability for enhanced collaboration – both between field resources and their managers, and among their peers. Field service tools with context-aware collaboration features allow field resources to quickly and easily connect with their peers in the area, or to find the parts or skill set needed to complete their work. Better collaboration capabilities mean that field teams can not only complete work faster, but also complete jobs correctly the first time.

The enhancements to Oracle Field Service Cloud’s Collaboration tool released in February 2016 significantly improve communication and collaboration between field teams. With a simplified configuration process, new location-sharing capabilities and the ability to make voice calls directly from the application, field resources can connect faster and communicate smarter to complete their work more effectively.

Access critical information and systems on-the-go.

The instant and continuous access to critical information that mobile field service solutions offer, enables field teams to provide a new level of service. By connecting with the contact center, field resources can easily view critical customer information such as the history of the service event, and any important notes on preferences. Access to this information gives the field important contextual and background information before arriving at a customers home. Furthermore, integration with a Knowledge Management solution empowers field resources to quickly and easily search for information that they need to complete their work right from their mobile device – as a result, jobs are completed the right way the first time, saving customers the hassle of scheduling a follow up appointment.

Oracle Field Service Cloud provides improved integration capabilities in release 16.2, to better connect and streamline processes between the back office and the field. The release offers an integration accelerator with Oracle E-Business Suite – so that OFSC can schedule EBS-created service requests, while reconciling parts and inventory from the field with back office systems – as well as integration with Oracle Integration Cloud Service (ICS) – providing users with an easy way to connect OFSC with other Oracle cloud products.

By leveraging the mobile tools available today, organizations can create more agile and connected field service teams. With this agility, organizations are empowering their field service teams to work smarter, ultimately leading to more efficient operations and a better service experience for the end customer.

Learn more about how mobile field service solutions like Oracle Field Service Cloud can help support agile field service operations by visiting http://oracle.com/goto/field-service. And, check out all of our new and exciting enhancements included in the Oracle Field Service Cloud February 2016 release.

Friday Feb 26, 2016

Deliver the Grand Slam with Sales Performance Management

The annual 6 Nations Rugby Championship involving England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales, dates back to 1883, when the four home nations played a round robin event, France joined in 1910, Italy in 2000.

The game of rugby has evolved so much since the start of the Championships, moving from the amateur game of pure power and passion, to a professional era of strategy, intelligence and leadership. Head coaches now enjoy a media spotlight far beyond that of most players, with critical eyes on every aspect of the game. Tracksuits are replaced by something more businesslike and similarly the expectations are all on performance. 

Wales coach Warren Gatland has some big decisions to make

Going into the 2016 Championships England and Wales are joint record holders, with an incredible 26 titles each. What does it take to command this kind of dominance and continually drive high performance over 80 punishing minutes, game-after-game?

Wales’ Gatland is one of the most admired coaches of his generation, with an impressive record at club and international level. During any game, he’s in the stands with his team of staff scrutinising performance data in real time. This is rugby’s knowledge economy where the players take the role of hardworking muscle and await instruction from the brain in the stands.

“In the modern game there has to be a focus on detail as we aim to give the team every possible advantage over all opponents,” says Gatland. "The environment has to continually evolve to embrace all the available advances in game analysis, conditioning, nutrition, rugby skills and medical care."

Gatland's focus on the game of rugby is a lesson for all Sales Leaders. There is no doubt that much of his success comes from his playing and coaching career. He has real experience in the art of the game. But like any art form, there is a science supporting it. 

As with rugby, building a high-performance sales team takes tactful management, constant motivation and targeted mentoring. These qualities come from years of experience, and as a leader you are valued on these talents. However, alongside this experience, you need the intelligence to compete on the world stage, and to do that you need to make well-informed decisions. Only with this insight can you identify the imperfections in your performance and make the move to the big league. 

This is where Sales Performance Management (SPM) technologies come in. They make it easy to design, develop and reward a high-performing sales organization that drives the right behaviours and aligns sales execution with corporate goals. These tools help to coach, incentivize and uncover previously hidden insights, so management decisions can be based on accurate information, not guesswork. 

Oracle tops the tables in Gartner’s 2016 Magic Quadrant for Sales Performance Management. Gartner highlight strengths in analytical capabilities, industry specialization, handling complex workloads and an increase in successful cloud deployments.

Get some science into your game plan with the tools to Manage, Motivate and Mentor your sales teams more effectively. As Gatland says, you need to give the team every possible advantage over your opponents. It’s the difference between the Wooden Spoon and the Grand Slam!

Wednesday Feb 24, 2016

Increase Productivity and Close Deals Faster

Aberdeen Group found Best-in-Class organizations leverage standardized proposals and automated quote generation processes. Peter Ostrow, from Aberdeen, interviewed Jill Cameron, Sr. Director of Sales Operations with Brocade. Jill shared firsthand experience of how Oracle CPQ Cloud helped her sales organization realize ROI.[Read More]

Monday Feb 22, 2016

5 Steps To Start Your IoT-Enabled Service Strategy

By Daniel Foppen, Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle Service Cloud

There is plenty of buzz around the Internet of Things (IoT). There will be over 25 billion connected things by 2020. Soon we will be coming across hundreds of connected devices in our homes, at work and on the street.  The IoT is changing our lives.  This is exciting of course, but for many service professionals the question of how to actually start leveraging the IoT is not that easy. Yes, we know there is a lot of devices that are connected – more every second - but how does the head of customer care actually set up an infrastructure that allows them to reap the benefits of IoT?  As we are in the industry of delivering customer service experiences, we will focus on helping define a simple 5 step framework to start an IoT enabled customer service strategy.

So why IoT Enabled Service?

We should start by asking why the interest in IoT enabled customer service?

The value of IoT enabled customer service is pretty straight forward… IoT enabled service provides a differentiated customer experience and it greatly reduces costs for the business.  Just think about a world where customer service isn't something you expect, but something you don't even think about anymore. What if service is automated and proactive? What will it mean for consumer loyalty to have a product that gets fixed before it becomes faulty or parts are replaced before the customer even notices the problem?  Similarly, think about how much it costs to handle all those thousands of incoming calls, e-mails, social media questions, live chats, etc. everyday about issues with devices. By connecting agents with the device, by enabling devices to auto-diagnose and even self-solve service the impact on the customer experience will be great. 

Furthermore, in the event a device or machine requires direct service, such as a visit from a field technician, IoT can again deliver a massive impact.  Taking into consideration that each field service truck roll can easily cost several hundred dollars, providing the field with IoT enabled remote diagnostics and asset history can dramatically reduce costs through unnecessary truck rolls.  In addition, when a field technician arrives on site for a job, he will already have an understanding of the potential problem and can bring the tools and parts to insure a first time resolution.

Making IoT Data Actionable!

The Internet of Things does not constitute a connectivity challenge, but a data challenge. In other words, to do something with the IoT you need to be able to manage the data.  A modern smartphone easily packs 10 sensors (multiply that by 2 BN smartphones today) and a modern car already has over 100 sensors.  A few years from now our homes will have hundreds of devices with a variety of sensors creating data. Just try to picture the scale of the data all those sensors will generate!

The big challenge with IoT for any business is not connecting to the devices, but rather in the collection and analysis of mountains of data. From this analysis customer service teams must identify events that require a service action.  All of this activity must occur in a cost effective and secure manner. Taking this into consideration, service teams must make sure their companies chosen IoT platform can support these requirements.

From Insight to Resolution

Understanding how insights from device data can help improve customer service processes is the next step.  If you are working in customer service, it should be pretty easy to find the low-hanging fruit.  Just ask yourself: “In which situations does the agent ask the customer for information about their device or machine?”  For instance, serial number, part-numbers, error codes, etc. Anywhere where the agents needs info from the device you’ve found yourself a potential use-case.

Once you have identified the most common issues that come into your engagement center today related to devices, analyze them and understand the impact each of these issues has on your business in terms of costs, customer experience and other values. This information will allow you to prioritize possible high impact IoT projects.

5 Steps To Get IoT Enabled Service Rolling

Step 1: Connect and Collect

Connecting your devices to a system that collects data is the first step. Connecting your devices isn't a big challenge, but we do recommend finding a platform that is both manageable and scalable. It is important to realize that the IoT is not static in nature. You'll need a platform that has elasticity to deal with big spikes of incoming data. Other considerations like security of data and the supported connections to devices are also very important.  Because of these considerations you will likely end-up with a cloud service, it will simply guarantee the most consistency, scalability, flexibility and low TCO.

Step 2: Analyze and Trigger

In addition to connecting devices to a system, you need a system than can actually do something with the data that connection provides. You will need a flexible system that enables real-time analysis of high-volumes of data. Data by itself is meaningless if it does not provide insights and action. Identify which insights are relevant and actionable when embedding those insights in service processes.  One of the bigger barriers to mainstream adoption of the IoT is the complexity of integration of such insights into processes. It helps if you have a service platform that’s robust and flexible. You’ll want a platform that’s easy to manage, yet allows strong capabilities to tailor to specific processes, extends and integrates with multiple systems.

Step 3: Set-up Device Service Processes

Setting up a device service process is pretty much the same as setting up a normal customer service process. But instead of asking the customer to do things like collecting data from the device, finding knowledge articles and trouble shooting flows, the device takes a much more prominent role.

We see there are three typical scenarios you can use to set up device service processes:

  1. Device-Assisted Self-Service. This is where the customer accesses knowledge and augments that with data from the device. Think going through a device registration process where the device automatically provides details such as serial numbers, install date, etc. to easily complete the registration process.
  2. Agent-Assisted Device Service. A device triggers a process to have an agent interact with the device to solve the problem. E.g. an agent that opens an incident created by the device and then inside the agent’s work environment interacts with the device to review settings, change configurations, reset the device, etc.
  3. Automatic Service. Here a device triggers an event and starts running service processes. These processes are built in such a way the devices can fully automatically troubleshoot, run through configurations, run diagnostics, change settings, reset and reboot, etc. I.e. processes that would previously take an hour to walk a customer through over the phone can now be performed in seconds.

Step 4: Empower Agents to Talk to Devices

Are your agents trained to talk to machines? IoT enabled service brings a whole new interaction paradigm for service agents. You will need to set up your processes accordingly. Provide the tools to help agents to become accustomed to interacting with machines, such as an agent scripting or visual screen guide. Also be sure to connect your agent work environments to enable interacting with the device to be able to do troubleshooting, remote configuration, set-up, resets, etc.  Also think whether your current KPIs set applies to interacting with devices. Typical contact center KPIs like First Time Resolution and Average Handling Time may not be applicable.

Step 5: Connect Field-Service Technicians

In many cases self-service and agent-assisted service won't be enough to solve a device’s problem and a field service technician needs to be dispatched to make a repair. These field events can occur with great efficiency,  by allowing contact center agents to directly schedule and dispatch technicians.  For example, let’s assume a VIP customer needs an issue resolved immediately.  You’ll want the contact center agent to create the service request, and have that request automatically routed to the nearest available technician, that has the tools, skills, and parts to solve the customers problem.  Furthermore, you’ll need to make sure the field technician has all the relevant customer information, and device information to insure a first time fix.  This scenario is becoming a fairly typical with service organizations where the contact center and the field service teams share the same platform.

Key Take Away’s

The Internet of Things is promising tremendous value for customer service organizations, yet it’s not always easy to start leveraging the IoT. We suggest the IoT is a data challenge, not a connectivity challenge. You will need a scalable and elastic service to collect data, a robust yet flexible system to analyze data in real-time to trigger support processes when needed. You’ll need a strong customer service platform that offers the extensibility and integration capability to embed data insights in support processes. A system that allows auto-diagnostics and that allows your service agents to troubleshoot and interact with the device, in a manner that’s easy for agents to adopt. You’ll also want a system that connects your customer service and field service teams to further streamline processes.

Coming to Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona, Spain? Come and visit the Oracle Service Cloud product management team at the Samsung Enterprise booth in Hall #6. We will be happy to give you a complete demo that demonstrates all the 5 steps above on a single platform.

Monday Feb 15, 2016

Oracle Named a Leader for Sales Performance Management Solution by Virginia Lo

Sales performance continues to be a top objective for sales executives, and investment in Sales Performance Management (SPM) technology supports this focus.  In January, Gartner released its 2016 Magic Quadrant for Sales Performance Management and named Oracle’s cloud-based version of its industry-leading Sales Performance Management solution as a Leader.  Oracle has risen into the Leader quadrant by demonstrating completeness of vision and strong ability to execute in the Sales Performance Management market.  

Gartner evaluated 13 vendors for its latest Magic Quadrant for Sales Performance Management evaluation. SPM vendors provide integral technology components to align companies’ go-to-market efforts to drive improved sales execution through incentive compensation management (ICM), territory management, quota management, gamification, sales coaching, sales appraisals, sales onboarding, and sales training.

In the 2016 SPM evaluation, Gartner cites Oracle SPM’s strength in the delivery of its end-to-end product capabilities, analytics, and customer experience as the reasons for its strong position in the Magic Quadrant.

Companies around the globe leverage Oracle SPM to better manage performance, better motivate behavior, and better mentor best practices – ultimately helping to maximize the performance of the sales force.


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