Friday May 16, 2014

Upgrading Your Oracle Service Cloud Site

By Sarah Anderson

Oracle Service Cloud combines Web, Social and Contact Center experiences for a unified, cross-channel service solution in the Cloud, enabling organisations to increase sales and adoption, build trust and strengthen relationships, and reduce costs and effort.

Upgrading your Oracle Service Cloud site can be a daunting prospect – beset with questions like ‘what will happen to my data’, ‘what gets copied over and what do I have to re-build manually’ and ‘what about all of those complex customisations’ generally coming in at the top of the list!

So, take a deep breath and relax...Not only is there a dedicated upgrade team, but there is also a wealth of information, guides and tutorials online to support the process – and of course, you can always submit a support incident if you need any help.

A good starting point for accessing the documentation is (you’ll need your account name and password to login).  Search for ‘5167’ – this will then display Answer ID 5167 – which lists the upgrade guides from the present GA version (currently February 2014) all the way back to August 2008 – just select the version that you are upgrading TO.  Then you select the version that you are upgrading FROM (don’t forget that the Customer Portal Framework can be migrated separately) and the documentation will open automatically.

It’s absolutely imperative that you verify that your infrastructure meets the minimum specifications for the version that you are upgrading to – it isn’t safe to assume that just because your 2011 version runs to optimum efficiency that your brand new, shiny 2014 version will do the same!

Now that you’ve confirmed that you meet the minimum system requirements, you are ready to request your upgrade site (this is a copy of your production site – your rules, navigation sets, workspaces, account profiles, configuration settings and message bases etc. will all be identical.  The data contained in the upgrade database contains an asynchronous snapshot of the data as it was in your production site at the point the upgrade was created, but will NOT be synchronised with the production database), so navigate to the overview page of the upgrade documentation, where you will find a link to an HMS (hosting management system) page.  Use your customer support details to login to HMS and select the site that you wish to upgrade.  Once that’s done your upgrade site will be reviewed by a member of the upgrades team and you’ll receive a notification about cutover dates.

One of the key elements to a successful upgrade is to test, test and when you’ve done that, test some more... It will ensure that any changes you make to the upgrade site do not have a negative impact or ‘break’ any existing configuration.  To make this process more efficient and to ensure that mandatory tasks have been completed, you can access a check list from the ‘My Site Tools’ link at the top of the support pages – you may need to login again to access this list.

There are 3 mandatory tasks which need to be signed off

  • Test and confirm upgrade site functionality
  • Review upgrade documentation
  • Review Service Update Notification (SUN) Editor

There are 16 optional service tasks, but it’s a matter of best practice to test all of these items too!

To avoid duplication of effort or to ensure responsibility for the testing/verification of these tasks, it is possible to assign each task to an individual.

What gets carried over?
The question that most people ask when they upgrade, is ‘what changes get carried over at cutover’?  The important thing to remember is that when your site is upgraded, the database from the existing production site is merged with the configuration files of the upgrade.  Answer ID 1925 contains detailed information about this, but in synopsis: answer images, customer portal, configuration settings, message bases, file manager and local spellcheck dictionaries will be carried across from the upgrade site and everything else from production.  This means that if you have created a new navigation set or workspace for example, in the upgrade site, they will NOT be carried over to the upgraded production site.

An important aspect of upgrading relates to custom fields.  Custom fields should not be added, modified, or deleted from seven days prior to cutover until after the cutover is complete.  This is because changing custom fields within this time period can cause the upgrade to fail and/or be postponed.

As I mentioned right at the start, upgrading can be daunting, but success is all in the preparation... Lay the groundwork and you should have a trouble free upgrade – and don’t forget, there is an upgrade team that you can reach out to with questions or requests for support.

Here is a summary of the steps to take:

    • Read the upgrade documentation
    • Prepare your production site by having a ‘spring clean’ of extraneous or unused reports, workspaces, navigation sets and account profiles etc
    • Assign upgrade tasks in UMS
    • Test
    • Enjoy the whizzy, new functionality

    About the Author:

    Sarah Anderson worked for RightNow for 4 years in both a consulting and training delivery capacity. She is now a Senior Instructor with Oracle University, delivering the following Oracle RightNow courses:

    • RightNow Customer Service Administration
    • RightNow Analytics
    • RightNow Customer Portal Designer and Contact Center Experience Designer Administration
    • RightNow Marketing and Feedback
    Gaining RightNow Knowledge and Skills
    RightNow applications provide a service enterprise platform to unify web, social and contact center experiences for customers. With Oracle University’s RightNow Training, learn how to use this cloud-based customer service to build trust, increase sales and adoption and reduce costs. 

Expert trainers from Oracle University share tips and tricks and answer questions that come up in a classroom.


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