Brace yourself for Siebel 8.1.1

Change

After giving good ol' Free Download Manager (yes this is an official editor's choice recommendation for really cool freeware - see below for more kudos) a sleepless night, I was able to embark on a rather ritual ride of uninstalling the old version of my typical 3-pack of Siebel Developer Web Client, Sample Database and Tools (that is 8.1.0 - dot zero) and replacing it with the latest (8.1.1 - dot one) to have a first sniff.
There are some remarkable differences between those two versions which I would like to share with all you early adopters out there.

Given the fact that 8.1.0 was never released under general availability, only a few selected humans might ever had an eye on it. Another fact is that 8.1.0 was available under certain limitations for selected customers for example to prepare an upgrade to 8.1 or to evaluate the revamped Loyalty module (now the fourth pillar of Siebel CRM among Sales, Service and Marketing).

I also downloaded the fresh-from-the-oven 8.1.1 bookshelf and made my way through some very recommended literature, the "What's New in this Release" chapters of the guides that are relevant to you (e.g. Installation Guide).

These are the first details I am posting on 8.1.1 and I am quite sure that more posts will follow.

SIA (Siebel Industry Applications aka Verticals) and SBA (Siebel Business Applications aka Horizontals) released separately

The Network Image Creator, which you still need to launch after unpacking all those .jar files does not allow you to choose between SBA and SIA. The package you download from edelivery.oracle.com is limited to one of the two. 8.1.1 is a SIA release (containing the Loyalty pillar).

Oracle Universal Installer for Developer/Mobile Web Client and Siebel Tools

The first thing you will have to say "Hello" to is the oui.exe which launches Oracle Universal Installer. OUI now takes care of installing and configuring the Siebel Developer/Mobile Web Client and Siebel Tools. Not too weird as it prompts for the same parameters as the old Installshield wizard did. However oui leaves a mark of several directories in the client's and tools' installation folders.

Oracle Universal Installer busily installing Siebel Developer Web Client, the ad to the right is for Database 11g, not for the Client ;-)

The Siebel Sample database is still using the Installshield wizard to copy itself into the client (or tools) directory.

Actuate replaced by BI Publisher

When I browsed through the Installation Guide for Windows, I noticed a statement that left me somewhat worried:

"The Actuate products formerly provided as Siebel Reports Server are no longer shipped with or supported by Siebel CRM version 8.1 or later. Reporting functionality is now available using Oracle Business Intelligence Publisher."

This two-sentence statement means a lot of work ahead for all those customers who invested (sometimes heavily) in Actuate reports. Oracle announced its decision to say goodbye to Actuate quite early and version 8.1.0 actually supported both reporting tools side by side.

But this short-lived and rarely known coexistence is now over and I feel a little worried about the projects with hundreds of heavily scripted Actuate reports given the fact that an automated migration from an Actuate rol/rod/bas/rox mix to a BI Publisher template is highly impossible. If anyone has more positive news on migrating from Actuate to BI Publisher please share your knowledge in a comment.

[Update 2]: The Siebel CRM 8.1.1 Planned Features/SOD document (login required for metalink3) states the planned availability of an Actuate to BIP Migration Tool as part of the BI Publisher server. Stay tuned for updates on that.

[Update 3]: As Anonymous points out in his/her comment to this post, Actuate is still supported for existing Siebel customers. I hope there will be more official clarification on that as there might be the need for some extra patches for existing customers (as the installers from edelivery have no Actuate binaries with them - neither for the Mobile/Developer Web Client nor in form of the Siebel Report Server). As the Siebel CRM 8.1.1 Planned Features/SOD document (login required for metalink3) points out, there will be support for Actuate 8 until end of 2009. The document mentions "Post-2009", see below. Customers with earlier Actuate versions will need to upgrade to Actuate 8.

I haste to state that I'm a big fan of BI Publisher and consider it the ideal choice but maybe the decision to cut the support for Actuate so quickly was a bit hasty.

In version 8.1.0 it was possible to set the System Preference ReportEngineType to BOTH (which is still the default setting in the sample database for 8.1.1) but in 8.1.1 there are no Actuate binaries available, so BIP is the only thing left to create reports.

The already obsolete ReportEngineType System Preference is still set to BOTH in the sample db.

Siebel Update Server and CTI Connect no longer supported

Let me conclude this post with two more statements from bookshelf and join me in saying farewell to the Siebel Update Server and the CTI simulation.

"Siebel Update Server and Siebel Update Client are no longer shipped with or supported by Siebel CRM version 8.1 or later."

"Siebel CTI Connect is no longer supported as of the current release. CTI Simulation, which used the CTI Connect driver and configuration data, is also no longer supported."

Casey Cheng is no longer able to demonstrate CTI functionality, note the error message

[Update 1]: SmartAnswer is a dead parrot, too

As stated in the Siebel CRM 8.1.1 Planned Features document (download requires login to metalink3), SmartAnswer is no longer sold, albeit supported:

"Siebel SmartAnswer is no longer sold as part of the Siebel CRM suite of applications. The product is no longer shipped effective for all new and upgrading customers beginning with Siebel 8.1 / 8.1.1. Existing customers of Siebel SmartAnswer can continue to use their products, but will not be able to buy additional seats."

About
Free Download Manager

Ideal for large downloads (from edelivery.oracle.com) as it

  • integrates in your browser
  • allows pre-selection of zip file content (skip all the stuff you never need and have faster downloads)
  • is capable of downloading flash video and converting it to portable video formats

Have a nice day

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The intention of this blog is to share findings about Siebel CRM and Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (Oracle BI EE formerly known as Siebel Analytics) from technical and other (sometimes unprecedented) perspectives.

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