There are many articles and blog posts written about the benefits of Siebel Open UI. So, rather than discussing that topic, I will focus on a new approach and methods and tools to leveraging the best that Siebel Open UI has to offer.
Most Siebel implementations generally follow the traditional implementation approach, we get the requirements from the client, and build /modify the components per requirement. Although there was some thought given to how the data flowed from screen to screen for the user there was not much flexibility in traditional Siebel to mold the application to the user’s task-based processes or modifying the UI of the application to look like a web application. The traditional Siebel implementation effort did not focus on achieving this either. The new approach and tools that go a long way in helping create an application with a modern user experience is outlined below:
One of the most overlooked concepts since Siebel Open UI came out is staffing appropriately within Siebel projects. Many of our clients that have internal Siebel teams have taken the approach of using the Siebel team to learn a little about web development, and then start developing in the Open UI framework. Our team approached it as a web application; we used our web application resources, and paired them up with the technology resources.
If you’re looking to enable Open UI with Siebel, we recommend engaging web developers, user experience architects, as well as visual designers with technology agnostic or web development toolkits and resources, and pairing them up with your Siebel architects to create some truly excellent design and usability within the Siebel infrastructure and frameworks.
Tools and Methods:
The steps below describe the tools/methods used to gather requirements and develop the application with Open UI.
A simple analogy to explaining the approach to journey mapping is what happens between when a person decides to drink a cup of coffee and when he actually drinks the coffee. This is as simple as it sounds, but there are a number of steps involved between the two actions of thinking about drinking the coffee and actually drinking the coffee. Journey mapping documents the steps that happen between the two actions.
Similarly we would go through our design process of journey mapping with some users in the room. The users would define their process both inside and outside of the system and attribute their attitudes about each step in their process. This will allow us to identify the key points, those significant moments in their sales journey that we could influence through providing a better system.
Contextual Interviews/Executive Interviews
Contextual Inquiry is a tool used to better understand the end user, their environment, activities, day-today goals, and perceptions. This understanding helps the design team envision a system that works for the user. In this process we have one on one interviews with existing users of the application to understand their objectives when they use the application, find where there are bottle necks in the existing process or things that stop them from efficiently finishing the process in the application. We also cover any individual concerns they have in the process and challenges they face when using the application on a day to day basis.
Wire framing is done taking into account the data collected by the previous steps in the process namely executive interviews, journey mapping, and contextual interviews. We go through multiple Iterations of development of the wire frame and we have multiple review sessions with the users as the wire frame is developed and functional process is added. To be clear, the wire frame only shows the functional process, navigation, and UI features like sliding applets or collapsing sections. This ultimately serves as a base for the UI development in Siebel.
The UI designer creates a visual mockup based on the wireframe layouts and with inputs from management on what it should look like in the end and what color schemes need to be used for the application. The completed design will give the user an idea of what the final application will look like in terms of the style, fonts, Color scheme, layouts, placement of buttons etc.,.
Development and Deployment
In this process we develop and test in iterations. Following the Agile development model, we build a module or section of the application and test it with users. We then fix issues based on feedback from the users and test it for bugs to make sure it works well. We repeat this process multiple times to get the desired output. Then we take on another module or section and repeat the process. Finally, we tie them all together and ultimately, deploy. During post-deployment, we talk to our users, do some design fine tuning based on the feedback, and do some workshops to see if there are any issues. Based on what we find, we can go through that process again with smaller, key, high-value items.
The Image below shows a Siebel Screen developed using the methods/techniques outlined above.
Learn More at Collaborate
This approach to implementing Open UI projects has helped us deliver some exciting projects for our clients. At Collaborate 2017, we will discuss the methods used, give details on real case studies, and show what we have delivered for our clients with open UI.
If you’re headed to Collaborate 17 in Las Vegas, April 2-6, I invite you to stop by my presentation Siebel Innovation to Modernize the User Experience – You Don’t Have to Settle for the Same Old Look on Sunday, April 2nd 2017 from 12:30 PM–1:30 PM. While you are there, please also check out Perficient’s other must-attend sessions at the show!