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Oracle Fusion Applications
Oracle Fusion Applications Transforms Oracle Support

Just the Beginning: An Improved User Experience

Authors: Richard Bingham, Oracle Senior Principal Technical Support Engineer and Misha Vaughan, Architect, Oracle Applications User Experience
June 5, 2012

When Oracle embarked on designing the next generation of enterprise applications, rethinking the user experience from top to bottom was a priority, and you can see that today in any demonstration of Oracle Fusion Applications. What people often miss, however, is that this willingness to reinvent didn’t stop with the user experience. Our approach went deeper, extending all the way from the tools that Oracle uses to build the applications, Oracle Fusion Middleware, to the support that Oracle offers customers for Oracle Fusion Applications. Oracle has, in fact, approached Oracle Fusion Applications as a complete customer experience.

Richard Bingham
Richard Bingham is a Senior Principal Supportability Engineer working on the design and delivery of the tools, processes, and services that make up Oracle Fusion Applications Support Services. Richard joined Oracle in 1999 and has supported 10 application products and thousands of customers. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in geology and joining Oracle, Richard worked as a programmer, a data analyst, an IT implementer, and a systems manager. Richard is also an accredited assessor for the UK Institute of Customer Services and is the author of “Managing Oracle Fusion Applications” (Oracle Press).
Misha Vaughan
Misha Vaughan, editor-in-chief of Usableapps, is an architect in the Oracle Applications User Experience group. She spearheads outreach to customers, thought leaders in the Oracle sales organization, and key influencers and bloggers on Oracle topics. Misha also leads applications user experience go-to-market initiatives, including the Oracle Fusion User Experience Advocates program and the Applications User Experience Sales Ambassador Program. She has led a next-generation user interface technology team, as well as a cross-acquisition (PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel, Oracle) user experience team, which defined the user research methodologies for Oracle Fusion Applications. As a user experience manager, Misha drove the successful delivery of user interface design and usability support for two major application divisions: financials and service applications. She has a doctorate in information science with a specialization in human-computer interaction and a master’s degree in telecommunications, both from Indiana University at Bloomington. Follow her blog at

Read more to learn how Oracle has redeveloped the support process, down to the smallest detail of support for Oracle Fusion Applications. You will hear echoes of customer experience themes:  end-user productivity, customer satisfaction, streamlined processes, information at your fingertips, and a goal to provide concrete business value for customers.

What’s Changed?

The evolution of Oracle Fusion Applications and its complementary services is something that Oracle is calling the Oracle Fusion complete customer experience. This entire support process that a customer journeys through with Oracle affects users, their managers, product and process managers, business leaders, and all of their trading partners.

Infrastructure providers, namely the information technology (IT) staff, now benefit from a myriad of Oracle Fusion Applications management tools that are available, which is something rarely seen in an out-of-the-box enterprise application. These tools support both day-to-day system administration, as well as the visibility that technical strategy folks need for performance and capacity planning. All of the information that strategy folks need is at their fingertips.

Oracle’s team members benefit as well—especially the support team. Oracle’s support team is better prepared and better equipped to provide exceptional service.

In the past, applications support was usually aligned by product and required investigation through diagnostic information that was passed back and forth for analysis. Oracle Fusion Support, however, is more focused around a predetermined information ”flow” and is better aligned to real-world business processes. This approach not only speeds investigation but also enables Oracle to deliver more proactive, preventive, and context-sensitive services.

In Oracle Fusion Applications, as issues happen, diagnostic data is automatically collected based on the problem signature. The right people are informed, and tracking records (incidents) are maintained. The on-site investigation is then supported by tools to gather more data as needed, get functional assistance, and access both the documentation and expert knowledge articles. If the solution isn’t found, a few clicks package all of the information and supply it to Oracle Support.

While new to Oracle Applications, these capabilities are actually proven in other Oracle products, established in the 11g version of both the database and the middleware. Oracle Fusion Applications is the first application to leverage these capabilities. As other Oracle Applications product lines add these components to their own technology stacks, these product lines are likely to follow the lead of Oracle Fusion Applications.

This example shows how Oracle Fusion Applications is designed to automatically send an incident package, or tracking record, to Oracle Support with a service request.

Making Support More Usable

The features that make Oracle Support so robust happen inside a single tool: Oracle Enterprise Manager. Placing these features inside one tool ensures an enhanced and complete customer experience and follows the usability design principle of putting all related work and information in one place. Oracle has also extended Enterprise Manager with specific tools for managing Oracle Fusion Applications. This extension provides a management solution that supports the whole technology stack—applications-to-disk, plus native integration to complete the Oracle software support infrastructure.

Oracle Fusion Applications comes with a host of reactive tools. One example is Oracle Fusion Applications Diagnostics, which helps support teams that are investigating both technical and business process issues. If a user is unable to close a financial period or has difficulty managing supplier profiles, the diagnostics can help identify the problem. More than 100 such diagnostics are available in the initial release of Oracle Fusion Applications, and more will continue to be added.

Oracle Support is also looking for feedback from customers and partners working with Oracle Fusion Applications. Central to this idea is a soon-to-be-launched MyOracleSupport Community website that is entirely focused around Oracle Fusion Applications management. The site will share detailed best practices, answer questions, and capture ideas and requirements to help make Oracle solutions and services relevant.

The Oracle Fusion complete customer experience is also focused on services that reduce or eliminate the effects of issues by proactively searching systems for potential problems. One example is Configuration Collections and the associated Compliance and Health recommendations. These services ensure that administrators are alerted when something in the technology stack (from applications to disk) doesn’t look right based on Oracle’s recommended best practices. More details can be found in MyOracleSupport under the Collector tab, or in Note 109.1.

Supporting Business Operations

The real cost of issues is often exacted at functional help desks and from users who are trying to complete a task, such as closing a period end or running payroll.

Oracle Applications Support Services knows that the true requirement of IT is to support such tasks in business operations. Oracle Fusion Applications was actually designed and built around this principle. Here are a few examples:

KPIs combine both business and technical performance metrics.
  • User productivity was addressed by the Oracle Applications User Experience team, resulting in significant efficiency and accuracy improvements.
  • Back-end processing was re-engineered and simplified using industry standards such as Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) to more efficiently and effectively execute complex logic.
  • Oracle has made more than 1,000 common business features available as published web services for anyone to use from their own external systems. This availability reduces the complexity in building integrations and improves Oracle’s ability to support final solutions. Details on these and other system assets and resources can be found in the Oracle Enterprise Repository.
  • In application management, Oracle has provided a set of business-focused key performance indicators (KPIs) that appear on Oracle Enterprise Manager screens that integrate functional performance data, such as invoice payments or purchase orders, directly alongside technology metrics, such as request throughputs or memory usage, so that problems can be associated with the technology that provides the service.
  • Oracle has a business-process orientation to Oracle Fusion Applications Help, now known as user assistance. Users now have easy access to contextually relevant information to support their tasks. This business-oriented model extends into the logical next step in solving problems, namely involving Oracle Support, through searching the knowledge base and raising service requests.

An Evolving Experience

As Oracle continues to evolve the Oracle Fusion complete customer experience, the Oracle Fusion Applications Support Services team has some specific goals:

  • Deliver more tools and services around monitoring and alerting
  • Build more automation and integration with more diagnostic tooling to help quickly determine issue causes and solutions, minimizing the downstream business effects
  • Provide additional rich, proactive checks to help detect and prevent issues from occurring

The Support Services team spent more than three years preparing for the first release. But it’s not only Oracle’s tooling that contains the Oracle Fusion Applications complete customer experience. Oracle is always looking to enhance its customer support. These enhanced services include additional tools and techniques to capture more information, which helps the Support Services team listen to customers carefully (as it’s often the subtleties of a question or problem that provide the most valuable clues to its cause). The team then delivers services that set industry best practices, using innovative capabilities, such as the new mobile application now available for use with My Oracle Support.

To complete the cycle and help lower ownership costs, Oracle looks to put every piece of experience and knowledge back into the products and management.

The Support Services team’s efforts show how Oracle is leveraging the principles of user experience to set a new standard for the support for Oracle Fusion Applications, a next-generation application suite.  |  About Oracle  |  Careers  |  Contact Us  |  Legal Notices  |  Terms of Use  |  Your Privacy Rights