Track User Behaviour in Siebel

A recent announcement of usage tracking feature introduced in Siebel 15.5 (thanks to Alex’s post) brought back more than a few memories.

Application development is a funny business. As COTS product implementers, we try to understand the process, map them to what is available in the OOB solution, and negotiate a way forward for optimal usage of the product. This hoopla typically costs 3-6 months or more and requires close collaboration of Business SMEs, Siebel Experts and Process Experts.

As it can happen in any large IT projects, the end product may be different from what was expected from the field. There may be numerous reasons for that – but the deviation is directly proportional to complexity. Of course, no one says this in the self-congratulatory mood upon go-live, but the problems do not stay hidden.

Hence the necessity to know just “how users are using the application”.

usage tracking siebel

We go past the reliance on Business SME (who in many cases are just wrongly mapped to the role) and find out what’s going on –

  • How many views (& reports) are actively used?
  • How do users navigate in the application?
  • What are the screens used for typical transactions? How long users stay on views/screens.
  • Average time spent to load views
  • Average time for business transactions

Without built-in functions to track these factors, we evolved various methods across different projects to find the easiest, quickest and most non-intrusive way to enable tracking.

  • Plugin a “Functional Consultant” with the Business SME / user and monitor the application usage for 1-3 months after go-live. Observe application usage for various transactions and make note of any gaps from a process/technology perspective. Continuously feed inputs back to the development team.
  • Enable custom usage tracking
    • Using simple configuration within Siebel
      Create a custom BC/table and Runtime Events to log tracking records. Identify the start/end points for a business transaction and evolve metrics. Summarize using Excel/OBI reports.
    • Make sense of log files with custom-built utilities.
      Enable logging of specific events. Build a parser to monitor those events and enable reporting.
    • Monitor using external applications.
      There are applications like RUEI that are purpose-built for application monitoring.

Commercial monitoring applications would have been an excellent choice to recommend and deploy in large enterprises, but they typically try to solve everything under the sun and are not Siebel-specific.

Over years, the custom monitoring mechanism worked out well for us since it could be continuously tuned to what is required from an IT team perspective.

But, the ideal thing to do was to enable tracking features OOB in Siebel. “User Pattern Tracking” (UPT) in v15.5 is a step in this direction. Whether UPT is in the right direction remains to be seen – I was expecting something on the lines of Google Analytics integration using events embedded in Open UI framework.

 

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