Monday, November 23, 2009

Inside iHelp

Since it's inauguration as part of Siebel CRM 7.7 in 2004, iHelp has gained a good standing in assisting end users with low to medium complexity tasks.


Creating and administering iHelp is well documented in the Siebel bookshelf but there are interesting features which are not covered in detail and maybe you wish to try them out. Here we go:

Related iHelp

The Related iHelp tab allows us to associate one or more other iHelp items with the parent iHelp item. The result is as follows:

Links to all related iHelp items are displayed as a list in the iHelp pane.

Related Task

The Siebel Task UI, introduced with Siebel 8.0, offers a much more precise/enforced/transactional approach to guide end users through medium to complex level business processes. So if you wish to combine iHelp and Task UI you can do so by associating a related task to the iHelp item which results in the following display in the iHelp pane:


A green link to the respective task is displayed below the iHelp link in the iHelp pane.

'Show Me' Location

Sometimes you have invested in online help documents, flash videos or even Oracle User Productivity Kit which allows consultants to create interactive online content to guide the user through complex tasks. If your iHelp item needs a link to this valuable online resources, you can use the Show Me field to store the URL of the online media.


If the user clicks the "Show me more..." link at the bottom of the iHelp, a new browser window opens, displaying the URL. You can choose between full path (starting with http://) or relative path (to the SWSE's public directory).

Anchor tag

Another way to point end users to specific information needed to complete a step, you can place an anchor tag (<a href="some URL">) inside the description text (just like the other tags - i for italic, b for bold ,u for underline and v for view links).

The result is a link within the iHelp text which serves a similar purpose as the show me link but is more closely aligned with the instructions.


One of the other benefits is that you can of course control the hyperlinked text which is not the case with the "show me more" option.

The anchor tag can take the href and target parameters.

Conditional Branching

One of the lesser known features of iHelp is its ability of applying decision logic to navigate different branches of the iHelp definition. The language used is the notorious Siebel Query Language and (as in several other views where you can enter conditional expressions) the java-based expression builder window is launched to assist you.

Below is an example using the "Create a new Account" iHelp available in the Siebel Sample Database. If the Account is of type "Business" then Details must be entered, else the iHelp should guide the end user directly to entering the Contact details.


The iHelp pane renders multiple branches like this: A link "Click for Additional Steps" is displayed indicating that the end user has to complete the preceding steps first and then click the link to see the next steps.


Summary

Siebel iHelp plays a key role in many Siebel CRM projects and the features introduced in versions after 7.7 help super users and administrators create a rich end user experience.

have a nice day

@lex

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