This chapter covers the following topics:
Assignment Manager is a tool that is integrated with other applications for selecting or designating qualified resources for a document or a task. It supports all resource categories defined in the Resource Manager module and cannot be used as a stand alone application. You can use Assignment Manager to assign resources or ownership to a task or a document.
Note: Documents can be leads, opportunities, service requests, defects, or escalations. Once a document is created, it can require multiple tasks to fulfill the requirements.
An assignment is a task or responsibility that can be delegated to an individual based on skill or availability.
A support manager is required to fix all company hardware problems. The support manger assigns all of the desktop computer problems to a desktop technician and requires that the repairs be completed by the end of the week. In this case, the support manager is the owner of the assignment and if the desktop technician accepts the assignment, then that person becomes the assignee. The assignment criteria is based on the desktop technician's level of expertise and availability.
When logging a service request, you can use Assignment Manager to determine the following types of available resources:
Resources that are responsible for the company's geographical location
Resources that are available for a specific time frame
Resources with the lowest labor rate
Resources preferred by the company
Assignment Manager can also assign ownership to a task or a document by performing the following:
Assign responsibility for documents and tasks
Assess the availability of qualified resources needed to be an owner for a task or document
The assignment process uses criteria based on preferred resources, availability, and territories. An optional module, Oracle Scheduler, provides additional features to optimize scheduling resources.
The following table describes the Assignment Manager terms and definitions.
|Assignee||An assignee is the designated person who commits to fulfill a specific task or an assignment.|
|AM module||The Assignment Manager is a tool that helps you assign resources to a task or a document.|
|Assisted Assignment Option||The Assisted assignment option is used to assign a resource to a task or a document based on predefined criteria.|
|Unassisted Assignment Option||The Unassisted assignment option is used to assign a resource to a document or task of your choice without taking predefined criteria into account.|
|Dispatch Center||The Dispatch Center is a window in Oracle Field Service where you can view resource availability or assign resources to a task.|
|Gantt Chart||The Gantt chart provides a graphical overview of the scheduled tasks for resources.|
|Owner||An owner is a person (resource) who oversees a task or a document.|
|Resource Web Availability||Resource web availability is defined as a resource who has the immediate ability to work on a service request that is created online.|
Assignment Manager cannot operate as a stand alone application and must be integrated with another application.
Assignment Manager can be integrated with the following Oracle CRM applications:
Contracts provides preferred engineers.
Installed Base determines preferred engineers.
TeleSales uses Assignment Manager to assign appropriate resources to a lead.
Teleservice (formerly known as Customer Support) uses Assignment Manager to help assign an owner to a service request.
Field Service uses Assignment Manager in the Dispatch Center (previously the Control Tower) to assign an owner to a field service request.
Depot Repair uses Assignment Manager for Repair Tasks.
Territory Manager provides qualified resources identified in a territory.
Escalation Manager uses Assignment Manager to assign an owner to an escalation document.
Forms-based Calendar offers resource work shift information.
Task Manager (Forms-based) determines task duration. Tasks also uses Assignment Manager to help assign resources (an owner and an assignee) to a task.
Oracle Quality, Sales, and iSupport applications can either manually select resources or use backend processes to call Assignment Manager for resource selection.
Assignment Manager can assign ownership and resources to a specific task or document based on selection criteria including customer preferred resources, territories, and resource availability. The following section discusses the concept of ownership and resource assignment options.
You must assign an owner when you create a document or task to ensure that some type of action is taken.
A document owner can be a service manager, expediter, marketing person, service support, or a salesperson.
A task owner can be a planner, dispatcher, or service representative. An owner is defined as a resource within Assignment Manager.
In order for a task or service request to be fulfilled, that task or service request must have a person (owner) responsible for subsequent actions. The actions are performed either by that person or by someone else (assignee) for task completion. The assignee is selected based on ability or availability.
The following table describes the two options used for assigning ownership.
|Assisted Assignment Option||Use this option to find a list of qualified resources based on a predefined set of criteria.|
When no resource can be found based upon the selection criteria, you must adjust your criteria and perform a search again.
|Unassisted Assignment Option||Use this option to assign a task or document without specifying the criteria, or to overrule the criteria set.|
Assignment Manager can designate qualified resources for a task or a document based on certain criteria, such as availability and resource location.
The following table describes the options for assigning resources.
|Assisted Assignment Option||Use this option to find a list of qualified resources based on a predefined set of criteria. The Gantt chart displays tasks and task statuses. When no qualified resource is shown, you must adjust your criteria and search again.|
When no resource can be found based upon the selection criteria, you must adjust your criteria and perform a search again.
|Unassisted Assignment Option||Use this option to assign a document or task without considering search criteria. |
For example, to assign a group to a task, either specify the exact group name or partial name, if known, or search for all group resources and then select them based on resource availability for the task.
The Assisted Assignment Option finds a list of active resources in Assignment Manager based on a predefined set of criteria instead of selecting resources based on the user's choices. When Assignment Manager is invoked, the Assisted option is the default assigning mode.
Note: In the Unassisted and Assisted assignment options, Assignment Manager does not return any end dated resources. All resources populated in the Gantt chart are active resources.
For task assignments, save your task first before launching Assignment Manager. Otherwise, the task start and end date information will not populate automatically in the document details region.
Use this option if you want Assignment Manager to assist you in selecting qualified resources to be the owner of a document or to fulfill a task based on certain criteria. This selection criteria can help you assign qualified resources to a task or a document.
A company that is having computer problems requests help from its support vendor. A representative for the support vendor who must send resources to the company can use the Assisted option in Assignment Manager to help select qualified resources based on the following criteria:
Preferred Resources retrieves a customer's preferred resources (engineers) defined in Oracle Contracts or Installed Base.
Matching Attributes, such as Customer Name that are used for territory selection. When Assisted option is used for the first time, all enabled matching attributes across operating units are automatically selected. After the search is performed, all resources in the winning territories with the matching attribute "Customer Name" are displayed in the Resource region.
Resource Availability searches for all available resources based on a task or a document duration.
After performing a search, the customer support representative can view shift schedules and assigned tasks in the Gantt chart.
The Unassisted Assignment option assigns a document without taking search criteria into account. If you want to assign a group resource to a task, then either specify the group name (if you know it) or search for all group resources, and then make your choice based on resource availability for the task.
Note: When using the Unassisted and Assisted assignment options, Assignment Manager does not return any end dated resources. All resources populated in the Gantt chart are active resources.
After receiving a hardware repair request from a customer, a service company's support representative logs a service request and then creates a task for that request. As part of this process, the support representative enters the customer's request location and also enters the current date as the planned start date and adds five business days to establish the end date. Before assigning the appropriate resource to the service request, the support representative uses Assignment Manager to view that person's availability. Using the Unassisted Assignment option, the support representative enters the following information to limit resource selection:
Resource Partial Name enables the support representative to enter a partial name for the resource.
Resource Type limits resource selection to a specific resource type. For example, selecting group resource in the Resource Type field retrieves all of the group resources information.
When the Unassisted Assignment option is selected, predefined selection criteria is not available. After searching for resources, the support representative can view shift schedules and assigned tasks in the Gantt chart.
Assignment Manager displays the details of qualified and preferred resources in two formats, the Gantt chart and a table layout. The Gantt chart provides a comprehensive view of resources including identifying information, schedules, and attributes in graphical format. The table layout provides a simplified version of this information that is better suited for accessibility requirements. When Assignment Manager displays resource information, you can view that information in the Gantt chart by clicking View in Gantt, or in the table layout by clicking View in Table. Assignment Manager uses the Gantt chart as the default method for displaying resource details.
If time zone conversion is disabled, then date time fields display with the time stored in the database.
If time zone conversion is enabled, then all times in the Gantt chart are converted to and displayed in the viewer's (Agent) time zone if available, and if not available, in the server (Corporate) time zone. The Table view provides the ability to select the time zone to view. The selection list includes the agent and corporate time zones, time zone for a task, and any time zones passed from calling applications. The default time zone is that passed by the application, or if none, then the agent time zone is the default.
The Gantt chart provides a quick graphical overview of the scheduled tasks based on a specific period of time. The right side of the chart displays the calendar schedule and booking related details of the resource and the left side displays its attributes
The Gantt chart displays the following resource attributes:
Web Availability - Yes/No
Primary Resource - Yes/No
Source of Resource
The Gantt chart uses different colors to display calendar data for a resource. The following table describes the resource calendar displayed in the Gantt chart:
|Shift schedules||Yellow background||Displays available shifts within a specific date range. Shifts are determined in the Forms-based calendar.|
|First available time slot||Green bar||Displays the first available time slot for a work assignment.|
|Assigned tasks||Optional (blue default)||Displays work assigned within a shift. The work is color-coded based on setup data. The setup data denotes the color to be used for any specific task based on task attributes.|
|Escalated tasks||Red bar||Displays escalated tasks within a shift.|
Note: The Thin Client Framework (TCF) server must be set up correctly and running in order for the Gantt chart to work properly.
You can drag the scroll bar to move across the Gantt if the shift or current time line is not synchronized properly.
The default for the First Available slot for a resource depends on the following:
The time the shift starts
The current time
Assignment Manager takes into consideration what the current time is and when the resource's shift actually starts. The end time for the first available slot equals start time plus the duration. If no duration is specified, the default assumed is one hour.
Auto assignment has three typical cases:
Service request assignment based on time of day
Service request assignment based on day of the week
Service request assignment based on holidays
If the resource's shift runs from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and if the current time is 11:47 a.m., then if no start or end date-time is specified for the search, the Assignment Manager defaults to 11:47 a.m. as the first available slot for a resource.
If the resource's shift runs from 9:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m., and if the current time is 8:47 a.m, then if no start or end date-time is specified for the search, the Assignment Manager defaults to 9:00 a.m as the first available slot for a resource.
While assigning available time for a selected resource, Assignment Manager also checks the planned start and end dates for the required task time frame to locate the work shifts if identified, as well as checks the planned effort and duration effort to determine the required work hours (or days) for a task assignment.
The following table describes the effort information that can be entered while defining a task.
|Dates for a Task||Description|
|Planned||The effort required to complete a task. For example, a task requires 10 hours work and is assigned to Mary and John. Each needs to contribute five hours to complete this assignment. The planned effort to complete this task is 10 hours.|
|Duration||The actual time for task completion. For example:|
If Mary works from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and John continues from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., then the duration of this task is nine hours (10:00 a.m. - 7:00p.m.)
If John starts at 10:00 a.m., instead of 2:00 p.m., and finishes at 3:00 p.m., then the duration is five hours (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.)
|Actual||The actual effort for a task. For example, the actual effort for Mary to complete her work is four hours (10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.) and for John is five hours (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.)|
The following table describes the date information which can be entered while defining a task.
|Dates for a Task||Description|
|Planned||The planning start and end dates are required for a task. For example, a hardware repair task is specifically required to occur from February 12 to February 14, 2002.|
|Scheduled||The scheduled start and end dates are shown here after the resources are assigned through Assignment Manager, such as February 12 at 8:00 a.m. to February 12 at 11:30 a.m., 2002.|
|Actual||The actual start and end dates for the task.|
The planned effort and duration effort do not always require the same work hours or days. For example, if a task is assigned to one resource, from start to finish, then the planned and duration efforts should be the same. However, if it is assigned to more than one resources, then the planned effort (10 hours work to complete the task) and duration effort (the actual time for a task completion, such as five hours work) might not be the same.
Assignment Manager uses the following rules to determine the effort required for a task assignment:
If the planned effort is provided while creating a task, but there is no duration effort, then display the planned effort in Assignment Manager.
If both planned effort and duration efforts are provided while creating a task, then display the planned effort in Assignment Manager.
If the planned effort is not provided, but duration is provided while creating a task, then display the duration effort in Assignment Manager.
In summary, planned effort always takes precedence and the Actual Effort is of no significance while using Assignment Manager for a task assignment.
The table layout provides a simple tabular view of resource details that can be accessed entirely using the keyboard. It does not display details about the resource shifts and the current bookings of the resource, which can only be viewed from the Gantt layout.
The table layout displays the following resource attributes:
Source of Resources
Web Availability - Yes/No
Primary Resource - Yes/No
The table layout displays the first available slot for a given work assignment in two columns, Start Time and End Time. The information displayed in each column is formatted in date time format. For example:
Start Time = 01-JAN-2003 10:00:00
End Time = 01-JAN-2003 13:00:00.
The first available slot is derived from the shifts assigned to the resource and the existing workload.
The table layout contains the following features:
Users can navigate to the table layout page by selecting the View in Table tab.
Users can navigate from one resource record to another by using the Up and Down Arrow keys on the keyboard.
Navigating to a record in the tabular format selects the Resource and populates its details in the fields below the tab page. The selected resource may be returned to the calling document using the OK button.
Clicking Resource Details launches the Resource Manager form in query mode and displays the details for the currently selected resource.
If the resource is GROUP, the group detail form appears.
If the resource is TEAM, the team detail form appears.
For all other resources, the RESOURCE DETAIL form appears.
Clicking Resource Details while the view is focused in the View in Gantt tab, launches the resource manager UI for the currently selected resource.
Clicking OK returns a resource to the calling document.
The process for selecting a qualified resource is based upon selection criteria and customer selections. To make these criteria effective, some requirements need to be met.
The following table describes Assignment Manager's required dependencies.
|Preferred Resource Information||A preferred resource is a single person or a resource group that is defined in Oracle Contracts or is recommended from the Installed Base in Oracle Service.|
|Territory Definition||Territories are defined in Territory Manager. A territory has resources or resource groups assigned to it. |
For more information, see the module Oracle Territory Manager.
|Task Duration Information||Task duration is essential for checking the availability of the resource and for designating a resource as unavailable in the resources calendar after a task has been assigned.|
|Resource's Availability Information||Availability of the resource is provided by the Forms-based Calendar component in which availability is defined.|
The following table describes Assignment Manager's selection criteria.
|Preferred Resources||The first criterion the Assignment Manager considers in the assignment process.|
|Territories||Territories are used to retrieve all the qualified resources for the assignment from the winning territories.|
|Resource Availability||The availability of the resource is considered after a preferred or qualified resource, based upon territories, is selected.|
Preferred resources must first be set up in Oracle Service Installed Base and Oracle Contracts. A customer's preferred resources can be employees, groups, or team resources set up in Oracle Contracts or recommended from the Installed Base in Oracle Service. Once the preferred engineers are identified in either application, you can retrieve recommended resources based on specific customer preferences.
In Assisted Mode, you have to select either Preferred Resources (Contracts or Install Base) or Matching Attributes or both to search qualified resources. These are primary search criteria. Resource Availability and Filter Excluded Resources are secondary filter criteria.
When Assignment Manager displays preferred resources, it either lists them as a group with their associated service line, or it lists them according to the individual business processes with which they are associated. For example, a company has three preferred engineers, John, Mary, and Jacob, that are associated with a service line called Printer Support. When fetching resources for this company's printer problem, Assignment Manager returns John, Mary, and Jacob as the preferred engineers.
When servicing this company's printer problem, however an Assignment Manager user such as a customer service representative may also wish to list its preferred resources according to individual business processes such as Customer Support (Teleservice), Field Service, and Depot Repair. For example, John may be the company's preferred Teleservice engineer, Mary its preferred Field Service engineer, and Jacob its preferred Depot Repair engineer. If the company wishes to speak to an engineer on the telephone regarding its printer problem, then John is the preferred engineer. If it wishes to have an engineer dispatched to repair the printer on site, then Mary is the preferred engineer, and if it wishes to have the printer sent away for repairs, then Jacob is the preferred engineer.
The returned resources for service lines and business processes are the same, but they are categorized differently.
A company lists two preferred engineers in the service contract with its support vendor. A service representative can use the Assisted assignment option, by selecting the Contracts check box in Assignment Manager, to display both engineers in the Resource region.
A company specifies an Installed Base preferred engineer. The support vendor's service representative sees the specified engineer's name in the Resource region if the Installed Base check box is checked.
For a service request assignment, when Contracts, Installed Base, and Territories check boxes are all selected in the Assignment Manager window, the Assignment Manager engine checks Contracts preferred resources first. If a Contracts preferred resource is found, Assignment Manager displays this resource in the Gantt chart and stop the process. If no resource is found, then Installed Base preferred resources will then be checked. If a preferred resource is found, then return the resource and stop the process. If not, then Assignment Manager checks Territories for qualified resources.
Default resource selection order is:
Territories defined in Territory Manager are used to provide resources for a task or document. This assistance is done through the matching attributes and qualified resources identified in a territory. Matching attributes aid (filter) in a territory win over competitions between territories. The qualified resources in the winning territories can then be assigned to a task or document.
When setting up resources in a territory, if resources are end dated in Resource Manager, these end dated resources are not displayed in Assignment Manager when using Assisted and Unassisted assignment options.
Two engineers are the qualified resources in the West Coast Territory. When a support manager tries to assign an open service request to the proper resources located in the West Coast, the support manager uses territories to assist Assignment Manager in the selection. If the West Coast Territory happens to be the winning territory, then the two engineers are listed in the Resource region in the Assignment Manager window. The support manager can assign either one to the service request based on their availability and customer needs.
Assignment Manager uses the Forms-based Calender to check the availability of a resource. When a task is assigned to a resource, that resource becomes unavailable for the period of time designated by the task.
After a preferred or qualified resource is identified, the next important criteria to consider is the availability of that qualified resource. Resource availability information is provided by the Forms-based Calendar module in which the shift schedule is defined. Resource availability for a specific time frame is determined by task planned start and end date. After a task or document has been assigned to a resource, this designated resource becomes unavailable and then will be reflected in the Assignment Manager window.
Note: The resource availability discussed here has a specific time frame required by a task or document (task planned start and end date). However, the resource Web availability always indicates current time.
The Resource Availability check box in the Assignment Manager window operates as follows:
When the box is cleared, the application displays all the winning resources from Installed Base, Contracts, and Territory Management without checking for resource availability through calendars, shifts, and exceptions.
When the box is selected, the application displays only resources with active shifts:
The current day / date / time is within a shift pattern tied to the resource.
The current day / date / time is not defined as an exception tied to the resource.
A support representative receives a call regarding a task that can be completed in up to four hours and that must be completed in the following week. The support representative can select territory as the criteria and can also check resource availability in the Assignment Manager window for the following week's time frame. If there are two technicians capable of completing the work but only one is available in the required time frame, then the available technician is selected.
The support representative can update the available technician's start and end date if necessary and can specify the four hour work completion time.
The following table lists the assignment criteria that can be selected in the Assignment Manager Assisted window:
|Preferred Resources||Territories||Resource Availability||Selection Results in:|
|Yes||No||No||A search for the preferred resource, availability is not taken into account.|
|No||Yes||No||A search for a qualified resource in the selected territories, availability is not taken into account.|
|No||No||No||A search for an available preferred resource or territories is not taken into account.|
|Yes||Yes||No||A search for the preferred resource, availability is not taken into account. When no preferred resource is available, a search for a qualified resource in the selected territories is done, availability is not taken into account.|
|No||No||Yes||The search looks for all resources in the system taking availability into account.|
|No||Yes||Yes||A search for a qualified resource in the territories selected and availability is taken into account.|
|Yes||Yes||Yes||A search for the preferred resource or territory, availability is taken into account. If no preferred resource is available, a search for a qualified resource in the selected territories is done, availability is taken into account.|
The Assignment Manager module is embedded within Oracle Common Application Calendar or other CRM products. It is not used as a standalone module and is only accessible through other CRM applications, such as Customer Support and Field Service, and Foundation modules, such as Task and Escalation Managers.
For example, you can access Assignment Manager through a standalone task in the Forms-based Task Manager or through a task associated with a service request in Teleservice and Field Service applications.
If accessing from Task Manager, first click More to bring up the Task Details window. Then click the Assignment Manager icon in the Resources tab.
Note: Save your task first before launching the Assignment Manager. Otherwise, the task's start and end date information will not automatically populate in the Document Details region.
The Gantt chart is a graphical tool embedded in Assignment Manager that provides scheduled tasks based on a specific period of time.
Select either Assisted, or Unassisted in the Selection Criteria, enter any required search text section, and click Search.
The Gantt chart populates with a list of resources in the Resource Name field.
Select the resource using one of the following options:
Double-click the resource to view the resource name, resource type, start and end time information. You can manually change the start and end time, and the date, before clicking OK to save the assignment.
Right-click the resource to view resource details. This opens a Resource Manager form in query mode that displays the following:
Group Details page if the selected resource is a group
Team Details page if the selected resource is a team
Resource Details page for all other resources.
When you are finished, either close the form or exit the application.
The Resource Web Availability feature is used for web-generated service requests, including those created in the iSupport application. It automatically assigns resources, such as support agents who are currently web available, to work on requests immediately with customers. As a result, an agent can easily determine resources that are currently web available and ready to accept a service request immediately. If a resource is not web available, then a symbol does not appear before the resource name.
Resource web availability is another resource selection criteria added to Assignment Manager to help an agent to select the appropriate resources for service request assignments. After assigning resources through Assignment Manager, the selected resources must still check their work assignment information through the Universal Work Queue (UWQ).
Note: The resource web availability works with the Territory Assisted Assignment option only. The available time indicates the current time, not that for a specific time frame.
Login: Log in to Oracle Forms.
Responsibilities used in Oracle Service and Support applications
Perform the following to access Assignment Manger:
Access the Forms-based service request window and query the Web generated service request.
Manually reassign the resources by first removing the original owner and then click Assign Request.
In the Selection Criteria section, choose the Territory Assisted assignment option and click Search.
The Gantt chart populates with a list of resources and their schedule.
Double-click the resource who you are going to assign to a task created within a service request, or to a service request.
The selected resource name, resource type, start and end time information populates automatically.
You can manually change the start and end time, and the date, before clicking OK to save the assignment.
When you are finished, either close the form or exit the application.
The resource web availability feature is used in the Oracle Support applications for a service request assignment with Territory Assisted assignment option only.
The manual assignment process through the Forms-based service request window to launch the Assignment Manager is used only when a resource reassignment is required.
When a resource is selected in Assignment Manager, the support site name that the selected resource belongs to appears automatically in the Support Site Name field at the bottom of the window. This information is useful to determine how close a resource is geographically to the client.
Support site information is defined in the Service Tab of the Forms-based Resource Manager and in the Employees Detail window in HTML Resource Manager.
When assigning a resource to a service request, it is useful to know if the resource is a specialist in a particular area. In addition to viewing a resource's availability or geographical location, a manager can also determine the most appropriate resource for a given task.
An employee or manager can use the HTML-based Resource Manager module to view the skill set and the level of expertise that he possesses. This functionality is primarily used by Teleservice for a service request assignment with the Territory Assisted Assignment option only.
Employees can rate their skill levels against specific products which are defined in Oracle Inventory. When a service request is created, Assignment Manager searches for the qualified territories against a product name specified in that service request. Resources who are assigned to qualified territories (so-called winning territories) display in the Gantt chart with product skill rating information. The best resource can then be selected for the service request assignment.