This chapter covers the following topics:
Oracle Common Application Calendar (CAC) eases management of daily activities, appointments, and scheduling of resources. Using the calendar features, you can create appointments, tasks, notes, and other calendar events, as well as invite attendees to appointments, and view scheduled activities through flexible daily, weekly, and monthly calendar views.
The Oracle Common Application Calendar provides a central place to store and view all resources' time reservations, schedules, and availability. Resource schedules, including working hours and holidays, can be defined to define a resource’s work capacity.
Finally, Oracle Common Application Calendar also provides various options to synchronize the calendar data to external calendars such as Microsoft Outlook or handheld devices.
Common Application Calendar consists of the following modules:
Resource Time Bookings
Notes for Business Objects
Synchronization with Other Calendars
Time reservations block a time period for an object and designate the object as unavailable during the time block. Time reservations can be created against any object such as person, resource, customer contact, location, and warehouse dock doors (Inventory locators). . Time reservations can be created using one of the following entities.
Appointments are typically used to create meetings and invite others
A sales agent using Oracle Sales creates an appointment to meet a customer contact.
Tasks are created by various business objects such as service requests and opportunities. The Tasks component is utilized in various ways. Tasks can be created with no time details, with only a due date (called a To Do), or with a start date and time and a end date and time (Time Reservation). We only consider tasks that fall in the time reservation category as time blocks.
The Oracle Field Service dispatcher or scheduler creates tasks to identify various duties (tasks) performed by a field service technician. For example, to attend a service request call there can be an Arrival task, Fix the Issue task, Debrief task, and Departure task. Each of these tasks can fall in any of the categories. Only tasks that fall in the Time Reservation category are considered as time blocks
Time reservations created outside Oracle Common Application Calendar can be represented as Bookings.
Vacations originally get created in Oracle HRMS. In order for this vacation to be visible for deriving common availability, vacations are pushed in as Bookings into the calendar
Task Manager can be run as a standalone module or can be embedded in another application module. Features include:
Fully integrated with Calendar Views, Notes, Booking, and other CAC modules
Product standardization and entry speed-up by using task templates
Strong yet flexible security based on AOL Data security model
Support for Oracle Workflow notifications and business events subscription
Task synchronization with Microsoft Outlook and Pocket Outlook
Many application modules are leveraging the Task Manager to provide task management capabilities and fulfill diverse business requirements, for example:
For service requests and field service, a task is an assigned piece of work that has to be finished within a certain period of time. Task Manager is used as to plan, schedule, and track service activities
Salespeople usually see a task as an action item related to the customer, sales opportunity, or lead. Task Manager is used to keep track of personal action items, or to delegate tasks to subordinates or members of a sales team.
In Oracle Marketing, a task is a projected piece of work that is planned to be done during the marketing campaign. Task Manager is used as a campaign project management tool.
An escalation is a process used to highlight or flag certain issues within an organization, so that the appropriate personnel can respond to these situations and monitor the resolutions. Escalations occur in support centers for a variety of reasons. An escalation management system allows an organization to identify, track, monitor, and manage situations that require increased awareness and swift action. Most businesses want to track issues such as: which customer complained, when the complaint was logged into the system, who was assigned to fix the problem, was the problem fixed or did it need to be manually assigned to someone else, and is the problem finally resolved.
An escalation is managed by creating an escalation document, assigning an escalation owner, defining the actions needed to resolve the escalation, and communicating the progress. Once a situation is de-escalated, the escalation closure note is captured and a final communication is sent to the contacts involved.
One of the core attributes of a resource is its availability. If any of the E-Business Suite modules does anything that affects a resource's availability, then the rest of the E-Business Suite should be aware of it. Oracle Common Application Calendar provides a central place to define a resource’s schedule.
Schedules in OA Framework are available only through Oracle HRMS. You can define shifts, schedule patterns, and define schedules for resources.
The Forms-based schedules provide a mechanism to define resource work shifts with the consideration of resource availability and associating them with a scheduling calendar, not a personal calendar used for managing daily activities. After these work shifts are defined, attached to a scheduling calendar, and associated with resources during implementation, the selection of qualified resources for a task in Assignment Manager can be based on the defined resource shifts and availability.
Schedules and availability times are interpreted in the time zone that is tied to the individual resource or group resource. For all other types of resources, the schedules and availability times are interpreted in the server time zone.
Notes are the electronic equivalent of paper sticky notes. Use notes to jot down questions, ideas, reminders, and anything you would write on note paper. Notes are also useful for storing bits of information you may need later, such as directions or text you want to reuse in other items or documents. A note is a record of descriptive information that has been generated by users that can have a source and can be referenced. Notes can be used from different applications in the E-Business Suite to access the comment log that relates to a specific transaction.
A note is created with a source of Customer (Party), saying "This customer is a reference and Gold Customer. All dealings should be handled carefully and if possible by senior officials." A sales agent working on an opportunity for this customer can reference this note to the opportunity he is working on.
Calendar Views provide a consolidated view of time reservations, schedules, and availability. Calendars can be viewed by day, week, or month, and users can define what they want to see in their calendars.
Assignment Manager is used to assign qualified and available resources to a business document (such as leads, service requests, or tasks) based on selection criteria including customer preferred resources, territories, and resource availability.
An assignment is any task or responsibility that is given to someone. If it is given to you, this might be based on your capability or availability within a specific time frame. For example, a support manager promises upper management to fix common computer problems including desktop and laptop computers in the company. Therefore, as a desktop support technician, you are asked to fix the desktop computer problems by the end of this week due to your expertise in the hardware support group. This is an assignment given to you by your manager. You can either accept or reject it depending on your availability. Also, you will probably be asked to repair laptop problems due to resource constraints on laptop technicians.
The Assignment Manager API has the ability to route service requests and tasks based on time-related attributes. Thus the API can check for resource availability using calendars, shifts, and exceptions when performing these assignments to service request groups and individual owners, and to task owners.
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 Calendar 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 Oracle Teleservice and Oracle Field Service applications.
Synchronization is a critical functionality for calendaring and directory applications. Oracle Common Application Calendar uses the calendaring industry's standard synchronization protocol, SyncML. Users can install the CAC SyncML Client and use it to synchronize data in their Microsoft Outlook or Pocket Outlook with the CAC server. This solution currently works only with Oracle Sales and Oracle Sales for Handhelds.