Oracle Enterprise Data Quality for Siebel
Siebel has been provided with different Data Quality solutions. The most prevalent choice in the past has been Informatica’s IIR – sold as OEM solution under the ODQ (Oracle Data Quality) acronym.
Since the acquisition of Datanomics by Oracle in 2011 – the former Datanomics product suite has been integrated with Siebel. It has been given a four-letter acronym “Oracle Enterprise Data Quality” 🙂 It has clear advantages over the Informatica’s IIR. To name two:
1) Stateless – that means no synchronization of Contact / Account data is needed between Siebel and OEDQ. If for example a new contacts gets created – it will be possible to match this new contact immediately. There is no lag time for the synchronization between both. This is a clear differentiator from IIR.
2) Fully configurable matching process. OEDQ is not a black box – for a matched contact or account – the rules which were applicable while matching can be identified. So a score of 95% can be explained by the fact that e.g. contact was found based on an exact match but with a different email address.
See this link for a presentation on Siebel / OEDQ
Siebel 126.96.36.199 is available (Innovation Pack 2013 Spring Release)
Siebel 188.8.131.52 – the Innovation Pack 2013 Spring release has been made available for download. It further improves the Siebel Open UI – and will add Open UI in Disconnected mode as quickfix in the coming period. 184.108.40.206 does include also the Incremental Repository option to improve parallel development efforts.
Security event monitoring (SEM) seems to become more prevalent. In a relatively short period two customers with basically the same requirements. SEM in its bare essence means that “security events” are fed to a specialized department using a rule-base (e.g. Oracle Policy Automation) to identify whether follow-up actions are required. What are such events? Think of the login of a high-privileged account. Or adding a user to a Siebel responsibility. But most events will simply be neglected since they are trusted events. For example user Barry Halley who is a functional administrator adds user Linda Vaughn to a Service Rep responsibility. Not a true security event to be actionable. Now the same user Barry Halley removed himself from the “High-privileged accounts” responsibility. This latter responsibility is just an empty place-holder responsibility carrying no Siebel Views. SInce Barry removed himself he just made himself a regular user. Though still with administrative privileges – since he hold a number of administrative responsibilities. Oops – that could be a security event.
How could SEM be practically implemented in Siebel?
One way to think of – is to use Audit Trail as the fundamental capability to enable this. As long as everything is stored in the Audit Trail table – it could be extracted.
To start – customer needed to have a security event for a High-privileged account login. Siebel out-of-the-box writes the logout (not login…) timestamp in LAST_LOGIN_TS on S_USER. No so useful. So customer added X_HP_LOGIN_TS and X_HP_LOGOUT_TS as new S_USER columns. These are populated in TheApplication().Start(). Simply by reading a calculated field from the Employee BC IIf(InList(“HP Account Responsibility”, GetProfileAttrAsList(“User Responsibilities”)), ‘Y’, ‘N’)”. If the calculated field returns True, the X_HP_LOGIN_TS is populated. On the TheApplication().Close() event similar logic.
Next – enable Audit Trail on the User BC for both BC fields mapped against X_HP_LAST_LOGIN_TS and X_HP_LAST_LOGOUT_TS.
Know – to have security events for associations and disassociations of users from responsibilities – just add the necessary Audit Trail configuration.
The gotcha with Audit Trailing associations and disassociations is that only the child objects ROW_ID will be stored. Not so useful – that needs to be taken care of while extracting the data from S_AUDIT_ITEM for sure!
Now – extracting the data from S_AUDIT_ITEM. The official way is to use the Audit Trail VBC business component. But that’s a rather slow approach. A better approach would be to extract this data through PL/SQL on the database itself. It will be much more performing option. But… not supported by Oracle. In the event Oracle Engineering decides to alter the encoding of the S_AUDIT_ITEM.AUDIT_LOG contents – your PL/SQL will no longer work. That said – that risk is probable an acceptable one. I will spent more time on decoding the Audit Trail data in another post.
Finally – an absorbing SEM application will need to be fed regularly. Probable with the smallest possible delay. But extracting data from Audit Trail will need to be scheduled. If iterations follow each other quickly – the data to extract will be limited. Iterations of 5 minutes will likely be acceptable in reality.
Oh yeah – do not forget to take the Audit Trail modifications itself into considerations. Having an admin changing the Audit Trailed Business components / fields can definitely be a relevant security event! The good thing: Siebel OOTB has Audit Trail enabled on the Audit Trail business components. “Audit Trail Audit data” can be sent also to the consuming SEM application.
With 220.127.116.11 – Oracle will release a completely new and innovative feature: Incremental Repository Merge (IRM).
IRM essentially is the base foundation to uptake Innovation packs.
For that IRM has designed a new feature called “Siebel Delta Files” (.sdf) which are comparable with “Siebel Archive Files” (.sif) – to that extent that .sdf files only contain actual differences. Unlike .sif files which are just 1:1 extracts of complete objects (business components, applets and more have you).
But the cool aspect of IRM – is that you can use it within your own projects as well? Has it not always been a hassle to do truly parallel developments with Siebel? The Siebel Tools development framework did not really allow parallel development. Now, with IRM a developer can “tag” modifications, and modifications can be selectively extracted (as .sdf) from the repository to be promoted to a core-repository again.
A ground breaking feature if you ask me!
Competitors like to sunset Siebel on behalf om themselves.
Siebel remains alive and kicking – with important investments coming up in the coming quarters.
This is the Siebel future: