10 ways to get the most out of substitution in Intelligent Advisor #9 and #10

As the northern hemisphere is plunged into an unexpected heatwave and the traditional torpor of summer holidays, we must not forget the other half of the world where work is accelerating as winter approaches. So today we are saying hello to all our customers and friends in the southern hemisphere! Our final two substitution examples start with an easy one, but that can really save you a lot of messing about with scripts or intermediate attributes and labels. If you missed the other parts they are here : part one, part two ,part three and part four.

Substitution in Screen Titles

That’s right, even a screen title can use substitution – in fact this can come in very handy where you have a flexible interview that uses different screen titles depending on the context. The example is quite extreme, since the screen title is a substitution and so are all the different labels in the screen.

Substitution example for Screen Titles

Our last substitution example is somewhat less well known, and for that matter is a little hard to explain. It concerns the second person substitution. Let’s dig into it a little.

Second-Person Substitution

You’re probably used to the fact that Oracle Intelligent Advisor uses the third person when creating question text from an attribute. The attribute “the customer’s first name” becomes “What is the customer’s first name?”. It’s as if we are talking about the customer as a separate “third person”. There’s you, me and the customer.

But that really does not work well if your interview is designed to talk directly to the customer. It would be so much nicer if it said “What is your name?”. Because that’s who we are talking to – the customer. So this idea is pretty smart in some interview situations. But setting it up is a little tricky. This is “second person substitution”.

  1. The attribute you base this on has to be a global attribute.
  2. The attribute you base this on has to be a text attribute. Something like “the customer” for example. Make sure it is just a straightforward attribute like this, don’t use a apostrophe like “the customer’s name”. Otherwise it won’t work.
  3. The attribute “the customer” has to have substitution enabled. You can use impersonal or personal but you will probably need to change the question text on the screen, as you will see in a moment.
substitution - setting up second person

4. Then, to actually switch the feature on, you need to head off to Project > Language and check the checkbox, and select the attribute that you set up.

So that’s all good. But what does second person substitution actually do? How do I use it?

To use it, you must first collect the value of the attribute called “the customer”. This is the “trigger” that you defined in the previous steps. The default question text provided will be something like this, which you will definitely want to improve:

So you can edit that question text in the Screen, and then start adding the other attributes that will use this feature. It’s the second attribute above is actually going to be affected by what we have set up, not the first one. In the example below, you can see I am editing the question text manually – I only need to do this for the “second person” trigger attribute. The second question text does not need to be modified.

All the other global attributes that contain “the customer” in the attribute text will be affected by what we have done. Run the interview and note the difference in the debugger. The second attribute (and any others) all use “your” instead of “Richard” or “the customer”.

substitution - interview changes for second person

And “your” is the second person pronoun (remember your conjugation? “I, you, he/she/it, we, you, they”). That’s it. There is a weakness however. You cannot mix and match by adding a value substitution in the question text:

substitution - second person weakness

I would expect this to result in “What is your bank balance, Richard?” but it doesn’t. It reverts to no substitution.

Aside from this minor point, this works in the languages I typically work in, English and French, but I cannot guarantee that it works properly in all supported languages since not all languages use pronouns in this way! For more information the online documentation is of course available.

substitution - second person in French

So we have come to the end of the rollercoaster ride through substitutions. Or have we? We’re going to remind you in the next chapter of some of the pitfalls – the not-so-good stuff.

Richard Napier

Author: Richard Napier

After 8 years in case management and ERP software roles, Richard Napier joined Siebel Systems in 1999 and took up the role of managing the nascent Siebel University in Southern Europe. He subsequently was Director of Business Development and Education for InFact Group (now part of Business & Decisions) for 8 years. He now runs Intelligent Advisor IT Consulting OÜ. Owner of intelligent-advisor.com, he also is Co-Founder of the Siebel Hub.

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