Over the past few months, there have been a number of Oracle customer communications about the upcoming decommissioning of Eloqua’s Cloud Connectors and Cloud Components. While we applaud customer notifications about Oracle Eloqua releases and feature changes, the deprecation announcements missed the mark and left most people scratching their heads on what it all means. Don’t worry. We can clear things up. Basically, there are three things you should know about:
Thing #1: New Cloud Connector Steps Are No Longer Available on Campaign Canvas (July 2016)
Originally, the Oracle Eloqua AppCloud was all about Cloud Connectors: connectors for third party tools (like WebEx and GoToMeeting), feature enhancers (such as data cleansing, appending and workflow tools), and channel tools (like SMS and direct mail). Come July 1, 2016, you will no longer be able to use Cloud Connectors as new steps within the Eloqua Campaign Canvas. You will still be able to edit/configure your existing Cloud Connector steps and you will still be able to use Cloud Connectors within Program Builder.
So, what does this really mean? It means you will need to start using the newer types of apps that will replace the older cloud connectors. In case you haven’t heard of them, here is a quick summary:
Actions let you have a step within a campaign canvas that is executed by an external system. The vast majority of Cloud Connectors would likely now be good AppCloud Actions such as sending contacts SMS messages, triggering a direct mail, registering someone for a webinar, appending data from a third party, etc. It is up to each AppCloud vendor to decide whether or not to convert their existing Cloud Connectors to AppCloud Actions. Within the Relationship One AppCloud (appcloud.relationshipone.com), we will be adding new AppCloud Actions over the upcoming months.
Decisions let you add more complex decision steps to your campaign by connecting with external systems. Historically, this could have been done with a Cloud Connector, but the newer Decisions functionality lets you easily make “yes” and “no” decisions based on data outside of Eloqua without having to update an Eloqua Contact record or store the data within Eloqua. A good example of this is checking if a record with a specific status exists in CRM, then checking if the Contact is associated to an Open Opportunity that has high closure probability, and then changing its flow within the campaign.
Audiences (also called feeders) are a new way to add contacts to an Eloqua campaign from an external system. Think of it as a segment that gets populated by contacts from external applications, automatically importing contacts into Eloqua and adding them to a campaign.
There are a few other new types of AppCloud options that you might start using:
Content allows you add content from external sources to emails and landing pages. It is an improvement on the older Cloud Components functionality.
Menus let you launch externally-hosted applications from within the Eloqua menu “dock”. AppCloud Menus are contextual, so they can be set up to be global (to launch a reporting tool, for example) or topical (such as campaign or asset related).
This might be one that only a handful of marketing geeks might be interested in. The Firehose service lets you notify an external system when you do something within Eloqua, such as creating a campaign or editing an email. It basically creates a real-time callout to a third-party application.
Thing #2: cloudconnectors.eloqua.com No Longer Officially Supported (January 2016)
This announcement confused a number of people. As Oracle is moving away from the older Cloud Connector architecture for the more robust Actions, Decisions, Audiences (feeders), and Content options, they will no longer officially support apps found on cloudconnectors.elqoua.com. Since Cloud Connectors will still be available for Program Builder, you will still be able to access cloudconectors.elqoua.com, but come January 2016, Oracle Support might not help you if you have questions.
Thing #3: Cloud Connectors Are No Longer Available on Campaign Canvas (December 2016)
As mentioned above, after July 1, 2016, you will no longer be able to add new Cloud Connector steps to your Eloqua campaign, but existing Cloud Connector steps will still work. After December 31, 2016, that changes. They will be turned into a pass-through step. Well, at least we think so, as Oracle hasn’t finalized the behavior yet. Again, after July 2016, Cloud Connectors will still be available and will work within Program Builder. This only impacts Campaign Canvas steps.
All-in-all, these changes are a good thing, as the new AppCloud framework (I know, fancy developer term) is far more robust and flexible for building apps. The result is higher speed, more flexibility and better options when building Eloqua campaigns. So embrace these new types of AppCloud apps. We don’t think you will be disappointed. Even better, in early 2016 (sorry…we promised we wouldn’t mention any specific dates), Oracle will be releasing a newer, shinier option for Program Builder, called Program Canvas, that will also use these new types of AppCloud apps. It will be a faster, more robust, and more flexible option to Program Builder. Program Builder isn’t going away for a while, but that’s a good topic for a future post.
Let us know if you have any questions via the comments below.