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Comms Cloud Winter '23 Release

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

In this post, we'll take a look at our top 3 new features in the Communications Cloud Winter '23 release


Top 3 New Features and Enhancements

Standard Digital Commerce

Category: Performance, Digital Commerce


Digital Commerce APIs are meant for customer-facing web and mobile apps, whether hosted on Salesforce or externally, to interact with the product catalog and CPQ engine in Communications Cloud.

Prior to this Winter '23 release, configure and basket operations, such as adding an offer to your basket with a given configuration, was driven by a "cache" stored in a custom object. If a given basket shape (the products + attributes + context for that basket) exists in the cache, it will be a "cache hit" and the performance will be good, but if that basket shape doesn't exist in the cache, it will be a "cache miss" and the performance will not be suitable for customer-facing applications, and then the basket shape will be stored in the cache for future API calls.


With Standard Digital Commerce in the Winter '23 release, this concept of cache hits and cache misses for basket and configure operations goes away, and the performance of these calls should improve. This should solve for large product catalogs where the probability of having a given combination in the cache is low, resulting in a high chance of a cache miss and thus poor performance without Standard Digital Commerce.


Standard Digital Commerce does change how the APIs work under the hood, but the API request/response payloads are the same as before. Note that to Standard Digital Commerce is opt-in and requires some work to configure, so you can continue using the previous Digital Commerce functionality until you are ready to take up this effort.


In a future blog post, we'll do a deeper dive on Standard Digital Commerce, so stay tuned to find out how to configure it and we'll see if it delivers on the improved performance for a sample scenario.



Enterprise Sales Management - Asset Management Self-Service

Category: Functionality, ESM


In Enterprise Sales Management (ESM), we can now have our B2B customers' purchase managers (or other users), manage their assets, or products/services from previously fulfilled orders, in their Salesforce Experience Cloud Site (fka Community). This includes a Experience Cloud compatible UI that let's our customers see what active assets they have, select one or more of them, and initiate a change order (Move, Add, Change, Disconnect aka MACD order).


We first see and select our Assets:


Put in the Order header details and choose if we want to do the modifications one by one or in bulk:


Then do our modifications, view a summary, and submit the order if all looks good.


This gives our B2B customer a digital experience, enabling them to typical changes to their services without having to reach out to their Sales Rep offline.


The documentation walks you through the configuration, including how you can customize the portal to better fit your company branding.



LWC Cart Collapsible Hierarchy aka Enable Search for Add-Ons and Child Bundles

Category: Performance, UX, CPQ


In EPC, we have a flag "Collapse Hierarchy" that can help with the performance and user experience for virtual items with many children. For example, if we sell a mobile plan with mobile devices or VASs, and there are many mobile devices and VASs, we can use "Collapse Hierarchy" so we don't see them in the cart, and the user can search for them when they want to add one.


For example, we have the below "Meraki MX SD-WAN" that has a virtual item "Select Your Meraki Device" and underneath it, two children. Without the "Collapse Hierarchy" flag, it looks like this in the configuration modal of the LWC Cart:

If we update the "Select Your Meraki Device" child item to set the "Collapse Hierarchy flag:

Please note there is a known issue in this release that prevents you from setting this flag in Product Designer, so use Product Console until this is fixed.


Then, we get the following - notice we do not see the child Device items:

If we type something into the search box like "Meraki", it will then show the matching child items:

In this example, we only have 2 child items, and we're introducing an extra click, with little to no benefit. Coming back to our mobile plan example - imagine we had tens or hundreds of devices and tens or hundreds of devices. If we don't use this flag, there would be hundreds of items in this configuration modal, making it hard for the sales rep to find what they're looking for. If we do use this flag, it makes the user experience between where the modal is clean and the sales rep can search for whatever the customer is interested in. The other benefit is this will result in the CPQ APIs not returning the child items of the item marked as "Collapse Hierarchy", improving the API performance, and reducing payload size. This could result in shaving off seconds of response time!



Patches


Do note that as of publishing in early November 2022, there is a patch available with some bug fixes. Generally, it is best to upgrade to the latest patch when you're doing an upgrade, to avoid running into issues that have been resolved in that patch or prior patches. See the patch details here.


Closing Thoughts


The main item from the Communications Cloud Winter '23 release is the new and improved Standard Digital Commerce APIs, improving performance in cache miss scenarios. There's support for the "Collapse Hierarchy" flag in the LWC Cart, bringing the LWC Cart close to feature parity with the AngularJS, and providing you with the option to improve user experience and performance for bundles with many children. Beyond these three items, there are other enhancements in most of the modules, including Data Model, Enterprise Product Catalog, Configure Price Quote, Enterprise Sales Management, Multiplay Subscription Management, TM Forum APIs, and Order Management.



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