Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Managers from Other Accounts

Task templateCompanies with IT departments in multiple countries typically have one ITRP account for each IT department. In such environments, the end users of each country are registered in the ITRP account of their local IT department. The manager of each person also gets registered in ITRP to facilitate the change approval process.

But what if someone's manager is employed in another country? This is quite common in large corporations. To accommodate that situation, you can now select a person from another account in the Manager field.

Selecting a manager from another ITRP account
This new feature is restricted, however. The Person record that you are linking to a manager must be stored in an account that has a trust relation with the account in which the manager's Person record is stored. In addition, you need to have access to both accounts.

Although this is only a minor enhancement, it enables an effective approval workflow within large multinationals.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Safe Harbor Certified

Data PrivacyOrganizations with operations in the European Union and Switzerland need to be able to demonstrate that they provide adequate protection for the personal data that they store in the ITRP service. This is a requirement from the European Union's Directive on Data Protection and the Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection.

U.S.-EU Safe Harbor FrameworkSuch organizations can rely on us to adhere to the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce in coordination with the European Commission, as well as the U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Framework that was developed by the same U.S. Department of Commerce in coordination with the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner of Switzerland.

You can verify the certification status of the ITRP Institute by going to the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor List and the U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor list. More details can be found in our enhanced privacy policy.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

ITSM Tool Vendors a Little Out of Touch?

Industry Analyst ReportIndustry analyst The ITSM Review did something really clever recently to find out whether ITSM tool vendors are aligned with their customers. To find out, they asked 19 different tool vendors how customizable their ITSM software is. Then they asked customers how they would rate their ability to customize these 19 different ITSM products.

The ITSM Review logoThe results are really interesting. You can read through them by going to the ITSM Tools Universe Preview: How aligned are ITSM tool vendors to their customers? People also left some great comments there that are worth reading.

Of course we are happy to see that ITRP came out on top. It means that the effort we put into listening to our customers, especially at the annual customer advisory board meeting, is paying off.

Most of you are already aware that our philosophy is different from other ITSM tool vendors. We don’t just tell customers that they can customize everything. Instead we make sure that, as much as possible, the product supports multinational enterprises out-of-the-box. Where necessary, we have made sure that ITRP can be customized and that our customers do not need to rely on consultants to do this for them.

Following this survey we added some extra features to increase ITRP’s flexibility (see last month's posts). And you will be pleased to hear that we are already working on a few more options to extend ITRP's configuration capabilities even further.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Give Your UI Extensions a Title

UI ExtensionAnother small improvement has been added to the UI Extensions functionality. This improvement makes it possible to give each UI extension a title. The Title field is located just below the Name field on the UI Extension form.

Empty UI extension Title field
The Title field can be left empty. In such cases, the section header that is visible above the UI extension when it is included in a request will have the title "UI Extension".

UI extension without a title
It can be helpful, however, for the people who work with such requests to specify a more meaningful title.

UI extension Title field with a value
The title can then be used to convey the purpose of the UI extension.

UI extension without a title
If you find it difficult to decide on a useful title for each UI extension, you can always consider using more generic titles like "Additional Information" or "Details".

After you have given a UI extension a title, you can translate it into the languages that your organization supports by going to the Translations section of Settings console.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Speaking Your User's Language

Service desk analystWhat makes the Service Desk console so powerful is that it proactively provides service desk analysts with the information they need while they are interacting with a user. One important piece of information was missing, however.

Language indicator in the Service Desk consoleMost organizations that use the ITRP service support a multilingual user base. To help their service desk analysts decide in which language to address an end user, the user's language preference now also gets presented proactively. The language preference is displayed graphically as a little flag to allow this information to be understood almost instantaneously.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Register Requests Even Faster

Service desk analystThe Service Desk console is one of the features that make ITRP unique. This console dynamically provides the service desk analysts with the information they need to quickly help the person who has contacted the service desk.

Now it offers 3 more ways to make the registration of requests even faster and easier. Apart from clicking on the New Request button, it is now also possible to start the registration of a new request by:

1). looking up a request template by entering key words,
2). selecting one of the user's services, or
3). selecting one of the user's configuration items.

Which method is the fastest depends on the type of request that needs to be registered. When it concerns one of the user's CIs, the best option will be to click on this CI. In other cases, it may be faster to use the Search box to look up a specific request template, or to start with the selection of a service.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Two More Snippets

UI ExtensionNow that you can make the Asset field available in Self Service so that end users can select a configuration item, you may want to make this field required for certain types of requests.

We have added a JavaScript snippet to make this easy. You do not need to code any JavaScript; the snippet takes care of that for you. Simply add the "asset required" snippet to a UI extension and link this UI extension to the request templates for which the end users should always make a selection in the Asset field. That's it.

JavaScript snippets
While we were at it, we also added the "note required" snippet. This one can be useful for frequently asked questions (FAQs) that allow end users to submit a request if the answer did not help. In such cases, you want the end user to explain why.

FAQ with required Note field

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Asset Selection in Self Service

Request TemplateWhen you are editing a request template, you may notice that a checkbox has been added just below the Configuration item field. You can check this box if you want end users to be able to select a configuration item in Self Service when they are registering a new request and have picked this template.

Request template with asset selection checkbox
In the Asset field, end users are able to select the configuration items of the service instances for which they are covered by an active SLA. To make the list of selectable configuration items relevant to the end user, it is limited to the CIs that the end user is linked to as a user and the CIs that do not have any users linked to them. When the end user is submitting the request for a specific service, the list of CIs is further limited to the ones that make up the relevant service instance.

Submit request in Self Service with Asset field
You may be wondering why this checkbox is called "Asset selection in Self Service" rather than "Configuration item selection in Self Service". That's because end users may get a little frustrated when they see a complex-sounding ITIL term like "configuration item".

By using the term "asset" instead, we have also ensured that organizations, which use ITRP for the support of their HR and facility management processes, can use this new feature without any customization.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Improved Snippets

UI ExtensionA number of organizations are already making good use of UI extensions. It helps them increase the efficiency, quality and predictability of their Request Fulfilment process.

The Snippet functionality is especially useful when creating a new UI extension. Snippets can be used, for example, to quickly add a checkbox or a select field.

We recently added two more snippet features. The first allows you to break your custom form into sections.

UI extension snippet - Section
Adding a section can enhance the usability of the form. It also helps the specialists, because the section headers get included in the note with the values that the user selected in the UI extension's fields.

UI Extension with sections and multiple checkboxes
The second feature that was added stops fields from getting listed in the note when they where left blank by the user. This also makes it easier for the specialists to find the information they need, especially when a UI extension contains a large number of optional fields or checkboxes.

Field values of UI extension in Note field
If you want a field to be listed in the note even when it was left empty, then you can select the "Add to note when empty" option.

UI extension snippet - Add to note when empty

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Date/Time Snippets

UI ExtensionThere's good news for those of you who are using UI extensions to add small forms to ITRP's user interface. Now you can quickly add date fields, date and time fields, or just time fields to a UI extension from the Snippets section.

Adding a date time field snippet to a UI extension
These snippets even make it possible to create start/end date pairs, where the validation rules ensure that the end date is greater than the start date and vice versa.

Date time fields in a UI extension
When a user submits a date and/or time, this value gets stored automatically in the time zone preference of the user.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Extra Task Template Assignment Options

Task templateTask templates are used extensively to define standard workflows for the Change Management and Request Fulfilment processes. To make these workflows more dynamic, three assignment options have been added for task templates.

The first is the "Service owner" option. Selecting this option causes tasks, which are created using the template, to be assigned to the person who is selected in the Service owner field of the service that is linked to the change that the task belongs to.

Task template with additional assignment options
The "Requester" option is also new. This option ensures that new tasks that are based on the template get assigned to the requester of the request for which the change was generated. This can be useful, for example, when the requester needs to sign off digitally when he/she takes delivery of a new device.

The third new option is intended specifically for large enterprises that consist of multiple business units or divisions that are supported by a shared IT services organization. The "Requester's business unit manager" option can be selected to ensure that tasks based on the template get assigned to the manager of the business unit that the organization of the requester is a part of.

By selecting roles (rather than specific individuals) in the task templates, it should be possible to reduce the number of templates as well as the time required to maintain them.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Key Contacts

RolesA new role has been added. It is called the Key Contact role. This role can be given, for example, to the manager of a department.

Selection of the Key Contact role in the ITRP Person form
The Key Contact role gives this person access to the All Requests overview in Self Service. This overview lists all requests that were registered for the people who work for the same department as the key contact person.

All Requests overview in Self Service
The Key Contact role is also useful for external service providers. They can give this access profile to their contacts within customer organizations that do not have their own ITRP account. That allows these contacts to see all requests of their organization.

Apart from being able to review the requests of the other people of their organization, key contacts are also able to add notes to these requests. They can even reopen them when the provided solution is deemed unsatisfactory.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Helping Your Service Desk Improve

UI ExtensionUI extensions are used to create custom forms. These custom forms are then linked to request templates. End users are asked to fill out such a form when they select a request template that is linked to a UI extension. This helps make sure that end users provide all the information that is needed to complete their requests.

But what if an end user calls the service desk instead of using Self Service? In that case it would be nice if the service desk analyst could fill out the form for the end user. So that's exactly what they can now do.

Probably more important is the fact that UI extensions can now be used to increase the accuracy and efficiency with which service desk analysts register requests. That's because UI extensions ensure that the service desk analysts know exactly which information to collect from end users and only need to select the correct values in the fields of the UI extensions.

The screenshot below shows what a UI Extension can look like inside the Request form after a request template has been applied.

UI Extension within the ITRP Request form
There's one extra thing that you were not able to do before with UI extensions. After a request has been registered, it is now possible to update the values that were specified in the fields of the UI extension. That allows mistakes to be corrected.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Preferred ITSM Partner in India

IndiaITRP Institute is pleased to announce that from now, we also have local representation in India. The latest addition to our partner network is eStomi, one of the fastest growing software companies in India.

eStomi logoLast year eStomi was one of the 21 regional winners, out of 2700 contenders, in India's first ever contest for the mid-size industry leaders – Completely Boss Challenge sponsored by, amongst others, Microsoft and LinkedIn. In the same year, eStomi was honored with the Indian Achievers Award for Emerging Company.

We are pleased that such a promising company which is focused purely on IT service management, has selected ITRP as its partner to accomplish its growth goals.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Automate Your Broadcasts

BroadcastThe REST API has been extended to cover the Broadcast functionality. Now you can build integrations to automatically broadcast messages to your end users and/or specialists.

For example, when a monitoring tool has detected that the email service is down, this could trigger the generation of a broadcast. That would ensure that end users see this information when they go to Self Service to submit a request.

For the developers among you, give the following cURL command a try using your API token from an ITRP sandbox account:

curl -u "token:x" -X POST "https://api.itrp.com/broadcasts?message=Email%20is%20unavailable&message_type=outage"

The result is a new broadcast that is visible for everyone in the account.

Broadcast message to tell users that email is unavailable
There are lots of possibilities to target a specific audience, to limit the duration of the broadcast, to add translations, etc. You will find all the details in the developer documentation.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Affected SLAs Target Colors

Affected SLAWhen you open the Affected SLAs section of a request, you will see that the affected SLAs of the providers that you work for are highlighted. The highlight color indicates how close the next SLA targets are to being violated. These targets can be response targets or resolution targets.

Affected SLAs highlighted to indicate proximity to next target
The highlight colors are the same as the colors used for the request header. Green means that there is still more than an hour available before the next target is violated. Yellow indicates that there are more than 20 minutes left. Orange tells you that there are less than 20 minutes left and red means that the target has already been violated.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Extra Dimensions

AnalyticsThe KPIs that are available in the Analytics console can be filtered by multiple dimensions, such as Status, Team, Category, etc. When you open one of the KPI graphs that is based on request data, you will see three new dimensions.

Three additional dimensionsThe dimensions that were added are: Account, Business Unit and Organization. They make it possible to filter the graphs by the account that the requester belongs to, the business unit that the requester's organization is a part of, and/or the organization of the requester.

Filtering by account
After you have clicked on the Filter button, the filter that you applied gets presented in the upper right-hand corner of the graph.

Filtered KPI graph
Naturally, you can still combine the dimensions to create advanced filters such as the one shown here:
Advanced filter

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

RightAnswers Knowledge in ITRP

BroadcastOrganizations with advanced knowledge management requirements will be excited to hear that the most advanced cloud-based service management service now has a standard integration with RightAnswers, the most advanced cloud-based knowledge management service.

RightAnswers logoThe developers of RightAnswers have been working together with ITRP's developers to make it as easy as possible to integrate the two services. All that an ITRP account administrator needs to do to activate the integration is to specify the URI of the organization's RightAnswers environment and its AccessID so that ITRP can access this environment.

Broadcast in Edit mode
After the integration has been activated, RightAnswers will proactively propose knowledge to service desk analysts while they are registering new requests. As soon as a subject has been entered for the request, the Knowledge section opens to suggest relevant solutions.

Broadcast in Edit mode
Once a service instance is related to the request, the list of proposed solutions gets updated. At this point, the list is limited to solutions for the service of the selected instance.

When there's a matching knowledge article, its solution information can be copied to the request. This automatically closes the Knowledge section. The link to the complete article is included above the solution information.

Broadcast in Edit mode
Making the advanced knowledge management capabilities of RightAnswers available within ITRP can increase the efficiency of the service desk. And because the Knowledge section is available to all specialists after the integration has been established, the knowledge base will be more accessible for the entire support organization.