Thursday, January 19, 2017

ITRP in Polish

PolishBecause there are more and more ITRP users in Poland, we decided to make the full ITRP interface available in Polish. End users were already able to use ITRP Self Service and ITRP Mobile in Polish, but now Polish support specialist can also set their language preference to 'polski'.

Requests header in Korean

Monday, January 16, 2017

100%

Percentage2016 was another wonderful year for ITRP. A total of 50 releases got transferred to production. These releases included many useful new features, the most popular of which was probably the ability to copy/paste images in notes. The two major additions to the service were advanced Time Tracking and Knowledge Management.

None of these releases caused a service outage, which underscores the quality of the change management process that is in place for ITRP. As always, the availability of the service was measured independently by Pingdom, which determined that the uptime of the service was 100% in 2016. To be fair, though, on December 15 a few users were affected by a DNS issue at one of the three data centers from which the ITRP service is hosted. Fortunately, it took less than 20 minutes for these users to be redirected to the other two data centers.

We also realized close to 100% year-over-year revenue growth. That makes ITRP the fastest-growing enterprise service management solution.

Several more unique capabilities are about to be added to benefit large enterprises and the external service providers that they work with. These new capabilities will ensure that the coming 12 months are going to be very exciting again for ITRP.

We are grateful for the trust that our enterprise customers have placed in us and are looking forward to another year of mutual success.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Switching Off Release Management

SearchThis is a somewhat unusual blog post. Rather than announcing a new feature, this post explains how it is now possible to switch off some existing functionality. Since most organizations have not implemented Release Management, we have made it possible in ITRP to hide this functionality. In fact, it is now hidden by default.

To switch it on, an account administrator only needs give someone the Release Manager role of the account. As long as no one has the Release Manager role, the 'Releases' option of the Records console will not become visible.

Releases option of the ITRP Records console
In addition, change managers will not see the Release field that is part of the Change form.

Release field of the ITRP Change form
As more functionality continues to be added, we felt that this was a small but helpful step to keep ITRP's interface clean and easy to use.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Time Spent Summaries for Specialists

SearchA support specialist may be asked how much time she spent on a specific project during a specific month, week or day. Now she is able to answer that question by going to the Analytics console. There, she can open the 'Timesheets' section. Even though this section was already available for managers and their substitutes, it is new for specialists.

Releases option of the ITRP Records console
After opening the 'Timesheets' sections, a month can be selected to review the specialist's timesheet for that month. The timesheet summary is provided below the calendar view. It presents the specialist's time spent by allocation, service or customer. The scope of the summary can be reduced by selecting a week or a day in the calendar.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Double-Click To Add Time Entry

SearchA small usability feature has been added for people who register all their time in ITRP. A double-click on a date in the calendar overview of a user's timesheet now opens a new time entry.

Timesheet calendar view
This feature was implemented because it turned out that users intuitively want to click on the date for which they need to add a time entry. A single mouse click on a date still causes all time entries for that date to be displayed below the calendar. A double-click on a date has become the same as a click on the big + icon in the upper right corner.

Adding a time entry should feel just a little more natural once people become aware of this.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Give Your Teams an Email Address

SearchIn some organizations people have gotten used to sending email directly to specific teams when they need help with something. There can be good reasons why a team may prefer to allow the users who depend on their services to continue using email, rather than requiring them to submit their requests using ITRP Self Service.

It is now easy to set this up. ITRP administrators can simply specify an email address for each team that wants to give its users the ability to send email directly to them.

Inbound email address for a team
When an email is sent to a team's inbound email address, a new request gets generated and assigned to the team. The sender is automatically linked to the request as the requester, the email's subject is used as the subject for the request, and the body of the email is added to the request as a note. Once the new request has been generated, ITRP sends an email notification to the sender to confirm that his/her request has been received. The sender can subsequently use the hyperlink in this email to keep track of the request's progress.

Organizations that do not want to communicate a new email address to their people can simply forward the existing email address of the team to the team's new ITRP email address. That way, the users will not need to do anything different and the requests will still get generated automatically.

This new feature is an extension of ITRP's Mail API. More information about the Mail API can be found in the ITRP Developer Documentation.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Change Calendar Improvements

Service offeringA few useful features have been added to the ITRP Change Calendar. These improvements were added to ensure that very large support organizations, which manage hundreds of services, are still able to make effective use of the Change Calendar.

The first enhancement is a scrollbar that allows the user to scroll down when there is not enough room to display all implementation tasks.

ITRP Change Calendar with vertical scrollbar
The second improvement is an additional view option. It is called ‘Changes for My Services’. When this option is selected, the user will see the implementation tasks that are going to affect one or more service instances and are linked to a change that is related to a service for which the user is the owner or the change manager.

Changes for My Services option of the ITRP Change Calendar
The next feature that was added is a Search box above the list of services. Entering part of a service's name filters this list down to the services which name includes the characters in the Search box. Since there are already quite a few ITRP customers that support well over a hundred services, this makes it a lot easier to select or deselect a specific service.

Search box to filter services
The fourth new usability feature allows users to save their view options by simply adding a bookmark in their browser. Using this bookmark will then open the Change Calendar showing the implementation tasks of the changes that the user is interested in. That's because the options that a user selects are now included in the URL.

View options included in the ITRP Change Calendar URL
Keep in mind that when a service is selected, the Change Calendar shows all implementation tasks that will affect a service instance and that are part of a change that is related to the selected service. In addition, the calendar shows any other tasks that could potentially conflict with these tasks.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Knowledge for Multilingual Service Desks

SearchThe knowledge management functionality in ITRP includes an advanced feature for service desks that provide support in multiple languages. This feature makes use of the ability to translate knowledge articles. Any specialist or service desk analyst who has the language skills can translate the knowledge articles of the support organization to ensure that they are available in the supported languages.

Knowledge article with multiple translations
Once a knowledge article has been translated, the right translation is automatically proposed in ITRP Self Service to ensure that end users see the knowledge in their preferred language.

That is not what's so special, however. The feature that is really special was added for the analysts of a multilingual service desk. This unique feature is best explained by an example:

Old buttonsLet's say that the default language of a support organization is U.S. English and that the language preference of one of its end users is French. If this end user calls the service desk because she wants to know how she can book a conference room, the service desk analyst can search for this knowledge in the language of the end user, or in his own preferred language. Either way, the knowledge article will be found.

Knowledge articles suggested in language of user
By default, the results will be displayed in the language of the end user whenever the translations are available. That is, after all, the language in which the service desk analyst will need to provide the instructions.

If, for some reason, the instructions need to be provided in the default language of the support organization, the service desk analyst can click on the circular language indicator to switch to this language.

Knowledge article in language of account
In this particular example, the knowledge article is available also in Spanish. Had the language preference of the service desk analyst been set to Spanish, then the service desk analyst would have been able to toggle from French to Spanish to English (and back to French again) by continuing to click on the language indicator.

Knowledge article in language of service desk analyst
When the service desk analyst leaves the language set to the preferred option of the end user and selects the knowledge article to open a new request, the instructions of this knowledge article are added to the new request in the preferred language of the end user. That means that as soon as the request is saved, these instructions get sent via email to the requester in the correct language.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Optional Descriptions for Time Entries

SearchIt was already possible to ask people to add a description when they register a new time entry for specific time allocations. After such a time allocation was selected, a description for the time entry would, however, always be required.

ITRP time entry with required Description field
Now it is also possible to specify in a time allocation that it is up to the user to decide whether a description is needed after the user has selected the time allocation. Account administrators can make the Description field optional for a time allocation by opening this time allocation in the Settings console and selecting the option 'Optional'.

Time allocation Description field options
This provides a little extra flexibility for organizations that are migrating from their old time tracking application to ITRP.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Add Time for a Whole Week in Self Service

SearchThe option to fill out time entries for a whole week in a single screen was already available to all specialists. Now this feature is also available for end users in ITRP Self Service.

Press the plus to open the Add Time Entries for Week form
When an end user places the mouse cursor next to a weekly total, the blue + icon becomes available. Clicking on this icon causes the 'Add Time Entries for Week' form to open.

Weekly time entry form in ITRP Self Service
This extra option will be most helpful for people who register their time at the end of each week.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Introducing Knowledge Management

SearchLike the KCS (Knowledge-Centered Support) methodology, we have worked hard to make knowledge management as simple as possible. For the specialists it should be so easy and quick to add knowledge that they will do this because it will already save them time the next time they are asked for the same information.

The easiest way for a specialist to add a knowledge article is to use a solution that he/she just added to a request. The option 'Create Knowledge Article' is available for this from every existing note.

Creating a new knowledge article from an existing note
Selecting this option opens a new knowledge article with most of the information already filled out. In the Description field, it is best to add some information about the environment (e.g. the combination of a specific operating system with a specific browser) for which the instructions have been written. The Description field is essentially used to add terms that will help people find the right knowledge articles.

New knowledge article
End users do not need to decide to look for knowledge articles (or frequently asked questions). The knowledge articles are included in their search results whenever they might be relevant.

Search knowledge in ITRP Self Service
The service desk analysts will start to notice knowledge articles when they are registering requests in the Service Desk console. They will show up among the suggested request templates and services as soon as they start to enter a subject (see Fuzzy Search).

Search knowledge in ITRP Service Desk console
Service desk analysts and specialists can also add the instructions of a knowledge article to an existing request. To do that, they place the cursor in the Note field and click on the 'Apply Knowledge Option' from the text formatting bar.

Apply knowledge in new note
To activate the new Knowledge Management functionality for your organization, simply assign the Knowledge Manager role to someone. As soon as this is done, all specialists are able to register and update knowledge articles.

Knowledge Manager role in ITRP Person form.png
It may be best to inform everyone beforehand, though. That way they will know that it is OK to add new knowledge articles and to improve on the knowledge of others.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fuzzy Search

SearchThe Service Desk console has been improved to help service desk analysts be even more efficient and to ensure that the search results are more likely to include useful items.

The first thing that you will notice in the Service Desk console is that the Search box asks for a subject.

Empty ITRP Service Desk console Search box
So, rather than entering a few key words, the service desk analysts are now invited to enter a short description of what the requester is asking for.

Subject entered in Service Desk console Search box
Typing in a subject instantly triggers a fuzzy search. The search results are continuously updated as the service desk analyst continues to type. When a useful match is found, the service desk analyst can stop typing to select it. But before selecting it, the service desk analyst is now able to open a preview to make sure that it is really applicable. What's new here, is that you are now able to scroll in the preview to see all the information.

Preview with scrollbar opened from search results
If none of the search results are helpful, the service desk analyst can simply continue by pressing the New Request button. To make sure that the flow is intuitive, the New Request button has been moved to the left of the Search box.

After pressing the New Request button, a new request is opened and the subject that was entered in the Search box is placed in its Subject field to avoid the need to retype it.

Subject automatically filled out in new request
Because the cursor is placed by default in the Search box, it should feel more natural to start the registration of a new request right there. End users will also see that the Search box is already in focus when they access ITRP Self Service. That should encourage them to take advantage of ITRP's super-fast search functionality more often.

Search box in ITRP Self Service

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Fresh Look

HandYou probably already noticed that the buttons in ITRP got a makeover this weekend. The old buttons were starting to look a little worn out.
Old buttons
The new styling makes them look fresh again. Apart from the cosmetic benefit, these new buttons have the advantage that they display perfectly at any size. That is useful for users who have their browser set to a zoom level that is different from the default 100%.

Friday, November 18, 2016

A Welcome Addition to the Team

WebhooksToday, it is my great pleasure to announce that Bartłomiej Duma has joined the ITRP Institute. Bartek (as he is known to us) has taken on the role of service management consultant, which means that he will be supporting ITRP partners and customers with their ITRP implementations.

Bartłomiej DumaAbout 5 years ago, Bartek started to work with ITRP at Danone where he helped several Danone organizations with their service management implementations. Later, he worked for Opera Software as a system administrator. This has allowed him to experience service management from a very practical perspective. Apart from his activities at the ITRP Institute, Bartek continues to provide ITIL Foundation training.

The combination of his theoretical ITIL knowledge and his hand-on background supporting ITRP implementations and working in the trenches as a system administrator, makes Bartek a valuable addition to our team. We are very happy to have him on board.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Give Your Webhooks Names

WebhooksFor those of you who maintain several ITRP integrations, we have recently added a small feature to help you manage your webhooks. When you open an existing webhook or when you start to create a new one, you are now able to give this webhook a name.

Webhook Name field
Giving each a distinctive name makes it easier to tell them apart when many are listed in the Webhooks view. That makes it possible for you to select the right webhook more quickly when updates need to be made.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Change Workflow Presentation

DisabledA minor, but useful, enhancement has been made available for change managers. When you open a change in View mode, you will notice that the graphical workflow representation no longer shows the start of the implementation plan when the implementation has already progressed beyond this point. Instead, ITRP now detects how far the implementation has already progressed and immediately takes you to that point.

Change workflow presentation
So, when you open a change, the workflow automatically scrolls horizontally to the first active task. That is, after all, where the action is.