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.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Outsource Support for Your Assets

TrustOne of the capabilities that makes the ITRP service so unique is its support for SIAM (service integration and management). ITRP makes it possible for organizations to work together on the support of services. From the beginning, this has allowed organizations to pass requests to each other while ITRP keeps track of the service level agreements in the background. Later, this functionality was extended, giving organizations the ability to work together on changes.

The SIAM capabilities have been extended again, this time for the configuration management process. This allows the financial owner of an asset to delegate the support responsibility for this asset to another organization (e.g. a managed service provider). A prerequisite is that both organizations have already established a trust relation between their ITRP accounts. In addition, the MSP must have given the financial owner permission to assign their configuration items to the MSP.

For the MSP it is easy to give this permission to one of its customers. They can even limit the teams to which each customer is allowed to assign their CIs.

Account trust - allow a trusted account to assign support responsibility to us
Once this permission has been granted, a configuration manager of the financial owner is able to select these teams in the Support team field of their CIs.

Select support team of another account
After a customer has assigned some CIs to the MSP, the MSP can link them to one of its service instances.

Linking CIs from another account to a service instance
The MSP then links this service instance to an SLA that covers the financial owner. Activating this SLA makes it possible for the financial owner to pass its requests regarding these CIs to the MSP.

Activation an SLA for a service instance that includes the CIs of the customer
The SLA also ensures that both the customer and the MSP can track the actual level of service that is provided. No special configuration is needed and all reporting is provided in real time.

Real-time SLA report for customer and provider
Why is this so important? There are many organizations that want to outsource the support of some of their CIs, without transferring ownership of these CIs. For example, an organization may have a number of older AS/400 machines and finds it difficult to find experienced support specialists. An external service provider can then be contracted to take over the support for these computers.

Another example that may explain the relevance of this new capability, is a large multinational that put its data center organization in charge of centralizing support for all Exchange servers. These servers may be located at different sites around the world and they may be owned by the local legal entities. When each local entity has its own ITRP account, this new capability gives them the flexibility to transfer the support responsibility for their Exchange servers to the data center organization, while still being able to account for all their servers from a financial perspective.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Improved Configuration Item Suggestions

SearchWhen you need to relate one or more configuration items to a request, service instance, contract or task, you can look up these CIs by entering part of their name or label. In some cases, however, it can be useful to search for CIs using their site and location.

Configuration item suggestions
This is now possible. When you need to link a CI that has the same name as many others (e.g. a monitor or network printer) and you don't have its unique label but you do know its location, then this is just the feature you need to quickly find that asset.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Mark Templates as Urgent

UrgentITRP makes it possible to mark assignments as urgent. This can be useful in situations where a request, problem or task requires immediate attention.

When a support organization knows that certain types of requests or tasks always need to be marked as urgent, they may want to prescribe this in their templates. That is now possible, thanks to the 'Mark as urgent' checkbox that has been added to the request template and the task template forms.

Mark a task template as urgent
When this box is checked, the requests or tasks that get generated based on the template are automatically marked as urgent.

While we were working on this new feature, we also decided to make the urgency indicator more visible. The red stopwatch icon is now considerably larger. It also moves briefly when a record is opened to ensure that the specialist's attention is drawn to it.

Urgent indicator

Monday, October 24, 2016

Delete Notes

DisabledFrom time to time it happens that sensitive information is included in a note or one of the note's attachments. To prevent all support specialists from seeing this information, a new feature has been added that allows administrators to remove such notes.

Administrators now see 3 small dots at the very right side of a note's header to indicate that an action can be taken. Clicking on this ellipsis makes the option 'Delete Note' available.

Duplicate change and task templates
This option is available only when the person who added the note is registered in the ITRP account of the administrator. That means that if the person is registered in a directory account, his/her notes can only be removed by the directory administrator. Also, a note can only be removed when it was added less than 14 days ago.

Once removed, the note's attachments are deleted. A message takes the place of the note. This message specifies who redacted the note and when this was done.

Duplicate change and task templates
In the audit trail, the same message is displayed where the note used to be.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Inline Images Everywhere

ImageLast month it became possible to insert images in the Note fields. This was immediately extremely popular, especially in requests where people are using this feature extensively to include screenshots.

Because it is so popular, the Inline Image functionality has been extended to all multi-line text fields. This means, for example, that you are now able to include a picture in the Registration hints field, or a helpful graphic in the Instructions field, of a request template.

Search results

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Duplicate Templates

TemplateThe Duplicate functionality has been extended to all templates. Service desk managers are now able to select an existing request template and use its information to create a new one. This can be Duplicate request templatesuseful when a new template is needed that is similar to one that was registered earlier.

Change managers can duplicate change templates and task templates in the same way. After selecting a template they can select the 'Duplicate' option from the Actions menu.

Duplicate change and task templates
The ability to duplicate change templates is probably going to be the most popular, because it can save change managers quite a bit of time when a new change template is needed that has a similar workflow as an existing change template.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Impressions from ITRP CAB 2016

TrustThe location of this year's customer advisory board meeting was Barberstown Castle in Ireland. In this rustic setting, the achievements of 2016 were reviewed with ITRP's largest enterprise customers. These customers also shared some of the more interesting ways in which they are using ITRP to benefit their business.

ITRP CAB 2016 group photo
The development team was given a session to demonstrate the knowledge management functionality that will be released later this year. In addition, they provided an architectural overview of the all new infrastructure that is currently being prepared. Between the many sessions there were short fun activities to make sure that everyone was able to stay fresh and focussed.

ITRP CAB 2016 impressions
Like at previous CAB meetings, the days were long. In the end, though, the customers concluded this meeting by setting a clear direction for 2017. The focus is going to be on productivity improvements. There are lots of clever ideas that we will be working on to make the service even more intuitive and effective, and to ensure that the specific needs of large multinationals are met. Apart from efficiency optimization, the other theme for 2017 will be portfolio & project management.

ITRP CAB 2016 Segway wars
As these improvements are delivered, they will be announced right here at the ITRP Blog. We are already looking forward to next year, when we shall scroll through the blog posts again to show you the new ways in which ITRP delivers value to its enterprise customers.