Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Context While You Work on Tasks

TaskMost tasks are generated automatically from a task template and do not get updated by the change manager. The context for the work that someone is asked to perform is typically provided by the related change, requests and problems. These are all visible in the task as long as it is in View mode.

As soon as the task is placed in Edit mode, however, this context was no longer available. Since this information is often important to support specialists when they are working on a task, it now remains visible when the task is placed in Edit mode.

Related change, requests and problems

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Relations Removed from Removed CIs

Relations Removed from Removed CIs

DisabledFrom now on, when the status of a configuration item is set to 'Removed', its service, service instance, CI and user relations are automatically removed.

Active CI with relations
Apart from helping to keep the CMDB relations accurate, this ensures that removed configuration items (i.e. CIs for which the support organization no longer has any responsibility) no longer show up in the Service Hierarchy Browser (SHB).

Removed CI without relations
In addition to automatically removing these relations after a CI has been removed, a small usability feature has been added that makes it easier to identify inactive CIs. When the status of a CI is 'Archived', 'To Be Removed', 'Lost or Stolen' or 'Removed', its name is written in strikethrough characters when it is presented in View mode, and the disabled symbol is displayed over the CI's picture to indicate that it is no longer active.

Monday, March 16, 2015

So Long, IE7

Internet ExplorerIt is time for us to say goodbye to Microsoft Internet Explorer 7. As of September 01, 2015, end users will no longer be able to use the IE7 browser to access ITRP Self Service.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 7Terminating support for IE7 will make it possible to offer end users a more modern experience on their PCs, similar to what they get on their smartphones with ITRP Mobile.

Since our browser statistics show that usage of IE7 has already dropped well below the 1% mark, we do not expect many users to be affected by this. Those who are still working with IE7 have several months to either upgrade to a more recent version of Internet Explorer or to start using an alternative browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Superior Tablet Support

TabletMany specialists have already been using ITRP on their tablets. They will be happy to see how the ITRP user interface now automatically optimizes itself for use on small touch screens.

On a tablet there is not enough room to show a view on the left side of the screen with the selected record on the right. So when ITRP detects that it is being used on a tablet, it displays the view over the full width of the screen. When a record is selected, this record replaces the view.

Navigation bar above request
The navigation bar is available above the selected record. The arrow on the left can be used to return to the view. The up/down arrows on the right can be used to go to the previous or next record in the view.

PC users with a low screen resolution (i.e. with a width of less than 1280 pixels) will also benefit from the same UI optimization. By presenting the views over the full width of their screens, they are able to see more of the text in the wider columns.

An improvement has also been made for PC users with a very high screen resolution. Their views will automatically be presented over a wider area of the screen. This makes better use of their available screen width.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Updating UI Extensions in Self Service

UI ExtensionYou can create a custom form for your end users by adding a UI extension. In Self Service, end users can then fill out these forms to ensure that the support specialists have all the information they need to complete the request.

To ensure that an end user does not change the information in the UI extensions after a request has been submitted, it was not possible for end users to update a UI extension. Sometimes, however, it is important that a requester can be asked to adjust the information, for example when it is incorrect or incomplete.

In such cases, a support specialist can now set the status of the request to 'Waiting for Customer'. As always, this will send a notification to the requester. From now on, though, this also allows the requester to update the values of the UI extension fields.

No configuration items selected
After the requester has updated the UI extension, a note needs to be added to inform the support specialist what has changed, after which the update can be submitted by pressing the Save button.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Linking Multiple Records

AddThere are quite a few places in ITRP where it is possible to relate multiple records of the same type to another record. For example, an approval task may need to be assigned to several approvers, an SLA can cover any number of organizations, and a request can be submitted for more than one configuration item.

To avoid having to relate each record separately, the new multi-select feature allows multiple records to be selected, after which they can all be added at the same time.

No configuration items selected
Clicking on the link causes a search box to pop up, which can be used to look up the records that need to be related. After entering some text in the search box, up to 20 matches are suggested for selection.

Search results - no CIs selected
Just click on the items you want to link and press Done. Or use the down-arrow key to highlight items and select them by pressing the spacebar.

Search results - multiple CIs selected
After you have selected the items you need, press the Enter key to link them. To quickly select a single item, highlight it and press Enter.

Multiple linked records
To remove a link, click on the Remove icon to the left of the related record.

Remove a linked record

Sunday, February 15, 2015

ITRP en EspaƱol

SpanishYes, that's right. Specialists of support organizations that work primarily in Spanish are now able to switch their language preference to Spanish. That will cause all headers, field labels, field options, etc. in the ITRP user interface to appear in Spanish.

Requests header in Spanish
Even though ITRP Self Service was already available in Spanish, end users may notice a few small adjustments there. They were made to ensure compliance with the official Spanish (Castilian) ITIL glossary.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Welcoming Dinco to the ITRP Partner Network

SwitzerlandOver the past weeks we have been working closely with Dinco on its ITRP partner certification.

Dinco logoDinco is a highly experienced ITSM practice located in the north of Switzerland. From there it serves large organizations in the Zurich and Basel areas.

We are very happy to announce that Dinco is now a fully certified member of the ITRP Partner Network.

Monday, February 9, 2015

UI Integrations

Export APIFor those of you who were not aware of this already, it is possible to add hyperlinks (i.e. custom links) to the Actions menu. Account administrators can do this in the 'Custom Links' section of the Settings menu. Support specialists can then access these custom links by clicking on the Actions toolbar button.

Custom link in Actions menuThis feature has just been extended. It is now possible to add parameters to these links. These parameters dynamically add field values from Person and CI records to custom links.

For example, the person.primary_email parameter can be included in an Actions menu link. When a support specialist has a Person record selected and clicks on this link, the value in the Primary email field of this Person record gets inserted in the URL.

Actions menu link configuration
Better still, when a specialist is working on a request, the primary email address of the person who is selected in the Requested by field of the request is included when this custom link is used. This works regardless of whether the request has already been saved or not.

And when a specialist has opened a configuration item, then the primary email address of the first user automatically becomes part of the link.

Parameters are also available for CIs. These can be used, for example, to open a new browser tab in which a system management application shows the current technical details of the selected CI. If this is done from a request, problem or task, the parameter will be replaced with the corresponding field value of the first CI that is related to it.

Just think of the possibilities of integrating ITRP with your organization's discovery tools, chat application, remote takeover software, automated password reset functions, etc.

Monday, February 2, 2015

ITRP Mobile

MobileEnd users are now able to use their smartphones to submit and track their requests.

Tracking requests in ITRP Mobile
Their managers are also able to approve changes. And all users can review the broadcast messages that are targeted at them.

Approvals and broadcasts in ITRP Mobile
The best thing is that no one needs to do anything to get ITRP Mobile. When a user receives an email from ITRP about a request or approval task, the hyperlink in the email will automatically launch ITRP Mobile if the user is working on a mobile device.

This means that there's no app to download and that users are always using the latest version. It also means that IT departments do not need to distribute anything to the smartphones of their organizations.

For the next few weeks, ITRP Mobile will be available as a Beta release. This period will be used to perfect the formatting for the mobile platforms that ITRP Mobile supports. Android, iOS and Windows Phone are the supported operating systems.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

99.996%

AvailabilityLooking back at 2014, we can only conclude that it was another stellar year for the ITRP service.

One vital accomplishment was last year's overall availability of 99.996%. There were 3 short outages with a total outage duration of 20 minutes. This highlights the resilience and self-healing ability of the service's infrastructure.

Also impressive are the 40 new releases that were transferred to production over the past 12 months. These releases added numerous useful features to the service. It is important to note here that not a single one of these releases caused any downtime. The release management process, which depends heavily on our maintenance of the unit tests, as well as the integration tests, clearly performed effectively. The key to this is probably that the unit tests are maintained by other people (i.e. the development team) than the integration tests (which are the responsibility of the product management team).

And then there were the organizations that completed their migration to ITRP. To cope with the demand without compromising the quality of service, we decided to suspend the ability for new customers to sign up online. Organizations that want to start using the service, now need to get access through one of the ITRP partner companies. The ITRP partners are in the best position (geographically and from a language point of view) to support our customers. They give us at the ITRP Institute the ability to focus most of our attention on further extending the capabilities of the service.

Looking ahead, though, we can already see that more needs to be done to maintain the exceptional levels of service and support that ITRP is becoming known for. The number of new customers that have signed up so far in 2015 will require us to add another member to our team soon. Another ITSM superstar will therefore join us in a few months to help us handle the growth.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Time Spent Today

Time spentSeveral organizations require their support specialists to track their time in ITRP. These organizations checked the Track support effort box in the Settings console.

Track support effort setting
This ensures that users are prompted to fill in their time, for example, when they complete a request.

Time spent field
When actual time spent data was analyzed, however, it showed that people have a tendency to underestimate their time by as much as 60%. To give people a good reference when they are filling out their time spent throughout the day, a small indicator has been added to the toolbar.

Time spent today indicatorThis indicator displays the total amount of time that the user has spent on requests, problems and tasks so far today. Every day at midnight (in the user's time zone), this indicator starts counting again from 0:00.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Reducing Administrative Overhead

RequestWherever we can, we try to minimize the amount of administration required from support specialists. We don't just do that to make the support specialists happy, though. It saves organizations real money when their people can work more efficiently.

Request categoriesRecently we found a way to make it a little easier to complete requests of the category 'Complaint', 'Compliment' or 'Other'.

Since these types of requests are not related to a specific service, they do not get considered during the problem management reviews for any of the services (i.e. they will not show up in a problem manager's Requests for Problem Identification view). Instead, such requests are typically reviewed on a periodic basis by the service desk manager with the objective to identify support improvement opportunities.

Completion reason field
That means that the Completion reason field is not needed for these requests to identify potential problems. In turn, that means that there is no reason to ask support specialists to select a completion reason when they complete such requests. So, from now on, the Completion reason field will no longer become visible when a request of the category 'Complaint', 'Compliment' or 'Other' is set to the status 'Completed'.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Add Test Results to Approval Tasks

AttachmentOrganizations that include a user acceptance testing step in their application change management workflow are now able to let their customers attach the test results to their approval tasks. This works for approvers who use Self Service, as well as for those who work in ITRP as a support specialist.

Approval task with attachment
Files can even be added using email. When an approver replies to the email notification from ITRP and attaches the files to this reply, these files get added as attachments to the approval task.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Problem Creation Date

ProblemA small improvement has been made for people who are working with problems. When a problem is opened in View mode, they will notice the Created field.

Created field of a problem
This allows everyone to see when the problem was initially registered, without having to look it up in the audit trail.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Search for FAQs and Standard Requests

SearchThe Search bar has been added to Self Service. End users can use it to search through all the FAQs and standard requests that are available to them.

Search bar in Self Service
What makes this search capability special is that it takes into account the user's language preference. If, for example, your organization supports both English and Spanish, and the user's language preference is set to Spanish, then the user's searches look through the Spanish translations of the FAQs and standard requests.

Each query also goes through the user's requests. This may be of special importance to key contacts, who are now able to search through all the requests from their organization.

Search results in Self Service
For managers, the search results even include the approval tasks that have been assigned to them.

What ends up at the top of the search results depends. Requests are listed at the top if the search was executed from the My Requests tab or the All Requests tab. Similarly, approval tasks show up on top when the search was initiated from the My Approvals tab. In all other cases, the greatest relevance gets attributed to the request templates that make up the FAQs and standard requests.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Drag and Drop Attachments

AttachmentGive this a try: Drag a file to a request and drop it onto the Note field. The file gets uploaded as an attachment. You can also do this with multiple files, as you can see in the video below.



Did you notice how the background color changes once the files are dragged to a position where they can be dropped? And did you see that, after the files were dropped, the darker background color behind the file names moves from left to right to indicate the progress of their upload?

This drag and drop feature is available wherever you can attach files, i.e. also in problems, changes, SLAs, CIs, contracts, etc. End users can also make use of this feature in Self Service.

Many people have asked for this feature, so we know it will be popular. Before you get too excited, however, it is important to point out this drag and drop capability is only available in Internet Explorer 10 (or higher), Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Users who are still on IE8 or IE9 will need to upgrade to a more current browser before they will be able to experience the joys of drag and drop.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Maintaining Relations with the REST API

Export APIThe REST API of the ITRP service has been extended to make it possible for developers to maintain the one-to-many as well as the many-to-many links between records.

Since it has recently become possible to link multiple CIs to a request, we can use that feature to provide some examples.

The following cURL call can be used to add a configuration item to a request:

curl -u "token:x" -X POST "https://api.itrp.com/v1/requests/123456/cis/654321"

And here's how the API can be used to remove that same CI again:

curl -u "token:x" -X DELETE "https://api.itrp.com/v1/requests/123456/cis/654321"

Removing all CIs from the request is even simpler:

curl -u "token:x" -X DELETE "https://api.itrp.com/v1/requests/123456/cis"

In the above examples, token represents a user's ITRP API token. You can find your API token in the "Personal Information" section of the Settings console.

Take a look at the Change Log of the ITRP Developer documentation to look at all the possibilities that have been added.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Linking Multiple CIs to a Request

RequestYes, that's right. Now you can link more than one configuration item to a request. If, for example, there are a few PCs that need to be moved or there are some servers that need to be patched, you can link these configuration items to a single request.

When you open a request, you will notice the Add button next to the Configuration items field.

Configuration items field on the Request form
Clicking on this button makes it possible to add another CI.

A request with multiple CIs
Rather than clicking on the Add button, it may be easier to simply drag and drop the necessary CIs from the Service Hierarchy Browser that is available to the right of the request. An additional field will then be added automatically for each additional CI.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Add Fields to CIs and Changes

UI ExtensionOrganizations can save themselves a lot of frustration, time and money when they do not try to register the technical attributes of their configuration items in their CMDB (see Afraid of the CMDB?). It is better to leave this data in the system management tools that automatically discover it. A link from the CI records to the corresponding records in the system management tools is enough to give specialists direct access to the most up-to-date technical information about the CIs.

The information that cannot be discovered automatically, but which is necessary for the support of the organization's ITSM processes, should be registered in the CMDB. This includes information like the support team that is responsible for a CI, the supplier from which the CI was acquired, its warranty expiration date, etc. ITRP already provides the necessary fields for this out of the (completely imaginary) box.

But there may still be some special fields that organizations want to add for certain types of CIs. We have just expanded the UI Extension functionality to make this possible. While we were at it, we also made it possible to add fields to specific types of changes.

To make additional fields available for CIs, start by defining these fields in a UI extension. Select the "Product" option to indicate that the UI extension is intended to be applied to products.

UI extension categories
Next, select the UI extension that you just created in the products that represent the types of CI for which the fields are intended. When a new or existing CI that is linked to one of these products is opened, the fields will be available.

UI extension in CI
To add fields to changes, select the "Change Template" option in the UI extension. After that you can link the UI extension to the change templates that represent the types of changes for which the fields should be available.