Monday, September 18, 2017

Registered Requests by Impact

Bar ChartYet another report has been added to the ‘Reports’ section of the Analytics console. This one is called ‘Registered Requests by Impact’.

Registered Requests by Impact
Remember that you are able to click on the date range above the report to change it. What you may not be aware of yet, is that you can click on an impact value below the graph to exclude requests with that impact level. This is a standard feature that is available in all reports that have a legend.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

In Transit

Change TemplateWouter WynsIt rarely happens that a status option gets added, but several customers have indicated that the status ‘In Transit’ is useful for configuration management.

This status can be applied, for example, after a broken smartphone has been repaired and is returned by courier, or after a departing employee has handed in his laptop to his manager.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Recently Selected Change Templates

Change TemplateChange managers are going to appreciate this usability improvement. When someone starts to register a new change and selects a change template, ITRP is now going to remember this selection. The benefit is that the next time the change manager needs to create a change, the template is presented in the 'Recent Selections'.

Recent change template selections
This is expected to make the selection easier for change managers who work in organizations that have a large number of change templates. That is because each individual change manager of the organization will typically only use a small subset of the available templates.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Custom Date Ranges for Reports

Bar ChartSome reports in the ‘Reports’ section of the Analytics console have a default date range. It is now possible to select a different range by clicking on the date range that is visible in the upper right corner of the report.

Requests by category with default date range
After clicking on the date range, you can select a different option from the Quick Ranges menu.

Quick date ranges
Alternatively, you can switch to the Custom Range menu to define your own date range. When applicable for the type of report that is selected, it is also possible to select a different time interval in the Custom Range menu.

Custom date range and interval

Monday, September 11, 2017

Delayed Automation Rules

AutomationAn extra option has been added to the Trigger field of automation rules. It is the option ‘After delay’.

Automation rule that needs to be executed after delay
When this option is selected in an automation rule, then another rule can be added in which a delayed action is defended for the first rule.

Adding a delay action
The second rule then defines how much time needs to have passed before the action(s) of the first rule get executed.

Automation rule that defines delay
An example of a delayed rule has been added to ITRP's online help. This example describes how a delayed rule is used to send a reminder to a change approver after 1 day. This example can also be found in the ITRP demo data (see the end of the example for details).

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Editing Tasks within a Popup

TaskWhen you open a change or project in View mode and you click on a task within the small Gantt chart that is presented at the bottom of the screen, this task is presented in a popup over the change or project. If you have the access rights to edit this task, you can then click on the Edit option.

Switching to Edit mode in a task popup window
What is new is that when you press the Edit option, the entire browser window no longer changes to show only the task in Edit mode. Instead, the task is presented in Edit mode within the popup window. This makes it easier for people when they need to navigate back and forth between the tasks and the change or project that these tasks are a part of.

If you are in the full screen Gantt chart, you will find that the tasks now pop up in Edit mode whenever you have the access rights to update the task.

Monday, September 4, 2017

ITRP Welcomes Wouter Wyns

PersonIt is my great pleasure to announce that Wouter Wyns has joined the ITRP team as Service Management Architect. His primary responsibility is the success of ITRP customers. He will use his more than 20 years of service management experience to guide ITRP partners and their customers through the more difficult steps of their implementation projects. And when ITRP customers need an expert to help them improve the quality of their service management processes, Wouter is available to advise.

Wouter WynsWouter has worked in the service management industry for companies like Siemens, Fujitsu, Atos and InfraVision where he assisted large enterprises with their implementations of HP Service Manager, ServiceNow and ITRP.

I have had the pleasure of working with Wouter for many years already, so I know how much value he is going to bring to the ITRP ecosystem. Welcome Wouter!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

New Task Template Warnings

AlertTo ensure that change managers do not unintentionally affect a change template when they update a task template, they are now warned when this could happen. A warning is displayed when a change manager opens a task template in Edit mode and this task template is part of one or more change templates.

Warning displayed in task template
When the task template is opened from a change template's Gantt chart, the warning gets displayed only when the task template is related to other change templates as well.

Differnt warning when task is opened from a change template's Gantt chart
Project managers will see a similar warning when they edit project task templates.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

More Enhancements for Change Managers

Resource PlanningChange managers have provided some useful feedback that has helped us perfect the Gantt Chart interface they use to plan their changes. The results are the following 3 usability improvements:

1. By default the Gantt chart now opens in Expanded mode. This ensures that when a change is opened, it only takes 1 mouse click on the Gantt Chart button in the toolbar to get a complete overview of all tasks, along with their category, status and assignment.

Gantt chart chart in Expanded mode
2. A small warning sign is now displayed when a task has required fields that still need to be filled out before the change can be started.

Empty required fields warning in Gantt chart
3. When the mouse cursor is placed over a task, the links with its predecessors and successors light up. This makes it a little easier to understand the workflow of complex changes.

Predecessor and successor links between tasks in Gantt chart
These improvements are also available in the Gantt chart of each project, so they benefit project managers as well.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Self Service Search Optimization

SearchITRP continuously learns from the searches that people perform. Search phrases that were previously used by others are suggested only when there is a fuzzy match with what has been entered in the Search box. And by keeping track of how often a phrase has been used to successfully find a service, knowledge article or request template, ITRP is able to present the most relevant suggestions on top.

Search suggestions in ITRP Self Service
The search phrase suggestions in ITRP Self Service were recently optimized further. Now they also take into account the language preference of the users who successfully used a search phrase in the past. This avoids suggestions in a language that is different from the preferred language of a person who is executing a new search.

And there is one more improvement. When a search is executed, ITRP now takes into account the SLAs by which the user is covered. The result is that search phrases are suggested only if they have been used successfully to find records that are relevant to the user because they concern services that this person uses.

Thanks to these enhancements, ITRP knows more precisely which suggestions are most likely to be relevant for each user.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

OneLogin Integration Supports JIT Provisioning

MainframeOneLogin has enhanced its ITRP single sign-on integration to support the Just-in-Time (JIT) End User Access Provisioning functionality of the ITRP service.

OneLogin logoThe integration now ensures that a person record gets generated when someone accesses ITRP for the first time. If this person is already registered, the SSO integration checks the person's name in ITRP and updates it if necessary. Additional field values can be added to the SAML response from OneLogin to ensure that that information is also maintained automatically.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

More SLA Coverage Options

SLAThe options that allow service level managers to define who is covered by a service level agreement (SLA) have been extended.

The option for providing coverage to all people who work for a specific organization, plus all organizations hierarchically below it, has been renamed to 'People of the Following Organization(s) and Their Descendants'. This means that it is now possible to select more than one organization when this option is selected. In case multiple organizations are selected, all people of these organizations, as well as all people of all organizations hierarchically below the selected organizations, are covered by the SLA.

SLA Coverage Option - People of the Following Organization(s) and Their Descendants
In addition, the option 'People of an Organization and Site from the Following' has been added. This option allows multiple organizations and multiple sites to be selected. Any person who belongs to one of the selected organizations and who works at one of the selected sites is covered.

SLA Coverage Option - People of an Organization and Site from the Following
These new coverage options provide even more flexibility and make it possible to quickly define the coverage that an SLA provides, even in complex support environments.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Encrypted Data At Rest

LockThe production environment of the ITRP service was recently migrated to an entirely new infrastructure. The QA environment has already been running on an identical infrastructure for several months to proof the quality of its architecture.

Apart from many other security enhancements, this new infrastructure ensures that all customer data (including all attachments) is encrypted before it gets stored. Even though the data centers where this data is stored are extremely well protected both physically and digitally, at rest encryption provides an additional layer of protection. It ensures that, if someone would somehow manage to get access to the devices on which ITRP customer data is stored, this data cannot be read.

The extra security that this offers organizations against the potential loss of sensitive data is now a standard feature of the ITRP service. It is provided at no extra charge.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Improved Change Management Interface

Resource PlanningThe interface that change managers use to manage their changes has drastically improved. With this new interface, change managers can plan a change using a graphically representation (a Gantt chart) of the implementation plan.

The change templates and project templates also offer this Gantt chart interface to make it easier for change managers and project managers to template workflows.

The online Change Manager training module has already been updated so that it is aligned with the demo instances that customers use to train their ITRP users.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Introducing Automation Rules

AutomationA major new capability called 'Automation Rules' has been added to the ITRP service. It allows change and project managers to automatically cause records in ITRP to be updated when certain conditions have been met as people are working on the tasks of their changes and project.

Any person who has the Change Manager or Project Manager role can add automation rules to the tasks of the changes or projects they manage. What's probably more important is that they can also add automation rules to the workflows defined in the change templates and project templates. That ensures that these automation rules are included whenever the templates are used to register a new change, or to add some standard phases to a project.

To add automation rules to, for example, one of the task templates that is part of a specific change template, open the Gantt Chart of the change template's workflow. When you hover your mouse cursor over one of the task templates, the Automation Rules icon appears. Clicking on this icon allows you to add one or more automation rules for this task template. Keep in mind that the automation rules you add to a task template are limited only to the change template in which you do this. So other change templates to which the same task template is linked will not be affected.

Adding an automation rule in the Gantt chart of a change template
Let's use the above change template as an example to explain more about the Automation Rules functionality. This change template is used to prepare everything that is needed when a new employee joins the organization. Its workflow looks as follows:

Change template workflow with automation rules in Gantt chart
Note that the little Automation Rules icon indicates that the first task includes one or more automation rules. When you click on this icon you can review these rules. In this example four rules have been defined:

Example of automation rules defined for a task template
In the screen above, the order in which the rules are executed can be adjusted by dragging them up or down. When you click on one of the four rules, you are able to see what this rule does. And if you have the Change Manager role, you can update or delete this rule. The first rule uses information from a UI extension:

Automation rule example 1
The second rule also uses data from this UI extension. It uses this data to determine whether a task is needed for a specific change:

Automation rule example 2
When these rules are triggered for an actual change that was created based on this template, you can see which rules were executed in the task:

Rule executions are visible in a task
Clicking on one of these rule executions opens a graphical representation of the automation trace which shows the actions that were executed. The blue one is the rule execution that was selected from the task.

Graphical representation of the automation trace that shows the rule executions
In the automation trace it is possible to click on an automation rule to see how it was processed:

Automation trace rule execution details
Some useful automation rule examples have been documented in ITRP's online help.

There are a few things to keep in mind when creating automation rules. First, automation rules are executed after all the standard logic of the ITRP service has been processed. This means, for example, that if a rule is to trigger after a task has been set to the status ‘Completed’, ITRP first updates the status of the task’s successors to ‘Assigned’, before executing the automation rule.

It is also important to know that automation rules do not have more access rights than the person for whom the rules are executed. This means that when automation rules are executed for the manager of a change, these rules are only allowed to execute actions which the change manager is allowed to perform manually.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Just-in-Time End User Access Provisioning

MainframeThe new Just-in-Time (JIT) End User Access Provisioning functionality offers support organizations another way to automate the registration and maintenance of the organization’s end users in ITRP. This functionality essentially allows organizations to offload this responsibility to their identity provider (IdP).

By configuring the IdP to pass a user's information to ITRP when he/she attempts to access ITRP, the JIT End User Access Provisioning functionality is triggered to automatically register a new person record if this user could not be found in ITRP. If the person is already known in ITRP, the trusted information from the IdP is used to update this person’s record.

A detailed description of this new Single Sign-On feature can be found in the ITRP Developer documentation.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Open a New Request for an Asset

MainframeWhen a specialist is reviewing a Configuration Item (CI) record in ITRP, there is now a quick way to open a new request for this CI. By clicking on the Actions button in the toolbar and selecting the ‘Relate to New Request’ option, a new request is opened.

Relating a CI to a new requestThe new request is already linked to the CI, as well as the service instance that the CI is a part of. This feature can be useful, for example, when a specialist is reviewing the information of a CI and discovers that its information is out of date.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sort Search Result by Creation Date

SearchAn advanced search option has been added that makes it possible to sort the records in your search results by their creation date.

The advanced search option Created
By selecting the 'Created' option, the record that was registered most recently will be listed at the top of the search results after you press the Search button. When you move your mouse cursor over one of the records in the search results, its creation date is displayed.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Add Fields to Person, Site and Contract Forms

Time EntrySupport organizations are now able to extend the Person, Site and Contract forms in ITRP. A recent upgrade of the UI Extension functionality makes it possible to add fields to these forms. Using the Snippets feature makes it possible to add fields to a UI extension without having to write any code.

UI extension HTML snippet
For very specific requirements, it is possible to manually adjust the HTML that these snippets generate. It is even possible to add JavaScript to add business logic and CSS to adjust the styling of the UI extension.

In most cases, though, the snippets already provide sufficient flexibility to add the necessary fields to ITRP forms. Below is a simple example of a UI extension that was added to the Person form:

UI extension example on the Person form