Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A New CTI Capability

HeadsetMany larger service desks or call centers use an automatic call distributor (ACD) that collects some information from callers before assigning their call to an available service desk analyst. A caller could, for example, be asked to enter his/her account, customer or employee number.

When the Support ID field of the Person records is populated with this number, the ACD can pass the value that the caller said or entered, to the computer telephony integration (CTI).                     

By placing the number that the caller provided, rather than the caller’s telephone number, at the end of the URL, the Person record of the caller gets selected automatically in the User field of the Service Desk console. That's because, before looking for a match with a telephone number, ITRP first checks for a Support ID match.

Service Desk console launched by CTI
When the same customer number is entered in the Support ID field of each contact person of the corresponding customer organization, these people get listed as options for the User field when the Service Desk console is launched.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Extended Collision Detection

WarningCollision detection, which was introduced a few weeks ago for the Inbox views, has just been extended to all consoles of the ITRP service. Apart from making collision detection available for all record types, we also extended its capabilities.

Now it does not only warn you when someone else has updated the record that you are working on; it already notifies you when someone starts to look at this record.

One other viewer notification
And when other people subsequently open this record as well, the message at the bottom of the screen gets updated to reflect this.

Multiple other viewers notification
When one of these people places the request in edit mode, the message becomes a warning.

One other editor warning
If this person then saves an update of this record while you still have it in Edit mode, the warning becomes yellow to emphasize its importance.

Record updated by someone else warning
Pressing the Cancel link in the warning has the same result as pressing the Cancel button next to the Save button at the bottom of the record.

But when you are only looking at a record (i.e. not editing) and someone else saves an update of this record, the record is automatically refreshed in your browser to ensure that you see the latest information.

The Collision Detection feature should help avoid accidental duplication of effort and promote even more effective real-time collaboration.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

ITRP in Italy

ItalyIt is our pleasure to announce our partnership with C.H. Ostfeld, which brings the ITRP Partner Network to Italy!

C.H. Ostfeld logoC.H. Ostfeld has a long history in delivering ITSM applications and advice to organizations all over Italy and Malta. They also have experience implementing service management in other countries for their multinational customers.

In their search for a true SaaS offering with a great user interface, lightning performance and full ITIL support, they quickly recognized ITRP as the best option. After going through extensive training, C.H. Ostfeld’s consultants are now ready to deliver the ITRP service to all organizations looking for a service management solution that brings true value.

We are very happy to welcome C.H. Ostfeld to the rapidly growing ITRP community!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Extending the Power of Custom Links

PeopleWith the Custom Links functionality, it is possible to add hyperlinks to the Actions menu. Parameters can be used in these hyperlinks to dynamically include data from the record that you are working on.

We just added a few more parameters that make it easy to build even more useful integrations. The added parameters are:

  • request.subject
  • problem.subject
  • task.subject

The ID parameters were added to allow the record number to be passed to, for example, a chat application. Knowing the ID of the request you were working on when you started a chat session, allows the chat application to add a note to this request after the chat session has ended. The note could contain a link that points to a complete transcript of the chat session.

The Subject parameters could be included in hyperlinks that launch an external knowledge management application. This would tell the knowledge management tool to initiate a search using the text that was entered in the Subject field of, for example, a new request that was opened in the Service Desk console.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Usage Chargeback

PeopleSeveral large organizations have numerous ITRP accounts that they manage centrally. The costs for the usage of these accounts get charged back to the local departments that use these accounts. The users of an account can be found in the Current Usage view of the Settings console.

All People with Roles view
To facilitate different chargeback models, two columns were recently added. These are the Organization and Business Unit columns. They will be especially useful for organizations that maintain their employee data in a directory account.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Directory Account

Directory AccountAs part of our 'Beyond IT' initiative, we have added a unique feature that makes it easier for large enterprises to give their employees online access to support for all kinds of services; not just the ones that their IT departments provide.

Many large companies have realized that their employees are more productive when they have instant self service access to support. Whenever an employee gets stuck for whatever reason, it should be easy to get help from the experts. That improves morale and gets the employee back to work as quickly as possible.

Historically, employees have already been able to contact a service desk when they were struggling with a computer issue. Now, the other support domains, like Human Resources, Facilities Management and Purchasing, are setting up their own online portals that make it easier for employees to obtain their support.

Because some of the information that employees share with, for example, the HR department is private, the HR self-service portal is often completely separate from IT's portal. That means that the employees are expected to know how to access each portal and they all have a different look and feel.

The new feature that we have been working on over the past several months is called the Directory Account. Large corporations can set up a directory account and maintain all their Person, Organization and Site records in it. Each department that wants to set up a self-service portal can subsequently set up a support domain account without having to populate it with any Person, Organization and Site records, because the support domain account can use the data that is maintained centrally in the directory account.

All employees, no matter where they are located in the world, can then be given the web address of the directory account. They can use this URL to get (single sign-on) access when they need any kind of support.

For example, when an employee of the Finance department in Amsterdam accesses the corporate self-service portal, she gets several support domains to choose from. When a data center specialist in Houston goes to the same portal, he will see completely different options, because there are different departments locally that support him.

Support domains for different users
ITRP only lists the support domains that provide one or more services to the employee, so only the options that are relevant for the user are offered. This is important, because large multinationals may have more than 100 support domains globally.

When an employee submits a request for one of the support domains, this request gets registered in this support domain. That means that access to this request is restricted to the support specialists who work in this domain, i.e. who have a role (or access profile) of the support domain account. This makes it possible, for example, to ensure that IT specialists are not able to see any of the HR requests.

Even though support specialists may not be authorized to see the requests from other support domains, trust relations can be established between the support domain accounts to, for example, allow the IT, HR and Facilities Management departments to work together on a change workflow for onboarding a new employee. After all, such a change may require IT to prepare a laptop, HR to set up a payroll schedule, and Facilities Management to make a desk available.

The advantages that a directory account provides can be summarized as follows:
1). a single corporate self-service portal for all employees for any type of support
2). a central repository from which the employee information is made available to all support domains
3). the support domain have control over who is authorized to access their data, without sacrificing the ability for the support domains to work together.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Who Can Access Your Organization's ITRP Data?

PeopleA view has been added that you may find useful. It is the 'All People with Roles' view. It lists every person who has one or more roles (i.e. access profiles) of your organization's account.

People are listed when they have the Key Contact role, or a higher level of access. So, someone who only has the default End User role is excluded from this view.

All People with Roles view
To see what it looks like for your organization's account, go to the Records console, select the option 'People' and open the 'All People with Roles' view. If you have access to multiple ITRP accounts, you can use the Account Switcher to see who else has access to these other accounts.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Collision Detection

WarningSince your Inbox console now provides real-time information, we were able to introduce another useful feature. This feature shows you a warning whenever you are working in the Inbox console on a request, problem or task, and someone else updates that same record.

Real-Time Inbox
The following scenario illustrates the usefulness of this feature. Let's say your team does not have a team coordinator and the service desk just assigned a new request to your team. Thanks to the real-time Inbox console, all members of your team immediately see this new request in their inbox. You open the request in Edit mode, but just after you do this, a colleague clicks on the Start button. Clicking the Start button fills out the Member field and sets the status of the request to 'In Progress'.

The Collision Detection feature immediately warns you when someone else has updated the record that you are editing. This gives you a chance to cancel your update before it overwrites the changes that your colleague has made.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Real-Time Inbox

InboxOver the past weeks we have been extending the infrastructure of the ITRP service. A major component has been added that delivers real-time updates in your inbox. It makes sure that when a request, problem or task gets assigned to you or your team, you will see it immediately in the Inbox console. Also, when someone has updated one of your inbox items, this update is instantly visible in your inbox views.

Real-Time Inbox=
By providing real-time information, rather than polling the servers once a minute, the response times can be reduced by an average of 30 seconds every time a request, problem or task gets assigned. This may not sound like much, but it adds up when an organization is handling thousands of assignments each week, especially when specialists of multiple teams are involved in their completion.

For end users this means they can get back to being productive just a little sooner. For service providers it can mean the difference between meeting the SLA targets and paying the penalty for a violation.

Monday, May 11, 2015

SVG Support

ZoomIn ITRP Mobile, you may have noticed that, when you zoom in, the icons of the application remain perfectly crisp. That's because these icons are defined by vectors rather than pixels.

Service selection in ITRP MobileNow you can provide the same pixel-perfect experience to your end users when they are submitting a new request. You can do this by uploading scalable vector graphics (SVG) images for your organization's services and service categories.

The default product category avatars are also based on SVG files, so specialists can already see the benefits of using SVG in ITRP's full UI.

It is possible to upload an SVG file wherever you can set a picture for a record.

Please keep in mind, however, that SVG files are not supported by Internet Explorer 7 or 8 (IE7 or IE8), which may still be used by some people.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Product Category Avatars

ProductAfter you have registered a product, you will see that it now automatically gets an avatar that represents its category. This image also becomes visible in the configuration items that you register based on the product. You can still overwrite this avatar by uploading a picture of the product, but perhaps you prefer to simply leave it set to the default image.

Below are a few examples of default product category avatars:

Product category - Server
Product category - Projector
Product category - Smartphone
Product category - Software
Software license certificates are treated a little differently. For them, a special image gets presented regardless of the product that it is linked to. That makes it easier to differentiate them from the software CIs.

Product category - Software license certificate

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Better Way to Understand Complexity - Introducing the Service Navigator

Service NavigatorThe Service Navigator has been added to the ITRP service. It offers a graphical presentation of the dependencies between services, as well as the configuration item relations. You can find the Service Navigator in the Analytics console. The video below provides a short introduction that will help you get comfortable navigating through your organization's service landscape.

What makes the Service Navigator so special is that it allows you to switch between the logical service view and the physical infrastructure view.

These are the symbols that are used for the graphical representation:

Service category symbol
Service category

Service symbol


Service instance symbol
Service instance

Configuration item symbol

Configuration item

Service Navigator Action menu optionYou can also launch the service navigator from a request, problem, service, configuration item, etc. To do this, click on the Actions toolbar button and select the menu option 'Service Navigator'.

The Service Navigator also works wonderfully on tablets such as the iPad or the Galaxy Tab. On a tablet you can make pinch gestures with your fingers to zoom in and out.

Internet Explorer 8, however, cannot open the Service Navigator. That's because IE8 does not support scalable vector graphics (SVG). If you are not yet able to upgrade to a more recent version of Internet Explorer and want to use the Service Navigator, then Firefox and Chrome provide good alternatives.

In a future post, I shall elaborate on the useful qualities of SVG for the ITRP service.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Another Superstar Joins the Team

PersonMay 1st, 2015 marks an important milestone as we welcome Martijn Adams to the ITRP Institute. Martijn is one of the world's most experienced implementers of service management solutions for global enterprises. Over the past 15 years, Martijn has helped organizations like HeidelbergCement, the European Union, Danone, Alliance Healthcare, NATO and Deloitte with their multinational ITSM initiatives. Apart from his hands-on project involvement, he held a senior management position at InfraVision as the director of their ITSM & SIAM Practice.

Martijn AdamsAt the ITRP Institute, Martijn has now taken on the role of General Manager, EMEA. His primary focus is the success of the large ITRP deployments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He will do this by making sure that our partners in this region have everything they need to deliver the benefits of ITRP to their customers.

Martijn's arrival provided an ideal moment to refine the management structure. As a result, Robin Roestenburg has become our Principal Software Engineer. Because this role comes with management responsibilities, he has joined the management team.

In addition, I have decided to hand over the reins of the company to Cor Winkler Prins. It was my pleasure to lead the ITRP Institute through its first 5 years, but now that the company has a solid financial foundation, more emphasis can be placed on the direction in which the service evolves. Cor Winkler Prins, who has been our VP Product Management from the start, is the best person for that.

Cor has accepted the CEO post and the responsibilities that come with it. This allows me to focus on the success of our customers and partners in North, Central and South America as the General Manager, Americas.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Add the Organization Name

VariableWe recently added a whole bunch of extra variables for the email templates. Another one has just been added for use in the email notifications that ITRP generates for requests.

The additional variable makes it possible to include the name of the organization of the person for whom the request was submitted.

Email template with organization name
Adding this variable may be especially useful for service providers that support multiple external organizations.

The complete list of variables can be found in the online help.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Request Review by Approvers

ApprovalApprovers are now able to review all the requests that are linked to the changes they have been asked to approve. The requests can be opened directly from their approval tasks in ITRP Mobile or ITRP Self Service.

Hyperlinked requests in approval task
The requests can also be opened using the hyperlinks in the Change Summary PDF file that is attached to approval tasks and the email notifications for those tasks.

Hyperlinked requests in change summary
Having access to the requests gives approvers more information about the changes for which their approval has been requested.

Friday, April 17, 2015

More Detail for Problem Identification

ProblemProblem managers may have noticed a small change in the 'Requests for Problem Identification' view. The 'Service' column of this view has been replaced by the 'Service Instance' column.

Requests for Problem Identification view
This provides a little more detail, which can be especially useful when the provider organization supports many instances of a service.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Serve Your Irish Customers in Gaelic

IrishThanks to one of our customers that uses ITRP in Ireland, end users can now set their language preference to Irish (Gaeilge). This switches their Self Service interface to Irish.

ITRP Self Service in Irish

Service Desk console with Irish userThis is also useful for the service desk. When a call comes in, the service desk analyst who picks up the call is able to see if the user wishes to be addressed in Irish.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

New API Capabilities

REST APIThe REST API of the ITRP service has been extended. The API can now also be used to add, update and remove the addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and web sites of organizations and people.

The following is an example of a cURL call that can be used to add a billing address to an organization:

curl -k -u "token:x" -X POST

The same can now be done with the configuration items that are related to a configuration item, the approvers to which an approval task has been assigned, and the standard service requests of a service offering.

The following example shows how an approver can be added to an approval task:

curl -k -u "token:x" -X POST

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.

For more details about these new capabilities, visit the Change Log of the ITRP developer website.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Changes for My Team's Services

ChangeA new view has been added to the Records console for changes. It is the 'Changes for My Team's Services' view.

When you open this view, it lists the changes that are linked to a service which support team equals one of your teams.

Changes for My Teams Services view

Monday, April 6, 2015

More Variables for Email Templates

VariableSeveral extra variables have been made available for use in the email templates that are used by ITRP to generate email messages for end users, approvers and support specialists.

In total, more than 20 new ones were added, including a variable for the urgency of a request, the impact of a problem, the status of a release, the justification of a change and the category of a task.

Email template example with extra variables
Although it is recommended to keep the email notifications short, these extra variables may come in handy in special support environments. The complete list of variables can be found in the online help.