Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Resource Planning for Project Managers

Resource PlanningProject managers are now able to switch from a project's Gantt Chart to the Resource Planning view. The Resource Planning view allows them to ensure that the members of the project team do not have too much project work assigned to them.

A box is presented for each day on which at least one project task is planned for a member of the project. It does not matter if the project task belongs to the project that the manager is reviewing; the view looks through all planned tasks of all projects.

A red box means that, on that day, there is too much project work assigned to the project member. The gray bar at the top of the box indicates how much project work has been assigned to the person. The dark gray portion of this bar is the percentage of planned project work that is part of the project that is currently being reviewed.

A project manager can update the assignees, the planned effort and/or the planned duration of a task to make sure that the project members do not need to work overtime. The short video below shows how this is done.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Knowledge Management KPIs

KPIMost users of ITRP already know that they can go to the Analytics console to access the 'KPIs' section. There they can select a process to review a set of KPIs that can be used to track the process' success.

KPIs grouped by processYou may have noticed that the option 'Knowledge Management' was added recently. When you select this option, you will see that several useful charts are already available to help you keep an eye on the adoption of the Knowledge Management process.

Knowledge Management KPI
Go ahead and take a look. The graphs may provide useful insights, especially when the 'filter' and the 'drill-down' capabilities are used.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Changing the Name of an ITRP Account

AccountWhen an organization changes its name as part of a rebranding exercise, this typically affects the name of its ITRP account. Fortunately, the owner of the account is able update the account's name simply by opening the 'Account Settings' section of the Settings console.

Knowledge Article Self Service Usage report
But that leaves the URL of the account. Let's suppose the URL that the employees of the enterprise are using is https://widget.itrp.com and this needs to be updated to https://newcorp.itrp.com. The account owner can request this update to be performed on a specific date and time by submitting an ITRP request.

However, after the update of the URL you may find that people may not all have read the communications and may initially not understand why the hyperlink they bookmarked for their Self Service portal no longer works. That is why account owners are now able to request that their account can temporarily be reached using two URLs.

In our example, the new URL (https://newcorp.itrp.com) would be activated at the moment specified by the account owner. At the same time, the old URL (https://widget.itrp.com) becomes an alias with which the account can be accessed for a few more weeks while a broadcast reminds the employees to update their bookmarks.

Knowledge Article Self Service Usage report
This new capability should provide a smooth transition whenever the need arises to rename an ITRP account.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Knowledge Article Usage in Self Service

KPIITRP now keeps track of the number of times each knowledge article is opened in ITRP Self Service and ITRP Mobile. This data is used to produce the 'Knowledge Article Self Service Usage' report, which can be found in the Analytics console.

Knowledge Article Self Service Usage report
This report makes it possible for support organizations to see how often their knowledge articles are consulted by end users. This is yet another report to help organizations track the effectiveness of their Knowledge Management process.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Automatically Provision User Access to ITRP

APIIt is now possible to use ITRP's REST API to automate the maintenance of people's access rights in ITRP. A simple script is all it takes to give a new employee at the service desk the roles she needs to do her work.

$ curl -u "api-token:x" -X POST -H "X-ITRP-Account: widget" "https://api.itrp.com/v1/people/1234/permissions/weu-it?roles=specialist,service_desk_analyst"

Or, if someone is leaving the company, all his permissions can be revoked with a simple command.

$ curl -u "api-token:x" -X DELETE -H "X-ITRP-Account: widget" "https://api.itrp.com/v1/people/1234/permissions/wdc"

The details of this new API feature can be found in the ITRP Developer documentation.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

First Call Resolutions KPI

KPIThe KPI ‘First Call Resolutions’ has been added to help monitor the efficiency of the Incident & Request Management process. This KPI tracks the percentage of requests that were completed by the service desk during registration.

First Call Resolutions KPI
Even though it looks like a simple KPI to measure, it is actually surprising complex. It calculates each value by looking up the number of requests that were created and completed at the same time by a member of the service desk team, and dividing this number by the total number of completed requests that were created by a member of the service desk team.

A request is included in the calculation only when the person selected in the Requested by field is different from the person who created the request, and the person who created the request was a member of the service desk team that is selected in the first line support agreement for the ITRP account to which the request belongs.

Do not confuse the KPI ‘First Call Resolutions’ with the ‘Service Desk Resolutions’ KPI. They are quite different.

The ‘Service Desk Resolutions’ KPI tracks the percentage of requests that were completed by the service desk. It calculates each value by looking up the number of completed requests which team is set to the service desk team that is selected in the first line support agreement for the account to which the requests belong, and dividing this number by the total number of completed requests.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Provide Feedback on Knowledge Articles

Knowledge ManagementSupport organizations that publish knowledge in ITRP are now able to give their end users the ability to provide feedback. The administrator of an organization's ITRP account can activate this new feature, by checking the 'Allow knowledge article feedback' box in the 'Mobile Settings' section of the Settings console.

Allow knowledge article feedback in ITRP
Once this setting has been activated, end users will see the options to provide positive or negative feedback below the knowledge articles. The 'thumbs up' icon can be pressed to let the support organization know that the article was helpful. End user can see how many people provided negative feedback only after they provided feedback themselves.

Positive knowledge article feedback in ITRP
When the 'thumbs down' icon has been pressed, the end user is encouraged to specify why the article was not helpful.

Negative knowledge article feedback in ITRP
As soon as feedback has been submitted, a new request is generated. Such requests make it easy for the support organization to manage the improvement suggestions. It also allows the end users to see that their input actually gets processed.

Request to improve knowledge article in ITRP
Allowing feedback from end users opens up a valuable channel for the continuous improvement of the knowledge articles.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Impressions from ITRP Connect 2017

ConnectWhat an amazing day... The second annual ITRP Connect event was another resounding success. The stories shared by customers, as well as the wide variety of new features presented by ITRP's development team, got everyone thinking about new ways to improve the professional lives of enterprise employees and the specialists who support them.

ITRP Connect 2017 - ss Rotterdam
The developers shared how some of the ideas from this active user community made it into the product. The thoughtfulness that goes into every feature is setting ITRP further and further apart from the traditional enterprise service management tools.

ITRP Connect 2017 - Presentations
A special thanks goes out to Frank de Jong for his amazingly effective KCS introduction workshop, and to Claire Agutter for her interactive SIAM introduction. These sessions were clearly illuminating and it was wonderful to see everyone participating.

ITRP Connect 2017 - Impressions
The involvement and interaction between all participants made this event truly special. Thank you! We are already looking forward to getting together again next year to review our shared progress.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Getting Ready for ITRP Connect 2017

ConnectThis year's ITRP Connect event is set to be even better than last year's. Already, more people have signed up and the agenda is overflowing with topics that are guaranteed to inspire.

The SIAM introduction by Claire Agutter of ITSM Zone should be especially interesting to most of the attendees. A new look at knowledge management from the perspective of KCS by Frank de Jong of InfraVision should build nicely on ITRP's new Knowledge Management features. And Simon Martin of Revo Service Management is going to talk about Self Service styling, which should get everyone excited about the new customization capabilities that will be unveiled at this event.

ITRP Connect 2017
If you have not yet ordered your ticket, you can still do so here at the ITRP Connect 2017 event website. Note, however, that the hotel rooms at the historical cruise ship ss Rotterdam have already sold out.

For those of you who will be arriving early, you may want to take your time to walk around. It is a wonderful opportunity to see how beautifully the ship has been restored.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Strong Privacy

LockMany organizations have already discovered that ITRP can be used to provide a single Self Service portal for all kinds of support. That makes it easy for the employees. Whether they need a new laptop, have a contract that needs to be reviewed, or want to understand more about their pension plan, they can always go to the same place for help.

Within ITRP, each support domain was already able to limit who has access the requests. The HR department, for example, would not want the HR requests to be visible to all support specialists of the IT and Finance departments. These requests could, after all, contain very sensitive information about salaries, promotions, illness, etc.

But even within the HR support domain, access may need to be restricted to ensure that not every HR specialist is able to see every HR request. It could makes sense, for example, to only allow payroll experts to see payroll questions, and to limit access to the requests concerning career planning to the experts in that field.

This is now possible. By checking the Strong privacy box in the 'Account Settings' section of the Settings console, the owner of the HR account can ensure that requests, problems and tasks are visible only to the members of the team to which they are assigned.

ITRP account settings - strong privacy
Automatically, ITRP ensures that people with the Specialist role of this account no longer have access to views like 'All Requests' or 'All Tasks'. When a specialist of a strong-privacy account performs a search, the result no longer includes requests, problems or tasks that are not assigned to one of their team(s). Even the reports prevent access to those assignments.

There are a few subtleties of the Strong Privacy functionality that are worth pointing out. For example, a request is visible to the members of the team to which it is assigned, but if the request is linked to an affected SLA of another support team, that other team is able to access the request as well. That is important for the other team, because the request affects their SLA reports.

Another thing worth noting is that a strong-privacy account can still establish trust relations with other ITRP accounts. This allows them to pass requests on to, for example, the IT department or a managed service provider. When someone is about to pass a request from a strong-privacy account to another account, a warning message is displayed.

Warning before passing strong privacy request to another account
When a request has been worked on by multiple accounts and someone from the HR account opens it to work on it again, another message is displayed. This warns the HR specialist that the information of the request is visible to specialists of the other accounts.

Warning after passing strong privacy request to another account
To minimize the information that can be seen by other accounts when a request is passed to another support domain or to a managed service provider, the notes added by the HR specialists are by default internal.

Internal note by default in strong privacy request
The internal notes of a strong-privacy account cannot be seen by specialists of another account, even when both accounts are support domains of the same directory account.

The Auditor role can be given to people who need to be able to see all requests, problems and tasks within a strong-privacy account.

Apart from HR, there are probably other support domains that could benefit from the Strong Privacy feature. Think for example of setting up a strong-privacy account as the whistleblower or ethics hotline. Or if your organization is doing business in Europe, set up a strong-privacy account for the data protection officer (DPO) to comply with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New API Features for Knowledge Management

APIThe developers among you will be pleased to hear that the capabilities of ITRP's REST API have been extended with a few more Knowledge Management features.

First there's the knowledge_article field, which has been added for requests. This makes it possible to look up the knowledge article that is linked to each request, like so:

$ curl -u "api-token:x" -X GET -H "X-ITRP-Account: wdc" "https://api.itrp.com/v1/requests?fields=id,subject,knowledge_article"

In addition, you can now use the REST API to retrieve the requests to which a specific knowledge article has been applied. Here's an example:

$ curl -u "api-token:x" -X GET -H "X-ITRP-Account: wdc" "https://api.itrp.com/v1/knowledge_articles/12345/requests"

And finally, we've made it possible to query how many times each knowledge article has been applied to a request. For that the times_applied field has been added. A CURL example looks like this:

$ curl -u "api-token:x" -X GET -H "X-ITRP-Account: wdc" "https://api.itrp.com/v1/knowledge_articles?fields=id,subject,times_applied"

More information can be found in the ITRP Developer documentation for requests, knowledge articles and requests of a knowledge article.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Advanced UI Extension Examples

Time EntryMost organizations that use ITRP also make use of UI extensions to add additional fields to the user interface for specific types of requests, tasks, configuration items, etc. When they get comfortable with this, they want to focus not merely on adding fields, but making it easier for users to fill out these fields.

For example, you may have prepared a UI extension that allows end users to order peripherals like an external hard disk or a monitor. You may want to initially keep the fields hidden in which the user can specify the storage capacity and the screen size. It would best if those fields become visible only when they are needed.

UI Extension in ITRP Mobile
It is not so hard to define this logic in the JavaScript of a UI extension. Still, to make things a little easier for people who are not so comfortable with web development, we have prepared a set of useful UI extension examples. These examples can be found in the ITRP Developer documentation. There, you can find code examples that you can incorporate in your UI extensions to optimize their user-friendliness.

So go ahead, see if some of these examples can be applied for your organization. It may help your end users and it will surely impress your colleagues.

Monday, May 8, 2017

How Often Do Knowledge Articles Get Applied?

Pie ChartYet another report has been added to the 'Reports' section of the Analytics console. This one is called 'Applied Knowledge Articles'. Shows the articles that have been applied to a request the greatest number of times over the past 90 days.

ITRP report - Applied Knowledge Articles

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Improved Code Editor

APIThe editor in which the code for the UI extensions is maintained has been improved.

Improved ITRP code editor
This new editor provides several useful features, such as the line numbers that are displayed on its left side, the suggestions it offers when you type, the addition of a closing tag after an opening tag is added, etc. The most helpful feature is possibly the toggle in the upper right corner. It can be used to expand the editor to full screen.

This code editor is also available for maintaining the CSS used to customize the styling of the account, self service, and the outbound email notifications.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Decline & Forward with an Internal Note

NoteWhen specialists use the Decline button in the toolbar to return a request to the team coordinator or the previous team, they are asked to specify why they cannot work on the request. Because this information is typically not intended for the requester, specialists are now able to add this as an internal note. In fact, the 'Internal note' option that has been added is checked by default when declining a request.

Decline an ITRP request with an internal note
However, if the request is going to be returned to a team of a different support organization that would not be allowed to see the internal note, the 'Internal note' option will simply not be available. This ensures that the people who will receive the request are able to see the reason why the request was rejected.

When the Forward toolbar button is used to pass a request to another specialist, the 'Internal note' option is also available. Here it is left unchecked by default. That's because it is normally best to allow the requester to see any progress that has been made.

Decline an ITRP request with an internal note

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Use New Knowledge with Extra Care

KnowledgeThe status of each knowledge article is now visible in the search results for service desk analysts and specialists. This makes it easier to spot ’New’ articles.

Status of knowledge articles in search results
The result should be that the instructions are more carefully reviewed after a 'New' article has been applied to a request, avoiding small mistakes from getting passed to the requesters.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Make a Person a VIP

CrownThe VIP checkbox has been added to allow organizations to mark some of their people as VIPs. The symbol used to identify VIPs in ITRP is a crown.

Person marked as VIP in ITRP
This crown is clearly visible for the service desk analysts after they have selected a VIP in the Service Desk console.

VIP selected in ITRP Service Desk console
Specialists are able to identify the requests that have been submitted for VIPs when they look in their inbox or in the requests views. For those requests, the crown icon is displayed in the Requester column in front of the VIP's name.

VIP in the ITRP Inbox view
This VIP feature makes it easier to pay special attention to the people that are most important to the support organization.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Knowledge Article Link Rate

Pie ChartWhen you go to the 'Reports' section of the Analytics console, you will see that the report 'Knowledge Article Link Rate' has been added.

ITRP report - Knowledge Article Link Rate
This report helps visualize the effectiveness of the Knowledge Management process for your organization's support staff. It tracks the percentage of requests that has been completed by a service desk analyst or specialist using the instructions of a knowledge article. The report also shows the number of requests that were completed and how many of those are linked to a knowledge article.

A click on a point of the line graph takes you into the requests that make up that point. Initially the view 'Completed Requests with Knowledge Article' will be displayed. From there, you can switch to 'Completed Requests without Knowledge Article' or 'Completed Requests'.

Knowledge Article Link Rate Drill Down Views
By reviewing the requests in the 'Completed Requests without Knowledge Article' view, it will be possible to find solutions that can be turned into knowledge articles to help resolve such requests more quickly in the future. Making these knowledge articles public may even allow end users to find solutions without having to submit a request.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Continuing to Grow the Team

WebhooksToday we have the pleasure of announcing the addition of yet another senior team member. Mark van de Griendt has taken the position of VP Business Development within the ITRP Institute. He has a long and successful history working for companies like Sun Microsystems, RES Software, ORSYP and Treasury Intelligence Solutions. Most of his career has been dedicated to accelerating the growth of enterprise software vendors in the northwestern region of Europe.

Mark van de GriendtAt the ITRP Institute, Mark's role is to ensure that he supports large organizations through their evaluation of ITRP as part of their enterprise service management (ESM) tool selection process. He works closely together with Nevlynn Janssen, our VP Marketing, who also recently joined the ITRP Institute.

Mark already made the transition from traditional enterprise software sales a long time ago. He was quick to embrace the new SaaS onboarding model that does not require customers make any long-term commitments. Apart from being a knowledgeable and thoughtful professional, Mark is also known to go the extra mile to help customers prevent unnecessary costs. We are very happy to have him on board.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Open Requests by Organization

Pie ChartAn additional report has been made available in the 'Reports' section of the Analytics console. It is called 'Open Requests by Organization' and shows how many requests still need to be completed for each customer organization.

ITRP report - Open Requests by Organization