Friday, February 24, 2017

Webhook Payloads Improvement

WebhooksWhen a webhook is triggered, the payload that it sends out now includes one extra parameter. The name of this new parameter is payload[audit_line_id]. It contains the ID of the audit entry that ITRP generated for the creation or update of the ITRP record that triggered the event.

This ID can be used to look up the fields which value was set or updated. In case of an update, the audit entry can be used to look up the field’s previous value. This makes it easier to add automation that should execute only when, for example, a request was reopened (i.e. when the status was updated from 'Completed' to a different value).

As a further improvement, the payload of webhooks now always include the following parameters whenever the team and/or member fields have a value in the record that triggered the webhook event:

- payload[team][account][name]
- payload[team][account][id]
- payload[member][account][name]
- payload[member][account][id]

This will make is easier to determine whether, for example, a request has been assigned to a team of an ITRP account that has been integrated with an external service provider’s ITSM tool.

For details about the payload parameters of webhooks can be found in the ITRP Developer documentation.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Send Inline Images to ITRP by Email

ImageWhen you send an email to ITRP to open a new request, or when you reply to an email notification that your received from ITRP, the text in the body of your email gets added as a new note. When you included images within the body of your email, ITRP used to attach these images below this new note. Not any more...

Inline image received via email
From now on, ITRP uses the HTML of each mail message to figure out where the images need to be positioned within the new note. Seeing these images in the notes should make it a little more efficient for support specialists to go through the information that end users provide via email.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Inspect Inbound Email

Service DeskThe 'Inbound Email' section has been added to the Settings console. If you are an account administrator, you can use this section to review the email that people send to your organization's ITRP account.

Inbound Email section of the ITRP Settings console
When you select an inbound email, you can see the note that it generated as well as a link to the record to which this note was added.

Successfully processed inbound email
The 'Download Original' link is available so that you can review the exact email as it was received by ITRP. When you believe that there is an issue with the way ITRP's Mail API processed the email, you can provide this original to the ITRP support experts for analysis.

When an email could not be processed successfully, you will see a big red dot in front of the inbound email.

Inbound Email with an error
You can find out what went wrong by opening the inbound email. The failure reason should give you an indication of what went wrong.

Failed inbound email
Having the ability to review all mail the came in should also be helpful when you are troubleshooting an email integration that your organization is adding, for example, to pass events from a system monitoring tool to ITRP.

The Auditor role also provides access to the 'Inbound Email' section of the Settings console.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Useful New Feature for Service Desk Analysts

Service DeskA minor, but helpful, usability feature has been added to the Service Desk console. After selecting a user in the left pane of the Service Desk console, the service desk analyst sees the user's services and configuration items in the right pane. One of these services or configuration items can be selected to start the registration of a new request.

Open Records from Service Desk Console
But if the service desk analyst is not entirely sure whether one of these options is the correct one, it would be nice if the record could be reviewed before selecting it.

This is now possible. By doing a Ctrl+click on the service or configuration item, its record will open in a separate browser tab. This allows the service desk analyst to review its details before selecting it in the Service Desk console.

The same feature also allows a request template to be reviewed before it is selected.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Two More Change Calendar Enhancements

Change CalendarITRP's Change Calendar has been improved again. These enhancements were introduced specifically for organizations that implement hundreds of changes each week. When they open their Change Calendar without any filtering, the sheer number of planned implementations can be a little overwhelming. So, we made sure that the Change Calendar automatically tries to limit this to the most relevant information.

Open the ITRP Change Calendar from task.pngNow, when you open a change and subsequently use the Actions menu to open the Change Calendar, the filter of the Change Calendar is automatically set to the service that is related to the change. This reduces the number of tasks that are displayed in the change calendar, making it easier to spot possible conflicts for the change.

The same filter is applied when you open the Change Calendar from a task. But in addition to setting the filter to the service that is related to the task's change, the task also gets highlighted with a blue background. This makes it easier to find the task in the Change Calendar.

ITRP Change Calendar with highlighted task
Keep in mind, however, that the task will only be visible in the Change Calendar when it is related to a service instance.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

New Email Template Variables

The following two variables have been made available for use in the email templates that ITRP uses to generate notifications concerning requests:

- request_supplier_name
- request_supplier_requestID

It can be helpful to include these variables in the email templates that are used to generate notifications for managed service providers. They may even make it possible for managed service providers to use the structured information in the emails they receive from ITRP as a basis for simple integrations.

For a complete list of the available variables, visit ITRP's Online Help for email templates.

Monday, February 6, 2017

ITRP in Korean (한국어)

KoreanBecause more and more end users and support specialists in South Korea are using ITRP, the service has been translated into Korean. That means that they can all switch their language preference to Korean (한국어). When they do that, all headers, field labels, field options, etc. will be presented in Korean.

Requests header in Korean
This should allow users in South Korea to get comfortable in ITRP a little more quickly.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Introducing Project Management

PersonSupport for the project management process has been added to the ITRP service. Account administrators can activate this functionality by going to the Settings console and registering at least one project category and one project risk level.

A project category could, for example, be defined as follows:

ITRP Project Category
A project risk level looks something like this:

ITRP Project Risk Level
After the project categories and risk levels have been defined, it is time to give someone the Project Manager role.

Assigning the ITRP Project Manager Role
People who have the Project Manager role are able to register and maintain projects. They can do this by going to the Records console and selecting the option 'Projects'. There, they can press the big + button in the toolbar to add a new project. The registration of a new project is captured in the following video. It shows how the Gantt chart is used to add phases, tasks and milestones.



A project template was used in this video to add part of the workflow for the new project. As a project progresses more templates can be applied to add the necessary phases and tasks to ensure that the project adheres to the preferred methodology (such as PRINCE2) of the organization.

Monday, January 23, 2017

ITRP Institute Appoints Laurens Pit as CTO

PersonAs the ITRP Institute continues to grow, so does its organizational structure. Today it is my great pleasure to announce that Laurens Pit has taken on the role of the ITRP Institute's Chief Technology Officer.

Laurens PitLaurens Pit has over 20 years of experience leading the development of enterprise-class service management and analytics applications. He started in 1993 with the development of the product that in 1999 became HP OpenView Service Desk. At Hewlett-Packard, he continued his career as the lead software architect for this product. Later, at Mirror42 and ServiceNow, he concentrated more on the analytics of service management data.

With his uncanny ability to spot technological trends well before they become mainstream, as well as his background in artificial intelligence, Laurens will ensure that the ITRP service continues to make use of the latest technologies for the benefit of the world's largest enterprises.

We are all very excited that Laurens has chosen to take on this role and we are confident that ITRP's customers will benefit greatly from his expertise in the years to come.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

ITRP in Polish

PolishBecause there are more and more ITRP users in Poland, we decided to make the full ITRP interface available in Polish. End users were already able to use ITRP Self Service and ITRP Mobile in Polish, but now Polish support specialist can also set their language preference to 'polski'.

Requests header in Korean

Monday, January 16, 2017

100%

Percentage2016 was another wonderful year for ITRP. A total of 50 releases got transferred to production. These releases included many useful new features, the most popular of which was probably the ability to copy/paste images in notes. The two major additions to the service were advanced Time Tracking and Knowledge Management.

None of these releases caused a service outage, which underscores the quality of the change management process that is in place for ITRP. As always, the availability of the service was measured independently by Pingdom, which determined that the uptime of the service was 100% in 2016. To be fair, though, on December 15 a few users were affected by a DNS issue at one of the three data centers from which the ITRP service is hosted. Fortunately, it took less than 20 minutes for these users to be redirected to the other two data centers.

We also realized close to 100% year-over-year revenue growth. That makes ITRP the fastest-growing enterprise service management solution.

Several more unique capabilities are about to be added to benefit large enterprises and the external service providers that they work with. These new capabilities will ensure that the coming 12 months are going to be very exciting again for ITRP.

We are grateful for the trust that our enterprise customers have placed in us and are looking forward to another year of mutual success.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Switching Off Release Management

SearchThis is a somewhat unusual blog post. Rather than announcing a new feature, this post explains how it is now possible to switch off some existing functionality. Since most organizations have not implemented Release Management, we have made it possible in ITRP to hide this functionality. In fact, it is now hidden by default.

To switch it on, an account administrator only needs give someone the Release Manager role of the account. As long as no one has the Release Manager role, the 'Releases' option of the Records console will not become visible.

Releases option of the ITRP Records console
In addition, change managers will not see the Release field that is part of the Change form.

Release field of the ITRP Change form
As more functionality continues to be added, we felt that this was a small but helpful step to keep ITRP's interface clean and easy to use.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Time Spent Summaries for Specialists

SearchA support specialist may be asked how much time she spent on a specific project during a specific month, week or day. Now she is able to answer that question by going to the Analytics console. There, she can open the 'Timesheets' section. Even though this section was already available for managers and their substitutes, it is new for specialists.

Releases option of the ITRP Records console
After opening the 'Timesheets' sections, a month can be selected to review the specialist's timesheet for that month. The timesheet summary is provided below the calendar view. It presents the specialist's time spent by allocation, service or customer. The scope of the summary can be reduced by selecting a week or a day in the calendar.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Double-Click To Add Time Entry

SearchA small usability feature has been added for people who register all their time in ITRP. A double-click on a date in the calendar overview of a user's timesheet now opens a new time entry.

Timesheet calendar view
This feature was implemented because it turned out that users intuitively want to click on the date for which they need to add a time entry. A single mouse click on a date still causes all time entries for that date to be displayed below the calendar. A double-click on a date has become the same as a click on the big + icon in the upper right corner.

Adding a time entry should feel just a little more natural once people become aware of this.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Give Your Teams an Email Address

SearchIn some organizations people have gotten used to sending email directly to specific teams when they need help with something. There can be good reasons why a team may prefer to allow the users who depend on their services to continue using email, rather than requiring them to submit their requests using ITRP Self Service.

It is now easy to set this up. ITRP administrators can simply specify an email address for each team that wants to give its users the ability to send email directly to them.

Inbound email address for a team
When an email is sent to a team's inbound email address, a new request gets generated and assigned to the team. The sender is automatically linked to the request as the requester, the email's subject is used as the subject for the request, and the body of the email is added to the request as a note. Once the new request has been generated, ITRP sends an email notification to the sender to confirm that his/her request has been received. The sender can subsequently use the hyperlink in this email to keep track of the request's progress.

Organizations that do not want to communicate a new email address to their people can simply forward the existing email address of the team to the team's new ITRP email address. That way, the users will not need to do anything different and the requests will still get generated automatically.

This new feature is an extension of ITRP's Mail API. More information about the Mail API can be found in the ITRP Developer Documentation.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Change Calendar Improvements

Change CalendarA few useful features have been added to the ITRP Change Calendar. These improvements were added to ensure that very large support organizations, which manage hundreds of services, are still able to make effective use of the Change Calendar.

The first enhancement is a scrollbar that allows the user to scroll down when there is not enough room to display all implementation tasks.

ITRP Change Calendar with vertical scrollbar
The second improvement is an additional view option. It is called ‘Changes for My Services’. When this option is selected, the user will see the implementation tasks that are going to affect one or more service instances and are linked to a change that is related to a service for which the user is the owner or the change manager.

Changes for My Services option of the ITRP Change Calendar
The next feature that was added is a Search box above the list of services. Entering part of a service's name filters this list down to the services which name includes the characters in the Search box. Since there are already quite a few ITRP customers that support well over a hundred services, this makes it a lot easier to select or deselect a specific service.

Search box to filter services
The fourth new usability feature allows users to save their view options by simply adding a bookmark in their browser. Using this bookmark will then open the Change Calendar showing the implementation tasks of the changes that the user is interested in. That's because the options that a user selects are now included in the URL.

View options included in the ITRP Change Calendar URL
Keep in mind that when a service is selected, the Change Calendar shows all implementation tasks that will affect a service instance and that are part of a change that is related to the selected service. In addition, the calendar shows any other tasks that could potentially conflict with these tasks.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Knowledge for Multilingual Service Desks

SearchThe knowledge management functionality in ITRP includes an advanced feature for service desks that provide support in multiple languages. This feature makes use of the ability to translate knowledge articles. Any specialist or service desk analyst who has the language skills can translate the knowledge articles of the support organization to ensure that they are available in the supported languages.

Knowledge article with multiple translations
Once a knowledge article has been translated, the right translation is automatically proposed in ITRP Self Service to ensure that end users see the knowledge in their preferred language.

That is not what's so special, however. The feature that is really special was added for the analysts of a multilingual service desk. This unique feature is best explained by an example:

End user with French language preferenceLet's say that the default language of a support organization is U.S. English and that the language preference of one of its end users is French. If this end user calls the service desk because she wants to know how she can book a conference room, the service desk analyst can search for this knowledge in the language of the end user, or in his own preferred language. Either way, the knowledge article will be found.

Knowledge articles suggested in language of user
By default, the results will be displayed in the language of the end user whenever the translations are available. That is, after all, the language in which the service desk analyst will need to provide the instructions.

If, for some reason, the instructions need to be provided in the default language of the support organization, the service desk analyst can click on the circular language indicator to switch to this language.

Knowledge article in language of account
In this particular example, the knowledge article is available also in Spanish. Had the language preference of the service desk analyst been set to Spanish, then the service desk analyst would have been able to toggle from French to Spanish to English (and back to French again) by continuing to click on the language indicator.

Knowledge article in language of service desk analyst
When the service desk analyst leaves the language set to the preferred option of the end user and selects the knowledge article to open a new request, the instructions of this knowledge article are added to the new request in the preferred language of the end user. That means that as soon as the request is saved, these instructions get sent via email to the requester in the correct language.

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.