Monday, June 15, 2015

Collision Detection

InboxSince 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.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Reopening Requests

ReopenEnd users are able to reopen their completed request in ITRP Self Service and ITRP Mobile, provided that they were completed within the past 28 days.

Apparently, not all end users noticed the reopen option. To improve this, the Reopen button is now placed directly next to the Add Note button.

Reopening a request in Self Service
The button has also been given a red label to draw the user's attention to it and to indicate that it should only be used in special circumstances (e.g. in case the solution did not resolve the incident).

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Microsoft Integrates Azure with ITRP

AzureMicrosoft has integrated Windows Azure Active Directory with ITRP. This makes it easy to for organizations that use Azure to enable single sign-on (SSO) for their ITRP users.

Visit the Microsoft Azure Technical Documentation LibraryThe Azure AD Integration with ITRP tutorial from Microsoft explains how this integration can be activated in just a few simple steps.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Your Approval Is No Longer Needed

ApprovalFor a while now, it has been possible to assign an approval task to multiple approvers. When the minimum number of approvals have been given, or when one of the approvers rejects the task, the remaining approvers are no longer able to approve or reject it.

This caused some confusion with some approvers. To explain why their approval is no longer needed, a short message now gets displayed at the top of the task.

Related change, requests and problems
Depending on the situation, one of the following two messages will be displayed:
  • Your approval is no longer needed as the required number of approvals has already been obtained.
  • Your approval is no longer needed as this task has already been rejected by someone else.

Note also that the names of the people whose approval is no longer needed, are written in strikethrough characters. These small adjustments should make things a little more intuitive for approvers.

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.