Thursday, May 26, 2016

SMTX Strengthens the ITRP Partner Network

NetherlandsThis week it is our pleasure to announce that SMTX has joined the ITRP Partner Network. SMTX offers a number of advanced service catalog and request fulfillment products for large organizations with service management needs that cannot easily be met by traditional enterprise-class ITSM tools.

SMTX logoNow that ITRP has repeatedly demonstrated that it can meet most of these requirements without customization, SMTX has decided to add ITRP to its solutions portfolio. With ITRP, their customers can benefit from a single corporate self service portal that their employees can use to securely obtain support from IT, HR, Purchasing, Legal, etc. The employees can be served in multiple languages and their requests can trigger complex workflows that allow multiple internal and external support providers to work together seamlessly.

The extensive experience that SMTX's consultants have gained over the years implementing for organizations that demand more from their service management solutions makes them a perfect fit for the ITRP partner community. From its offices in the Netherlands and Belgium, SMTX serves enterprises and government agencies in the Benelux and Germany.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Allow Overtime

Timesheet SettingsThe new Time Tracking functionality allows organizations to specify the number of work hours in a day and in a week. This makes it possible for ITRP to automatically fill out the day's remaining time when someone is registering a new time entry.

Time Spent Today toolbar buttonIt also allows the value in the Time Spent Today button to be presented as a percentage of a normal workday.

Apart from the duration of a workday and workweek, organization can also indicate in their timesheet settings whether their employees are allowed to register more time than there are work hours in a day or week. In the past this could be done by checking the 'Allow overtime' box. From now on, organizations can be more specific, because this checkbox has been replaced by two separate boxes: 'Allow workday overtime' and 'Allow workweek overtime'.

Timesheet Settings - Allocation Time Tracking
This makes it possible for organizations to, for example, limit the time that their employees can register to 8 hours per day, but to still allow these people to add up to 8 hours for a Sunday maintenance window after they already registered 40 hours for Monday through Friday.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Managing 1000s of Relations

PerformanceMany of the organizations that use ITRP have enormous infrastructures to manage. The numbers they deal with on a daily basis can be dazzling. In such environments it is critical that the service management application remains responsive despite the amount of data that is maintained in it.

To make it practical to manage records that may have thousands of relations with other records, a performance enhancement was recently implemented. This enhancement ensures that when such records are opened, only the first few of their relations get downloaded for display in the form.

Service instance with many configuration items
The service instance in the above example is made up of over 2,000 configuration items. After opening this service instance, the user can browse through the related configuration items using the Next (>) button. To quickly jump to a specific CI, its label and/or name can be entered in the search box.

This new feature, which allows users to page through a record's relations, is available in several places within the application (e.g. for the covered people of an SLA and the requests that are linked to a change). To ensure that this features does not become an unnecessary distraction, however, it only shows up when there are many related records.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Correcting Time Entries

Time entryLast month the Time Tracking functionality was delivered. One of the nice features that user could immediately benefit from was the ability to edit their time entries when they accidentally entered an incorrect amount of time in a request, problem or task.

Time Spent Today toolbar buttonTo edit a time entry, a user clicks on the Time Spent Today button, selects the time entry that needs to be edited, adjusts it as needed and saves the update. A user can also delete his/her time entries and create new ones to replace them.

Time entry in Edit mode
The manager of an organization, as well as his/her substitute, can adjust the registered time for all people of their organization. They are able to add, update and delete the time entries for these employees. Administrators can do this for all people of all organizations that are registered in their account. They can do this by clicking on the Time Spent Today button, switching to the 'List' view, and selecting the person for whom the registered time needs to be adjusted.

List view with selected person displayed
As soon as a date has been locked, however, it is no longer possible to make any changes. Even administrators are not able to do this for locked dates. Dates are typically locked just before the invoices are generated or before internal chargebacks are performed.

When it turns out that someone made a mistake and the dates with the incorrect time entries have already been locked, then there is still a way to make the necessary corrections. Let's say for example that last month a specialist worked full time on a project for 3 weeks, but he accidentally used the wrong time allocation to register his time. In such cases, an administrator can look up one of the locked time entries and select the option 'Make Correction'.

Locked time entry
After pressing this option, a special time entry is opened. By default, it is set to the same values as the incorrect time entry, except that the time spent value is negative and the date is set to the current date. It is possible to select a different date as long as it is not locked. The time spent value can also be adjusted. In our example a correction for 3 weeks worth of effort is required for the 'TOP' project.

Time entry correction of -120 hours
By registering this correction, the customer for this project will receive a credit for last month's incorrectly invoiced 120 hours at the end of the current billing cycle. But now one more correction needs to be made. The customer for which the specialist performed the work still needs to be invoiced. To ensure that this gets done, another correction can be opened from one of the incorrect time entries of last month. This time, however, a positive time spent value of 120 hours will need to be entered and the correct time allocation must be selected.

Time entry correction of +120 hours
The corrections are easy to distinguish from the regular time entries because they are presented in red. They are excluded from the calculations that determine the maximum amount of time spent that can be entered.

List of time entries with 2 corrections
Having the Correction feature available provides organizations the flexibility to handle the inevitable time entry mistakes that will be made every now and then.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

ITSM University Joins the ITRP Partner Network

United States of AmericaThe service management experts of ITSM University are some the most experienced in the U.S.A. As part of their industry research, they have closely tracked the progress of ITRP for more than 4 years already. A few months ago they decided that the time has come to consider ITRP a field-proven, enterprise-class, ITSM solution.

ITSM University logoThe unique out-of-the-box benefits that ITRP provides to large enterprises (such as secure collaboration with other organizations, tracking of SLAs from external service providers, and the fastest application response times globally) has prompted ITSM University to partner with the ITRP Institute. The goal of our partnership is to deliver ITSM excellence for large organizations here in the United States.

We are proud to welcome ITSM University as an official member of the ITRP Partner Network.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Timesheet Review and Locking

Time EntryLast week the new Time Tracking functionality was announced and the basic features that allow employees to register their time were reviewed. What was not yet explained is how managers and their substitutes can review the time that the employees have spent.

In the Analytics console, the 'Timesheets' section has been added for this purpose. When managers and substitutes access this section, they can review the timesheets of the employees of their organization. They can change the selected month and year to see the timesheets for a different month. If the user is the manager or substitute of more than one organization, then one of these organizations can be selected so that its employee's timesheets can be reviewed.

Time Allocation
The option 'Click the lock to prevent further changes' allows the manager or substitute to lock all timesheets of the selected month for all employees of the organization. Before using this option, however, it is best to review the individual timesheets.

By clicking on a person, this person's timesheet for the selected month is displayed.

Time Allocation
The option 'Click the lock to prevent further changes by this person for this month' can be used to lock the employee's timesheet for the entire month.

Clicking on a specific date makes it possible to review each time entry of the person for that day.

Time Allocation
It is also possible to review a whole week by clicking on the weekly total in the rightmost column of the timesheet. When a whole week is selected, all of the employee's time entries are listed by weekday below the timesheet.

Time Allocation
The option 'Click the lock to prevent further changes by this person for this week' is available to lock the whole week for the selected person. This is useful for managers who review the timesheets on a weekly basis.

Time Allocation
After locking a week or month for a person, or after locking a month for all employees of the organization, it is no longer possible to make any changes for the locked dates. This makes it possible to close out a period before the invoices (or internal chargebacks) are prepared.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Impressions from ITRP Connect 2016

TrustYesterday's ITRP Connect event was simply wonderful. It was great to see so many familiar faces from so many countries.

Presentation Jean-Marie Van Cutsem, Deloitte
Some of the largest ITRP customers and partners shared their experiences. The topics on Time Tracking, HR and the new EU Data Protection Regulation received a lot of interest.

Presentation Klaus Konwalin, techwork
The two breakout sessions were popular with the technical enthusiasts. They provided much inspiration and an opportunity to ask detailed questions.

Presentation Steven Lots, InfraVision
As the day progressed, people who had never met before started telling each other their ITRP journey. They will bring back many ideas that their organizations will benefit from.

Presentation Andreas Lengauer, techwork
The way everyone got involved made this event special. Thank you all for a fabulous day. Your support is what has made ITRP so successful.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Assignment Count

APIThe assignment_count field has been made available in the Requests API. This field keeps track of the number of times a request was assigned to a new team. What makes this field so special is that its value is different depending on the ITRP account from which a request’s data is retrieved.

An example will help to illustrate this. Let's say that a request was submitted by an end user and that it was initially routed to the service desk of account ‘A’. Subsequently, the service desk passed this request on to a support team of account ‘B’. This team reviewed the request and reassigned it to another team of account ‘B’.

Now, when account ‘A’ uses the Requests API to look up the assignment count for the request, the response will be 1. But if account ‘B’ does the same thing, the response will be 2. Accounts ‘A’ and ‘B’ can only see how many times a request was assigned to one of their teams; they cannot see how many times a request was assigned to a team of another account.

There are some interesting things that can be done with the assignment_count field. For example, in case of an internal service desk it is now possible to look up the assignment count for all completed requests which team equals the account’s service desk team. A value of 1 would indicate a first line resolution.

curl -k -u "api-token:x" -H "X-ITRP-Account: weu-it" -X GET ",subject&team_id=22&assignment_count=1"

If first line support is outsourced and an end user submits a request, this request gets assigned to the external service desk team. This is a team that belongs to another account. If this service desk team resolves the request, and the account that outsourced its service desk function looks up the assignment count, the value that will be returned is 0. That’s because the request was never assigned to a team of their account.

curl -k -u "api-token:x" -H "X-ITRP-Account: wna-it" -X GET ",subject,team&assignment_count=0"

And some organizations may want to look up the assignment count for all of their open requests. An assignment count of 4 or greater might mean that something is going wrong with a request.

curl -k -u "api-token:x" -H "X-ITRP-Account: wdc" -X GET ",subject,assignment_count&assignment_count=>=4&sort=-assignment_count&per_page=10"

Note that in the above examples, api-token represents your ITRP API token. You can find your API token in the 'Personal Information' section of the Settings console.

Give it a try. You can probably think of some more ways to make use of this new API feature.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Introducing Time Allocations

Time AllocationMany organizations already ask their support specialists to specify how much time they spend working on assignments (i.e. requests, problems and tasks). But some organizations have indicated that they would like to be able to capture the rest of the workday as well. They want to know what else people are spending their time on.

That is why it is now possible to register time allocations in ITRP. Time allocations are essentially categories that employees can select when they register their time.

Time Allocation
Account administrators can register time allocations in the 'Time Allocations' section of the Settings console. When an organization would like its people to be able to select some of these time allocations, the administrator can enable this feature in the Timesheet Settings record to which the organization is linked.

Timesheet Settings
Once the 'Allocation time tracking' option has been enabled for an organization, the manager and his/her substitute are able to relate the time allocations that are relevant for their people to this organization.

Time Spent Today toolbar buttonAs soon as one or more time allocations have been linked to an organization, the people of this organization are able to register time entries for them. A support specialist can do this in the full UI by clicking on the toolbar button that displays the time that he/she has already spent today.

My Timesheet in ITRP MobileIn ITRP Self Service and ITRP Mobile, users can register time entries by selecting the 'My Timesheet' option.

The user's timesheet pops up when this option is selected. It offers a large 'plus' icon in the upper right corner.

Pressing the 'plus' icon starts the registration of a new time entry. The user is asked to select a time allocation.

Select Time Allocation
If the time allocation requires the user to select a service and/or customer organization, then the user will be prompted for these. The new time entry is then displayed.

Time Entry
The time spent is automatically set to the remaining time for the selected day. If this needs to be adjusted, the user can press the time. A simple interface, which takes into account the organization's timesheet settings, subsequently allows the user to adjust the time spent value as needed.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

ITRP Connect 2016 - Sold Out

TrustNext week's ITRP Connect 2016 has sold out. We are thrilled that the response has been so much greater than we expected.

ITRP Connect 2016
Hopefully everyone who wanted to attend managed to get a ticket. We are really looking forward to seeing you in Rotterdam on the 21st.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Another CTI Improvement

Service DeskITRP's computer telephony integration (CTI) feature has been refined a little more for organizations that use an automatic call distributor (ACD) to collect, for example, a customer number from the caller before passing the call to the next available agent.

When this customer number is specified in the Support ID field of the contact person of the customer organization, then this person is automatically selected in the User field of the Service Desk console as soon as the agent accepts the call. When multiple people of the same customer organization are allowed to contact the service desk, then these people are listed as options for the service desk analyst to choose from.

But what if many people of each customer organization are allowed to contact the service desk? In that case it would be nice if the service desk analyst is able to filter the options by both the customer number and part of the caller's first or last name.

Inbound call with Support ID
This is now made easy by automatically entering the customer number in the User field of the service desk console. The customer number is followed by a space and the cursor is placed at the end of it so that the agent can immediately start typing the first part of the caller's name.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

ITRP Connect 2016

TrustThe agenda for ITRP Connect 2016 has been finalized. A wide range of topics will be covered by speakers from enterprises that make advanced use of the ITRP service.

They will explain how they use ITRP to support their HR function, track the time of their specialists, and manage their external service providers. The session that demonstrates how ITRP can be configured to comply with the EU's new privacy legislation is likely to draw a lot of attention. That's because the final text of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was only recently approved and companies are looking for a practical and cost-effective way to meet the European Union's stringent requirements.

ITRP Connect 2016
Many of you have already registered, which is fabulous. Those of you who have not yet signed up can still do so at the ITRP Connect 2016 website. We look forward to welcoming you aboard the ss Rotterdam on April 21st.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Look Up Requests by Customer Organization

OrganizationWhen looking at the requests in the Inbox views or the Records console, the requester's organization is visible in the Requester column. The organization name used be looked up dynamically. The result was that, if the requester moved to a different department, the name of the new department would be displayed for the requester's old requests. To ensure that the name of the customer organization of a request does not change over time, the organization to which the requester belonged at the time the request was submitted is now stored in the Request record.

Customer organizations in the request views
The Organization field is now also included in the request exports and it can be retrieved using the Requests API. To top it all off, the dimensions organization and business_unit were added to the Analytics Explorer, which can be accessed by account administrators in the Analytics console.

Having the organization name available as part of the request data makes it easier to generate reports that show requests by customer.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Recent Selections

SearchA usability feature has been added to fields that allow a single record to be selected by entering a few characters that match the record’s name. These fields now immediately suggest up to 10 of your most recent selections. If the record that you are looking for is not included, then you can still enter a few characters of the record's name to find it.

Recent selections service instances
When there are fewer than 40 other options to choose from, these other options will be listed as well.

Recent selections suppliers
The idea behind this feature is that users, in their daily work, often select from a limited subset of the available records. Because ITRP now proactively suggests these records, users will often be able to select a record without having to look it up.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Email Templates Disabled by Default

Email templateEmail templates are available in ITRP to define the information that the automatically generated email notifications need to contain. To avoid thousands of email notifications from getting sent out accidentally, these templates do not get triggered by imports.

Email Templates Disabled by DefaultAs a further precaution, the email templates are now disabled by default when a new ITRP account is created for an organization. That means that no emails get generated until an administrator has completed the setup of the account and has enabled them just before go-live.

The only exception are the two email templates that help users set or reset their ITRP password. Those are needed to regain access when the account owner has forgotten this password.