Sunday, February 22, 2015

Linking Multiple Records

AddThere are quite a few places in ITRP where it is possible to relate multiple records of the same type to another record. For example, an approval task may need to be assigned to several approvers, an SLA can cover any number of organizations, and a request can be submitted for more than one configuration item.

To avoid having to relate each record separately, the new multi-select feature allows multiple records to be selected, after which they can all be added at the same time.

No configuration items selected
Clicking on the link causes a search box to pop up, which can be used to look up the records that need to be related. After entering some text in the search box, up to 20 matches are suggested for selection.

Search results - no CIs selected
Just click on the items you want to link and press Done. Or use the down-arrow key to highlight items and select them by pressing the spacebar.

Search results - multiple CIs selected
After you have selected the items you need, press the Enter key to link them. To quickly select a single item, highlight it and press Enter.

Multiple linked records
To remove a link, click on the Remove icon to the left of the related record.

Remove a linked record

Sunday, February 15, 2015

ITRP en EspaƱol

SpanishYes, that's right. Specialists of support organizations that work primarily in Spanish are now able to switch their language preference to Spanish. That will cause all headers, field labels, field options, etc. in the ITRP user interface to appear in Spanish.

Requests header in Spanish
Even though ITRP Self Service was already available in Spanish, end users may notice a few small adjustments there. They were made to ensure compliance with the official Spanish (Castilian) ITIL glossary.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Welcoming Dinco to the ITRP Partner Network

SwitzerlandOver the past weeks we have been working closely with Dinco on its ITRP partner certification.

Dinco logoDinco is a highly experienced ITSM practice located in the north of Switzerland. From there it serves large organizations in the Zurich and Basel areas.

We are very happy to announce that Dinco is now a fully certified member of the ITRP Partner Network.

Monday, February 9, 2015

UI Integrations

Export APIFor those of you who were not aware of this already, it is possible to add hyperlinks (i.e. custom links) to the Actions menu. Account administrators can do this in the 'Custom Links' section of the Settings menu. Support specialists can then access these custom links by clicking on the Actions toolbar button.

Custom link in Actions menuThis feature has just been extended. It is now possible to add parameters to these links. These parameters dynamically add field values from Person and CI records to custom links.

For example, the person.primary_email parameter can be included in an Actions menu link. When a support specialist has a Person record selected and clicks on this link, the value in the Primary email field of this Person record gets inserted in the URL.

Actions menu link configuration
Better still, when a specialist is working on a request, the primary email address of the person who is selected in the Requested by field of the request is included when this custom link is used. This works regardless of whether the request has already been saved or not.

And when a specialist has opened a configuration item, then the primary email address of the first user automatically becomes part of the link.

Parameters are also available for CIs. These can be used, for example, to open a new browser tab in which a system management application shows the current technical details of the selected CI. If this is done from a request, problem or task, the parameter will be replaced with the corresponding field value of the first CI that is related to it.

Just think of the possibilities of integrating ITRP with your organization's discovery tools, chat application, remote takeover software, automated password reset functions, etc.

Monday, February 2, 2015

ITRP Mobile

MobileEnd users are now able to use their smartphones to submit and track their requests.

Tracking requests in ITRP Mobile
Their managers are also able to approve changes. And all users can review the broadcast messages that are targeted at them.

Approvals and broadcasts in ITRP Mobile
The best thing is that no one needs to do anything to get ITRP Mobile. When a user receives an email from ITRP about a request or approval task, the hyperlink in the email will automatically launch ITRP Mobile if the user is working on a mobile device.

This means that there's no app to download and that users are always using the latest version. It also means that IT departments do not need to distribute anything to the smartphones of their organizations.

For the next few weeks, ITRP Mobile will be available as a Beta release. This period will be used to perfect the formatting for the mobile platforms that ITRP Mobile supports. Android, iOS and Windows Phone are the supported operating systems.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

99.996%

AvailabilityLooking back at 2014, we can only conclude that it was another stellar year for the ITRP service.

One vital accomplishment was last year's overall availability of 99.996%. There were 3 short outages with a total outage duration of 20 minutes. This highlights the resilience and self-healing ability of the service's infrastructure.

Also impressive are the 40 new releases that were transferred to production over the past 12 months. These releases added numerous useful features to the service. It is important to note here that not a single one of these releases caused any downtime. The release management process, which depends heavily on our maintenance of the unit tests, as well as the integration tests, clearly performed effectively. The key to this is probably that the unit tests are maintained by other people (i.e. the development team) than the integration tests (which are the responsibility of the product management team).

And then there were the organizations that completed their migration to ITRP. To cope with the demand without compromising the quality of service, we decided to suspend the ability for new customers to sign up online. Organizations that want to start using the service, now need to get access through one of the ITRP partner companies. The ITRP partners are in the best position (geographically and from a language point of view) to support our customers. They give us at the ITRP Institute the ability to focus most of our attention on further extending the capabilities of the service.

Looking ahead, though, we can already see that more needs to be done to maintain the exceptional levels of service and support that ITRP is becoming known for. The number of new customers that have signed up so far in 2015 will require us to add another member to our team soon. Another ITSM superstar will therefore join us in a few months to help us handle the growth.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Time Spent Today

Time spentSeveral organizations require their support specialists to track their time in ITRP. These organizations checked the Track support effort box in the Settings console.

Track support effort setting
This ensures that users are prompted to fill in their time, for example, when they complete a request.

Time spent field
When actual time spent data was analyzed, however, it showed that people have a tendency to underestimate their time by as much as 60%. To give people a good reference when they are filling out their time spent throughout the day, a small indicator has been added to the toolbar.

Time spent today indicatorThis indicator displays the total amount of time that the user has spent on requests, problems and tasks so far today. Every day at midnight (in the user's time zone), this indicator starts counting again from 0:00.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Reducing Administrative Overhead

RequestWherever we can, we try to minimize the amount of administration required from support specialists. We don't just do that to make the support specialists happy, though. It saves organizations real money when their people can work more efficiently.

Request categoriesRecently we found a way to make it a little easier to complete requests of the category 'Complaint', 'Compliment' or 'Other'.

Since these types of requests are not related to a specific service, they do not get considered during the problem management reviews for any of the services (i.e. they will not show up in a problem manager's Requests for Problem Identification view). Instead, such requests are typically reviewed on a periodic basis by the service desk manager with the objective to identify support improvement opportunities.

Completion reason field
That means that the Completion reason field is not needed for these requests to identify potential problems. In turn, that means that there is no reason to ask support specialists to select a completion reason when they complete such requests. So, from now on, the Completion reason field will no longer become visible when a request of the category 'Complaint', 'Compliment' or 'Other' is set to the status 'Completed'.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Add Test Results to Approval Tasks

AttachmentOrganizations that include a user acceptance testing step in their application change management workflow are now able to let their customers attach the test results to their approval tasks. This works for approvers who use Self Service, as well as for those who work in ITRP as a support specialist.

Approval task with attachment
Files can even be added using email. When an approver replies to the email notification from ITRP and attaches the files to this reply, these files get added as attachments to the approval task.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Problem Creation Date

ProblemA small improvement has been made for people who are working with problems. When a problem is opened in View mode, they will notice the Created field.

Created field of a problem
This allows everyone to see when the problem was initially registered, without having to look it up in the audit trail.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Search for FAQs and Standard Requests

SearchThe Search bar has been added to Self Service. End users can use it to search through all the FAQs and standard requests that are available to them.

Search bar in Self Service
What makes this search capability special is that it takes into account the user's language preference. If, for example, your organization supports both English and Spanish, and the user's language preference is set to Spanish, then the user's searches look through the Spanish translations of the FAQs and standard requests.

Each query also goes through the user's requests. This may be of special importance to key contacts, who are now able to search through all the requests from their organization.

Search results in Self Service
For managers, the search results even include the approval tasks that have been assigned to them.

What ends up at the top of the search results depends. Requests are listed at the top if the search was executed from the My Requests tab or the All Requests tab. Similarly, approval tasks show up on top when the search was initiated from the My Approvals tab. In all other cases, the greatest relevance gets attributed to the request templates that make up the FAQs and standard requests.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Drag and Drop Attachments

AttachmentGive this a try: Drag a file to a request and drop it onto the Note field. The file gets uploaded as an attachment. You can also do this with multiple files, as you can see in the video below.



Did you notice how the background color changes once the files are dragged to a position where they can be dropped? And did you see that, after the files were dropped, the darker background color behind the file names moves from left to right to indicate the progress of their upload?

This drag and drop feature is available wherever you can attach files, i.e. also in problems, changes, SLAs, CIs, contracts, etc. End users can also make use of this feature in Self Service.

Many people have asked for this feature, so we know it will be popular. Before you get too excited, however, it is important to point out this drag and drop capability is only available in Internet Explorer 10 (or higher), Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Users who are still on IE8 or IE9 will need to upgrade to a more current browser before they will be able to experience the joys of drag and drop.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Maintaining Relations with the REST API

Export APIThe REST API of the ITRP service has been extended to make it possible for developers to maintain the one-to-many as well as the many-to-many links between records.

Since it has recently become possible to link multiple CIs to a request, we can use that feature to provide some examples.

The following cURL call can be used to add a configuration item to a request:

curl -u "token:x" -X POST "https://api.itrp.com/v1/requests/123456/cis/654321"

And here's how the API can be used to remove that same CI again:

curl -u "token:x" -X DELETE "https://api.itrp.com/v1/requests/123456/cis/654321"

Removing all CIs from the request is even simpler:

curl -u "token:x" -X DELETE "https://api.itrp.com/v1/requests/123456/cis"

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.

Take a look at the Change Log of the ITRP Developer documentation to look at all the possibilities that have been added.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Linking Multiple CIs to a Request

RequestYes, that's right. Now you can link more than one configuration item to a request. If, for example, there are a few PCs that need to be moved or there are some servers that need to be patched, you can link these configuration items to a single request.

When you open a request, you will notice the Add button next to the Configuration items field.

Configuration items field on the Request form
Clicking on this button makes it possible to add another CI.

A request with multiple CIs
Rather than clicking on the Add button, it may be easier to simply drag and drop the necessary CIs from the Service Hierarchy Browser that is available to the right of the request. An additional field will then be added automatically for each additional CI.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Add Fields to CIs and Changes

UI ExtensionOrganizations can save themselves a lot of frustration, time and money when they do not try to register the technical attributes of their configuration items in their CMDB (see Afraid of the CMDB?). It is better to leave this data in the system management tools that automatically discover it. A link from the CI records to the corresponding records in the system management tools is enough to give specialists direct access to the most up-to-date technical information about the CIs.

The information that cannot be discovered automatically, but which is necessary for the support of the organization's ITSM processes, should be registered in the CMDB. This includes information like the support team that is responsible for a CI, the supplier from which the CI was acquired, its warranty expiration date, etc. ITRP already provides the necessary fields for this out of the (completely imaginary) box.

But there may still be some special fields that organizations want to add for certain types of CIs. We have just expanded the UI Extension functionality to make this possible. While we were at it, we also made it possible to add fields to specific types of changes.

To make additional fields available for CIs, start by defining these fields in a UI extension. Select the "Product" option to indicate that the UI extension is intended to be applied to products.

UI extension categories
Next, select the UI extension that you just created in the products that represent the types of CI for which the fields are intended. When a new or existing CI that is linked to one of these products is opened, the fields will be available.

UI extension in CI
To add fields to changes, select the "Change Template" option in the UI extension. After that you can link the UI extension to the change templates that represent the types of changes for which the fields should be available.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Accessing the Change Requirements

PreviewMore and more, organizations are using UI extensions to ask their users to define their requirements by filling out some required fields. That can dramatically improve the efficiency with which standard service requests get processed.

When a standard service request triggers a workflow, the specialists will not work on the original requests, however. They will receive tasks. To make it easy for them to get to the change requirements, they no longer need to first open the change in which the workflow is managed. They can now open the request directly from the task. And because the change requirements are often defined in the custom fields of a UI extension, the UI extension has been added to the preview of requests.

Configuration items field on the Request form
For change managers, we have also made it a little easier. When they open a change, the Relations section is already expanded so they can immediately access the related requests and problems.

Relations section of Change form expanded by default

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Improved UI Extensions Presentation

UI ExtensionAnother improvement of the UI Extension functionality has been released. This one significantly improves the presentation of the fields that organizations have added to their requests.

In the past, the additional fields were presented in the Notes section of the requests.

UI extension in the Notes section
Going forward they are presented in their own section, which is formatted just like the rest of the request.

UI extension in View mode
In Edit mode, the formatting of the UI extension fields is now also consistent with the rest of the Request form.

UI extension in Edit mode
This does not just make the information look better. If that was the only benefit, we would not have spent 2 months of development effort on this enhancement. This actually provides some valuable benefits:
  • The section titles, field labels and field options are displayed in the user's preferred language,
  • Dates are displayed in the date format associated with the user's language preference, and
  • Dates and times are displayed in the user's timezone.

These preferences are now also taken into account in Self Service. The same goes for when a Change Summary PDF file is generated for the approvers of a change that includes a request with a UI extension.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Impressions from the 2014 CAB

CABThis year's customer advisory board meeting was again a great success. The customers attending this 2-day event gathered on a quiet island in Italy. There they explained how their specific business environment caused them to configure ITRP in a specific way.

2014 ITRP CAB location
Providing the context for their requirements opened the door for interesting discussions and idea sharing. Two of ITRP's developers were present to make sure that the needs are understood correctly. They contributed directly in discussions concerning features that could be extended to deliver even more value.

2014 ITRP CAB presentations
The result of this year's CAB meeting is a number of themes, such as workflow automation, collaboration with other providers, and support for non-IT departments like HR and Facility Management. For each of these themes we identified a few features that could deliver significant incremental benefit. This list of new features dictates the focus of our development efforts in 2015.

2014 ITRP CAB wine tasting
2014 ITRP CAB cartingWe also looked further into the future and found some interesting themes for our long-term goals. These require more research and may become really exciting a few years from now.

The customers at this year's CAB were selected to represent a diverse set of organizations. This ensures that we take into account the needs of large global enterprises, external service providers, as well as organizations that use ITRP beyond the IT department. There was a surprising consensus among the participants on the features that they believe will bring the most benefit. So, thanks to the active participation of the CAB members, the direction has been set for our 2015 development efforts.