Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Timesheet Review and Locking

Time EntryLast week the new Time Tracking feature 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.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Decide which Departments Track Time

Timesheet SettingsIn the past, it was possible to switch on time tracking in the 'Account Settings' section of the Settings console. When this option was enabled, all specialists would be asked to register the time they spent on requests, problems and tasks.

From now on, however, it is possible to be more specific. Assuming that you have the Account Administrator or the Directory Administrator role, you can go to the new 'Timesheet Settings' section of the Settings console. In this section, you can open a new Timesheet Settings record. In a Timesheet Settings record you can define what needs to be tracked. These settings are applied to the Organization records of the departments that you link to the Timesheet Settings record. These settings affect all support specialists who work for these departments.

Track time spent for specific organizations
The option to track the cost of the time that people spent has also been moved to the Timesheet Settings. So now it is also possible to switch this feature on for some departments, while leaving it switched off for others.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Access Restricted to Time Entries

Time EntryOrganizations that track time spent see the ’Time Entries’ section at the bottom of their requests, problems, releases, changes and tasks. Access to the time entries that are linked to these records has been restricted some more to protect the privacy of the people who register their time spent.

Time entries
From now on, specialists can no longer see the time entries of their colleagues; they can only see their own entries. The manager and substitute manager of an organization are allowed, however, to see all time entries of people whose Person record was linked to their organization at the time that the time entry was registered. The administrators of an account can see all time entries that people registered while their Person record was linked to an organization of the account.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Views from Directory Account Merged

RecordsThe specialists who work in a support domain account were able to look up all organizations, people and sites that are maintained in the directory account in separate views. For example, to look up an organization in the records console, the specialist would first need to know whether the organization is maintained in the support domain account or in the directory account. Then the specialist would select either the 'All Organizations' view or the 'All Organizations of Directory Account' view.

These 2 views have now been merged into a single 'All Organizations' view that contains all Organization records of the support domain account and the directory account. Similarly, all people that could be found in the 'All People of Directory Account' view are now included in the 'All People' view.

Service instance suggestions
And finally, all sites of the support domain account and its directory account can be found in the 'Sites' view.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Improved Suggestions

SearchThere are several places in ITRP where it is possible to link a record to multiple other records of the same type. Multiple configuration items, for example, can be linked to a request. Similarly, an SLA can be related to multiple organizations, people, sites or service instances to define its coverage.

To find the right records to link, a search box used to pop up that allowed the user to enter a few characters. This would return a list of up to 20 suggestions that matched the entered characters.

This has been improved a little. Now, when there are 40 of fewer options, these options are immediately suggested. In such cases, the search box does not get displayed, because all the options are already listed. It saves the user from having to type in anything.

Site suggestions
While we were working on this usability feature, we also improved the suggestions for Site records by including the avatars of the sites, as well as their city and country. This can be useful when there are multiple sites with similar names.

The suggestions for service instances have also been improved. They now include the service avatar and the name of the service provider organization.

Service instance suggestions

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Custom Support Link

LinkDid you know that it is possible to customize the support link that your ITRP users see after they have submitted their email address to reset their password, or after they tried to go to a non-existing page within your organization's ITRP account? If you administer your organization's ITRP account, you can.

To do this, go to the Settings console and open the 'Custom Links' section. There, you can enter the link to your service desk's web page in the Support URL field.

Support URL with web address
You can also enter the email address of your service desk team. Just be sure to prefix the address with mailto:

Support URL with email address
You can even use the prefix tel: to enter the service desk's telephone number.

Support URL with telephone number
The result looks like this:

Page Does Not exist
Providing a link that connects your users with their support organization will not just make a more professional impression, it can also save them some time when they are stuck.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Improved Request Assignment

TeamA small but very useful improvement has been made to the rules that automatically select a team after a service instance (SI) is linked to a request. In the past, these rules already ensured that the first line team of the SI is selected when an end user submits a new request, or when a service desk analyst selects an SI from an external service provider (i.e. a service instance from a different ITRP account).

These rules have become a little smarter. Now they also get triggered when a service desk analyst or specialist selects an SI from his/her own support organization, provided that he/she is not a member of this SI's first line team. In such cases, the first line team is selected in the Team field. Previously, the support team would get selected instead.

First line team selected automaticallyThe advantage is probably best explained using an example. Let's say that a developer is registering an incident concerning a virtual server. As soon as the affected virtual server SI is selected in the Service instance field, the Team field is automatically set. In the past, it would be set to the support team of the SI, which is the 'Server Support' team. From now on, the rules start by looking up the first line team of the SI, which in this example is the 'Operations' team. If the developer is not a member of this team, the Team field of the request is set to 'Operations'.

This avoids requests from getting passed to the support team when they can be handled more cost-effectively by the first line time.