May 30, 2012
LiveTime 7.0 is the next major release of LiveTime’s Service Management platform. The focus of this release was on reporting and usability. LiveTime 7.0 includes a completely new Dashboard with drag and drop capabilities and the ability to select from over 140 predefined widgets. In addition, this new dashboard can be set as your home page so you have all the information available at your fingertips.
In addition, LiveTime 7.0 has significantly expanded the customer report writer, allowing users to build virtually any report they desire. Users may also schedule these for delivery using the new report scheduling facility.
LiveTime 7.0 also includes hundreds of refinements and significant new features such as Multi-source LDAP/AD, New relationship impact map analysis with active lifecycle states, Line Manager Approvals, Calendaring (with synchronization to Outlook, iCal or Google Calendar) and Knowledge import.
LiveTime has also been able to squeeze out even more performance in version 7.0 with some tasks operating more than 400% faster. We all hope you have as much fun using it as much as we have in developing it.
In order to upgrade to LiveTime v7, a new license key will need to be issued. Customers with an existing support contract can contact our support team to have a new key generated.
Federated Directory Server Support
This feature of LiveTime 7 is only available in the Service Manager Application. Users of LiveTime Helpdesk requiring this functionality will need to upgrade to LiveTime Service Manager.
Users of the old ‘multi-directory’ implementation of this functionality, accessed through a single point of contact between LiveTime in the Directory Server environment will need to re-assess their LiveTime configuration in a test environment before upgrading any production systems as there may be configuration changes necessary which should be tested prior to rolling out into the live environment.
Important notes for web services users using a directory server for authentication
Due to the federated directory server support in LiveTime v7, the authentication method requires the directory server id to be passed in conjunction with the user credentials. This can be retrieved using the ‘getLdapSources’ method on the ‘Authenticate’ web service. See the ‘Extend’ section of the LiveTime web site for further information.
Please note that with the addition of LiveTime’s built-in report writer in version 6.5 we have deprecated the Pentaho Report Writer. This will be removed in a subsequent version. We suggest that any custom reports you have designed are now migrated to LiveTime’s report writer.
LiveTime has removed support for IE 6 as of 6.5 and requires Java 6 for the runtime environment. Future versions will require a minimum of IE 8. All other browser support remains the same.
Web Services Notice
Please note that LiveTime has changed the name of 3 web service calls in this release to remove method overload contention on languages such as PHP. The following methods have been renamed:
Create Incident Methods (for a Customer) have changed as follows:
createIncident -> createIncidentCustomer
createChangeRequest -> createChangeRequestCustomer
createServiceRequest -> createServiceRequestCustomer
All users of web services should begin migrating their legacy applications to the new interfaces (underscore prefix) in preparation of the old interfaces being overhauled in a future release.
Important localization notes
The upgrade to version 7.0 of LiveTime will use the locale of the user running the upgrade for processing various localization routines. It is vitally important that the operating system of the user performing the upgrade match that of the default messages stored within the previous version of LiveTime.
Upgrades to v7 are supported from Versions 5.5.x+. Supported users of earlier versions will need to contact support to arrange an intermediate upgrade (to v6.0) prior to upgrading to v7.0.
For existing users of LiveTime v5.5.x or 6.x.x, a database upgrade will be required. Please follow these steps:
- Stop LiveTime
- Backup the current database, LiveTime.war and application banners (to reload after upgrade)
- Install the new version of LiveTime
- If using the installer:
- Run the uninstaller to remove the old version
- Run the installer and select the upgrade option
- If installing manually using the WAR file:
- Stop the servlet container and delete the old deployment folder
- Install the new WAR file for LiveTime v6.5
- Start LiveTime
- At Database Configuration page, enter the database details
- Click Test to ensure the database connection is correct
- Click Advanced
- Click Upgrade, followed by the next Upgrade button
- Once the migration is complete click Save
- When the upgrade is complete, the login page is displayed.
Oracle RDBMS Users Please Note. When upgrading an Oracle database, a restart of LiveTime is necessary after the database has been migrated and login page displayed.
Important notes for Informix RDBMS Users. If upgrading from LiveTime v5.5.x, you will need to first upgrade to LiveTime v6.0.x, and subsequently upgrade from LiveTime 6.0.x to LiveTime v6.2.x, and then to LiveTime 7.0.
Post Upgrade Activities
After the upgrade the Administrator must:
- Re-upload application banners. Go to Setup > Customize tab.
Due to banners having to be served by the web server rather than the LiveTime Application, these currently aren’t preserved between upgrades.
- Review the Authentication Server configuration and update to reflect any federation changes
The Federated Directory Server Configuration is not compatible with previous Authentication configuration options within LiveTime due to the previous approach of a single entry point being virtually responsible for sub-domains. If multiple domains were being accessed previously, the new configuration requires each of these sub-domains to have their own entry point defined.Every effort has been made to implement something that is approximately compatible to the existing system, but this is unlikely to work in most cases, and it is recommended the Directory Server setup be reconfigured
- Review any customized AMIE mapping files
Due to some changes in the database access facilities in LiveTime, some of the AMIE mapping files will require modification. The default mapping files included will be upgraded to use the new techniques and these should be used as a base to understand any required modifications.
- Verify the new options are defined as per the service desk requirements (v6.2 and earlier).The ‘Terminate Active Session’ option located in Setup > Privileges > System, which will allow users to logout sessions they have in-use elsewhere, rather than having to ask an Administrator to log them out.
The ‘Allow Unknown’ option located in Setup > Privileges > Requests, which if set to ‘No’ will force technicians to assign a real item to requests that are created before allowing them to save changes made to that request.
- Review the email template messages and ensure they have been successfully upgraded (v6.2 and earlier).Localization has been extended to cover email messages and as such, all users will receive correspondence templates in the language assigned to their account. This doesn’t translate the message content itself, so if a single language is desired, all accounts should be set to use that language.
- Update labels for Priority, Urgency and Impact to reflect the needs of the Service Desk (v6.2 and earlier).Navigate to Setup > Localization > Content, select the primary language and ensure the Priority, Impact and Urgency labels are defined as required.
After the upgrade, Supervisor users should:
- Review the configuration of Service Request and Change Teams (v6.2 and earlier).
LiveTime v6.5 has streamlined the way technicians are assigned to workflow states for these processes. Groups of technicians can now be defined, that are common to particular workflow states and allocated as a group to the states that apply to them. It is no longer possible to assign individuals to a workflow state outside of these structures.
A Change Management workflow might have (for example) design, build and re-work phases, all of which are assigned to the same people. These people can now be collected into a development group, and this group assigned to these states. As time passes, staff changes become a matter of changing the group as new developers come and go.
- Review Partner accounts, and Partner Organizations (v6.2 and earlier).
Partner Organizations are a new concept in LiveTime v6.5 allowing partners to be grouped together, working for a partner organization. This allows several partners (working for a common partner org) to access to the same data.
- Review the knowledge base content and reformat any articles by the change to the rich text editor
This rather time consuming task is likely to be necessary for organizations formatting articles using whitespace (carriage returns). The new rich text editor formats content into HTML, but to parse this during the upgrade would potentially introduce more problems that would be harder to locate, and make the upgrade take far longer.
New features and Enhancements
Authentication, User Management and Licensing
- Directory Server Federation (for user authentication)
- Directory Server Field mappings can now refer to a Line Manager for Customers
- Users can now have all correspondence sent to an alias, rather than their primary email address
- Challenge-style password reset functionality (for non-directory server access) has been added
- New licenses are required to access v7
User Portal Interface Enhancements
- The dashboard has been rebuilt and uses dynamic (Web 2.0) components
- Dashboard widgets have been created for request streams which refresh every minute
- The events calendar has been rebuilt and supports integration with calendar applications
- Workflow Maps have been further refined to aid readability and tooltips have been added
- Item Relationship Maps have been rebuilt to allow easier navigation of the item relationships
Customer Portal Interface Enhancements
- The ‘Home’ page of the Customer portal has a new request list to aid readability
- A ‘Related Requests’ box is available to customers when viewing a request
- The welcome message is now templated in the admin (localization) setup
Requests (Service Requests/Incidents/Problems/Change Requests/Deployments)
- Service Request and Change Requests now allow Customer or Line Manager approval states
- Visual Cue added to the left edge of the editor to help identify the process being worked in
- Item Relationship Map for CI shadow management is now accessible from the main editor
- Scheduled Quick Calls can now be targeted at specific customers if necessary
- Quick Calls can now be shared by team, restricting visibility to those requiring access
- Quick Calls can now be triggered to be created directly into an approval state
- New option to assign queued requests to the closing technician has been added
- Searching ‘List’ style custom fields now allows multiple selection of values
- Workflow visual includes Tooltips to aid identification of state transitions
- Incidents can now be converted to Service Requests (and vice-versa)
- Problem Teams now support queueing of problem records
- Problems no longer have customer notification options
- Outages can now be created to affect multiple of CI’s and trigger item status changes
- Outage notifications have been improved to be more inline with request notifications
- FSC dates will be applied to requests allocated to Outage windows
- CI Attachments can now be toggled to have public or private visibility
- ZENWorks Desktop Management is no longer supported by AMIE
- AMIE mapping file included to support Spiceworks v5
- Item Types can now be duplicated
- Knowledge base content can now be imported via CSV
- Forums module now makes use of the Rich Text Editor
- Customer Survey ‘scale’ is now user configurable (using the 1 to X response option)
- Article Filter selection will now be preserved between sessions (like all others)
Service Level Management
- It is now possible to queue support contracts up for customers, organisations and items
- Management of support contracts has been reviewed and refined
- SLA Reports have again been reviewed and refined
- Scheduled reports are now completely customizable and can include many system reports
- Custom reports built using the report writer can also be included in the scheduled report
- Custom scheduled reports are defined ‘by role’ and adhere to process based permissions
- KPI reports now allow a date range of up to 3 months (up from the previous 30 days)
- KPI request distribution chart now treats an hour as the half hour either side of that hour
- Report Builder supports many more entities, and many more fields on existing entities
- Report Builder now allows aliases for selected fields to aid report presentation
- Excel and PDF outputs of lists will retain the user sort in the user interface
Email & SMS Processing
- Partner banners will now be used in partner account email messages
- Request allocation refined when using a single email inbox
- Out of office email markers are now user configurable
- CSV Imports using the LiveTime template will attempt to auto-match the fields using the headers
- Many performance enhancements have been implemented at the data access layer to speed up the UI
- A ‘reset’ button has been added to the ZENWorks configuration to reset the certificate
- The remote control client will now display version information if the client is incompatible
Other Notable Customer Requests addressed in this release:
Many of the new features were inspired by customer requests relating to existing features. In addition to those customer requests addressed by the changes above, the following were also incorporated into this version:
Ability to switch off geo-location of customers who have no other access to the system
Ability to assign a partner org to customers imported via CSV
Technician emails relating to queued requests should use the system default language instead of defaulting to english
New Timezone added to allow for timezone uniqueness in Mexico City