What is a Service Desk?

June 9th, 2012 | Posted by admin in White Papers - (Comments Off on What is a Service Desk?)
ITIL Process Dependencies

What is an ITIL Service Desk

An ITIL Service Desk uses a standard set of best practices for lowering costs and improving the quality of IT service delivery. The aim of a Service Desk is to act as the operational interface between the IT organization and its customers, for achieving an organization’s goals.

Whereas a Help Desk consists of a single, or very few processes with no underpinning CMDB or Asset Management facilities, an ITIL Service Desk usually involves a number of processes that are highly integrated and work together seamlessly. This includes service request, incident, problem, change, release, deployment, knowledge and service level management processes. A Help Desk provides simple ticketing at the low end, through complete incident management at the high end, such as LiveTime Help Desk. This provides essential front line features for managing customer issues and providing communication and status updates. Many also provide limited workflows and basic service level agreements.

ITIL Process Dependencies

A Service Desk is End to End

In contrast, an ITIL Service Desk is concerned not only with taking and responding to calls, but managing the entire lifecycle of the request as it evolves through other relevant processes. For instance, a call may originate as a simple incident which may then evolve into a problem which is also related to several other incidents.

This problem may subsequently require a physical change in the environment to resolve, at which point it will trigger a change request and perhaps management approval against a specific workflow. This change request will then need to be assessed and actioned and eventually get rolled into a release which requires testing and deployment.

A Service Desk provides Visibility

At each stage of its evolution any Team member has complete process visibility whereby they can see the underlying request hierarchy. Throughout the entire process information with the knowledge base is scanned, together with the properties and attributes of the Configuration Item (CI). This simple example demonstrates how different business units or groups can be involved in the process and how they can work together very easily, ultimately improving the efficiency of the entire process, rather than using a single isolated Incident Management process.

In addition, a service desk, or service management product will control each process within a service level agreement, which may also include Operation Level Agreements (OLA’s) and/or Underpinning Contracts (UPC’s). A Help Desk will normally provide simple timers and often call these service agreements.

An ITIL Service Desk is for the Business

So while the Help Desk provides basic features to assist an organization in providing customer service and support, the ITIL Service Desk tightly integrates many other processes such as incident, problem, change and release management (in addition to other core processes such as knowledge management) within the workflow. Together, these processes, when married to service contracts and knowledge management ensure customer requests are managed through the entire lifecycle within the business.

A Service Desk is NOT Ticketing

There are many ways of managing tickets, ranging from excel spreadsheets or shared email accounts, through to simplified web consoles. They rarely provide more than a technique for collecting information in an organized manner.

A good Help Desk solution will allow an organization to perform these functions but also provide an evolutionary pathway to best practice service management.

Implementing ITIL Service Management with LiveTime

June 8th, 2012 | Posted by admin in White Papers - (Comments Off on Implementing ITIL Service Management with LiveTime)
fluid livetime icon

Design

Adopting ITIL to design an organization’s support infrastructure is a critical undertaking. It should be managed as a formal business project with clear ownership, defined business goals, responsibilities, deliverables and management commitment.

Before designing the new Service Desk, all existing service workflows should be assessed and potential for improvement identified. It is an opportunity for business analysts to rethink and redesign existing processes and activities, in order to increase productivity, add value, and reduce costs. As the shop front for organizations, the service desk is an opportunity to enhance the customer’s perception of the organization.

Implementing

LiveTime Service Manager is a comprehensive ITIL Service support solution that incorporates 11 ITIL v3 processes, the core of which are Incident, Configuration, Problem and Change management.

LiveTime’s recommended two-stage approach includes:

  • Phase I: Implement Configuration, Service Level and Incident Management
  • Phase II: Progress to Problem and Change Management.

Following is a summary of the steps that organizations are guided through when implementing LiveTime Service Manager as either a phased or all-in-one installation.

People

Adopting ITIL best practices will require a culture change for the organization, in addition to the changes to the service desk process itself. This will require:

  • Educating staff about the benefits of ITIL, and winning champions to the cause
  • Train service desk staff about working with the relevant process
  • Maintain & support process improvements by completing self-audits.

Technology

Setup & Install

  • Hardware, O/S, RDBMS, Application Server, Web Server, LiveTime Service Manager application

Migration of Service Desk data (Optional)

  • Perform data mapping between existing & new system
  • Perform data migration
  • Validate migration

Integration

  • Asset Discovery
  • Authentication (ADS/LDAP/SSO)
  • Mail
  • Web Services

Process: Phase I

[colored_box variation=”blue” title=”Incident Management”]
Incident Management can be fully configured and automated to reflect the preferred workflow of your organization.

  • Review current process
  • Define objectives
  • Create Incident Management workflow
  • Create incident support teams and assign members to relevant escalation layer
  • Plan review of process using employee feedback and relevant reporting metrics.

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[colored_box variation=”green” title=”Service Level Management”]
Service Level Management in LiveTime improves internal and external communication for Service Desk users and assists in the timely management of the support requests. Service Level Agreements (SLA) within LiveTime Service Manager can be underpinned by Operational Level Agreements (OLA) to guarantee the internal capacity meets customer service expectations.

  • Review IT services offered to the organization
  • Establish teams for areas of specialty with relevant escalation layers
  • Create a list of services offered by each team and associate with the service catalog
  • Establish SLAs relative to the business unit requirements and support by appropriate OLAs
  • Define metrics for measuring efficiency and effectiveness of process
  • Implement a review/audit program to ensure service levels meet the organizational needs.

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[colored_box variation=”slategrey” title=”Configuration Management”]
Configuration Management is only effective if the data associated with the core IT operational processes is stored and managed appropriately. To guarantee the validity and accuracy of the CMDB:

  • Assign owner(s) to the Configuration Management process
  • Assign accountability for operational repository – setup, ongoing maintenance and support of the CMDB
  • Synchronize with 3rd party asset management and discovery tools (optional)
  • Create baselines for CIs
  • Plan audit and validation of CMDB data.

[/colored_box]

Process: Phase II

After the initial phase has settled, the following processes are rolled out:

[colored_box variation=”red” title=”Problem Management”]
Problem Management is tightly integrated with Incident and Change Management in LiveTime Service Manager. This allows problems and changes to be manually created from incidents. Further, parameters can be customized in the application to allow for automatic detection and escalation of incidents to problem management.

  • Review current process and set objectives
  • Define workflow
  • Define team and assign staff to relevant escalation layers
  • Define parameters that are to be included in LiveTime, which will allow for auto-detection of problems
  • Define metrics for measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of the process
  • Plan review and audit of process.

[/colored_box]

[colored_box variation=”orange” title=”Change Management”]
Change Management typically includes defining multiple workflows relevant to the types of changes that are handled by the service desk. To implement Change Management using LiveTime Service Manager, an audit of the current processes needs to be completed so all change workflows can be defined within the application.

  • Define Change Management workflows – identify the types of changes to be handled and how priority is assigned to the change request
  • Allocate the roles and responsibilities of the IT support staff within the workflows
  • Define measurements that will be used to track the efficiency of change implementation
  • Monitor/review process by evaluating and reporting on implemented changes.

[/colored_box]

Service Desk Success: An opportunity for differentiation

June 8th, 2012 | Posted by admin in White Papers - (Comments Off on Service Desk Success: An opportunity for differentiation)
Service profit chain model

Summary

In a world of multi-media and globalization, it is a constant struggle for organizations to standout in a saturated marketplace. Be the business financial, educational, private, health or not-for-profit, the need to positively differentiate from competitors is the only way to gain an edge over the ever-present competition.

Promoting a culture of service management, both internally and externally, is the key to being more relevant to customers within any market vertical. This allows an organization to shape its products and service based on the specific requirements of its customers and encourages business confidence by providing more reliable service and support.

Internally, IT service management encourages a clear understanding of actual IT capabilities, and promotes IT service continuity. In most cases, the largest percentage of the IT spend is on the day-to-day support costs and this can be reduced by an effective service management process.

Service management ensures IT resources are aligned with business requirements, and allows the IT department to appropriately identify points of flexibility and adaptability within the services they provide. This ensures service issues and change requirements are handled efficiently and effectively, to keep organizations running at an optimum level.

The Service Desk

fluid livetime iconThe point in service management where people, process and technology blend to deliver a business service is at the Service Desk. The Service Desk provides the essential daily contact between customers, users, IT service and any relevant third-party support organization. The main objective of the service desk is to drive and improve service support to, and on behalf of an organization.

This customer-facing support service is a single point of contact that provides advice, guidance and rapid restoration of normal services to its customers and users. It handles Incidents, Problems and Change requests. More than this, it also manages maintenance contracts, software licenses, and provides Service Level Management, Configuration Management.

The successful implementation of a service desk results in a professional service that builds business confidence and provides greater customer satisfaction. This is a result of the professional service that is positioned to provide a consolidated and fiscally positive business activity that impacts all aspects of service beyond the IT department. The key to service desk success is the employment of professional people, well-defined and repeatable processes and good tools, which in turn makes the product or service being supported, to some degree, immaterial.

Adopting a service management approach results in benefits across all level of any business:

  • Customers – obtain a sustainable, reliable, secure, quality service
  • Line Management – achieve greater control over the change management process
  • Senior Management – can monitor performance and adjust resources appropriately
  • Boards – gain confidence from the adoption of best practices service, which in turn mitigates personal risk
  • Business Partners – provides greater control over inter-business risks.

Customer Loyalty

To differentiate from the competition and make a business more critical to its customers, an organization can use customer feedback accessed through service and support, to shape the company and product/service direction. By responding consistently and appropriately to customer requests, a loyal customer base is established. This enables the business to succeed through the sale of related products and service to existing customers.

New business can also be won through the ongoing referrals from satisfied customers, and the research and development process for new products and services can be enhanced by a greater understanding of the customer base needs and wants.

To be successful at this endeavor, organizations can use technology to enhance the business process, by harnessing IT to deliver improved customer satisfaction. Businesses can employ service management best practices and measure its service results, in an effort to promote an environment of continual improvement, in order to build trust and maintain customer loyalty.

Employee Satisfaction

A service management culture also motivates staff and engenders job satisfaction through a better understanding of capability and improved management of expectations.

An investment in IT service management illustrates that organizations value their people more than just tangible assets, as it uses technology to support, not just monitor employee performance. It allows staff to be hired and trained relative to their capabilities, which is relevant across all areas of an organization, and allows employee rewards to be linked to performance.

Employee satisfaction is also linked to customer satisfaction, which in turn fosters loyalty, profitability and accelerates business growth.

Service profit chain model

ITIL and Service Management

Service management is a generic concept and the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) provides guidelines for organizations to readily improve their IT operations and business processes. Although it makes no sense on its own, ITIL helps businesses to focus on the things that matter, by aligning IT infrastructure with business services.

ITIL guidelines are scaleable, therefore relevant to any sized organization and can be applied to distributed or centralized systems, be they supplied in-house or outsourced. The standards based approach, allows enterprise-specific controls to be developed and implemented, in an effort to promote a culture of continuous improvement. This approach saves money when IT service management is central to an organization but is not the organization’s core business.

In 2007, ITIL v3 was released with the refined objective of the ITIL Service Management practice framework to provide services to business customers that are fit for purpose, stable and that are so reliable, the business views them as a trusted utility. This lifecycle approach to service management covers:

  • Service Strategy
  • Service Design
  • Service Transition
  • Service Operation
  • Continual Service Improvement.

The following information deals specifically with Service Operation.

Improved service

At the point organizations are judged based on the quality of their service operations, businesses need to assess how their IT services meet the customer and business requirements. Where a support service already exists, an organization needs to ask the following questions:

  • Does our support team log and understand the technical nature of customer difficulty at first point of contact?
  • Do they respond relevant to the degree of urgency stipulated by the customer?
  • Does the support team communicate with the customer regarding the follow-up activity? Do they meet the expectations outlined to the customer?
  • Do they complete work with the minimum disruption to the customer, and in a positive and professional manner?
  • Is customer follow-up action taken? For example, ensure the issue is resolved and the customer is happy.

Organizations need to know that all requests are handled in a consistent manner and with good communication as business confidence is gained when customers know that a service operation is managed in this way. Confidence is lost when requests appear to go into a “black hole”. That is, a customer request is dealt with using an unpredictable and inconsistent process.

The inconsistency may be due to the support team having no formal processes or standardized procedures. This means the staff cannot rely on their colleagues for assistance, as no-one really knows what is expected of them. In this situation, the service staff have no real idea how their role affects the organization as a whole.

To successfully differentiate an organization within any market, high quality and predictable IT service is required to drive increased business and revenue. However, this requires the IT Service Operations process to move from an ad-hoc, chaotic process to an ideal of value-add service.

Achieving service quality

To build a highly focused service culture that underpins the success of an organization, strong leadership and vision is required. To develop a business based on service, an organization must:

  1. Understand its current position. Is the service offering: Chaotic? Reactive? Proactive? Service? Or Value?
  2. Set the goal, regarding the level of service management needed to best support the business.
  3. Set the right personal performance metrics and rewards that will encourage staff beyond fire-fighting and reactive support mode
  4. Dedicate time and training to document repeatable processes and become proficient at their execution
  5. Continually review the service, to ensure an active predictable service quality is maintained.

The implementation of formalized processes provides cost-effective and consistent IT services, which allow organizations to handle requests and change in an efficient way with minimal disruption to customers. Such improvements to the quality of service and support, allows IT service to become a true business asset.

For organizations to successfully capitalize on the potential of IT services they must:

  • Develop a culture of IT operations excellence
  • Create well-defined, repeatable processes that undergo continual refinement
  • Build an organizational structure that underpins the processes
  • Measure and report on the success and weaknesses of the processes.

Selecting a Service Desk application

Many service desk tools are available to capture and manage the service support processes for Configuration, Incident, Problem, Change and Service Level Management. With such variety, thought must be given to what works best for the business. The following questions can be asked regarding possible tools of choice. Which tool:

  • offers the degree of control required for your business, so that adjustments can be made easily when maintaining an environment of continual improvement?
  • ensures that the organization can implement best practices when it comes to the service support processes?
  • allows the organization to easily map the desired workflow/s for each of the processes and adjust as required?
  • allows the service manager to effectively monitor the service desk performance against service agreements?
  • integrates tightly between the change management process and configuration management – to the extent that data can be drawn from an asset management discovery tool, and automatically create a change request before being entered into the CMDB?
  • is so easy to use, it requires minimal training to use for customers and users alike?
  • does not require a full time administrator?
  • capitalizes on the organization’s current infrastructure?
  • includes reporting capabilities to monitor performance against service agreements?

Other questions to be considered include:

  • How is the tool configured, through the user interface or the back-end?
  • Is the application fully accessible from anywhere?
  • Can the application’s functionality be extended using other programs or web-services?

Conclusion

The implementation of service support standards provides organizations with the opportunity to differentiate their business and service offerings from their competitors. To be successful, an organization must make an honest assessment of its current position and use this as the basis for planning its future achievements.

To successfully provide predictable, high quality service, businesses must develop formalized processes that are constantly monitored and reviewed. In order to achieve this, the service desk application adopted by the organization must tightly integrate Incident, Problem and Change Management with an easy-to-use workflow engine and the Service Level Management process. To ensure the cost-effectiveness of IT infrastructure, an embedded CMDB must be easily accessible to the change management team.

To guarantee the service desk is running at an optimum level and meeting its service targets, reports should be easy to generate and readily distributed to the relevant parties. And as customer communication is paramount for maintaining satisfaction, this should be provided through multiple channels, including email and a customer portal. A central port of knowledge should also be readily accessible to re-cycle useful information and solutions, but also empower customers to provide their own fixes.

The change process required to implement a culture of service and support, requires support across the organization as a whole. A standards-based approach such as ITIL provides the guidelines for making the change, which result in the alignment of business objectives and customer needs with IT infrastructure that provides benefits across all facets of the organization and ultimately to the bottom-line.

Release Notes 7.0

May 30th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Release Notes - (Comments Off on Release Notes 7.0)

LiveTime 7.0

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.

Licensing

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.

Deprecation Notice

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.

Upgrade procedure

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:

  1. Stop LiveTime
  2. Backup the current database, LiveTime.war and application banners (to reload after upgrade)
  3. Install the new version of LiveTime
    1. If using the installer:
      1. Run the uninstaller to remove the old version
      2. Run the installer and select the upgrade option
    2. If installing manually using the WAR file:
      1. Stop the servlet container and delete the old deployment folder
      2. Install the new WAR file for LiveTime v6.5
  4. Start LiveTime
  5. At Database Configuration page, enter the database details
  6. Click Test to ensure the database connection is correct
  7. Click Advanced
  8. Click Upgrade, followed by the next Upgrade button
  9. Once the migration is complete click Save
  10. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  5. 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.
  6. 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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Version 7.0

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

Configuration Management

  • 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 Management

  • 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

Reports

  • 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

Usability

  • 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

ZENWorks Integration

  • 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:

(CR 1013913)

Ability to switch off geo-location of customers who have no other access to the system

(CR 1013995)

Ability to assign a partner org to customers imported via CSV

(CR 1015474)

Technician emails relating to queued requests should use the system default language instead of defaulting to english

(CR 1015584)

New Timezone added to allow for timezone uniqueness in Mexico City