Lift the CMDB to a completely new level

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The CMDB (Configuration Management Data Base) in ITRP can not only be used for ITIL’s definition of a CMDB but also to provide configuration parameters for automator packages. That way you can specify the specifics of your automations in ITRP.

Business case

Especially service forms add major capabilities to ITRP’s Self Service. Recently I released the Service forms blog post. There the automator provides a simple wizard and saves the customer entries in the request module and provides a couple of other automations like adding the person if the person can not be found in the people module and so on.

service-forms-automate-io.png

Advantages of that approach

There are several advantages for ITRP administrators:

  • Configure the behaviour of Service forms within ITRP
  • No coding necessary
  • Maximize the business value with one automator package

Real world examples

  • Structured surveys
  • ITRP wizard – step by step easy to use Request Fulfilment front end for customers
  • CI based Self Service form

Conclusion

Automator service forms can be configured for different purposes by using the ITRP CMDB. That way business benefits can be maximized in an easy way.

k.konwalin@techwork.at

ITRP Workflow transfer Test 2 Production

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Business case

Workflows can become complex when considering different stakeholders. Customers usually want to have intuitive Self Service forms. IT teams aim to streamline their activities. Manual and time consuming tasks are low hanging fruits to gain efficiency to free up time for the customer or other more important things.

When it comes to ITRP workflows the transfer from the “itrp.qa” environment to the production environment (“itrp.com”) is manual. Most people know that finding tiny mistakes during a manual transfer can be time consuming and annoying.

tw-Test2Production

What does one ITRP based workflow usually contain?

In a more advanced form it contains the following components:

  • a Request template
  • linked to a Change template
  • linked to task templates
  • Request-, Change- and Task templates linked to UI extensions

How people approach ITRP workflow configuration:

Everything is developed / configured in the Test environment (“qa”). Components like UI extensions are getting tested during development and at the end of the cycle a couple of test cases are entered to ensure that the whole process works.

Everything is tested and works fine.

Now, the “manual” transfer starts…

and a couple of annoying and sometimes time consuming difficulties. Services, Service Instances deviate between test and production. Teams are not defined. SLA’s need to be created, modified, and the list goes on.

How does the automator help?

The automator’s latest feature lets you transfer selected workflows from production to test and from test to production. That way the environments don’t deviate that much over time. In ITRP language the automator transfers selected Request templates, Change templates and dependencies like Task templates, UI extensions etc.

Intelligence of the automator:
Before a workflow can be transferred the automator analyses the source and target environment. Whenever costs are involved (i. e. ITRP users with a role), contracts (i. e. SLA’s), or IT people could be confused (e. g. teams that do not exist in the production environment) the automator simply creates a manual “to do list” before the automated transfer can be performed. As all required dependencies are transferred additional testing in the target environment is not really necessary, it’s just to gain more confidence.

Test2Production.png

Goal reached

ITRP developers/configurators save time and can therefore spend more time with customers or refining other workflows.

List of most wanted ITRP integrations @ https://www.itrp.com/integrations

All the best

k.konwalin@techwork.at

 

 

 

Surveys in ITRP | Option 2 Survey Monkey

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In the context of surveys we provide 3 different options:

Survey application Anonymous results? Approach
automator Service Form No Survey result is saved in the custom data field of the linked request. Read more.
SurveyMonkey Yes The automator collects at a configured time the results and stores the aggregated results in a specific ITRP record.
Google forms Yes Similar to SurveyMonkey.

The process

survey-monkey-workflow1

Design:  is done in SurveyMonkey. Surveys are already beautifully designed and you can use a wide range of components.

Connect:  SurveyMonkey and the automator need to be connected. Whenever the automator triggers a survey the link to the SurveyMonkey form is sent out to the customer/end-user.

Get responses: People provide feedback. Details are stored in Survey Monkey. You can start using SurveyMonkey analytics.

Collect: The automator collects already aggregated results periodically based on your insight needs.

Gain insights:  The techwork ITRP_reporting solution automatically provides normalized ready to use SQL fields and tables including the collected feedback/survey data. You can instantly use the data in PowerBI, Excel or other Reporting and Business Intelligence solutions.

k.konwalin@techwork.at

5 ITRP add-ons you can’t miss

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Driven by practicability

The automator is one very important component of our add-on portfolio. Many, many things can be done with the automator. Adding additional capabilities to ITRP, automation of advanced workflows, integration of a wide range of applications are just some features of the automator.

However, we always use the most practical technology to develop add-ons. For our Active Directory integrations for example we use PowerShell. For our, in the meanwhile, quite unique ITRP_Reporting solution we developed extensive PowerShell and SQL scripts so that you can use the “normalized” database instantly for your PowerBI and Excel reports.

Over the years we refined our add-ons and customers appreciate especially the quality and reliability of our solutions.

The must have ITRP add-ons offer a set of unique solutions.

  • Active Directory integration – not just a bunch of PowerShell Scripts but carefully integrated features to reduce administration and maintenance to a minimum
  • Automator – not just a development server that stays in a datacenter with the hope for reliability
  • Webshop – Requesting items can’t get easier for End-Users
  • ITRP_Reporting – use the “normalized” database in PowerBI and update data several times a day
  • ITRP Test 2 Production (ITRP_T2P) – In development, but released soon. This is what you need if you are tired reconfiguring the same workflows that you already configured in the Sandbox environment.

Must_have_ITRP_add_ons.png

Interested? Register for a free “bundle demo”. BTW the registration is of course a service the automator provides. Data gets stored in ITRP…

k.konwalin@techwork.at

automator integrates JIRA and adds value for development teams

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Business case

Software development teams often use JIRA to make their Software development activities efficient and effective. End Users on the other hand log requests in Self Service of their Service management tool. This is the correct place because the ITSM application is the tool where requests are being evaluated. After an end-user request for a software change has been logged different stakeholders usually evaluate from different perspectives wether the requested change is being developed or not.

ITRP-Jira process.png

The automator simply synchronises what you need between ITRP and JIRA

The automator package that handles the bidirectional synchronisation between ITRP and JIRA, allows to transfer exactly what is needed and useful. For instance the first note in ITRP ends as the Description in JIRA. Other note entries in ITRP end up as comments in JIRA. In ITRP there is a direct link to the JIRA ticket. The JIRA ticket provides a link to the ITRP request (or change). This adds value for the development team because the development team had probably no access to the end user request in the past.

Choices can be made like wether an update of the title in  JIRA updates the corresponding record(s) in ITRP or not, and so on…

itrp-jira-integration

Reducing manual tasks

The automator again reduces tasks that have been performed manually in the past. The integration between ITRP and JIRA reduces a couple of coordination and duplication activities.

k.konwalin@techwork.at

 

 

 

Advanced workflows – link changes together

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Business case

Workflows for new employees are often time consuming processes. To make it more efficient many organizations trigger a staff inflow change so that every stakeholder is on the same page. Sub changes are executed to get new hardware. This requires the capability to link changes together. In ITRP the automator adds this capability.

Advanced workflows staff inflow.png

ITRP specifics

A staff inflow change is created. That specific change fires sub changes whenever necessary.

Staff_inflow___Widget_Data_Center.png

 

The subchanges  run independently and report back to the main change when completed. For instance the “New computer” purchasing request runs its own workflow. When completed it tells the main change that the computer arrived and fires the computer installation task. The computer installation task also reports back to the change. The “Computer installed” checkbox is automatically ticked whenever the task is completed.

That way the “main change request” provides a useful summary what has been done.

A word from an actual customer

This automated workflow has the potential to save up to 30 % of time per “staff inflow request”.

k.konwalin@techwork.at

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Automator mail attachments

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Business case:

If you integrate a small service provider via an email interface it is important to send attachments too. Thinking the other way around, attachments from the Service provider have to appear in the ITRP note of the request.

automator_attachment

Email out attachments:

Adding a couple of lines of code to your existing mail out package makes it possible to send inline images and non-inline attachments.

// attach all inline images
$mailAttachments = [];
//Exec Engine v1: foreach($note in $request.notes) {
for($note of $request.notes) {
for($noteAtt of $note.attachments) {
        if ($noteAtt.inline) {
            $mailAttachments.push({
                filename: $noteAtt.name,
                path: $noteAtt.uri,
                cid: "link-inline" // looks better on apple mail
                //cid: uuid()      // instantly loaded on outlook
            });
        }
    }
}

//and non-inline attachment of last note
$lastNote = $request.notes.last();
for($noteAtt of $lastNote.attachments) {
    if ($noteAtt.inline == false) {
        $mailAttachments.push({
            filename: $noteAtt.name,
            path: $noteAtt.uri
        });
    }
}
$mailData.attachments = $mailAttachments;

Email in – add attachments to the note:

Adding attachments from an incoming email to the note is even simpler. In that case you just need to add one line to the update statement.

update("requests",$request.id,{
    note:$mail.body,
    attachments:$mail.attachments
  });

 

Note:

These couple of lines of code help significantly to reduce coordination problems because of missing information.

Yours, k.konwalin@techwork.at

Staff outflow: Provide necessary information at a glance

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Prerequisites if you like to try it:

  • You already have an ITPR demo account. If not, you can easily request one with demo data.
  • You already signed up for a techwork automator demo account. If not, goto the registration blog post.

Business case:

Within a staff outflow workflow one of the tasks is often that the person who leaves has to return Configuration Items like the notebook and the phone. This saves a couple of clicks and provides instantly what needs to be done.

Staff_outflow_inbox.png

In my example task 21504 is the version without the automator package. The subject of Task 21505 is different. It states the name of the person who needs to return the items. Furthermore the task reflects the CIs assigned to the person.

Staff_outflow_tsk.png

Configuration time:

10 minutes – with 1 iteration.

The automator package:

Picture1.png

Conclusion:

These simple packages do not take long to implement but provide significant value for the IT Staff.

k.konwalin@techwork.at

 

CMDB: Automate standby for continuity CIs

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Prerequisites if you like to try it:

  • You already have an ITPR demo account. If not, you can easily request one with demo data.
  • You already signed up for a techwork automator demo account. If not, goto the registration blog post.

Business case:

Maintaining CIs accurately in the CMDB could be of vital importance if something goes wrong in order to get a Service Instance up and running again. For important CIs  you probably have standby CIs. Because of that ITRP provides the status “Standby for Continuity” and the relationship type “Continuity”.

Whenever an important CI changes the status from “In Production” to “Being Repaired” or a similar status the CMDB needs to be updated:

  • The linked CI with the relationship type “Continuity” needs to change the status from “Standby for Continuity” to “In Production”.
  • Other CIs and relationship types might also need updates.

To do this efficiently without too many manual steps we developed a 10 liner in the automator to do that.


mergeAudit(ci);

if (ci.audit_is_changed_status && (ci.audit_old_status == "in_production" && ci.audit_new_status == 'being_repaired')) {
    for($item of ci.ci_relations) {
        if ($item.relation_type == 'continuity' && $item.ci.status == 'standby_for_continuity') {
            update('cis', $item.ci.id, {
                status: 'in_production'
            });
        }
    }
}

The code with comments:

//get the audit for the updated ci
mergeAudit(ci);

//did the status change from "In production" to "Being repaired"
if (ci.audit_is_changed_status && (ci.audit_old_status == "in_production" && ci.audit_new_status == 'being_repaired')) {
    for($item of ci.ci_relations) {
        //change all linked items with the relationship type "Continuity" and the status "Standby for Continuity" to "In Production"
        if ($item.relation_type == 'continuity' && $item.ci.status == 'standby_for_continuity') {
            update('cis', $item.ci.id, {
                status: 'in_production'
            });
        }
    }
}

Conclusion

Such short scripts make it easier to keep the CMDB up to date because it reduces manual error-prone steps and make working with ITRP even easier.

k.konwalin@techwork.at