Handling requests – Outlook is a NO GO

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Surprisingly often mail is used to exchange important information about requests instead of using the organization’s request management tool. One could think that this happens mainly outside of IT when handling HR requests or requests to the finance department. Well, surprisingly enough this is found in many many IT departments.

So, why is this a problem?

  1. Information sharing
    Whenever information is exchanged via email the information for the Organization as a whole is lost because it rests in personal inboxes.
  2. Reinventing solutions over and over again
    If information is berried in emails others can not find already developed solutions. They often reinvent solutions for the same kind of request over and over again. For the Organization, efficiency and effectiveness drifts away and knowledge can not be converted to assets.
  3. Statistics are wrong
    Quantitative indicators are most likely not accurate because up to 40 % of communication is done via email. Performance Indicators like amount of interactions per case etc. are not reliable potentially leading to suboptimal decision making.

What can you do?

Check your request management tool for:

  1. Mention function
    Can you easily involve people to join information collection within a request’s note field and collaborate smoothly?
  2. Make the tool as easy to handle as emails
    The reason why people love email is the unstructured form. Unfortunately most Service Management tools are by far too complicated to support that. Simplify, simplify, simplify or use 4me.
  3. Explain to people why this is important
    If people understand why the usage of the request tool is important and the tool supports easy and smooth collaboration than email exchange will decrease.
  4. If you still get requests via emails you can simply forward that email to a specific address. The automator figures the original sender and registers the request for the sender with a friendly hint to use the tool for additional information exchange.

 

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k.konwalin@techwork.at

 

 

 

Your KCS project does not take off…

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Business case

Knowledge management in general has the potential to contribute significantly to efficiency and effectiveness. It really becomes crucial when it comes to Self Service. The Organization as a whole benefits if customers search for solutions in Self Service and find them! Usually customers stop searching if they do not find expected articles.

What helps?

1: I find it very helpful to promote recently verified articles in Self Service for a month or so on the homepage in Self Service. That way customers are aware what knowledge articles are available.

2: 4me provides an easy way to know what people searched for. Create articles for these specific topics and promote them in Self Service too.

How can I promote articles in Self Service?

With the help of the automator you just need one package to promote those articles on the homepage of Self Service for a time frame of your choice automatically. No manual maintenance required.

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Questions?

Simply write an email to k.konwalin@techwork.at

 

Service Management beyond IT – or is this too beyond?

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Beyond IT

Service Management is not only used for IT requests but also for HR-, Procurement-, Facility- requests and so on.

This of course makes sense, because it structures requests and mitigates confusion. But how far does the beyond IT “hype” go?

Operations support – fresh food delivery

In one of our “beyond IT” projects we handle fresh food supplies from farmers via a delivery company to consumers.

This is easily done with the help of the automator’s end user wizards. The farmer simply organizes the food packages in 4me Self Service so that the delivery company can pick them up.

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The workflow capabilities of 4me help to delivery the packages in an efficient and effective way.

Happy delivery!

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k.konwalin@techwork.at

 

Test Driven package Development

The purpose

TDD (Test Driven Development) simplifies the process to generate well designed package code. It further eliminates the risk of package failures due to implementation changes nearly completely. The notion of Fail (red), Pass (green), Refactor increases code quality on a continuous basis.

TDD

The process

At first a test always fails, this means that your code does not implement the feature the test is about. Next you do just the minimum in order to pass the test. So the output of the test changes from red to green. Then you refactor the implementation package and the test should remain green.

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Green is a good thing!

The added value

It often boils down to the following scenario. You develop a package, everything works fine for a long time. Then you like to change something. Changing implementation code is always risky. The TDD functionality reduces that risk to a minimum, meaning that you can act faster to implement changes and sleep better!

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k.konwalin@techwork.at

Product sheet

Tired of closing records manually?

The situation

You are most likely familiar with the ITRP sandbox environment (…/itrp.qa). You configure and test new things there. At some point you want to train people with your specific configuration but over time the sandbox became messed up.

Many open test records like Requests, Changes, Tasks are open and need to be closed before a training starts to make it easier for the audience. The challenge you face is to close probably 100s of records manually.

Manually in the automator age?!? Not so much

You simply need to register a Change that triggers the automator package and you are done. After a couple of minutes your sandbox environment looks clean again and your audience does not get lost in test records.

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The automator package – main function

The package is straight forward. It checks whether the above change is selected and started. Then it closes all changes and afterward all requests.

Hint: If a change is closed all linked tasks are closed automatically. That way there is no need to loop over open tasks.


(function() {
 if (!firePackage(PKG_SETTINGS.implementationTaskTemplateId,task.template.id, task.status)) return;
 log('automationTaskTemplateId: ', PKG_SETTINGS.implementationTaskTemplateId);
 log('task Template ID ', task.template.id);

 closeChanges();
 closeRequests();

}());
//Helper functions
...
}

Happy training!

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k.konwalin@techwork.at

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Reduce clicking to obtain information

Use case

Imagine you sit in front of the ITRP inbox. An implementation task has been assigned to you. The specific relevant information rests in the Request’s custom data field because a request template with an UI extension provided the structured input form.

Therefore, you need to click on the Request link of your task, to open the Request in a new tab (cmd + shift + click). The inefficient thing is that you need to work with 2 tabs,  you read specific information in one tab and you need to comment in a second tab.

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The automator solves this problem with a couple of lines of code

 

//This package copies "custom_data" from the request
//to all tasks, so that people do not need to click

const PKG_SETTINGS = {
 automTaskTemplateID: 139
};

(function main(){
 if (task.template.id !== PKG_SETTINGS.automTaskTemplateID) return;
 const chg = task.change;

 if (chg.requests.length === 0) return;
 const req = chg.requests.first();
 const reqCustomData = req.custom_data;

 for (let t of chg.tasks){
   let mergedCustomData = assign({}, reqCustomData, t.custom_data);
   update('tasks', t.id, {
     custom_data: mergedCustomData;
   });
 };
})();

Output

The automator package copies all UI extension data to all tasks if a certain Task Template is used. Therefore it works in a generic way. Independent of what you have in your Request UI extension. It always works!

Furthermore you can select what UI data you want to see in specific tasks. Simply put your field selection into the UI Extension and add the extension to your task template.

output

Now, you instantly know what you need to do, without clicking around. Makes sense, right?

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k.konwalin@techwork.at

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ITRP projects and Kanban

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Project implementation teams and maintenance teams certainly benefit from agile methodologies because it mainly reduces confusion and offers transparency. The benefits of Kanban are:

  • transparency in the context of project progression
  • transparency in the context of pressing problems
  • faster task completion
  • lower resistance during adoption
  • faster non bureaucratic response to changes

Kanban itself is not a full project management method – it is more of an idea of how projects could be managed by the team itself.

IT people appreciate that they can respond to changes quickly, that they can easily iterate and that they select what to do, so it gives them more autonomy.

On the other hand, a flexible system like Kanban can make it difficult to focus and push a project to completion if not careful enough. There is less set in stone, and no process to make sure the project is continuing smoothly – so it easily happens that a project loses direction.

Combine traditional project management with agile

To have more control over projects it might be a good idea to combine traditional project management with agile.

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That way the business or business representatives in IT control the input and output factors of the agile development and can make sure to not loosing direction.

IT people can work with their Kanban system and appreciate the flexibility.

Conclusion

Agile alone might not be enough. Traditional alone might not work either, because IT people work not at their best if too much control is enforced. So combining both, might be worth a try.

k.konwalin@techwork.at

 

 

 

Advanced trusts

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Business case

Some ITRP customers run the premium ITSM application on-premise for different reasons. The implementation partner and the support Organization of ITRP have their accounts in the cloud.

The question is how to pass ITRP related requests to the implementation partner and the support Organization of ITRP?

Automator – advanced trusts

techwork faced the same situation with the itrp.at setup and its customers. The challenge we faced was to pass requests/tasks from an itrp.at customer account to our itrp.com cloud account as flawless as within ITRP (trusts). Hiding the complexity for our customers was of course an additional important factor.

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Standard packages

The automator packages that are needed for this are developed in a generic way. You can just plug in the 2 automator packages

  • Sync – cloud to onpremise
  • Sync – onpremise to cloud

and experience it working in less than an hour.

k.konwalin@techwork.at

 

 

 

 

Structured surveys in ITRP

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Some ITRP customers start engaging with Business Intelligence and need to get structured feedback from users to cover the customer’s perspective.

Input

The service forms provide a simple way to collect structured data. The automator sends out a mail with a survey link on completion of every 10th request. The questions are defined in ITRP.

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Transformation

The answered questions are saved in the ITRP request’s custom data. This means that the feedback a requester sends is not anonymous (A blog post about anonymous  feedback by using SurveyMonkey will follow).

Output

The techwork ITRP_reporting solution automatically provides normalized ready to use SQL fields and tables. You can instantly use the data in PowerBI, Excel or other Reporting and Business Intelligence solutions.

k.konwalin@techwork.at

 

 

 

automator at a glance

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Purpose

The automator is a cloud based service with the purpose of simplifying and accelerating the development and deployment of automations. In terms of time customers report that the creation of automations is 50 to 70 % faster compared to a traditional approach.

Automations increase the efficiency and effectiveness of workflows because they get rid of manual interventions whenever no human decision making is required. Examples are automatic data lookups in other applications, the transfer of data from one application to another, automated updates and automated record creation.

Overview of interconnected systems by the automator

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Visit techwork automator for more information.

k.konwalin@techwork.at