Speeding up Incident Solving using Smart Info Finder functionality

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IT Operations always stands for big challenges when it comes to solving incidents. Bringing up IT services should be as quick as possible to minimize the adverse impact on business operations.

To do this IT Specialists are working together to fix IT problems as fast as possible. It’s clear that IT problems will be solved quicker when the experience and the knowledge level of the IT specialist increases. Besides, we also know that good experienced IT specialists are hard to find and mostly they are expensive employees.

Incident management is the process which is normally responsible for incident handling. The first step involves the IT Helpdesk which is the single central point of contact for all IT users. It logs and manages all incidents. The logging step would be the best starting point to fix incidents quick and satisfactory. This is also the place where IT Operations could save money in terms of lower the mean time to repair by a first line fix.

But how do we challenge the problem facing the rarity of experienced IT specialists who are usually expensive. Also they often do not like to work on an IT Helpdesk, solving boring daily IT problems.

It would be easier to find IT specialists with a basic knowledge of IT willing to staff the IT Helpdesk The only thing they need is a powerful supporting tool so they are managed to provide the same quality of service as the Senior IT specialists in order to solving IT problems quick and satisfactory.

“Smart Info Finder” Functionality

We need to make a remark upfront: We – unfortunately – cannot share the code for the Smart Info Finder functionality yet here in this article. This is still a work in progress and we are looking for your feedback and thoughts on this topic. So please excuse us for “not sharing” code yet, but do drop us an email to share your thoughts at .img[at].img.

For a Helpdesk IT Specialist is essential to be able to quickly lookup information which might be applicable for the incident that is being handled at that moment. Therefore we developed the “Smart Info Finder” tool. By pressing a button an showing the following information:
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Integrating Chat in the UI11 GUI

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Important note: the UI11 Chat functionality described below can cause serious performance impact and we received a ServiceNow notice that this is unsupported ServiceNow functionality.
Therefore we don’t recommend using this functionality other than for e.g. demo purposes.

For quite some time now ServiceNow offers integrated Social IT functionalities and Chat is one of those functionalities.
As with all ServiceNow functionalities, Chat is completely integrated and doesn’t require the installation of an additional client or piece of local software.
Just available – straight from the GUI.
And you’ve probably seen it, it’s available in the GUI from the navigator-pane in the Social IT application.

Recently when talking to a colleague about Chat he mentioned he had seen a feature on integrating Chat into the UI11 GUI where it would show up in a navigation-pane on the right of the screen.
Sounds cool enough to wanna know more about it!
So I asked him what was needed to get this feature enabled and activated in our instance.

And – as with many ServiceNow things – it wasn’t too difficult; it only required 1 property to be added.
This property however is not mentioned in the ServiceNow Wiki in the Available System Properties list.

So I’m going to give it to you here of course, because I think you might also find it cool….
I’m not gonna explain how to add a system property, you can read how to do that HERE.
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Regular Expressions (RE)

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One of the powerful tools introduced in the first Unix operating systems is regular expressions.

Regular expressions is a method for finding text not as an exact match but as a rule that applies to a text. i.e. ‘12aa12’ would apply to the rule: text starting with a 1. ( ^[0-9]*) .

    or

to the rule: starting with two numbers ([0-9][0-9].*) or 2 a’s between numbers ([0-9]+aa[0-9]+).

With regular expressions you replace every line that starts with 2 spaces into a TAB or find a text like “ERROR” or “error” or “Errors” or “eRRorS” in one run.
Regular expressions trace back to the work of an American mathematician by the name of Stephen Kleene (one of the most influential figures in the development of theoretical computer science) who developed regular expressions as a notation for describing what he called “the algebra of regular sets.” His work eventually found its way into some early efforts with computational search algorithms, and from there to some of the earliest text-manipulation tools on the Unix platform (including ed and grep). In the context of computer searches, the “*” is formally known as a “Kleene star.” (introduced in the 1950s.)
Ken Thompson made regular expressions available in Unix tooles like vi, grep, ed, sed.

Ok, done now with this history lesson Oh Really?
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