Preventing Endless Loop Communication

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endless likeOnce I was working for an IT Service Integrator who uses Incident management in a Multivendor environment. In this environment there was made an explicit distinction between Customers, Internal IT staff and IT suppliers.

In ServiceNow terms they use Incident and task tickets where incident tickets fulfill the communication between customers and internal IT staff. Incident task tickets are used to allow communication between Internal IT staff and IT suppliers. IT suppliers are not allowed to look into the Incident tickets.
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How to use the “Not Exists” operator

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Once I was at a customer who wanted to know which CIs in the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) were not linked to an IT service. I discovered that ServiceNow didn’t posses the capability to do this easily by using some kind of operator like “Not Exists”, an SQL statement to filter-out the correct related Configuration Items.

Exists vs Not Exists

What is a Not Exists operator? Basically, it’s a conditional operator to test for the existence or non-existence of a set of values returned by a sub-query.


Example: Correlated Sub-query with NOT EXISTS
Suppose you are working with the following tables:

  • CMDB contains the set of all Configuration Items
  • IT Service contains the set of all Services
  • Relations contains the set of all relations

As shown in the diagram below, the intersection of these three tables contains the data for all Configuration Items that has a relationship with an IT Service
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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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Service Catalog requested future delivery date and starting tasks on specified date

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The Catalog
In a fully automated Self Services system, a customer is able to order services or products via a self-service portal. The items that can be requested are often offered via use of an actionable electronic service catalog. When the customer enters an order, the system automatically picks it up and starts the execution/delivery for the request. Responsible delivery groups get notified that are all part of the delivery chain. Group response- and progress time is also monitored according to defined Service Level Agreements (SLA). Usually, SLA’s are defined using the Service Level Management process at the definition stage of a service or product. The agreements are translated into automated monitoring rules and get accordingly implemented in ServiceNow. Once requests are made available using the Service Catalog, automatic ordering can be handled nice and smoothly.

But what if the customer would like to order now, but the delivery is allowed to wait for some time, since there is no high priority?
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Sending IT problems to SNC using email address of responsible IT service team

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Companies often have more than one IT Service team for solving IT problems. In particular international companies since they often have departments geographical spread over the world.
When an IT user has a problem and sends a request to the responsible IT Service team, he might send the email directly.
It’s also common that each service team has its own specific email address for receiving IT requests

How does Service-now.com challenge this case – because out-of-the-box IT users only are able to send an email to SNC using the syntax <instance name>@service-now.com.
For instance – if the instance is called MyCompany email can be send to MyCompany@service-now.com.

Looking at our case the default approach is not desirable because IT users are not aware of the SNC system and they normally prefer to send directly to the team they know.
What should be done in Service-now.com to arrange this?
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