Service Manager Quarterly Update 2020 Q1/Q2

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We have started the first half of 2020 with several exciting new features and functionality across various aspects of Service Manager. This summary introduces a number of the key ones and a short description of where to go to configure them.

Progressive Capture Workflow

Multiple 'Add Attachments' forms can now be used in a Progressive Capture

2020Multi Attachments.jpg
There are many scenarios where there may be a requirement to add multiple, specific attachments when raising a request. Whether this is a Change Request which requires both a formal Implementation and Test plan, or a New Starter request where several forms and confirmations need to be added, it's something the Hornbill Community have been feeding back more and more.
Previously, to achieve this, end users have one attachment form where they would be expected to attach ALL documentation they have at that point in time.
With this new feature, the Progressive Capture can be completed to include several "Add Attachment" forms - and used together with the prompt text options during the configuration, it can be set up to clearly guide the user on what needs to be provided and when.
This is available to configure today.
NOTE – Please be aware, that whilst the first add attachment form can be optional, any subsequent forms in the rest of the capture are required to be set as mandatory.

New data provider called 'Search All Users (Include user Id in display)' available in Progressive Capture

Hornbill has previously offered a smart feature where any dropdown list in Progressive Capture can dynamically be populated with all currently active users in the system. This has a multitude of purposes when combined with Progressive Capture to perform various automation.
One of the potential issues that has been noticed is if two people have the same name(handle) in Hornbill, it can be difficult to tell which is the correct one to select. To aliviate that issue, a new option has been introduced called "Search All Users (Include user Id in display)".
This simply includes the unique User ID of every user next to their name, which can aid in ensuring the right person has been selected. To configure this, simply select this option in the Progressive Capture custom form (Open a Question in a Custom Form --> Dynamic Dropdown Select Box --> Data Query)

Business Process Workflow

Auto Tasks can now be configured and associated to Custom Buttons

One of the major features to be released this year, which has already added a new level of flexibility for many Hornbill subscribers is the introduction of Auto Tasks.
Auto tasks are a single or series of actions that can be invoked from a custom button from relevant entity views (currently within a Request view, within an Asset view and within a Document view). They are very similar to Business Processes in their configuration and which actions be automated. However they are instantaneous - that is, they can be called at any point (even as part of an existing Business Process) and are designed to execute, run and end. So there is no concept of Stages, Checkpoints, Human Tasks or Suspend Nodes - the Auto Tasks runs it's automation and completes immediately.
A great example of how this works (which is covered in far more detail in the video above), is the ability to configure a "Major Incident" button - to be used if an Incident priority has escalated. Before Auto Tasks were introduced, an Incident process may have been designed in a way that flagging a request as a Major Incident would have needed to have been done at a particular point in time - in order for any additional automation to take place. But with Auto Tasks, this could be pressed and invoked at ANY POINT in the Incident Lifecycle so a Process Designer doesn't have to worry about that restriction, or need to manually perform extra actions if the Incident was escalated later in its process.
In our example, the auto task instantly completes the following actions:
  • Set the priority to Major
  • Reevaluate the SLA
  • Add a specific Service Desk Manager as a Member to the Incident
  • Add an IT Director as a Connection to the Incident
  • Send a post to a Workspace informing of the MI
  • Send an email to interested parties
  • Lock the priority so it cannot be changed
This is just one example - there are a huge number of use cases for Auto Tasks. If you come up with some interesting ideas on how you have configured them, please share with the community on our Community Forums - it would be great to hear how people utilise this and which additional automation people would like to see!
Auto Tasks are available for use right now and can be found as their own tile in the Admin Tool, under (currently) either Service Manager or Document Manager depending on which context they should be used in. Useful links to Auto Tasks and Custom Buttons can be found at the top of this page.

The Request Customer can now be updated via the Business Process Workflow

2020Change Customer.jpg
This was another very frequent request on the forums, which has now been introduced a fantastic new feature that will allow subscribers to build some really smart operations into their workflow.
Prior to this, the Request Customer could be set during the Progressive Capture, and then manually by an Analyst/Agent after a request has been logged. The new Automated Task option allows for the Business Process to take any User ID that has been passed to it, and automate the change of the customer at a particular stage of the process
For example, if an end-user was logging a request on behalf of another member of staff, the Progressive Capture may have been configured to provide the option to select WHO this request was being logged for from a dropdown list of Co-Workers. Then, on submission of the request, the Business Process can now be configured to automatically change the customer to the person who has was selected from this list, ensuring that they are the primary customer from that point forwards (perhaps even adding the original requestor as a connection too if desired).
To set this up, create an Automated Task node in the Business Process Designer and select - Requests --> Update Request --> Customer. From here, there are various options to either set a Co-Worker or Contact, and to either set a specific named person every time, or dynamically change this based on a variable that's been provided.

The "Via" node can be used to neaten Business Processes designs

For those Business Process designers who take pride in keeping their canvases looking neat and tidy, some frustration may have been experienced in certain connectors (arrows) automatically positioning themselves behind nodes, overlapping over etc.
The new "Via" will be able to provide more control around these connectors, by allowing designs to redirect these flow lines to wherever a designer would like them displayed. This node does not perform any specific function - it is ignored, and does not require any configuration. But it does allow for precise and clean designs. Hornbill is also adding some more process efficiencies, warnings and prompts during the design on processes which may be noticed in the coming months. This is one feature which should negate the need for the Business Process Designers to come up workarounds that perhaps are not efficient to the general performance of their instance
This is available now, and can be selected from the list of options simply by creating a new node on the Business Process Canvas

Suspend wait for Workaround
For those people who are using or setting up Problem Management in Hornbill, this new Automated Task option can ensure that the Business Process is suspended until an Agent/Analyst has provided a Workaround. This will ensure that if required, a Workaround needs to be added before the Process will continue. To select this, in the Hornbill Automated Task, select:
  • Entity = Problems
  • Type = Suspend
  • Task = Wait for Workaround


When adding updates to Requests, linked Requests can also be updated


Often, if there are scenarios where there are a number of linked requests to the request that is being working on (for example Major Incidents, Problems, Change Requests, Releases etc), it can be important that certain updates appear on of these linked request timelines. It has always been possible to perform an update to these as part of a Business Process as a particular point in time. But with this new feature, an update to one or more linked requests can be made at any time, directly from the request itself.
With this feature enabled, if there are linked requests associated with the request being worked on, the Update button within the Update Action will include an arrow that exposes the option to update the linked requests. Selecting the option to Update this and linked requests... will display a dialog box that lists the linked requests. From here there are options to select all linked requests, highlight them individually, and/or filter by the request type. Once selected, click "Update" and this will be applied accordingly.
This feature is turned off by default. To enable this, navigate to Admin Tool under Home > Applications > Hornbill Service Manager > Application Settings and turn on this setting:
  • app.request.update.enableLinkedRequestAction

Answers in the Questions section of a request can now be edited


End users don't always get it write when logging requests, and occasionally there may be times where the information that they provide needs to be edited or deleted. This could be because it's simply incorrect, or in more serious examples, if it contains sensitive or confidential information
A little while back, functionality was introduced to allow for the deletion of questions. This has now been expanded to allow users who have the relevant role, to be able to edit these answers too.
To have the access to do this, a user will need 'Service Manager Delete Questions' or 'Service Desk Admin' role granted to them
NOTE - This is limited to single and multi-line text fields in order to limit the impact on BPM workflows which may be affected by changing other fields

The owner and content of all Snippets can now be edited


Snippets are a quick and easy way to reuse blocks of text - which can be used personally for each Analyst, or shared with other Service Manager users. Some feedback that we received was that if users had shared snippets with others, and subsequently left the organisation, these snippets would still exist and could not be edited.
This feature has introduced the ability to allow a user (with the relevant role) to manage ALL snippets if required, and have the access to be able to change both the content of a snippet and the ownership whenever necessary.
If a user has the Service Desk Admin role, and clicks into "Manage Snippets" (accessed from the Snippet dropdown on a request), they will see a filter at the top called "ALL". This list will present ALL Snippets belonging to any Service Manager user, and from here they can be edited accordingly


A Bulletin can now be configurable to be a clickable link in the Employee Portal


Bulletins are a nice way of presenting important notices to end-users - whether that be planned outages, known issues, company info/events or any other form of information, a clear banner on the portal can really the draw attention of the person navigating the page.
A new option is now available where Service Managers can choose to make their Bulletin titles clickable and navigate to another page in a new browser tab. Any URL can be added (whether it's to another Hornbill Employee Portal page, or an External Website) and once added, a "link" icon appears next to the title. This is particularly useful if wanting to convey more information than the space in the Bulletin allows - one idea is to simply add "Click here for more info" as part of the Bulletin text.
To add this, simply include the URL in the new "Employee Portal Link" field which is available in the Bulletin configuration

The timeline for closed requests can now be set to read-only on the Portals


Another feature that had a high number of requests on our forums was the ability to prevent end-users from being able to comment on closed requests. The feedback received was that occasionally these comments would be missed by analysts, as well as the fact that some businesses wanted to drive the behaviour of their customers to raise a NEW request if further issues/comments arise after a ticket has been closed.
This is now possible to do, via a setting in the Service Manager app which will disable the comment box for closed requests and display a message to the end-users informing them of this. To enable it, head to the Admin Tool and Home --> Applications --> Service Manager --> Application Settings and search for the following settings to turn on:
  • For the Employee Portal: guest.servicemanager.portal.requests.readOnlyClosedRequests
  • For the Customer Portal: servicemanager.portal.requests.readOnlyClosedRequests


Requests can now be raised via Hornbill's mobile application


The Service Manager functionality on the Mobile App has always allowed uses to view and update any requests that have been logged, and manage them through their relevant request list views. Now available is the ability to also log NEW requests through the app.
As with the main client, there is an option for Creating a New Request where the request type is not known at the start of the raising process, or a specific request type can be selected such as Incident, Service Request, Problem, Change, Known Error, or Release. Once one of these options is selected, it will follow through the configured Progressive Capture for each option
To use this, simply navigate from the menu to the Request view on the Mobile App. And raise a new request by tapping on the + (plus) icon in the Tool Bar. This will start the process of raising a new request. The options available on this list will depend on the access rights that the user has for each request type. The steps when raising any request will vary as they will follow a defined Progressive Capture workflow.


Views and Advanced Searches are now available in the Asset list.


As an Asset Management User there may be hundreds, if not thousands of assets in the Asset Repository. Without knowing some key information, it can be tricky to quickly locate the specific asset that is needed at that point in time.
With the new Asset Views/Advanced Search functionality, this will hopefully make the task far more simple. Similar to the functionality with the Service Manager Request List, a user can now use a Query Builder to add various filters based on Asset Attributes. If the view created is particularly useful, it can be saved as a reusable view, quickly available in a dropdown list that is personal to that specific user.
The new features introduced are:
  • Views - Based on each Asset Class, a user can now define and save unique Views to display assets that meet defined criteria. Select the columns to display for each View that is created.
  • Home Button - Once views are defined, one of these can be applied to the Home Button to make sure that each time the user navigates to the Asset List, they are presented with the information that is most important to them.
  • Advanced Filter - Looking for something specific? The Advanced Filter allows for the searching of the details of any asset.
Nothing needs to be enabled here. If a user has a role that grants them access to Asset Management (e.g. 'Asset Management User'), they will automatically see these new options available to them.