Last week I shared how to make the software request approval process easier for Analysts with Cireson Remote Support and SCCM. This week, I’m going to highlight another new feature of Remote Support, User and Device Comments. With our goal of making everyone’s life within the support stack easier and more productive, this functionality enables better communciation between Support Team members, in turn improving the end user experience.

 

Communication

One of the most important aspects of support is communication. We can see this through every step of the support process. Some level of communication functionality exists in any IT Service Management (ITSM) tool, such as Microsoft SCSM, ServiceNow. Cherwell, and many others. In most of these ITSM solutions, the primary means of communication pivots around the action log, an area where the back-and-forth communication occurs between Analysts and often between the end-user as well.  This is an easy way of keeping valuable support and audit information readily available within the context of a particular request. This is important for gathering information to resolve the current issue, as well as cataloging information to help resolve similar issues in the future.

Action log for SCCM

While the action log is a worthwhile practice in any ITSM tool, there are a few disadvantages as well. One of the main disadvantages is that all of the communication relates directly to the ticket, and while that ticket may relate to a specific user or device, that information is only available when viewed through the ticket itself. When you access the user’s account or the device metadata directly, you often have no insight into any of the pertinent information contained within the Incident (or many Incidents) that relate to that user or device. This is the problem that we set out to solve with Comments in our Remote Support application.

In Practice

Our solution to the problem stated above is to bring communication to the users and devices themselves within the context of resolution rather than just tracking. Traditional ITSM is focused on the idea of tracking the ticket from where it started to where it finished, with the goal of maintaining both accountability and recording resolution for historical reference. We primarily focus on the Resolution phase of this process, where the actual work to resolve the issue is done. For this reason, Cireson Remote Support integrates into multiple ITSM tools in order to make it easy to access our extensive list of remote actions and detailed information available on users and devices.

With the idea of resolution in mind, it’s important to have any necessary information from past work available to you when accessing a user’s account or a specific device. This is what the Device Management page looks like from within Remote Support:

From within the Device Management view in Remote Support, we have the ability to access a number of Remote Actions that can help us to resolve customer account and device issues. Actions are available for both users and devices, though the actions vary based on the object type.

While having these actions and all of the information that is available within Device and User Management is very useful in terms of resolving the issue, it does not help us to understand what issues may have occured in the past. It also doesn’t it give us any additional information about the device or user that may make it unique (and every user and device really is unique as I’m sure you’ve experienced!). This is the purpose of Comments.

Through this simple process of adding a new comment, it’s very easy to communicate both awareness of issues and knowledge of solutions directly in the interface where the work actually happens. This leads to faster resolution, and in many cases, solutions that bring about greater and longer-term satisfaction.

Integration

Another aspect of this process is the open API that we utilize for Comments. Using the ODATA spec, it’s easier than ever to integrate other solutions into Remote Support and sync your comments, actions, etc. between different services.

Effectively utilizing this capability, you can bring in all sorts of information and data to place it directly in front of your Analysts during their troubleshooting and resolution process.

Summary

Bringing it all together, the end goal is the resolution of the customer’s issue. To achieve resolution takes extensive knowledge and experience. We can utilize easy communication between teams, placing relevant information and notes (in the form of comments) where it’s needed, to expedite resolution. This gives teams the opportunity to capture what would otherwise be personal or tribal knowledge about a user or a device, that can be very effective in bringing about long-lasting support satisfaction.

Stay tuned for the next blog, where we’ll look at Custom Actions and how you can customize the interface for your Analysts to promote one-click resolution of common technical issues.