Jira Service Desk Day 2018: an overview of modern ITSM practices
One of our stops on the recent trip to the United States was San Francisco, where we hosted our own Jira Service Desk Day 2018. We invited Atlassian team, Solution Partners, AUG members and IT professionals from the Bay Area to shake hands and share experience with this ITSM solution in the intimate surroundings of Variety Club Preview Room. Our CEO Piotr Dorosz opened the event with a short reminder of the recent rebranding from InTENSO to Deviniti, and then Atlassian Senior Technical Account Manager Dan Radigan took over the stage with the first talk.
Team and customer-focused service management with Atlassian tools
The main point of Dan’s opening talk was that working culture, processes and tools, described as values, can help companies drive towards their business goals. To illustrate it, he briefly described the Atlassian values and their impact on product decisions. At Atlassian, all the information is open internally by default, and sharing knowledge is the main principle, even if it comes to salaries and other information that other companies tend to secure from their employees. Then the customer perspective comes into play, which is understood holistically and not individually so as to focus on delivering maximum value. Teamplay is as important for the company as personal initiative – as they say, ‘continuous improvement is a shared responsibility, action is an independent one’. As a result, Statuspage has been developed, which helps both teams and customers know what’s going on during an incident and react accordingly.
Collaboration between both different teams and customers was also the main topic of our Test Specialist Marcin Żurawiecki‘s talk. As more and more companies leverage DevOps mindset, tight communication between Dev and Ops parts becomes crucial – especially if they have to work on multiple Jira instances. Marcin listed common use cases for such a setup, such as failover, security, collaboration with customers or separation of duties between teams. In such cases, there is often a need for synchronising parts of the instances to keep them all updated automatically – issue statuses, attachments, comments and such. As a solution, we’ve developed Issue Sync for Jira, which allows among others:
With such a tool at hand, teams can communicate more efficiently, act quicker, exchange the relevant information automatically, and thus streamline and automate parts of the DevOps process inside their companies.
And what if certain teams want to use Atlassian software but have never used it, or are experiencing problems with implementation? Justin Leader from HyperVelocity Consulting has got two keys for such situations: actionable training and team customization. During his talk, he presented a consulting approach that IT teams can bring in-house to spread Atlassian tools across different teams, and in effect build an efficient and unified work environment for the entire company. Treating non-technical teams as internal clients helps better see their particular needs and adjust the setup accordingly, as well as prepare a more relevant training part. Not only does this approach increase Jira adoption across departments, it also positively affects the performance of the instance and prevents possible misuses.
An example of such an implementation was provided by our Atlassian Services Head Bogusław Osuch. It was MetLife – one of the world’s leading financial services companies, which was one of the pioneers to implement Jira Service Desk in IT services back in early 2014. Before that, they had used several systems and processes to manage requests, which were not integrated with each other, so they decided on changing to one unified and fully integrated system for all kinds of IT inquiries. They also had an array of specific requirements for the system to be complete, which included custom features like:
- access synchronisation to applications and catalogues, tied to Active Directory;
- Dynamic Forms on the Customer Portal;
- custom workflow automation and enabling user actions on transitions;
- custom email reminders for approvals and replacements;
- replacement management with filters in the in User management section;
- displaying external links on the Customer Portal.
Our team of Atlassian Experts has taken on this challenge and successfully implemented Jira Service Desk at MetLife with building all the features mentioned above. As a result, their team has got rid of paperwork, filed 25% less access management issues, and spent almost zero time in Pending Implementation and In Progress issue statuses. From our side, this has been an incredibly fruitful implementation, which eventually gave birth to 4 our apps: Extension for Jira Service Desk, Active Directory Attributes Sync, Dynamic Forms for Jira and Actions for Jira Service Desk.
Customizing Jira Service Desk with Marketplace apps
That happened in 2014. Now it’s no secret that Jira Service Desk is easily customizable with over 800 apps available in the ITSM segment of the Atlassian Marketplace. But choosing the right app can be difficult at times, as the actual setup can vary a lot from company to company. So San Francisco Bay Area AUG leader Matt Doar, who has almost 15 years of experience managing Jira instances, shared his approach to this issue during his talk. An interesting thing Matt mentioned was that entire Jira is actually built from apps – formerly made only by Atlassian themselves, now by hundreds of vendors around the globe. The whole system is constructed in such a way that if one app causes a problem, then Jira as a whole is affected. So Matt shared his criteria to consider when planning an app purchase:
- the actual importance of a provided functionality;
- the app’s cost;
- the support quality;
- the Verified badge (which has been renamed to Top Vendor recently);
- the Data Center Verified compliance for Data Center instances.
For big companies, scaling an app’s usage without reducing performance is a crucial thing, so this is one of the main questions they ask vendors before purchasing. Regular version updates and bug availability are also of great importance to ensure the stability of the system – that’s why free apps can come with a hidden cost, as they are rather rarely updated. Fortunately, there is a page on Atlassian’s Confluence, where known problems with vendors’ apps are listed, so you can always check it before a trial.
Considering this somewhat restrictive criteria list, it’s no surprise that Matt himself uses only 12 apps at work, five of which are custom.
Nevertheless, there are definitely more quality apps than that, and even more new ones are released every week. One of them was presented by Jacek Wizmur-Szymczak from Spartez, aiming at improving customer experience with Jira Service Desk. A smart way to achieve higher satisfaction and faster request resolution is to implement a live chat into the support team’s workflow, which is a quick, easy-to-use and direct tool helping customers reach their vendors faster. A live demo by our countryman showed that such a solution can improve SLA greatly, give your communication more of a human touch, and also reduce the amount of requests waiting in queues. We’ve experienced a similar improvement ourselves by using LiveChat on our Support webpage, for which we’ve also developed a free Jira integration.
You may also need to customize Jira Service Desk in case you’re going to process non-standard requests through it – just like Theron Feist, the IT Director of Peabody Institute, a conservatory and a preparatory music school at Johns Hopkins University. Like it often happens, they’ve started using Jira, Confluence and Jira Service Desk only for their IT stuff, but more and more teams wanted to join them over time. The most prominent use case of theirs, explained by Phil Lavery, is requesting and tracking piano maintenance issues in Jira Service Desk, which obviously required a special setup. It included custom request types, Riada’s Insight as a CMDB, and our own Extension and Queues apps for improving UX and request management. With Insight, the team has created a comprehensive database of all the pianos at the Peabody Institute, as well as their parts, exact locations and types of maintenance that are ever to be done with them. Our Extension app helped with setting up a separate request type for maintenance tracking, which is only visible to the maintenance team and enables providing additional details of every repair type with the help of Dynamic Forms feature. As Theron stated, it is very helpful in case the maintenance team uses the mobile Jira app for submitting these tickets and filling in the forms.
So, as we can see from the examples above, the use cases of Jira Service Desk can be very different, depending on the purpose and actual teams or customers using the solution. However, its out-of-the-box functionality is somewhat stripped down, which in most cases even requires customization and additional features to suit the particular setup.
Being imperfect, by definition, leaves some room for improvement. – George Hosu
We’ve already written about the most common concerns of Jira Service Desk users and solutions to them, and this time our Atlassian Apps Head Krzysztof Skoropada and Senior Atlassian Apps Manager Katarzyna Pawlak decided to look at this issue from a different angle.
The Customer Portal basically consists of 4 screens:
- the Help Center, which is the Customer Portal’s homepage;
- the Request Form, which appears after choosing a request type;
- the Request Detail View, visible to customers upon submitting a request;
- and My Requests screen, where customers can see all the requests filed by them or their Organization members.
These screens can be adjusted to improve customer journey on each step through Jira Service Desk – either with native configuration tools, or with the help of dedicated apps to extend the customization possibilities of the solution. Among these possibilities are displaying SLA, attachments, linked issues or external links to customers, managing visibility of fields, options, request types or even whole Customer Portals. Some options and solutions even allow you to completely redesign your Customer Portal, or just apply your brand and thus ensure a consistent customer experience across all your communication channels. We’re going to publish a series of articles covering every single detail of this topic – follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook to stay tuned!
We’ve enjoyed our trip to USA very much, and we’re happy to have met so many new people! But the Events Fall is not over yet – next up on our schedule are EuroSTAR, the biggest software testing expo in Europe, celebration of our friends DEISER’s 20th anniversary during DEISER Enterprise Days in Madrid, and Digital Workplace Summit 2018 by Communardo in Munich, which will be the last opportunity to say hi to us until next year. See you there!
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