Monthly Archives: April 2015

Working with Cireson Portal instead of SCSM Console

This is my own thoughts not from my employer or from Cireson.

Introduction

This post is my own thoughts about Cireson Portal and real life experience from different customers around in Sweden that have replaced the Service Manager Console and only using the portal to do it’s day-to-day work.

We all know that the Console of Service Manager is probably the most negative about the product because it’s slow and does not work well in terminal environments for example Citrix due to high resource use.

Now the Cireson Portal is a HTML5 based portal with it’s own database that caches the work items from Service Manager to that database in order to provide as fast rendering of webpages as possible. This solution works great but it comes with a few limitations. Because it’s using an own database not all information that is stored in the normal service manger database does exists in the Cireson database, but this should not be a problem for most users.

CiresonAllWorkItem

 

If you have worked with Azure before you can see that the looks are similar, this is a good design choice but the placement of the buttons for Save, Apply, Cancel might not be the best place. Users

Customization

The first things customers always wants in a ITSM tool is to modify the forms to fit the company need. In SCSM you had Authoring Tool and to be honest it’s not that good of a tool. It crashes a lot and you needed to clean the XML-files after you where done.

Now in the portal Cireson has implemented a clever way of doing this and making it really simple for someone without much coding experience to do it.

This code snippet is taken from the Incident form. You have to create a Incident.js and place it in the customspace folder to apply your own customization to the portal. All this customization are passed on between portal upgrades also.

I wont go into detail here but if i wanted to remove the Impact field i would just remove the line. If i didn’t want it to be a required field i just change required: true to false. It’s just that easy on form modifications for Service Request, Change Request, Release Request, Incident Request and Service Requests.

Downside

The downside about customization’s here is that you cannot modify a activity form (Review, Manual etc) They are locked in this look for the moment. My hope is that Cireson will allow us to modify even those form so we can remove/add forms/fields we feel are necessary.

CiresonManualActivity

Service Catalog

If you have a good service catalog already in SCSM the catalog will just show in this portal without any modifications. The offerings do however still have the same limitations as before, we can’t create dynamic questions and so on. But it’s prettier then the old ugly SharePoint portal. And you can do some customization here also. How big the icons should be etc.

CiresonCatalog

Reporting/Dashboard

Cireson added some dashboard support a few releases ago. It comes out-of-the-box with some predefined dashboards. Now they do give a fairly good overview but it might not fit all organisations. You can create your own dashboard but at the moment of this post it’s not easy at all. It requires good SQL knowledge and more.

However Cireson has told us that they will release a admin interface for this in the future.

CiresonDashBoards

 

Other nice stuff

There are lots of functions in the portal and i wont write them all down here, but i wanted to highlight a few i find appealing because it adds good functions that customers wants.

DMZ-Support

The good things about this portal is that you can place it on a DMZ and provide access to all your work items direct from the Internet if you want. This is a good thing for service providers for example that has the need for customers to access the tickets they have created in their system.

Single-Sign-On

The portal supports single-sign-on, there is a few prereq that needs to be configured but it’s not hard to get the portal to allow AD-credentials to login automatic to provide a more seamless user-interaction.

Active Directory integration on support groups. 

The portal will have the integration we always wanted to AD. The view Teams work item will show all work that my team have. This is based on mapping all support groups to a active directory group.

Limitations

As of all young products they all have limitations and this product is not different. You will still depend on the SCSM Console for a few things.

Reports

As i wrote before we have dashboards in the portal but we do not have any access to any reports.

Templates

We cannot modify any templates of any kind from the portal. If we want to change for example a service request template we have to do it from the console.

Activity management

It’s not possible to add/remove/modify activities from a service request och change. We can change for example implementer and add notes etc to the activities but if we want to remove an review activity from a service request we have to do it from the SCSM Console.

Custom Area (Service Request) 

As many of you might know it’s not possible to add a value to the Area list on service requests due to the fact it’s sealed. So we often create a new list and replace the old using authoring tool in the Console.

Now in the Cireson portal we can replace the lists on all forms but not from a system perspective. For example all other places that uses the old sealed values we cannot change. So the dashboards that comes with the console will not look at correct list. All views will not display anything from the Area and so on.

Language

The portal does support a bunch of language but it does not work as the Console does. In the Console it will always fallback to English language if a list value does not exists in another language.

If we use Swedish as language in the portal and we have a list with only English values then the list will be empty and you have to modify the XML code to add another language so the portal can show it.

Conclusion

My own conclusion here is that from an analyst and a end-user perspective you can work with all your normal work items from the portal only. There is no need to use the Console to create a work item, resolve it or approve a new change etc. Everything can be achieved from the portal.

I know there is a few other 3rd party apps out there on the market also but i have not tried them yet.

If you are using SCSM and still using the portal that comes with SCSM you should check this out. I have work quite much with the portal the last months so if you have any question feel free to add a comment. Or head over to http://www.cireson.com