Tuesday, March 29, 2016

-- Gray Carper (gcarper@med.umich.edu) 


Our Change Management process produced two small adjustments to ZenDesk last week that I’d like to draw your attention to...

"Solutions Center" Removed from Email Subject Lines

Up until late last Friday, [MSIS Solution Center] prefixed all emails sent by ZenDesk. This has now been shortened to [MSIS] because ZenDesk has become the standard platform for managing all MSIS operational work (not just the work of the Solutions Center).

Component Field Set for VPN, Duo, and M-Token Tickets

Late last year we introduced a Component ticket field that’s pre-populated with an initial list of applications, products, services, and general technologies that we support.



When set, the Component field enriches our ZenDesk data so that we can better see where our operational effort is spent. See, for example, our Adobe Connect demand since introducing the Component field...



To explore this yourself, login to ZenDesk, navigate to the Solutions Delivery KPIs dashboard, select the Capacity Worksheet tab, and use the Component drop-down chooser to see statistics for each component. (If that link doesn’t work for you, navigate to Reports > Insights and click the Get Started button. Once Insights initializes, you should be able to use the link.)

The Component field isn’t required yet, and as such it isn’t used consistently, but our goal is for it to be set on every ticket so that we have better data to support decisions in areas like hiring, effort planning, emergency response, project governance, performance improvement, and service level commitments.

In the meantime, as a stop-gap solution, we’re creating ad-hoc triggers to automatically set the Component field when specific keywords are found in the text of new tickets. Case-in-point: We set up these triggers last week…


These Keywords Set this Component
vpn VPN anyconnect AnyConnect VPN - AnyConnect
mfa MFA duo Duo DUO multifactor Multifactor MultiFactor multi-factor Multi-Factor Multi-factor MFA - Duo
m-token M-Token M-token mtoken MToken Mtoken MFA - M-Token

The resulting data will expose demand in VPN and multi-factor authentication (MFA) support, and that will help the Multi-Factor Authentication Steering Committee make and adjust plans.

Why not just create triggers like this for every component? Because the process is prone to error. The data is very likely to contain false positives (“VPN” might appear an all sorts of tickets that aren’t related to VPN support) and related tickets could be ignored because they didn’t include the right keywords. We can use triggers to take educated guesses, but we need humans to validate those guesses and make corrections.

Before you close your next ticket, then, take a moment to see if it fits into a Component we’ve identified. If it does, set it. If it doesn’t, submit a ticket to Performance & Improvement Management and tell us what’s missing so that we can expand the list.

Happy ZenDesking!

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