Kinetic Data Training

By Derick Larson

You’ve purchased Kinetic Request or Kinetic Survey, you got it installed, you have some requirements scoped out—now what? Well, how about some training!

There are manuals to help and even web videos, but there is just no substitute for a knowledgeable person to come and help get you started. One of the best ways to do this is with a training class. Kinetic Data offers four different classes to help you get started (or restarted it it’s been awhile) with Kinetic Request, Kinetic Task and Kinetic Survey.

If you have purchased only Kinetic Survey, the choice is easy. We offer a two day Kinetic Survey Manager class and a one day Administrator class. During class you will learn all about developing survey templates including questions, text, images, formatting with cascading style sheets, events and integrations. This class is for people that will be creating and maintaining survey templates. During the Administrator class, we walk through performing an integration to a sample BMC Remedy form, and talk about installations, where and how data is stored, and using some custom javascript. The Administrator class is for BMC Remedy administrators, and is also useful for report writers.

If you purchased Kinetic Request (or better yet, both Kinetic Survey and Kinetic Request), there are more options for classes. First there is the four day Kinetic Request Manager class which includes everything from the Kinetic Survey Manager class (so you can take the Kinetic Request class and be covered for Kinetic Survey!) and adds on a day of talking about the Kinetic Task Engine. You’ll learn how to create your own task trees and all about our basic handlers and others available from the Kinetic Task Community (ktc.kineticdata.com). Like the Kinetic Survey class, this class is for people that create and maintain service items and service catalogs. And, the same Administrator class is offered as the fourth day of training.

With the addition of Kinetic Task, bundled with Kinetic Request, we have two additional classes. The first is aone day web based classthat is focused on building task trees for Kinetic Request. It is essentially day three of the Kinetic Request Manager class and is great for customers that are upgrading from older versions, or just want some insight into how Kinetic Task works.

The last class we offer is a three day course just on Kinetic Task Advanced Training. It includes all the material from the one day online class and adds two days of breaking down and creating the task handlers that are part of what makes the ne Kinetic Task engine so powerful.

The Kinetic Survey Manager, Kinetic Request Manager, Kinetic Administrator, and the Kinetic Task Advanced Training are all available both at a local St Paul, Minnesota training center (see our web site for specific schedules) or you can have a trainer come to your site. The one day Kinetic Task Builder class is offered as on on-line class only at this time.

One of the best reasons to have a trainer come to your site is customization. As much as possible, we will customize the training class to your needs and specific requirements. We will happily change or update our in-class examples to your specific needs. And, if there are specific items that you want included in training, we can make sure they are part of your curriculum.

Contact us at training@kineticdata.com to inquire about availability and cost. Let us help you get your Kinetic Data project off to a great start.

Kinetic Calendar Gives Building Materials Giant Solid Insight into Environmental Permitting and Testing Requirements

It Happened in Vegas

When the company’s BMC Remedy administrator and developer saw a demonstration of the latest version of Kinetic Calendar at last year’s World Wide Remedy Users Group conference in Las Vegas, he peeled off a symbolic $1 bill and gave it to Kinetic Data’s President, John Sundberg, on the spot. It was a tailor-made solution for a big challenge.

The company has long used BMC Remedy for custom-built help desk forms, project and asset management, as well as leave requests and other applications. One BMC Remedy application the company acutely needed was a calendar that would give upper management quick views into how environmental and regulatory deadlines were being met in the company’s cement and ready-mix concrete divisions.

Both divisions are required to meet strict environmental standards and regulations. The ready-mix concrete division had built out an Environmental Management System (EMS) that tracked permit deadlines, air-quality testing and other requirements. Part of its EMS included a calendar built in BMC Remedy using tables. When the concrete division reviewed the ready-mix group’s EMS, users quickly fell in love with most of its features.

Except for the calendar.

For starters, the EMS calendar application was resource-intensive and the wait for a calendar to come up was agonizingly slow. Even worse, the calendar content was not configurable, showed only limited views into EMS activity, and couldn’t provide an overall view of all the different modules in the EMS system—let alone allow managers to drill down into modules for more details.

Delivering What Management Needed

Luckily, the company found their problem’s solution in Las Vegas.

Kinetic Calendar is a surprisingly simple to deploy off-the-shelf BMC Remedy application. And it works seamlessly with custom-built BMC Remedy applications. Both requirements were important to the company because it had been disappointed before by purchasing a software product that didn’t work with customized applications and instead required extensive development work. The company wasn’t going to make the same mistake again.

That’s why the company was delighted when it learned that Kinetic Calendar works easily with custom-built applications. In fact, Kinetic Calendar worked so well with the company’s custom-built applications that two calendars were ready to be rolled out to its U.S. cement production sites in just a few weeks. In all, the company will roll out 10–15 Kinetic Calendar modules with specific dates for tracking purposes in such critical EMS areas as permit expiration dates, site inspections and air-quality testing. All modules can be tracked on one main calendar view—a critical requirement for management. Users can also drill down from the main calendar into specific modules and site locations.

It’s a one-stop shop for upper management. Executives can view any level and detail of EMS tracking they need—by month, week or day—at any time, anywhere they have an Internet connection. And they don’t need to know how to use BMC Remedy or any special application, so their learning curve is practically nonexistent.

Who Says Great Software Can’t Be Boring?

One of the most appealing aspects of Kinetic Calendar to the company is its ease of use. So much so that BMC Remedy developers in the company find Kinetic Calendar actually kind of boring.

One Remedy developer recalls the Friday afternoon when the company purchased and downloaded Kinetic Calendar. It was a busy day at work so he didn’t get around to playing around with his new “toy” until after he went home and had dinner. His wife expected him to be holed up in his home office for hours, which was often the case when he tried out new software. Instead, he emerged from his office 45 minutes later and announced he was bored.

“You just got new software and you’re bored already?” his wife asked incredulously. Sad but true. Kinetic Calendar poses no challenges to BMC Remedy developers. Users, however, probably will find Kinetic Calendar’s ease of use anything but boring.

 

Self-Fulfillment—Not a SHAM

A Vision from Down Under
By Michael Poole

The other night, I made my usual stop at the supermarket to pick up a few things for dinner. I am doing this more often now that my son has moved in to be nearer his University. I also am finding that his 18-year-old’s appetite and eating habits are something akin to those of a herd of locusts passing over a particularly attractive stand of wheat!

So, with my laden basket, I approached the “checkout choice” moment. There’s choice #1, the normal queue, where you get the full human experience but have to wait behind the shopper who is buying for a family of 12 for the next 12 months; choice #2, the “12-items-or-fewer Express” queue, where I inevitably get behind the innumerate shopper who has 35 items stuffed into the basket; or choice #3, what I call the “Self-checkout” queue, where you get the chance to scan, weigh and bag and then swipe your card for payment. I, of course, went for “Self-checkout’.

Now I think I foolishly revealed a couple of blogs ago, that I recalled with some warmth the days of punch-cards and paper tape in the EDP (Electronic Data Processing) industry. I am also old enough to remember the transition—that should be called a revolution—of the grocery store, through “cash and carry” to “self-service.” Gone was the smiling grocer with his long grabbing implement to get items from the high shelves prior to bagging them and later delivering them to your door.

Self-service revolutionized the grocery industry and then went on the do the same for clothing, shoes, hardware, white and brown goods to ultimately end up in the supreme embodiment of self-service—IKEA—where you not only self-serve but self-construct the items you have purchased. The “flat-pack revolution” with the  “Allen-key” replacing the gun.

So, back to the self-checkout.

After self-scanning and self-weighing vegetables and selecting the appropriate ones from the screen (I can’t help but wonder how many people click on potatoes when they are really weighing an exotic and expensive imported fruit? Not me, but I have been tempted!), self-bagging my item, and finally self-swiping my credit card for payment, I took the receipt, picked up my shopping bag, and was free to go. As I left, I heard the plaintive sound of the scanner thanking me for visiting the store.

A little while ago, no matter what the amount of my purchase, I would have had to wait for a customer service representative or perhaps retail experience facilitator to check my signature and authorize the card transaction. But now it seems that they are either tracking my previous self-check-out experiences, have a face-recognition system that thinks I look honest, or have a minimum purchase level that is automatically approved. A sensible idea in any case and it reduces the cost to the chain yet again.

So, you may be wondering what my shopping experiences have to with Kinetic Data or the Self-Help and Actualization Movement (SHAM) catch-cry of self-fulfillment.

Well for the former—i.e., Kinetic Data—a great deal; for the latter—SHAM—nothing. So feel safe, I am not launching into an Anthony Robbins moment!

While in the meditative posture adopted by the neophyte scanner, I realized that I was not just involved in an advanced form of self-service, I was SELF-FULFILLING—completing the evolution that began when the local full-service grocer’s shop became the cash-and-carry store.

Just as social networking has been credited with major developments in the Internet, I believe that the supermarket sector has driven the way purchases of goods are fulfilled.

We are now really in the land of self-fulfillment every time we enter a supermarket, K-Mart, or Wal-Mart and their ilk.

How is this related to ITSM?

The push towards service request management (SRM) is, in my opinion, at the start of the revolution that has nearly completed in the retail sector. Whereas in IT we have implemented picking the stock off the shelves—initiating the “service request” in ITSM parlance, we are yet to embrace the idea that the customer can do scanning, bagging and payment transaction themselves—the complete fulfillment process in ITSM.

Why is this so? As a TV physicist of the ’60s used to say.

We have spent a lot of time and effort designing service request systems, service portfolios and catalogues, and service request portals, but they are still just delivering orders to a prerevolutionary fulfillment process that involves multiple tasks, approvals, and work-orders that are, in most cases, still handled by a person.

Think of the common “new starter” request. While we may have an intelligent web-based request form that allows all the necessary tasks and approvals to be started, at the end of the day, all that is produced are tasks yet to be performed—set up login, print security card, order lap-top, configure applications—by people.

The self-service process ends when the request is submitted and the old processes take over to do the fulfillment.

We should be designing not service request systems, but service fulfillment systems.

I don’t think I am alone in this. I may be the first to give it the name self-fulfillment, but at Kinetic Data, we have been involved with a number of thought-leading clients to develop end-to-end SRM processes that are really self-fulfillment systems.

What does a self-fulfillment system look like?

At the front end, the requester end, it looks very much like any SRM system. A portal with a catalogue of services available. It is when you select a service that the differences begin to show. Intelligent forms guide the user through ONLY the options and questions that are necessary for the version of the service he or she is requesting. Upon submission, all the approval rules are assessed and the request is either approved automatically or referred. Once approved, the same intelligent task engine will communicate with all the other applications and create the required records and tasks. Only when something cannot be done by the systems alone will a human be involved and, even then, when that task is completed, the task engine will be ready to take up the rest of the fulfillment process. All the while, the requester will be kept informed of each stage and step of the process.

The major result is the requester being the main actor and as much of the process as possible being triggered and completed by the requester’s action alone.

This is self-fulfillment—it is not a SHAM. It is the next era in the evolution of enterprise and IT management.

 

Personalizing Kinetic Calendar

By Derick Larson

Kinetic Calendar is possibly my favorite product—and not just because we get fewer support calls. Kinetic Calendar gives you an entirely new way to view your Remedy data and opens it up to a much wider audience.

The most common question about Kinetic Calendar is how to let customers view the events they want without making multiple calendars. The idea is to give the customer a lot of data and let them “filter” down to what is important to them. This lets you have one main calendar that customers can personalize for their own requirements.

For example, you have one change management calendar that multiple departments use to view their changes. You could create multiple calendars, but that is limiting if a customer wants to see the changes for multiple departments. Filtering lets the customer personalize the calendar, without requiring you to make any changes to the actual calendar definition.

Filtering is done two ways.

First, there is an event type for a calendar called Filtered that lets you select fields (from the BMC Remedy form you are using for your data) for your customers to filter the individual events. You can set the order of the fields and even set a default. The fields are listed along the top of the web display of the calendar for the customer to choose.

The second method allows you to put parts of your qualification in the URL that is used to display the calendar. You have to build your own web page to collect the parameters and call the URL (Kinetic Request and Kinetic Survey are perfect for this), but you can really add to your customers experience by letting them make selections before the calendar is displayed. This method uses a feature called Parameter Values, and can be combined with the filters.

Combining the two methods together allows you to present very informative and personalized views into your own BMC Remedy data. For example, a service provider could see events by one or multiple companies, or their customers can be limited to just their own tickets, but still have the ability to filter based on other criteria like priority, status or assigned to group.

Let us know what cool things you’ve done with Kinetic Calendar—we love to share ideas and experiences with our customers.

Service Providers Accrue Enterprise Value Benefits from All Clients

By Brett Norgaard

Every branch office in an organization can be thought of as “an experiment in productivity” according to Frank Troppe, author of “Branching Out,” the definitive book on branch office success. The trick is to promote a culture of innovation and ultimately capture the best productivity gains from the branches and replicate them across the entire company. Troppe goes on to develop a formula called, Replication Rule 144X, which dollarizes the Enterprise Value of effective branch-based innovations. Here’s how it works. In a 1000 branch based organization, let’s say that branch #273 invents a way to save $100/mo. through the development of a process such as the on-boarding of new branch personnel, the streamlining of a claims process, or the coordination of requesting and fulfilling equipment, materials, and space for ongoing seminars.

Here’s a breakdown of the formula:

$100 (monthly savings) X 12 months = $1200 Annual Savings per Branch

$1200 (Annual Savings per Branch) X 1000 Locations = $1,200,000 Annual Savings for all Branches

For a public company, let’s assume a Price to Earnings (PE) Ratio of 12 (this is an average—it could be higher or lower)

$1,200,000 (Annual Savings for all Branches) X 12 (Average PE Ratio) = $14,400,000 in increased Enterprise Value

Not too bad for a $100/mo. savings in branch #273 within an organization that can recognize, capture and replicate this innovation. An automated request and fulfillment system like Kinetic Request bundled with Kinetic Task can certainly capture the process and present it for broad usage across an organization. And, there is an integration capability to connect to enterprise systems like IT, HR, Procurement, and Facilities to broaden the scope and scale of the innovations.

As exciting as this is for a single enterprise, it is particularly appealing for a service provider with multiple clients who may each have thousands of branches, stores, offices, centers, clinics, etc. What we are really talking about here is a multi-tenant service request and fulfillment platform that can be configured for each client and where the innovations—captured as processes within service items—are portable and “replicatable” between branches and clients.

To the savvy service provider innovator, Replication Rule 144X is just the start…

 

 

Jumpstart Your Kinetic Task Handler Development with Kinetic Task Community

By Nancy Nafziger

For many Kinetic Task users, the thought of creating a Kinetic Task Handler from scratch can be mind numbing. You may not be sure exactly how to do it or you’ve already got a lot on your to-do list, but you know that creating a task tree of handlers is the most efficient way to automate your workflow process. So you often look for shortcuts and easier ways to jumpstart the process.

Kinetic Task Handler

For newbies, I’ll back up and explain what a Kinetic Task Handler is. A Kinetic Task Handler is a module that performs a specific action used to automate a workflow process in Kinetic Task. Multiple Task Handlers are added to create and manage the workflow process.

Kinetic Task Community

Once you know what a handler is, you’ll want to know what Kinetic Task Community is. Kinetic Data is pleased to announce the launch of Kinetic Task Community (KTC). KTC is a resource for technical and nontechnical Kinetic Task users that provides an easier way to properly start and complete task handler development. KTC provides existing Kinetic Task Handlers that are validated by Kinetic Data Task experts. Existing Task Handlers can be downloaded from Kinetic Task Community to use out of the box or customized.

Unlike the phrase, “Anything worth having is worth working hard for,” with KTC you don’t have to work as hard to build Kinetic Task Handlers.

 

KTC Goal

Our goal with Kinetic Task Community is to grow as a resource to help Kinetic Task users collaborate with other users to create and share Kinetic Task Handlers. If you are a Kinetic Task user who has access to a Kinetic Task Manager console, jumpstart your handler development by signing up for a free KTC account today.

Kinetic Task Community—Start here for better handlers!

 

KTC Key Benefits:

  • Allows technical and nontechnical Kinetic Task users to decide how to best implement Kinetic Task handlers in a workflow process in Kinetic Task.
  • Saves time and costs by downloading existing Kinetic Task Handlers; reduces duplication of effort by using Task Handlers out of the box or customizing them.
  • Offers a training resource, which provides Kinetic Task Handler samples that include documentation to ensure that you are creating handlers properly.
  • Offers information regarding how to develop your own handlers and how to interact with different platforms.
  • Provides a key resource for generating handler ideas. Check out existing Kinetic Task Handlers see what is possible in your environment.

Task handlers are definitely “worth having” but building them doesn’t have to be hard work. If you want an easier way, check out Kinetic Task Community to jumpstart your Kinetic Task Handler development!


So You Want to Change the Out-Of-The-Box Workflow or Forms?

By Derick Larson

So you love our Kinetic Data products (of course), but there is this one thing that your customers are asking for that means you might have to alter the out-of-the-box workflow or forms.

What Now?

Have no fear. Remember that behind the scenes Kinetic Request, Kinetic Survey, and Kinetic Calendar are all built on BMC Remedy, a configurable automation system. Using the Remedy Administrator Tool or Developer Studio (depending on your version of Remedy) you have total control to change the application to suit your customers’ needs.

While this sounds great, even easy, there are a couple things that you want to watch out for.

Upgrades and Patches

Every time you upgrade or patch the application, there is the possibility of our updates overwriting your customizations. It is very important that you track and record all of your customizations so you can setup the application the way you (and your customers) want it.

Migrating Environments

Just like after an upgrade, if you migrate a Kinetic Data application from one environment to another, your changes need to be accounted for. Most customers mark any workflow changes with either a unique character (*, = or +) or a standard abbreviation pre-pended to the name. Forms are a little harder to notate changes, and may require a separate document.

What are “Normal” Customizations?

Over the years we have learned that there are not many customizations needed in either Kinetic Request or Kinetic Survey. Almost the entire interface with customers is done through the Service Items or Survey Templates. However, there are a few that are popular:

  • Removing Delete Options—this includes removing or disabling the delete buttons for templates and catalogs
  • Changing Access using BMC Remedy Permissions—often done to open up access to the BMC Remedy Administrator links to Configuration, Integration Manager and Report Manager
  • Adding Custom Workflow for Submitted Templates—Not a true customization to the product, but we do provide a specific filter guide for filters that need to fire when a template is submitted. The guide is called “KS_SRV_CustSurveyResultsJoin_RunCustomLogic”

If you and your customers think your customization of the product is coolhey! We might too. Let us know of any interesting changes to the product and they may end up in the next version.

As always, feel free to contact Kinetic Data support with any questions or comments about customizations or any other topic.

Request Management Defines, Automates and Executes BPM

By Nancy Nafziger

How do you continuously improve and modify dynamic processes while also addressing compliance?

How do you provide process definition, workflow automation and visibility into your business processes?

How do you promote business effectiveness and efficiency while striving for innovation, flexibility, and integration with technology?

Request Management Combined with Business Process Management is the Ticket!

What is Business Process Management?
Business Process Management, (BPM) is a holistic management approach focused on aligning all aspects of an organization with the wants and needs of clients. It promotes business effectiveness and efficiency while striving for innovation, flexibility, and integration with technology. BPM attempts to improve processes continuously. Through BPM applications, a company can create workflows and automate their business processes.

Value of Enterprise-Wide BPM Applications
Once you grasp BPM, selecting the right applications is vital to your success. BPM applications that can be implemented enterprise-wide will add significant value to your initiative. If it’s not an enterprise-wide application, BPM will be difficult to manage.

Three Key Elements are Included in BPM:

  • One—descriptive models that represent all of your business processes and outline your organizational hierarchies, business rules and metadata.
  • Two—detailed modeling, where business processes are defined and IT details are assigned/aligned with the processes.
  • Three—automation, execution and fulfillment of business processes. Without the proper applications, this isn’t possible.

Some BPM suites include the appropriate BPM applications. However, a combination of applications is far more beneficial. For example, utilizing one vendor for the descriptive modeling element and with another for the workflow automation and execution element will produce better results.

What is Request Management?
Request Management is a web-based, self-service application that enables end-to-end service request delivery management and fulfillment including: presentation of IT or other business services to users; service request submission; request routing and workflow; request approvals; and service delivery. An actionable IT service catalog is one component of a larger request management system. A flexible request management application, such as Kinetic Request, bundled with Kinetic Task is commonly associated with request management and delivery of IT services. Kinetic Task is an advanced automation engine that enables any service delivery function to create service catalogs and automate approvals and service delivery workflow processes.

A Request Management Application Such as Kinetic Request Bundled with Kinetic Task Offers:

  • A solution for delivering business process faster and easier
  • Complete workflow control and flexibility
  • Automation of fulfillment and approval processes
  • The ability to easily configure a limitless number of tasks and approvals
  • The ability to manage simple or complex business processes
  • Simplification and execution of task and business process management enterprise-wide
  • High flexibility and scalability
  • Easy-to-use self-service portals
  • Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)
  • Reduced costs—by efficiently configuring and defining business tasks and automating manual business processes

A request management application enables key advantages that make it simple to accurately control and efficiently deliver BPM.