Case Study: ServiceNow Agile application development for Tabcorp

Case Study: ServiceNow Agile application development for Tabcorp

ServiceNow's Time and Attendance application streamlines many of Tabcorp's processes when it comes to managing employees' schedules and time recording, allowing employees to handle many of these tasks on their own in an easy-to-use portal.

The innovative testing model reduced testing effort by weeks and provided great confidence that the complex background calculations were accurate within seconds of initiating the test...

September 2017

The prompt and decision

JDS was engaged by Tabcorp, the largest betting platform in Australia, to develop a Time and Attendance application on the ServiceNow platform. This application allows employees to handle many time-tracking tasks on their own, including reviewing the hours they've worked, their time in lieu, and their current and future schedules. With more than 400 different time tracking use cases, the calculations are complex.

The fact that the results were sent to payroll at the end, and could potentially have a direct impact on people’s finances if not done properly, made this critical to get right.

Using the latest best practice development methodologies, JDS was able to deliver this system in only seven weeks. On top of this, the calculations were proven to be 100% accurate despite the inevitable changing requirements that befall all software development projects. Other than a fantastic team effort from both Tabcorp and JDS, the project’s success was due to the following:

  • The use of the ServiceNow platform

  • Use of Agile methodology

  • Unit Testing

  • Emphasis on clean code

The platform

The ServiceNow platform provides a base for developers to build applications rapidly. Most aspects of software development are streamlined and simplified without removing too much developer control. Development that would take many weeks to develop can simply be dragged in place and configured.

Some great streamlined features that would take many months to create include:

  • REST API for every table you create

  • Configurable table Access Control that impacts how data is retrieved

  • Workflow editor which can automate any business workflow

  • Event-based notification system

Another major benefit of the platform is that all applications built on the platform live in the same ecosystem. They are able to communicate with each other when needed, simplifying complex integrations.

About Tabcorp

Tabcorp is one of the few integrated gambling and entertainment companies in the world. Our three core businesses—Wagering and Media, Keno and Gaming Services—are delivered to people through our retail, digital, and Sky media platforms.

When Tabcorp was created in 1994, it was our mission to support a racing industry which would be the pride of the nation. Today, excellence and integrity remain at the heart of everything we do.

Along the way we’ve worked hand in hand with our partners, because it is at racecourses and stadiums, as well as in pubs and clubs, that what we do truly comes to life.

It’s our mission to drive commercial success through championing social and sustainable ways to play.

Industry

Entertainment

Primary software

  • ServiceNow Time and Attendance
JDS was engaged to build a Time and Attendance system. The Agile methodology employed throughout the project allowed the stakeholders to interact with the tool every step of the way. This interaction created better business clarity, reduced rework, and increased efficiency and productivity within the team. The innovative testing model reduced testing effort by weeks and provided great confidence that the complex background calculations were accurate within seconds of initiating the test. The JDS staff were pleasant, professional, and approachable throughout the project.
Mike ZammitProject Manager

The process

Using Agile methodologies, JDS was able to rapidly create the application and get immediate feedback from Tabcorp. The project was run in one-week sprints with a demo at the end of each sprint. The feedback from these demos was critical for us to understand whether we were developing the right solution. Variations were actioned in the following sprint to adjust the solution accordingly.

Using Agile methodologies doesn’t mean that we are delivering Agile, but to support these processes, we need to develop Agile. This means finding a way to automate as much of the development cycle as possible.

Unit testing

Using Test Driven Development methodologies, JDS automated the testing of the solution. This practice maintained development momentum and without it, the solution would have taken many months to complete. Why is this the case?

Traditional testing would be manual following this cycle:


Using this testing cycle would potentially take a developer a week or more to understand whether or not a code change they made has broken anything else.

By writing unit tests, the feedback loop is cut down from a week or more to less than a second for every time a developer adds code.

As an example of how effective this is, there were many cases where new requirements came in and the calculations had to be adjusted. This is a normal part of software development and is encouraged in Agile projects. By running the unit tests when making code changes, we were able to get instant feedback on whether the changes broke existing scenarios.

These tests were executed more than 20 times an hour during our development to understand whether the changes were accurate. The cost and time savings from this practice was enormous, and resulted in a flawless deployment with no errors found.

Clean code

Too much emphasis can be put on development process when, at the end of the day, it is the code that will slow a project down.To develop code that is testable in one-week sprints requires adherence to modern best practices of clean code. If the code is not clean, the project is not clean and developing a solution becomes increasingly difficult. With this in mind, we followed clean code practices to keep code highly maintainable and Agile as requirements changed.

Project outcomes

It was all of these components which led to the successful development of a complex solution in such a short period of time. Missing any of these components would have lead to things falling through the cracks.

Do you have ServiceNow and need a custom solution? JDS can rapidly develop your application using modern development best practices.

JDS truly demonstrated the Tabcorp value of “working as one team” through presenting concepts and recommendations for discussion, and working with the team to resolve challenges presented during the life of the project. I would highly recommend JDS for any future development work.
Mike ZammitProject Manager

Our team on the case

Test First, Code Second.

Rhyno van der Sluijs

Consultant

Length of Time at JDS

2 years

Skills

Software Development, Pattern-Based Development, Security Testing, Agile, DevOps, ServiceNow.

Workplace Passion

I work with ServiceNow and security testing. I am passionate about writing good-quality, highly maintainable code, and evangelising test-driven development.

Communication is key.

Daniel Brown

Consultant

Length of Time at JDS

1.5 years

Skills

Performance testing, ServiceNow administration/development, and cooking.

Workplace Solutions

Performance testing, consulting, and pre-sales for ServiceNow. My workplace passion is sharing information and learnings with others in my team.

Why choose JDS?

At JDS, our purpose is to ensure your IT systems work wherever, however, and whenever they are needed. Our team identifies current or potential business issues, and then develops customised solutions to suit you.

JDS is different from other providers in the market. We offer 24/7 monitoring capabilities and support throughout the entire application lifecycle. We give your IT Operations team visibility into the health of your IT systems, enabling them to identify and resolve issues quickly.

We are passionate about what we do, working seamlessly with you to ensure you are getting the best possible performance from your environment.

Posted by Amy Clarke in Case Study, Entertainment, ServiceNow, 0 comments
Women in IT: Celia Barbosa

Women in IT: Celia Barbosa

Over the last few decades, more and more women have pursued careers in technology, adding new strengths and diverse skills to the IT workforce. However, controversies such as the recent inflammatory memo written by a now-ex Google employee show us there is still progress to be made. Here at JDS, we are committed to being a workplace of choice for women, whether working in tech-based roles, sales, marketing, finance, or administration. We are excited to launch this new series of blog posts, Women in IT, where we will profile several of the outstanding women working for JDS across all our offices in Australia.

 


Celia Barbosa, Delivery Manager—Melbourne

One of our longest-standing employees, Celia Barbosa is currently a Delivery Manager for our consultant team in Melbourne. Having come from a background in engineering, she “fell into IT” after realising how much of her work in the engineering space relied on IT systems functioning correctly.

She took a job with JDS more than a decade ago and has been providing senior consulting to our customers and leadership within the organisation since then.

We asked her some questions about her role here, how it has changed over time, and what she recommends to other women searching for a great place to work in IT.

When you work here, it feels like it’s not just an organisation but a family.

What drew you to a job at JDS?

I had a background in IT monitoring systems (over ten years) and was working at a large investment organisation doing day-to-day “business as usual” tasks when the JDS job came up. The consultant position seemed a good fit for me, allowing me to offer more and use different skills. I liked the idea of working for a consulting company so I could do some of the more complex and higher value tasks, such as architect solutions for large clients.

Have you progressed in your career at JDS? If so, how?

Absolutely. I started at JDS as a consultant and quickly progressed to become the Monitoring Service Lead. I’m now a Delivery Manager and second in command to the Chief Operating Officer. John Bearsley, the Managing Director, has been supportive of my career here since the beginning and constantly encouraged me to move up in the company, helping me upskill and broaden my technical experience.

Why do you think it’s important for women to be in IT?

Females make up over 50% of the population and are big users of IT systems, so it makes sense for us to play a large part in IT. Who better than the users of an IT system to be involved in development and steer IT in the right direction? There is no technical part of IT that women can’t do just as well as men. Women also bring a range of new ideas, thought processes, skills, and experience to the table that is a benefit for any business.

Why is JDS a good place to work for women?

JDS is a great place to work because it provides ongoing training and a good support structure to ensure everyone is successful in their jobs. The JDS support structure, in particular, is something that I have not seen at many other consulting firms. JDS staff have good work-life balance. When you work here, it feels like it’s not just an organisation but a family.

Are you looking for a fantastic place to work in the IT space? JDS has offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide—and we’re always on the lookout for innovative, skilled women who know their stuff when it comes to technology.

If you’re interested in learning more or being considered, please email us at careers@jds.net.au. We look forward to hearing from you.

Our team on the case

 

Learn from past mistakes.

Celia Barbosa

Delivery Manager

Length of Time at JDS

10 years

Skills

I have been in IT for over 20 years starting off specialising in various IT enterprise monitoring tools.

More recently, my focus has been on:

  • IT project and delivery management
  • Leadership and Staff management
  • Oversight of Enterprise Monitoring, Testing, IT Security, IT Service Management (ITIL) projects
  • IT processes
  • Technical problem solving
  • Best Practices
  • Technical architecture and solution design

Workplace Passion

I am passionate about solving business IT problems and processes. I don’t like inefficiency and seeing large organisation waste money so will always strive to show clients how to make the most of the tools they have or make recommendations on other tools only where required. I enjoy working with JDS consultants and helping our clients.

Commas save lives.

Amy Clarke

Marketing Communications Manager

Length of Time at JDS

Since July 2017

Skills

Writing, communications, marketing, design, developing and maintaining a brand, social media, sales.

Workplace Solutions

Words matter, so make sure you get them right!

Workplace Passion

Helping a company develop its voice and present that to their clients with pride.

Do it with purpose or don’t do it at all.

Vanessa Lizarraga-Castro

Internal Recruiter

Length of Time at JDS

Since July 2017

Skills

Futuristic, connectedness, learner, positivity, relator.

Workplace Solutions

Listen to understand not respond.

Workplace Passion

Matching people to their dream careers at an employer of choice (us).

Like this post?

Share it on social media using the image below!

Posted by Amy Clarke in News, 0 comments
What the HPE Software move to Micro Focus means for you

What the HPE Software move to Micro Focus means for you

After a year-long planning and transition period, the new Micro Focus announced its official launch on Friday 1 September. The spin-off merger of HPE Software with Micro Focus is one of the biggest deals in IT this year. So, what does it mean for your business?


In their official press release, the new CEO of Micro Focus, Chris Hsu, stated: “We are bringing together a powerful combination of technology and talent uniquely positioned to drive customer-centered innovation at enterprise scale – enabling organizations to maximize the ROI of existing software investments while embracing the new hybrid model for enterprise IT.”

Having come into the role directly from his previous positions as COO of HPE and Executive Vice President and General Manager of HPE Software, Hsu is highly familiar with the workings of this software and the needs of users.

JDS Australia congratulates Mr Hsu, Micro Focus, and HPE Software on this deal and looks forward to partnering with Micro Focus going forward to deliver excellent IT and software outcomes to our customers. JDS will continue to support and work with Micro Focus software to ensure it works for your business.

As with all things in IT, change is inevitable and ongoing. And with change comes a certain level of excitement, but also uncertainty. With this transition from HPE Software to Micro Focus, JDS Australia is here to assist you in navigating any uncertainties or questions you may have.

If you have any concerns or questions about this change, or our ongoing partnership and capabilities with Micro Focus, please contact us by phone or email.

Our team on the case

'It is what it is' - Your action, your reaction and your mindset - they are the only things you have control over. The rest, all that is outside your control, it just is what it is.

Steve Smith

General Manager

Length of Time at JDS

10 years

Skills

It’s been a while since I was ‘on the tools’ but my background is as a software engineer and I have a solid understanding of the technology stacks and the components within those stacks. My strength, however, is probably more in understanding technology from the other perspective—from that of a consumer of technology as well as that of a supplier.

Workplace Passion

Being a part of providing a work environment that provides others with the opportunity to deliver the best that they can, and enjoying celebrating those achievements—but all the while understanding that, important as the work environment is, we all have lives of even greater importance outside the work environment.

Commas save lives.

Amy Clarke

Marketing Communications Manager

Length of Time at JDS

Since July 2017

Skills

Writing, communications, marketing, design, developing and maintaining a brand, social media, sales.

Workplace Solutions

Words matter, so make sure you get them right!

Workplace Passion

Helping a company develop its voice and present that to their clients with pride.

Posted by Amy Clarke in Micro Focus, News, 0 comments
Meet the key features of LoadRunner 12.55

Meet the key features of LoadRunner 12.55

HPE Software has just announced the release of LoadRunner and Performance Centre 12.55 this month, August 2017. One of our expert consultants, Lionel Lim, has the details.


I've spent some time going through the release notes and checking out what HPE has in store for us in the performance space and I have to admit, it sounds like a very interesting update.

There are some key features you should be aware of in LoadRunner 12.55. I’ll unpack these in the second half of this post, but the full list of features is below:

  • JMeter tests integration enables the users to run JMeter scripts from inside the Controller, alongside Vuser scripts and view JMeter test results in addition to LoadRunner measurements.
  • HAR files can be generated from the Replay Summary pane (only for Web HTTP/HTML).
  • Updates to correlation rules:
    • Ability to search and apply correlations in HTTP headers
    • Attribute based correlations (ABC): New correlation API allows dynamic value extraction from HTML documents
    • Updated correlation rules (SAP Fiori, SAP NWBC, SAP WebDynpro)
    • Scan using popular encoding methods (Base64/XSS encoded/decoded).
  • MQTT (MQ Telemetry Transport) protocol is a M2M protocol widely used in IoT (Internet of Things). User can emulate MQTT clients and design, and execute performance testing of BQTT-based IoT systems (sensors, actuators, switches).
  • TruClient scripts converted to code from actions (TruClient Web Scripts only)
  • Support for Dynatrace
    • Integrate Dynatrace graphs during online execution
    • Opens up more metrics to be measured during a test run
    • Combined reports in analysis

One of the biggest features that LoadRunner 12.55 has introduced is integration of JMeter tests, which can be run from the Controller. The added benefit is that the Controller will also be able to collect the essential JMeter tests results and can be viewed via the LoadRunner Analysis although it is very basic information.

The amount of threads will be configured in the jmx file. This means on the Controller, only one user is required from each JMeter script. Other JMeter configurations (e.g. threads, pacing, think time, etc.) should be configured through JMeter before the script is uploaded to the Controller.

Another great update in LoadRunner 12.55 is that TruClient scripts can now be converted to code from actions. This allows the user to create more complex scripts and is not restricted to only action commands. Converting the script to code mode will also reduce the memory consumption and provide a faster processing user interface compared to running it via actions.

The screenshot below shows the TruClient script in Development mode. The user then selects the Convert to Code button, highlighted in red.

The script is then converted into code mode as shown below. This is less resource intensive compared to running in action mode and will allow for more complex scripting, something that was restricted in the action mode.

Continuing on from JMeter related features, Vugen web scripts can now be converted to HAR files by replaying the script once and then selecting the Save HAR File option in the Replay Summary. The HAR files then could possibly be converted to jmx files using other third-party tools.

Vugen recording for HTTP/HTML has a nice handy feature which is available after recording. The Recording Report tab will give the option to exclude different domains from the original recording by selecting only the required domains and regenerating the script. This is a simple but great feature in removing unnecessary requests/clutter in the script.

Our team on the case

Everyone is here to help each other.

Lionel Lim

Consultant

Length of Time at JDS

6+ years

Skills

HP LoadRunner ASE, HP UFT, AppDynamics, Splunk, JMeter

Workplace Solutions

I work on performance issues for our clients at JDS. I make sure the client detects and avoids any potential performance problems with their systems prior to their go-live dates

Conclusion

Once more users have adopted LoadRunner 12.55, we should see even more interesting uses for these new features in the real world. If you have any of your own tips and findings from LoadRunner 12.55, I’d be more than happy to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment on this post with your feedback or questions.

Posted by Amy Clarke in Micro Focus, News, 0 comments
Case Study: Netwealth bolster their security with Splunk

Case Study: Netwealth bolster their security with Splunk

Netwealth, an Australian superannuation and investment company, implemented Splunk as an SIEM-compliant monitoring tool to bolster their information security.

The project was certainly a success, and Splunk is working well in our environment. We see a number of opportunities to use Splunk in other use-cases across the business.

June 2017

The prompt and decision

"As a financial services organisation, information security and system availability are core to the success of our business. With the business growing, we needed a solution that was scalable and which allowed our team to focus on high-value management tasks rather than on data collection and review."

Information security is vital to modern organisations, and particularly for those that deal in sensitive data, such as Netwealth. It is essential to actively assess software applications for security weaknesses to prevent exploitation and access by third parties, who could otherwise extract confidential and proprietary information. Security monitoring looks for abnormal behaviours and trends that could indicate a security breach.

"The continued growth of the business and the increased sophistication of threats prompted us to look for a better way to bring together our security and IT operations information and events," explains Chris Foong, Technology Infrastructure Manager at Netwealth. "Advancements in the technology available in this space over the last few years meant that a number of attractive options were available."

The first stage in Netwealth’s project was to select the right tool for the job, with several options short-listed. Each of these options was pilot tested, to establish which was the best fit to the requirements—and Splunk, with its high versatility and ease of use, was the selected solution.

The power in the solution comes from Splunk’s ability to combine multiple real-time data flows with machine learning and analysis which prioritises threats and actions, and the use of dynamic visual correlations and on-demand custom queries to more easily triage threats. Together, this empowers IT to make informed decisions.

Objective

Netwealth’s business objective was to implement a security information and event management (‘SIEM’) compliant tool to enhance management of security vulnerabilities and reporting. Their existing tool no longer met the expanding needs of the business, and so they looked to Splunk and JDS to provide a solution.

Approach

Netwealth conducted a proof of concept with various tools, and Splunk was selected. JDS Australia, as Splunk Implementation Partner, provided licensing and expertise.

IT improvements

Implementing Splunk monitoring gave Netwealth enhanced visibility over their security environment, and the movement of sensitive data through the business. This enabled them to triage security events and vulnerabilities in real time.

About Netwealth

Founded in 1999, Netwealth was established to provide astute investors and wealth professionals with a better way to invest, protect and manage their current and future wealth. As a business, Netwealth seeks to enable, educate and inspire Australians to see wealth differently and to discover a brighter future.

Netwealth offers a range of innovative portfolio administration, superannuation, retirement, investment, and managed account solutions to investors and non-institutional intermediaries including financial advisers, private clients, and high net worth firms.

Industry

Financial Services

Primary applications

  • Office365
  • Fortigate
  • IIS
  • Juniper SRX
  • Microsoft DNS
  • Microsoft AD and ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services)
  • JBoss (Java EE Application Server)
  • Fortinet

Primary software

  • Splunk Enterprise
  • Splunk Enterprise Security (application add-on)

The process

Now that Splunk had been identified as the best tool for the job, it was time to find an Implementation Partner—and that’s where JDS came in. JDS, as the most-certified Australian Splunk partner, was the natural choice. "JDS provided Splunk licensing, expertise on integrating data sources, and knowledge transfer to our internal team," says Foong.  

An agile, project managed approach was taken.  

  1. Understand the business requirements and potential threats associated with Netwealth’s environment.
  2. Identify the various services that required security monitoring.
  3. Identify the data feed for those services.
  4. Deploy and configure core Splunk.
  5. Deploy the Enterprise Security application onto Splunk.
  6. Configure the Enterprise Security application to enable features. These features gave visibility into areas of particular concern.
JDS provided Splunk licensing, expertise on integrating data sources, and knowledge transfer to our internal team.
Chris FoongTechnology Infrastructure Manager

What is Splunk security monitoring/Splunk Enterprise Security?

Splunk Enterprise Security (‘ES’) is a security solution built on the powerful features of Splunk. It gives the ability to continuously monitor the security environment; optimise, centralise, and automate incident response using workflows and alerting; conduct rapid investigation of potential incidents; and trace activities associated with compromised systems, applying a ‘kill-chain’ methodology to see the attack lifecycle.

The JDS team worked well with our team, were knowledgeable about the product, and happy to share that knowledge with our team.
JDS are professional. They delivered what they said they would, and didn’t under- or over-sell themselves. They’ve provided ongoing support and advice beyond the end of the project. We would work with them again.

The JDS difference

For this project, JDS "assisted Netwealth in deploying and configuring Splunk, and gaining confidence in Splunk Enterprise Security," explains the JDS Consultant on the case. "We were engaged as a trusted partner with Splunk, and within hours of deployment, we had helped Netwealth to gain greater visibility of the environment."

JDS were able to leverage their Splunk expertise to give added value to the client, advising them on how to gain maximum value in terms of both project staging, and in the onboarding of new applications. "We advocated a services approach—start by designing the dashboard you want, and work backwards towards the data required to build that dashboard."

"The JDS team worked well with our team, were knowledgeable about the product, and happy to share that knowledge with our team," says Netwealth’s Chris Foong. "They delivered what they said they would, and didn’t under- or over-sell themselves. We would work with them again."

End results

Chris Foong says that Netwealth was looking for "improved visibility over security and IT operations information and events, to aid in faster response and recovery"—and the project was a success on all counts.

"The project was delivered on time and to budget, and Splunk is now capturing data from all the required sources," adds Foong. "We also identified a number of additional use cases, over and above the base Enterprise Security case, such as rapidly troubleshooting performance degradation."

Now that Netwealth has implemented Splunk, the software has further applicability across the business. The next step is continuing to leverage Splunk, and JDS will be there to help.

Business Benefits

  • Gave Netwealth better visibility into the organisation’s security posture
  • Presents the opportunity for leveraging of Splunk in other areas of the business; for example, marketing
  • Allows Netwealth to have greater visibility into application and business statistics, with the potential to overlay machine learning and advanced statistical analysis of this business information
The project was certainly a success, and Splunk is working well in our environment.
Posted by Laura Skillen in Case Study, Financial Services, Secure, Splunk
The benefits of performance testing ServiceNow

The benefits of performance testing ServiceNow

If your organisation relies on ServiceNow, it is critical to ensure that your instance performs to avoid interruption to your business and loss of revenue or reputation. JDS provides performance testing support to give you visibility of potential issues and solutions to resolve them. Below are a couple of real-life examples of how we have helped businesses in Australia and globally.


First things first...

What is performance testing?

Performance testing ensures your platform and custom code perform under expected production loads and that response times from locations around the world meet your expectations. At its heart, testing lets you know whether your IT systems, software, or application is doing what you expect it to do, how you expect it to be done.

Why should you do performance testing?

We have all seen what happens when things go wrong with an IT system. From the crashing of the Click Frenzy sale in 2016, to the recent complete shutdown of a major Australian train network during peak hour, the result of poor performance testing for a business is embarrassing at best—and can be disastrous at worst.

Performance testing will give you confidence that when people turn to your system, it won't turn them away. It does so by ensuring your system functions as it should under a variety of scenarios and loads.

Why JDS?

JDS has more than ten years of experience doing performance testing with a variety of systems, and one of our key vendor partners is ServiceNow. We are ServiceNow's global partner of choice for testing the performance and availability of their platform. JDS has a large pool of performance testing experts with extensive experience in performance testing ITSM implementations as well as customisations.

How has JDS helped businesses with ServiceNow?

JDS has provided ServiceNow support and performance testing for dozens of businesses throughout Australia and around the world. Here are two specific accounts of how we have helped identify issues through performance testing and solved them for our clients:

ServiceNow Global Use Example

Client #1 had users based in three countries around the world (Australia, USA, and Germany). When issues were raised in one part of the world, they would be investigated and resolved in another, which meant the platform had to be able to support multiple peak periods 24/7. JDS was engaged to ensure that during their busiest period, the ServiceNow platform would support all their user activity.

To start, we spoke with Client #1 to clearly define their needs and walk through the custom processes they were implementing. Then we created a test plan that outlined what we were testing and how. The test plan showed the steps that test users would make in the system to raise, approve, implement, and close tickets.

In collaboration with the ServiceNow load test team, JDS simulated load (i.e. user activity) on the platform from different locations around the world. We raised, approved, updated, progressed, and closed tickets for incident, problem and change management. Test users also browsed knowledgebase articles and the service portal.

By conducting this testing, we were able to show that ServiceNow would support all of Client #1’s users during their busy periods, and that there was extra head room to grow. This testing gave the client confidence that their ServiceNow platform would meet their current and future needs.

ServiceNow Custom Code Example

This client had developed a customised form, based on a Service Catalog request, which helped them manage their internal batch operations and server restarts. Sometimes these requests were submitted without much lead time and needed to be approved and implemented as soon as possible.

During functional testing, the form worked just as intended; however, there was a performance bottleneck lurking in the custom code. This bottleneck would delay the progress of important tickets, and only show itself under load. While a single user could complete the process quickly, multiple users concurrently raising tickets would experience a delay in progressing their tickets. If users had an urgent ticket raised, the approver wouldn’t be notified until it was possibly too late.

To help them identify the problem and find a solution, JDS simulated hundreds of users raising incidents, creating change requests, and lodging problem tickets, as well as using the new custom form. We noticed that tickets raised while under load experienced some long delays in getting approvals.

Further analysis of the approval workflow allowed us to isolate the problem. We were then able to point the development team to the issue, and they quickly created a patch to fix it.

By testing the whole platform under expected load, JDS was able to isolate issues with custom code that would otherwise have been found in production (i.e. by frustrated users). Instead, the patch was applied, and the retest confirmed that important tickets would get to the right people in time.

Conclusion

No matter the size of your business, or the complexity of your ServiceNow requirements, the performance testing provided by JDS Australia will give you peace of mind knowing your system can function under a variety of circumstances—both within and outside your control.

To find out more about getting performance testing support for your ServiceNow platform, contact us at contactus@jds.net.au or call 1300 780 432.

Our team on the case

Work smarter, not harder. (I didn't even come up with that. That's smart.)

Daniel Spavin

Performance Test Lead

Length of Time at JDS

7 years

Skills

IT: HPE Load Runner, HPE Performance Center, HPE SiteScope, HPE BSM, Splunk

Personal: Problem solving, Analytical thinking

Workplace Solutions

I care about quality and helping organisations get the best performance out of their IT projects.

Organisations spend a great deal of time and resources developing IT solutions. You want IT speeding up the process, not holding it up. Ensuring performance is built in means you spend less time fixing your IT solutions, and more time on the problems they solve.

I solve problems in our customers’ solutions, so customers can use their solutions to solve problems.

Need performance testing support?

If you have any questions about ServiceNow performance testing, please feel free to contact JDS.

Posted by Amy Clarke in Case Study, Energy and Resources, Professional Services, 0 comments
Introducing ServiceNow Jakarta

Introducing ServiceNow Jakarta

ServiceNow has officially launched its Jakarta release.

Our experts at JDS have provided a quick summary to ensure you are aware of the key enhancements in the new update.

Guided setups

These walk through the various aspects of setting up ServiceNow for use with ITSM, ITFM, and ITOM so it is well worth familiarising yourself with them.

Please note, this does not take the place of the ServiceNow Implementation Methodology (SIM).

Guided tours

You can create your own guided tour of various modules to allow for context sensitive help to support end users. You can also modify the OOB guided tours.

Be aware, it's a little challenging to set up as the designer doesn't delete steps properly, so be prepared to do some configuration in the regular form layout of the guide as well. Once configured, users can access these tours by clicking on the help icon, which shows the help side pane. At the bottom, there’s a “tour” button.

Knowledge portal

Knowledge within ServiceNow has been upgraded to be more user friendly. Unlike the customer facing service portal, this portal allows access to multiple knowledge bases, making it ideal to assist internal IT staff at first, second, and third levels of support.

knowledge portal

Security hardening dashboard

This interactive dashboard shows the degree to which an instance of ServiceNow has been secured. It allows system admins to configure key security parameters across the platform.

security dashboard

security dashboard

SLA timelines

You can view the progress of SLAs on a timeline (go through the regular Service Desk SLAs to find this feature). This is a brilliant way for managers to monitor the progress of high-priority incidents without the need to micromanage staff, only getting involved when needed.

SLA timelines

Our team on the case

Document as you go.

Peter Cawdron

Consultant

Length of Time at JDS

5 years

Skills

ServiceNow, Loadrunner, HP BSM, Splunk.

Workplace Passion

I enjoy working with the new AngularJS portal in ServiceNow.

Need support?

If you have any questions about ServiceNow or this latest release, please feel free to contact JDS.

Posted by Amy Clarke in News, ServiceNow, 0 comments
Implementing an electronic signature in ALM

Implementing an electronic signature in ALM

When it comes to quality assurance, consumers have come to expect and demand a high standard from manufacturers. Quality failures (e.g. the reputation Ford Pinto engines had for catching fire) have the potential to cause enormous financial losses running into millions of dollars, not to mention the potential of personal injury or loss of life. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the medical industry, where mistakes can have devastating consequences.


 

This is where organisations like the FDA (Food and Drug Administration in the United States) and TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia) come in, enforcing regulatory controls around all aspects of the manufacturing process to minimise risk and ensure a high level of quality.

These regulatory bodies understand that effective quality assurance goes much further than just regulating the raw materials and manufacturing process. Any software used to control or support the manufacturing process must also adhere to strict quality standards, because a bug in the software can lead to problems in manufacturing with real-world consequences for patients. Software quality assurance can therefore literally be a matter of life or death l.

To ensure that medical manufacturers conduct satisfactory software testing and maintain the required quality assurance standards, the FDA have published the General Principles of Software Validation document which “outlines general validation principles that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers to be applicable to the validation of medical device software or the validation of software used to design, develop, or manufacture medical devices.”

The JDS solution

JDS Australia recently implemented HPE Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) for one of our clients, a manufacturer of medicine delivering more than 10,000 patient doses per week to hospitals in Australia and overseas. ALM is a software testing tool that assists with the end-to-end management of the software testing lifecycle. This includes defining functional and non-functional requirements for a given application and creating test cases to confirm those requirements are met. It also manages all aspects of test execution, the recording and managing of defects, and reporting across the entire testing effort. ALM enables an organisation to implement and enforce their test strategy in a controlled and structured manner, while providing a complete audit trail of all the testing that was performed.

To comply with the FDA requirements, our client required customisation of ALM to facilitate approvals and sign-off of various testing artefacts (test cases, test executions, and defects). The FDA stipulates that approvals must incorporate an electronic signature that validates the user’s identity to ensure the integrity of the process. As an out-of-the-box implementation, ALM does not provide users with the ability to electronically sign artefacts. JDS developed the eSignature add-in to provide this capability and ensure that our client conforms to the regulatory requirements of the FDA.

The JDS eSignature Add-in was developed in C# and consists of a small COM-aware dll file that is installed and registered on the client machine together with the standard ALM client. The eSignature component handles basic field-level checks and credential validation, while all other business rules are managed from the ALM Workflow Customisation. This gives JDS the ability to implement the electronic signature requirements as stipulated by the FDA, while giving us the flexibility to develop customer-specific customisations and implement future enhancements without the need to recompile and reinstall the eSignature component.

Let’s look at a simple test manager approval for a test case to see how it works.

To start with, new “approval” custom fields are added to the Test Plan module which may contain data such as the approval status, a reason/comment and the date and time that the approval was made. These fields are read-only with their values set through the eSignature Workflow customisation. A new “Approve Test” button is added to the toolbar. When the user clicks this button, the Test Approvals form is presented to the user who selects the appropriate approval status, provides a comment, and enters their credentials. When the OK button is clicked, the eSignature component authenticates the user in ALM using an API function from the HPE Open Test Architecture (OTA) COM library.

If the user is successfully authenticated, eSignature passes the relevant information to the ALM workflow script which sets the appropriate field values. The approvals functionality can be further customised to do things such as making the test case read-only or sending an email to the next approver in line to review and approve the test case.

As it currently stands, the eSignature has been implemented in three modules of ALM – Test Plan for test cases that require two levels of review and approval, Test Lab for test execution records that require three levels of review and approval, and Defects to manage the assignment and approvals of defects. This can easily be expanded to include other modules, such as the approvals of test requirements or software releases.

The JDS eSignature add-in has a very small footprint, is easy to install and configure, and provides our clients with the ability to effectively implement an electronic signature capability as part of their software testing strategy.

If you have compliance requirements or are seeking ways to automate your test management processes, contact our support team at JDS Australia. Our consultants are highly skilled across a range of software suites and IT platforms, and we will work with your business to develop custom solutions that work for you.

Contact us at:

T: 1300 780 432

E: contactus@jds.net.au

Our team on the case

'Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.' - Theodore Roosevelt.

Reinhardt Moller

Technical Consultant

Length of Time at JDS

9.5 years

Skills

Products: Primary: HPE ALM and UFT, Secondary: HPE BSM and Loadrunner, ServiceNow

Personal: Photography

Workplace Passion

Helping customers build solutions to tackle testing and monitoring challenges

Why choose JDS?

At JDS, our purpose is to ensure your IT systems work wherever, however, and whenever they are needed. Our expert consultants will help you identify current or potential business issues, and then develop customised solutions to suit you.

JDS is different from other providers in the market. We offer 24/7 monitoring capabilities and support throughout the entire application lifecycle. We give your IT Operations team visibility into the health of your IT systems, enabling them to identify and resolve issues quickly.

We are passionate about what we do, working seamlessly with you to ensure you are getting the best possible performance from your environment. All products sold by JDS are backed by our local Tier One support desk, ensuring a stress-free solution for the entire product lifecycle.

Posted by Amy Clarke in Case Study, Energy and Resources, Government, NGO, Tech Tips, 0 comments
Your organisation deserves a good dashboard (and here’s why)

Your organisation deserves a good dashboard (and here’s why)

Cars cost a lot of money, and when a driver gets behind the wheel, they want to know that every component is working correctly. It can mean the difference between life and death—not to mention getting to your destination on time! For this reason, vehicle dashboards are painstakingly designed to be simple yet functional, so that virtually anyone can understand them at a glance.

In a similar vein, how much investment was involved in building up your organisation and its IT infrastructure—and let's not forget ongoing maintenance! The cost of system failure can mean life or death for your business, missing destinations and deadlines. In some sectors, such as health or search and rescue, it can even lead to injury or loss of life. With the consequences of lost visibility in mind, take a look at your organisation's dashboards (if they exist!). Ask yourself—are they as easy to understand as the dashboard of a car?

Most organisations would reply 'no' to that question. All too often, dashboards exist because the organisation's monitoring solution provided one out-of-the-box.  That's fine if your intended audience is all technically inclined, and understand what it means when there is a 'memory bottleneck' or the 'committed memory in use is too high'. These alerts, however, might mean nothing to upper management or the executive team, who are directly responsible for approving your team's budget. Action needs to be taken to translate the information, so that it is accessible to all your key decision-makers. So what are the first steps?

Here are three initial items to consider:

  1. Context is everything! Without context, your executive team may not understand the impact of an under-resourced ESX server that's beginning to fail. If, however, your dashboard were to show that the ESX server happens to host the core income stream systems for the organisation, you may have their attention (and funding).
  2. Visualise the data! Approximately 60% of the world population are visual thinkers, so your dashboard should be visually designed.  Find a way to visualise your data. Show the relationships and dependencies between systems. Oh, and "death to pie charts!".
  3. Invest the time and effort! Find your creative spark, and brainstorm as a team. A well-designed dashboard will pay on-going dividends with every incident managed, or business case written. Make sure you allot time to prove your work against SLAs.

If you need help with dashboard development or design, give JDS a call on 1300 780 432 and speak with one of our friendly consultants.

Our team on the case

Never burn a bridge, humility may require you to take a step backward one day.

Warren Saunders

Consultant

Length of Time at JDS

6 years

Workplace Solutions

All things Event Management (HPE Operations Management i, HPE Business Service Management, HPE Business Process Monitoring, HPE Sitescope, and custom integrations for everything in between).

Workplace Passion

  • Making complex issues easy to understand through competent technical writing, presentation delivery and creative design.
  • Finding solutions to problems which were previously placed in the “too hard” basket.

Ensure IT works.

Chris Younger

Delivery Manager

Length of Time at JDS

10 years

Skills

HP Certified Instructor, HP Business Service Management, HP LoadRunner, Splunk Sales Engineer, Certified in Service Now.

Workplace Passion

I am a big advocate for the value provided by Synthetic Business Process monitoring. When I first saw it 10 years ago in HP Business Availability Center I was impressed and I am still touting the benefits after all this time. Time and time again, I have seen it provide invaluable visibility into the user experience. These days it can be achieved using trendy newer tools such as Splunk for a fraction of the price it previously cost.

Work hard, Play hard.

Andy Erskine

Consultant

Length of Time at JDS

2.5 years

Skills

  • The CA Suite of tools, notably CA APM, CA Spectrum, CA Performance Manager
  • Splunk

Workplace Passion

Learning new applications and applying them to today’s problems.
Posted by wsaunders in Monitor, Tech Tips, 0 comments
Australia’s new mandatory security notifications

Australia’s new mandatory security notifications

The majority of Australian organisations will soon be required to report major data security breaches. But what does this mean, and how can businesses avoid associated risks?

Several years ago, JDS received a fax. This was unusual for two reasons: firstly, it was a fax in the 21st century; secondly, it was an authorisation for payment of 60 million dollars from a large market fund. The fax was from a broker, who was merely confirming 'our' bank account details before sending through the transfer—if JDS were in the business of heists, it would have been a matter of changing a digit or two, then faxing the form back for payment.

As you can tell by the fact JDS haven't converted downtown Melbourne into a tropical beach, no such skullduggery transpired: instead, JDS MD John Bearsley called the broker and explained that he might have the wrong fax number on file. The broker was a bit shocked, to say the least. But what about the client? Did they ever find out?

Under Australia's new mandatory data security notification laws, applicable from 22 February 2018, the broker would have been forced to notify the client and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) of the information breach. This is because, through a simple mix-up, we gained access to personal and private information about the fax's intended recipient, and the breach could have had serious consequences. Under the new requirements, data security breaches are to be dealt with as follows:

  1. Contain the breach and assess
  2. Evaluate risks or individuals associated with the breach
  3. Consider whether there is need for notification
  4. Review and take action to prevent further breaches

The difference between this new schema and any internal risk or incident management procedure lies in the role of compulsory reporting. If there is real risk of serious harm, then the individuals involved, and potentially the police as well as the OAIC, must be notified. This notification is to include the scope of the breach, and information regarding containment of the breach and action taken to prevent further breaches.

So what construes 'serious harm'? This relates to the type of information, information sensitivity, whether the information is protected, if the information can be used in combination with other information to cause harm, the attributes of the person or body who now hold the information, and the nature of the harm. It ties into existing Australian privacy and information security legislation, and has particular relevance for organisations that hold databases of information, particularly personal or sensitive information, about their customers or users. Consider the following IT security-related disasters that have come to light, noting that a number are based in the US, where compulsory reporting is already in effect:

Bangladesh Bank

A group of internationally-based hackers attempted to steal nearly US$1 billion from Bangladesh Bank after identifying some security vulnerabilities. They compromised the bank’s network, and used the credentials they gained to authorise bank transfers to the tune of US$951 million. Similar attacks have been seen at the Banco del Austro in Ecuador (US$12 million stolen) and the Tien Phong Bank in Vietnam (unsuccessful).

Result

US$101 million of transfers were successfully completed by the thieves; US$63 million was never recovered.

Indiana University

The names, addresses, and Social Security Numbers of a large number of Indiana University students and graduates were stored on an unprotected site. The lack of protection meant that several data mining applications not just accessed, but downloaded all the data files.

Result

Students and credit reporting agencies had to be notified; ongoing risk for financial fraud and identity theft, and associated liability.

Anthem

Anthem suffered a cyber attack in late 2014, with information accessed potentially including names, home addresses, email addresses, employment information, birth dates, and income data. The FBI investigation found that the attacks were conducted by international parties who were curious about the American healthcare system. Almost all of Anthem’s product lines were impacted.

Result

Anthem had to pay US$115 million to settle a class action litigation suit as a result of the breach. They also provided up to four years of credit monitoring and identity protection services to affected customers.

Philippine Commission on Elections (COMELEC)

Weaknesses in COMELEC’s network and data security meant hackers were able to access the full database of all registered voters in the Philippines. The database contained personal details many of which were stored in plain text, and included fingerprints, passport numbers and expiry dates, and potentially voting behaviour.

Result

The data could be used for extortion, phishing, or blackmailing purposes, and related hacks may lead to election manipulation.

Tesco Bank

Tesco Bank had monitoring and security mechanisms in place. However, Tesco Bank data such as credit card verification had to be accessed by the parent company Tesco, which does not appear to have been as secure. Security is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain, and in this instance, money was stolen and customers defrauded.

Result

Customers defrauded to the tune of 2.5 million pounds. The bank had to pay associated costs, and manage associated brand damage.

Yahoo

Yahoo’s security was breached twice, in 2014 (500 million accounts stolen by a state-sponsored actor) and 2013 (one billion accounts). Information included user names, telephone numbers, birth dates, and encrypted passwords.

Result

Yahoo’s sale price to Verizon was reduced by some US$350 million as a result of the hacks.

The above breaches cover a wide scope of industries—from health to insurance, government, and education. They have led to wide-ranging financial and reputational damage.

It would be naive to think that similar data breaches don't take place in Australia, though at the moment, it is not compulsory to report them. In 2015–2016, 107 organisations voluntarily notified the OAIC of breaches, and we are likely to see a rise in this number once the new legislation kicks in.

What does this mean for your organisation?

If your organisation deals with sensitive or personal information, including data such as emails, passwords, addresses, birth dates, health records, education records, passport numbers, ID numbers, travel information etc., then you need to prepare for the upcoming legislation. Part of this will be ensuring you have the correct policies, procedures, and training in place—and the other part will be making sure your environment is protected. The security of your IT infrastructure has always been, and will continue to be, vital: but now, there is an increased risk to your organisation, financially and particularly reputationally, if you do not ensure your environment is as secure as possible before mandatory reporting comes in. Test and assess your infrastructure and applications now, rather than down the line following a reportable incident.  

For advice or to book an assessment, call our friendly JDS consultants today.

 

Posted by Laura Skillen in News, Secure, 0 comments
The Splunk Gardener

The Splunk Gardener

The Splunk wizards at JDS are a talented bunch, dedicated to finding solutions—including in unexpected places. So when Sydney-based consultant Michael Clayfield suffered the tragedy of some dead plants in his garden, he did what our team do best: ensure it works (or ‘lives’, in this case). Using Splunk’s flexible yet powerful capabilities, he implemented monitoring, automation, and custom reporting on his herb garden, to ensure that tragedy didn’t strike twice.

My herb garden consists of three roughly 30cm x 40cm pots, each containing a single plant—rosemary, basil, and chilli. The garden is located outside our upstairs window and receives mostly full sunlight. While that’s good for the plants, it makes it harder to keep them properly watered, particularly during the summer months. After losing my basil and chilli bush over Christmas break, I decided to automate the watering of my three pots, to minimise the chance of losing any more plants. So I went away and designed an auto-watering setup, using soil moisture sensors, relays, pumps, and an Arduino—an open-source electronic platform—to tie it all together.

Testing the setup by transferring water from one bottle to another.

Testing the setup by transferring water from one bottle to another.

I placed soil moisture sensors in the basil and the chilli pots—given how hardy the rosemary was, I figured I could just hook it up to be watered whenever the basil in the pot next to it was watered. I connected the pumps to the relays, and rigged up some hosing to connect the pumps with their water source (a 10L container) and the pots. When the moisture level of a pot got below a certain level, the Arduino would turn the equivalent pump on and water it for a few seconds. This setup worked well—the plants were still alive—except that I had no visibility over what was going on. All I could see was that the water level in the tank was decreasing. It was essential that the tank always had water in it, otherwise I'd ruin my pumps by pumping air.

To address this problem, I added a float switch to the tank, as I was aiming to set it up so I could stop pumping air if I forgot to fill up the tank. Using a WiFi adapter, I connected the Arduino to my home WiFi. Now that the Arduino was connected to the internet, I figured I should send the data into Splunk. That way I'd be able to set up an alert notifying me when the tank’s water level was low. I'd also be able to track each plant’s moisture levels.

The setup deployed: the water tank is on the left; the yellow cables coming from the tank are for the float switch; and the plastic container houses the pumps and the Arduino, with the red/blue/black wires going to the sensors planted in the soil of the middle (basil) and right (chilli) pots. Power is supplied via the two black cables, which venture back inside the house to a phone charger.

The setup deployed: the water tank is on the left; the yellow cables coming from the tank are for the float switch; and the plastic container houses the pumps and the Arduino, with the red/blue/black wires going to the sensors planted in the soil of the middle (basil) and right (chilli) pots. Power is supplied via the two black cables, which venture back inside the house to a phone charger.

Using the Arduino’s Wifi library, it’s easy to send data to a TCP port. This means that all I needed to do to start collecting data in Splunk was to set up a TCP data input. Pretty quickly I had sensor data from both my chilli and basil plants, along with the tank’s water status. Given how simple it was, I decided to add a few other sensors to the Arduino: temperature, humidity, and light level. With all this information nicely ingested into Splunk, I went about creating a dashboard to display the health of my now over-engineered garden.

The overview dashboard for my garden. The top left and centre show current temperature and humidity, including trend, while the top right shows the current light reading. The bottom left and centre show current moisture reading and the last time each plant was watered. The final panel in the bottom right gives the status of the tank's water level.

The overview dashboard for my garden. The top left and centre show current temperature and humidity, including trend, while the top right shows the current light reading. The bottom left and centre show current moisture reading and the last time each plant was watered. The final panel in the bottom right gives the status of the tank's water level.

With this data coming in, I was able to easily understand what was going on with my plants:

  1. I can easily see the effect watering has on my plants, via the moisture levels (lower numbers = more moisture). I generally aim to maintain the moisture level between 300 and 410. Over 410 and the soil starts getting quite dry, while putting the moisture probe in a glass of water reads 220—so it’s probably best to keep it well above that.
  2. My basil was much thirstier than my chilli bush, requiring about 50–75% more water.
  3. It can get quite hot in the sun on our windowsill. One fortnight in February recorded nine 37+ degree days, with the temperature hitting 47 degrees twice during that period.
  4. During the height of summer, the tank typically holds 7–10 days’ worth of water.

Having this data in Splunk also alerts me to when the system isn't working properly. On one occasion in February, I noticed that my dashboard was consistently displaying that the basil pot had been watered within the last 15 minutes. After a few minutes looking at the data, I was able to figure out what was going on.

Using the above graph from my garden’s Splunk dashboard, I could see that my setup had correctly identified that the basil pot needed to be watered and had watered it—but I wasn't seeing the expected change in the basil’s moisture level. So the next time the system checked the moisture level, it saw that the plant needed to be watered, watered it again, and the cycle continued. When I physically checked the system, I could see that the Arduino was correctly setting the relay and turning the pump on, but no water was flowing. After further investigation, I discovered that the pump had died. Once I had replaced the faulty pump, everything returned to normal.

Since my initial design, I have upgraded the system a few times. It now joins a number of other Arduinos I have around the house, sending data via cheap radio transmitters to a central Arduino that then forwards the data on to Splunk. Aside from the pump dying, the garden system has been functioning well for the past six months, providing me with data that I will use to continue making the system a bit smarter about how and when it waters my plants.

I've also 3D printed a nice case in UV-resistant plastic, so my gardening system no longer has to live in an old lunchbox.

Our team on the case

Just Splunk it.

Michael Clayfield

Splunk Consultant

Length of Time at JDS

2.5 years

Skills

Splunk, HP BSM, 3D Printing.

Workplace Passion

Improving monitoring visibility and saving people’s time.

Posted by Laura Skillen in Case Study, Monitor, Splunk, 1 comment
ServiceNow—The latest and greatest at Knowledge17

ServiceNow—The latest and greatest at Knowledge17

ServiceNow’s Knowledge17 event has now come to a close, with many exciting new features and developments announced. This year’s was the biggest Knowledge event to date, with 15,000 delegates in attendance—the first event, in 2004, had just 85! The theme for 2017 was ‘Enterprise at Lightspeed’, and this idea underpins the year’s featured products.

New ServiceNow CEO, John Donohoe, was the conference’s first keynote speaker. He brings leadership and vision from his time at eBay and Bain, and his speech outlined how experience in enterprise transformation is informing his vision for ServiceNow’s continuing growth. Donohoe emphasised his role as a servant of customers, staff and partners, with his first 100 days spent on a customer listening tour.

ServiceNow have committed to continuing to provide customers with more capabilities out-of-the-box, better visibility over the product roadmap, improved training for new products, and a better user experience.

Event guests included customers, such as Ashley Haynes-Gaspar from GE, who described their experience of business transformation delivered on a ServiceNow platform.  Ms Haynes-Gaspar shared the insights she has gained from her experiences as an advocate for women in IT, and entertained the crowd in her exchange with executive Dave Schneider, referring to him as a great ‘man-bassador’.

GE plans to consolidate 90 systems to a single platform, as well as enhancing self-service through use of Service Portal on top of Customer Service Management, which Haynes-Gaspar demonstrated for the audience. The solution featured GE service agents as the end users, with tabbed views, a Service 360 view, and a responsive solution that provides suggestions on how to resolve cases. A 10% increase in self-service will deliver an anticipated $10m in benefits.

Knowledge17 focused on the idea that automation will drive growth and productivity for organisations, and highlighted new offerings in key areas.

HR Onboarding

One of the most requested capabilities in ServiceNow has been the ability to deliver HR approval and provisioning workflows out-of-the-box. ServiceNow have now responded with an application introducing a new framework that enables onboarding, offboarding, and change activities to be driven by configuration.

Security Response

ServiceNow are recognising the increasing importance of security to the enterprise, and have identified security response as a key area requiring automation. The growth of IoT and the increasing prevalence of attacks means staff do not have the capacity to respond to security incidents and vulnerabilities without the assistance of automated remediation. ServiceNow Security Operations extends existing SIEM capabilities to provide triage and automated response. It also leverages the policy and compliance capabilities found in GRC to monitor and proactively manage risks in IT.

The Consumer Experience

A fundamental principle underlying ‘Enterprise at Lightspeed’ is that enterprise users are entitled to an experience like that associated with consumer services in our lives outside of work. Central to delivering this type of experience is the Service Portal, which links the intuitiveness and flexibility of the modern web service UI to the power of the ServiceNow platform.

Performance Improvement

Donohoe acknowledged that customers are demanding better performance from ServiceNow. He outlined performance improvements expected from the upcoming release of Jakarta, and committed to continuing to provide improvements in future releases.

Software Asset Management

While ServiceNow has included hardware asset management for several years, IT operations professionals have been screaming for the addition of Software Asset Management (SAM) capabilities. ServiceNow has stepped up, and their new SAM module provides automation for managing software inventories. It features native integration with systems of record such as SCCM, as well as the ability to sync with sources on an ongoing basis. It is a significant improvement for those of us that have been managing true-ups in Excel, because ServiceNow is able to provide a central, automatically-synced record. Where SAM truly shines is in the ability to build intelligent business rules that model your actual licence entitlements, and proactively manage allocations. IT Ops can make real savings, not only by lessening labour efforts, but by reducing software licensing costs.

Intelligent Automation

Intelligent automation of IT operations promises to provide greater visibility and proactive management of IT. JDS continues to follow this trend closely, as we have been bringing this capacity to customers for several years via a range of products in the industry. ServiceNow brings a new approach, with a ‘Guitar Hero’-style user interface that maps events onto timelines. The potential is there to provide more meaningful insights for IT, enabling staff to more efficiently manage incidents, problems, and changes in their environment. ServiceNow uses machine learning to provide automated responses to issues based on event and response histories. ServiceNow CTO Dave Wright demonstrated how the approach is capable of raising incidents for future issues that have not yet occurred. Exciting as this is, we will want to take care with this feature in customer environments, to be sure we are not generating unnecessary noise.

Benchmarking

Jakarta brings the ability for IT managers to benchmark performance of their operation against peers in industry groups. This will be valuable for organisations that apply a continual improvement approach to their IT operations, and which are mature enough to benefit from a data-driven approach.

Over the next few weeks, JDS will continue to bring you insights into our experiences and learnings at Knowledge17, and what lies ahead for customers—so stay tuned!

Posted by Matthew Stubbs in News, Products, ServiceNow, 0 comments