HP Service Manager 9.34: The power of a beautiful user interface

Greetings all, Scott the “ITSM movie guy” here with some news about the new user experience improvements for Service Manager you may have seen at HP Discover. As you know, I am obsessed with movies and I love linking my blog topics to a movie theme. This time I want to link to my passion for art with how HP is helping your agents achieve their objectives easier, faster and more intuitively. Oh, and hopefully you will be entertained as you learn about the cool new capabilities of Service Manager that have received rave reviews from everyone who has seen them.

 

As usual, we have to start with a movie question. What is the name of the Academy Award category in which the disciplines of art, science, film making, and technology come together? If you answered “cinematography”, then award yourself 10 points.  And if you look at the list of Oscar awards for cinematography you will see the names of some GREAT films. Examples include “Dances with Wolves”, “Gravity”, “A River Runs Through Itand three of my all-time favorites “Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring”, “The Agony and the Ecstasy”, and “Ben Hur”. (BTW… do you know what film won the cinematography Oscar for a film about an 18-year-old Indian boy who is a contestant on the TV program “Who wants to be a Millionaire”?  You will find the answer at the end of the article.)

 

Appearance matters

 

So what do these movies have to do with Service Manager usability?  Well first, great usability, like great cinematography requires great aesthetics. Your users are typically staring at some software User Interface (UI) all day, every day.  If they don’t like the aesthetics, then we will hear about it. If you care about usability, I encourage you to check out a blog on the importance of usability written by Noa Danon from the HP Operations Team. 

 

 

LOTR.pngFor our Service Manager UI 9.34 refresh, we defined a new look and feel that is far more aesthetic.  Our first step was to watch “Lord of the Rings” to get motivated by the scenic beauty. Ok, as far as our managers know we didn’t really watch the movie. We did however produce a new look and feel that not only looks great but improves agent effectiveness by allowing them to find information easier and enter data faster.  Our UI designers also tell us that the new look and feel reduces eye strain. Check out the screen shot below and see if you agree that it is much better.

 

 

 

 

 UI .png

 

More than just a pretty face

It looks great, right?  But as it is with cinematography, the product UI can’t just be a pretty face.  There has to be effective technical details as well.  Those of you who saw “Gravity starring Sandra Bullock know that there was some movie magic introduced to make it look like the film was filmed in space. btw… Can I say a film was filmed or is that redundant?

 

Well the team working on the new UI was committed to improving the user experience as well as the look and feel.  Our agenda was to find as many ways as possible to improve the life of the agent.  The first improvement we made was to make it easier to “fill” data forms. The new auto-complete feature allows users to enter a field and simply start typing. The system will then query the appropriate information and populate a list restricted by what characters have been typed to that point.  The key value in this ability for the user is a dramatic reduction in scrolling, faster data population, and reduced ticket handle time. Below you can see how the system restricted the “fill” list as soon as the user started typing.

 

 

 Autocomplete.png

 

Another thing about the movie “Gravity” was that time was a critical topic throughout.  The characters needed to know what time the next wave of space junk would come around, when they would run out of oxygen, and would Sandra Bullock be able to start the return ship in time, etc.

 

We all know that dates and times are critically important to ITSM

  •  When to trigger the automation event to deploy the change
  • What time did the agent respond to the ticket?
  • Was the response in time to meet the service level target, etc.?

 

With a focus on the importance of time, the R&D team made major strides to improve the usability of the date/time picker to allow users to quickly and easily populate date and time values. Not only is it easier to enter this information, but now the agents can quickly populate the “correct” dates and times.  Check out the change below and see if you can see how it will make your teams faster and more accurate.

 

calendar.png

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

 

 

 ag and ect.jpgBack to the topic of aesthetics, the movie “The Agony and the Ecstasy” tells the story of an obscure Italian sculptor by the name of Buonaroti who did some painting work in a church in Rome. Do you know who he was? If that wasn’t enough of a hint, check out this link.  Service Manager 9.34 delivers new tools that make it very easy to configure the fonts, colors, highlights, and even images displayed in the product. The value for you is that you can now align the look and feel of the product to your corporate standards and match the appearance with other software products you deploy. 

 

 

 

 

More features for more users

 

 

Our last movie reference is to the classic Ben-Hur which won the cinematography Oscar as well as a record (at that time anyway) 10 other Oscars.  The linkage to SM usability here is the lead character Judah Ben-Hur. In the course of the film, Judah had roles as a merchant, prisoner, oarsman, charioteer, Roman citizen, family protector, and, finally, as a man trying to understand a power greater than himself. You see, ITSM in general, and Service Manager specifically, must meet the needs of many different users and personas.  To do so, our usability designers needed to deliver a broad range of capabilities in the usability update.  Below is a list of some key improvements which combine with the improvements in previous 9.3x releases to  aid your users in the various roles within ITSM.

 

  •  Navigation improvements:  Here we have delivered an updated  navigator tree with easier and more consistent controls
  •  Improved message handling: Service Manager messages have a new look and feel, improved message history handling, and a modal design that improves performance and reduces network traffic
  • Improved form widget controls: These include fully clickable section separators, hover field indicators and more consistent appearance throughout the product

 

There you go everyone, a quick look at the usability improvements coming in the next release of Service Manager.  (You know that I wanted to insert a clip of use my booming announcer-guy voice and say “Coming soon to a computer near you!” But the editor wouldn’t let me).

 

We hope you like the new improvements. The team has done a great job responding to your suggestions, enhancement requests, and product feedback with top quality new features. I encourage you to check out the other blogs on the new 9.34 release:

 

 

You might also like to see a video that Michael Pott and I recorded in a recent Vivit session. The video provides further insight into the broader set of features of this great release.  You can find the link here.

 

 

One last thing I have to do to keep the editor happy is to let you know that the movie we referenced about the game show is “Slumdog Millionaire”.  Speaking of the editor, I want to make a quick shout out to Yvonne Bentley and Kim Lock for all their GREAT help to me and many others. Kim in particular is the one that helps make sure my blog is proper and spelt currecklie.

 

Finally, I want to thank all of you for your support of HP.  We are proud and very appreciative that you remain loyal to Service Manager.  

 

Thanx everyone and see you at the movies and the ITSM forum.

 

Scott Knox

Sr Product Manager -- Service Management Center

Comments
| ‎07-24-2014 02:09 AM

I love the new look and feel will definatley be pushing the Business to upgrade to 9.34 now!

 

Thanks!

dkalian | ‎07-24-2014 08:16 AM

Awesome stuff Scott.
The video that you and Michael Pott created is hosted at Box.com. Box.com is blocked here, as I'm sure it is at a lot of organizations that subject to heavy government regulation (Finance, Healthcare, etc). Any chance of this video getting on YouTube?

 

jamesphamilton | ‎07-24-2014 03:20 PM

Pretty makes for quicker adoption, but please don't forget flexibility and stability.

In order to upgrade, we must have stable functionality that can be customized and co-exist with our customized implementation of Service Manager.

| ‎07-26-2014 07:11 AM

James

We have a wildy customised system and i saw 9.34 and thought oh great another upgrade, but do you know what it wasnt actually that bad, probably took me about an hour. The end user interface is great now and all our customisations are still there and working with extras!

| ‎08-19-2014 12:37 AM

Love the much awaited new look!

 

I'm going over the UX with its new features with a large Norwegian media house today. I think we will be upgrading very soon.

honzah | ‎09-17-2014 04:47 AM

New look is much nicer, looking forward to working with it.

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About the Author
I am Senior Product Manager for Service Manager. I have been manning the post for 10 years and working in various technical roles with the...
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