Monthly Archives: July 2009

The remedy is what ails us

A helpdesk system that sends out no notifications to support staff is useless. Ideally, notifications should be sent:

  1. To everyone in the department, or the assignment delegator, when a new ticket is created.
  2. To you, when a ticket is assigned to you.
  3. To you, when a customer adds information to a ticket that is assigned to you.

For some stupid reason, the default action in BMC Remedy is to never send out email (or other) notifications. For anything. Ever.

I think the misguided idea behind this is that all good support peons should have their Incident Management Consoles open all the time, where they are monitored religiously. While that may be fine and dandy for a large company with a dedicated support staff and a high volume of support requests, that’s not the sort of setup we have here at work. Here, we have a few staff who are responsible for the few tickets we get a day as well as their normal workload. Without any sort of notification, and with relevant tickets coming in so infrequently for some of us, tickets can go completely unnoticed for hours or even days.

Anyway, this is what we are stuck with, and we had no say in the matter. Cornell spent a lot of money on it, so it must be good, right? Right?!?!

Since this is what we have to live with, and being particularly disagreeable this fine Monday morning (natch), I decided I would plumb the depths of the configuration to try and see if notifications were possible. The interface is completely terrible, so this is the sort of thing none of us had ever really tried to do; some sort of learned helplessness, I guess.

And, ‘lo and behold (concealed beneath Incident Management Console -> General Functions -> My Profile -> Notifications, each item of which appears on a totally different section of the screen, mostly on totally different pages), such a thing DOES exist! Sorta. I think. Anyway, I don’t know what else this dialog would configure, and I’m just kinda hoping that now that I’ve played with it a bit, I will start getting some notifications.

Notification preferences

I think I set it up so that:

  1. I will get emails when a ticket is assigned to me.
  2. I will get a confirmation email when a ticket I am assigned to is closed.

It is possible that one of those options in that dropdown will configure notification when a customer updates/responds to a ticket, but those items are just as (or possibly more) foreign to me as they are to you; I will have to figure out what Remedy considers an OLA, SLA, or UC before proceeding. Also, what is the difference between a notification for an ‘escalation’ and a notification for an ‘escalation notification’. Is the latter a meta-notification? Do you get notified that you are about to be notified? Or perhaps that you have just been notified? It is a mystery!

Which brings us to the trigger of this long-winded rant (is there any other kind?): apparently I can request notification on Unavailability Restored. I parse that like some sort of Kafkaesque retro-futuristic dystopian “Yes, we have no bananas!“: “This is a notification that we have restored our nonfuctional status and are once again unavailable. Have a nice day!”.

That was the final straw- I had to document and share the misery.