The Initial v17 release - November 2017
Completely re-designed and re-built from scratch client web portal
The client self-service web portal has been totally re-built from the ground up using the latest in web development tools and technologies. We've re-architechted the code, the infrastructure and everything else to deliver a new visual interface with some powerful new features. Your team and customers are going to love the new web portal. It's fast, looks great and delivers some exciting new features.
The new web portal utilizes the new template catalogs (see below) to deliver a new-look request system that makes logging a new job/request so much easier and intuitive. The new web portal is built on HTML 5, CSS 3, Bootstrap and features many new web tools and technologies that will allow the product to develop and improve greatly in subsequent releases.
The initial release of HelpMaster v17 will only include web functionality for client based requests and ticketing. The full staff web functionality will be available in a future release.
Controls sets are similar to custom data fields, but with special powers. Create as many "control sets" as you like - name them, and use them to capture information. Think of them as mini-forms that are used to capture data. Control sets can be added to all of the main HelpMaster entities (clients, sites, assets, jobs) and will appear on the "Control Sets" tab. You can also add multiple control sets to each entity.
Controls sets will open up a whole new level of data capture and use within HelpMaster. Link them to the new workflow objects, and use them on the new web portal to capture all of the information that you require for each job type.
Controls sets will change the way you configure and use HelpMaster. Not to be overlooked!
Change management comes to HelpMaster!
A new top-level "Change Management" feature allows you to define a request for change (RFC), define a change advisory board (CAB), and then define an implementation. Each change can be "approved", or "denied" based on the input from the CAB, and a new "Change Management" section now appears in the Explorer screen for each staff member.
Change requests can be built into a workflow process, and linked into other change requests to form more complex, or multi-stage request approvals.
New "Client Action required" state
In the desktop edition of HelpMaster, staff now have the ability to mark an action as "Requires client response". If the client logs into the web portal, they will see their job with a clear marker informing them of the update. This feature works with the new Job State (see below)
Job State (for Desktop + Web Portal)
A new job state indicator feature is now available. Job State will help both staff and clients to quickly identify the state a job is in. This is very helpful to visualize which job require attention, which jobs have been updated, and which jobs are new. For clients using the new web portal this will give a clear indication that their job has been updated by service desk agent, and requires their response. Conversely, when the client does response, the agent (staff member the job is assigned to) will also be notified by changed state indicator.
The Desktop Explorer screen for staff
The web portal for clients
Client linking improvements
Clients can now be linked to more than one site! This is great if you have clients that move around between offices, or sites and you need to track that. This makes the configuration of HelpMaster and the logging of jobs much more intuitive and natural. We've also improved the job-logging process to make this even simpler - see below for further details.
New visual indicators and "quick pick" boxes are now used to view and select clients, sites and assets throughout HelpMaster
Auto-initials for entities without images
Whenever a client, site or asset does not have an image, HelpMaster will display a 2-character summary of their unique ID, similar to the way a mobile phone app does. This will assist in quickly identifying entities that do not have an associated image.
Workflow improvements and new capabilities
The workflow functionality has received a major upgrade to facilitate more complex business processes.
New workflow items include:
- Script-based direction flow. Used for programmatic control over which way a workflow should progress
- Variables and Variable modifiers. Used to store values and then re-use/modify/evaluate as part of the workflow
- Control Set Validation. Used to check that data is present, or correct
- Milestones. Used to measure progress within a workflow. Great for reporting and automation
- Log a new job. Jobs can be logged silently, or interactively, and options for automatic linking allows for some inventive workflow configurations
- Improved script control Now supports Powershell scripting! Lots of power and options here. Great for system administrators and network administrators
Workflow auditing, history and documentation has been improved. Each workflow, item, template and flow is now fully logged so that you can see what has happened.
Re-designed job screen
The job screen has been re-arranged in order to display new information and optimize the layout. Included on the front tab is now Client, Site and Asset information. This makes it much easier to see the context of a job and what's linked to it. The process of linking an entity to a job is improved via new quick-pick selectors (see below).
New quick-pick selectors for clients, sites and assets
In addition to a new layout, the job screen (and all other "Links" tabs) now features a "quick pick" selection for Clients, Sites and Assets. This allows you to quickly link an entity without having to open the full search screen - now you simply start typing and selecting from the list. Much better!
Request catalogs are groupings of Job Templates and Knowledge Base articles which can then be used to display options via the new web interface to your clients. Template catalogs make it easy to group business request types into similar groups and then make it available for staff and clients to access.
New grouping category
A new drop-down box now appears on all entities, and profiles. This feature is used to group things together which makes administration and future feature improvements possible.
More flag types, and flag integration
There are now more flag types to use for marking jobs. In addition to the regular coloured flags, there are now new icons that can be used to "flag" a job. These are searchable via the Job Finder, and the Email Manager can also flag them as part of the post-processing action. Very handy as another mechanism to classify/organize jobs visually.
The toolbar menu layout has changed to offer a better distribution of functionality grouping. On the left is also the "HM" menu that replaces the "User" menu and also includes additional screen. There is now a dedicated menu for Knowledge, Change, and Web functionality.
Miscellaneous fixes and improvements
As usual, the latest version of HelpMaster contains many "under the hood" improvements, fixes, and performance tweaks. We've fixed a lot of bugs, improved the load time of many screens, improved the screen flickering and drawing issues, and tried to deliver an improved user interface.