Documentation forSolarWinds Service Desk

Service catalog

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Introduction

Similar to any sales catalog that identifies all the items offered in a store, your service catalog is a complete, up-to-date list of services performed within your organization. When customers want to request a product and/or service, your service catalog should be their one-stop-shop.

SWSD's Service Catalog allows you to define and publish IT (VM provisioning or password reset) and non-IT services (employee onboarding) through the Employee Service Portal. The catalog forms defining those services are dynamic and can be configured to fit specific use cases, with little to no coding required.

SolarWinds strongly recommends that anyone creating a service catalog and catalog items read the SolarWinds Service Desk (SWSD) Service catalog introduction before moving forward. It contains basic information about the service catalog feature, how it and components within the catalog work, and things you should consider before building your service desk catalog.

Service Catalog assists your organization in maintaining order.  For example:

  • Define alert criteria with information sent directly to SWSD for:
    • Server failure
    • Capacity level
  • Define SLAs.
  • Track activities and resolved incidents.
  • Control the data that is sent to SWSD.
  • Use automation to assign incidents to a category.
  • Re-trigger alerts to create a Incident index table in an incident.
  • Audit all activities.
  • Identify your most popular service catalog items.
  • Identify service catalog items that might need to be retired.

Navigation

Service Desk > Service Catalog.

Service catalog items index page

From the All Items index page, you can:

  • Search for a specific catalog item or a word or phrase contained in a catalog item name.

  • Create a new catalog item.

  • Update or delete a catalog item from the list view.

  • Export the list.

  • See the state of catalog items. For example, draft, internal, or approved.

  • See the category and subcategory related to the catalog item, the expected delivery time, and cost.

  • Determine whether the catalog item is highlighted in the service portal.

  • Perform actions, such as submitting a request or deleting a catalog item.

  • See the details of a record by clicking the name of the record. A panel containing the details opens. From there you can see three tabs (Details, Process, and Audit) that provide additional information.

  • Use the Request Count column to see the number of times a catalog item has been requested. You can also click the request count number to see the Incident index page and all the incidents created from the selected catalog item.

    From the Catalog Items index page, if you click on the name of a catalog item, SWSD opens the details of that item and in the right corner you can see a message showing the number of times that item has been requested.

    Both options for jumping to the Incidents index page result in displaying a filtered list related to the specific service request. From there you can set a time-based filter to see how many service requests were created in the last 7, 14, 30, 45, 60, or 90 days.

You can customize the All Items index page to a view that best meets your needs. See List viewfor more information.

Create a new service catalog item

You can create a new service catalog item (SCI) or clone an existing one and then edit the contents of the cloned item.

SolarWinds strongly suggests you clone before editing any existing item.

To create a new one from scratch:

  1. Make sure you have already created any custom fields and custom forms the new SCI will use. Custom fields include user roles specific to your organization.

  2. Navigate to Service Desk > Service Catalog.

  3. Click Add in the upper right.

  4. In the New Service Catalog Item dialog, provide required information (designated by a red asterisk).

  5. Scroll down and add Input, such as fields to be used in the new SCI.

  6. If needed, scroll down and add a workflow process. Options include:

    • Task
    • Group
    • Approval
    • Condition Set
    • Process Integration
    • Update Record
    • Stop Process
    • Send Notification
    • Paste
  7. Click Create to Save.

Create an approval process workflow

You can identify individual approvers or choose to use SWSD's dynamic approvers feature.

  1. From a new SCI, scroll down, and under the grey Process bar, click.

  2. From the dropdown menu select Approval.

  3. In the New Approval dialog, provide a meaningful name (required) and optional description.

  4. Under approval conditions, select one of the following conditions:

    • Only one approver required
    • All approvers required
    • 50% or more approvers required
  5. Optionally, provide a due date by identifying how many days to allot for approval.

  6. Return to the Approvers field, which is required, and click in the field.

  7. You can assign specific approvers by name or based on their relationship to the assignee or requester. You can also use the relationship chart to identify approvers by their role.

  8. When finished, click Add Approval.

Assign approvers

  1. Click in the Approvers field. A dropdown list displays.

    At the top you can see selection options. You can manually select one or all of these people and/or groups.

    • Incident Assignee
    • Incident Requester
    • Incident Assignee's Manager
    • Incident Requester's Manager
    • Incident Requester's Site Manager
    • Incident Assignee's Manager's Manager
    • Incident Requester's Manager's Manager
    • Me (which is yourself)
    • A list of people and groups in the organization

    At the bottom you can see Show Relationship Chart.

  2. Click Show Relationship Chart. In the Select Approvers dialog click in the Select Approval field.

  3. Select either Incident Assignee or Incident Requester. Your selection identifies the starting point of the relationship chart. If you select Incident Assignee you will see relationships related to the assignee. If you select requester you will see relationships related to the requester.

    The relationship chart then displays and you can select the appropriate role(s) for the approval. To select an approver, click the circle in the approver role box. The circle turns blue when an approver is selected. You can select multiple approvers.

    You can also expand and contract the chart by clicking the arrow next to an approver's role. For example, in the image above, the Incident Assignee has four approvers that can be selected (R&D Manager, HR Manager, Dept Manager, and Site Manager). If you click the arrow to the right of Dept Manager, another level of roles related to the Dept Manager displays. You can always tell which approver's additional level has been expanded by looking at where the expansion starts. A line connects the original role to the expanded roles.

    You can also zoom in and out using the - and + buttons in the upper right.

    Keep in mind the approval conditions identified in Step 4 above.
  4. After selecting the approvers, click Add Approvals in the bottom right to save the approvers you selected.

  5. Click Add Approval in the Catalog Item dialog to save all of your work.

Modify a service request ticket after submission (in Labs)

This feature must be enabled in Labs before it can be used.

When a new service request is created from the service catalog, the workflow process begins immediately. Before modifying an existing service request, SolarWinds strongly suggests that you stop the workflow process.

However, if you have just-in-time workflow processing turned on, it is possible to enable the activation of condition-based processes in a running process. If a field is changed before a condition set in the workflow is reached, SWSD looks at the new value and runs from it.

  1. Open the service request ticket.

  2. Click the Details tab to make any needed modifications. A message displays to show you when the workflow process is running.

  3. If the workflow process is not running, you can make any change in the ticket, for example, change the user name, add an attachment, update the delivery time.

  4. If the workflow process is running, before making any changes:

    1. Go to the Process tab and stop the process to make sure that all of your changes will affect the process.

    2. Return to the Details tab and make any changes in the ticket.

    3. After your modification is complete, return to Process tab and restart the process.

You can make changes in the ticket without stopping the process but be aware that if you do the changes might not affect the running process.

Identify process status

In an existing service request, you can click the Details tab and the Process tab to see the status of the workflow:

  • Details tab. Click the Details tab to see whether the process is running. Stop the process before proceeding.

  • Process tab. Click the process tab to see a message that modifying fields without stopping may result in some conditions being applied to the original value of the field(s).

Stop or restart a workflow process

From the Process tab, click Stop Process or Restart Process.

Saved catalog items

After a catalog item is saved, three tabs display at the bottom: Details, Process, and Audit.

Details tab

Provides clear visibility on items such as:

  • Site and Department, to be included for reporting purposes.
  • Price, for easy analysis of budget.
  • Duration, to provide visibility of process times and delivery.

Process tab

The Process tab includes the workflow; that is, all tasks and approvals required from time of request to approval. This can also include alternative steps needed if not approved.

Directly from the Process tab you can make many updates to the process such as:

  • Task. Update or add a task to the process, including the name, description, and person assigned to complete the task. You can also add fields like Requester to the title of tasks to differentiate between tasks that use the same name. For example, a task titled Issue laptop could include the name of the person to receive the latptotp: Issue laptop to John Doe.
  • Group. Update or add a group to act as a container for multiple steps to occur concurrently.
  • Approval. Update or add approval steps to capture the needed authorization for a specific change.
  • Condition Sets. Apply a condition to any record field (including custom fields) in a workflow. By applying a condition you enhance customization of your workflows and increase automation of processes to ensure overall efficiency. For example:
    • An onboarding workflow training process for all employees, except for employees in the Spain office. (The Spain office provides this training in Spanish, therefore must follow a different workflow).
    • A workflow in which a task is added to update a specific software if the laptop model contains the string MacBook.

      SolarWinds recommends you review all fields below to familiarize yourself with condition sets that are most relevant to your organization.

      When you have multiple conditions you are able to streamline processes by selecting the specific condition type needed for the process. For example, by customizing the Operator between conditions you can select 1 (and 2 or 3) or any combination necessary.
  • Process Integration. Used to integrate with external systems.
    More information is available on using Process integrations within your workflow process.

  • Update Record. You can alter any workflow process by customizing to ensure smooth automation of business processes as well as streamlining your workflows.

    For example, you can update any record field in the workflow, including system fields such as name and/or CC. You can select from previously cached entries.

    In addition, you can use custom fields in automated workflows to update the Description field of a service request.

    After a field is updated, it is not available for additional updates within the same action. To make additional changes, exit and re-enter Update Record. Also, Update Record does not include variables (also known as process fields).
  • Send Notifications (available for Advanced and Premier packages). This is your automation tool to provide status updates of all processes to relevant stakeholders.

    For example, for laptop requests you can set up an automatic notification:

    • To be sent after a new laptop request has been denied. The notification can state denial with reasons why or steps on how to follow up for more information.
    • To be sent after a new laptop request has been approved. The notification can inform recipients that the laptop request has been approved and the ship date is MM.DD.YYYY.

    See Email notification templates for more information on how to set up email templates.

  • Paste. Lets you paste an SWSD object copied to your clipboard. For example, you can copy/paste workflow nodes from the Process tab.

From the Process tab you can drag and drop fields in the variable columns. You can also set default values.

Audit tab

The Audit tab provides an account of all activities related to the selected catalog item.

Understand how a workflow affects a process

After you have finalized your workflow, it is important to understand how the process unfolds. You can select between:

  • Pre-processing: When a Change or Service Request is submitted, the entire workflow is processed, with each step in the workflow evaluated based on the value of conditions and fields before the workflow begins.
  • Just-in-Time processing: This option evaluates each step of the workflow based on the value of conditions and fields when these steps are reached. This allows you to base workflow decisions on current value rather than values of conditions and fields prior to the workflow beginning. As a result, you can build more dynamic and realistic workflows that replicate your IT and business processes.

The Audit tab provides an account of all activities related to the selected catalog item. 

Copy/paste workflow nodes

SWSD provides you with the ability to copy individual workflow nodes from a new or existing catalog item. You can then paste them into the current catalog item or into another new or existing catalog item.

You cannot copy from workflow nodes from one account to another, for example, from a sandbox account to your main customer account.

You can also clone a catalog item to copy all workflow nodes associated with that catalog item. This is helpful when you want to create a new catalog item and reuse multiple workflows associated with the previous catalog item. You can then edit, remove, and/or add workflows as needed in the new catalog item. For more information, see Clone a catalog item with its workflow nodes.

Workflow nodes are stored in catalog items under Process. Every catalog item has a Copy option.

  1. Navigate to Service Desk > Service Catalog.

  2. Open an existing catalog item by clicking the name, or create a new catalog item by clicking Add.

  3. In an open catalog item, click the Process tab.

  4. Hover over the workflow you wish to copy until icons display to the right.

  5. Click the Copy to clipboard icon.

    After you click Copy, the label above the icon displays with a check mark and the text changes to Copied to clipboard.

Paste a copied workflow node

  1. Determine whether the service catalog item where you want to paste the workflow node already has any workflow nodes on the Process tab.

    • If yes, hover over the workflow process where you want to add the new workflow (even the current workflow process) until icons display to the right and click Add to create a new workflow node.

      If you want to add the new workflow after all existing processes have occurred, click Add at the bottom of the list of existing workflows.

    • If no, you must first create a new one. On the Process tab click Add to create a new workflow node.

  2. From the dropdown menu, scroll to the bottom and select Paste.

  3. Edit as needed.

Clone a catalog item with its workflow nodes

  1. Navigate to Service Desk > Service Catalog.

  2. From the All Items index page, click the name of a catalog item to open it.

  3. In the upper right, click Actions.

  4. From the dropdown menu, select Clone.

  5. In the New Service Catalog Item dialog, edit any field necessary. Everything associated with the previous catalog item has been copied over, so review every field.

Schedule a request

  1. Navigate to Service Desk > Service Catalog.

  2. From the All Items index page, click the name of a catalog item to open it.

  3. In the upper right, click Actions.

  4. From the dropdown menu, select Schedule Request. A new service request dialog opens.

  5. Update fields as needed, and click Create at the bottom.

Test a workflow

Administrators and agents who have edit permission for the service catalog can test complex workflows before implementation. See Workflow test mode.

Edit a service catalog item

For users to be able to edit a service catalog item, an administrator must enable that capability. See Service Desk Settings: Inline Edit on Service Catalog Items for more information.

Any update to the values or default text in a custom field will be reflected in all places where that custom field is used.

Edit a custom field from the Service Catalog

Be aware:

  • You can see where custom fields are used before you edit them from the Service Catalog.

  • Any edit/update to the values or default text in a custom field will be reflected in all places where that custom field is used.

  • You cannot change the field type or scope of a custom field after it has been created. If you need to change either the field type or scope, SolarWinds recommends creating a new field with the new type and scope.

  • If you choose to update existing custom field values, historical data, analytics, and reporting are all affected.

See where custom fields are used before you edit

  1. Navigate to Service Desk > Service Catalog.

  2. Click the catalog item that contains the custom field you want to edit.

  3. To the right of the custom field, click the ellipsis (...), and then click Edit.

  4. In the Edit Custom Field dialog, read the notice and look at the list of where the custom field is used. In the example below, there is only one place where the custom field is used (in the Service Catalog in a catalog item named Custom field display).

  5. If you still want to edit the custom field in all the locations where it is used, click Confirm.

  6. Edit the custom field as needed, and then click Update.

  7. When the notice displays a second time, if you are certain you want to make the changes, click Confirm again.

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