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Change Management with KACE - the Indigo way

ilMhYs.pngSo there has been plenty of discussion as to whether or not KACE can support a Change Management process within the Service Desk area of the tool. In the last month or so you may have seen one blog suggesting that you use a process to do this, and that is certainly one way. But I thought I would share with you the way that we produce a Change Management Queue, so that you can see an alternative.

First thing to say is Approvals, as always KACE engineering seems to think that the only time you will need an approval is as any ticket is logged, I can remember back to 5.3 when you could add in an approval step at any time in the ticket lifecycle. Guys, if you are listening, this would be easier if allow an approval to be set when a ticket reaches a user defined status and when approved it then sets the ticket to another user defined status? So using the approval loop within KACE will really not help you unless you have a process and child tickets, one of which is the CAB approval.

Second thing to say is that if you are looking to KACE to perform a voting style of CAB, whereby the majority of CAB members vote yes and the change is approved then KACE is probably not mature enough for you. Although I will point out, as in previous discussions, the CAB may approve but actually it is just down top one resource, the Change Manager to actually approve the change and set any implementation steps you may have in process.

So where do we start?


We always start with the Change process itself. I always ask customers looking for Change Management if they have a process, and if the answer is yes then I ask them to produce a printed copy of that process. In the majority of cases customers then admit that a Change Process is a desirable and as such not yet formally documented or implemented. In which case we look at a standard process, much like the following diagram.

xgPcho.jpeg

In this simple flow we can see that there are a number of paths depending on the urgency and the type of change, but there are also steps in the process that are common to any type of change, that of build, approval and implementation.

The key to managing Change within a KACE queue is the status of the Request for Change (RFC). As the ticket within the queue moves through the process flow, it will change status. This illustrates where the request is, it makes Change reporting much easier and also it helps us to configure the queue.

With a standard ticket queue the status is usually open to be changed by any analyst with the correct rights to the field. After all it is essential when wanting to resolve or close the ticket to be able to set the status appropriately. 

However, within the Change Queue we make the Status a read only field and the status only changes when we update the ticket with appropriate data.

An example of how the status will flow within this process is shown in the following diagram
f4X867.jpeg
So an RFC Ticket will start life with a status of New RFC, then will change to RFC Build, RFC Pending approval etc as the ticket is updated within the queue.

Ticket rules are created to deal with every stage of the process, in each case looking for data to be added, when it is, updating the status and also using the email function within the ticket rule to send alerts or to ask the next person in the process to contribute.









So what does our Change Management Ticket Look Like?

okAvVh.jpegWe use the following fields, those marked * are custom fields added::

Change Title – Should contain the title of the change, this should be descriptive and unique where possible.

Change Summary Details – Provide basic details of the change in the Comment box.

Status – This field is read only and indicates at what stage the Change process is for the ticket.

Category – Enter a category and subcategory to describe the type of change that is being logged.

Business Impact* – Select a value that reflects the impact that the change may have on the business from the following:

·         Enterprise

·         Department

·         User Group

·         Single User

·         Zero user Impact

Next Action* – The Next Action drop down is used to carry out specific tasks at various stages in the change process.

Change Type* – Select a value shows the type of change that is being logged from the following:

·         Urgent

·         Standard

·         Non Standard

Asset/Device – if the affected Asset or Device is known it can be selected from the Asset or Device list.

Note: To log the change, and obtain a reference number only the Change Title is required, once saved the Change data can be added at the build stage of the process

To save the Change Request, press the Save or Apply Changes button.

To build the RFC, the analyst must open the RFC and complete the following fields.

Category – If not already selected, enter a category and subcategory to describe the type of change that is being logged.

Business Impact* – If not already selected, select a value that reflects the impact that the change may have on the business from the following:

·         Enterprise

·         Department

·         User Group

·         Single User

·         Zero user Impact

Change Type – Select a value shows the type of change that is being logged from the following:

·         Urgent

·         Standard

·         Non Standard

Implementation Plan* – Replace the default text, “Add Implementation Plan Here….” by entering the steps that will need to be followed to implement the change.

Test Plan* – Replace the default text, “Add Test Plan Here….” by entering the steps that will need to be followed to test and prove that the implementation plan was followed and that the change was successful.

Back Out Plan* – Replacing the default text, “Add Back-out Plan Here….” enter the steps that will need to Roll Back the change if to the change is not successful.

Due Date – If known a Due date may be entered to show when the change should be scheduled for completion

Once these fields have been completed the RFC build is complete. Save the Change Request by pressing the Save or Apply Changes button. The RFC must now be forwarded to an approver for the Change to be assessed and approved.

As we navigate through the stages of the change the read only Status field updates and the Ticket Logging information field updates with instructions as to how to move the change to the next status.

With approvals, we have a defined approver, the change manager, they will get an email to approve and they can either respond "Approved", we can setup action buttons  in their Outlook mail client or they can edit the RFC directly in KACE.

We also have custom rules running to ensure that only the Change Manager can approve the change ( i.e. change the value in a certain field at a certain stage of the process) Otherwise the value is reset and an email sent to the Change manager to let them know someone has tried to edit the change without rights.

Finally we also have custom rules that reset the data values appropriately if an RFC is cancelled or rejected, placing the ticket in a state that is correct to place it back in the process flow at the appropriate place.

Once we have a tested the queue, we then build reports so that we can get stats, for example

  • ·         Current Changes By Status – New RFC
  • ·         Current Changes By Status – RFC Build
  • ·         Current Changes By Status – RFC Pending Approval
  • ·         Current Changes By Status – RFC Pending Implementation
  • ·         Change Completed this Month
  • ·         Changes Completed this Week
  • ·         New Changes Logged this Month
  • ·         New Changes logged this Week
  • ·         Cancelled RFC report

We can even set up our DASHboard product to show you Change Management stats in real time, check it out here

How long does this take to do?


All of this usually takes us about 5 days to setup, which includes consulting with the customer, editing the process flow before build and training and documentation at the end.

All of which adds up to yes, I think we can do Change Management within KACE and there are customers out there today managing Change in this way.

For more information feel free to contact us at TheIndigoTeam@IndigoMountain.co.uk or visit us at www.indigomountain.co.uk
 
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KACE SMA - Adding Clients to AD Groups

Hi All,

this is a little AddOn to my previous post: KACE SDA - Adding Clients to AD Groups during deployment
This blog will focus on an ongoing management of AD security groups. 

First i have to say the main script is written by OneScript Team.

The idea here is to use KACE SMA to have an sheduled or an adhoc script wich will assign devices to specific AD securitygroup(s). 
First we will create an online KScript like this: 
sma_aag_001.png

After that we have to decleare on which device(s) it should be deployed to. Here you can choose to leave it empty or using a specific smartlabel or whatever you need it for.
After that you have to add credentials of a user who has the right to add the targeted devices to the targeted AD securitygroups.
Pro Tipp: Only use Domain Administrator if you are in a lab :)  
sma_aag_002.png

We don't need a notification and the shedule is up to you. Maybe you wan't to run it every monday to be sure that every device is in the correct group(s). 
Necessary to check is the "Allow run without a logged-in user". 
sma_aag_003.png

And now the final step: Upload the VBS as dependency and configure a task (or multiple).
sma_aag_004.png

Of course you can do here whatever you want. Feel free to proof registry keys or whatever you like before adding a computer to an AD securitygroup. 
You can add all securitygroup names seperated by a space as an argument. So you are able to create different sets of joining ad groups in one task. 

You can download the script together with my AutoIt Wrapper for KACE SDA:  Here 

Please note that this is a selfmate script without vendor support.

Kind Regards
Timo
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KACE SDA - Adding Clients to AD Groups during deployment

Hi All, 

you are right here if you are looking for a solution to add your Windows Clients to AD groups during the inital deployment.

First i have to say the main script is written by OneScript Team.
I only added a short AutoIt wrapper to start this tool as a user which has the rights in the AD to add the actual client to the selected security group(s). 

Why did i use an AutoIt Wrapper? Because the Username and Password will not be stored as plaintext in the task.xml during the postinstallation task sequence. 

And that's the whole magic:
sda_aag_001.png
You only have to edit the script in the red marked square to your enviroment credentials. Then compile it via AutoIt SciTE and you will get an executable. 

After that you have to zip the VBS (AddGroup.vbs) and the executable to a normal compressed .zip file without password. 
Upload it afterwards to your SDA Postinstall-Tasks:
sda_aag_002.png

Now you are done. You can add all securitygroup names seperated by a space as an argument to the executable. So you are able to create different sets of joining ad groups in one task. 

If you have any problems or question reach out to me in the comments or contact me by mail (included in the AutoIt-Script). 

You can download my AutoIt Script together with the AddGroup.vbs from OneScript Team: Here

Please note that this is a selfmate script without vendor support.

Kind Regards
Timo

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Data and Insights that Matter Unveiling the All-New Contact Building App from DataCaptive

Today, DataCaptive, a Business Intelligence company with a global presence rolled out a revolutionary B2B Marketing App – The Contact Builder App. Through the app, the company equips marketers and businesses across the world with data-driven intelligence which leads to action-oriented marketing strategies. Once signed up, the app delivers fresh and highly customizable data and insights to a user. The verified data in the App can be customized based on marketing metrics such as industries and geographic locations.

 

According to the company’s sources, the application promotes ethical marketing and encourages users to focus on consent based conversion. A user can add prospects to subscription or mailing list prior to sending out emails or campaigns. This will lead to reduced spamming, digital stalking, and e-mail bouncing rate, and increased response ratio which can eventually lead to better sales and financial growth.

 

How Do Marketers Gain from the App?

 

The one thing a marketer loves the most is data which is mightier than 1000 billboards put together. The Contact Builder App empowers users with the power of accurate, precise, and relevant data using which one can target decisions makers directly. Here are a few benefits anyone who has access to the revolutionary Contact Building App stands to gain:

 

·         Access to data and  insights that can be used across digital marketing platforms

·         Knowledge to formulate better social media strategy

·         Data to enrich CRM

·         Better chance to nurture leads

·         Key information that enhances ABM campaigns

·         Insights that help facilitate better e-commerce conversion

·         Use the power of data to recapture stale leads

 

What makes the Contact Builder App several cuts above the rest is its ability to deliver fresh data every time a user signs in. The data within the App is cleansed using patented machine learning tools in order to offer users relevant data whenever they access the platform.

 

Fresh data and useful insights, that is what the app promises and that is what it delivers.

 

About DataCaptive

 

DataCaptive is a Business Intelligence Company based in California. The company, since its inception, has been focusing on enriching their client’s marketing efforts with unparalleled ideas. The experts at DataCaptive work towards strengthening the communication channels between the company’s clients and their customers. From lead generation to market research, DataCaptive is always committed to growing their customers business.
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Has anybody used the KACE system for tracking of IT development requests?

I was wondering if anybody has customized a queue for purpose of having users submit requests for IT development (in-house programs), new application request or modification to existing ones including custom report requests.  I was thinking I could potentially use Kace for this purpose.  Allowing users to place their requests and once approved assign it to programmer.  Once ready for implementation upon obtaining proper approvals, I can submit a change request to change control approvers.


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