The SysAid Newsletter - The IT Research Grant

Dear SysAid Users,

These days in Ilient we are adding final touches to SysAid version 4.5.06, which will soon be available for you. This new minor version includes significant bug fixings and some useful new features, among which are an additional update type to the monitoring module- Device Update – that allows you to be notified about changes in storage, memory or both. Also, new monitoring templates were added to replace the use of resource bundle definitions. These new defaults include additional information about each monitoring test, and order the data in the notification text.
As you see, we are constantly striving to make SysAid answer more and more of your needs, so if you have any special requests or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us!

You can also let us know what you think and learn some more useful staff in our blog

Israel Lifshitz, Ilient's CEO

A call for research in the field of IT Management and Help Desk

The field of IT management is developing rapidly in recent years. Today It is fairly safe to say that IT departments have become vital to almost any kind of organization. Yet, very little in this field is actually being academically examined. It is a shame since we, IT professionals, can learn and benefit a lot from such research.

We at Iilient would like to contribute our share to help amend this situation!

Therefore, we are considering to offer a grant for academic research in the field of IT Management and Help Desk. For that purpose we would like to get in touch with scholars whose field of academic interests involves IT management to serve in our grant committee.

If you know of a scholar who is involved in such research, or if you are planning to submit a research proposal in this field yourself, the Ilient grant may be available for you.

Modifying the CSS file of the SysAid End User Portal

A Tip from Sarah Lahav, the Head of Ilient Support Team

Here is how to edit the HTML of the SysAid End User portal and upload changes in the appearance page.

SysAid interface is displayed using HTML. If you are familiar with the HTML code, you can customize the appearance of the End User Portal and Login/Logout pages.

1. Go to C:Program FilesSysAidServerrootWEB-INFconf. You will find a folder called HTML. Copy this folder to another location.
2.  Edit the HTML files in the new location, creating the desired appearance.
3. In SysAid, go to Preferences > Customize >Appearance. In the field 'HTML Files Location:' point to the new location of the HTML files from steps 1 and 2.  Click the Save button.
4. Check your newly designed End User Portal and Login/Logout pages. Confirm that they display the new design.

In step two, you can edit the HTML files. Note that SysAid free version users can only edit the submit-service-request.htm file; changes to other files will be ignored. Since changes are made in HTML language, you can customize the entire look and feel of the page.

To change the colors and fonts please edit the css.css file. To see the numbers that represent the different colors available, in the Administrator Interface go to Preferences> Customize> Appearance page.

Making the work of the IT department visible

IT professionals know theirs can be an ungrateful job: end users do not realize the amount of work that is taking place in the IT department, and therefore are unable to understand why their service requests cannot be answered immediately.

Steven McD shares the feelings he encounters as an IT professional in his personal blog: “Now that we are starting to enforce the use of SysAid a lot of the users are no longer happy”, writes Steven.

“Whereas they used to phone and whatever they needed was done over the phone, they now need to ‘pick a number and wait’ so that we go through the requests in the order in which we get them. A lot of the users are now complaining that we aren’t working”.

Indeed, Steve  is pointing at a common difficulty IT technicians encounter. Many end users are simply unaware of the amount of work done in the IT department, so they are impatient when waiting for the technicians’ help.
Our suggestion is simple yet effective: make the work of the IT department visible to your end users. Here are a few things you can do to improve the visibility of your day-to-day work for your end users, and even to allow them to solve some of their difficulties by themselves:

Use the end user FAQ feature available in SysAid to answer recurring questions. We advise organizing the different questions according to categories, to make it easier for the end-user to find the relevant information. You can even direct your end users to check your FAQ page before they fill in their request form.

  • Configure SysAid to send an automatic message to an end user upon opening a service request, that will include information about where the request is routed to and to whom.
  • Direct SysAid to update the end user via mail about any change in the status of their service request.
  • You can add to your service request form the different criteria you use when you prioritize service requests, so an end user sending a request will be able to estimate where in the queue of service requests her/his question will be placed. For instance, you can indicate that sever malfunctions in the hardware or software of machines is in a higher priority, while difficulties of users with forms or web applications will be addressed later. If you are currently involved in a major project, such as installing a new program on all the network, you can also mention this in the service request from, apologizing in advance for the longer time it will take you to attend requests.
  • In general, it is a good thing to remember to keep an open communication channel with your end-users, and let them see what work is done in the IT department. In the near future we plan to add a possibility of live chat to SysAid, so simple requests could be attended in this way as well.

ITIL Best Practice

What should be taken into consideration when defining your required staff levels?

A careful study of your workload is necessary in order to decide how many employees are needed in your IT support staff, how many hours they should work, and what skills they should master.
Here is what you should know about your workload before deciding on these variables against the costs involved:

1. How many service requests are being handled by the service desk (including also the requests directed immediately to the second-level support)?
2. What type of service requests demand the longest time from your IT staff?
3. Which of your customers/users require the most attention? (This could be important when you plan your training programs for new IT members).

To find this information, you may run the relevant reports in SysAid Analyzer. You can find them under the Help Desk --> Workload folder. If you wish to customize a report, schedule it, or even create your own report, you may do so in the SysAid Manager Dashboard, available in the SysAid Full version only.