Increasing productivity and traceability in defect resolution – Integrating ServiceNow, Microsoft VSTS and Micro Focus ALM (formerly HPE ALM)

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Are your customers’ software issues taking too long to be fixed? Are you looking to improve your mean time to resolution (MTTR) and improve collaboration between your support team, developers and QA engineers/testers? You’ve come to the right place.

Problem

Your customer has a critical issue with their software. Every minute of application downtime is a minute their business is not performing at 100 percent, and another minute where your business relationship is taking a hit.

Your support desk receives notification of the bug and fires off an email to your development teams, hoping for a speedy resolution. The customer calls again a few hours later. “Do you know when the issue will be fixed?” “Um…”

Without making a phone call or another email, they don’t actually know the status because they don’t have a visible or traceable defect reporting or resolution process. By the time a status update has been provided, your customer’s satisfaction is on thin ice.

Cause

Your support team works in a disparate system (an ITSM tool such as ServiceNow) to your developers (an Agile Planning tool such as Microsoft VSTS) and QA/test teams (a Test Management tool such as Micro Focus ALM). And these tools do not naturally integrate or automatically flow information (such as a defect).

What this means is that once a support ticket is opened, it goes into a black hole. The support engineer responsible for communicating with customers has no idea when the issue will be fixed. They’ll need to send emails, make phone calls, and attend status meetings to find out where this issue stands. Or they’ll need to log into Microsoft VSTS or Micro Focus ALM (if they even have access) to see the ticket status there. Likewise, developers and QA/testers have to tread the same laborious path to obtain the information they need to fix and test the issue.

Meanwhile, management will not be able to derive any real insight into the defect resolution process to measure MTTR because all data that relates to the flow time of work is trapped in the individual tools. They will also need to resort to manual means of communication to obtain crucial metrics, such as how long did the issue wait in the dev or testing queue, and how long was it actually worked on. This method is slow and onerous, meaning measurement is unlikely to be accurate or even possible. Process improvement becomes a huge challenge.

This is all time where a customer isn’t receiving value from a product, and time where they’re becoming increasingly disenchanted with their service. What’s more, your practitioners are becoming frustrated with all this pesky admin. Ultimately, such a set-up is inefficient, unprofessional, and it’s damaging both you and your customers’ businesses.

Solution

Sounds simple, but you need to integrate ServiceNow with Microsoft VSTS and Micro Focus ALM to bring your support desk closer to your development and QA teams (and the rest of the software value stream).

Using Tasktop Integration Hub, you can quickly and easily integrate these three tools (and others), enabling all defects (and all associated attributes, comments, attachments and relationships) to automatically migrate and synchronize bi-directionally across all three tools. These links enable you to trace and follow the problem across tools for reporting and analytics.

You can see how to connect ServiceNow with Microsoft VSTS and Micro Focus ALM in the video below, where I explain how Tasktop easily and simply connects all tools to improve your MTTR – including valuable metrics where item resolution is lagging and how to improve the process – to optimize customer application performance, and ensure your support desk is always able to keep your customer up to date.