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[How-to] Enhance IT Services with Service Catalog in AssetSonar

AssetSonar and Zendesk have come together to create a new Service Catalog that helps automate manual ITSM workflows, and empowers organizations by combining asset intelligence and self-service. Our Service Catalog is designed to redefine and simplify request management workflows for IT. It also enhances employee experience for businesses worldwide.

AssetSonar’s Service Catalog helps organizations that are grappling with challenges like manual handling of services, unclear monitoring of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for service requests, budgeting woes, and inefficient resource allocation in the IT department. Service Catalog addresses these challenges by standardizing service requests, optimizing resource allocation by providing visibility and cost tracking, and by analyzing requests to reach a new level of ITAM productivity. 

How can Service Catalog benefit your organization?

This new feature by AssetSonar is a perfect fit for organizations with well-established IT departments across various industries including IT, healthtech, financial services, and education. Service Catalog is especially beneficial for organizations that have a hybrid work model or are spread across multiple locations. 

If an organization is looking to improve IT support, incident management, and self-service capabilities for their employees and IT help desk agents and provide valuable insights for executives to make informed decisions, then here is how Service Catalog can add value:

For employees: 

  • Provides convenience and ease of access to information, eventually promoting self-service and reduced reliance on IT personnel. 
  • Enhances visibility on which assets/resources they have custody of, improving accountability. For example, employees might be unaware of the beneficial software applications they have access to. 
  • Standardizes workflows making it  easier and quicker to raise IT issues. 
  • Improves processes and visibility leading to faster request fulfillment time. 

For help desk agents:

  • Streamlines IT requests by standardizing format of requests, resulting in overall productivity boost and faster resolution time. 
  • Increases transparency and visibility on different stages of the fulfillment cycle
  • Provides access to essential asset management needs through the AssetSonar app within Zendesk leading to quick resolution of ITAM-related service requests and hence improved Service Level Agreements.

For administrators and executives: 

  • Provides reports and insights to ensure continual service improvement
  • Reduces maintenance costs and improves procurement decisions e.g. most reported hardware models that help to make informed decisions like replacing  faulty models, vendors, etc.
  • Provides reports on SLAs to improve service resolution times

Please note that you need to set up Service Catalog on both AssetSonar and Zendesk before starting to use it. Now let’s get started on setting up Service Catalog and understanding its workflows: 

Setting up Service Catalog Builder on AssetSonar

If you are an IT administrator, you can get started with Service Catalog by following this pathway: Settings → Integrations → Zendesk Integration and click on Enabled.

Now add your Zendesk credentials to set up the integration. Here is a complete guide on integrating Zendesk with AssetSonar. 

Once you have successfully integrated with Zendesk, click on ‘Integrate with Help Center’. Integration with the Help Center is a prerequisite to enabling Service Catalog.

Now check the ‘Enable Service Catalog’ option before saving the setting.

Please note that integrating with the Zendesk Help Center is a prerequisite to using the Service Catalog

Note: To enable Zendesk, please make sure that:

  1. Your Zendesk account is connected.
  2. You have access to either Help Center JWTs API Support or Sunshine.

Once you have successfully created the integration, click on ‘More’ from the left navigation bar and then go to ‘Service Catalog’. 

You’ll be able to view the Service Catalog Builder from where you can create service categories and configure service items. 

In order to create Service Categories and Service Items, we need to set up Service Catalog on Zendesk Help Center beforehand. Here are the steps you can follow to set up Service Catalog:  

Setting up Service Catalog on Zendesk Help Center

Now, you need to set up the Service Catalog from your Zendesk Help Center. To do so, log in to your Zendesk account by using your Administrator or Agent credentials. Please note that you should be on the Zendesk Enterprise Plan to be able to set up the Service Catalog. 

To start off, you’ll need ezoFieldID and ezoServiceItemFieldID. When employees create tickets, the assets and Service Items will be ‘linked’ to their respective fields automatically. This would help the agent instantly know the context of the issue reported. Follow these steps to get values for these fields:

  • For ezoFieldid
  1. From Zendesk’s main page, go to the Admin Center and click on ‘Fields’ under the Tickets tab. 

2. Create a new custom field by filling out the form as shown below:

Please note that the checkbox for ‘Required to Submit a Request’ should remain unchecked as shown below:

3. Click on Save and you’ll be able to view the Field ID of the newly created custom field. Save this Field ID for later. 

Now let’s create another custom field that can be used as ServiceItemID later.

  • For ezoServiceItemFieldId
  1. From Admin Center, go to the Fields page and click on the ‘Add Field’ button on the top right.

2. An ‘Add Field’ detail page will open up. Click on the ‘Text’ tab.

3. On the new page, enter the name and description of the service field. Please make sure that you don’t select the checkbox ‘Required to resolve a ticket’. In permissions, select the ‘Customers can edit’ option as shown below:

4. Scroll down the page to finish creating the service field ID. Do not check the option ‘Required to submit a request’. Hit save and you’ll be redirected to the Fields listing page.

Now save this newly created service field ID for later.

Now, hover your cursor over the Zendesk Products icon on the top-right navigation bar and choose the Guide icon as shown below:

A new window will open up. Here is a snippet of the new window.

Click on the ‘Guide Admin’ button on the top-right to open a new page. Now click on the ‘Customize Design’ icon on the left navigation bar. 

Scroll down to view the live theme named ‘Copenhagen Service Catalog’. Now click on ‘Customize’. 

A new window will open up from where you’ll be able to customize this design theme. To do so, click on the ‘Edit Code’ button on the bottom-right of the page. 

Now click on ‘Add’ from the menu on the left and then hit the ‘Custom Page’ option.

A new popup will appear where you can add ‘Service Catalog’ as the page’s name and the token URL of your AssetSonar domain as shown below:

Click on ‘Add Custom Page’ and it will start showing up on the left-hand menu. Add a new custom page called ‘service catalog.hbs’. Keep this page empty.

Choose document_head.hbs from the list of files on the left.  

Now at the bottom of the code file for document_head.hbs, add the following script:

<script>
  document.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', function () {

    const timestamp = new Date().toISOString();

    const scriptSrc = `https://cdn.ezassets.com/shared/service_catalog/dist/bundle.min.js?${timestamp}`;

    // Create a script element

    const scriptElement = document.createElement('script');

    scriptElement.src = scriptSrc;

    // Append the script element to the document head

    document.head.appendChild(scriptElement);

    scriptElement.onload = function () {

      const initializationData = {

        timestamp: timestamp,

        ezoFieldId: '10681107234194',

        ezoSubdomain: '7valslahoreoffice7.ez-oi.com',

        ezoServiceItemFieldId: '13884803612562'

      };

      new ServiceCatalog.min.js.ServiceCatalogManager(initializationData);

    };

  });
</script>

In this script, replace the ezoSubdomain value with that of your own subdomain.

You’ll also need to update the ezoFieldID and ezoServiceItemFieldID that you create before. . When employees create tickets, the assets and Service Items will be ‘linked’ to their respective fields automatically. This would help the agent instantly know the context of the issue reported.

  1. Once you have updated these fields, hit ‘Publish’. 

Additionally, to customize the Copenhagen theme you’ll need to add the following mapping in the main style.css file for it to work:

:root {
–ez_text_font: $text_font;
–ez_text_color: $text_color;
–ez_link_color: $link_color;
–ez_brand_color: $brand_color;
–ez_heading_font: $heading_font;
–ez_background_color: $background_color;
–ez_brand_text_color: $brand_text_color;
–ez_visited_link_color: $visited_link_color
}

Note: The variables with $ sign are only available in Copenhagen theme. However, you can customize the mapping in other themes as per requirement to reflect changes in Service Catalog.

You should have successfully customized the theme for Service Catalog. You’ll be able to view the Service Catalog icon on the top-right of the navigation bar as shown below:

Now let’s go over the Service Catalog’s workflows for different types of users in your organization. 

Primarily, the workflows are designed as per the needs of employees, helpdesk agents, and administrators. 

Service Catalog workflows for IT administrator

AssetSonar allows IT administrators to have complete control over Service Catalog through the Service Catalog builder. The builder helps you create different categories that cater to the unique workflows of your organization. 

From your AssetSonar application, go to ‘More’ from the left navigation bar and then click on the ‘Service Catalog’ tab. 

For the existing categories, you can configure service items and forms that you want to show on the ‘My IT assets’ tab in the employee portal of service catalog. Click on configure to open a new overlay. 

Here is a snippet of the new dialog box that opens up: 

From here you can choose the items, fields, and Zendesk forms that you want the employees to view on their portals. The checked out items will include the assets and asset stock while the software licenses will include all cloud, or on-premise software applications that are in the custody of that employee. 

Once you have configured these changes, your employees will be able to view all the assigned assets on their Service Catalog. Here is a snapshot of the employee portal after the configuration: 

Now from the builder’s main page, you can also create new service categories or add new items to those categories. Start by clicking on the Create button as shown below: 

A new dialog box will open up. Provide the category name and short description of the service category you want to build and then click on ‘Create’. 

A new service category will be successfully created. To add service items to the new category, go to Service Item -> Create Service Item

A new tab will open up prompting you to enter details of the new service item to be created. 

Once you have entered the relevant information, click on ‘Done’ to finish creating a new service item. You’ll be able to see this service item on the relevant service category’s detail page. Click on the ‘Save’ button to make sure that this service item is reflected on the employee portal for Service Catalog. 

Now enable the service category to finish setting up the new service. 

Now, let’s take a look at the employee portal to see how this new service category can be utilized by the employees. 

Service Catalog for employees

In large organizations, the process of requesting IT services for employees can be a major challenge. Lack of a streamlined process and channel can cause delays and errors, leading to operational bottlenecks. 

In addition, employees have to rely on their IT teams to provide information regarding critical requests and complaints. With the Service Catalog, employees can browse and view the assets and IT services available to them. The items they can view and request are already filtered by department, team,  role, and access controls. Employees can view these items under the service categories as shown below:

From the main service catalog page, go to the newly created service category which is ‘Request a new device’ in this case. You can also see the new service item in the tab. 

The employee can click on the service item to initiate a request. A new form would be created. Here is a screenshot of the new request form. 

Once a request has been submitted successfully, a new ticket would be created and a message would be shown to the employee. 

Service Catalog for help desk agents

Once an employee has submitted the request, it is picked up by a help desk agent in Zendesk Support.

This new ticket would land in the help desk agent’s inbox as shown below: 

From here, the help desk agent can take actions on the ticket, double check the information, and assign the requested hardware, eventually marking the ticket as done in little time. 

Let’s see how the help desk agent can resolve the ticket:

The type of request tab is updated automatically and the agent will be able to review all the relevant information. 

Through Zendesk Support, the agent will be able to view all the available items in AssetSonar that match the information on the request. Here is a preview of the request ticket on the agent’s window:

The agent can then choose the preferred device and fulfill the request easily, saving themselves time. 

Organizations can utilize AssetSonar and Zendesk’s Service Catalog for different IT workflows including onboarding and offboarding, break-fix, hardware replacements, software renewals, and more.