Frequently Asked Questions

 

  • Is the Web presentation layer configurable to a corporate identity? Does the Web presentation follow W3C standards and is it controlled with CSS?

    - Yes, you can “brand” the portal to your corporate identity, including logos, colors, etc. . It follows W3C standards and indeed the branding is controlled with CSS.

  • How are modifications to the Service Selection Wizard done and managed? 

          - You create custom javascript. Alternatively, use the Branching Question feature within the form designer.

  • How are static Web pages updated in the system?

    - Using the Service Catalog Content Management System (SC CMS) available on the Administration menu.

  • Does the product natively show the status of the request?

    - The status of all requests is natively updated on the home page, order history, and live view of the workflow.

  • Is an SDK available to manipulate the product through public interfaces?

    - The workflow is embedded and can be integrated to any other app or product. There is an SDK for creating custom configuration portlets, you can also publish any of our components to other public interfaces like portals.

  • Is the API .NET-compatible?

    - Yes.

  • How are "integration"-type processes added to handle communication to/from other systems/data. How are these created and in what language? (are they custom scripts, batch files, .NET procedures, etc…)

    - All of these methods are supported and they are drag ; drop action items in the service process engine. The SPE itself is .NET 2.0. How is security handled? Security is handled differently for each method and protocol. Webservices has its own, ftp its own, APIs their own, etc.

  • What are the hardware requirements? With the architecture requiring IIS, Microsoft Commerce Server, and SQL Server, how many physical boxes are required / recommended to run this infrastructure?

    - One server for up to 500 concurrent users.

  • Do any items have to be together or separated for integration/load purposes?

    - No. The software scales up or out based on need.

  • Will this site run alongside other applications on a shared IIS service?

    - Yes. Ditto for SQL. It is most common to run the DB on a clustered MS SQL database farm.

  • Is Oracle a supported product?

    - Not as a backend database for our product, but our solution integrates into any Oracle database i.e., we can read and write data to any Oracle-based system.

  • Does Expense Authority exist natively within the system?

    - Generally speaking, we can configure rules within the workflow. If request is greater than X dollars, it must be routed to Person A for approval, if less than X, Person B. If this is an external table in a database with these relationships, we simply add a DB lookup step in the workflow to ascertain expense authority and assign/route accordingly.

  • How are users administered, can groups be utilized?

    - All users are administered within Microsoft Active Directory.

  • Does it integrate with Active Directory?

    - Yes, Out of the box. We require it. All user management is done in A/D.

  • How is reporting impacted by the customizable forms features?

    - Not at all. All forms have to connect to a workflow. Reporting data comes from workflow.

  • Are reports customizable?

    - All reports are easily customizable and there is a simple XML configuration file. The code to generate tables, and all forms of charts and graphs is built-in.

  • Is a data model available?

    - Yes.

  • Printing - Will the client be able to print their individual request?

    - Yes.

  • Status - Will the client be able to see what the status of their requests?

    - Yes. Automatically.

  • Status - Can we change the status codes?

    - Yes. Fully configurable.

  • If the client was to update their request with additional requirements, what happens?

    - You account for this in workflow. It can be treated as a new request or it can update/impact/change the workflow in progress.

  • Can we have the requests go to a generic id / group? E.g. AppsHelp.

    - Yes, we fully support queues and have a whole ton of other advanced functionality in this respect.

  • What happens if the person assigned the task / EA is not available?

    - Any task has the ability to allow/disallow task reassignment and assignment of tasks to alternate actors based on availability. It also supports first-in first-out, round robin task assignment and more....

  • Will we be able to configure it for multiple entities and keep the data separate?

    - Yes, but this will require additional licensing. Each will get their own DB instance.

  • Can we configure to restrict who sees what information? E.g. Fields only for the worker bees

    - Absolutely. You can granularly control data flow and views.

  • Would we be able to export data?

    - You can use all of the built-in SQL server export tools. Export to XLS, text, etc.

  • Can we cleanse data?

    - Yes, Again, at the database level. We will work with the client via support to implement cleansing, backup, and archival scripts. E.g. We no longer support TSA, therefore we want to remove their data.

  • What is the turn around time for support ?

    - Next business day for standard support, 4 hours for Premium.

  • Is there the ability to set up a reassignment rule e.g. if someone is on vacation they set up a rule to assign to a secondary resource?

    - Certainly, this is easily done in the Workflow designer.

  • Is there the ability to put in a temporary modification to a workflow?”

    - Yes, every single time you touch the workflow it creates a version.

  • Are approvals part of a true approval engine? Can we do delegation?

    - Yes and Yes. We can elaborate on these capabilities. The approval engine is very sophisticated, yet easy to configure. You can have scenarios where several folks can approve, or have 2 out of three, etc. You can delegate approvals or have approvals go to a queue of approvers.

  • Can the software make decisions in Workflow based on questions on request form?

    - Yes. Absolutely. We have branching-tree logic and a very slick way to have questions drive other questions and have these pass appropriately into workflow. For example, if you select A in the form, the request routes one way, if you select B, it goes another. this is very simple.

  • Can we create/present forms with additional questions within the workflow process?

    - Yes. Absolutely. We can also control what questions are presented to specific people within the workflow. For example, we can show confidential data so some and not to others. We have granular control over questions and data flows.

  • Can we connect to other application's web services?

    - Yes. There's a built-in drag-drop-configure web-services action connector.

  • Do they have a set of web services? If so, are they .NET compatible?

    - Yes and Yes. We are .NET 2.0.

  • If an approval task is assigned to a group, and someone approves the task, will it be removed from everyone else's task list?

    - Yes. Any action can be deemed a "completion" or not.

  • Can the product write to custom tables in CA Service Desk or is it limited to out of the box tables?

    - We can write to any table.

  • How do they talk to CA, do they go straight to the database? or go through CA web services?

    - This is a choice. We choose the integration method based on the objectives. If you need access to custom tables, direct to DB might be the way to go.

  • What kind of error handling is in workflow? What happens to workflow if it's trying to talk to CA and CA is down? And other possible scenarios.

    - There are very robust error handling capabilities in the workflow, including notifications on errors and exceptions as well as retries and timeouts.

  • Is it possible to pause/stop a service request that is in progress and then have the process re-started at a later point in time. If so, does the overall service delivery time (for measurement reporting) exclude the time that the service was in a state of pause/stoppage?

    - Yes and yes. There is much to consider when doing this. First, you must decide who is able to perform the stop or pause, the requestor or a fulfillment actor. You will notice that when you login (currently as an Admin user) and go to your Request history, you will have an Abort button available on all line items for an order. We can make available a Pause button there as well as this is functionality fully supported in the Process Engine.

    - If you want a fulfillment actor to "pause" work items (tasks) assigned to him or her, most of the work items have the ability to allow the actor to change the status of the task to "Work In Process," "Complete," or to put it back "In Queue" for another user to take over the work. You can have a task that requires the fulfiller to enter say 5 items of data. He might be able to input 3 of them now, then the remaining 2 later. He would use this "Work In Process" state to enable him to keep working on the task.

    - Either way, the time as it affects service delivery and reporting can be made to report properly.

  • What are the user authentication/logon methods for PMG iRequest ; iDeliver (Service Catalog)?

    - PMG iRequest and iDeliver support user authentication via Windows 2000 logon which is a modernized and more open authentication standard based on Internet protocols, which increases compatibility with additional authentication standards, including identity services such as LDAP. The User Principal Name is a standard (partially enforced) part of a modern (Windows 2000 and on) domain. The User Principal Name is the only user attribute that contains both the user id and domain. Use of the User Principal Name as a user identification allows the product to support multiple, even non-trusted, domains, in a single installation.

    - In the Windows 2000 authentication model, users are known as unique identities following a more open Internet standard; DNS (Domain Name Services) style domain and syntax following the Internet-style email format, such as user@domain.com. http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms680857.aspx. This identity string is present in win2000 domains in the user object property userPrincipalName. The more open standard user identity model is key to the product's ability to provide integration to multiple identity sources and profile properties for users across multiple domains and identity sources.

    - The PMG products support both Web based login as well as the popular Integrated Windows Authentication (IWA) mode, which leverages the user login credentials based on the user desktop login, providing a seamless experience to end users who are authenticated to the corporate domain via the Windows Active Directory Server.

    - The login process for the user to the PMG SC works as follows:

    - User accesses site via DNS accessible Web address configured for the Service Catalog. The Server checks to see if user browser IWA cookie is set. If the IWA cookie is present, the server sends an IWA challenge to the browser to obtain the IWA credentials. Provided the browser is within a desktop session authenticated to the domain, the browser responds with the correct IWA credentials, or the user is challenged with a browser login window to obtain the proper login ID, domain, and password.

    - If the browser does not send the IWA cookie, or does not access the IWA URL directly, then the user is presented the web based login form prompting for credentials including the network ID and password, as well as selecting the Windows 2000 domain name. From this form, the user can optionally select the IWA link which will execute the IWA procedure described above. Additionally, a cookie is set for the browser which sets the preference to use IWA in the future which will bypass the web login for future access.

    - PMG could extend our application (with a moderate amount or work) to use the samaccountname OR the userPrincipalname, but this would unfortunately reduce the amount of domains the product could access to a single domain in this mode. In order to support a legacy DOMAIN\samaccountname a larger set of changes would be required, as there are no AD attributes that contain a user login in this format.

    - Typically, updating AD accounts missing the userPrincipalname is typically straightforward, either manually, or with a short Visual Basic script. PMG can provide a script to execute a batch update if desired.

     

  • For more information, contact us today.