IT Dashboards and Reporting, From Zero to Hero
July 27, 2016
Jeremy Carter | Manager, Product Management | Ivanti
Canyou measure and communicate metrics around the value IT brings to the businesswithout depending on reporting specialists? With Xtraction reporting anddashboard code-free solution-you can!
Xtractionprovides information insights from multiple IT Operations Management datasources in a single view. Anyone can access and sharereal-time dashboards about the business impact of major incidents, the time-to-patch vulnerabilities, monitor assetlifecycle and more for greater visibility.
JoinJeremy Carter, Product Manager for a one-hour webinar and learn about the powerof Xtraction. Watch a live demo of how easy it for anyone to configure, connectto data sources and build dashboards from scratch.
Melanie:Welcome everyone to this LANDESK webinar. Today's topic is Reporting andDashboards: Zero to Hero.
I'm your hosttoday. My name is Melanie Karunaratne and with me today are Jeremy Carter,one of our product managers, and Gregg Smith, one of our solutions engineersfrom the Xtraction team. We're going to spend the next hour, or just under anhour, giving you some information about Xtraction and how it can help you inyour daily environment, and some live demo to show you how easy it is to getfrom, as I said, zero to hero in terms of configuring Xtraction with thereports that you need and getting up and running quickly.
Before we start—just a couple of housekeeping points. You will notice thatthere is a chat facility and QA on WebEx. Please use that if you have anyquestions. We've muted all the lines just for everyone's comfort. But if youhave questions, direct them either to me or Jeremy or Gregg, and we will getback to them at the end of the session and put them out for everyone to hearand get answers for.
The other pointabout these webinars is that we do record them, so if you missed any points, orif you think this is something relevant to your colleagues, we will berecording this and sending out the link to the recording by email in thefollowing days. It will also be available on our website in our on-demandsection. So without further ado, I'm going to ask Jeremy if he would like to beginpresenting.
Jeremy: Thanks, Melanie. Fantastic. I'm going to go ahead and present the slidedeck here. We'll just make sure we can see that, okay?
Jeremy: Fantastic, great. Welcome everybody. I want to really start thepresentation off today with Xtraction. I’ll explain some of the capabilities,features, and what it's focused on specifically, and then afterwards jump rightinto a demo—walking through creating dashboards and charts and showing you howeasy it is to actually begin to put data into Xtraction.
Xtraction, at the end of the day, is a reporting and dashboarding solutionfocused on providing business intelligence to IT. One of the values of Xtractionis that it aggregates multiple data sources into business-level views that giveyou a full perspective across the entire environment. Another really nice thingabout it is I can look at not just one data source but multiple data sources andbegin to construct data or construct a dashboard and view from thatperspective.
Let me jump inhere quickly. Reporting is actually a very broad term. It's something we hearquite often and means very different things to different people in theorganization. Reporting could mean real-time dashboards and reporting status tosay someone in operations, or the typical report, which shows me the historicaltrend and the analysis. Maybe I'm an executive looking for a scoreboard, so Ijust want to see the high level, the one number that makes up what's happeningwith a specific system or in one part of the organization. To others it may bea notification and alerting. I want to see across the systems, or I only wantto be notified when something happens or when a threshold hits. Reporting meansa lot of things to a lot of different people.
We want to getinto how Xtraction helps solve the problem, regardless of who's asking forreporting, by providing different views and different ways of looking at thedata for members across the organization.
A reporting bottleneck
Let’s start with a real-world problem. This illustrates what we see quite often—allof the different requests for reporting: operations looking for alerts, analyticslooking for dashboards, management looking for executive scoreboards. The onechallenge we do tend to see across organizations is there is typically oneperson, or a small group of people, who create and generate those reports. Thatperson may be bottlenecked for days, weeks, even months, feverishly trying tokeep up with all the requests that are happening. Unfortunately those reportstypically are generated on a continual basis. They're weekly, they're monthly.You basically start the process all over again.
A solution to this is the ability to create and generate those reports anddashboards and then make the modifications or get the alerts automatically inthe background, bypassing the analysts altogether and only going to them forthe exceptions they need to help with. Xtraction will help provide thoseexecutive scoreboards, dashboards, business intelligence, notifications andalerts, business insights, and even schedule those reports out to the differentmembers in the organization automatically for you .
What customers say about Xtraction
We hear feedback from our customers quite often, and we love this. A particularpiece of feedback we receive is that customers have been able to save a lot oftime by giving access to anybody with a browser (Xtraction will allow you toconnect to the system using just a browser) and who has very little knowledgeabout building reports. With access to the data they need, people can filterand modify necessary dashboards themselves and bypass the analyst altogether. Atthe end of the day, they really save time and provide the business with the up-to-the-minuteresponse they're looking for. That’s great feedback from a customer.
The other piece we hear is the disconnected data story. It's great that we canreport on one specific piece of data in the organization, however, connectingthat data to your asset management system and connecting it to your systemsmanagement and your service management has proven difficult. Typically, what wesee is people running spreadsheets from one and maybe the built-in reportingtools from another. There's a very manual process after the fact to combinethat data, put it together, and begin to draw insights out of it. The solutionfor this would be connecting that data—pulling information from the ITSMsystem, the ITAM system, the systems management system, and then be able to seethat data side-by-side or, even better, in the same chart. Show me where thingsare trending and what assets are impacted by it, for example.
Xtraction provides that ability with the third-party and the connectorcapabilities that we have. We have more than 60 different connectors for anumber of different IT systems in the environment, and we have connectors foreach of the systems here at LANDESK, as well. So using those connectors allowsme to combine that data and put it together either on a single dashboard or,even better, within a single chart, and view that data in one place. We'll showthis a little bit later in the demo today.
IT reporting and dashboards with Xtraction
So Xtraction is a solution for IT reporting and real-time dashboards. It offersthe ability to consolidate multiple data sources and present that informationin a desired format. The bottom line is it delivers insight and transparencyacross the organization; is able to spread data out across multiple people inthe organization; and gives them the ability to create, build, view, andconsume their own dashboards and/or reports.
I want to talk really quickly, before going much further, about customer feedbackwe hear. The time it takes to build these reports is very quick, and we hear veryoften that, in the past, customers have spent weeks or even months puttingtogether complex reports, even getting connectors or adapters in the differentsystems, which is typically a manual process. By putting Xtraction in place,they are able to turn that around and are quickly able to put the data togetherand see it all in one place.
I also want to talk about a couple of different steps that are involved withcreating your own dashboards, and then we'll move into the demo and show youwhat that looks like in the product itself. There are four steps.
Creating your own dashboard
First isselecting the view. Choose the data connector, what data source are youconnecting to? Drag and drop components that are predefined and prebuilt foryou, and then simply go into the data and filter and fine-tune the data itself.In this first step, we present you with a number of different layouts. They'repredefined, and you can choose a layout that's either a full-screen or a wallboardstyle.
Once you're happy with the layout, the second step is to choose the dataconnector. As I mentioned before, we have more than 60 different data connectors,as well as LANDESK data connectors. If you're connecting to a third-partysource, we likely have the connector for that. One thing I want to note, too,is the connectors have actually had all of the heavy lifting done for you.We've gone in and built out the common data elements you would use to report on,and we’ve put those into the connector so the third step, which is the drag anddropping of different components, becomes very easy. What you see here is asimplified version, but you also have the ability to get into some of the morecomplex pieces as well and look at joins across those and date filters andusing the dates within those different systems. Once the connector's in place,it's simply a matter of dragging and dropping the different graphs and charts wehave available onto the dashboard. From there, the dashboard can be shared outto the organization.
And the very last step is fine-tuning. We have a number of different filtersthat can be applied to the dashboards. We can set up reports and schedule tosend them. I'd like to see the environment report every Monday morning, forexample. I can set up a timer on that, and every Monday morning it will send mea report. The last piece, and I think this is important too, is setting upalerts. If I'm really only interested in a threshold being hit, I can see someof those alerts. It will go back and continue to check and watch and once thatthreshold's hit, send me the report or send me a notification that it's beenreached.
Features and capabilities of Xtraction
Let’s talk about features and capabilities. Xtraction is really for everyone acrossthe organization. With the roll-based access control, you can give users accessto design their own dashboards, design their own reports, or simply give themview access, and they'll be able to go in and see the different dashboards thathave been built or even fine-tune those dashboards.
We have a number of connectors available with our own LANDESK applications andthird-party applications. You also have the option with Xtraction to build yourown connector against a data source like SQL, Oracle, or even Post?
Next are the visualizations. You can go in and see daily activity for incidents,changes, and requests; combine that data across multiple data sources; view thealerts for outages or be notified when a threshold's been hit; and lastly, havealerts sent to you on a scheduled basis and see the data in your Inbox asopposed to logging in and watching it daily.
Another thing I wanted to note is that Xtraction is localized, and theconnectors are as well, localized in 11 different languages. If you do haveneeds to see information in different languages, you'll be able to do that withXtraction.
Xtraction is available to view on the desktop. We do have an iPad app available,as well. It will give you views into the dashboards you've created. And then,also, putting it on the wallboard. We see this quite often, as well. You cancreate a scorecard, a scoreboard component, a dashboard, and it will displaythat information on the wallboard. Regardless of the view or how yourorganization would like to consume data, we very likely can meet those needs withXtraction.
So quick summary on the capabilities—the dashboards are very easy to create.We're going to walk you through that in the demo next and show you how you cantake a data source, or multiple data sources, and with the robust chartingoptions we have, including pivots and all of the group components, you can buildthose dashboards very quickly and easily.
We have roll-based access controls. As users access those dashboards, you canlimit them to anything from a view-only to a full dashboard designer. With theroll-based action controls, you can limit the data they actually have access tosee. It could be a limit to a designer, for example, that may only be able todesign dashboards within the Service Desk application. Or it could be a fulldesigner that can design dashboards across systems, ITAM and Service Desk, for example.
Dashboards are interactive, and we'll certainly walk through this in the demo. Youcan drill into and see information or even link out from the drill down toanother application, opening records, for example, in Service Desk. So we dohave an option to open those directly from within the data.
Lastly,analytics is real time. Everything you're looking at and everything you'll seein the demo today is real time, and it's pulling from those data sources as itis today.
The last piece on the interface features (I'm very excited to show you the demonext) is being able to drag and drop, which is best shown as opposed to talked about.But the ability to export and schedule, the notification on the operationaltriggers, the customizable interface—you do have the option to theme it, changethe color scheme, and how it's presented to the users.
I'd like to bring on Gregg next, and let's take a look at creating some of ourown dashboards.
Gregg: Thank you. All right, hopefully you should be able to see my screen now.This is the Xtraction interface. It's Web based. I'm in a browser connected toour demo environment, and what you're viewing here at the moment is the homescreen, which is the viewer interface. Anyone would use this screen to interactwith dashboards that have already been created. I'm going to show you a fewthat have already been done.
This first one,for example, is actually connecting to nine different databases. Jeremy wastalking about being able to connect to multiple data sources. And the nicething is these can be on completely different systems. One could be Oracle, SQLServer, MySQL, Informix, it doesn't matter. Xtraction works with data from allthe different databases exactly the same way. Whether you're a manager, anexecutive, or an analyst, when you need reporting, you don't have to understandthe nuances of the different querying languages for the different databaseproducts. It's all standard within Xtraction. You will report on all thoseexactly the same way. So this is just a quick example—if I refresh this, you'llsee it quickly went out and queried nine different databases and refreshed theirdata.
Another thing Jeremy mentioned as a common use is large screens up on awallboard. Especially in service desk carriers and call centers, a key example islooking at the phone metrics. That's one of the things that Xtraction can do. Itconnects into your phone system and displays information in real time. What'sgoing on? How many calls do you have on hold? How many agents are available?What are your call abandonment rates, average hold times, etc.?
Whether you're wanting to display more real-time information—what's going onright now—or maybe you want to look at upcoming information and be a little bitmore proactive on your SLA violations and your tickets. This will show you howmany tickets are going to breach in the next hour, two hours, three hours, eachhour over the next 12 hours, and give you a breakdown by group and end user andlist them out here. In this case, we're looking good. We have no SLAs that are goingto breach in the next 12 hours.
Anotherforward-looking example would be upcoming changes. We have a number ofcustomers that use Xtraction for their cab meetings. You can take a look atyour upcoming changes based on the breakdown by day and the calendar view,different types of changes that are scheduled or just the list here. And did Imention these are interactive? If we're looking at these changes and thinking,well, we have 13 changes on Saturday. Which ones are those? I can come in hereand use the filter mechanism to filter the rest of the dashboard to just those13. I can see their breakdown here—we've got nine that are medium and four thatare other. Then down below I'm listing out those actual changes. If I want tolook at the ones for the following weekend, I can filter to that Saturday andthen add Sunday to it. Now we're looking at Saturday and Sunday combined. Sothat's looking at real time, what's going on right now versus upcoming thingslike SLAs and changes.
Then you havehistorical analysis—looking for trends. This is an example of looking at each tickettype coming out of the service desk and getting information. Here we have fourincidents. We're looking at what our incident counts looked like over the past 13months as well as our major incidents. There's obviously an increase in majorincidents over the past 13 months. Same thing with problems. How many problemswere opened and then of those each month, how many are still open? Whether it'sreal time, forward looking, or historical, it's very easy to set these up in Xtraction.It gives you a lot of flexibility there.
Another nicething about these dashboards is their interactiveness. I showed you a minuteago where I was able to click on one point. Let's say here we're looking atchange types, our pending changes. I want to look at the ones that are reactive.I can click on that data-point filter, and the rest of the dashboard filtersdown to reporting on only those four reactive changes. Then I say, well okay, ofthe four reactive, one of them is an emergency. Let me view those records. Ican double-click on this record, and it will take me straight into the nativetool. We don't have that running, so it will come up to a page I found, but theidea is that it will take you straight into that native product, whether it'sService Desk, whether it's your asset management system, your financial system,whatever you're connecting to, it will launch to the Web interface of thatproduct and go straight to that record, whether it's a contact record, anasset, etc.
Another nice thing is you can say, “Well, here are the reactor changes that arepending. Maybe I want to send this list out, so I want to export the list.” Thenyou can pick your export format. Excel would probably be the most popular. Butlet's say before I export this, there are a couple of extra fields I want tosee that aren't in the standard list. I can come in and, on the fly—and thisisn't a design change, this is just on the fly—I'm changing which columns Iwant to see. Maybe I want to see whether or not it's active and affected servicestatus. Just pick a couple of extra fields here, and I’m able to modify on thefly which fields are being displayed. Now I want to export that list to Excel,and I want to include the URL link. That quick I have my Excel spreadsheet withthose records, including a link. In this export, I have the information Irequested, plus I have links. When I send this to somebody, these links willtake them into the native product, so this is just like double-clicking therecord list. This link here will take you to your service desk, your assetmanagement system, etc., and take you straight to those records. We have a lotof customers that really like to use this functionality with those recordlists. It makes it a lot easier to send information out to people that may not haveaccess to Xtraction—contractors and vendors, that type of thing.
All of those are going to be for the service desk manager, etc., those who workwith your tickets and with your call volumes. Another thing I was going to showyou is an example of a higher level, an executive dashboard. This looks at someof your overall metrics on how you're doing volumewise, but also takes a lookat the financial aspect, cost of assets, etc. So Xtraction is used at everylevel, from down in the weeds looking at how are we doing per ticket? all theway up to the 10,000-foot view, what are we doing as an organization overall?
Building the dashboard
The question is,how easy is it to build these dashboards? I'm going to show you. By flippingover to the designer, I can go in and create a couple of dashboards, and youcan see how easy it is to create the dashboards we just looked at.
First, you pick your layout. We have a variety of different layouts, anythingfrom full screen all the way to what I like to refer to as a bingo card. I'm goingto stick with the “one over two” here. Jeremy stepped through these on theslide. The next thing is the data source. What system do we want to pull thedata from? In our demo system, we've connected to a variety of differentadapters, but I'm going to focus on the LANDESK Service Desk and we'll look atincidents specifically.
Typically in this situation, we'll end up at incidents, but I'm not interestedin all of the incidents. Even if I’m looking at a subset of the data, I want tolook at the incidents that are still active, the ones that were open today, theones that are going to violate their SLAs in the next 12 hours. In this case,the default is I want a report on incidents created last month, so I'll goahead and stick with that.
One of the things we've done with Xtraction since day one is we wanted tocreate a tool that was easy to use for the most nontechnical person in an organization,so it became a self-service tool. You wouldn't have to rely on a technicalexpert who knows how to write SQL queries and use the more complicatedreporting tools to put together the report for you. We want you to be able todo it yourself with minimal training and minimal technical knowledge. One aspectof that is building the filters. If you've ever written SQL queries or signedreports, you know that when you start talking about do I need the"and" and "or"? or you use parenthesis for controllingwhich conditions get evaluated first, it's a complicated thing that can confusemany people. We've removed that, but let's say I wanted to come in and add someextra conditions here. I not only want to look at the ones from last month, butI also want to look at the ones assigned to the two groups I manage. Maybe I'monly concerned about a couple of priorities. I can add additional conditionssuch as the assigned group.
Any of the fields you might want to filter with are available, and whether it'sequals, doesn’t equal, greater than, less than, etc., all the types ofcomparison operators are available. I can either type something in (maybe Iknow the exact name of my group), or I can look it up. I can hit Search, and itcomes back in this case with all the groups. If I was looking for one that Iknew had “desk” in it, I could type in "desk." And let's say that mytwo groups are the two BCRS groups. I can add those. If I want to add additionalconditions, say I'm only concerned about a couple of priorities, I can come inand search based on those. Maybe I'm only interested in priorities one and two,and that's it. I don't have to use “and” and “or.” I'm not grouping these. Xtractionautomatically applies the logic to give me what I'm asking for—tickets createdlast month, assigned to either of these two groups, and one of these twopriorities. This isn't necessarily going to return a lot of data for me in thissample data, so I'm going to remove these extra conditions, but I wanted you tosee how easy it is to add filter conditions and that literally the most nontechnicalperson can be taught how to do that very, very easily.
We’re looking at incidents that were open last month, so now let's take a lookat the different ways we can report on that information on the dashboard. The componentsare just different ways of taking the information—the incidents that werecreated last month—and slicing and dicing and presenting the information indifferent ways. For example, a time component will give you a timeline. Sincewe're looking at last month's data, we get a breakdown day by day. How manyincidents were opened each day during the month? We've had just shy of 3,500tickets for the month. Since these are broken down by day, we have a dailyaverage of 116, our lowest day was zero, and we had a peak of 142 on one day. Let'ssay we wanted to get a breakdown by what channels they came in. Now we can seehow many came in by phone, self-service, or email. Maybe I'm interested in thedifferent categories, so I drag that over, and now I get a breakdown bycategory, by customer. As you can see, it's just a nice drag-and-dropinterface.
One of the nice things about the designer is that even if you're not creating adashboard to save and reuse, you can use it to analyze what's going on. Forexample, let’s say you upgraded a system last week. There have been problems,and you want to go back and analyze the tickets for the past 10 days to findout what the top categories of tickets have been. Where have they been comingfrom? Have there been particular departments or particular regions of thecountry that have had an increase in ticket volumes of particular types? Youcan use this as an ad hoc analysis tool. You may not even save the design, it'sjust a one-off attempt to find a trend because of a recent change.
The other thing along the lines of building dashboards is reviewing on a largescreen. If you want to see a specific number, let’s say I'd like to see anoverall average of how long it took to resolve those tickets last month, I can dragthat over and get a nice single number. The overall average was 60 hours toresolve a ticket. And we can adjust this. Maybe we’d like to see that to onedecimal place, and then maybe we'll add a rule that says, “Well, if it's greaterthan 48 hours, I'd like to change the background to red.”
With a dashboard looking at phone data, the number of calls on hold, averagehold time, etc., it's easy to fill in each area of the dashboard with thoseindividual metrics. Again, I'm not writing any SQL queries. There's reallynothing technical about this. It's just going in, picking the correctcomponent, going into the properties and setting the values, and getting theresults you're looking for. Anybody can be taught how to do this with veryminimal education. The key goal was to make it simple and nontechnical to use soanybody can get the content they need, which is important for self-service.
This is all very basic reporting, so let's look at something that would beslightly more technical if you were to try and produce it outside Xtraction.I'm going to do a treat component on the assigned groups. This is pretty basic.It's each group and how many tickets are assigned to them, but I'm going tocome in here and do a few things. Right now, this series of data, that columnof numbers, is telling me how many were opened last month, so I'm going to put “opened”in here. In addition to the assigned group, I'd also like to see who it wasassigned to and that response level, the priority level. That’s how many wereopened. I'm going to copy that series and next to how many were opened, I'dlike to see how many were resolved last month. All I'm going to do, aftercopying this series, is change the title and change the filter so that insteadof looking at the date it was opened, I want to see the date it was resolvedlast month. Now I have another series of data—different label, different filter—thoseare the only changes.
I'd like to seeone more thing. For the tickets that were resolved, I'd like to see the averagetime it took to resolve them. So I'm going to copy that series and createanother column. This one is going to be the average times resolved in days, andsame data source, we're going to look at the same groups, it's going to be thesame filter. I want this calculation to be against the ones that were resolved,so in addition to the title, the only thing I'm going to change is thecalculation. Instead of a count of tickets, I'd like to see the average time toresolve in days. And I want to set up some alerts for this particular column. Iwant to say, “If they're taking less than one day, that's good.” I want to seethose highlighted in green. If they take greater than let's say three days, I'dlike that to be red. I'll do white text here. I kept this column short becauseit's going to be a color heading, but I don't want a really long title so I'm goingto add a note that says ATTRD equals “average time to resolve in days.” Again, hopefullyyou realize that anybody can do what I did. It's not technical at all. Now wehave a breakdown of all the groups, how many tickets were opened last month,how many were resolved, of those that were resolved what the average time toresolve was, and number of days. Now I'd like to see that a little moregranular, so I'm going to come back into that column and change its output tobe to one decimal place. Now I have just a little more detail. All of thosefell between one and four days, so there's no problem here.
If I expand oneof the groups, I then see the users, the assignees. You can see some of themare good, they're less than a day. Some are above the three-day mark. If Iexpand one of those, I see the breakdown by priority. This particularindividual has a problem with their P4s. Their P1s and their P2s are not aproblem. They didn't actually resolve any last month. We can expand andcollapse the whole tree if we need to.
No programming necessary
That's a pretty powerful layout to be able to do without having to do anyprogramming. There's no coding, no Web design, or anything. It's just drag anddrop, set some properties, and you have a very powerful, functional feature. Thisicon appears because of my note explaining what the ATTR means. When you do theexport, there's a checkbox that says “include notes.” That comment will be includedin the export. This is fully interactive with the rest of the dashboard, and thefunctionality I showed in the home screen, in which you can click on a datapoint and filter the rest of the dashboard, is automatically available. Youdon't have to do anything to enable that. It's automatically available even asyou're designing the dashboard.
I'm in thedesigner, building this. I can click on these data points and filter the restof the dashboard based on these data points as well as going in, viewing therecords, doing the exports. All that functionality works in the viewer and inthe designer. If I filter on the group, then we're filtered only on the group.If I expand down and filter at an agent, we're filtered to the group and thatagent specifically. If we drill down and filter at a priority level, it appliesfilters for all three levels to the rest of the dashboard. There's a lot ofintelligence built in to help that filtering functionality work the way youwould expect in a dashboard.
Additional Xtraction functions
So that's how easy it is to build dashboards in Xtraction. And there's allsorts of other functionality. This is looking at tickets—open, open resolved,average time to resolve. I could do the same thing in a timeline. Once you knowhow to do it, it's exactly the same. This is opened, and you can copy it justlike I did before. Say we want resolved—all you do is change the date filter. WhatI'm going to do here just to shorten things a little bit, I'm going to look atones that were resolved. We change the date, and then I'm going to copy thatone. And what I'd like to see here is the average time to resolve. There wekeep the same condition, but instead of the count, we want the average time toresolve in days, say to one decimal place. While your ticket volumes may be inthe hundreds or thousands of tickets, hopefully your average number of days isnot in the hundreds or thousands, so that's going to be a much smaller number. Onthe chart, it would be down near the zero bar, so I'm going to say chart on thesecondary action so we can zoom in on the scale and see this number a littlebetter. Instead of a column, I want to see this one as a line and maybe I wantit to be red. I added a few extra formatting options, and now we have anaccount of how many tickets were resolved each day based on this scale here, soyou got several dozen resolved each day. On the right-hand side is the scalefor how many days those tickets took to resolve. You see one is a column andthe other one is a line over the top of it. It’s very, very easy to puttogether some powerful, impactful reporting.
This is great for building something that you want to be interactive, that youwant to display on the screen, but you're limited to how much information youcan fit on the screen. You're not going to be able to fit 100 pie charts, 100record lists, or 1000 timelines on a screen, but you may want to have dozensand dozens of report elements in a monthly report and coming from multipledifferent systems. A dashboard is not the best place to build your monthly ITreport. Instead, we have what we refer to as “documents.” It uses the exactsame functionality. You have the same data sources, the same filtering options,the same components. I can add that timeline and that pie chart—actually, letme switch over to LANDESK so we have the same fields. We have our timeline, ourpie chart on the channels, all the same graphic elements, the exact sameproperties. Once you know how to build a dashboard, you're 99 percent done withknowing how to build a document. And instead of being limited by the screenreal estate, you have this growing list of components that are in the report.
The idea here is that these are destined more for output to a static format, forexample an Excel spreadsheet, PowerPoint, or PDF. We have the ability to useMicrosoft Word documents to create some formatting. Let me show you one we havedone already. This has six different components, some timelines and grids andcalendars, etc. Now I'm going to export this, and I'm going to take it to a PDFand I'm going to say I want to use the template. I'll actually do it firstwithout a template, and you can see the end result is a standard color schemeand layout. Each graph is on its own page with its title in a blue bar. We havea sample footer at the bottom with the name of the report, the date, and thepage number. This is built in. If you do a standard export of any of yourdashboards or documents, they'll look like this. However, with documents youcan create a template. This is using Microsoft Word, so there’s no proprietarydesigner of ours that you have to learn. You use the full functionality of Wordto create a document that acts as a template. Section breaks, headers andfooters, table of contents, all of that Word functionality is now available forthe design template.
You'll see thatthis report looks completely different. We now have a title page with thegraphics, the table of contents, and custom headers and footers. You can changethe color scheme of the title bars to match your corporate color scheme. Withthese documents, especially if it's the same monthly document, a monthly reportto which you're going to add additional content, you can schedule this to send toyourself as a Word document, and then you can add the extra textual content, saveit as a PDF, and distribute it.
Creating a PowerPoint presentation
At the sametime you export the monthly document to distribute to everybody, you're probablygoing to have a meeting to review that report. Why not schedule a second exportto PowerPoint? That’s one of the nice things Xtraction can do. Now you have yourslide deck for the presentation to go over the content of the report.It's veryeasy to schedule those. You just come in and say, “Okay, I want to schedulethis report. Here's the name, here's the format I want it to export to.” Youhave all those different options. Do you want to use a template? Do you want toinclude record links in your URLs? Then you set your schedule. “I want it everyso many days, certain days of the week, every other week on Wednesdays.” Maybeyou want it certain days of the month, certain months of the year. If you wantit on say the last day of the month, the last month of every quarter, you canschedule it that way. And if you really, really love reports, you can scheduleit to be delivered to you every 15 minutes in your email.
As far as delivery, probably the most common is going to be email, but you canalso save it to the Xtraction server and keep an archive of your reports. Youcan also send it out to a file system. We have a number of customers that liketo export their reports out to a SharePoint share, and then they have thehistory of the reports that are saved in SharePoint. That's how easy it is tobuild dashboards, build documents, and schedule them.
Jeremymentioned alerts. Rather than having to have a dashboard up on the screen and watchit, you can be at a meeting or at lunch. If a particular metric goes off, say youhave SLAs scheduled that are going to violate in the next 90 minutes and youwant to be notified of that, you can tell Xtraction, “I want you to check thismethod every so often, check for this condition, and then email me.” That'swhat the alerts can do.
In this case, I have an alert set up to say, “I want you to check every hourduring the business day to see if there are any tickets that are going toviolate in the next 90 minutes. If there are, email me.” You don't have to besitting in front of a dashboard watching that metric get updated periodically.You can have Xtraction check on that number and notify you when there's aproblem.
Viewing multiple dashboards at the sametime
As far as thedashboards go, you may want to present multiple dashboards on a screen, and we'vegot you covered for that. All you have to do is drag and drop the dashboards youwant to see on the selection list here, and then you can set a refresh rate andsay, “I want to start viewing these dashboards.” You can collapse the controlpanel on the left. You can put the browser in full-screen mode, IOPS mode, havethat up on a large wall, and every 30 seconds it will cycle from dashboard todashboard.
These dashboards can have data coming from multiple environments in the same dashboard,even in the same graphs. A common one would be a timeline where you have thenumber of tickets created by the level-one help desk on the same graph as thenumber of calls coming into the help desk during the same time. That way, youcould compare their ticket volumes to their call volumes. Lots offunctionality, lots of flexibility, but at the same time, extremely easy to useand extremely easy to design for the nontechnical folks.
And that's allI have. Jeremy, do you want to take over for questions?
Jeremy: Thank you, Gregg. That's fantastic. I'm really getting a chance to seeeach of the different areas in Xtraction and how easy it is to go in andactually create them and customize them for your environment. We had a numberof questions come through. I want to see if there are any other questions withQ&A, and while we're checking on that, I also wanted to let everybody knowthey can give us a call and set up a demo. Getting this into the environmentand using it against your data is a great way to see how easy it is to use andsee how powerful it can be once you begin to connect it to your data sources.
Melanie, did wehave any other questions that came through?
Melanie: Just taking a look. It's probably worth reiterating some of thesequestions anyway. First question: If we don't have LANDESK products, can westill purchase Xtraction standalone?
Jeremy: Yes, absolutely. You can purchase Xtraction and a connector specificfor your environment that may not be LANDESK. The standalone option is thereand available.
Melanie: Next question: If we have an older version of Management Suite orService Desk—we have versions of three years back—can we connect to those?
Jeremy: That's a great question. The out-of-the-box connectors don't go backquite three years, but we certainly could take a look at the environment andleverage our professional services to help get a connector that's going to workwith that version, absolutely.
Melanie: Next: Gregg, you were showing export. What can we export to? I thinkwe saw PDF.
Gregg: Yes. It varies somewhat depending on what you're exporting, whetheryou're exporting a single-record list or an entire dashboard or document. Butthe options are Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, HTML, CSV. You can do individualimages. The images can't be scheduled, but when you export a dashboard, you canchoose a screenshot. Literally, it's a screenshot. You have all the icons andeverything, or in this case, you can see Word, HTML, PDF, Excel, and PowerPoint.In this particular case, CSV is not available, but it would be when you go toexport a document.
Melanie: Okay, thanks. I hope that answered your question. Another one thatcame through is What fields can you map to?
Gregg: This is kind of broad scale. Their biggest question was Can you reportagainst the older LANDESK? What fields can you report against? Ultimately, youcan report against any database that Xtraction can connect to. That's Oracle,SQL, DB2, Informix, etc. You can connect to any databases that are on thoseplatforms and report on any fields. We have adapters or connectors in which we'vemapped those databases already. We don't expose every single field of everysingle table because a lot of it doesn't really matter from reporting purposesfor most people. But the bulk of the work is having those already-constructedadapters.
When you buy that, you're pretty much getting a plug-and-play reportingenvironment. If you install Xtraction, it has the premapped knowledge of LANDESKService Desk, so as soon as it's installed, you're off and running buildingdashboards. If you've customized it, you have the custom fields. As an example,if you have an older version of Service Desk where some of the mappings mightbe a little different, you can go in and adjust it. If it's a custom databaseyou built, it's not going to be plug-and-play from the standpoint that you'redashboarding from day one or hour one. You have to tell Xtraction about thetables and fields you want to report on, so you may have to do that mappingyourself. You can do it, or you can engage us to do it for you. Both of thoseoptions are available.
So what fields are available? There are quite a few that are available out ofthe box with the existing adapter. But if it's not there, it doesn't mean youcan't report on it. It just means you have to go in and add it with what wecall the data model editor. That's very easy to do, as well. I hope thatcovered the whole spectrum. If you have anything else to add Jeremy, I'll turnit back over to you.
Jeremy: No, that's perfect, Gregg. Thank you. That's great.
Melanie: Thanks, Gregg. If anyone has any other questions, please use the Q&A.We're getting close to time. One final question: It's fantastic that we cangive this out as self-service, but I do want to make sure from a dataprotection security perspective that not everyone sees everything. How do wehandle that?
Gregg: Jeremy, do you want to take that?
Jeremy: Yes. Say we want to show the data isolation, we can deal with the usersthemselves with role-based access control. Users have access to their ownfolders to begin with, and there is a shared folder set up on the system. Dashboardscan either be shared across the organization or kept directly with the user. Inaddition to that, though, we do protect the data itself. From a userperspective, you have a full user administration. This does link directly with ActiveDirectory. We didn't talk much about this. Or you can use a local setting. Youcan apply data policies specifically to users and give them access to onlyspecific data elements, as Greg kind of walked through.
For example, I mentioned earlier that you could have one set of users who haveaccess to Service Desk and another set of users who have Service Desk and ITAM systems,for example.
Gregg: Can I jump in for a second?
Jeremy: Yes, please. I was just making sure you were up on the screen.
Gregg: As Jeremy mentioned, you can control and say, “This particular personcan only report against specific data sources. He or she can report against LANDESKService Desk but not the HR system.” The other level is at the data, at therecord level. A couple of examples: We have service providers that hostmultiple customers on the same installation of a Service Desk product, kind ofa multitenanted environment. They have their users using Xtraction, enablingthem to do their own reporting against their own data. But because we can sayin the data policy, “Yes, these people can see incidents, but when they'reviewing incidents, they can only see incidents where the customer equals ABCCorp.” So two people from different companies could actually view the exactsame dashboard—like top-10 categories—and they would get different resultsbecause every dashboard, every document, every alert, every report would havethat additional filtering of “only show them Acme Corp records,” “only showthem ABC Company.”
Also, if yourun multiple help desks off the same installation—say you have an IT help desk,an HR help desk, and facilities—you don't want the IT folks to be able toreport on HR tickets. You can delineate and have different access so they'reall looking at incidents, but they will only see the incidents they're allowedto see.
Jeremy: Perfect, thank you.
Melanie: I think we're just about out of time now, so if anyone does have anyfurther questions, please send them to us. We'll also be contacting you by emailwith the information about the recording links if you need it. If you like whatyou're hearing and you want to hear more, we are at various events throughAugust and September: the Pink Forum in Arizona, we have a LANDESK Connect thatwe’ll be showing Xtraction at in Sydney, and one later in Mexico. We're also goingto be at the Service Desk Institute Forum in Mexico and a National InterfaceShow in August, which also should be available for seeing our products.
If you are interested, please have a look at our events page and our webinarpage, and please contact us if you’d like anymore information. As Jeremypointed out, the best thing to do is contact us to get a trial of this product andtry it hands on. If you don't want us to come in, you can try it as a freetrial. Just go to our website. There's a free trial option. Get yourselfregistered, and you can get your own instance of Xtraction to play with.
So at this point I'd like to say thank you very much to Jeremy and Gregg for awonderful webinar, and we look forward to speaking to you all next time. Thankyou and have a good day.
Jeremy: Thank you.
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