In Smart IT, categories help service desk agents to categorize issues. For example, system failure related issues are placed under the failure category, or laptop related issues are categorized under the Product category—Electronics. Though specifying categories is not mandatory, it is recommended that as a service desk agent you specify them in order to sort issues as per the operation or action that is needed to resolve the issue such as repair, install, maintenance, and so on, or as per the product type such as laptop, printer, mobile, and so on. When you specify right categories, the ticket can be assigned to the right resource to resolve it. On the Resources tab of the ticket, when you explicitly search for knowledge articles, by using the advanced search you can filter articles with operational and product category. You can refer articles displayed in the search result, relate your ticket with them, and also resolve tickets.
Thousand of tickets are created every year. It is extremely difficult to find out tickets as per a specific thing such as hardware, application etc. Specifying categories in tickets helps you in the following ways:
- When you specify categories, the ticket becomes more specific to capture the customer issue. The agent can identify the exact issue, and start working on it.
- If appropriate categories are specified, the auto assignment engine finds it easy to assign the ticket to service desk agent based on the agent's support group and expertise to resolve the issue. For example, in the Operational Category field on the incident ticket, you select Tier 1—Phone, Tier 2—Desktop phone, and Tier 3—Repair, the assignment engine identifies the right resource who knows about desktop phone repair to resolve the issue. If categories are not set, or inappropriate categories are set, the auto assignment engine finds it complex to assign the ticket, and the ticket might be assigned to a resource who is not much efficient to resolve the ticket. This might lead to a situation where the Service Level Agreement (SLA) is not met, and time is lost in identifying the right resource to resolve the issue.
- Categories also help to identify if the customer has made a request or reported an issue.
Supported tickets and resources
The following table indicates supported tickets and resources as per the categories.
|Types of categories||Supported tickets and resources|
|Operational Category||Incident, Work order, Problem investigation, Known error, Change request, Task, and Knowledge article|
|Product Category||Incident, Work order, Problem investigation, Known error, Change request, Task, Knowledge article, and Asset|
|Resolution Product Category||Incident|
Types of categories
Smart IT supports four types of categories—Operational Category, Product Category, Resolution Category, and Resolution Product Category. All categories are displayed out-of-the-box on the ticket and resource profile. When you move an incident to the Resolved status, on the Update Status pane, you must specify the Resolution Category and Resolution Product Category.
- Operational Category - To resolve any issue, there is a certain activity that has to take place such as repair, install, set up and so on. The nature of the activity that needs to be carried out can be specified in the operational category. For example, you can have Tier 1—Phone, Tier 2—Desktop phone, and Tier 3—Repair as the operational category.
- Product Category - You must specify the product category to identify the product on which the ticket is based. This category captures details of product which is affected or the issue described in the ticket impacts that product. For example, the service desk agent receives a customer issue related to Galaxy Note 2. In this case, the agent can select the product category Tier 1—Electronics, Tier 2—Mobile Devices, Tier 3—Phones. Product name, and the model and version number of the product are also captured on the ticket. Their details are captured in the fields after the Tier 3 field. In this case, the agent can specify the Product name —Galaxy Note, and Model/version—2.
- Resolution Category (incident ticket only) - when the issue reported in the incident is resolved, the agent must specify the resolution category before closing the ticket. This helps to keep a record of the resolution. It might happen that the customer reports that the issue is with laptop and after investigation it is found that the Wi-Fi router needed a patch. In this case, it becomes important to specify the resolution category in order to specify what was the resolution. This information can be used in future to resolve similar issues. You can analyze and find out what kind if issues customers usually face, identify the trend, and the resolution given to the issues, and work towards reducing the issues.
- Resolution Product Category (incident ticket only) - This category helps to identify the product that helped to resolve the incident ticket. For example, you can have Tier 1—Hardware, Tier 2—Card, and Tier 3—Voice card as the resolution product category. When the incident is resolved it helps you to know that the voice card was impacted to resolve the incident.
Tiers in categories
A category is divided into three tiers. Tiers are essential to make specific choices to select the right category. Values in tiers are specified in BMC Remedy ITSM when creating the category. The tiers are dependent fields. For example, for the operation category, if Tier 1—Phone, there are several types of supported phones such as desktop phone, cellular phone, voicemail. In this case, these three types of phones form the second tier. If you specify Tier 2—Cellular phone, there are multiple operations related to cellular phone such as install, repair, service. These operations form the third tier. So you can select Tier 3— Repair.
Along with the three tiers, the product category also includes two additional fields, the product name and model/version of the product.
On the ticket profile, values specified in all the tiers is displayed in the category field. This helps you to get a complete context of the category, and understand the nature of the issue captured in the ticket. You can use one of the three methods to specify categories.
- Enter the category name—When you enter the first three characters, the system searches, and displays categories based on the text you entered.
- Browse for categories—You can use the Browse Categories option, and select appropriate tiers.
- (UC only) Recommendations link—The system displays a list of recommended categories. These recommendations are based on the following:
- Categories you selected previously.
- Based on the ticket title you enter, the system searches for tickets that have similar titles, looks for the categories specified in those tickets, and displays those categories as recommendations.
- (Incident ticket only) The incident type specified on the ticket.
Categories that you can access depends on the following:
- Location company (Service provider company)—Location company consists of categories created for the customer's company and the service provider's company.
- Customer's company—Categories created by the customer's company. The service desk agent must have access to this company in order to access these categories.
- Service provider's company—Categories created by the service provider company. You as part of the service provider must have access to these categories.
- Global categories—These categories are generic in nature, and are accessible to Smart IT users who can create and edit tickets. When creating a category, the Administrator can specify Global as the company, and create a category. For example, the administrator creates an operational category with Tier 1—Reset, Tier 2—Password, and Tier 3—Laptop. This category will be available by default under operational category when you create a ticket.
The following two scenarios will help you understand which categories you can access. The assumptions are:
- You are a service desk agent, and work for Petramco Service Provider.
- A customer issue is assigned to you. Bob Baxter, a customer, belongs to Calbro Services. Bob faces issues with the phone system.
- Categories related to phone system have been defined for Petramco Service Provider.
Considering the assumptions, we can have two scenarios:
- Scenario 1—You get a customer issue and start to create an incident ticket. When creating the ticket, under Operational Category, you get a list of categories created for Petramco Service Provider and Global categories. You select an appropriate category, and then fill in rest of the ticket details.
- Scenario 2—In another scenario, the assumptions are same, except that Bob has system login issues. Bob's company, Calbro services has defined categories related to login issues. When creating the ticket, under Operational Category, you get a list of categories created for Calbro Services and Global categories. You select an appropriate category, and then fill in remaining ticket details.
Value specified in Incident type list—In case of incident tickets, the value in the Incident type list also decides which categories you can access. When you specify value in the Incident type list, the system filters options under each category depending on the incident type you selected. You can restrict category selection on the basis of incident type from the respective category configuration form.
Categories in templates—When creating tickets there are templates available as per the issue. Incident, work order, change request tickets, and tasks have templates. These templates have categories pre-defined in them. After applying the template, you can modify the values under categories, if needed. For more information, see Ticket Templates.
Using a different company to select categories
Incident and work orders have an additional option Use a different company from <company name> to select categories check box. This option allows you to change the company that drives the choices in the category fields. When creating incident or work order, depending on the customer name that you select, the company name is populated in the Affected Company field. If you want to select another company to select categories, you must edit the Category section of the ticket, select the Use a different company from <company name> to select categories checkbox, and select a different company from the Company list. The categories that you now select are created for the company you have selected. Note that even if you change the company through this option, the company associated with the affected customer does not change.
Categories when creating related tickets and items
When you create related tickets and items from a ticket or resource, along with other key fields, category specified on the ticket is copied to the related ticket or resource.
- The product category and operational category of the existing ticket is copied to the new related ticket. When a work order is created from a different ticket type, such as an incident, the product category is not copied but is populated based on the affected service. The product category from the asset is populated in the ticket created from an asset.
- The operational category and product category values from incident, work order, problem investigation and known error tickets is copied to the operational category and product category fields of knowledge article metadata.
- When you create related tickets from the existing tickets, the product category and the operational category of the existing tickets is copied to the new related ticket.
- When a work order is created from a different ticket type, such as an incident, the product category is not copied but is populated based on the affected service.
- The product category of an asset is populated in the ticket that is created from that asset.
Auto-categorization with BMC Cognitive Service Management
Remedy with Smart IT 2.0 offers the cognitive capability to auto-categorize tickets that you create if BMC Helix Cognitive Automation is configured on your system.
The cognitive service can be trained to provide categorization that matches the description entered by a user on the tickets. This feature reduces the chances of incorrect assignment of tickets and speeds up the resolution time.
When you configure BMC Cognitive Service Management, the ticket form displays the Recommendations link below the category fields with the Brain icon. When a user enters text in the Summary field and then clicks on the Recommendations link, the system auto-populates the category fields with appropriate categories that match the text.
Recommendations link with Brain icon
For example, if you train the cognitive service with the training data so that if a user enters either of the following text related to a broken printer in the Summary field, the ticket is categorized in the Hardware category.
- Printer is broken.
- Printer is not working.
When the user enters this text while submitting a ticket for a broken printer, and clicks on the Recommendations link below the Category field, the category field is auto-populated with Hardware.
If you want to enter values other than the one auto-populated by using the Recommendations link, you can choose the values by clicking the Browse Categories link. The category value entered by using the Browse Categories link takes precedence and the change is noted by the system for future training needs.
How the categorization works
The following table lists the actions taken by the system depending on the method of categorization you choose.
|If you click the Recommendations link to select the categories.||
The system auto-populates the category fields with values based on the training data.
The sytem displays the following message if the data is not trained for the description entered by the user.
The Brain icon for the Recommendations link is disabled if the training data is unavailable or deleted from the system.
|If you click the Browse Categories link to select the categories.||
The system displays the lists for each category from which you select the value.