Installing the SLA Management & Reporting Module

This chapter describes the installation of a set of pre-configured Triggers and Custom Fields based on a common and well adopted SLA Management process for Customer Service Centers and Help Desks.

However, as outlined in the lesson entitled Conceptual Overview of SLA Management & Reporting, the tools and command set supplied with the SLA Management & Reporting module allow for the implementation of a variety of alternative processes and or workflows, depending upon the needs ans standards in use for the Organization.

Therefore, if the intention is not to make use of this default process and supporting configuration, it is necessary to review the previous lessons to gain an understanding of the fundamentals and so how to implement your own SLA Management process.

The following tasks are involved during the installation of the SLA Management & Reporting Module:

  • Deploy the Template Configurations
  • Install and Configure the SLA Assistant App
  • Hide Custom Ticket Fields

Deploy the Template Configurations

As outlined in The Fundamental Components of the SLA Management Solution, it will be necessary to make use of a number of Triggers that call upon services supplied by the SLA Management server to fully implement your SLA Management process.

In order to avoid the need to create all of these from scratch a number of templates are available that provide set of predefined Triggers for the most commonly used scenarios.

These templates can be deployed from within the CloudSET Framework (1) via the Configurations tab (2), grouped together as a collection named SLA Configurations (3).

Depending upon the specific needs of your SLA Management process, deploy the required configurations (4) to copy the associated Ticket Fields, Targets, Triggers and Views into your Zendesk account.

*Note: a definition of the generic SLA Management process including full details of the purpose and use of each Trigger, Targets and Ticket Fields can be found in The Fundamental Components of the SLA Management Solution.

SLA Management v2 without Closed and Update (5)

This configuration contains all of the components of the SLA Management solution required to support a basic SLA Management process with timers for an initial response and eventual resolution, i.e. Ticket Fields, Targets, Triggers and Views.

Regardless of the specifics of the SLA Management process to be implemented, it is recommended that this configuration is always deployed and then if necessary, reconfigured to match the required timers, conditions and actions.

The components of this configuration also serve well as templates to be cloned and updated when there is a need to support additional timers beyond the two already catered for by the configuration.

SLA Management Within/Outside Business Hours Triggers (6)

This collection of Triggers provides an example of the use of the SLA Management solution to determine of a new ticket has been created within or outside of business hours as defined in the Business Hours configurator.

Although these templates provide a simple solution to issue an email notification to the Support group, it is possible that there will be a need to take a specific set of actions when a ticket arrives outside of business hours, e.g. send a text or call the mobile for the on-call agent.

SLA Management v2 Warn (7)

If the option has been taken to set a value in the "Warn" column for a timer in the SLA Specifications configurator, then these Triggers are required to respond to the event occurring when the warning timers end.

SLA Management v2 SLA Met (8)

When a timer ends, provided that all conditions of the corresponding SLA have been met and so the SLA hasn't been violated, the SLA Assistant will indicate that the SLA has passed.

However, it is often desirable to indicate the success of an SLA as soon as the conditions have been reached, e.g. an initial response has been given by the assigned Agent before the timer ends.

This set of Triggers will set the required tag against the respond and solve timers, causing the SLA Assistant to indicate the SLA has been passed as soon as all required conditions have been met.

SLA Management v2 Pause (9)

It is generally the case that the setting of the status for a Ticket to "Paused" indicates the handover of control to the requester for additional information before a resolution can be determined.

As such it is often desirable to pause the solve timer whilst control remains with the requester and until the status of the Ticket is changed from "Paused".

This configuration includes a set of Triggers that will instruct the SLA Management server to stop and restart the timers accordingly when this scenario occurs.

SLA Management v2 Suspend (10)

As described in the section named Suspend the Timers Once the Ticket has been Solved, there is a possibility that a solved ticket might need to be reopened at some point, in which case there is a need to stop and restart the solve timer.

This set of triggers will instruct the SLA Management server to stop the timer when a Ticket is solved and restart again if the Ticket is reopened.

Business Hours Reporting v2 (11)

Although not strictly a part of the SLA Management process, this configuration provides a set of components that can be used to calculate and record the time taken to make an initial response and the amount of time a ticket spends during each status until eventually solved.

This supplementary information might be useful during the generation of statistical reports and views and with some additional extensions, can be used to populate the BHR Chart App.

SLA Management complete set with On-Hold (12)

It is generally the case that setting the status of a Ticket to "On-hold" means that progress against the resolution of the Ticket will stop pending some internal action, in which case control ha snot been passed back to the requester and so any time taken whilst on-hold will consume any time available within the specified SLA.

However, in certain circumstances "On-hold" might be defined within the SLA Management process as being control passed to an alternative internal department for additional work that doe snot fall within the SLA assigned to the ticket.

As such, in these situations it might be desirable to pause the respond and/or solve timers when the status of the Ticket is changed to "On-hold" and then restart when the Ticket is no longer in a paused state.

In order to achieve this consideration must be given to the "On-hold" status in a number of Triggers and so this configuration includes a complete set of components required to achieve this requirement.

*Note: the Zendesk account must first have been configured to allow the use of the On-hold status.

Install and Configure the SLA Assistant App

The SLA Assistant must be installed and configured to provide information about the SLA Management process and setup to the SLA Management server and database.

*Note: full details of the purpose and use of the SLA Assistant are described in the Zendesk Apps section of the CloudSET Framework manual.

Once deployed and installed the SLA Assistant App can be configured from within the Apps tab in the CloudSET Services page (1).

During the installation process you will be invited to provide a number of configuration settings, but if you choose not to do this during installation the configurator can be invoked at any time by clicking the configure link (2).

Using the configurator it will be necessary to specify the custom field in use to hold the due by date and time calculated for each of the timers in use as part of your SLA specifications (1).

*Note: for historical reasons the name of the ticket fields must correspond to the limitations in place fixing the name of the timers when referenced from within a trigger to call the Set SLA Timer target:

timer 1 = Respond By

timer 2 = Update By

timer 3 = Solve By

timer 4 = Workaround By

timer 5 = Close By

timer 6 = Check By

For each of the timers in use, select the corresponding custom ticket field from the drop-down list (2).

*Note: The custom fields might be the standard set supplied as part of the Template Configurations, or might have been replaced with fields given names more relevant to the SLA Management process in use.

If your SLA configuration includes the option to use multiple SLA specifications and/or multiple Business Hours specifications, it will also be necessary to specify the custom fields used to supply and control the list of available SLA's and Business Hours in the associated configurators (3).

Select the corresponding fields from the drop-down lists (4).

Click the Save button (5) to apply the settings and complete the upgrade of the SLA Assistant to work in the New Agent Interface.

The Save button will briefly change to display the text Saving... and any errors will be reported back in the dialog.

If no errors are reported, simply close the dialog (6), otherwise contact Coherence Design for support.

The SLA Assistant should now be present as an App in the ticket form and be fully operational and compliant with your existing SLA specifications and configurations.

However, please also be aware of the enhancements introduced to the SLA specifications configurator, described in the following steps.

*Note: if necessary please see the existing documentation for full details concerning the setup of the SLA Management module:

Configuring Business Hours

Configuring SLA Specifications

Working with Regional Time Zones

Working with Alternative Service Plans with Specific Support Hours

Hide the Custom Ticket Fields

Hide the Custom Ticket Fields

A number of Custom Ticket Fields are utilized by the SLA Management & Reporting module that should be hidden from view in the Ticket from using the Hide Custom Fields App.

*Note: it might be desirable to keep these fields and tags visible until after the Business Hours and SLA's have been fully implemented and tested, since they will enable traceability through the life cycle of the Ticket through an SLA and help identify any unexpected behavior.

Making the SLA Information Available in Ticket Forms

Like many Zendesk Apps the SLA Assistant Sidebar App makes use of information held in ticket fields.

This being the case it is necessary to ensure all information required by the SLA Assistant is available on the page by including the fields within all Ticket Forms used as part of your SLA Management process.

The list of fields for inclusion must include all those mapped in your SLA Assitant configurations (see Install and Configure the SLA Assistant App above) in addition to the following field:

  • So Far Timings - used to record information used for Stop the Clock processing

If any fields are missing then the information won't be displayed in the SLA Assistant and depending upon the importance of the information, the SLA Assistant might not appear in the Ticket Form.

However, since so long as these fields have been hidden using the CloudSET Hide Custom Fields App (see Hide the Custom Ticket Fields above) they will not be visiable and/or unavailable for use in all Ticket Forms.