Keith Smith - My Blog

Keith Smith - My Blog

Auto share requests to users in the field 'email ids to notify'

Monday, October 28, 2019 - Posted by Keith A. Smith, in Automation

I have implemented the ManageEngine ServiceDesk numerous times over the past few years. In the most recent instance, I created a tiered structure and escalation process for the technicians. The technicians at tier1 would need to escalate any request that is beyond their scope of the resolution.

The Challenge
The challenge was that when their requests were escalated to tier2, they would lose visibility to the request unless the request was shared with them. To share the request, they would input their e-mail into the "e-mail Id(s) to notify" field on the request, then click on share request and add themselves to the request before the request is escalated. These steps were time-consuming, and it took many clicks to accomplish this task.

The Solution

To make this process more efficient, I have published the python code that will set up an auto-share to users in the "e-mail Id(s) to notify" field on the request.

The Steps

To get this to work you need to
  1. Install the newest version of python on the server that has the ManageEngine ServiceDesk installed, be sure to click the custom installation option during the setup. You will need to install all the optional features along with all the advanced options during the setup.
  2. Reboot the server
  3. Clone or Download the master branch from the GitHub repo or run a git clone
  4. Place all the files and folders from the python libs in the Python\Lib\site-packages folder on your server
  5. Place in the \ManageEngine\ServiceDesk\integration\custom_scripts folder on your server
  6. Generate an api key that doesn't expire and copy it to notepad, you can generate this api key from within the ManageEngine ServiceDesk.
  7. You need to edit the, inside this script you need to add the api key you generated on line 17 and update line 13 with URL of your ServiceDesk instance.
  8. Create a folder named request in \ManageEngine\ServiceDesk\integration\custom_scripts folder on your server
  9. Now login to your ManageEngine ServiceDesk and go to the admin tab then click on the custom trigger under the helpdesk customizer
  10. Click the add new action button
  11. Match the settings as the same as the screen shot below


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VMware Ports and Protocols

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 - Posted by Keith A. Smith, in VMware

While doing some research for vCenter ports I found this gem a database of ports and protocols for VMware products. This site is definitely worth a bookmark in your browser of choice.


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Mac OS upgrades removes the Allow apps downloaded from anywhere option

Friday, September 27, 2019 - Posted by Keith A. Smith, in Apple

I decided to do a macOS upgrade, I went to install my apps and noticed that the "Allow apps downloaded from anywhere" was missing. This is important because not all Mac apps are made in Xcode. I believe this feature was removed in macOS Sierra 10.12. I wanted to share a few ways to deal with feature modification: 

  1. You can also selectively allow apps you trust without turning off code signing entirely by doing a sudo spctl --add --label "It's OK, they're with me" /path/to/
  2. Right click the executable and click open to add it to the approved list without disabling app quarantine
  3. You can also right-click -> open to one-off an approval without changing system settings (Mojave too).  It saves the approval, so just need to do once.
  4. Or you can do 'xattr -dr /path/to/app' on a case by case basis, which is potentially more secure.


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Evolving a helpdesk to ServiceDesk Operations

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - Posted by Keith A. Smith, in Journal of thoughts

Some might say the help desk is the heart of IT. This is hard to argue when factoring in its ability to streamline a range of system management processes and effectively support customer needs. From optimizing task management to improving customer satisfaction, I will examine the numerous benefits that come from evolving a helpdesk to ServiceDesk Operations using the right Service Desk software.

Efficient Task Management
A sound
Service Desk system enhances customer service by simplifying the tasks in the hands of the IT staff who manage it. Depending on the software, task management may provide features that allow IT staff to seamlessly create and schedule tasks, assign tasks to specific staff, and share tasks between departments. By providing insight into who's doing what, Service Desk software helps management better assess and distribute workloads.

Better Time Management
The sheer volume of inquiries can make for a pretty chaotic customer service environment. It's often staff and management's inability to keep up with the incoming stream of activity that hinders response times and leaves customers hanging on in frustration. Offering robust ticket options and detailed tracking capabilities, a reliable service desk tool will trim the time lost on the back and forth banter between teammates while enabling managers to keep up with the status of each case. The time you free up is the time that can be spent effectively finding resolutions to other problems.

Generating Customer Feedback

Every organization wants glowing reviews. And while you can't please everyone, even negative feedback can be useful and spun into a positive. Many service desk systems lend a massive hand in gathering this vital feedback with features that fuel the easy creation and management of customer surveys. Most allow you to deploy them on-demand in web and email formats. Some can even be set up for automatic delivery once tickets are closed out. Either way, IT departments have a means of generating valuable feedback that can be used to make adjustments based on insights from customers.

Helping Customers Help Themselves
From the user end, convenient access to self-service resources is one of the best things service desk software brings to the table. Before I raise a ticket, I run straight to their support portal to see if I can find answers to whatever questions I have. Whether you call it a knowledge base, FAQs page, or something else, this concept of centralized, self-service information will cut down on tickets, reduce the workload for staff, and increase customer satisfaction. In 2013, research firm Forrester listed knowledge management as one of the hottest trends in customer service.

Support Solutions for the Future
A service desk system can play an integral role in your data management infrastructure. For example, an IT department can use past complaints and other information logged in the system to create a database of best practices designed to guide staff toward handling recurring issues. It also gives organization leaders a better way to gauge the number of resources that go into resolving these problems. The ability to monitor resource usage will prove handy when it comes time to plan the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Making the Best Impression

In the business world, perception is the reality. So whatever impressions your customers have about you is the image you're stuck with as word travels through the grapevine. Consistently delivering a decent managed service won't mean diddly squat when they feel you're letting them down in the IT department. On the other hand, if a service desk is enabling you to quickly respond to tickets with effective resolutions, customer perception, satisfaction, and retention will improve by leaps and bounds.


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Still a bunch of cool tools from Sysinternals

Friday, September 13, 2019 - Posted by Keith A. Smith, in Network, Microsoft

You can point your favorite browser to to access to any Sysinternals tool. If you would like do it the "old school way" you can open up Windows Explorer (if you are on windows) and point it to \\\ to browse and launch any Sysinternals app. These tools have been a staple for most of us that have been in field for a while now, it's good to see them still being developed.


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