“What are some common support automations my team can use?” Find out on this episode of Appfire Presents: The BEST IT Service Management Show by Appfire. Jira rock star Rachel Wright stops by to explain project workflows that accommodate the back-and-forth nature of support work. We cover some default JSM service workflows used for service requests, and the statuses these include like: waiting for support, waiting for customer, pending, resolved, in progress, canceled, escalated, and closed.

About the guest

Rachel Wright is an entrepreneur, process engineer, and Atlassian Certified Jira Administrator. She wrote “The Jira Strategy Admin Workbook,” and “The Ultimate Guide to Jira Migrations: How to Migrate from Jira Server to Data Center or Cloud”. She’s also a speaker, an Atlassian Community Leader and author of courses for new and advanced Jira admins and users.

She started using Jira and Confluence in 2011, became an administrator in 2013, and was certified in 2016 (the first year you could actually get certified). She’s the owner and founder of Industry Templates, LLC, which helps companies grow, get organized, and develop their processes.

About the show

The BEST ITSM Show by Appfire brings you expert insights for IT service delivery, so your employees and customers have what they need to succeed. Get the right tech and tips for the right job at hand. Look like you’ve come from the future with all your new ITSM smarts. Every episode is a brisk 10 minutes—less time than it takes to provision a laptop or troubleshoot a tech support issue.

For more information on this topic (and loads more info on powering up your service desk) download “The ultimate guide to powering up your service desk.” 

For your convenience, here is the transcript of this episode:

What are some common support automations my team can use?

Kerry:  Today we’re going to address the question what are some common support automations my team can use. To help us with that is Rachel Wright, entrepreneur, process engineer, and Atlassian-certified Jira administrator. She’s working on a new book, “The Ultimate Guide to Powering Up Your Service Desk”, an ebook that will be out in January 2023, so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, stick around for 10 minutes of ITSM awesome.

Rachel, it’s always so good to have you back. What are some support automations that my team can use?

Rachel:  Awesome. I dug through my notes and I found four examples which are relatively simple to extend what you do with your organization. Let’s just start with a really easy one.

I would create a custom number field, and if the number is 100 or less, I would let that workflow totally skip the approval step. Whatever your number is, think about what really requires someone else to step in to take a look at a request and what can just go straight through. I’ve used before the example of the laptop and the mouse. The mouse is going to be less than $100, so there’s no point in asking for approval, let’s just have Jira automatically jump that request to the next status.

Kerry:  Which would be to give me my mouse. 

Rachel:  My next example for you is to assign new requests to the correct resource based on the information that was submitted. You can do this a few different ways. In Jira software without automation, you could simply use the components field to automatically assign the issue based on the component selected. That’s super easy and super powerful. 

Then you can get more interesting, if you’d like, with the built-in automation or all of the apps in the Atlassian marketplace, and build all of these if-then statements. If the request is for a laptop that has an 8,000-inch monitor, then the approval is that person. If it has a very small monitor and it’s cheap, it’s that person. 

You could do all sorts of if-then logic within Jira. It just makes life faster. You get your support requests fulfilled faster, and it’s easier for agents not to have to check up on the status of every little issue.

Kerry:  I understand there are some very fine apps that can help you make those nice distinctions with your automations.

Rachel:  There are. My very favorite, I always say, is Jira Miscellaneous Workflow Extensions. It will always be my favorite. Sorry. No other ones will ever go in there and top it. But a close second is the built-in Jira automation, which I find myself using all the time.

It’s fun to build these rules. Just make sure that you test them. Make sure that you login as a regular user without admin permission who is not an approver and make sure the process functions exactly the way you intend it to.

Kerry:  What are some other useful automations that can help teams to save time?

Rachel:  Another thing that you can do is automatically create issues when onboarding or offboarding. For example, let’s say the HR team is bringing in a new VP. The request for the new VP has been approved, the person has been selected, signed all of their paperwork, and they’re starting on Monday. Wouldn’t it have been nice if automatically the issues were filed for the security team and the facilities team so this person can get a desk on their first day, so there is a laptop issued, so their security badge works? 

That’s one thing that I like to do when there is a repeatable process like bringing on a new team member, automatically create all of the Jira issues that are needed to fulfill that request. That’s super simple to do with automation. 

I do have another example. One time we weren’t able to decipher in Jira whether a new issue for another team was needed for a certain support request. Instead of automating it and creating a new issue that maybe we don’t need, I created a manual automation. This way the support agent, when they get their service issue, they can click the automation only if additional help is needed from other teams. 

It is a manual step, but in this example, we take all of the information from the support issue and we push it all down to the issue for the team, so nobody has to go looking for all of the details. Also, I automatically linked those tickets together, so there is a great trail and it’s easy to follow and find.

Kerry:  So, there’s definitely more ground to cover if you’re somebody with a lot of experience. It seems like you could really make automations as specific as you’d like, as long as it’s productive for you and your team. For people who aren’t as sophisticated maybe, is it easy to kind of drag and drop things to create automations that are helpful without getting too technical?

Rachel:  Sure. You can do it very quickly and easily with built-in Jira features like components, for example. You don’t need any coding skills or anything. With the built-in Jira automation, it is drag and drop, like you said. 

With third-party apps, there are some that have drag and drop, there are some that have scripting, there are some that have both, and those are my favorite. You can kind of go at any level that you’re comfortable with. 

The one thing I say is to just be careful because it’s really easy to get into an infinite loop scenario where your automation is running more often than you planned, or maybe this automation conflicts with that automation. Really sit down and think about what warrants this extra overhead. If you have a ton of things running in the background, what might that do to Jira performance? Maybe nothing today, but what about in the future? 

In Cloud, for example, Atlassian counts how many times the rules are executed. Not how many rules you have, but how many times they run globally. There is a threshold, so you might need to upgrade in the future if you go beyond that threshold. 

Anytime you’re making any kind of change in Jira, whether it’s to automate or to improve or enhance, you have to think of the long term health of the application and balance that with what you’re trying to achieve.

Kerry:  They have Guardrails now that they could set up, and there are many fine apps at Appfire that can help you keep your Jira instance healthy and automate all of the things, Appfire.com/solutions

If you’d like to see more episodes of The Best ITSM Show, many of which feature Rachel Wright, you can check those out at Hub.Appfire.com. Definitely pop by in January to check out that new guide on powering up your service desk.

Rachel, thanks, as ever, for stopping by. Thanks to everybody who came by to hang out with us today. See you next time. 

Last updated: 2023-03-21

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