August 2013, Issue 2, volume 15

More in this issue:

Detailresult: supermarkets’ recipe for success Councils seek greener pastures The variation in communication



Building bridges
I once had to build a bridge as part of a team for my woodwork class. I thought I had designed an amazing bridge: the road surface consisted of triangles of cardboard tubes, suspended from two curved lathes. I was convinced that this bridge would be incredibly strong and would prove to be the best. You see, we were going to test the bridges by hanging a bucket of gravel from each one. The bridge that could carry the most weight would be declared the winner. Unfortunately, the cardboard was more like thick paper, and the rope was not as robust as I expected. My brilliant design did not last long, to my great disappointment. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to build a bridge between theory and practice. A good design is not necessarily the best solution, and a meticulously planned change process can still prove a failure. This edition of the magazine lists a number of essentials for a successful process, such as using the right communication method for your message. Moreover, we explain how to bridge the gap between operators and end users with our Form Designer module. Looking back, my bridge would never have been a success. I did not have the right materials, my teammates were not interested in the project, and our building method was not exactly structured. However, this did help me realize that every successful bridge builder has to unite all the components: tool, process, and person. Enjoy reading! Nienke Deuss, editor-in-chief


CONTENTS August ’13
Dirk Ammerlaan functional designer

Read more on page 6

NeWS The fORm deSiGneR


Straight to work with your requests

9 a GOOd fORm iS half the JOB 11

Health and Safety & TOPdeSK
A safe combination

13 16

detailReSult VaRiatiOn in COmmuniCatiOn

Supermarkets’ recipe for success

18 diStinGuiShed SuppORtinG depaRtmentS 20 COunCilS SeeK GReeneR paStuReS 23 COlumn
So simple!


Exporting data from TOPdesk

28 tipS + tRiCKS

A new module is available from TOPdesk 5.2: the Form Designer. Read more about how we developed this module on page 6.



Want to stay up to date?
To stay on top of the latest TOPdesk news and service management developments, follow us on Twitter via @TOPdesk and @TOPdesk_UK.

TOPdesk launches version 5.2 and new Form Designer module
On 25 June, the latest version of TOPdesk’s service management software was released: TOPdesk 5.2. This version introduces a number of new features that help make your service desk’s work even easier. What’s more, TOPdesk 5.2 also introduces a new module: the Form Designer. In TOPdesk 5.2, the change status automatically changes when the status field is updated, a call is automatically assigned to the correct supplier, and you can upload files using drag and drop. It is now also possible to add more buttons to the Quick Launch Bar. Thanks to the Form Designer module, you can design forms for calls and requests for change. You determine which information must be filled in, helping you provide even faster services for your customers. The caller can access all forms in one place in the Self Service Desk, and knows exactly what they need to do. Want to know more about the new features or the Form Designer? Please visit

TOPdesk named ‘Best in Class’ in ITSM Review
The ITSM Review, an online magazine, forum, and networking platform for ITSM professionals, recently included TOPdesk in an assessment of IT service management tools. The 2013 Incident and Problem Tools Review compared five leading service management applications. Key points were general strengths and weaknesses, as well as functionality and innovation.

TOPdesk was rated ‘Best in Class (All Tools)’. The review named task reallocation options and the Plan Board, which enables Kanbanstyle resourcing, as factors that made TOPdesk stand out from the competition. In addition to the comparison with other tools, the ITSM Review also provided an in-depth analysis of TOPdesk’s service management software. This productspecific review touches upon more features, such as logging and categorization, tracking and escalations, and prioritization. The full review is available via

TOPdesk customer satisfaction survey
At TOPdesk we do our utmost to offer you the best possible service. To be able to improve this service, we regularly ask our customers for feedback. In October, all our UK-based customers will be invited to take part in our customer satisfaction survey. They will receive an email with a link to a short questionnaire. The results will help us improve our services.

Consultation hours in London
Do you have any questions about TOPdesk, service management, or related processes? Then you might want to sign up for one of our consultation hours. During these oneon-one sessions, an experienced TOPdesk consultant will answer all your questions. Consultation hours are free for customers with a maintenance contract. The next session will be held on 11 September at our London office. Visit www.topdesk. to learn more and sign up.


17 oct
Higher Education Expo Olympia, London

TOPdesk opens Brazilian office
TOPdesk has opened a new office in São Paolo, Brazil. After several partnerships with IT service providers. TOPdesk decided it was time to open a new TOPdesk branch in Brazil.

TOPdesk has already been successful in the Brazilian market through resellers for five years now. The new branch will support all current customers in Brazil, and will also focus on attracting new customers. Thanks to the Portuguese version of TOPdesk, the sales are already a success. Does your organization have a Brazilian branch that requires a good service management tool? Please contact TOPdesk Brazil via

23 OCT
Service Desk Software Showcase ThinkTank, Birmingham

30 OCT
TOPdesk on Tour Drayton Manor Park

11 OCT
IFMA Toolevent Febelfin Academy, Brussels

Link between TOPdesk and UMRA saves time
TOPdesk and Tools4Ever have created a link that uses information from TOPdesk, such as company assets, to further automate the application management process. Automatically reading out data and updating be transferred to TOPdesk. A number of options include: • Automatically create and close a call or request for change • Request and read out company assets • Create and update person cards Want to learn more about this link? Visit or contact

30 OCT
Demo day Ter Elst, Edegem

TOPdesk on Tour Nurnberg

it in TOPdesk saves a lot of time and money. Tools4Ever’s application UMRA can access information about company assets, licences, and current calls in TOPdesk. UMRA can read out this data periodically, but it can also

17 OKT
TOPdesk on Tour Dresden

14 NOV
TOPdesk on Tour Stuttgart

SaaS update successful
Our SaaS customers recently upgraded to TOPdesk 5.0.1. The updates were scheduled in two weekend sessions, and were completed more quickly than expected. Most of our customers upgraded from TOPdesk 4.4.3 to version 5.0.1. However, a large number of customers also upgraded from version 5.0 to 5.0.1. Would you like to learn more about TOPdesk 5.0 for SaaS? Please visit

6 TOpDESK 5.2

Photography: Aad Hoogendoorn

Erik Pols (l) and Dirk Ammerlaan worked together on the Form Designer


Text: Nienke Deuss

topDesk 5.2 7

TOPdesk 5.2 introduces a new module: the Form Designer. Thanks to this module, your requests and calls are always complete and can be processed immediately. This is the first step towards bridging the gap between operator and user.

8 TOpDESK 5.2

That one question

A lot of organizations still use paper forms. You can create any type of form in MS Word. “That is why the Form Designer had to be just as easy to work with as typing in Word,” explains Ammerlaan. “When we were developing this module, we started all over again after a couple of weeks. It was becoming too laborious. We strongly believe in the approach we have taken with TOPdesk 5: achieve more with fewer clicks. That is why we put so much effort into making the Form Designer as intuitive as possible. We tried to keep it straightforward: you start with a blank canvas, drag a question to the right place and start typing. What you see it what you get (wysiwyg).”

Dirk Ammerlaan functional designer

In the Form Designer, a form is created using components such as open questions, multiple choice questions, or plain text. “The more people I spoke with, the more I realized that they often need exactly the same type of information,” says Pols. “It usually doesn’t even concern a field that should be filled in in TOPdesk, but simply more details to clarify the request. This is something that can easily be resolved with an additional open question or date field. The Form Designer offers an extra dimension, because you can ask just that one question to begin with.”

“I once visited a TOPdesk customer who had a monitor displaying KPIs,” says Erik Pols, TOPdesk product manager. “These KPIs were based on the number of standard requests versus the number of non-standard requests. The goal was to standardize as much as possible. If a request was already submitted more than once, we looked into the possibility of standardization. This is exactly where the Form Designer comes in: to help you efficiently process common requests.”

Matching the operator’s processes
The Form Designer not only ensures that requests are complete when submitted, but processing forms is also easier. “You could even say that the service desk is superfluous,” says Pols. “You can include information about the processing in each form, without the requester seeing this information. For instance, you can fill in an operator or select a change template. The request is assigned directly to the right operator and they can get straight to work.”

“It is a first step, but you can really do a lot with it,” explains Pols. “It is especially handy that you can fill in a change template. For instance, if you select a template for which the request is already authorized, the form is immediately turned into a change in progress. The underlying activities can also start directly.” Ammerlaan agrees. “Even if the Form Designer’s look is simple and intuitive, it is very diverse. We really captured the essence of making forms with this module.”

Missing pieces
Almost every service desk has to deal with incomplete requests. You receive a request for a telephone, but do not know who it is for. Or a new employee registration, but you do not know for which department. “You need more information to process requests,” says Pols. “While you would rather spend less time chasing after requests and spend more time actually helping your customers.” Dirk Ammerlaan, functional designer, adds: “Processes in the Operator’s Section are often set up correctly, but there is still a large gap between the process in TOPdesk and the end user’s request. The Form Designer is the first step towards bridging this gap. You can design your own call or change form, making sure that there are no more missing pieces once the request is submitted.”

In your own words
“Previously, when someone wanted to submit a request in the Self Service Desk, they were shown a TOPdesk card,” says Ammerlaan. “The Form Designer makes this process a lot easier. The requester is no longer bothered with fields he doesn’t need to fill in. You can also display the questions in the caller’s language. You can add fields from a call or change card to the form and remove all the jargon. Instead of displaying a field name such as Category, you can now include your own set of questions for the caller to fill in. You can make it a lot clearer by saying ‘How can we help you?’ This makes the forms more friendly.” Visit for more information, or contact your account manager.

TOPdesk 5.2
In addition to the Form Designer, TOPdesk 5.2 also offers the following new or improved functionalities: • Dynamic status field in Change Management • Upload files with drag-and-drop • Assign calls directly to the right operator • Export person and branch details thanks to extra authorization • More buttons on the Quick Launch Bar

Photography: Menno van der Bijl

TOPDesk 5.2 9

PouYan Daddeh
… is a TOPdesk consultant. He has extensive experience designing and developing forms.

A new phone, a new employee, or a lost access pass. You receive all types of request via the Self Service Desk. The required information will vary for each department. Thanks to the Form Designer, TOPdesk offers you the possibility to remain one step ahead.

Well begun is half done
Before we start talking about the specifics, it is good to discuss the design. This is essential for building a successful form. Do you know what you want to achieve with the form, and how you want to achieve it? Your goal could be to receive complete requests so the service desk can get straight to work with finding a solution. The Form Designer can be used to create large forms and receive detailed information; however, the requester might not want to take the time to fill in such a complex form. It could be easier to pick up the phone. An important factor is the user-friendliness. You do not want to make it too difficult to use a form.

form, divided into two sections. The top section includes a number of fields that can be used as much as you like, and do not directly connect to the TOPdesk database. These are the fields for offering a single choice (radio buttons for short lists, and search lists for longer lists), fields for uploading files, and fields for selecting a date and time. You can also use a number of card-specific components that are directly connected to categorization, the object ID of the requester, for instance. You can drag all fields to the canvas and change the name, make questions mandatory, or add options. On the right you can see a panel with fields from the call or change card. You can build your form step by step. You design the front end of your form using the canvas (visible to the caller) and the back end in the panel (the card that is registered in TOPdesk). You can also collapse the panel if you want.

Getting started with TOPdesk
Once you have determined what you are going to make, you can get started. When you open the Form Designer’s module page, you can (depending on your licences) create two types of new forms: for calls and for changes. After you choose a new form, you see a blank screen (your ‘canvas’) with blocks on either side. On the left side of the screen you can see the components for your

Each form has its own flow
Now you have created a nice form that callers can use, it is also important that the entered details are correctly processed in TOPdesk. We expand the panel on the right. A number of fields display a form icon.

10 TOpDESK 5.2

The Form Designer: the form elements menu (left), the design area (middle), and the panel featuring the processing information (right)

This means that these fields can be filled in from a question on the form. Not all fields on the card can be filled in from the form. These fields can be assigned a default value. To achieve this, enter the value that needs to be filled in when submitting this form.

to the Self Service Desk. At the top of your form, you can see a Publish button. This button lets you add the form to the form list. Callers can access this form via the Forms shortcut in the left menu in the Self Service Desk. Do you have a much-used form that you would like to focus on? You can create a separate button for this form on the Self Service Desk start page. To do this, use the Add to startpage button.

All your forms in the Self Service Desk
When you are satisfied with your form, you can make the form available. In this case you can make the form available to the people logging in

• The published forms list is ordered alphabetically. If you want to create a group, by department for instance, then you should name your form ‘IT-‘, ‘FM-‘ or ‘HR-‘. • Would you like to set up the Start page buttons, or make specific forms available for a small group of people? TOPdesk offers an add-on that lets you adjust the button’s image, text, and availability. You can download this add-on for TOPdesk 5.2 via

Photography: Menno van der Bijl

pRocess AnD pRActIce 11

eLisette daams
… is a facility management consultant for TOPdesk. She is specialized in implementing Health and Safety solutions.

Research has shown that 55 per cent of all Dutch companies do not have enough Emergency Response Officers (EROs) present during the summer period. Additionally, the AED often does not function properly or has insufficient battery power. Using TOPdesk as your central Health and Safety system helps you prevent such problems.

Excellent H&S registration saves lives
The first step towards a safe work environment is registering your Health and Safety assets. You can do this in TOPdesk’s Asset Management module. However, make sure to take the right approach. For instance, there is no point in registering each smoke detector individually because they are checked in batches. Asset Management also lets you register Health and Safety certificates. This lets you see at a glance who has which certification. Again, we do not recommend registering each individual certificate: there are usually several people with the same certification, after all. A good example of an object that should be registered individually is the AED. According to US statistics, the chances of survival for someone in cardiac arrest nearly double if one of the bystanders quickly uses an AED. This means that it is vitally important to know the device’s location. Once you have registered your Health and Safety assets in TOPdesk, creating calls about the assets is easy. ‘The first aid kit was

used and needs restocking’ is an example of such a call, but you could also report loose cables or other potentially dangerous situations at the office. We also recommend including Health and Safety in the HR commencement procedure. When setting up a new workstation, you can check whether it obstructs emergency escape routes, for instance. Moreover, you can add the new employee to the mandatory Health and Safety instruction list.

Proactive approach with operational task management
Our consultants see that most organizations plan their evacuation drills well. However, equally important tasks such as checking escape routes and changing AED batteries on time often fall by the wayside. Over the past two years, inspections revealed that only a limited number of the 80,000 AEDs in the Netherlands undergo regular maintenance.




The Operations Management module makes it easy to keep track of recurring maintenance tasks. The tasks to be performed are automatically added to the responsible party’s task list. If you have operators that do not regularly log in to TOPdesk, you can use emails to automatically update them about upcoming tasks.

Help! Where is my ERO?
EROs usually work in different departments across the organization. You are probably familiar with the presence lists in the hall, indicating which EROs are in the building. Such lists are good for checking which response officers are present today, but what about tomorrow? Or next week? In holiday periods it is not unusual for organizations to have too few EROs available (55 per cent, as mentioned previously). TOPdesk’s Plan Board can help you avoid such situations. The Plan Board lets you easily register which EROs are present, and when they have planned their holidays and regular days off. What’s more, the special availability checker lets you see whether the desired number of EROs is present every day. If it turns out that you have a structural ERO deficit, you can respond to the problem accordingly. Colleagues have received instructions about what to do in case of emergency. They are familiar with the building and have usually taken part in an evacuation drill. However, the same cannot be said for most visitors such as repairmen, who often work in rooms with no workstations. The Visitor Registration module lets you register all expected visitors in one place. Registering each visitor’s arrival and departure ensures you have an up-to-date overview of today’s visitors. This helps you prepare for emergencies at all times.

A single information centre
TOPdesk is a great tool for communicating with your colleagues, and can also be used to improve your operational safety. For instance, you can use the Self Service Desk to publish a news item about the results of your evacuation drill. The Knowledge Base is a good place to register your evacuation procedures. You can also register who your employees can turn to for information about allergies or to pass on information about medical conditions. You can demonstrate how you ensure that your colleagues have a safe work environment. Later on you can expand the Knowledge Base with health information, such as RSI prevention. TOPdesk can also be a central information point for your EROs. With the Knowledge Base, they always have information about registered Health and Safety assets, maps, escape routes, and safety procedures at hand. If your organization comprises several buildings, it may be useful to register all information in a single easily accessible TOPdesk environment.

Photography: Aad Hoogendoorn

Text: Timme Hos

cUstoMeR In FocUs 13


Supermarkets’ recipe for success

Detailresult’s Aldo Breed and Anita Oorthuis


The industrial estate in Velsen-Noord, the Netherlands smells like freshly baked bread. No wonder, because much of Detailresult’s activities, including baking, take place here. The parent company supports 285 stores and 19,000 employees for several Dutch supermarket chains.

From shelf to TOPdesk
Marketing & Communication manager Aldo Breed tells us about Detailresult’s history and ambition. “Our supermarkets were originally family businesses. With continuity in mind, we decided to bring together the supermarket activities and develop them further in a single company.” This also included the central service desk, which has been live since March 2013, says Breed. “We want all our stores to receive good support. This is why we created a clear point of contact for them. At the service desk, we use TOPdesk intensively. We are able to work with utmost efficiency thanks to our own forms.” Detailresult’s service desk receives very diverse questions and calls. Will the delivery truck arrive on time today? Which product ranges can our branch offer? What is the order process for certain materials, such as sandwich bags? However, it is not just shops that register questions at the service desk. Customer questions are also sent via TOPdesk. Which products are also available in organic versions? And what are your opening hours?

Management, and Logistics were merged. A separate TOPdesk environment was then set up for IT, Planning and Control, and HR. “We were two months into the project when the TOPdesk Symposium took place,” says Oorthuis. “While we were there, we became very enthusiastic about TOPdesk 5.” Detailresult was one of the first to switch to TOPdesk 5, and took part in the beta programme to test all the new features. “The points for improvement we encountered hardly caused any delay, which is wonderful. As a result, the entire project was implemented quickly – within a year,” says Oorthuis.

Thinking in solutions
Detailresult’s various departments now use the same Self Service Desk, but their calls are protected in the Operator’s Section through different TOPdesk environments. All correct branch, department, and user data were read in from a newly built Active Directory. “Our IT helpdesk uses TOPdesk a lot,” says Oorthuis. “It’s IT in the broadest sense of the term: it could concern a malfunctioning cash register, but also a network problem at the office.” The helpdesk for the IT department, which comprises roughly 15 people, receives all calls and puts them through to the correct departments or colleagues. “This method saves them a lot of work compared to how we did things before, when this was not done in a single tool,” says Oorthuis. “They now have more time for challenging, technical tasks.” It took a while, but Oorthuis and her team are used to the new approach with TOPdesk. “We had to get used to working with changes in particular. Before we used a tool in which we managed everything based on the change’s start time. In TOPdesk the planning is based on when you can say that a change is done,

Aldo Breed Marketing & Communication manager

The greatest challenge? According to Oorthuis, this was providing the branches with an overview in the Self Service Desk of all current and recently closed incidents from the various TOPdesk environments. “First we had this overview separately, so per TOPdesk environment. Supermarket managers do not have much time. They want to be out on the floor, not in the office. Now they can access the right TOPdesk straight away.”

though. Now we literally think in solutions.”

An extreme challenge
According to Anita Oorthuis, IT project manager, the road to a single registration tool was “an extreme challenge.” She was responsible for the TOPdesk implementation. In just one year, all supporting departments were gradually brought together in TOPdesk: first Customer Service, Operations Support, Data

Supermarkets’ recipe for success
The supermarket branches now also successfully use TOPdesk. “Some branches have up to two hundred employees,” explains Oorthuis. “As a result, the executives have TOPdesk authorization: they work under a general account and can see one another’s calls. When the supermarket manager arrives at work in the

Photography: Myriam Roesink

cUstoMeR In FocUs 15

morning, he can immediately see what happened the previous day.” “We have a total of a few thousand different end users,” adds Breed. “This means that more people can register calls than ever before. Even the person selling the vegetables, or their assistant.” This is how Detailresult is gaining even more insight into possible points for improvement when it comes to supporting its branches, and continues to bring the smell of freshly baked bread to supermarkets across the Netherlands.

Anita Oorthuis IT project manager

Members of the Detailresult IT, Servicedesk, and Operations Support project groups


Photography: Menno van der Bijl

Anne van der veen
... is a TOPdesk consultant specialized in change management and TOPdesk eHRM.

You are implementing an internal change that will impact how many of your colleagues work every day. How can you make sure they remain informed and support the project? The media richness theory provides a framework to ensure your project is a success.
‘Communicating is removing uncertainty’
It is essential that your employees have the right information and support the new working methods in order for the project to succeed. The project group is focused on the project, so it is less aware of the others’ need for information. If you do not involve the other employees, they will not see the point of the project, and feel uncertain about how it will affect them. Good communication helps you inform the employees, exerting a positive influence on their willingness to change. In other words, communication plays an important role in successfully managing internal changes. A personal conversation is a typically rich medium, while a news item is lean. Each has different properties and benefits. In a conversation, you can adjust the message to the person you are speaking to. It also offers more chances to influence behaviour, but speaking to all employees is time-intensive. A news litem lets you reach a large number of people quickly and with only a little effort. However, you cannot be sure that people will read it, and they cannot respond directly. you should select a medium suited to the complexity of the message. The more difficult the message and the more uncertainties it may arouse among employees, the richer the medium must be. But what determines the ‘richness’? departments. This is an example of a complex message, because it has a large impact on the employees’ work, and there are many different possible interpretations of how the merge will be performed. Such a situation requires a rich medium. If the message is clearer, you can use leaner media. An email or news item lets you communicate quickly and clearly about upcoming activities, for instance.

Communication moments per project phase
During each project phase, the employee has a different need for information. To achieve clear and effective communication, utilize a mix of rich and lean media. The following examples illustrate how you can keep employees involved and up to date.

Complexity and media richness
You can use various channels to communicate about the project, ranging from a personal conversation to a news item. The media richness theoryi posits that

A medium for every message
Suppose that you have to explain to your employees that you are merging two

Phase 1 | the start of the project
It is clear that the project will have a large impact, leading to many questions arising

pRocess AnD pRActIce 17

Level of media richness



Level of complexity


among your colleagues. The communication goal is informing and convincing people of the use and necessity of the project. A rich medium is suited to this task. During a communal kick-off, everyone receives the same information, and has the opportunity to ask questions.

preparations, the project can be implemented within your organization. Employees are expected to actively take part, because they have to include the new way of working in their daily tasks. A combination of rich and lean media ensures that all employees receive and retain the information. The project group can provide personal instructions and answer questions during a workshop. You can also celebrate the project launch with your employees to enhance their sense of involvement. TOPdesk customer: “Luckily we received printouts of the procedures, so we could consult them at a later date.”

success stories. A lean medium such as a newsletter is ideal for communicating reports and experiences. TOPdesk customer: “I was proud of our department when I read that we already had our first good results in the first month.”

Phase 2 | implementing the plan
The project framework is clear. Nevertheless, things take surprising turns, or take longer than expected. Employees appreciate receiving periodic updates on the project’s progress. This can easily be achieved through a lean medium such as a news item or mailing. TOPdesk customer: “We received an update every two weeks. I did not read it that often, but the email was a sign of how open they were to us.”

Communication is a precondition
Your colleagues need different information in each project phase. This is why communication plays such an important role in successfully managing internal changes. The media richness theory helps you determine whether a rich or a lean medium is best suited to your message. Using a mixture of both is best, so remember: make sure to use variation in your communication.
Daft, R.L. & Lengel, R.H. Organizational information requirements, media richness and structural design. Management Science 32(5), 554-571.

Phase 4 | the first results
Things may run smoothly once you have implemented the new working method, but you could also run into some bumps that need smoothing out. In such cases, it is advisable to celebrate the project’s first

Phase 3 | kicking off
Now the project group has completed the


Photography: Menno van der Bijl

Ron van Haasteren
… is a service management consultant at TOPdesk. He is actively involved in the image of supporting departments.

LYdJe Snieders
... is a customer satisfaction coordinator. Within TOPdesk, she works on various projects and processes to improve services.

IT, HR, and Facilities departments work behind the scenes to ensure that colleagues can get their work done. People generally do not notice the work supporting departments do until something goes wrong. As a result, it is easy for these departments to gain a negative image within organizations. Read on to discover how you can give your supporting departments a positive boost.

As a supporting department, you are often invisible to the rest of the organization. An example: your colleagues arrive at the office in the morning. They can enter the building, turn on their computer, grab a cup of coffee, and start their day. What many of them do not realize is that this is made possible by many underlying processes. They do not think of the supporting departments involved until the internet connection goes down or desks are not cleaned.

Identity and image
A department’s identity is a determining factor in image development. You can directly influence your department’s image by managing its identity. The following tips can help you on your way.

Deliver quality
Your department’s tasks are the core of its identity, so the quality of these tasks is crucial to your image. Carrying out a customer

pRocess AnD pRActIce 19



satisfaction survey is a good way to gain more insight into these matters. Use the results to make targeted improvements in your department’s performance.

you can use the news page to communicate about activities related to planned maintenance or sudden malfunctions. Another way to promote transparency is sending out a periodic newsletter. This is a good medium for sharing fun facts or providing information about certain procedures that generate many questions among your customers. You can also use the newsletter to inform customers about completed, current, and future projects’ planned schedules and projected results.

Be visible and recognizable
If your department does its job perfectly, it will be invisible to the rest of the organization. Raise your profile to increase your visibility. A visible department looks professional. Communicate about your department’s activities, even when they are going well. This will create a positive image, and help customers know where to turn with their call. Uniformity within departments is also important. This helps you show what your department stands for, and increases recognizability within the organization. Think for instance of a corporate identity and logo used in email templates. Wearing recognizable work clothes or an accessory such as a key cord or nameplate will also work.

Be clear
Customers often do not understand the work required when they request an access card or new telephone; all they know is what they have to do and how long they have to wait. There are usually good reasons to set up processes the way you have – make sure the customers know this. This will help them understand why things are done the way they are. The information should be clear, and customers should know what they can expect from the department. Confusion regarding procedures often leads to a lack of understanding.

Be transparent
Increasing the transparency of your department’s methods will increase your colleagues’ trust in your department and improve your image. Grant customers insight into matters that will immediately impact their activities, such as an unexpected malfunction or planned move. When possible, inform those involved before, during, and especially after the activities: explain why the work was necessary and what it means for the customer. It is also important to provide status updates for individual calls. Introducing a self service desk is a great way to create transparency. It will grant customers insight into the progress of their calls, and

Distinguish your department
Make your department visible, show customers what you do, and explain why. Consciously working on your department’s identity often results in a change of image. However, this is not a one-way street, so be open to signals from your organization and be ready to respond. Think along with the customer and be creative. Most importantly, do not let the examples in this article limit you: find out what works in your unique department and organization.

20 cUstoMeR In FocUs

Photography: Istockphoto

The peaceful North Wales countryside

Text: Nicola van de Velde

cUstoMeR In FocUs 21

The IT department at Cyngor Gwynedd Council has been using TOPdesk since 2005. This year they joined forces with two other North Wales councils and together purchased TOPdesk 5.1. They not only share a licence, but also best practices.
Councils working together
In 2011, the Welsh Government and WLGA (Welsh Local Government Association) signed an agreement that would help local authorities to improve their service delivery and cut costs. How? By encouraging the councils to work together across a range of services, from transportation and housing to IT. To aid this collaboration, the councils were divided into six regional areas, one of which is the North Wales region. “The six North Wales heads of IT meet on a monthly basis,” says Alun Rees, IT Performance Engineer at Gwynedd Council. “They discuss common problems and share ideas. When we heard about the agreement, we soon realized there was a project that could benefit us all: finding a shared service management tool. It turned out that Flintshire County Council had outgrown their in-house system, and Wrexham’s system required major reconfiguration.” Together with Gwynedd Council, the three councils began looking for a tool they could standardize and all use.

SSD in your own language
Alun, now elected as Project Leader, and Sara Edwards, Regional Senior Project Manager, worked with representatives from each council. “The first step was to create a long list of mandatory and desired features,” says Alun. “We needed the tool to be ITIL-based, customizable, and economical for purchase.” Moreover, the councils required a customizable Self Service Desk. “Welsh is the official first language in this district. It would really improve our services if our customers could log a call in their own language,” Alun explains. “Once we completed our requirements, our council’s procurement team got the ball rolling.” One of the shortlisted companies was TOPdesk. Already a TOPdesk customer, Alun could demonstrate the tool to the project team. “Our IT department uses TOPdesk for the internal support of around 2,500 callers, and just as many PCs. I am familiar with the way we process incidents and changes at Gwynedd, so I could easily explain the tool’s benefits to the other councils. They were very impressed with TOPdesk’s options and standardized modules, and decided it would be a good solution for collaboration.”

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Wrexham Council. “We also have very high expectations,” says Shaun Richardson from Flintshire County Council, “and I believe TOPdesk will exceed them. Our customers are going to see a massive improvement in terms of self-service and we’ve already started the campaign to promote the changes that are coming soon.” The collaboration has not only helped reduce costs, but also enabled the councils to share best practices. “Once we go live, we’re planning on visiting each other’s sites on a regular basis,” explains Alun. “Because we all use the same system, we can learn from each other and compare the way we work. For instance, we already noticed that Wrexham has an excellent CMDB. We are also comparing our categorization of calls, which will let us unify our categories and subcategories in TOPdesk.” Andy agrees. “The TOPdesk implementation has forced us to re-examine how we deal with changes, and helped us formalize our change management process”. Alun Rees and Sara Edwards look back on a successful project “We are very pleased with the outcome of this regional project”, says Alun. “I also believe that this procurement process has helped us create a framework, which will eventually make it easier for other public sectors in Wales and England to purchase commodities. All in all, the North Wales Region is small enough to benefit from collaboration, but large enough to make a difference.”

It’s always good to share
After an intricate procurement process and presentations by the shortlisted companies, TOPdesk came out on top. “It really was a joint effort,” says Alun, “and I’m very pleased with the outcome. TOPdesk offers the functionality we need, for the best price. It ticked all the boxes, and we even got our Welsh Self Service Desk.” The councils now share a single TOPdesk licence. This brings many advantages, as Alun elaborates: “The licence structure is very costeffective: it lets us share both maintenance and licence costs. We also discussed the wishes of each council, which led to us purchasing the same modules to help standardize our processes. Although we won’t be using all the modules ourselves, we now have Problem Management, Survey module, Mobile module, Reservations and Stock & Order Management.” Gwynedd was already a TOPdesk customer, meaning they only had to pay for the upgrade to version 5.1. “Another great advantage,” says Alun. “We created a manual for our operators, so they know how to work with the new tool, and we also offer in-house training.” Alun is also positive about the additional features that TOPdesk 5 offers. “This version is really adjustable, and I love the overview screen with the Quick Launch Bar and Bookmark feature. The Plan Board is both snazzy and customizable – definitely worth the upgrade.”

The project has been supported by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.

Collaboration for success
The councils are planning to go live very soon, and are excited about the prospects. “Our anticipated benefits from the implementation include improved customer communication and timely, relevant management reporting,” says Andy Berry, implementation manager at

The WLGA Improvement Fund supports the involvement of Flintshire County Council and Wrexham County Borough Council in this project.


Photography: Menno van der Bijl

JASmiJn moerman
… was a service management consultant for six years. She recently became facility coordinator for TOPdesk’s Dutch offices.

About six months ago, TOPdesk switched to a newer version of Microsoft Office. After the usual ‘this will take some getting used to’ period and sorting out some teething troubles, the version has been completely accepted by the users. Including myself.
However, what bothered me from day one was that when I wanted to adjust a file, I had to click on ‘Enable Editing’ first. Stands to reason, I kept thinking. When I open a document using a word processing tool, it seems fairly obvious to me that I actually want to process the text. I edit a lot of documents, so the extra action soon became part of my routine, and I even accepted the annoyance. The developers behind this version probably had a good reason for this feature, I told myself, trying to limit my irritation. This week, after the umpteenth annoyed start as I opened a document, I decided to find out I could skip clicking that particular button. Mere seconds later, I had the answer: all I had to do was deactivate a number of options. It was so simple! So I eventually decided to share the solution on our internal social network. Even if it was for just one ignorant, annoyed soul. The ‘likes’ started pouring in as soon as I posted. My message was named Tip of the Day. Apparently I was not the only one who had been bothered by this for months but had not looked for a solution for this relatively minor but nonetheless unpleasant obstacle! I occasionally encounter comparable annoyances among TOPdesk customers. For instance, I sometimes happen to hear a complaint about the laborious process of copying and pasting emails to call cards in TOPdesk. “So simple?” is the customer’s It often does not seem worth the trouble to talk about or resolve small irritations. But once someone actually gets going and finds a way to get rid of the annoyance, the resulting happiness and gratitude is only greater. Even if it seems so small and insignificant, or the workaround has become routine, it is never too late to take a critical look at your actions. The solution is often simpler than you think! simple, that all my colleagues must have been familiar with this solution (“Didn’t you know?”). response when I tell them about the standard mail import feature. There is also some grumbling about the number of clicks it takes to find a call for a specific caller. However, once I show them the caller card, an icon they may have simply overlooked for years, the grumbling suddenly changes to happy smiles.

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Photography: Robin Kuijs

patrick mackaaiJ
… is an information distribution coordinator. He is specialized in technical issues and optimizing processes.

Your TOPdesk database has a lot of interesting data. You can analyse this data within TOPdesk using the software’s reporting feature. This article explains how you can easily process data in another system by exporting it from TOPdesk to Excel.

You want to analyse interesting data saved in TOPdesk, such as the equipment managed in Configuration Management, customer information from Supporting Files, and processing data from process cards. Within TOPdesk, you can analyse this data using the reporting feature on the Dashboard pages. However, if you prefer to use Excel or a reporting tool, you can easily export data from TOPdesk to the Microsoft Excel file format. You can consult exported data offline, or use it as a source and import it into another information system. Image 1: TOPdesk call overview Card) contains the data you wish to export. For example, the make is listed on the Hardware Card, not the Call Card. Overviews contain all cards that have been created in TOPdesk. Within Call Management you can see overviews of all calls, first line calls, second line calls, and partial calls. With the filter icon (yellow funnel icon in image 2) at the top of the list you can limit the number of

Exporting from TOPdesk to Excel
Exporting data from TOPdesk to Excel is simple. You can export every overview. Overviews (lists) can be found on the overview pages, or on card tabs, such as the Links tab. Image 1 displays an overview of calls. Before you export, select the overview that features the desired data; consider which card (such as the Call Card, Hardware Card, or Person

Text: Patrick Mackaaij

WoRkInG sMARteR 25

rows and only display calls that are not closed, or only calls that were registered in the past x months, for instance. If the possibilities offered by the filter at the top of an overview are too limited, consider whether the desired overview can be found on the tab of a related card. For example, the Links tab on a Supplier Card lists all calls for that specific supplier.

Image 2: TOPdesk toolbar You can create a selection if you cannot compile the desired list from the standard overviews. Using selections, you can filter the list by extra data and even use data from linked cards. This enables you to create a selection of calls concerning objects purchased from a specific supplier. You can create a new selection on the overview page or the Dashboard. Once the overview displays the desired rows, determine which columns are and are not visible using the Set up overview button (right icon in image 2). Clicking on the button opens the Set up overview pop-up (image 3). Double-clicking a field moves it from Visible to Not visible and vice versa. TOPdesk only exports the visible columns. Image 3: Set up overview TOPdesk also includes the sorting order for rows and columns in the export. You can adjust the order of the visible columns using the up and down arrows on the left side. It is also possible to drag the column headings in the list itself. Finally, you can sort the list based on the

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TIP: In the Set up overview pop-up, you can select several column names at once by holding down the Shift button when clicking. This is particularly useful when you wish to move a column a considerable distance.
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TIP: You can use two different sorting orders at once. In the call overview, clicking on Closed and then Category will cause TOPdesk to sort the overview first by Category, then by Closed.Due to Microsoft Excel’s limit on the number of characters, a pop-up will appear in which TOPdesk asks how you wish to export memo fields such as Request and Action.

that are topical in the world of professional service desks in IT, facilities and other service providing organizations. TOPdesk Magazine is intended for managers, service desk employees, facilities organizations and electronic city councils – anyone who is involved with supporting clients on a daily basis. This concerns both the processes and the technology behind these services. TOPdesk Magazine is a TOPdesk publication Tel: +44 (0) 207 803 4200 Email: Chief Editor: Nienke Deuss Editors: Nienke Deuss, Timme Hos, Stefanie Klaassen, Milou Snaterse Translators: Leah Clarke, Nicola van de Velde Contributors: Paul Balvers, Pouyan Daddeh, Irene Kruijff, Jasmijn Moerman, Patrick Mackaaij, Bram Verheij Layout: Louise van der Laak Photography: Menno van der Bijl, Aad Hoogendoorn, Robin Kuijs, Jonas Mertens, Myriam Roesink Copy editor: Nicola van de Velde A print run of 6,000 Quarterly magazine

desired column by clicking on the column heading. Clicking on the column heading again reverses the sorting order. Using the Export button (the green table icon in image 2) you can export an overview of the desired rows and tables to Excel in a single click.

Directly exporting from your SQL server or Oracle database
TOPdesk saves data on a Microsoft SQL server or Oracle database server. Your database administrator can export the data directly from these database servers. To do this, the database administrator requires information about the structure of the TOPdesk database in order to gain insight into the database tables in which TOPdesk saves the (card) data, and their mutual relationships. The TOPdesk DataDict (Help > DataDict) grants insight into the relationship between what you see on the screen and the underlying tables. If you use TOPdesk SaaS, you can download the weekly database backup at night and open it via a local server. Please contact your TOPdesk account manager if you want direct access to the database.

CSV Export Wizard add-on
In the next edition, I will provide more information about the CSV Export Wizard add-on. This add-on is especially useful if you regularly perform the same export, wish to export data of linked cards, or data from tables that does not have a card.

TOPdesk makes add-ons available to TOPdesk Enterprise users to address issues faced by several customers. These add-ons are usually installed under supervision of a TOPdesk consultant who can provide more information about the bespoke work, as well as taking care of the initial set-up. You can request the CSV Export Wizard add-on via the TOPdesk Extranet.

Languages: Dutch, English

The more your end users use the SSD, the more time and money you will save.

After a successful promotion, your end users will be motivated to log their calls in the SSD.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss the possibilities of your Self Service Desk promotion.

+31 (0)15 270 09 60


tips + tricks
Creating multi-module Dashboards
As of TOPdesk 5, the Dashboard is the page where you can find all the information important to you. You can add widgets depicting the current situation, selections, reports, and KPIs, for instance. Each TOPdesk module has its own Dashboard. Additionally, there is one overview Dashboard where you can add widgets from all processes. A lesser known fact is that from TOPdesk 5.1 on, it is possible to create multi-module Dashboards yourself. This option enables you to display the Current Situation widget for each module on a single Dashboard, while using another Dashboard for KPIs or reports for several modules. 1. Open the Dashboard and click on Edit organizational defaults. 2. Click on the New icon in the top left corner to create a multi-module Dashboard. > You can give the Dashboard a custom name. 3. You can then add widgets by clicking on the widget icon. > You can select widgets from all modules. Add 1. In Settings Management, make sure that the searchlists for Impact, Benefit, and Priority for changes are filled in. 2. If you wish to automatically fill in the date for Simple Changes, you must also register durations in Searchlist Management for Change Management. After doing this, you can use the Priority searchlist to indicate which durations belong to which priorities. 3. Open the priority matrix in the Change Management module settings. 4. Fill in the priority matrix.

Using the priority matrix in Change Management
From TOPdesk 5.1 onwards, you can use the priority matrix to automatically fill in the priority based on the selected impact and benefits. For Simple Changes, this priority can automatically fill in the planned authorization date and/ or target date. The advantage of this matrix is that you can easily record that all changes with the same impact and benefits are also assigned the same priority.

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Copyright © 2013 TOPdesk UK limited. Although this magazine has been produced with the utmost care and attention, the writers cannot be held responsible in any way for any damages that may occur due to errors and / or deficiencies in this publication.