Web Form Customization - BEFORE 4.1.130

Table of contents

 

NOTE: 

This article explains how to configure Web form in versions before 4.1.130. To find out what version you are running, go do Help > About.

If the version you are running is 4.1.130 or more recent, go to the Form Customization in Octopus - AFTER 4.1.130 Wiki article.

Related articles

Introduction

When setting up the Web Portal, some incident templates and service requests (SR) types can be made visible to users so they can submit requests on their own through the Web Portal. 

Forms created with Octopus can be customized in several ways; the objective is to gather the necessary information to understand the nature of the incident or to facilitate the execution of the service request by the Octopus users. 

Prerequisites

The incident template or service request types must already exist. For more information, please refer to the following articles: 

Advantages to Using

  • Request centralization with one or more services (IT, facilities, HR, etc.)
  • Demonstrate to the users that you pay particular attention to customer service
    • Can be identified with a logo that people recognize
    • Always available (7/24)
    • At the creation, the user can immediately get his request number
    • The request can be followed directly in the Web Portal
    • The user can communicate directly from within the request with the service
    • The user can consult his request history
  • Add an announcement directly on the Web Portal page in case of a major issue
  • The forms are very flexible to meet diversified needs
    • Ask the right questions
    • Choose who has access to which form
    • Guide the user to the right request
    • Use phone calls for emergencies only
    • Possibility to add a document for the user with instructions or a form to print
  • The forms are easy to create and update. You can easily add new ones
  • The forms are required for other solutions, like automated approvals, access management and the survey

Key Success Factors of the Solution

The Web Portal can favorably contribute to your service, from the customer's perspective as well as on the Octopus user's side, but in order to do this you must first understand how the solution works and have a plan to implement it. 

User a Target Group

Before you deploy the Web Portal to all users, start with a pilot using a target group.

This way you can make sure that everything is working, the users know where to go, how to log in as well as create and follow up on their requests. You can make sure the right forms are available to the right people and receive feedback from your users and improve your processes, forms, etc. before the deployment to the rest of the users. 

Furthermore, if you have work at understanding the needs of your users while working withe the target group, you will already have ambassadors who will be only too happy to tell others that it's great to use the Web Portal. 
Usually, good target groups are; HR, a group of administrative assistants, the group that makes the most requests, or a group with very specific needs, etc. each case is different, but there is always a group that can be targeted for this.

Communication With Users

This is a crucial step for the success of the Web Portal! Take the time to tell your users that a Web Portal exists, how to connect to it, what they will find. Tell them the Web Portal is the place to go for their regular requests to keep the phone lines available for emergencies. Prepare documents to show them how it works, and when possible, when a customer calls for a non-urgent matter, take the time to ask why they did not use the Web Portal and guide them in the Portal.

At the beginning, this will take more time, but it's time well invested.

Communication With Octopus Users

As requests are received directly in Octopus, the Octopus users will need to use the "New", "Open", "To take assignment", etc. lists. They will notice the [Web] subject prefix and will need to take the time to read the information provided in the detailed description. It would be a good habit for them to communicate via email with users using the activities and render them visible on the Web Portal. Finally, their contribution to improve the forms with additional questions, or more specific questions, will increase the quality of the information collected from users.

Regular Review and Result Analysis

Regularly take the time to look at the requests coming in from the Web Portal and ask yourself a few questions: 

  • What is my percentage of Web requests, versus the other sources?
    • This information can be found in the key performance indicators of the report section
  • Which SR type is the most used?
    • If you notice that users use the "Other" SR, it's because there are choices missing, that the information is incomplete or missing, that you have made it too easy to go to the "Other" choice, etc. Take the time to look at the requests and understand what is at stake before making changes.
  • What are the most used incident templates?
    • Is it normal to have as many incidents of this type? This could indicate a potential problem
    • Again if the "other" or no template are used, an analysis must be done.
  • Is the information collected enough for the Octopus users?
    • When the request comes in, is there enough information to start working on it or is it required to communicate with the user for more information?
    • If you use tasks, can the flow be properly executed?
  • Read the release notes!
    • Octopus adds/modifies/improves the elements used on the Web Portal on a regular basis, staying up to date on the new features will help evolve the Web Portal and the user experience.

Manage Expectations

Like many things that are worthwhile, you must work, plan, validate and improve the processes and forms of the Web Portal 
The number of requests submitted with the Portal may not soar at first, but with constant work you can eventually make it your primary source of requests. Ah yes, even if the Web Portal will enhance your service, it is one more change to temporarily manage in your environment.

Creating custom forms

  •  Go to Tools > Reference Data Management... 
  • Then : 
    • Incidents > Templates, select the incident template for which a form must be created or 
    • Service Request > Types, select a type of service request for which a form must be created
  • Access the Form tab.
  • Check the option Visible on the Web Portal from the Web Portal tab if you want the form to be visible to users on the Web Portal. From here, we will work through the creation of the form section by section. 

Alternate Subject

This options allows to generate the request with a subject other than the template's name. The alternate subject works with expressions from the Web form (personalized variables) or with the Octopus variables using . The alternate subject must be entered in French and English.
For example instead of receiving all requests with the same subject: "Printer problem" you can add context from the information entered in the request: "Printer - Paper jammed in the printer" or "Printer - low ink". 



For more information on the configuration of the alternate subject, see the Alternate Subject page.

Illustration of the Possibilities of a Form

Here is the preview on the Web Portal of a form. As soon the form is submitted, the system will create an incident or service request according to the configuration of the request.

 

Instruction Zone

This zone can display specific instructions for the users for each form (French and English), this is an excellent way of communicating with them. 

  1. Click on User's Instructions
  2. Select the tab according to the language you want to configure
  3. Enter the instructions into the TextBox and click OK
Visual explanation

Custom Fields

The custom fields must be defined for each incident template / service request type 

  • English label / French label: name of custom field
  • Is required: mandatory field at the creation
  • Type:
    • Check box
    • CI: Field specifying the configuration item linked to this request. This field is directly related to the content of the Configuration module
    • Date: date field with calendar selection
    • Header: to group custom fields in separate sections
    • File attachment: Allows the user to add one or more documents to his request
    • Combo box: List of items that are specific to the defined form
    • Text: standard text box (single line)
    • Large Text: larger text box (paragraph)
  • French values / English values: for Combo box fields; values separated by a coma 
  • French default value / English default value: Default value of the field
  • French instructions / English instructions: field specific instructions will appear in italic above the field

The Preview... button allows to see what the form will look like. When previewing a Web form, only the configuration fields will be visible. The section common to all forms (user, requester, type, etc.) will not be shown in this window.

Visual explanation

Attached file

Allows the insertion of a document that can be downloaded by the user, from the Web form. 

Options

The option The requester can create a new user can be useful in the context of filling out a "new employee" Web form, it allows the requester to create the user (Firstname, Lastname) who does not yet exist in the Octopus database. Please note that if the user already exists, an action allows to merge the two users.


When the option Initialize the user as the requester is uncheck, this leave the user field blank in a Web form to force the requester to specify one.
This option reminds the requester to choose the name of the user, we suggest to use this option for requests that are usually submitted for someone else

Forms available on the Web or mandatory

A check box can make the form Visible on the Web Portal.  If you uncheck the option, the request will be considered a internal request, and access to the form will be restricted to technicians creating the request manually.

 

An option allows you to make the Form required. If you enable this option, technicians will have to fill the form at request creation time before they can successfully save it.

Copy a Form

Starting at version 3.7.193 it will be now possible to copy/paste Incident templates and SR types into the same DB or to another one. All of the elements from the incident template or SR type will be copied (priority, assigned group, tasks, Web forms, etc.). Copying works from one environment to another, for example from a test DB to a production DB. If both DB do not have the same configurations, the fields that do not match will be empty, for example, a group assignment.

To proceed you only need to go to the source DB, right-click and copy, the paste in destination DB. 

Visual explanation

 

NOTE : the keyboard shortcuts CTRL+C and CTRL+V work with this option

It is also possible to import the Custom forms, this option will remain available for massive form import. For more details on the import of the Custom Forms, see the article: DataImporter - Import Custom Web Forms

Advanced Task Configuration

With the advanced configuration of tasks, it is possible to create SR types that contain tasks that will generate themselves only if certain fields are filled in the Web form. 

Essentially the related criteria are grouped within a task and if at least one of these criteria is filled, the task will get generated. A criteria is a field from the Web form represented by a variable. Once this field is selected or filled and the form is submitted, the corresponding task is generated and documented with the information filled in by the requester. 

It will be much easier to build this solution if you start by gathering the information in the Web form by sections. You can then group the criteria by section and create the tasks by sections as well. You create sections in the Web forms by using the "Header" type field. Then it's easy to assign tasks to different groups or when required to an external assignee group

Please read the Advances task configuration Wiki for a detailed description of this option.

Restrict a Web Form

There are two ways to restrict access to a web form for users: via a user group and via a site.

Restrict a form for a user group

  • Step one - Configure the request
    • Go to Tools > Reference Data Management… 
    • Then: 
      • Incident > Templates, select the incident template for which the access have to be restrict or
      • Service request > Types, select a type of service request for which the access have to be restrict
    • Access the Advanced tab
    • Check the option Restrict the access according to user groups (configure access in user groups).

 

Visual explanation
  • Step Two - Configure User Group
    • Create a user group: Tools > Reference Data Management... > General > User group 
    • Add users to the group or synchronize with an AD group
    • Access the Available Requests tab
    • Select the request available by the users of this group.
Visual explanation

Restrict a form for a site

  • From Tools > Reference Data Management > General > Sites, select a site name
  • Go to Available Requests tab, and select the option "Allow SR types and incident templates selected below
  • Select the request(s) from the list

 

Visual explanation

 

What you need to know: 

When the access of a request is restricted, it will be restricted in the Web Portal and the Octopus application. When creating a request from Octopus interface, the restricted request type will be available if the requester is a member of a user group or associated to a site where a restricted request has been configured. 

 

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