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Welcome to the SysAid Blog - the place to go to find out where the IT industry is going, and what is SysAid’s role in it.

Under the Hood…Replacing Our Default Embedded Database

Posted by on October 8, 2013 in SysAid
MS SQL new embedded database in SysAid Every good software relies on a good database, which allows the software to run smoothly, to allow growth, to be robust, and of course to secure the consistency and availability of your data. SysAiders that chose our Cloud offering don’t have to worry or manage the database or any other technical aspect related to hardware, installations, upgrades, etc. For SysAiders that have chosen to go with our On-Premise offering - we have always allowed you to select and manage your own database. But we also took care of those who want a simple and easy installation by having an embedded database that is automatically set up during the installation process, providing a worry-free environment that can be treated as a black box. We constantly improve our product and the technology it is based on, both in aspects that are visible (like the new UI), as well as aspects going on under the hood. This time around we decided to upgrade the embedded database to MS SQL Express - a top tier database that will bring you improved performance, allow you to grow, and have SysAid run on the newest technologies available out there.
New installations, starting from SysAid 9.1 released this October (2013), already include MS SQL Express as the embedded database. Our R&D is investing a lot of effort in creating an automatic migration from Derby (our previous embedded database) to the new database, so when you upgrade to one of our next releases in 2014 - this will be an automatic seamless process. Just like we do with our colleagues who reach the age of retirement, we would like to thank the Derby database for the good years it provided us and wish it a happy retirement! A few years ago, Derby itself replaced the previous database and became the default database for SysAid. The decision to retire the Derby database now assists us in providing something integral for our customers (what they’ve been asking for) - more On-Premise releases per year! We already provide several Cloud releases per year - almost every month, and only one or two On-Premise annual releases. By reducing the number of supported databases to 3 (MySQL, MS SQL, and Oracle) we are able to reduce and optimize our QA cycles allowing us to release more upgrades per year with features and bug fixes. As I said in the beginning, we constantly improve our product and invest a lot even on the parts that you can’t see or don’t know about. We do know that some of you are very familiar with the technologies SysAid is built on and even have processes or technologies that are integrated with them, so this is a heads-up for you towards this important upgrade of our technology. Let me know if you have any questions.
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What SysAid 9.1 New Release Means For YOU

Posted by on October 1, 2013 in SysAid

SysAid On The Road

In the last few weeks you heard about the beautiful UI, Dynamic Forms, SysAid RDS and all the other magnificent new features in SysAid 9.1. Today I wanted to talk about another central aspect of our new release: YOU, our customers.

Throughout the year we talk to our Pathfinders, hold Customer Roundtables, and receive your feature requests. But when Beta season comes around we always discover a newfound appreciation for customer feedback, realizing how important it is have you involved. Every time we incorporate customer feedback into SysAid, we’ve gotten wonderful responses and incredible results.


We’re Listening

SysAid 9.1 represents just how effective it is to communicate with our customers: we heard that our On-Premise customers wanted to have new releases more often, similar to the amount of releases our Cloud customers receive. We reacted by releasing SysAid 9.1—which sets the infrastructure that will allow us to release double the amount of releases next year for On-Premise customers. We achieved this by consolidating the number of On-Premise databases, so there is less QA required and more time for new releases to go out in a shorter timeframe.

Now, all SysAiders, both On-Premise and Cloud users, can expect to have a new release in the next couple of months. This is just one example of SysAid incorporating customer feedback.

SysAid On The Road

Another step to continue nurturing our relationship with customers is our new initiative called SysAid On The Road, which will see our team travelling the world to meet customers face-to-face and ensure they are getting the maximum value from SysAid’s platform. We will also focus on getting a deeper understanding of any open issues customers may have with SysAid.

Our first stop is Denmark this upcoming week where we will visit AVK, and we are REALLY excited about it. If you would like us to visit your office, or would like further information on what SysAid On The Road is all about, then contact us at: ontheroad@sysaid.com. We want to see how SysAid can enhance your daily life as an IT admin even more, so invite us over!

SysAiders, we are in listening mode. As CEO, I still manage the accounts I had as VP Customer Relations so that I can continue to maintain a hands-on relationship with customers. Today, I am inviting each one of you to email me personally with any questions, concerns or comments you may have at s.lahav@sysaid.com. Let’s keep this incredibly open and responsive relationship we have going strong.


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SysAid Customer Relations Take a Trip to the Blue

Posted by on September 30, 2013 in SysAid
On September 15th we had our annual Customer Relations Day, a day to relax away from the office without the normal separation of borders between managers and staff, where we can take a little bit of a load off. We decided to drop off our burdens at the beach and hop onto a boat, and have a day out in the sun. As you can imagine we spend most of our time in a closed office where we hardly see the sun (which I personally don’t complain about but maybe I’m not the norm). SysAid Customer Relations Day 2013
And no, that wasn't our boat. This was what we went on. SysAid Customer Relations Day 2013 I am the one next to the really tall guy on the right…oh, the problems of being short. After our boat took us into the deep waters of the Mediterranean Sea, a few of us decided to jump in—some with more skill than others. SysAid Customer Relations Day 2013 After a 3-hour boat ride, we came back to land at around 1pm. But the day was not over yet! After handling the waves of the ocean, we then drove to a beautiful villa, where we were treated to a superb steak lunch by the pool. SysAid Customer Relations Day 2013 The hot tub was pretty relaxing too. Above you can see the final photo of the day where we made a pact - whatever happens at The Villa, stays at The Villa. You will just have to imagine the rest ;). -Sivan
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4 Features That Will Improve Your Life as an IT Admin

Posted by on September 24, 2013 in SysAid
SysAid Service Desk 9.1 Release Preparing training material and informative content is always challenging and fun at the same time. Lucky for me, I get to have fun almost every day in my role as SysAid Academy Supervisor. Every month we prepare a webinar that we think can make you a better SysAider, and this content is available for you at any given time on our YouTube Channel. This month, however, is even more exciting because we're having our New Release Webinar, and we're going to show you our brand-new release version 9.1 in all its glory. I assure you, this is not one to be missed! Hosted by our VP Products Oded Moshe, this webinar promises to be both educational and entertaining. And, we’re making it even more enjoyable to watch as we play a game that will give you a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card.

4 Categories, All You Need

In this webinar we are going to show you our new UI and its major improvements, which is the result of over one year of researching our users’ needs . Aside from it being very nicely designed, it also brings a fresh and much more efficient approach on how things are organized. We have come to the conclusion that everything we do today falls under four main categories: Service Desk, Assets, Analytics, and Tools. All about this and more is going to be presented by our Creative Director Maurice Hason.

It's Time to Submit a Service Record

One of the the concepts we teach in our certification courses is that you need to to supply your users the fastest and easiest way to submit their service records in order to reduce your emails and phone calls. Now with our new categories driven templates, or Dynamic Forms as we like to call them, it has never been easier.The end user just needs to select a template related to his/her issue and the form is automatically filled according to preset data that we configured. VP Professional Services Hanan Baranes is going to show us how that works.

Remote and Secure is Not a Paradox

Up until today, if you wanted to keep your LDAP server on a remote location and integrate with SysAid, you would have had to open various ports to allow the traffic to go through. The same thing went for Cloud clients who needed to integrate with their LDAP even if it was in their internal network. With v9.1 we are releasing a new and improved Remote Discovery Service (RDS) that will eliminate the need for opening ports and will allow a secure connection with your remote branches. VP Customer Relations Joseph Zargari is going to explain how this works and what you need to do in terms of configuration.

We Will Never Forget You

The authentication process was also improved in this release. We added the Remember Me feature, which keeps a password cache. This makes the authentication process a lot faster and prevents a server down issue in case you lose connection with your LDAP server. This and more is going to be presented by Product Manager Oleg Sin. Register now, October 1st 12 PM EST - we look forward to seeing you there!
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Nubo – World’s First Remote Android BYOD Launches

Posted by on September 23, 2013 in BYOD

I just got back from TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013 and have a lot of news to share with all of you.

In 2011, I founded my second company, Nubo. Nubo is a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) startup that has now officially left “stealth mode”. As many SysAid customers know, more end users than ever are bringing their smartphones and tablets to work. The trend is clear.

My CTO and I flew from Tel Aviv to San Francisco to participate in TechCrunch’s yearly event. I wanted to launch Nubo in the midst of the cream of the crop of IT startups and there’s no better place. (You can read TechCrunch’s article about Nubo here.) We set up a booth and spoke with hundreds of visitors. The techies were fascinated by Nubo’s “Android on iOS” capability (more on that below), and IT journalists wanted to know how we succeeded in virtualizing the mobile experience.

Are you curious?


When I founded SysAid, I saw the need for a comprehensive ITSM platform. There were other products out there, but none that had my "all-in-one" approach. The same goes for BYOD. My three tenets of BYOD are:

1. Native mobile experience

2. Zero work data on device

3. Identical user experience for Android and iOS

A Remote Workspace for All Mobile Devices

Nubo is a remote workspace which allows the management of one work environment for all iOS and Android devices. Employee apps, corporate data, shared files and folders are all synchronized and located in one remote environment, leaving no data on any devices and ensuring the highest level of corporate data security.

Made for Mobile

Nubo has developed what we call “UX Over IP”, a remote display protocol designed to deliver a native mobile experience. Today’s mobile users - especially BYOD’ers - expect native touch and automatic adaptation to any device's display size. If you’ve ever used a Windows to Android port, you will appreciate Nubo’s made for mobile experience.

Android on a Server, Device as a Display

With Nubo, enterprise data stays where it belongs - in a secure datacenter. We call this “Android on a server”. Users download and install the Nubo Player, which allows them to access your enterprise app store. Nubo virtualizes the data - essentially projecting it to devices. When a user session ends, no data remains on the device. We believe that this “device as a display” approach will change the BYOD landscape.

When a user misplaces a device, all you have to do is block access to his or her Nubo account. Who wants to have their tablet wiped only for it to turn up two days later?

Working Together - Android & iOS

For the younger generation, the culture wars have been replaced by the “OS wars”. Have you ever tried to convince an iPad owner to go with Android or vice versa? Nubo stays above the fray by supporting both popular mobile operating systems.

Nubo works on iOS, Android and any web browser. The Nubo app is a thin client that is accessible from any device. Two colleagues can debate the pros and cons of Android and iOS at the water cooler, but when they get down to work with Nubo, they will both enjoy the same user experience.

BYOD with Nubo

Nubo has a long way to go before it will be as successful as SysAid. I can only hope that it will have such an active user base. With that in mind, I want to invite our extended SysAid family to visit Nubo at https://www.nubosoftware.com. Nubo is looking for companies to join our trial program, perhaps your company would be interested?


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Is Apple’s iOS 7 Taking a Page from Android’s Book?

Posted by on September 17, 2013 in General IT

ios7-vs-android

Just when you thought it was beginning to settle down, the heavy-weight battle between iOS and Android is once again heating up as Apple finally gave its loyal followers what they've been eagerly waiting for. Last week, the tech giant unveiled its latest mobile phones – the iPhone 5S and the 5C – along with a slew of new and exciting features.

Before the much anticipated unveiling, many mobile aficionados claimed that the iOS 5 felt oddly familiar to Android. Ian Paul, an independent writer at PC World and TechHive, argued that "You might even call these new features magical or revolutionary, unless you're an Android user, then you'd call them 'stuff I've been using for years.’” However, others beg to differ.

Let the comparisons begin…


Interface

Apple has drastically changed the entire look of its interface with a fresher, more modern look. Wooden bookshelves and leather-bound diaries have been replaced with greater transparency. However, some argue that Apple is just playing catch up with Android, claiming that iOS 7’s Control Center is something Android has already had for some time.

Multitasking

In the previous versions of iOS, multitasking was extremely challenging. However, that’s changed, as the new iOS 7 has similar multitasking features to Android. For example, the multitasking windows now fill the entire screen and in addition to the app icons, users can see thumbnails of what they were previously looking at within the app. They can also swipe to dismiss the apps they want to close, similar to Android.

Web Browser

With the new iOS 7, users have a 3D view of opened tabs, making it easier to switch between sites, which comes standard with Android’s Jelly Bean. They’ve also introduced the iCloud Keychain, which allows users to save all of their usernames and passwords for websites they use regularly.

While the new iPhone boasts several impressive features and updates – many of which Android already employs – it’s hard to sift through the marketing fluff to determine which packs the bigger punch.

Tell us… which mobile operating system do you prefer?


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How We Celebrated the New Year with the SysAid Race!

Posted by on September 12, 2013 in SysAid
SysAid celebrates Rosh Hashana/New Year 2013 Last Sunday on the 1st of September we had our annual corporate event celebrating the Jewish New Year - Rosh Hashana. As the HR team, it was our job to arrange the event. We kept everything a secret from all SysAid employees to encourage curiosity and heighten the experience. Haha…it was devious but really fun! The "operation" took off at 2:00 PM by sending out an email to the whole company explaining that everyone was being placed on teams. Each team got a color and received a t-shirt and hat to match. Team spirit was beginning to buzz at this point.
By 3:00 PM we all gathered in front of our building to receive instructions from the "journey manager" who also exposed the day’s mission – The Amazing Race. He explained that we will need to solve rather complicated riddles for a few hours, to move from one place to another, and to reach the final destination by evening. The confused faces, mixed with smiles and cheers, were hysterical! After some picture taking and giving out the maps and instructions, we finally departed at 4:00 PM with each team driving away in their own jeep, complete with private driver, water bottles, and healthy snacks. The Amazing Race We had an incredible experience combining fun and teamwork while visiting historical sites with some of the most stunning views. At 8:00 PM all the jeeps drove up to the final location where the big party was about to begin. But first, we wanted to symbolize the New Year by flying wish balloons (also known as sky lanterns) to the open skies. Our CEO started the ceremony by sending her balloon up with her blessings and best wishes for the company for the year to come. Then everyone else joined in, and the dark sky became dream-like with all the lights from our wish balloons. Wish balloons/sky lanterns Now it was time to eat and party hard! The 3-course meal was delicious and just enough to get everyone energized to dance the night away. We, as the HR ladies, had our joy by seeing everybody smiling, dancing and just simply having a great time. Partying with SysAid CEO Sarah Lahav We can’t finish without wishing you all health, happiness, and fun for the upcoming New Year. -Reut and Mor
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My Year in Tanzania as a Support and Integration Engineer

Posted by on September 9, 2013 in General IT
The Gods Must Be Crazy "Sometimes they hear a thundering sound when there are no clouds. They assume the gods have eaten too much and their tummies are rumbling." - from the 1980 cult movie The Gods Must Be Crazy Working on a project in Africa is a very interesting and challenging task. Though the people, at least in Tanzania, are very positive and gentle, they spend their lives in a different dimension, which would not be understandable to a western man. The mantra that best describes their perspective on life is Hakuna Matata – Take It Easy! Regardless to what is happening, they always take a rest, and say Hakuna Matata. Never mind if half of the country has no access to the Internet, or expensive equipment is stuck in customs for seven months and they are losing the money as a result of it.
Perhaps the relaxing sound of waves and cool breeze from the Indian Ocean made their mentality cool, optimistic and carefree. One more thing to know about the locals—when you are going to a business meeting in Tanzania and want to bring a gift—don’t bring a watch because it will be 100% useless. They’ll use it as a nice piece of jewelry, but they won’t use it as a tool for time measuring. Time in Tanzania flies in a different way, and their hour does not contain 60 minutes as a regular hour does in the rest of the world. But let's come back to our story. So, what was I doing in Tanzania? Well, I worked as part of a team with a mission to integrate ECI equipment (see photo above) in the Vodacom network. We were building a wired network infrastructure, and assisting the Tanzanians to escape from satellite network restraints and move to a better, faster world. To achieve this complicated task, we were supported by two teams. One was the South African team from Mobax, a very professional and effective team with decades of experience and a heavy mix of British and German accents. They were like rangers! Nothing would stop them from completing a task, but don’t forget to fill them with some fuel— they are totally uncreative and boring when they are sober ;). The second team was a local one. Their job was to build the infrastructure and install the equipment. And, well...they were always located outside the coverage area making it impossible for the satellite footprint to track their location. They, I suppose, succeeded to confirm Einstein’s theory of relativity…why? Because time, geographical location, and progression from point A to point B was a very relative concept to them. The work itself brought a lot of experience and satisfaction. The year my colleagues and I spent in Tanzania changed the voice quality of cellphone conversation and decreased the Internet delays from 600 milliseconds to 200. The network stability and consistency changed dramatically as well, in despite of regular power problems all over the country. The network outages decreased, as ECI ventured to demand, in their insolence, a generator for each and every site. And believe it or not, ECI even succeeded to bring a lot of spare parts to ensure that failures of any kind would not result in outages around the country. Although my boat sailed to the quiet Mediterranean beaches (dealing with SysAid customers is a breeze compared to the eruptions in network operations), I’m still missing the unpredictable storms of the Indian Ocean, and I look forward to my next visit.
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SysAid 9.1 Beta Keeps Rocking Onwards

Posted by on September 2, 2013 in SysAid
So far, 90 companies have upgraded to SysAid 9.1 Beta:
  • 11 Pro
  • 25 Pro Plus
  • 54 Enterprise/Full
SysAid Beta 9.1 Here’s what was happening at the beginning of the Beta Season. Today we're delivering a new Release Candidate, so if you're feeling left out – please join our Pathfinder Program now and stay in the know, while truly making an impact on the final release! Just ask our amazing and devoted Community powerhouses, like @techguy, @karlson, @MichaelZ, @jasoncherkas, @larronni, @5.7FSN, and all the rest. I personally want to thank you all for everything you put us through ;). We still have a full month before the final release, and we are working with a dedicated team of developers to fix as many issues as we can to bring you the best release to date.

Category-Driven Templates

This is one of the more anticipated features our On-Premise customers, who have been waiting patiently and certainly won't be disappointed. Basically, for those who don't know, this is where SysAid allows you to create dynamic forms and match them to different types of service records. Admins love it because the form is designed specifically to the issue that the end user is having. The end user loves it because once an issue is pinpointed through the categories (in the End-User Portal), the rest of the form is basically filled out dynamically, so there won’t be much else to do besides clicking the Submit button.

.NET Agent

SysAid's new .NET Agent for Windows is being heavily tested with version 9.1. Lior, our R&D Team Leader, opened a forum topic just for this issue. As Lior explains: "We invested months into this project and I can assure you that the .NET Agent contains the same feature set as the old Agent. However, using a more advanced technology improves stability and brings better memory management, security management, error handling, and more. Plus we have plans to add more features in future releases." Thank you SysAider @zhazell who took the time to install the new Agent and tell us: “I love the new installer/agent! Multi-Monitor support is huge for us here!!” We also think the multi-monitor support is awesome :). All feedback (good and bad) is very much appreciated.

What Will Be in the Release Candidate?

  • 24 fixed bugs. Top 3 are:
    • Remote Control cannot be started in encrypted mode
    • Agent does not work properly on non-English OS
    • (In some cases) The following error appears when running the 9.1 upgrade patch: "Could not find SysAid installation"
  • 2 Feature Requests, which were opened when the Beta began:
    • (FR#13212) Increase breadcrumbs font-size
    • (FR# 13182) Add DISMISS ALL option (replacing Delete All) to new Announcements section. In practice, this does the following:
      • Deletes all instant messages in the feed
      • Hides all the news in the feed
      • Removes all SysAid announcements in the feed
Please feel free to snoop around the Community Beta Forum. We’d love to hear from you!
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The Challenges of Modernising ITIL: The AXELOS Chronicles

Posted by on August 27, 2013 in ITIL

AXELOS ITSM Chronicles

Continuing our series of looking at the changes going on in the ITSM area, I want to examine perhaps some of the issues facing the newly formed company to take the ITIL and Project Management Best Practices into the future.

Fact File:

  • Nov 2012: Tendering Process for the Best Management Practice Portfolio announced. Formerly owned by the UK Government Cabinet Office, but widely adopted in organisations globally for IT Service Management and Project/Programme Management Best Practices.
  • April 2013: Tendering Process completed and a joint venture between the Cabinet Office and Capita Announced.
  • July 2013: Joint Venture becomes AXELOS, and appoints CEO Peter Hepworth as they get ready to be fully operational Jan 2014.
  • July 2013: AXELOS runs first workshop with Project & Programme Management and IT Service Management community representative

 


That Was the Past, What’s the Future?

There is some interesting stuff emerging from AXELOS in the wake of the newest updates from the workshops, earlier this month, looking at modernising the approach, amongst other things.

This has particular resonance for me—now I do not consider myself particularly long in the tooth but it is a sobering thought that I have worked for 21 years and shockingly I theoretically have the same amount of years ahead of me. Depressing thought.

Now I try to put myself back in my 23 year old shoes when I first started work – learning about technology, grasping concepts perhaps more rapidly than older counterparts, full of enthusiasm for the journey ahead.

In a way, that is how I feel about some of the new directions of ITIL.

Keep It Simple

I have never seen a more compelling argument for this old adage. As I look back through engagements, I have found that the best successes came from sitting down and really talking to people.

And now, as ITIL finds itself being applied to (gasp) departments other than IT departments, organisations find that they have to talk to people in plain, simple language for the non-technical to understand.

Committing a Cardinal Sin?

Before you get too excited, allow me to slip back into [/old cynic mode] —way back when I travelled to work on the back of a pterodactyl, I worked with a ticket management system that allowed an operations help desk raise trouble tickets, which sometimes (if you were lucky) was linked to alerts that the operations folk monitored.

Does any of that sound familiar now that my dinosaur has been replaced with a turbo diesel Audi?

If I raise a call with service desk now, as a grumpy old consumer—I am often given a reference number for my call.

If I resort to logging my issue online, I am sent an email with my reference, and to be perfectly honest with all of you, dear readers, as a consumer I could not care one jot if the issue I raised was a request, incident, problem or however else you want to describe it.

So you can maybe understand my surprise when I was not once, but twice roundly taken to task by committing the apparent cardinal sin of referring to a service request record as a ticket.

Heavens, I even used to include in my presentations to clients a slide called The Anatomy of a Ticket where I showed them the various fields and all that good stuff you find in a… record.

For all the years I worked on customer transition and transformation projects from one service management tool to another, I can honestly say I never had anyone pull me up and question my use of terminology.

I honestly do recognise the need for calling things by their right name, I really do, but as we have to react to more of a business view of how we provide services, perhaps a little latitude is called for.

How Do We Make Words Cool?

Well, let’s not get carried away here—we are talking about IT Service Management and stuff we have to negotiate every day.

At the end of last year, I sat in on a very interesting pitch at the itSMF UK 2012 Conference by Aale Roos, about Unlearning ITIL.

In truth we are not unlearning anything, but rather working more closely across an entire business to try and talk a similar language.

Some of the emerging themes coming out of AXELOS talk about being more in tune with the business—and ultimately it is purse-keepers of a business that shed the big bucks to buy a service management tool.

The Old/New Faces of The New Order

Perhaps I am unfairly focussing on age as I sit exactly half way between a life half worked, and a life full-lived. Instead perhaps I should look at the depth of experience that was involved in the initial workshops – contributors, practitioners and even a young penguin!

But they all had one thing in common—they wanted to work together to help bring some changes to the perhaps old, tired and grumpy ITIL.

The terminology is important—it helps us all work from a common level of understanding.

But let’s apply some common sense now—after all best practices are just common sense, written down.

There used to be a lot of whimsical chatter about the falling of Castle ITIL, and I think some of the old guard are going to find it hard to let go to the initial principles. It is completely understandable, but maybe it is time for a new guard to take over, in a world where the exact terminology as per the exact page in the book is perhaps less important than the actual business problems that needs fixing.

Onwards then, to the next chapter of the AXELOS Chronicles.


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