Now Available: Portal Designer and Custom Widgets, Notification Enhancements Out of Labs( February 28, 2021 Release)

Employee Engagement

 1. Portal Designer and Custom Widgets

Today we’re releasing a new capability a lot of you have been waiting for. With the new Portal Designer, Professional and Enterprise plan users can customize their portal’s homepage quickly and easily with a simple drag-and-drop mechanism, similar to the one in the Dashboard area.

We added more customization capabilities, such as adjusting background images and colors, while allowing you to co-edit and save an unpublished version of your new design. Once you and relevant stakeholders have had the chance to review the changes, you can make the new layout available for your entire organization at the time of your choice.

All of these enhancements are helpful in supporting multiple departments and customizing navigation flows per your organization’s needs.



For example, you can now create:

  • Dedicated buttons or “tiles” that can lead requesters to relevant HR or Facilities service catalog category pages.
  • Shortcuts for opening help desk tickets, or even create a “Remote Work” button where you can lead requesters to a relevant knowledge base category designed to answer and resolve issues related to this matter.

For more information on how to set up your portal homepage and best practices, please visit our release notes.

Lastly, we’d like to thank our awesome customer advisory board members for accompanying us during the journey of building this powerful new functionality!

2. Schedule Changes Through the Portal

To make it easier for your employees to request changes via the service portal, we’re now giving requesters the ability to request from your service portal when a change should be executed. This helps make the change request process faster and more efficient for your employees, who can request a convenient change start and end date and potentially have changes kick off automatically.

In addition, this helps improve the productivity of your IT teams, since agents no longer need to ask requesters when they want a change to occur. Finally, technicians have the flexibility to turn this capability on or off for each Change Catalog Item (CCI) with the default setting for this feature to be turned off. For more details on this capability, please see our technical documentation.

Agent Productivity 

1. Notifications Enhancements – Out of Labs 

As part of our ongoing investment in enhancing agents' productivity, we are glad to introduce additional customization capabilities and new functionality for group settings and task notifications.    
Real-time notifications help you, your team, and employees stay informed and get visibility into essential updates throughout the service life cycle, while helping eliminate “notifications fatigue.”   

What's New?   

New Notifications Index: We unified the “Notifications” and “Email customization” pages, which you can now find under the Service Desk menu. This way, you can configure and manage your system notifications in one place. The new “Send To” column allows you to quickly set who would get each notification (agents, requesters, or the list in the incident's cc). Lastly, you can also filter the list of notifications by modules to facilitate your navigation.  Additional enhancements include:    

  • The ability to turn off notifications for specific groups   
  • The ability to set task reminders for Ad-Hoc Tasks   
  • Different formatting options in email templates (like adding a URL)  
  • New Notifications   
  • Task Notifications (Task Completed)   
  • Solution Mention Notifications  
  • Daily Email Digest: Get a daily list of your assigned items and due tasks via email    


* Please Note:   

  • Global email sections and other general notification settings have moved to dedicated menus under the Global Settings menu (Notification Settings and Email Sections).  
  • The “Users own changes” setting is now part of the email template itself.  

Workflow & Automation 

1. Sending Multiple Notifications

Until today, agents could select only one stakeholder to be notified when an automated action took place. However, in cases such as onboarding workflows, where there are multiple stakeholders involved in different stages, it can be beneficial to automatically update all relevant parties at once.

Let’s say a computer for a new hire needs to be ordered. This task is relevant to the HR team, and also to the Finance group. With this new capability, you can notify both at once, as soon as the process reaches this stage.

This helps streamline automated workflows, provides all stakeholders with better visibility into the process, and makes for a faster and better service experience overall.  


Reporting & Analytics

1. Dashboards: New View - Group Custom Widgets

This small enhancement goes a long way in making sure you have the most actionable information you need at your fingertips. Starting today, you can create widgets to group custom fields such as impact and risk.

Creating these widgets is quick and easy, through the “Add Widget” button at the top-right side of the screen. This gives you more flexibility and enables you to gain insights into additional metrics across your organization. For more details on this enhancement, please see our technical documentation.


2. Dashboards: Advanced Service Statistics Widgets

When managing a service desk, it’s important to understand your efficiency as well as your team’s efficiency, since this can help you identify gaps, improve service desk operations, and increase overall productivity. As a result, it’s essential to have visibility into key performance indicators (KPIs).

To provide better insights into the performance of your service desk, we’re now offering new dashboard widgets for Service Statistics. These new widgets give you greater visibility into the health of your service desk with averages and trends for the following KPIs:

  • Time to assignment
  • Time to first response
  • Time to resolution
  • Time to closure
  • Age of open incidents
  • Time in a state
  • Time spent by assignee
  • Number of reassignments

You can create these new widgets by navigating to Dashboard and clicking on “Add Widget” in your service desk.


Once you add a Service Statistics widget to your dashboard, you’ll notice it shows the average time for a KPI and the trends for this metric by comparing it to the average of the last time period. It will also color-code the statistic, with green meaning a positive trend and red meaning a negative trend.  

These new dashboard widgets help you measure and improve the performance of your service desk by increasing visibility into the effectiveness of your team.


Discovery and CMDB

1. CMDB API Enhancements

We know many of you are looking to build out your CMDB by adding and connecting dependencies together. To help you with this, we’re now giving you the ability to add or delete dependencies as well as create new dependencies via the Service Desk API.

This helps make it faster and easier for you to add new dependencies between Configuration Items (CIs), remove existing dependencies between CIs, and create brand-new CIs. You can save time by automating these processes and even integrate your CMDB with third-party systems to create new CIs and attach them to existing CIs. For more information about the CMDB API enhancements, please see our technical documentation.

For more information on this release of SolarWinds Service Desk, please see our release notes.