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Web Help Desk 12.3 Release Candidate now available!

Level 15

It is my pleasure to announce that Web Help Desk 12.3 has reached RC status and is available for download from the SolarWinds Customer Portal‌ for customers on Active Maintenance through June 1st, 2015.

This release includes support for Parent/Child ticketing, allowing you to link multiple tickets to a one parent ticket. Using this feature, you can for example:

  • Model repetitive business processes, such as on-boarding new employees or scheduling maintenance tasks
  • Track your IT projects
  • Group service request tickets together for troubleshooting or create ad-hoc child tickets to fulfil requests

It also address various known feature requests, namely

  • ‌ - by providing ability to track tasks as separate child tickets
  • ‌ - directly linking any service requests
  • ‌ - by providing ability to have technicians assigned to individual child ticket representing tasks they are responsible for
  • ‌ - linking any service requests and passing information selectively from parent to children by inheriting value in Task element definition
  • - by providing ability to track tasks as separate child tickets
  • ‌ - by ticking the "Link to Parent" checkbox in Task element
  • ‌ - directly linking any service requests

Overview

The Parent/Child relationship logic incorporated within SolarWinds Help Desk is modeled after the concept of Problem/Incident management. Problem/Incident is addressing unplanned interruptions or failures (Incidents) and identifying the root cause (Problem) of one or more incidents. This process is based on ITIL best practices, but it has its limitations. Parent/Child relationships are designed to provide general links between tickets and serves many purposes. There are a few other differences, which I highlight later in this article. Fundamentally, to link a problem with an incident, you create a relationship between both entities.

Manually Linking Tickets Together

Using Parent/Child relationships built into SolarWinds Web Help Desk, you can manually link service request tickets together by clicking the Requests tab on the right side of the ticket screen, as shown below.

Link_ticket_manually.png

Here, you can link any existing ticket as a parent to your working ticket. Simply search for the appropriate tickets using the Search Requests function and click Link next to the targeted ticket.

Once you create a relationship between both tickets, click Save. After you save your child ticket, you can:

  • View the linked parent
  • View the parent ticket from the child ticket
  • Send notes to linked child tickets
  • Send notes to the linked parent ticket
  • Add attachments to the notes and propagate to parent and child tickets

Viewing a Linked Parent

Once you link your ticket to the parent ticket, the Linked Parent ticket tab appears within your working ticket, as shown below.

Linked_parent_ticket.png

In this embedded tab window, you can view basic ticket information such as the ticket number, status, or subject combined with the request details. You can also unlink the ticket by clicking the Trash icon on the right side of the window. The ticket screen also includes an embedded History tab that appears in the ticket. SolarWinds Web Help Desk records all ticket actions related to the Parent/Child ticket relationship, providing you with a complete record for auditing or other IT business processes.

Viewing a Parent Ticket from a Child Ticket

When you click on the ticket number or request details of the linked parent ticket, the parent ticket appears on your screen. In the parent ticket is an embedded Linked Child Tickets tab that lists the linked child tickets and ticket summary information, such as the ticket number, status, and request details. You can freely move between the parent and child tickets as needed by clicking each ticket.

You can add a parent ticket to another parent ticket as required, but every ticket can have only one parent ticket. The Parent/Child logic built into SolarWinds Help Desk incorporates a tree structure that will not allow you to create endless loops between tickets.

Sending Notes to Linked Child Tickets

When you are in the parent ticket, you can send a note down to all linked child tickets. Simply create a note in the ticket and select the Show in Linked Child Tickets check box, as shown below.

Propagate_note.png

Once you save the ticket, the note is visible to all linked child tickets.

Sending Notes to the Linked Parent Ticket

You can also send a note up to the parent ticket. When you are working in a linked child ticket, simply click the Show in Linked Parent Ticket check box. Your note is copied to the parent ticket, as shown above.

Adding Attachments to Notes

When you send notes to the child or parent ticket, you can also include an attachment. If you need to edit the note, open the original ticket of the note, edit the note, and then save it. The updated note including attachment will be immediately available to the parent ticket or down to the child tickets.

There is no limitation on ticket status for any ticket within the Parent/Child structure. You can open, close, or modify any linked ticket.

Automatically Linking Tickets Together

The Parent/Child ticketing structure built into SolarWinds Web Help Desk can help you automate repeated tasks, such as the New Hire process used to on-board a new employee. In this scenario, you can create a standardized set of tickets that are completed by various people within your organisation.

Some process tasks are dependent on others and need to be tracked separately using an action rule to trigger your New Hire process. Simply define the criteria — such as the request type or a keyword that appears in the subject — to run a task. Your defined task creates a set of tickets assigned to the appropriate department or individuals and links them to the parent ticket that initiated the action rule.

Action_rule.png

When you create a task for your automated process, select the Shared check box so you can use this task in an action rule. For every step of your process, define a task element.

Each task element creates one ticket. In the Task Elements tab window, you can decide if the newly- created ticket should be linked to the parent ticket, as shown below.

Task_element.png

By linking tickets together, you can:

  • Pass information from parent tickets to child tickets. This process allows you to distribute selective or sensitive information to all child tickets. Typically, you would create a form using custom fields and pass your information through these fields as needed.
  • Combine information between ticket types. You can combine information from a parent ticket with new information in a child ticket. For example, the subject in a child ticket could include a description with the parent subject description appended to it, separated by a space.
  • Copy ticket attachments between ticket types. You can copy ticket attachments (but not note attachments) from parent tickets to child tickets. However, be aware that this process will duplicate the attachments in your database and consume additional storage space.
  • Trigger succeeding task elements when a targeted element is completed. Using the Generate Next Element logic, you can define when the next ticket is created based on the previous ticket element status. For example, you could create tasks that generate service request tickets to create a new employee email address and user account. When those tasks are completed, you can configure these tasks to trigger another step in the new hire process, as shown below. Alternatively, you can perform the same procedure by creating several tasks and action rules that model more complex dependencies and workflows.

    Task_elements.png

Now that you have seen how Parent/Child relationships can benefit your organization, go to our customer portal and download the new version to get started today.

PS. One more thing , often you need to reference ticket from a Note, Request Details field or FAQ fields. You can do it now by simply typing "ticket <number>" or "case <number>" (it works also with keywords like request, incident or problem). WHD will automatically makes it a link.

Embedded links.png

25 Comments
Level 10

This is really great!  A few things I'm having a hard time with is where to add multiple techs and ticket check lists.  I've also noticed the emails for techs and clients no longer have any action links in them even though I have that checked, Setup>Email>Options>Include Action Links = True

Level 12

Not exactly sure I understand the process behind this Parent/Child Ticketing system.

Trying to see how I would implement this.

Can you come up with a scenario where this would be used, and how?

Would this be used when you get multiple tickets about the same issue? IF so, does the firs ticket submitted become the parent, and as new tickets arrive, you assign them to the parent ticket (similar to Merging)?

Or is this more a process where multiple tickets come in that are somewhat related (eg Google Drive isn't syncing), but from different building with different techs assisting. It really wouldn't matter what the parent tickets is (pick one), and each ticket would have their own ticket and would be closed separately, but everyone would see the Notes created by each tech?

Level 12

Is the feature to add multiple technicians to one ticket accomplished through the parent / child linking?  I can't seem to find an option that will allow selection of multiple technicians on a ticket.  I see just assign to tech group or assign to myself.  Is the Help webpage updated - if so please point me to the relevant section.

Also, tried adding a ticket <number> to a note field on an existing ticket.  Nothing special displays, just the literal text ticket <number>.  Does this need to be activated somewhere?

I setup a Hew Hire task triggered by action rule - works great !

Level 11

You can already elevate one ticket to a Problem ticket (eg server down) & then join other individual related incidents to it (eg can't log in) as children, which sounds more like your example. I think the intention of the new feature is so you can link any ticket including Requests. We are intending to use this for a new starter for example as one event that creates several tasks which need to be completed by different techs/ tech groups on various systems. 

Level 15

I made it more clear in the blog post above. We have not implemented checklists directly, rather you can create a set of child tickets for every task and assign them individual Techs. Assigning multiple Techs to single ticket would make any alerting, escalations and reporting very complex and hard to use. If you do not see action links where you have seen them before, I recommend to open support ticket via Submit a Customer Service or Technical Support Ticket - SolarWinds we did not touch that part of application and it should work normally.

Level 15

billypilgrim‌ is right. Problem/Incident is intended for tracking of same issues (incidents) under a same Problem. Parent/Child is generic feature to group tickets for various purposes. You can manually link tickets, when for example when you realise some ticket requires work of different people or different departments. For example to upgrade server, you might need to first prepare backup and migrate services there. You can create child tickets for that and assign it to appropriate technicians. You can also group tickets ad-hoc for example when you are troubleshooting issue and you see reports from any users on similar area and it may be or may not be related.

You can also automate process like new hire, employee termination, procurement, maintenance tasks, and create structure of tickets to reflect all tasks which must be carried out. Possibilities are endless .

Level 15

Is the feature to add multiple technicians to one ticket accomplished through the parent / child linking?  I can't seem to find an option that will allow selection of multiple technicians on a ticket.  I see just assign to tech group or assign to myself.  Is the Help webpage updated - if so please point me to the relevant section.

I made it more clear. We did not allow assign multiple Techs to single ticket as this could make any reporting, alerting, escalations and other actions in WHD very complex. Instead you can create several child tickets and assign individual Techs to them, where each ticket represents what is every Tech responsible for. This way you will have easier job to track work done, report, alert etc.

Also, tried adding a ticket <number> to a note field on an existing ticket.  Nothing special displays, just the literal text ticket <number>.  Does this need to be activated somewhere?

This is what I mean , I'll add screenshot to the post.

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 10.26.33.png

I setup a Hew Hire task triggered by action rule - works great !

Great!

Level 12

OK. I was already automating the process of entering new students (workflow using Processes and Action Rules). How is this different?

Still trying to grasp how this is beneficial.

OTOH, what I would really like to see added:

1) Simpler way of importing assets There shouldn't be a need to create a PO, import Assets, then import PO info. This last step should be unnecessary. Importing Assets with a PO # should be enough to create the Line Items within the PO itself.

2) In PARTS, Parts should be able to be assigned to multiple Models. We have projector lamps that will fit in multiple projector models, but we can only assign the Part to one of the models. That makes locating the correct lamp for a projector within a ticket very difficult.

3) Having an iPad App would be awesome

4) Being able to Search Assets in the iOS app would be awesome. Similar to Search Clients.

5) Not sure what the difference between "Due Date" and "Scheduled Date" is, but when setting the Scheduled Date in the future, Alert Levels should not turn RED. There should be an Alert Level that states "Scheduled" and when hovering over the "Scheduled" Alert Level would display the Date when it is scheduled or due.

Level 10

I am truly happy now that we can propagate custom fields into child tickets. That feature has been long overdue.  One issue I noticed is you cannot carry over the client in the Task from the parent ticket.  It is not an option to "check" when you select the option to link to parent.  The client is on the task info tab and there appears to be no way to bring that over from the parent ticket.  I could be missing something there.  Another option that would be great is some way to assign a field like due date based on a custom field.  For example, we set the due dates for tickets corresponding to our new hire process to the day the person will start.  We only have the option to set the priority which in turn affects the due date.  I would be nice if we could take the data listed in the custom field "start_date" and make that the ticket due date.  Granted, it is only minor.  My staff have already adjusted.  Thanks again for getting this working.  Now lets talk about reporting

Level 10

The new automatically created url links in notes for case, ticket, indecent and problem are not providing the full url in the emails generated by the system.  The fqdn is missing in those links.

5-1-2015 9-29-41 AM.png

Level 10

Downloading now.  Linking any tickets together and being able to add multiple techs per ticket are going to be very useful for us!

Level 15

Just note that we actually don't allow to link multiple Techs to a ticket, but you can create child tickets to a ticket and assign those to each Tech. Allowing assigning of multiple Techs would make a mess in reporting and alerting.

Level 15

Great feedback Brian, Thanks! What is on your mind regarding reporting, I'm listening...

Level 15

Thanks for reporting this. We will look into this.

Level 10

I'd like the ability to custom build reports.  Basically if the field isn't in one of the drop downs, you cannot run the report.  We then have to go into the SQL environment and build the report from there.  It isn't horribly difficult to do with Crystal reports, but it would be easier from the application.  An example is top list of customers who contact support.  I recognize there is a way to see how many tickets a person has opened, but it really isn't easy to see and there is no report against that.  Just one example. 

Level 7

Great!

Level 15

We are considering some custom reporting for future releases and actually client based reports are also something we would like to have out of the box as one of the categories.

Level 7

is it possible to close the parent ticket, when all the corresponding child tickets (created from tasks) are completed (in "resolved" or "closed" state)?

Level 10

If, as a technician, I make notes in the child tickets and click the "Show in Linked Parent Ticket" and it's marked "Client Visible" the notes will appear in the parent ticket when I'm viewing it as a tech. However, if I'm a client and I go to History and open the parent ticket, none of the linked Notes appear. Was this an oversight or by design? It seems to me that if the notes are "Show in Linked Parent" and "Client Visible" they should also appear in the client view of the Parent Ticket.

Level 10

I have a couple of issues with having just upgraded to 12.3, specifically with email in both HTML and non-HTML format.

In HTML format, the line that separates the link to the Add Note and Cancel Ticket action links no longer exists, i.e., there is no space between Add Note  Cancel Ticket, it now looks like Add Note Cancel Ticket , but as long as you hover over the right characters it will give you the correct action link.

In non-HTML format, the work "TICKET" in capital letters is always appearing at the bottom of my Default and Open Ticket Greetings.  It looks like it's a carryover from the top where it has the Ticket # in text format, but below the cancel ticket action link in non-HTML format, you'll see the word TICKET there.  Please go check it out for yourself, unless it's just happening to me, but Solarwinds tech support advised me to upgrade to 12.3, which I did, but the word TICKET is still at the bottom.

I know the above two issue are nits, but my users will take notice and point out they could be confusing.  Thanks.

Level 10

I have posted three separate discussions regarding issues I've experienced since upgrading to 12.3, I hope someone can help me with them.  I put two of them in my response above, but most importantly is I can't synch to LDAP now, the synch buttons are grayed out or disabled and bulk synchronization seems disabled as well.

Level 10

Have you tried deleting/re-creating your LDAP connections? Also, I would contact support.

Level 10

I contacted support and they guided me to re-enable bulk synchronization, and that did the trick.  I guess when you upgrade some of your preferences are not maintained.  Thanks for your reply.

Level 12

Peter, did this ever get fixed?

Level 7

This is somewhat useful, but it would work better if you could sort the tickets in the "My Tickets" view to only show parent tickets or to cascade them where the child tickets can be hidden or expanded. That would make this a lot more useful and also help clean up the clutter when there is a parent ticket with multiple child tickets as well as grouping the tickets together to bypass date sorting.