On Aug 22, BMC announced general availability of the new Remedy ITSM 19.08 feature release with new versions of the following solutions components:
- Remedy Platform 19.08 (incl. AR System, CMDB)
- ITSM Applications 19.08 (incl. Service Desk, Change Management, Knowledge Management, Asset Management, Service Request Management, Service Level Management, Virtual Chat, and Smart IT UI)
- Smart Reporting 19.08
- Single Sign-on 19.08
The software for new Remedy ITSM version 19.08 is generally available for download via EPD for on-premise use. For SaaS option, the equivalent BMC Helix ITSM 19.08 release can be requested now from BMC by our SaaS customers.
This set of product / component releases is complemented by releases of BMC Helix Multi-Cloud Service Management 19.08, BMC Helix Cognitive Automation 19.08, BMC Helix Chatbot 19.08, BMC Helix Business Workflows 19.08, BMC Helix Platform 19.08, and BMC Digital Workplace 19.08, which are integrated with Remedy / BMC Helix ITSM to deliver the industry's most comprehensive Cognitive Service Management capabilities.
As with previous feature releases, I'd like to share information about some of the key enhancements of the 19.08 feature release with you and give a bit of context about these enhancements. It is not meant to be a 100% comprehensive list or a detailed discussion of each enhancement, but rather should serve as an overview of the key enhancements and values that have been delivered in this release cycle, and as a launch point to doc pages which provide additional detail. For a complete overview of all enhancements delivered in version 19.08, please review the Remedy ITSM 19.08 Release Notes page. I also recommend that you review the recording of the Connect with BMC Helix ITSM and Remedy - 19.08 Feature Release Webinar from September 18, 2019, to get further insights into the new capabilities of the Remedy 19.08 feature release. The webinar included a live demo of many of the new features mentioned here.
Key Release Themes of 19.08 Feature Release
With this 19.08 release cycle for Remedy / Helix ITSM, BMC is introducing a number of major new User Experience enhancements for various personas, reflecting our continued commitment (and investment) to deliver the industry's best UX for IT Service Management. More and more, cognitive technologies play a part in delivering a great user experience, and we continue to build out cognitive use cases in each release. The UX enhancements are mostly part of Smart IT and the new CMDB UI, but we also introduce a new channel of interaction via MS Teams, and we made some minor improvements in the mid-tier UI.
With version 19.08, BMC is also introducing a number of new operations and administration focused enhancements that help lower the cost of operations of the ITSM environments. For the first time in quite a while, we are adding support for an additional DB platform - PostgreSQL and Amazon Aurora.
ITSM User Experience Enhancements
With version 19.08, BMC is introducing a number of new workspaces in Smart IT and CMDB UI. These "big rocks" have been in work for a while and transition some of the user interactions that were previously only covered in the legacy UI over to the new user experience.
ITSM Change Calendar
Having a new ITSM calendar available in the Smart IT user experience was one of the highest voted ideas in the Remedy ITSM community. With version 19.08, we have finally been able to deliver this. The process to develop a new calendar started quite a while ago, with extensive period of user research. We wanted to make sure we understand the challenges that users see with the legacy calendar in the mid-tier ITSM UI, and address many of those challenges. The new ITSM calendar is seamlessly embedded within the Smart IT user experience, and delivers monthly, weekly, daily view of scheduled change requests, releases, business events and outages. In addition, there's also a list view, which is helpful, if you have to review a long list of change request. Easy filtering options (e.g. by risk or status) allow users to reduced the amount of information visible on one screen. For each change request or release, users can see a high-level summary of the corresponding ITSM object, but they can also drill down into the standard Smart IT profile view for change requests and releases.
Live Chat Workspace
The new live chat workspace in Smart IT is delivering a new user experience for Service Desk agents and other users who are responding to customers' live chat requests. Even with a powerful chatbot solution like BMC Helix Chatbot, live chat capabilities are very important, because chatbots usually do not cover all situations in which a customer may want to engage with the Service Desk, and thus users need to have an option to transition over from a chatbot interaction to a live chat interaction. The design of the new Live Chat workspace picks up many of the design ideas from Smart Recorder. For example, as a SD agent chats with the customer, they see the same 360-degree customer info and they also see contextual information like outages or knowledge articles. Unlike previous versions, it is now also possible to create work orders from live chat interactions, not just incidents, and it is possible to use existing ITSM application templates. By the way, the new live chat interaction - though it shows as fully integrated within the Smart IT UI - is built as re-usable widget, as we plan to offer the same live chat user experience to BMC Helix Business Workflow customers who want to setup a live chat option for HR, Facilities or other non-IT Service Desk interactions.
New Class Manager UI
The most significant enhancement for the new CMDB UI is the new Class Manager. It allows configuration managers and CMDB administrators to browser the hierarchy of classes in the common data model, to view details of the classes and attributes, and to expand the model by adding additional classes and attributes. New new user experience makes it super easy to understand, which attributes of a class are inherited and which ones are defined as part of a specific class. The new class manager UI also is an easy way to review the minor changes in the common data model (CDM) that BMC has made to reflect industry trends in technology.
Cognitive-support collaboration for IT users in MS Teams
BMC has been talking about omni-channel support options for customers for quite a while, and we offer now a long list of channels for interactions with the Service Desk. With the 19.08 release, we are now expanding the omni-channel UX strategy also to IT users. IT users like Service Desk agents can now interact with the Remedy ITSM system from within MS Teams. The idea is similar like ChatOps, where users can trigger operations actions (e.g. a server restart or deploying a new build of the SW) from within a collaboration tool - without having to switch over to a different UI. The same is possible now for ITSM actions - e.g. to update an incident or to review a knowledge article. This is specifically helpful for collaboration scenarios that involved IT users who are usually not logging into the ITSM UI, e.g. developers or technology specialists. The triggering of ITSM actions is supported by BMC Helix Chatbot, which allows to triggers such action not only via formal command, but also via natural language. This is one of the first use cases for the BMC Helix Chatbot outside of customer support. More to come in this area.
These are just the top 4 user experience enhancements of the 19.08 release. Other UX enhancement worthwhile to mention are:
- New self-help system for Smart IT, incl. interactive walkthroughs. This is based on Whatfix technology and the content can be extended by customers (though custom extensions require a Whatfix license)
- Impact Simulation as part of the CMDB Explorer of the new CMDB UI
- Launch-in-context actions for CMDB Explorer of new CMDB UI that can be expanded by customers
- Management of Atrium Integrator Jobs and Datastores in new CMDB UI
- Option to save personal advanced search queries in new CMDB UI
- New login / logout screen for the mid-tier UI option, aligned with the BMC UX standard
- 'Add all fields' button for AR reports
- Various performance improvements (e.g. Asset search via barcode scanning, CI+ field type-ahead interaction, or RLS performance improvements in general)
Lower Cost of Operations and Administration
The second major theme of the 19.08 release is our focus on helping customers reduce operations and administration costs. Whenever we talk about operations costs, it's a good opportunity to remind everyone about our BMC Helix ITSM offering, which enables our customers to leverage the full power of our market-leading ITSM solution without the costs for infrastructure, security processes, operations (archiving, maintenance, ...) and most importantly for upgrades. Still, we know that many of our customers use ITSM via the on-premise SW deployment option, and BMC continues to invest into improvements to operate such on-premise deployment efficiently.
Low-cost Database Options (PostgreSQL and Amazon Aurora)
For the first time in quite a while, BMC is introducing a new database option for on-premise deployments - with PostgreSQL and Amazon Aurora (for deployments in AWS). Running the Remedy platform and the ITSM solution with such a database will help save DB licensing costs for customers.
Outbound REST API Consumption
While it has been possible in earlier versions to invoke external REST APIs from within Remedy workflow, this capability has now been made a lot easier by fully supporting it as part of core product. Developers can now define within Remedy DevStudio when and how to call an external REST API, and how to use the results. Information from the Remedy system can be passed into the workflow and the results can be used in subsequent workflow activity.
Smart Reporting - Real-time User Sync
With the 19.08 release it is now possible to synchronize the Remedy user records in real-time with the Smart Reporting system. This ensures that new users can immediately work with Smart Reporting.
These are just some of the operations / administration-focused enhancements in the 19.08 release. Other platform-focused enhancement worthwhile to mention are:
- Minor updates to the Common Data Model
- Easier integration of custom Asset CI classes with the Inventory system
- Remedy SSO authentication for Dev Studio UI
- Management of shared content in Smart Reporting
- Support for OpenJDK 12, Exchange Server 2016 EWS and a number of other new versions of 3rd-party SW.
(Note: for comprehensive info about compatibility of 19.08 components, please see the Remedy 19.08 compatibility documents).
Other Noteworthy Enhancements
Version 19.08 introduces a few other noteworthy enhancements that i want to mention here:
- BMC continues to build out its cognitive capabilities for the ITSM suite. In the 19.08 release, we expand beyond Service Desk centric use cases (auto-categorization, inbound email analysis) - which have been our focus so far - towards other ITSM processes. In version 19.08, you can use the BMC Helix Cognitive Automation microservice to automatically get cognitive recommendation for risk levels of new change requests and for potential root causes of new problem investigations.
- Expanded Use Case List for BMC Helix Multi-Cloud Service Management: with the 19.08 release it is now possible to integrate with Microsoft Azure Alerts to auto-generate incidents from specific alerts - as defined in the Alerts policies. This ITOM integration is a new use cases, expanding the existing list of use cases like Ticket Brokering, DevOps, and Ticket Consolidation.
As you can see, BMC has introduced a number of enhancements as part of the 19.08 release. It shows our continued focus on the ITSM suite as flagship product of BMC and a continuous investment into the solution to maintain our ITSM market leadership. This market leadership was just recently confirmed by Gartner in the 2019 ITSM Magic Quadrant report, and in the corresponding Gartner ITSM Critical Capabilities 2019 report, where Remedy ITSM / Helix ITSM had a clear #1 position for Advanced-Maturity I&O and Digital Workplace use cases.
I'd like to use this opportunity to thank the entire BMC product team for their hard work on delivering this release in time and with high quality. And I'd to thank everyone who's actively engaged in the BMC Communities. The Remedy community spaces - Remedy ITSM, Remedy AR System and CMDB - are the most active spaces in the BMC Communities, delivering immense value to the entire Remedy customer base and to BMC. Your contributions help to make this such a great place to hang out. Please note that BMC recently introduced a new community space BMC Helix, which focuses specifically on our Service Management solutions delivered as a Service (SaaS).
Special thanks also to the community members who have contributed ideas that we have implemented in this 19.08 release cycle. Looking forward to continue working with you on making sure that Remedy remains the leading ITSM solution and platform in the market.
And last but not least, if you like what we are doing, please send us positive feedback via the new in-app survey mechanism.
Sr. Director, Product Management