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October 2008, Issue 3, Volume 10

New Generation Software

Looking Towards the Future of Development / TOPdesk on Tour Report / SaaS Security / TOPdesk on the Go / Trends

New software
If you want to start using a new piece of software, you most likely find yourself a CD and click setup.exe. You wait for a bit, restart your computer and youre ready to go. This is, however, only one of the possibilities. In the past few years, other ways of using software have presented themselves.

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TOPdesk Magazine, a service management platform, discusses subjects that are topical in the world of professional service desks in IT, facilities and other service providing organizations. TOPdesk Magazine is intended for managers, service desks employees, facilities organizations and electronic city councils - anyone who is involved with supporting customers on a daily basis. This concerns both the processes and the technology behind these services.

For instance, you do not always have to locally install software to be able to use it. In some cases, the application is installed on a central server in the organization and is then accessible from your PC, laptop or PDA. Its web-based software, and all you need in order to work with it is a browser and login data. In addition, the amount of online software and number of SaaS services are growing. With SaaS, you not only outsource the installation of the software, but also its maintenance.

This relatively new form of software influences the way in which software is developed and marketed. Functionalities that are common in a windows environment turn out to be difficult to programme in a web interface. One example of this is the right-click menu. Security also plays a big role, especially for SaaS services. If you entrust your confidential information to a third party, it is all the more important that these data are secure.

TOPdesk Magazine is a TOPdesk publication tel: +31 15 270 09 00 email: Editorial board Amanda Dirkse, Niek Steenhuis Editors Martin Beijering, Carrie Brandt, Rianne van Dijk, Fred Epe, Miriam de Hoogh, Johanna Kirn, Henrieke Korten Translators Carrie Brandt, Clare Donald, Fred Epe, Niek Steenhuis Lay-out Cathy van den Berg, Louise van der Laak Website Erik Pols, Glen Young This magazine is printed on FSC-certified paper, using an eco press with cadmium-free ink for all colours and distilled water instead of alcohol.

This edition of TOPdesk Magazine explores the possibilities, challenges and risks associated with the new generation of software. What should you look for when choosing a SaaS provider? What is the latest in the world of SOA? In addition, we reveal how the development department at TOPdesk combines the possibilities of web-based software with the functionalities of a windows interface and how they use mangos to make it all happen.

Enjoy! Niek Steenhuis

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Contents October 08
4 News


6 Looking Towards the Future of Development 10 TOPdesk on Tour 13 TOPdesk on the Go: PDA Module and Barcode Scanner 14 SaaS Security 16 Service Management for Citizen Support 18 Trends: Cuil Developments in Software


20 Tips + Tricks

TOPdesk Consultancy clients are officially satisfied customers
Research from the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands has revealed that the majority of TOPdesk clients are satisfied to very satisfied with their experiences with TOPdesk Consultancy. The combination of quality, reliability and expertise demonstrated by TOPdesk consultants prompted this positive evaluation. The researchers surveyed 250 clients of TOPdesk Consultancy. Consultancy services focus on improving service management processes and implementing the TOPdesk application. This is a big compliment for our Consultancy department, comments Sander Jerphanion, Head of Services at TOPdesk. We think it is important that a consultant not just implements a technical tool, but assists the client in optimizing his or her work processes in a no-nonsense manner. It is great to see that the client recognizes and appreciates this.

TOPdesk expands services package

TOPdesk plays a critical role in the business processes of an increasing number of organizations; therefore, it is of utmost importance to guarantee the continuity of the software. In reponse to this, TOPdesk has extended its services package with the following services: Emergency support; Onsite Application management; Extended help desk opening times (per week). If you would like more information on these services, please contact TOPdesk UK on +44 20 8846 8516 or at info@ or TOPdesk Deutschland on +49 631 624 00-0 or at

Upcoming Shows
This year, the IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) event will take place from Monday 10 November to Wednesday 12 November at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole, in the United Kingdom. This three-day event offers a wide variety of service management knowledge to suit all levels. Titled Driving Real Value, this years programme will be jam-packed with seminars, workshops and interactive sessions. TOPdesk will be exhibiting on all three days at stand P12. Drop by to make acquaintance or get answers to all those questions youve been dying to ask. For more information on the show, please visit http://www. or email a member of staff from TOPdesk UK at From Tuesday 21 to Friday 24 October, TOPdesk will be attending the Systems fair the leading Business-toBusiness trade show for IT, Media and Communications at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre in Munich, Germany. This years motto is Ideas for better business, and exhibitors will be attending from across Europe as well as further afield. Five staff members will be representing TOPdesk at the fair on all four days. Visit us at stand 530 in hall A2 with all your queries or just to say hello. For more information on the fair, please visit: or email a member of staff from TOPdesk Deutschland at


TOPdesk employee joins SaaS expert panel at Computable magazine

Xander Orth, Account Manager and Press Officer at TOPdesk, has joined the SaaS expert panel at Computable magazine. The creation of a SaaS expert panel stemmed from the desire to pioneer a new SaaS discussion. Although this service is gaining popularity across Europe, there are still many questions on the subject. What exactly does SaaS involve? Is it really safe? What does the future hold for SaaS? By publishing articles and responses thereto, the SaaS expert panel is fuelling the SaaS discussion and attempting to find answers to these questions. In 2007, Xander Orth, on behalf of TOPdesk, conducted research into the need for a SaaS service management tool in SMEs (small and medium enterprises). His research revealed that SMEs are not yet entirely sold on the SaaS idea. While most SMEs view SaaS in a positive light, they are reluctant to actually purchase a SaaS service. As an Account Manager, Orth currently plays an advising role in the marketing strategy of the SaaS product from TOPdesk: TOPdesk as a Service.

Column: Facilities
In a short time, TOPdesk has grown from being just an IT service provider to a major player in the facilities market. Entering into the facilities market from IT may seem like an illogical step, and many clients have asked us how and why we have done so. Account Manager Martin Beijering explains why for TOPdesk, it was a very logical step. TOPdesk has been established on the facilities market for a long time. The processes involved in providing IT and facilities services are, for the most part, the same; therefore, TOPdesk can also be an excellent tool for facilities. Development and sales progressed rapidly in 2006 and, consequently, a separate Facilities sales team was created. This enabled us to gather our facilities knowledge and experiences into one place, and provided TOPdesk employees who have an interest in facilities management with an opportunity to focus on the facilities sector. For instance, I have an architectural background from the Technical University in Delft and have always been interested in facilities management and the construction industry: as a researcher for Rabobank, as a freelance designer and as an assistant project leader in Cambodia. Joining the Facilities team was therefore an ideal way for me to apply the things that I have learnt. The Facilities team also has many benefits for clients: our specialized knowledge helps us to better address client concerns. There is a growing demand among clients for one application that can be used in multiple departments, in order to ensure a clear and simple way of working and providing information. To make that a reality for our clients, we work closely with the Facilities team of TOPdesk consultants and the developers. From product design to implementation, we do our best to serve the facilities sector. And it works. TOPdesk is not just seen as being good enough for facilities, but as a complete service management package that is widely applicable. At a recent help desk show, we spoke with a client about TOPdesks facilities possibilities. Afterwards he asked us, And can we also support our IT department with TOPdesk? Well, that is a sign that were doing a good job. Martin Beijering is an Account Manager for the Facilities team at TOPdesk.

TOPdesk employee takes home Olympic gold

At the Olympic Games in Beijing, Manon van Rooijen, a TOPdesk help desk employee, won a gold medal with her swimming relay team. She and her team beat the United States and Australia, who won silver and bronze consecutively, in the Womens 4x100m Freestyle Relay. With a time of 3:33.76, the Dutch girls beat the Olympic record. During the 4 x 100 metre freestyle heat, Van Rooijen swam with her team to place themselves in the final.

Upcoming Shows
8 - 10 October 21 - 24 October 27 - 28 October 10 - 12 November 12 - 13 November 14 - 17 January 4 - 5 Feburary HIT@HealthCare Systems ITSMF Jaarcongres ITSMF Conference Tooling Event BETT Show Legal IT Forum Brussels, Belgium Munich, Germany Nijkerk, Netherlands Birmingham, UK Utrecht, Netherlands London, UK To be announced


Looking Towards the Future of Development

How far has 15 years of development brought TOPdesk software? How is TOPdesk involved in developing software geared towards the future? We spoke to Roel Spilker, one of the senior software developers at TOPdesk, to find out. His job is to research the technical possibilities of TOPdesk and keep up to date with market trends. He and his colleagues are responsible for planning the next steps in the development of TOPdesk software.

Roel: To answer your first question: after 15 years of software development, we have landed in the fourth generation of TOPdesk software an extensive web application with a very advanced and user-friendly interface.

The development of the TOPdesk web interface

Since 1999, a web interface has been available for the windows applications of TOPdesk Operational 2, TOPdesk Professional 3 and lite. During this period, internet use in the business world increased rapidly, turning

the ease of a self service desk into a desirable step in the direction of attaining better service management. In 2005, TOPdesk Enterprise 4, the first TOPdesk version to be entirely web-based, was released on the market. The product was released as our flagship, for those clients who


wished to work with an MS SQL or Oracle database and in particular need to be able to support a large numbers of callers.

always remained a top priority. We want everyone to be able to work with TOPdesk software, without having to install additional

However, we did not want that to be an excuse for a poor interface. We have therefore paid a lot of attention to the design of the

User-friendliness has always remained a top priority.

Roel: In 1999, the step towards an entirely web-based application was still a very distant dream for TOPdesk; however, we certainly had the future in mind when developing the software. There were many extra requirements, ideas and dreams for the development of the next generation of software, the webbased application TOPdesk 4. User-friendliness, however, has programmes or be confronted with unnecessary costs. Thats what we mean by service management simplified. The development of TOPdesk 4 then also involved a significant investment in time for research and development. Many functionalities that are typical of a traditional windows environment were not available in a standard web application for a long time. interface. And although we are continually working on the improvement of the interface and from a technical point of view there is still a lot more possible we are very satisfied with the result. Roel: Alongside user-friendliness, the idea of the standard application is of great importance for our development strategy. We believe that the same problems are evident

A Person card in TOPdesk Enterprise 4.0.9 (left) and 4.1 (right). In the 4.1 version, an entire module with cards that were made with Mango was available for the first time. All cards in the Supporting files module (Person, User, Operator, etc.) have been ported to Mango. Cards in Mango function more dynamically, bringing many advantages: When browsing through cards, the card itself does not refresh, only the values in the card do. This means that cards can load more quickly and the image on the screen is easier on the eye. You can edit an open card directly; you dont need to first click the Edit button in order to change details on a card. When filling in a card, it is immediately obvious which fields are mandatory or contain an invalid value. These fields will turn red in a Mango card.


in many business processes and that by developing one good application numerous companies can optimize their service processes. This in turn makes TOPdesk software a very affordable or possibly even cheap application. We can guarantee our clients that the software is stable and functions as it should. Finally, we can release updates on a regular basis meaning

disadvantage extends from this because the chance that a developer makes an error in the code with these various dialects is much greater than when he or she can focus entirely on one programming language. These factors combined were the reason why we decided to begin developing Mango four years ago.

keeping close track of the newest developments in the world of web browsers and web applications. Roel: Increasingly, frameworks are being introduced, which enable us to incorporate deluxe functions in browsers such as Flash, Flex, Air, Google web toolkit and Google Gears. These allow you to submit more than just links and forms; you can adjust tabs,

A web application should not be an excuse for a poor interface.

that our clients will always have the newest functionalities and technical improvements. After a long period, during which we had to develop the framework ourselves, weve reached the point where we can create new and existing cards in Mango. Mango not only eliminates the disadvantages for our developers, but helps us to deliver solid and reliable software to the client. Our developers programme all cards in Mango in the same way. In small and quick steps, we deliver modules and functionalities so that the client can directly profit from the improvements and will receive a much more dynamic application. One significant improvement is, for example, the ability to validate fields in cards in less time. In the past, the user had to save the card in order to check whether all fields had been filled in correctly. When entering data in a Mango card you can immediately see which data are still missing or are incorrect, without having to first save the card. This enables people to work much faster. right-click menus and pages by entering different values. Such developments in the area of web applications are also often referred to as Rich Internet Applications (RIA). TOPdesk Enterprise has been able to do this for years now, but not until recently was it known as RIA. Another trend is Prism, which is a spin-off of Firefox. Roel: Prism enables you to use a web application when not online. The recently released Google browser, Chrome, works along the same lines. As a result the application that you use within these browsers resembles more closely a windows application than a web application, whereby users dont become confused by the possibilities and impracticalities of web browsers. Nowadays, much more is possible within web applications than a few years ago. Many users do not expect, for example, that useful right-click menus are available and will therefore not use them intuitively. This is a real shame and goes at the expense of the userfriendliness of an application. It is

TOPdesk and Mango

For several years now, TOPdesks development team has been working on its own framework, Mango, in which to build TOPdesk software. Roel: We made this decision with the future in mind it didnt simply appear out of the blue. We were involved with a number of problems and had many ambitions, which could not be resolved or achieved with the working procedures that we had at the time. Web browsers were the main problem as every browser interprets and displays HTML differently. What is considered necessary code in one browser cannot be read in another. Nowadays, everything can be programmed; however, this has two very significant disadvantages. First, developers need to spend a large amount of time learning the dialects of browsers, which also slows down the development of the software. The second

Web browsers and web applications

The development department is


interesting for us to experiment with these sorts of tools because we can then capitalize on the intuitive expectations of the user.

The future
The most important objective for TOPdesk is to improve the support of service processes for organizations increasingly with our software. Mango has now laid the foundations on which we will continue to build our software. The challenge of software development in the Netherlands is not always in the technology itself but also in finding suitable developers. Roel: We are very careful when selecting new colleagues. The inflow of new developers is limited; however, that is most likely not the result of the work atmosphere. A survey

of companies in the Netherlands in 2007 by Intermediair Magazine revealed that TOPdesk is an excellent employer, and we even achieved the highest score for the category: enjoyment at work. However, many other Dutch organizations also seem to be having trouble finding suitable developers. Roel: Although we are primarily involved in expanding our team in Delft, we are also looking towards developers from other countries. The internationalization of TOPdesk is enabling us to set up development teams abroad. On the German market, for example, an increasing number of qualified developers are looking for a job. In our German office in Kaiserslautern, a development team of eight has been hard at work for the last year.

The expansion of the development team is certainly helping us to attain results. Alongside this, we are also looking towards Central Europe. So, what else can we expect from the technology in the future? Roel: In the coming years there will be more than enough opportunities to make the web applications even more advanced and we will try to take full advantage of these. However, there may come a time when web browsers are no longer adequate for the requirements that are set for applications. If and when that time comes, we will, thanks to Mango, be able to develop cards for either native windows or traditional non web applications.


TOPdesk on Tour
Meeting Customers throughout the Netherlands
From 27 May to 19 June, TOPdesk travelled throughout the Netherlands with TOPdesk on Tour. Approximately 450 customers and visitors attended one of the afternoon sessions, and 75 people visited the facilities-themed TOPdesk on Tour in Amersfoort, making this the most popular day of the tour. In contrast to the first TOPdesk on Tour, there was also a special day in Rotterdam, which included presentations from external experts.

Co-organizer Kirsten Crown explains the origin of the TOPdesk on Tour idea: In 2006, we organized a symposium in Rotterdam. Days like these give us the opportunity to show new functionalities and the benefit they can be to our customers. We want to organize a symposium every eighteen months, but in 2007 we chose a different

approach. Although the symposium was rather large-scale, we wanted to operate at a more regional level. TOPdesk on Tour was the ideal solution. 250 people attended the first TOPdesk on Tour, which was spread over several days. Kirsten: Because of the success in 2007, TOPdesk on Tour was organized for a second time.

However, we went about a few things differently than before. For instance, every day was given a theme and we also organized an exclusive day with guest speakers. TOPdesk employees presented the latest trends in the field of service and facilities management and explained the implications of these for businesses. Each speaker also presented examples


Kirsten Crown opens TOPdesk on Tour in Haarlem

on how TOPdesk can be used to achieve these. Presentations on ITIL3, Configuration management and practical experience from customers were the most wellreceived. All presentations can be found on the TOPdesk Extranet. The presentation TOPdesk in practice discussed two customer cases. Sabrina de Baets of NIBC Bank explained the importance of Change management and its set-up in TOPdesk. In 2006, after a negative outcome of an audit on the use of Change management, she made every effort to better organize and utilize the module. During her presentation, she gave an account of the success of her efforts. In addition, Evert de Rijke of the District Water Board explained how knowledge is secured using the Knowledge base in TOPdesk. He described how the

Knowledge base is set-up and how the procedures have been drawn up. Kirsten: This year we introduced a special TOPdesk on Tour day, which included nine presentations from guest speakers within the four themes: Business IT Alignment, Compliancy, Management sourcing and Organizational design of the service. One of the most valued presentations was from Glenn Timmins of Smurfit Kappa Group. Under the theme Compliancy he explained how Change management has helped his organization to comply with the strict requirements of the Sarbanes Oxley Act. Using very clear examples, he shared a number of useful experiences with the audience.

Another popular presentation concerned Management sourcing. Frank Willems of Twijnstra Gudde explained the changing role of the IT organization and how a change approach helps to control management sourcing. Kirsten: The exclusive day was a first and I am very pleased with the outcome. The speakers were definitely the crme de la crme of their field and discussed very important themes. The subjects were unrelated to TOPdesk, so for us it was also a surprise as to how it would turn out. The days concluded with network groups. These discussion groups offered visitors the opportunity to exchange ideas on the theme of the day and share experiences from the field. Kirsten: We deliberately chose not to assign themes or participants to a group.


TOPdesk Consultant Ard van Spelde discusses Enterprise with two visitors during TOPdesk on Tour

However, the survey that was sent to all visitors revealed that some customers did feel the need to sit down with clients from similar organizations. Therefore we will look into other organizational possibilities at the next TOPdesk on Tour.

of TOPdesk. This was not the case, however. The Enterprise version is our finest product and allows us to show the latest developments and possibilities. Professional is still very important to us, but it is simply less suitable for presentations on the latest trends.

to grow even more. Its a great opportunity for us to inform our customers of new possibilities and tips for their modules. And for us it is a good way of getting to know our customers and their needs.

The exclusive day was a first and I am very pleased with its outcome.
Individual discussions with clients also provided input. Kirsten: I have spoken to a number of customers whose companies use Professional and they expected that most of the presentations would be regarding this version Next year, Kirsten and her colleagues will organize another symposium, followed by a TOPdesk on Tour in 2010. Kirsten: Just like this year, we will assign themes to each day as this worked out very well. I expect the TOPdesk on Tour


TOPdesk on the Go: PDA Module and Barcode Scanner

The days of being tied to your office so that you can access software on your computer are over. The new generation of software is providing us with increasingly more ways to mobilize ourselves. These days, you can access most software from just about anywhere in the world via your laptop, PDA or mobile phone. TOPdesk is certainly no exception.

on the go with mobile software will save them time and enable them to focus on other tasks. This will increase the efficiency of your service desk. Mobile software is also the ideal solution for managers who travel frequently, but still want to monitor the activities of their employees. The TOPdesk PDA module enables your employees to register calls wirelessly while on location. The incident is entered immediately into the TOPdesk database, thereby keeping the database completely up to date for all service desk employees. You can also use the PDA module to view configuration items. And to make it easier for your field technicians to quickly scan configuration data on location, TOPdesks barcode scanner solution is very handy. The barcode solution allows employees to scan various objects, locations and assets in your organization using barcode scanners. The data can then be entered into TOPdesk and analyzed further in the form of

reports. You can also create and print barcode labels with TOPdesk. Like the PDA module, the barcode solution is an ideal way to increase the efficiency of your department, thereby saving your organization valuable time and money.

Despite their job title, many service desk employees do not necessarily sit behind a desk all day. Their work often requires them to visit clients on location. And this is certainly the case for field technicians. Without mobile access to their service desk applications, employees have to do double the work: they first need to manually record all necessary information while on location, and then again in the actual application once they have returned to their computers. Providing employees


SaaS Security: Criteria for Selecting a Provider

SaaS Software as a Service is a growing offshoot in the world of web applications. This form of service, in which software is, in a sense, leased out, means that clients do not only entrust their application to external parties, but also their data. It is therefore necessary to choose a supplier that is trustworthy and reliable. How, then, do you make an informed decision when selecting a SaaS provider?

In order to develop a clear picture of a provider and to make a well-considered choice, we have divided the criteria into three categories: the integrity of the provider, the security of the data and the availability of the service as guaranteed by the provider. Crucial business data belong in trustworthy hands. In any case, these data should not end up just anywhere. Not only does the method of handling sensitive information need to be taken into consideration, but also the continuity of the SaaS service. The continuity is determined by the future outlook of the provider. SaaS software is not something you purchase for just a couple of months; you need a business partner that will not go bankrupt in a years time. General information can provide indications of a providers integrity. Aspects to consider include the experience a provider has in the

SaaS arena and its client portfolio preferably one with clients similar to your own organization. Financial information, such as a providers annual returns and its predicted growth as a business can also be of help. Besides a providers integrity, the security measures that a provider follows must also be investigated. The SaaS provider must clarify, in detail, its security strategy to protect data from unauthorized persons as well as in the event of natural disasters. However, the information about these measures must not be publicly accessible, for example, on the internet, in order to prevent it from being misused. Besides the risk of damage to or loss of hardware, there is also a chance that the software is lost due to viruses, malware and other external causes. To reduce the risk of data leakage (the loss of files) as much as possible, back-ups of the data must be frequently made and

stored in different geographical locations. A number of providers employ underground back-up data centres or store back-ups at locations that are hundreds of kilometres apart in order to protect data from natural disasters or other calamities. Legislation regarding data protection must be verified if a provider is located outside of the EU. Regardless of a providers location, the client must remain the owner of the data after the contract expires. In some cases, outsourcing security to experts can become a positive side effect of acquiring a SaaS service, especially for small companies that do not have large automation departments. A suppliers reliability is also largely determined by the availability of the service. As a rule, providers will only guarantee the availability of the software and not a working internet connection. This needs to be taken into account when establishing a service level


agreement (SLA) for availability. In the SLA, it is advisable to strive for availability for 99% of the month, as opposed to 99% of the year, as establishing an SLA based on availability for an entire year could involve a lengthy downtime period, which the provider could then claim as part of the allowed downtime, without exceeding the 1% allowance.

If you take these criteria into account when selecting a SaaS provider, then there are no security or reliability reasons not to purchase SaaS services. You can find additional information about SaaS in general in the SaaS edition of TOPdesk Magazine (October 2007) at:

TOPdesk also provides a SaaS service: TOPdesk as a Service. At TOPdesk, we are thoroughly aware of the risks associated with an online application and for this reason have invested a lot of time and energy into ensuring that TOPdesk as a Service is as secure as possible. We use SSL certification, which is also used by banks for internet banking, to ensure data integrity, encryption and authentication. The Dell servers are also continuously creating back-ups. Should something happen to the productivity of one environment, then a back-up system will immediately take over. Finally, the data centres also support the security of SaaS services. These centres are located in Haarlem, the Netherlands (Evoswitch) and Schiphol-Rijk, the Netherlands (Easynet). By investing in the latest fire safety, cooling and anti-theft technologies, we have taken every precaution to ensure that TOPdesk as a Service is as safe and secure as possible. You can find more information at


Service Management for Citizen Support

To improve customer service, many governmental agencies are looking to digitalize their services and procedures. TOPdesk consultants have noticed this trend as a result of the growing number of government agencies that are using TOPdesk software to support their citizens. While the desire to digitalize citizen support services exists, the reality is that many are resistant to the change. Communication problems, a plethora of information sources and a paper-dependent corporate culture ensure that the implementation of a digital tool does not always produce the desired results.

Lack of communication
Communication within governmental organizations is a complex process. Due to the large diversity of incoming calls, many different departments are needed to process the calls proficiently. For example, an application for a passport requires different expertise than does a complaint about a fallen tree. Each department is specialized and has, therefore, a distinct set of rules and communication procedures. Some departments receive requests and comments by telephone, while others deal with letters. Furthermore, the various departments are often separated physically from each other. All these different aspects mean that

effective communication between departments is vital. TOPdesk consultants have noticed that internal communication within governmental organizations is often lacking or ineffective. This in turn leads to a situation where departments become isolated from one another and employees are not kept up to date on what is happening in other departments. One TOPdesk consultant came face to face with an example of this situation at a local council. After TOPdesk had been implemented in the Citizen Affairs department, it came to light that the software had already been installed within the same local council. The Environmental Management

department, to which most Citizen Affairs calls are forwarded, was using the same application with a nearly identical set-up. All calls were being recorded and processed twice in different versions of the same system. Call resolution therefore took longer than was necessary and both the status and the person responsible for the call in the other department were unclear.

Information sources
Besides communication issues, the multitude of information sources creates a challenge. Detailed information is needed for the registration and processing of incoming calls. Citizens must be identified by name, while


addresses need to be complete and spelt correctly. Furthermore, information about citizen records, applications, procedures and policies is required. This information is often classified within different systems. A change must therefore be carried through multiple times, which certainly does not add to an organizations overall efficiency.

optimally and the digitalization will not save anyone any time. A wide variety of local councils have already employed TOPdesk to keep track of their calls. Upon closer inspection, the calls appear to be neatly entered in the application, but are often still printed out. When calls are transferred to other colleagues, it does not always happen in TOPdesk; the calls are instead printed out and placed on the relevant colleagues desk.

Post-it notes
The largest barrier to digitalization is perhaps the current corporate culture within governmental organizations. The paper culture that still exists in many local councils is striking: a large portion of work procedures are dealt with on paper. Calls are registered on notepads, many colleagues use post-it notes to communicate and booking locations is done in writing. Involving IT in relatively simple processes is considered inefficient and unnecessary.

Playing catch-up
Many governmental organizations are currently playing catch-up in the digitalization arena. The problems that they run into can often be solved with IT tools. Registering calls in a centralized system, to which multiple departments have access, will improve communication between departments. The various information sources can be linked

service restructuring process. The local council has been set up with a front office, a back office and a fieldwork office. The calls first arrive at the reception (front office), where they are categorized and sent to the correct department. The department secretary (back office) assigns the call to the correct operator, who resolves the call or sends it to a field technician (fieldwork office). The field technicians receive a work note or an automatic text message when a new incident is logged. Everyone, except for the field technicians, works in TOPdesk; the communication related to logging and processing calls is, for the most part, digital. Since every department works with the same application, it is clear to everyone who is handling a call and what the status is. The entire process has been clarified, and the communication between the departments of the local council now proceeds smoother than ever.

Calls are registered on notepads, colleagues use post-its to communicatie.

A culture like this can hinder the digitalization process. Not only may there be resistance to the introduction of IT tools, but using new systems can prove to be challenging for some. Using IT demands a new mindset; if the mindset is not adjusted, then the application will not be used together, so that changes can be introduced and monitored in one place. And while there is still talk of the beloved piece of paper, e-culture is steadily on the rise. One of the local councils that implemented TOPdesk has involved the software in their entire TOPdesk plays a large role in the rising trend of the digitalization of citizen support. Many local councils already use TOPdesk Professional for Citizen Support. Moreover, TOPdesk Enterprise 4.2 is currently being adapted to the various needs of Citizen Support organizations.


Cuil Developments in Software
Needless to say, innovation in software has fuelled profound changes in the way we live our lives and go about conducting business. Current and future software trends will undoubtedly continue to do so. What, then, are the latest software trends, and what can we expect from the newest generation of software? This article explores current developments in SOA, Cuil, SaaS and more.

Service-oriented architecture, or SOA, has received a lot of attention in the past few years. SOA is an architectural concept that promises to go beyond linking and import/export capabilities by bridging the gap between various software applications and thereby providing consumers with better, more advanced services. The possibilities of such software integrations are endless. Many recent SOA success stories have involved Google Earth. For instance, Flickr, the popular online photo sharing application, has been integrated with Google Earth, enabling you to view the location of a photo. Likewise, Earthify is a new application that has integrated housing ads from Craigslist, a popular online community in the US, with Google Earth so that users can see the exact locations of homes on the market. However, many software engineers hope to take SOA much further in the years to come. They

envision a future in which our lives are transformed by SOA: for example, by web services that communicate with each other as well as with various electronic devices via radio-frequency identification (RFID). Still, others ask why progress on the SOA front has been so slow. SOA may be suffering a similar fate to renewable energy: the technology is certainly available, but for social, political and economical reasons it has not been implemented often. The causes behind the so far lacklustre progress of SOA are difficult to pinpoint. Some critics point to conflicting technological approaches and even a lack of consensus on a proper definition of SOA. Others assert that it is a people problem, involving poor management plans and resistance to change. Whatever the cause may be, a recent study by AMR Research showed that SOA growth doubled in 2007 and will be used in more than 80 percent of large

business applications by 2010. It seems the SOA trend has only just begun. Another thing to look out for in the coming weeks and months is Cuil (pronounced cool). This so-called Google rival, created by former Google employees, boasts a search index that spans 120 billion pages a number that is supposedly three times that of its rival. Is bigger really better though? Plagued by crashes due to overwhelming traffic, its 28 July launch was certainly less than spectacular. So far, users have been largely unimpressed by Cuils seemingly random, irrelevant search results. Although Cuils method of sorting search results into idea categories, coupled with its complete user privacy claim do indeed have potential, its final fate has yet to be determined. As far as the service management software world is concerned, SaaS applications are continuing


to grow in popularity. The benefits of SaaS applications are certainly attractive; maintenance and upgrades are included, no installation is required, the application is accessible worldwide and payment is on a monthly basis as opposed to a large initial investment. However, questions have been raised about the security of SaaS, of which you can read more about in SaaS Security: Criteria for Selecting a Provider in this edition of TOPdesk Magazine. Regardless, Saugatuck Technology researchers

estimate that, by 2012, at least 70 percent of businesses with more than 100 employees will use at least one SaaS application. The service management industry can certainly expect to see more and more demand for SaaS applications in their software. To end on a lighter (or darker?) note, some scientists are now predicting that human and artificial intelligence will merge to form a sort of super being that is radically smarter than the average present-day Homo

sapiens. For example, Dr. Ray Kurzweil, a well-known futurist and inventor, predicts that by the 2030s humans will have become essentially non-biological creatures that can upload their minds onto the internet, live in various virtual worlds and even avoid aging and death. If Dr. Kurzweil is correct, and the new generation of software helps us to achieve such feats, then there will be a quite a few more Trends worth discussing in the future


tips + tricks
Sorting overviews
Version: Enterprise 4 & Professional 4 You can sort lists in overviews by clicking at the top of columns. Most users already know this; however, you can take this sorting a step further. Imagine, for example, that you want to sort incidents; firstly, according to the clients site and then within each site, according to the caller. This can be done as follows: First click at the top of the Caller column. The overview will now be sorted according to the caller; Then click on the top of the Site column. The overview will now be sorted firstly by site, and secondly by caller. The incidents will now be grouped alphabetically according to site. Within each site group, the incidents will be listed alphabetically according to the name of the caller. This is one way to adjust the layout of your overviews to your own preferences. You can also, for example, sort incidents according to the type of call, and within that group, according to status. You will then be able to see all requests, malfunctions and user queries grouped separately, with each group being sorted by status.

Quickly edit multiple cards

Version: Enterprise 4 & Professional 4 On some occasions, you may wish to be able to adjust several cards at once. For example, if a large delivery of laptops has arrived, you would need to update the CMDB by adding serial numbers to the hardware cards. To speed up the process and save a few clicks, you can do the following: Open an overview of the cards that you want to adjust; Open the first card by holding down the CTRL key and double-clicking on the card; the card will open in an editable mode; Change the necessary data; Instead of saving, go directly to the next card; TOPdesk will ask you if you want to save the card. Click on Yes or press Enter; The next card will open immediately in the editable mode, so that you can quickly move on. This trick can be used in many different situations. You can add a new email address to a series of Person cards, for example. Or, if you have purchased a new module such as Change management, you can add the Change manager role to a series of Operator cards. As of TOPdesk version 4.1, many cards are being created in Mango, the framework developed by TOPdesk. These cards open in the editable mode by default, enabling you to work faster. In the long run, the intention is to create all TOPdesk cards in Mango; until then, you can use this trick to save time.

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Copyright 2008 TOPdesk UK Limited. Although this magazine has been produced with the utmost care and attention, the writers cannot be held responsible in any way for any damages that may occur due to errors and / or deficiencies in this publication.