Feature Coverage: How to Bring the Help Desk chat in the standalone interface

Social networking has become a habit today and has “made the world a smaller and more enlightened place”. Sharing information between friends, business colleagues, and often strangers across the world has become a commodity no one questions anymore today and we often take it for granted.

What is new is the emerging adoption of social media technology in support of IT operations and service management activities and “done right, Social IT gives IT organizations the power to help people obtain fast and accurate service and knowledge more efficiently”.

In addition, socially enabled support presents IT organizations with the means to better retain knowledge which inevitably leads to enhanced IT productivity and efficiency as well as more satisfied end users.
It’s IT 3.0.

Since the June 2011 release, ServiceNow brought to us a cool new application called Social IT. This new application provides a chat as well as a new communication channel to the Service Desk called the Help Desk Chat (wiki page here)

Out-of-the-box, this feature is only available in the CMS (Content Management System). However, not all customers have a self-service designed using the new CMS,  most of them are using the standalone interface.

The following article explains an approach we’ve used at Fruition Partners to bring the chat in the standalone interface for a customer.

The requirement was “We’d like to use the Help Desk Chat but we don’t want to build a CMS yet. Is it possible?”. I didn’t have much time allocated to create this feature so I opted for a solution that avoided “extreme coding and customization”. After some investigations, I turned back to the customer and offered the following:
Left-hand side module in the “Self-Service” that leads to the Help Desk Chat.
It’s a widget that can be placed in any homepage that leads to the Help Desk Chat as well.
The whole idea behind this is fairly simple. When a user presses the button in a homepage or the module in the left-hand side menu, s/he would be lead to a simple CMS page (almost blank) that automatically loads the chat window when invoked.
Here is the final result:

Left-hand side module:

Help Desk Chat widget:

Please follow these Follow these steps to reproduce:

  • Activate the plugins (CMS and Chat)

The content management is automatically activated in new instances. Chat is now a separate plugin (it was previously part of Social IT).

  • Create the site/pages/dynamic contents in the CMS

The first thing to do is to create the site with the page where the Help Desk Chat opens automatically when invoked. In the context of the CMS, a Help Desk Chat window is open by the following function:

‘cb806f867b2020004bf014aa3f4d4d64’, //Sys ID of the Chat queue
‘Help Desk Chat’ //Name of the queue

I chose to hold those 2 informations (Sys ID and Chat Queue name) in 2 system properties. This way, you don’t need to dig in the code when they need to be changed.

For this first part, my architecture is as follows:
Site: “Help Desk Chat” (url is /help_desk_chat.do)
Page: “Help Desk Chat”
Dynamic Content Section
The Dynamic Content Section is the place that holds the whole code of the page displayed in the first screenshot:
An “onLoad” event function on the body to trigger the Help Desk Chat window when the page is accessed.

A button to reopen the Help Desk Chat window if the first window is closed by the user (so it can be reopened instead of reloading the whole page)
At this point, it should be possible to access a blank page with a button and a chat window opening automatically:

The second last thing to do in the CMS is to create an orphan dynamic content object that will hold the code of the button that can be place in any homepage. I chose to reproduce the same button ServiceNow provides in the CMS out-of-the-box but it can also be something simpler. The action behind the button should be a standard link (href) to the page “help_desk_chat.do”.

Note that this second action can be simply done with a content item.

  • Module and homepage

The last part of this implementation was creating a module in the Self-Service application that leads to the page “help_desk_chat.do” and adds the dynamic content object previously created as a widget in the Self-Service homepage.

You’re done!
You’re welcome.

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