How to Begin Implementing Auto Assignment

This article contains the following topics:
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This article contains the following topics:
Follow these guidelines to begin implementing auto assignment for selected analyst groups and analysts:
  1. Identify one or more areas or categories for which you want to enable auto assignment.
    To review your site area and category configurations, examine the settings in the CA SDM web interface.
  2. By default, auto assignment is disabled. Enable it only for the areas and categories where you want to use it.
  3. Build the relationships between an identified area or category and the analyst groups that can be assigned tickets through that area or category.
  4. Mark individual members of the analyst groups as available.
Areas and Categories
When you configure areas and categories, consider setting default groups and assignees.
To configure the auto assignment of request, incident, and problem tickets, use the following options in the Auto Assignment tab of Request/Incident/Problem Area Detail page:
  • Update Groups
  • Update Locations
  • Update Workshifts
The check box for enabling auto assignment is also on the Auto Assignment tab of each of these pages. It is visible only while the page is in edit mode.
The following pages on the interface provide the same controls for configuring auto assignment of change orders and issues:
  • The Change Category Detail
  • The Issue Category Detail
Analyst Groups
To configure auto assignment you must, at a minimum, define the relationships between analyst groups and areas or categories. Assignees are chosen from groups that meet
all
of your specified auto assignment criteria. If no additional constraints are defined, tickets are auto assigned to the group member with the fewest active tickets.
If no groups are associated with an area or category, the default group and assignee are assigned. If these defaults are not defined, the ticket is left for manual assignment.
You can maintain the relationships between groups and areas or categories on the area or category detail page.
Alternatively, use the following options to maintain the same relationships on the Auto Assignment tab of the Group Detail page:
  • Update Request Areas
  • Update Change Categories
  • Update Issue Categories
  • Update Locations
Analysts
Fields on the Analyst Detail page help determine whether the analyst is eligible for auto assignment.
Analysts are eligible for auto assignment only if they are marked as available.
The Analyst Detail page provides an Available check box that enables auto assignment.
Consider allowing analysts to control their own auto assignment availability. You can monitor analyst availability by using stored queries.
The Available check box is not considered during auto assignment of workflow tasks.
The Work Schedule field allows analysts to have tickets auto-assigned only during their scheduled workshift. Analysts that are marked as available and are without work schedule are eligible for auto assignment at any time. However, no other constraints must result in an ineligible status.
Stored Queries
Two stored queries are provided for monitoring the availability of analysts. The CA SDM managers can add the following queries  to their Scoreboard:
  • Available Analysts
    -- Analysts that are marked as available for auto assignment
  • Unavailable Analysts
    -- Analysts that are marked as unavailable for auto assignment
How to Auto Assign Tickets to a Group and Not to Contacts Within the Group
Auto assignment assigns tickets to contacts that have the Available option selected in the contact record. However, you can auto assign incidents/issues/change orders/requests to a group and not to contacts within the group. The NX_AUTOASG_GROUP_ONLY option controls the auto assignment behavior for groups. You install this option to auto assign the tickets to the group instead of individual contacts. NX_AUTOASG_GROUP_ONLY is not available on the web interface, you install it from the command prompt.
Follow these steps:
  1. Verify that your CA SDM installation is at a minimum level of Release 12.9 Cumulative 2 patch.
  2. Open the command prompt on any CA SDM server.
  3. Run the following command:
    pdm_options_mgr -c -s AUTOASG_GROUP_ONLY -v 1 -a pdm_option.inst
    By default, new options that you add to the nx.env file are not saved after you run pdm_configure. You can save the changes permanently by specifying the -t option as follows:
    pdm_options_mgr -c -s AUTOASG_GROUP_ONLY -v 1 -a pdm_option.inst -t
    The commands update the following files in CA SDM with the new option:
    • Windows -- NX_ROOT/NX.env and NX_ROOT\pdmconf\nx.env.nt.tpl
    • UNIX/Linux -- NX_ROOT/pdmconf/NX.env.tpl
  4. Open the NX.env file in the CA SDM installation folder and search for the variable @NX_AUTOASG_GROUP_ONLY=1. Typically, the variable is found at the end of the file.
  5. Open the file nx.env.nt.tpl present under NX_ROOT/pdmconf and search for the @NX_AUTOASG_GROUP_ONLY=1 option.
  6. Restart the CA SDM Daemon Server service.
    CA SDM auto assigns the tickets to the group only.
Auto Assignment by Location
If your service area is large and it consists of many locations that service different customer communities. You can use location as a factor in your auto assignment configuration as follows:
  • Location Assigned to an Area or Category
    -- If you assign a location to an area or a category, tickets are auto assigned only when a matching location is found. For example, a request ticket is auto assigned if there is an eligible analyst at the following locations:
    1. The affected asset location.
    2. The affected customer location.
    If the affected asset or customer has no specified location, the request is assigned to the default group and assignee. If these defaults are not defined, the request is left for manual assignment. You can use the area or category detail pages to maintain relationships between locations and areas or categories.
  • Location Assigned to a Group
    -- When a location is associated with a group, only members of that group are eligible for auto assignment of tickets. Further, only the tickets that pertain to the location of the member can be assigned. You can use group detail pages to maintain relationships between groups and locations.
To maintain location relationships with areas, categories, or groups, use the following options on the Auto Assignment tab of Location Detail page:
  • Update Request Areas
  • Update Change Categories
  • Update Issue Categories
  • Update Groups
Examples: Use Location in Auto Assignment Configuration
The following are examples of how you can use location in your auto assignment configuration:
  • Auto assign tickets only at a specified location
    -- Tickets from other locations receive the default group and assignee, or are left for manual assignment. For example, you can have many users at your company headquarters, and smaller groups of users at regional offices. An analyst group located at the headquarters services their local users, while mobile analyst groups visit the regional offices. You can configure auto assignment of tickets to the headquarters analysts only, and manually assign tickets to the mobile analysts.
  • Auto assign tickets by user or asset location
    -- You can restrict auto assignment eligibility to analyst groups at locations that match the affected user location, or the affected asset location. For example, your organization can have many offices, but only the groups that are located in a particular office handle tickets for the office. You can relate each group to appropriate areas or categories
    and
    to the appropriate location. The auto assignment logic selects eligible analysts only from groups at the correct location.
Auto Assignment by Workshift
You can constrain auto assignment by relating an area or category to a workshift. The workshift determines the timeframe within which tickets are eligible for auto assignment. Tickets opened outside the workshift are assigned to the default group and analyst, or left for manual assignment.
You can also use workshifts to control group and analyst eligibility for assignment:
  • If you assign a work schedule to a group. Analysts in that group are eligible for auto assignment only to tickets opened during their work schedule.
    The workshift for a group is specified in the Work Schedule field of the Group Detail page.
  • If you assign a work schedule to an individual analyst. The analyst is eligible for auto assignment only to tickets opened during that work schedule.
    The workshift for an analyst is specified in the Work Schedule field of the Analyst Detail page.
When a ticket is created, the group that meets the assignment eligibility criteria is identified. Within the group, the analyst with the fewest active tickets is identified. If an appropriate analyst is not identified, the ticket is assigned to the default group and assignee. If these defaults are not defined, the ticket is left for manual assignment.
For workflow tasks associated with change orders or issues, auto assignment uses a simpler selection strategy. Assignees are selected from the groups that are associated with workflow templates. Workflow task assignees can be of any contact type except group. When a task changes to pending status, the contact that has the fewest change order or issue workflow tasks is selected. To prevent unwanted results, if the parent change order category or issue category is disabled for auto assignment, tasks are not assigned automatically. Workflow tasks may encompass individuals external to service desk. So, relying on them to reflect their availability with the available flag is not recommended.
You can use the area or category detail pages to relate a workshift to an area or category. Or, you can use the following controls on the Workshift Detail page:
  • Update Request Areas
  • Update Change Categories
  • Update Issue Categories
Examples: Use Workshifts in Auto Assignment Configuration
The following examples show how you can use workshifts in your auto assignment configuration:
  • Auto assign tickets to the shift on duty
    -- Suppose that your service desk operates 24 hours per day and you have tickets about network outage problems. You may want to configure auto assignment of such tickets to the shift on duty when the ticket is opened.
  • Allow auto assignment only during a specified shift
    -- You may want to restrict further auto assignment of tickets in some areas or categories. For example, if analysts are on duty only during day shift, you may auto assign application problems only during the day shift.
Configuration Item-Based Auto Assignments
Configuration item-based auto assignment lets you create group-specific assignments that apply to specific scenarios. You can specify that for a particular Request/Incident/Problem area, the value of a configuration item attribute controls the assignment of the ticket.
Configuration item-based and location-based auto assignments are exclusive options because you can select only one algorithm for use. Configuration item-based and location-based auto assignment modes both serve to assign tickets. However, configuration item-based auto assignment is distinct, because it also reassigns tickets after changing  the Request/Incident/Problem Area.
Example: Request/Incident/Problem Area Assigns Tickets to a Group
Suppose that you configure the Network Area to assign configuration item-based auto assignments using the network_contact_uuid attribute as the Assignable CI Attribute value. Tickets that are opened for the Network Area are assigned automatically to the group that is specified for Network Operations in the corresponding CI. If no CI is associated with the ticket, the Network Operations value of the CI is blank, or a group is not specified, the ticket is not assigned. In such cases, the system acts in accordance with the Option Manager option, Area Defaults, and assigns the ticket using the Group and Assignee fields of the Category.
How Configuration Item-Based Auto Assignment Works
Request/Incident/Problem tickets must specify the following for configuration item-based auto assignment to occur:
  • A configuration item and an Area.
  • The Area must have the Auto Assignment option set to Configuration Item Based.
When an analyst creates and assigns a ticket to this Area, or changes the Area on an existing ticket, CA SDM examines the Assignable CI Attribute field of the Area. CA SDM uses the value of Assignable CI Attribute as the name of an attribute and then attempts to find an identically named attribute on the configuration item that is associated with the ticket. If the attribute on the configuration item includes a group, the ticket is assigned to that group.
The following diagram describes the process for configuration item-based auto assignment in more detail:
  1. CA SDM checks for the following:
    1. Is the autoasg_override option set?
    2. Does a ticket specify an Area with its Auto Assignment auto_assign_mode=2?
    3. Does the category specify an assignable CI attribute?
    4. Does the ticket specify a configuration item?
    5. Does the configuration item have an assignable CI attribute value?
    6. Does the value specify a group in the CI attribute?
    7. Is the assignee of the ticket a member of the ticket group?
  2. When the answers are positive for all questions in the previous step, CA SDM sets the group attribute of the ticket to the group attribute of the CI, and logs the assignment in the activity log.
    The diagram shows how Configuration Item-Based Auto Assignment uses the NX_CHECK_ASSIGNEE_IN_AREA_DEFAULTS variable to determine if the Area option is enabled. NX_CHECK_ASSIGNEE_IN_AREA_DEFAULTS is a variable in the NX.env file, which is located in the $NX_ROOT\ directory.
  3. CA SDM assigns the ticket to the group.
Configuration Item - Based Auto Configuration
Configuration Item - Based Auto Configuration
Enable Configuration Item-Based Auto Assignments
Configuration item-based auto assignment lets you create group-specific assignments that apply to specific scenarios. You can specify that for Request/Incident/Problem tickets opened for a particular Area, the value of an attribute of the configuration item associated with the ticket controls its assignment. Configuration item-based auto assignment reassigns tickets whenever the Request/Incident/Problem Area of a ticket or configuration item changes.
The Options Manager autoasg_override option controls the circumstances under which auto assignment takes place. When you set this option to 1, CA SDM ignores any existing assignee and group settings and auto assigns tickets in all cases. If you want CA SDM to auto assign tickets only if they are not already assigned, set the option value to 0.
Follow these steps:
  1. On the Administration tab, browse to Service Desk, Request/Incident/Problems, Areas.
    The Request/Incident/Problem Area List appears.
  2. Click the area to edit.
    The Area Detail page appears.
  3. Click Edit.
    The Update Area page appears.
  4. Select the Auto Assignment tab, and complete the fields as follows:
    • Auto Assignment Mode
      Specifies how auto-assignment occurs. You use the Configuration Item Based option to base the auto assignment on the CI Assignable Attribute value.
    • Assignable CI Attribute
      Specifies the configuration item attribute to use for the group assignment. You can enter a value directly or click the magnifier to search for an attribute.
    Click Save.
    Auto assignment is enabled. CA SDM performs configuration item-based auto assignments using the attribute that you specified in the Assignable CI Attribute field.
Activity Logging
Auto assignment logs information as events in the ticket's activity log. The success or failure of auto assignment is logged, and any anomalies that may have occurred during processing.
Enable Activity Logging for Additional Attributes
Activity logs display changes attribute values of objects. Objects such as all ticket types, classic workflow tasks, Surveys, Contacts, and Configuration Items feature activity logging. You can enable activity logging for additional attributes In WSP.
Note:
You can view activity log simple attributes, including strings, integers, date, duration, and SREL types. You cannot view activity logs for list types, such as QRELs and BRELs.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open WSP and start the Schema Designer.
  2. Select the table that you want to modify, and add additional attributes.
  3. For each attribute, add +AUDITLOG() to the site-defined UI_INFO field.
    When you add the AUDITLOG flag, you
    must
    also remove the val_fieldupdate_site() function to prevent duplicate activity logs.
  4. Save and publish the schema
  5. Open WSP again and add the new attributes to the appropriate detail forms.
  6. Open CA SDM and define an Activity Association for the additional attributes.
  7. Test your changes.
    For example, open a previously-saved instance of the object and modify the affected attributes to verify that the appropriate activity logs appear.
Auto Assignment Tracing
In a complex auto assignment implementation, auto assignment may not make the decisions that were expected. Tracing can be enabled to help you understand the processing flow. Tracing is normally turned off but when turned on, numerous messages are written to the stdlog files in $NX_ROOT\log that describe the various decisions made by auto assignment.
Use caution when implementing this in a high-volume installation, as the number of messages generated could cause the log files to grow and eventually wrap. On very active systems, performance degradation may occur. Tracing is controlled with the pdm_logstat utility. The parameters used by this utility are case-sensitive. Be sure to enter them as shown.
To turn tracing on, run the following command on each CA SDM the server:
pdm_logstat  -f auto.pm milestone
To turn off tracing, run the following command on each CA SDM the server:
pdm_logstat  -f auto.pm