In xMatters, groups determine how and when people are notified using shift schedules, escalation timelines, and rotations. But what if you don't use complex on-call schedules, or need to notify all members of the group simultaneously?
We're working on rebuilding the entire experience around groups to give customers more flexibility to create groups that directly meet their needs. During our research, we found that a third of groups created in xMatters use the default 24x7 shift with no escalation path—this means that all group members receive every alert targeting the group every time. To make it easier for customers who don't always need on-call schedules, we've added a new group type to xMatters: Broadcast groups.
A simplified experience
With our new group experience, you have the option to choose which type of group to add:
- On-Call Groups - notify members based on shift schedules, escalations, and rotations.
- Broadcast Groups - notify all members at the same time.
For example, a broadcast group could be a group of people who work in a specific location or department. Selecting Broadcast Group allows you to add a name, optional description, members, and group admins.
We've redesigned the overview page for broadcast groups so it's easier to view and manage their details and settings. From this screen you can view the list of group admins, see a breakdown of group members (such as the number of users, groups, dynamic teams, and devices), and see valuable information about the group's services.
The new overview screen allows you to easily update the group's name, description, time zone, status, and if it should use failsafe devices when targeting members. You can also copy the group's people and settings to a new Broadcast or On-Call group by selecting 'Copy Group' from the Options drop down menu.
As broadcast groups are designed to simplify the group experience for straightforward alerting purposes, some on-call features are not available (such as the ability to target specific group members based on a shift schedule, or to move group members in and out of the role of primary recipient for any alerts).
Effective people management
The broadcast group's People tab makes it simple to view and manage the people and teams related to the group. The tab is split into three sections: Members, Group Admins, and Observers.
Members are notified when the group is targeted; you can add users, devices, other broadcast groups, dynamic teams, and devices as members to broadcast groups.
The group's members are displayed in a new table view to make it easy to see, find, and sort by specific details (such as name, status, site, and last login).
Group admins (formerly known as Supervisors, which was pretty confusing) can edit group members and settings, add and remove people, target the group as a recipient, and delete the group, but they aren't notified as part of the group unless you add them to the members list.
Instead of being listed on the Overview page, as they are in the current user interface, admins for broadcast groups are managed as part of the People tab. Admins are listed in a new table view, and can be sorted by specific details such as status, site, and last login.
Observers are the roles that have permission to see the group when searching for recipients, and to target it for notification. Similar to members and group admins, observers are now managed on the People tab.
Manage group types
If you use multiple group types, you can easily identify these using the new 'Type' column in the Groups list.
You can also use the new filter options to quickly find and sort groups with the Broadcast or On-Call group type.
Note: As broadcast groups don't contain shifts, the Schedule column displays "Not Applicable".
The future of xMatters groups
If you're wondering when you can get your hands on this exiting new feature, we plan to release broadcast groups on the following dates:
- Early Access Program (non-production): Now!
- Production: Pole Position Quarterly Release (June/July)
The new broadcast group type is only the start of our long term plan for groups. We're already working on additional features to enhance our new group overview screen, so make sure to follow our Development Highlights & Support Notes for the most up-to-date information on our latest releases!
You can now copy the people and settings of a broadcast group to a new group by selecting Copy Group from the Options drop down menu.
To be consistent with the new Group Admins terminology, should we also rename the column header "Supervised By"?
Thanks for bringing this up! We're still evaluating where and how this language needs to be updated, so as to avoid confusion we're retaining the same filter labels for now.
Hello @Emily Sailt, per your first comment, I should have the ability to "copy the people and settings of a broadcast group to a new group by selecting Copy Group from the Options drop down menu".
Is there a possibility to convert or copy the people and settings of an On-Call group to a Broadcast group?
For all of us that had already created on-call groups but are only using them as Broadcast group, having the ability to convert those would have been HUGE, especially since we already have permissions and other automation assigned to those.
Thanks for the inquiry @Alejandro.
We have just introduced this functionality as part of the new Broadcast groups for now. We’re still working on updating OnCall groups and related functionality. However this new feature is a more complex problem to solve for OnCall groups because of the different scheduling features. We need to consider the implications and behaviours of copying an OnCall group with all of the possible scheduling configurations along with the target group type.
Having said that, it would be great to connect with our PM team to talk about this feature with you.
If you have an IT communication message form with a response of "stop notifying target" - would this terminate the page for the entire broadcast group?
Good question @John.
In this regard, Broadcast groups behave or function in the same way as OnCall groups. If a user is notified as part of a broadcast group, and they respond with the "stop notifying target", it should stop notifying the user AND any other members of the same group.
The answer is slightly more complicated depending on how you have your groups configured. For reference, response actions are described here: https://help.xmatters.com/ondemand/workflows/formdetailsresponsesoptions.htm?cshid=ResponseActions#UnderstandActions
Read through the Response action examples section. It does a great job explaining the behaviours based on different group configurations.