Indy (June/July 2020) Release Overview

The information in this article is the intellectual property of xMatters and is intended only for use with xMatters products by xMatters customers and their employees. Further, this intellectual property is proprietary and must not be reused or resold.

The Indy release collectively celebrates all the classic arcade games inspired by the Indianapolis 500. No game truly captures the spirit of an Indy race quite like Indy 800 though, with 8 players gathered around a massive 16 square foot, top-down view cabinet, complete with 2 steering wheels and 4 pedals per side — plus overhead mirrors so spectators can watch and cheer on the race!

In our Indy release, a new Group Performance widget, 'Who was on call' time machine, and usability enhancements for managing users, groups, and dynamic teams support the continuous improvement of your on-call management processes. Other big enhancements to cheer about include simplified installation of integrations, new ChatOps steps and chatbot updates, and a huge leap forward for feature availability on our Android platform.

Before you dive in to learn about all the improvements, here are some important dates:

  • Non-production environment access: Tuesday, June 30
  • Production environment access: Tuesday, July 14 (enabled between 10:00-10:30am Pacific)

Indy Training Webinars

For a guided Indy tour — including tips and tricks — sign up for one of our webinars. 

Future feature release

As a special bonus, we'll also give you a sneak peek at a future enhancement that we'll be releasing soon:

  • Merge step - define a common set of outputs from multiple input flows and reduce duplicated steps.

Our Community shrinks images for convenience but allows you to click on them for a closer look. See an image or animated GIF you like? Click it.

Jump ahead

In a hurry? Here's an overview of this doc if you want to skip ahead to something awesome:

New login screen

The first thing you'll notice about the Indy release is our brand new front door! It's been a minute since we last updated the xMatters login screen, and we think you're going to love its slick new look and modern feel:

new-login-screen.png

It's not just about the looks

By moving the login area to the side of the screen, we've opened up more room to highlight new features, events, and training that you can take advantage of. There are also hot spots to the most visited areas of our support site, and a direct link to Customer Support in case you require assistance.

Corporate branding

If you've added your company's logo to your xMatters account, it'll be displayed where users enter their credentials (replacing the xMatters logo in the screenshot above) — this is a great way of letting your users know they're using a corporate system. If your company has a non-production environment, this new design still supports the banner that's displayed across the top of the screen to help you distinguish it from your prod instance.

Now that we've welcomed you at the door, come on inside and see what else we've got in this release!

Reporting & analytics

The reporting capabilities of xMatters — and our expanding set of analytics — give you greater visibility and insight across your business, to help identify opportunities for continuous improvement and more effective incident response. In this release, we add new widgets to our Communication Center dashboard, enhance the filtering capabilities of the Historical On Call report, and extend the time-machine functionality of the All Events report.

Group Performance widget

Our new Group Performance widget lets you track the response performance and event activity of the groups in your system. By adding Group Performance widgets to your dashboard view, you can clearly see groups which may not be performing as expected, or those that are getting slammed by alerts:

group-performance-widgets.png

What are the metrics?

This new widget includes the following two graph options:

  • Group MTTR - A group's mean time to respond to the events in the selected timeframe.
  • Events by Group - The number of alerts targeting each group in the selected timeframe.

You have the option to show data for All Groups you have permission to see in xMatters, or just the Groups I Supervise. You can also select from a variety of timeframe options, depending on whether you're interested in the most recent activity, or longer-term trends:

group-performance-widget-settings.gif

Drill through to the deets

For a closer look at the data displayed in a graph, click the blue summary text below the graph's title. This link lets you drill through to the Group Performance report, filtered to the same set of data — and with the same timeframe — that's currently displayed in the widget.

group-performance-widget-drill-through-link.gif

Event Traffic widget

The Communication Center also includes a new Event Traffic widget that you can add to your dashboards to monitor the volume of alerts coming into your system from different sources or with different priority levels. This widget bundles together the Events by Source widget from the Hogan's Alley release with a new 'Events by Priority' graph option:

event-by-priority-widget.png

View what's important to you

Adding one or more Event Traffic widgets to your dashboard allows you to create custom snapshots of the alerts in your system over different time periods. For example, in the dashboard below we're using two Event Traffic widgets — one for monitoring events by priority over the past 24 hours, and another for monitoring events by source over the past 7 days:

event-traffic-widgets-on-dashboard.png

Show me the data!

You can move your cursor over a graph to get a summary of event data at a specific points in time, or as shown in the animated screenshot below, you can click and drag your cursor over an area of the graph to summarize the data for the selected time period.

You also now have the option to drill through to the All Events report to explore a graph's underlying data in more detail. You can do this either by:

  • Clicking the timeframe link below the graph's title ("Past 30 Days" in the example below) to view event data for the entire timeframe displayed on your graph.
  • Clicking and dragging your cursor over a specific region of the graph and selecting 'View Report' to view event data for just the selected time period.

event-traffic-brushing-drillthrough.gif

Here's a handy new trick

To quickly select just one data source to display on the graph, don't waste your time clearing the check boxes for all the other sources — just double-click the one you want to display!

event-traffic-click-trick.gif

Historical On Call Report updates

Responding to incidents is never fun (especially at 3 am), so we know it's important for you to have the right tools to compensate your employees for their on-call time. We've added new filters to our Historical On Call report that administrators can use to narrow down the subset of data they export for their compensation and planning processes:

historical-on-call.gif

  • Group Selector. Include data from just the groups you supervise, or all the groups you have access to in xMatters.
  • Escalations. Choose a subset of data based on escalation criteria:
    • Include all escalations. Include data from all escalations in your report.
    • Filter by escalation level. Limit the report to a maximum number of on-call positions (for example, '2' positions includes primary and secondary on-call members).
    • Filter by escalation time. Limit the report to a maximum escalation delay in minutes (for example, '30' includes on-call information for the first 30 minutes of escalation delay).
  • Temporary absences and replacements. Select to exclude data from your report about temporary absences and replacements that don't have any on-call time, so that you only pay the people who were actually on call.

All Events report time machine: Who was on call?

For post-mortems, do you ever wish you could just hop in a time machine and go back to see what was going on in the moment? Well, the good news is — now you can!

Wait a minute, Doc. Are you telling me you built a time machine?

It may not be a DeLorean, but you can now use the All Events report to see who was on-call and the escalation process for targeted groups at the time of the event.

On the User Delivery tab, click the name of a group in the 'Group Notified' column to view an info-card with the on-call details of that group at the moment it was targeted for the event. The time machine displays historical data for the first five escalations, including temporary absences and replacements:

who-was-on-call.png

But wait, there's more!

If you need additional context, you can also click the name of a user to view their info-card with — you guessed it — their device details and escalations at the time of the event!

All Events report: Comments

The ability to add comments to an event (either with your response or directly to the event's Tracking report in the web UI or mobile app) is a great way to provide additional details or context to an event as it progresses. It's also beneficial to have access to those comments when you're performing root cause analyses or investigations into past alerts.

To support this, we've added comments to the Overview tab of the All Events report:

all-events-overview-comments.png

This means as you're scanning details of the problem at the start of a post-mortem, you'll be able to see a play-by-play of what was said during the event. There's even a handy option to view 'Newest First' or 'Oldest First' (depending whether you want to start with the spoilers or read the comments in chronological order).

Can I export the comments, too?

Of course! We've added a new Comments tab to the User Delivery .csv file export. Here you can view a record of all the comments added to the event, including the time each comment was added, and the user who added it:

user-delivery-comments-tab.png 

On-call management

Nobody does on-call management like xMatters. We've long had the most advanced on-call scheduling system on the market, and we're continually looking for ways we can improve and update our on-call platform based on customer feedback, usability studies, and trends in the marketplace. In this release, we've made it easier for administrators to manage their on-call entities, and we've made it more convenient for on-call responders to stay on top of their upcoming shifts with their Android devices.

Improvements to Users, Groups, & Dynamic Teams pages

Issues can strike your digital service at any time, so it's important that the information for your on-call responders is well-maintained and up to date. A major theme of this release is to make it easier to manage your on-call users, groups, and dynamic teams, with improved search and filtering capabilities for finding and correcting configuration issues.

If you've seen one, you've seen 'em all

Our recent in-product navigation updates freed up a lot of screen real estate, and gave us the opportunity to redesign our Users, Groups, and Dynamic Teams listing pages to take advantage of the extra room. As you'll see, we've opted for a simplified and consistent design across the board, so once you're familiar with using one of these pages, you'll intuitively know how to use the others as well:

new-listing-screens.png

Got it!

At the top of each page, a large info box summarizes the main functionality and types of things you can do on the page. This is great for onboarding new users, and once they have the hang of it they can click 'Got It' to close the info-box (freeing up screen space for data).

Arrange the table

To get a better view of the data that's most important to you, use the Columns drop-down to add or remove columns from the table. Columns are also movable and sizeable, so you can order them the way that works best for you, and expand or shrink them to accommodate fields that contain more or less data.

Powerful search and filter capabilities

You can't fix what you can't find. After a lot of customer feedback and user testing, we've completely redesigned the search and filter capabilities of these pages to address the challenges our customers encountered when narrowing down their data.

A new, easy-to-find Search box at the top of each table lets you quickly locate items that match your search terms:

user-page-search.gif

Our powerful new Filters are great for tracking down configuration issues. You can add as many filters as you need to progressively narrow down your data set to only those items that meet specific criteria. As you'll see in the following sections, we've taken your feedback to heart and added filter options for your most requested use cases.

A quick note about exporting data...

Once you've narrowed down the items in your data set, you can export them to a spreadsheet file. Although the export includes only the currently displayed items in your filtered data set, it will include data from for every available column (even if they're not displayed in the on-screen table).

Users

The Users page includes filters to help you find and manage the users that might need your attention. For example, you could use the Devices and Device Status filters to find users that need to add, test, or update their devices. Or, you might want to take advantage of the much-requested ability to find all the users that belong to a specific group, or even users that don't belong to any groups at all.

filters.png

If you apply multiple filters, xMatters returns items that match all of the specified filter criteria. For example, you could filter for the active users you supervise that don't have any devices:

users-filters.gif

Groups

You can use the filters on the Groups page to find the groups that you (or other people) supervise, the groups you belong to, and any groups that don't have members assigned to them yet:

groups-filters.png

The Groups page also includes warning icons to help you quickly identify groups and shifts that don't have any members. We also think you're going to love the new Schedule column that summarizes the group's on-call information, including shift frequency, name, and duration. When there's multiple shifts in a group, you can click to view an info-card with information about the individual shifts:

groups-page-schedule-info-card.png

Dynamic Teams

Last but not least, with its new search capability and the following filter, it's now easier to find the dynamic teams that are supervised by you or other people in your organization:

dynamic-teams.png

Android: View shift details

Are you an on-call responder who needs to check for upcoming shifts while you're on the go? No problem! In our Android mobile app, you can now head over to My Schedule and tap any shift to see its details, including who's on call, who's absent, and if anyone is covering as a replacement:

android-shift-details.png

Android: Temporary Absences

We're happy to announce that you can now add, view, and remove temporary absences from our Android app! A big thank you to all the Android users out there for your patience — we know it's taken us a while to get this to you.

Whether you're off sick, going on vacation, or just need to make a quick shift change for an appointment, you can now tap the new Temporary Absence icon to set up your absence, and optionally choose someone to cover for you while you're out. After you've saved your absence, we'll notify your supervisor about the schedule change.

android-absences.png

Incident response

The most effective incident response keeps your digital services up and available by getting the right resolvers on the job as quickly as possible and reducing the amount of time teams spend on toil. This release includes several great enhancements for upping your incident response game, including improvements to engaging your resolvers, the ability to manage events from the Android app, and more relevant role-specific dashboard views.

We've got something else up our sleeve...

It wouldn't be like us not to have something else BIG in the works. Although we can't say exactly what it is yet, we can tell you that it's going to change the way you think about incident management. We'll be officially releasing all the details later this summer, but until then, here's a little teaser:

IM.png

Android: Event actions

Creating and managing an alert while you're away from your desk is quicker and easier than ever before. You can now use our Android mobile app to suspend, resume, or terminate the spurious alerts cluttering up your Recent Events report. Head over to the Recent Events screen and tap on an event, then select the new 'Manage' option when you're on the Tracking report:

android-manage-events.png 

Android: View & add comments

Wish you could easily stay updated on what people are saying about an alert or join the conversation yourself, even when you're not at your desk? Now you can — from your Android device! The following screenshots show what the new Comments screens looks like on our Android mobile app:

android-comments.png

Recipient selector improvements

We recently made some massive improvements to our recipient selector that make it way easier to search for and add multiple recipients at a time. But sometimes you know exactly whom you want to contact, and you just need a quick-and-dirty way to select them as swiftly as possible.

That's why this release, we're introducing a way to quickly add individual recipients to your messaging form. Simply type in the search bar and select the recipient you're after:

recipient-selector-quick.gif

You can still add multiple recipients all at once if you need to — this functionality works the same as before, and it's now available as an Advanced search option.

Chatbot updates

When responding to incidents, we know that seconds matter. That's why we provide xMatters bots for Slack and Microsoft Teams that help you engage your team and understand group on-call schedules without leaving the app you're chatting in.

For the Indy release, we made the following update to our xMatters Slack bot and Microsoft Teams bot:

  • The on-call command now displays the first five recipients that are on call across all active shifts in a group, and takes into account absent users and their temporary replacements.

We also made a few other updates to the Microsoft Teams bot that you'll find useful:

  • For parity with our Slack bot, we've added new aliases for some of the primary bot commands. For example, you can now use "oncall" for on-call, "lookup" for find, and "page" or "engage" for invite.
  • Invitations to join a channel now give you more context by providing the name of the Team you're being invited to join.
  • We updated the in-bot help examples so it's easier to understand how to use the commands with a keyword or a group name.

Relevant default dashboard views

Imagine signing into xMatters for the first time and seeing a Communication Center dashboard specifically tailored to your role, with all the latest widgets designed to help you do your job.

For example, an administrator would see the widgets they'd want to use to set up their incident response landscape, manage their users and groups, and understand how their systems are performing:

dashboard-commander.png

Other roles, like incident responders, would see a very different type of dashboard since they don't need access to the same widgets or level of information that an administrator does.

The next time one of your new users signs into xMatters, they'll see a default dashboard with a selection of widgets that reflects their role; existing users with the 'Read-Only User' role will also see this new dynamic dashboard view. Since we don't want to disrupt any carefully-designed dashboards that our customers may already have in place, current users with dashboard editing capabilities will continue to see their existing dashboard. 

Conferences page updates

Our Conferences page got the same usability treatment that we described above for the Users, Groups, and Dynamic Teams pages. You can use the filters to find conferences based on their status, or who the host is. 

Because there can often be many conferences with the same name (like 'Network Incident'), incident commanders can use the search bar to find their bridge using its unique Bridge ID. The Status column also includes icons to help you quickly distinguish 'Active' conferences from those that are 'Waiting' with less than two attendees, and those that have 'Ended'.

conferences-listing-page.png

Automation

For this release, the major focus of our integration platform was to make it easier for people to start getting integrated. We also tricked out Flow Designer's Create Event step with more advanced capabilities and added several new steps and workflows to our toolchain building arsenal. Finally, what release would be complete without a bunch of great updates to the xMatters Agent and the xMatters REST API?

Getting Started

To help people get integrated, we've made it easier for them to get the workflows they need to connect their systems and monitor their digital services.

Simplified Send Alerts install

Estimated Availability: August

We've simplified the process for installing our Send Alerts workflow. Now instead of having to download and then import a zip file, when you select the Send Alerts workflow from the list of workflow templates, after giving your workflow a name and description, you can simply click Install:

send-alerts-install.png

Once the installation is complete, a new screen will open that confirms your installation was successful, and gives you helpful Next Steps to get your workflow to do the thing:

send-alerts-next-steps.png

We'll be looking to roll-out this improved installation process to the rest of our packaged workflows. Until then, read on about how we've improved the current import process.

Improved import process

We found that the import process for our packaged workflows could be a little intimidating. To improve the experience, we've updated the success screen to more clearly indicate that you successfully imported the workflow and to give guidance about next steps. And, instead of hitting you with a wall of log messages about the import, we've moved them to a separate Import Logs tab for your reference:

improved-import-process.png

Flow Designer

Flow Designer is the newest user interface for our integration platform. Its goal is to provide an all-inclusive interface that allows users of all levels of technical ability across the enterprise to integrate and create incident resolution workflows with ease.

New steps

As usual, this release includes a number of new steps to automate processes, reduce toil, and bring actionable context to your DevOps and service management teams. In addition to the improvements to our xMatters Microsoft Teams and Slack bots, this release includes new Teams and Slack steps, as well as DevOps steps for Splunk and Jenkins.

Microsoft Teams steps

Microsoft Teams is a powerful collaboration tool used by many of our customers. This release includes two new Microsoft Teams steps that you can use to add flexible Teams automation to your flows. You can find these new steps on the Apps tab of the Flow Designer palette:

microsoft-teams-steps.png

The Create Channel step allows you to create new Teams channels for dedicated incident response collaboration. Then, by adding the Post Message step to your flow, you can send updates to your channel, or post messages to inform stakeholders that an incident is in progress and let them know where they can join the conversation.

Microsoft Graph API endpoint

These steps are easy to configure and connect to your Teams instance using the Microsoft Graph API endpoint. You can also use this endpoint in your custom steps to expand your Microsoft Teams automation even further — why not add new members to a team, or create a new meeting room?

If writing code isn't your thing, the community is always available for help with new xMatters labs steps, or you can copy another App step to use as a starting point.

Slack Invite Step

We've also added a new Invite to Channel step for Slack, that you can use to invite users to a channel using their display name (with or without the @) or their user ID.

slack-invite-to-channel.png

DevOps steps: Splunk & Jenkins

DevOps folks in the crowd will be happy to hear that we've added a flow trigger for Splunk, as well as a step to initiate a pipeline or new project execution in Jenkins:

dev-ops-flow.png

Splunk Alerts app trigger

Available on the Triggers tab of the palette, the built-in Splunk Alerts trigger initiates flows when it receives a request from Splunk, either from the xMatters Actionable Alerts app or from a generic alert webhook.

splunk-alerts.png

Not sure if you should use the app or a generic webhook? No worries, we've got you covered — check out our helpful tips about which method is right for your workflow.

Jenkins Build Project

The Jenkins Build Project step lets you automatically start a new project or pipeline in Jenkins in response to previous steps in your flow. You can map outputs from previous steps to the inputs of the Jenkins step to dynamically set the values at runtime.

You can find this step on the Apps tab of the palette:

jenkins-build-project.png 

Create Event step customization

We've added more advanced capabilities to the xMatters Create Event step to give you finer-grained control over your notification and event behavior, including which devices users are notified on, and event handling and sender overrides.

Devices

The Devices tab lets you specify which devices xMatters contacts people on. You can do this in one of two ways:

  • With a comma-separated list of target names, defined using the values of outputs from previous steps or constants, or by typing into the field:

create-event-device-types.png

  • By picking devices from a list of all the available device types (this is the same as the Devices section from the form associated with the Create Event step):

Create-Event-step-devices-list.png

Handling & Overrides

The Handling & Overrides tab includes the following three sections that let you control how the event behaves and how recipients interact with voice notifications, and to provide more context about the notification's sender:

  • Event Handling - specify notification priority and expiry, and if the event can override device restrictions and shift escalations.
  • Phone Handling - control how messages are delivered to voice devices, and how xMatters interacts with voicemail systems.
  • Sender Overrides - change the Caller ID and display name associated with the event, to help recipients identify the third-party system or digital service that's having an issue.

For each setting, you can either select or specify a value. When you select the option to 'Use Output or Constant Value', you'll be able to drag an output or constant from the sidebar as the value for that setting, or type in the value that you'd like to use:

create-event-handling-overrides3.gif

What about my existing form settings?

The settings on these tabs reflect the device and handling settings that you've already set up for the form that's associated with your Create Event step. You can leave them as they are, or customize them for your flow. Once you save your step in Flow Designer, any changes you make to the form's layout will not update the settings for your step.

Canvas management improvements

As part of this release, the Flows tab got a facelift and some new functionality!

flow-management.png

Here's a run-down of what's new:

  • Rename canvases and add descriptions. You can now change the default names assigned to your canvases and add descriptions to help identify them. To do this, select 'Edit Name' from the new settings menu (the gear icon), as shown in the screenshot above.
  • Improved styling. It's easier to scan the list of canvases and identify which triggers they use and the forms they're associated with (which is super helpful after you've edited your canvas names).
  • Clear the clutter. Canvases that aren't associated with a form include a 'Delete' option in their settings menu. This lets you clean up any old canvases you've got lying around from legacy inbound integrations created using the Integration Builder.

Auto layout optimization

The Auto Layout button in Flow Designer is a handy tool you can use to quickly tidy up your steps on the canvas and align them to a grid. Over time, as the functionality and tools in Flow Designer have evolved, we've seen our customers build some seriously impressive and complex flows — and we've had to update the auto layout feature to keep up! 

The next time you use this feature, you'll notice your flows are a lot easier to read and follow, with merged flows grouped together, and no overlapping steps and lines, or unpredictable directions in flow paths:

auto-layout-before-after.png

And, if you want to easily change the order of your flows from top-to-bottom on the canvas, just drag the first step of a flow to a new position, then hit Auto Layout to bring the rest of the steps along:

auto-layout.gif

FFFun fact!
Here at xMatters, the auto layout button is fondly — yet unofficially — known as the "F-bomb" because it looks like the letter 'F' and a bomber aircraft. So, with these improvements, we guess you could say there's never been a better time to drop the F-bomb!

Sneak peek: Merge step

In our Hogan's Alley release, merged flow paths allowed you to reuse flow segments — the only hitch was that downstream steps can only access upstream flow variables common to all the joined paths. Coming very soon, we'll go one better and provide you with an official, more versatile Merge Step that lets you define a common set of outputs from a diverse set of sources:

merge-palette.png

The merge step streamlines your canvas by joining multiple flows into a single path that's easier to maintain and reduces duplication of your core processes:

merge-canvas.png

The best part is that you get to define the outputs and which variables from each of the incoming flows (you can have up to 10) are available to your downstream steps:

merge-configure-outputs.png

xMatters Agent

The xMatters Agent is a service you can install on a local system to process workflow logic behind your company firewall. This allows systems behind your firewall to trigger and enrich events in xMatters and enables integrations to communicate with systems that cannot be accessed externally. In this quarterly release, we're improving the way agents handle shutdown on Windows and making integrations more resilient to short-term network outages and floods.

Graceful shutdown on Windows

Agents running on Linux systems have had an advantage over their Windows-based brethren: when stopping a running agent, Linux systems would allow a brief period of additional processing for in-flight requests to finish processing. 

We've now added that capability to Windows systems! With the 1.5.6 version of the xMatters Agent (available now from the Agents page in the web user interface), using the stop service option or command allows the agent to handle the shutdown gracefully. The agent will stop accepting new requests but allow up to 90 seconds for in-progress jobs to complete and existing requests to be forwarded. The process also logs any outstanding requests that could not be handled within the 90-second drain period.

Local store-and-forward

Estimated availability: July

The upcoming 1.6 release of the xMatters Agent will provide some extra relief in the event of a short-term flood or connectivity issue. Instead of immediately sending inbound requests to xMatters, the agent will queue the requests and forward them only when the connection is established and secure. 

This change will have several immediate benefits: 

  • Your integrations will be much more resilient when encountering network outages or event floods. 
  • If you're submitting too many requests too quickly, the agent will queue the requests that return a 429 code (meaning you've exceeded the permitted rate) and resubmit them after a short wait. 
  • You'll be able to conduct expanded troubleshooting if your integrations have problems connecting.

While the queue does not persist if you shut down the agent, it does improve the reliability of the agent when sending requests to xMatters from third-party applications. And the best part is that there's no configuration change required — this feature will be automatically available as soon as you update.

Activity updates

It's now more obvious if your flow is experiencing problems with an xMatters Agent. We've added more specific labels and messaging to the canvas and Activity panel to let you know when your flow is waiting on an agent, or if it failed because an agent disconnected.

For example, here's what it looks like when your step can't complete because none of the agents you've selected for it to run on are available:

waiting-for-agent.png

New & updated workflows

This release includes updates to our ServiceNow workflow, Datadog improvements, and two new xM Labs integrations for Freshservice and Azure Boards.

ServiceNow version 5.5

The latest version of the xMatters application for ServiceNow — certified with London, Madrid, New York and now Orlando — is available from the ServiceNow Store. This version includes a lot of great updates, including these highlights:

For upgrade or installation instructions, feature and update descriptions, and a full list of the issues addressed in this release, see the integration guide here.

Datadog configuration improvements

It's now even easier to integrate with Datadog! We've updated the configuration screen of our Datadog built-in workflow with a new section that includes a JSON payload. You can copy and paste this payload into Datadog's "Custom Payload" field to simplify the integration's configuration, and to make more Datadog information available in xMatters notifications:

datadog-custom-payload.png

If you have an existing Datadog built-in workflow, you'll see that we've also updated your configuration screen with this new section. You can paste the payload into any of your existing Datadog webhooks for xMatters.

Azure Boards and Freshservice

Although not officially supported, the following workflows available in xMatters Labs on GitHub were built by our field teams and are a great starting point for those looking to get integrated with these products:

azure-boards.png

Microsoft Azure Boards are used to plan, track, and discuss work across your teams. This is a closed-loop integration with Azure DevOps Boards. It has a trigger that can be used to start a flow when there's a Work Item event like work item created or updated. The included steps also allow you to create or update a work item and add comments.

freshservice.png

Freshservice is a cloud-based IT Help Desk and service management solution that enables organizations to simplify their IT operations. This integration extends the power of Freshservice to quickly track down on-call resources and deliver them actionable notifications.

xMatters REST API enhancements

We continually enhance our xMatters REST API calls to replace existing SOAP and older REST methods. These calls not only support customer integration needs, they're also the foundation for data access by our mobile clients, the web user interface, and other key xMatters services. In this release, we focused on adding more ways to search and filter users, groups, and dynamic teams, we added a new endpoint to better summarize the on-call report for a group.

New endpoints

On-call summary
If you use the xMatters REST API to get on-call information, then you'll definitely be interested in our new On-Call Summary endpoint. This endpoint makes it easier to see which recipients in a group will be targeted, the order they'll be targeted in, and how long before each of them is targeted.

To look up the on-call summary for a group (or groups), identify the group by its ID or target name. You can optionally use the escalationOrder query parameter to narrow your results to a specific escalation level (like 'Primary' or 'Primary and Secondary'). For example:

GET /on-call-summary?groups=DBA,2b6cf1a8-2186-41bb-951e-f79e9e776c95&escalationOrder=PRIMARY

This request returns the on-call summary of the primary on-call recipients in the DBA group and the Security group (identified by its ID).

Create and manage subscription forms
In xMatters, users can subscribe to be notified about events they're interested in, even if they're not scheduled to receive a notification for those events. Subscription forms are what allow you to determine who can subscribe to events from your workflow, which properties they can subscribe to, and whether they can respond to notifications.

Previously, the xMatters REST API gave you the ability to get information about the subscription forms in your workflows. Now, this new POST endpoint lets you create or modify subscription forms as well:

Updated endpoints

Find users by custom fields and attributes
Do you ever use GET /people with the propertyName,propertyValue parameter to programmatically find users based on the value they're assigned for a custom field or attribute — like the users with a custom field or attribute named 'FirstAid' with the value 'CPR'?

If so, you'll want to start using the updated propertyNames,propertyValues version of this parameter instead, which allows you to specify one or more property name and value pairs. When you specify two or more pairs, the results include only people that match all the criteria. For example:

GET /people?propertyNames=FirstAid,Campus&propertyValues=CPR,West

This request returns all the users with a custom field or attribute named 'FirstAid' with a value of 'CPR' AND a custom field or attribute named 'Campus' with a value of 'West' (in other words, all the people at the West campus that have first aid certification for CPR).

New GET/ people query parameters
We've enhanced the GET /people endpoint with two new query parameters that you can use along with the search parameter to create more specific searches for users:

  • GET /people?search={term}&operand=AND - If you're using multiple search terms, you can include the operand parameter with 'AND' to narrow your search to users that contain all of the terms across any of their search fields (first name, last name, target name, web login, email, and phone number).
    • For example, GET /people?search=in dy&operand=AND would return the users that contain both 'in' and 'dy', like Inidya Sharma, Andy Plain, and Betty Smith (whose email address is 'betty@dynamicinc.com').
  • GET /people?search={term}&fields={term} - If it's only specific fields you're interested in searching (like first name or last name), you can use the fields parameter.
    • For example, GET people?search=don jack&fields=FIRST_NAME,LAST_NAME returns users whose first or last name contains the terms 'don' or 'jack' (like Tom Donalds, or Jack Gardner).
    • FYI, if you added operand=AND to this request, xMatters would return users that contain both 'don' and 'jack' across the specified fields (like Don Jackson and Jackson Donald).

Find groups by members
We've added a new members query parameter to Get /groups that lets you find groups that contain particular users, devices, or dynamic teams. You can identify members by their target name or ID. For example:

GET /groups?members=asharma,6f347364-8dc7-4871-819b-e3e7dbfda2de,DBA

This request returns all the groups that contain any of the queried members: Ananya Sharma, Mary McBride's work phone (identified by its ID), and the DBA dynamic team.

Find groups by supervisor
We've added a new supervisors query parameter to GET /groups that you can use to return the groups that a person supervises by specifying their target name or ID. For example:

  • GET /groups?supervisors=asamara - returns all the groups Ali Samara supervises.
  • GET /groups?supervisors=6f347364-8dc7-4871-819b-e3e7dbfda2de - returns all the groups Mary McBride supervises (using her UUID).

When two or more supervisors are sent in the request, the response includes groups for which any of the specified users is a supervisor:

  • GET /groups?supervisors=asamara,6f347364-8dc7-4871-819b-e3e7dbfda2de - returns all the groups that either Ali Samara or Mary McBride supervise.

Find Dynamic Teams
You can use the new search and supervisors query parameters for GET /dynamic-teams to search for dynamic teams or find the dynamic teams that someone supervises:

  • GET /dynamic-teams?search={term1}+{term2} - returns a list of dynamic teams with any of the search terms in their name or description.
    • You can narrow your search to teams that include all the terms by using the operand query parameter. For example: GET /dynamic-teams?search=term1+term2&operand=AND
    • You can also search just the name or description field by setting the fields query parameter. For example: GET /dynamic-teams?search=term1&fields=DESCRIPTION
  • Get /dynamic-teams?supervisors={targetName or ID} - returns a list of dynamic teams supervised by a particular person, or people, identified by their target name or user ID. For example: GET /dynamic-teams?supervisors=asharma,6f347364-8dc7-4871-819b-e3e7dbfda2de
    • When two or more supervisors are included in the request, the response includes dynamic teams for which either user is a supervisor.

Search past events by priority
If you're using Get /events to look up past events in your system, you can now narrow down your results by searching by priority (LOW, MEDIUM, or HIGH). For example:

  • Get /events?at={timestamp}&priority=HIGH - returns any high priority events in your system at the specified point in time.
  • Get /events?at={timestamp}&priority=HIGH,MEDIUM - returns all the high and low priority events in your system at the specified point in time.

What's next?

Over the next quarter we'll continue to focus on further discoverability of some objects within our existing REST web services, as well as improving data access to user sites, roles and permissions, and more.

You can learn more about the xMatters REST API in our online help.

Other mobile updates

As you've seen, this release included major work to bring our Android platform closer to feature parity with our iOS app. We're getting close now — here are a couple of other features that we were able to complete that haven't been mentioned yet.

Android: Biometrics as passcodes

Being able to log in to the mobile app using biometrics, such as a fingerprint or facial recognition, is one of the most requested feature enhancements we've had for our mobile platform. If you've got a modern smart phone, you're probably already using biometrics to unlock or authenticate your device, so why not extend those capabilities to the app?

As of this release, you can now use biometrics to log into the Android app (finally!). If your instance is already set up to use passcodes, then you're all set — you'll be prompted to reuse your existing device authentication method (whatever you already use to unlock your phone when it's idle). If you haven't set up a screen lock for your device, then you'll be prompted to set one up:

android-biometrics.png

xMatters uses Google’s latest security biometric API standards, which means the new passcode lock does require device-level authentication of some kind. Rest assured though, neither xMatters nor Google has any access to your personal authentication data at any time, and it never even leaves your device.

For more information about logging into the Android app with biometrics, and updates to our passcode feature, see our support article, Changes to mobile passcodes for biometric login.

Android: Respond from push

We're always looking for ways to save users time when responding to events. If you're an Android user, when you get a push notification related to an event, the first two responses defined for the messaging form now appear as quick actions that allow you to reply right from the lock screen. Once you select a response, such as 'Assign to me' in the example below, you'll be given the option to add a comment with your response:

android-push.png

If you'd like to see all the available response options for the message, you can tap 'More options' to view all your choices in the app:

android-responses.png

Other product updates

Congratulations on completing 200 laps of this Indy circuit (that's 500 miles!) and making it to the finish line! Here's one more update for your victory lap:

Help resource kits

The two help resource kits we released as part of the Hogan's Alley release were a big hit. Since a major theme of this release was helping people get integrated, we thought it fitting to create a guide for just that. We also created a couple of really great guides for getting started with the xMatters mobile app.

Let's get integrating

You don't need to be a developer to integrate other tools with xMatters and build automated toolchains. xMatters makes building and managing incident management workflows accessible to everyone whether you think ‘code’ is a four-letter word, or you dream in functions and methods.

Our new Let's get integrating guide is a great starting point for integrating with xMatters, regardless of your skill level. It's loaded with great tips & tricks and additional resources to help you progress along your integration journey. Be sure to bookmark this go-to reference today!

Get started with the xMatters mobile app

The xMatters mobile app is one of the easiest and best ways to stay connected when you're on the go. If you still need convincing, or if you're looking for resources to help roll out the app in your organization, then check out these two new mobile app help resource kits:

  • Ready, set, xMatters mobile app - Whether you're a seasoned xPert, or you've never seen the xMatters app in your life, this guide will take you through how to get the app set up on your devices, all the features it offers, and how to customize the settings, so everything is just how you like them.
  • Getting your team set up with the xMatters mobile app - This guide takes you through some of the powerful features and benefits of using the mobile app, as well as the best way to get your team ready to start using it, including a handy one-page guide that you can download and send out to your users.

Early Access Program & feature delivery update

The goal of our current delivery model for xMatters On-Demand is to balance feature delivery with customer change management processes. This means providing visibility into upcoming changes for customers that want it, while allowing other customers to have a more standard non-production environment that matches production.

If you aren't familiar with the current model, we release features only visible to admins/developers at a faster pace than the quarterly release process. These features should not impact end users until a customer provisions them into their workflow. Customers can opt their non-production environments into the Early Access Program to see features and functionality enhancements that impact end users before they're released on a quarterly basis. All customer non-production environments are updated two weeks prior to official quarterly production release to allow for testing and training on new features.

We regularly reevaluate and improve our deployment processes to ensure they reflect industry best practices and customer feedback. For more information about our deployment process, see our On-Demand Deployment Process and Early Access article. We'll update that document whenever we make a change, and let you know about the change through other appropriate channels.

Learn more

These are the main features for this release but be aware that there are a number of other small changes and enhancements we're delivering to keep xMatters looking sharp. Detailed information and instructions for using these new features will be available in our online documentation.

We hope you enjoy this release! We'll see you again very soon...

Have more questions? Submit a request

0 Comments

Article is closed for comments.
Powered by Zendesk