This is a really common question that comes from customers switching from other service desk applications to System Center - Service Manager (SCSM). They are used to a user experience for selecting a classification from a series of drop down controls on an incident form. For example, there might be three drop down controls side by side with each other. When the user chooses a value from the first drop down (example: “Business Software”) the values are updated in the second drop down to reflect the sub-classifications under “Business Software”. The second drop down now might show “Office”, “SAP”, and “Dynamics”. If the user chooses “Office” in the second drop down, then the third drop down might show “Excel”, “Outlook”, “Word”, “PowerPoint”.
There are a number of problems with this type of user experience:
1) It limits the number of levels you can have to however many controls are on the form.
2) It increases the amount of data that has to be sent to/from the database and stored in the database because you have to store three values instead of one.
3) It takes up a lot of room on the form.
4) It requires a lot of clicking/mouse movement or keyboard typing to select the value you want.
This approach of using multiple “cascading” drop downs is an ancient user experience born in the early days of the web. With today’s modern programming languages and tools we can come up with better user experiences.
In Service Manager, we feel we have come up with something better that addresses all of those problems above and provides a better user experience. Our drop down controls that are bound to list properties can have hierarchical values! We have a custom control that allows you to choose a value from a hierarchical tree.
Using the example above, we could display these values in the SCSM incident form like this:
When a value is selected we can still see the hierarchy with each value separated by a slash:
This design takes up less room, requires less data storage/transfer, is easier/faster to use, and can have as many levels as you want. Have a look at this blog post/video on how to use the keyboard to really efficiently use this control:
You can still do queries both in the console and in reports like ‘show me all incidents where the classification is exactly Business Software” or “show me all incidents where the classification is anything under "Business Software”.
You can edit the lists in the SCSM console by going to the Library\Lists view. If you have a lot of list options that you want to create it may be faster to do it in PowerShell using SMLets or by importing them by using this Excel tool called EnumCreator.
Some related questions that come up:
we want to prevent parent list item selection in incident classification list on end-user portal. How can we do it ? Is this possible?
Hi Firat -
Sorry, no that's not possible right now.
We can not perform a limitation in list items. Such as incident classification. Is that doable? or is it a pending upgrade? Most of our customers request that. We can overcome this problem using catalog. But when there are alot of list items in a multi language envirorment, there occurs a lot of work load.
Saying limitation i wanted to mention user based data partitioning.
you say that in SP 1 the control MPList will show the hierarchy. I have installed today SP1 put the hirachy is not showed. when it will possible to show the hierarchy?
@Andreas - the ability to view the hierarchy in the portal is there in SP1.
Hmm, I don’t see it. My List have not the hierarchy and is not sorted in the Portal. The same List is in the console well sorted and have a hierarchy put not in the portal. Have I something not seen?
Hello Travis and Firat,
Do you know any third-party MP can achive this?
Thank you for this article. Do you happen to know how you can export all lists regardless of MP in powershell or some other fashion?
We have the list displaying correctly on the SSP now with the Tiers but in an odd turn the SSP does not seem to observe the ordering provided in the list setup in the console. All of my sub-categories under "Business Applications" are alphabetized and display in that order in the console, but in the SSP it seems to randomly assign the display order. I can send you a SS if needed. Is this normal behavior or is there something we need to configure to get the SSP to display them in the same order as detailed in the list?
@Jon S. : Unfortunately this is a known bug in the portal.
Thanks Travis. Appreciate the quick response.
@Jon Sykes -
Use Get-SCSMEnumeration from SMLets
Will the incident classification sorting order bug in the portal will be fixed in R2, please?
I have a question about this, we have created a 3 level deep Classification and we like to do trending reports for example at the top level examples, Harware, Software, Wireless, Telecom, Applicatons, Network. We also like to go a level deeper example I want to pull a report on all that are Application > CRM.
If this field is not manditory how do we make sure it is not left blank so it does not skew reporting? We don't see a way to make the field manditory.