The YaSM Process Map for Visio and SharePoint

     

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How to use Microsoft SharePoint® for managing your service management processes and sharing them throughout your organization.

In this video Stefan Kempter demonstrates how you can use the YaSM® Process Map for Visio in combination with SharePoint®.

The examples shown in this video are based on the 2016 editions of SharePoint and Microsoft Visio.

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Video transcription

As you can imagine, most organizations that spend a lot of time designing and documenting their service management processes will want to share these processes throughout their organizations. This can be done in a number of ways.

Of course you can simply put the Visio® diagrams in a folder on your network that everybody can access.

That works, but many of our customers use Microsoft® SharePoint® for managing and publishing the process diagrams - and today I'm going to show you a few examples of how the YaSM® Process Map for Visio can be used in combination with SharePoint.

Displaying the Visio diagrams in SharePoint

What we have here is my particular flavor of SharePoint that comes with Office365™. As you can see, I created a document library on my SharePoint site, which contains all the folders and files that make up the YaSM® Process Map.

Now we go into the "diagrams" folder and look for the "top-level diagram". ... Here it is ..., and now, if I click on this file, this will not open the process diagram in Visio but display it right here in the browser.

So there's no need to have Visio installed if you only want to view the diagram. That works because SharePoint includes a component called "Visio Web Services", which is able to display Visio diagrams on a SharePoint site.

Down here at the bottom we have a slider that allows us to zoom in and out, ... like this, ... and we can move the diagram around with the mouse if we hold down the left mouse key.

Navigating the process model on a SharePoint site

If we click on a process, such as "service operation", this will take us to the linked diagram with more details about service operation. From here, we can go further into, say, "incident management" and then on into an incident management sub-process.

So on this SharePoint site we can navigate and follow links exactly as we would navigate in Visio.

And we can also display detailed information about the processes and data objects, by turning on the "shape info pane". Once the info pane is open, we can click on any process shape to see

  • the hyperlink defined for that process,
  • as well as its name
  • and a short definition.

Of course this information in the info pane corresponds to the "shape data fields" we know from Visio.

The same works for YaSM objects. If we click, for instance, on the "incident record" shape, we get to see

  • the links to the checklist and the lifecycle diagram,
  • the name of the object
  • and, again, a short definition.

Of course also the links in the YaSM objects work here in SharePoint:

  • If we click on the first link in the incident record shape, this will open the checklist - or rather, this will display the checklist in the browser.
  • And the second link opens the lifecycle diagram for the incident record, where we can see in which YaSM processes incident records are created, updated, read and archived.

All of this can be done without the need to have the full Visio application installed, so those people in your organization who only need to view the process diagrams do not need a Visio license - which is a big advantage.

Editing the Visio diagrams

But you still need Visio if you want to make changes in the diagrams.

To edit a diagram, you simply click on "Open in Visio" here at the top. This will download the diagram from the SharePoint site and, once it is open, you are free to make any changes.

I'll just do some small change this time because I only want to show you how this works in principle. When we are done we can save the diagram, close Visio and go back to SharePoint - where first of all we need to reload the page to display the new, current state of the diagram. And here you can see the changed text in the first activity.

Managing access rights

Now let's go back to my document library on the SharePoint site because I also want to show you that SharePoint can help you with managing access to the YaSM process diagrams.

That is something you will probably want to do, because in most organizations I know everybody should be able to view the processes, but only specific people are allowed to make changes. For instance, the incident manager may be the only one who is allowed to change the incident management diagrams.

To change the access rights for a single file, you would click on "Share" to display the sharing options for that file. In the dialogue that appears you can select additional users and give them editing rights. For example, we can add here a user called Mark who is now allowed to make changes to the process diagrams, while everybody else would only be able to view them.

What's more, managing access rights

  • works at the level of individual files, as I've just demonstrated,
  • but you can also define such rights at the level of folders
  • or indeed for the whole document library

- whatever works best for you.

Keeping previous file versions

So you can specify in SharePoint who is able to change the process diagrams - and you can also keep a complete history of the changes made.

To display the version history of a particular file, you click on that command in the context menu. In the case of the incident management file, there are two versions - a current version of the process diagrams, and a previous one.

To show you how the version works, we are now going to do a quick example and create another, new version of this file.

But before we create that new version, it is always a good idea to check out the file. Checking out the file ensures that nobody else can make changes while you work on it.

Once the file is checked out, we open it in Visio and change the process diagrams as needed. I'll just do a small change again, such as the addition of a new activity to a sub-process here in incident management. When everything looks fine, we save the process diagram and check the Visio file in again.

As you can see, this can be done directly here in Visio, and at the time of checking in we can also enter a brief description of the changes made. Then we click on "OK" to complete the check in, and go back to the SharePoint site, where first of all we need to reload the page so that we can see the latest changes.

The version history of the file now shows the newly created third version at the top, including the description of the changes.

And if we open the file and go to the sub-process where we've just made the change, then we can see the new activity that's been added at the end of the process.

Sharing the YaSM process model through SharePoint

I hope you'll agree that SharePoint is not a bad solution for managing access to the process diagrams and publishing them in your organization.

Of course what I presented today were only a few examples, based on the latest versions of SharePoint and Visio. A lot more can be done with SharePoint, but your possibilities will depend on your particular versions of SharePoint and Visio.

In the user manual that comes with the YaSM® Process Map you will find a lot of technical back-ground information in this respect, and of course we are also here to help!

 

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