Jeremy Vorndam

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I joined Serena in 2003 as part of the TeamTrack Support team in Colorado Springs.  I'm currently the lead writer for SBM, and team lead for the Release Control, Deployment Automation, and Dimensions CM documentation teams.  

My goal is to provide our customers with accurate, helpful information that is written with customer success in mind, first and foremost.  

Submit a New Item from Chat in SBM 11.6

In SBM 11.6, users can submit work items from within a chat session. 

An administrator must set up and configure ChatOps with SBM in order to use the Chat feature in SBM.  Note that we simplified the process by including ChatOps with SBM in 11.6.  This means an admin can now configure ChatOps on a Windows server running SBM, start the ChatOps services using SBM Configurator, and then finish the set up using Application Administrator. 

Once ChatOps is configured, users can click Open Chat from the Actions menu on a work item. 

Here’s how you submit an item from within a chat session:

Type either:

@sbm-bot submit item


@sbm-bot submit item into projectName

If you decide to provide the project name, you can enter the full name or just a part of the name.  The chat bot will prompt you to select which project to use if there are several matches. 

For example:

After you select the project, you are prompted to complete any required fields.  For selection fields, up to 30 selections are displayed.  If you don’t see the selection you want, try typing it instead. 

After you finish providing the required values, click Submit to confirm:

It’s that easy.  Now you can chat with team members about a work item and submit a new one without even leaving the chat session.  


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SLAs with SBM Notification Engine

Starting in SBM 11.6, the Service Level Agreement (SLA) feature has been enhanced to use the standard SBM Notification Server engine instead of the SLA engine. This means that you can configure an SLA action using the familiar notification UI, with most of the notification options now available to you.

For example, let’s say you want to notify the current owner of an item when that item is at risk for violating an SLA. To set this up, assume that you’ve already created an SLA and any applicable clauses. Now, add the action for a clause using a When condition such as the following:

(When: 5 minutes before Medium risk)

After you’ve specified the When condition and saved the action, it’s time to create the notification. Click the add icon:

From here, you will notice the options are similar to creating a standard notification. Fill out the form as shown, and then click the + icon to create the condition: 

This is where you designate the current owner of the SLA item to receive a notification. Set the condition as shown:

Owner Is Equal To (Current User)

After saving the condition, you can return to the SLA action and review a summary:

Don’t forget to subscribe users to this new notification. They will now be notified when their items are at risk of violating an SLA.


NOTE: If you are upgrading and have existing SLAs, you can switch to the SBM Notification Server engine by removing the current SLA notification rules and then re-adding them. 


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Custom SLA Reports in SBM 11.6

Starting in SBM 11.6, you can now create and run custom Service Level Agreement (SLA) reports based on Listing, Distribution, Advanced Distribution, and Summary reports.

Let’s check this out.

First, in Application Administrator, I need two new report privileges, Create/Edit/Delete SLA reports and Run SLA reports.

Now, assume that I have the SLA engine running, an SLA defined, and a few items submitted that are subject to the SLA. I’ll create a simple listing report.

Before I do anything else, I need to go to the Additional Options page and select Show SLA Fields. This enables SLA fields to appear in most places in the report definition where other regular fields appear (where applicable).

Now, on the Content page, you can see that the SLA fields appear in the Select Columns to Display list. I’ll select them all and move them over.


After that, on the Search Filter page, I’ll specify that just items that are subject to the Test SLA will appear in my report:

And here’s my report:

Let’s create a distribution report now. As with the Listing report, I first select Show SLA Fields and then set my search filter to the Test SLA.

For this report, I want to show how many items are at risk for violating the Test SLA, sorted by type and output as a percentage. So, on the Content page, I set my options as shown below:

Here’s what my distribution report looks like:

Now I can easily see the types of items that are at risk for violating the Test SLA, the total number of items, and the distribution for each category.  

Recent comment in this post
Derek George
Nice to see this as OOTB now instead of requiring a custom reporting solution
Thursday, 06 June 2019 4:04 PM
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SBM 11.6 Work Center Search Improvements

Check out the Work Center search improvements we added in SBM 11.6.

Search Filters

You can now save facets that you have selected as a search filter. This lets you save and reuse your facet selections for another search.  To save a search filter, enter your search phrase, select your facets, and then click Apply selections:

Click Save As, and then enter a name for your search filter:

The next time you perform a search, just select your saved filter in the Refined By section instead of applying each individual facet again. 

Search in Sub-Projects

You can now select projects and sub-projects that you want to search in via My Project Items before you perform a search.  This lets you apply a project filter before you start searching for items.  

The selections you make in My Project Items only apply to work item searches.  You still use My Projects in your user profile to save your preferred projects for submitting items, creating feeds, and creating reports.


The project selections that you make are saved in your browser's storage.

New Search Facets

You can now use User, Multi-User, Single Selection, Multi-Selection, Single Relational, and Multi-Relational fields as facets on the Work Center search results page for a single application. 

To use these fields as facets, select the Appears on searches for this table option on the field in Composer, and then redeploy the process app.

Other Search Improvements

An X icon has been added to the search field so that you can easily clear a search phrase:

Work Center can now autocomplete a phrase based on your recent search history:

You can enable autocomplete in your Work Center Search settings.

You can use the new Top match option to set a hard limit on the total number of search results that are returned. You can also adjust the Items per page setting to limit the maximum number of search results that are displayed.

You can now show or hide the Refined By section on the Search page:

When you collapse the Refined By section, an icon displays the number of facets that you have applied:

To improve search page performance, you can collapse unused facets:

We hope you find new features these helpful.  Let us know how we can improve your search experience in Work Center!

Recent Comments
Alex Shevchenko
Hi Jeremy, Is it possible to make "Apply selection" button on a sticky navigation bar? ( Read More
Tuesday, 04 June 2019 8:08 AM
Otger Cobben
Hi Jeremy, In 11.5 the search limit is 300. This makes the search for us almost useless. Most of the time we get much more results... Read More
Tuesday, 04 June 2019 1:01 PM
Jeremy Vorndam
Great idea, Alex. I will submit an ENH request for this suggestion. Thanks!
Tuesday, 04 June 2019 5:05 PM
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SBM 11.6 Report Improvements

Using Query at Runtime in Advanced SQL

In SBM 11.6,  you can use a Query At Runtime condition in an advanced SQL statement using the following format: 

%QAR{{Table.Column, User text}}%

The Query At Runtime definition starts with the string %QAR{{ and ends with }}%. 

The portion in between consists of two parts:

  • Table.Column – This defines the database table and the column to use.  The table name is optional.  If you leave it out, the table you select in the Report Item Type field is used instead.  Your SQL statement will just be: %QAR{{Column, User text}}%.
  • User text – This is text that you add to the field name on the Query At Runtime report page.  

For example, if your statement is:


TS_DEVELOPER in (%QAR{{UBG_ISSUES.TS_DEVELOPER, is this person}}%) and

TS_OWNER in (%QAR{{UBG_ISSUES.TS_OWNER, is this person}}%)

The Query at Runtime report page will look like this:

Note that the following field types are not supported with advanced SQL Query At Runtime:

  • System fields
  • Multi-Relational, Multi-Selection, Multi-User, and Multi-Group fields

Here are some Query at Runtime examples with supported field types:

  • Last Modified Date field:




  • Owner field:


TS_OWNER in (%{{Current User}}%)

  • Text field:


TS_ISSUEID like '%%QAR{{TS_ISSUEID, contains}}%%'


TS_ISSUEID like '%%QAR{{TS_ISSUEID, contains}}%%' OR

TS_ISSUEID like '%%QAR{{TS_ISSUEID, contains}}%%' OR

TS_ISSUEID like '%%QAR{{TS_ISSUEID, contains}}%%'

  • Date/Time field:





  • Binary field:



  • User field:




  • Numeric floating point field:



  • Numeric integer field:



  • Single-Relational field:



Using Query at Runtime in Advanced SQL

In SBM 11.6, you can combine basic and advanced SQL conditions in your report definition.  This takes some of the hassle out of writing the advanced SQL statement.  You can also add basic conditions that use Query at Runtime parameters and use them with advanced SQL conditions.


For example, to find active items owned by Joe that have a file attachment, define part of the search using basic conditions, and then use pass-through SQL for the remainder:

(In this example, 16 represents a file attachment.)

Other Report Improvements

Make sure to check out the following additional improvements in this release:

  • You can now sort rows in Distribution reports by count. You can order rows by name, total value, or maximum value, and then sort in ascending or descending order.
  • You can now choose to display percentages instead of the number of items in Distribution reports.
  • A new grid-based HTML template (gridlist.htm) is available for Listing reports. This template includes a static header section, which keeps the report title, column titles, and Actions drop-down list always visible. It also provides automatic pagination.



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Custom Work Center Themes in SBM 11.6

You can now customize Work Center Themes for your users in SBM 11.6. This new feature lets you create a theme for Work Center that incorporates your specific color palette and apply it as the default for your users. You can even import and export themes between SBM environments.

Let’s take a look at how to set this up. In Application Administrator, go to Work Center Settings | System Settings. By default, SBM provides two predefined system themes that you can choose from: Modern Blue and Modern Sand.

To create your own custom theme, you can base it on an existing theme. In this example, we’ll base it on Modern Sand:

There are a few ways to work with your Work Center Colors. Below on the right, I clicked in an area of the Work Center preview image. The color specification for that area opens, where I can change the color’s hex value or its hue, saturation, and luminance values.


The color is also highlighted on the left in the color groups, which I’ll talk about a little later.

You can continue clicking in areas of the preview page and changing colors as you go along. There is a separate preview page for views, reports, and items.

On the left, the colors are grouped together by visual appearance. When I selected a color in the preview, the color was also selected on the left. This also works when I select a color in the color group—the area in the preview where the color is used is highlighted. Even if the color is in on a different preview page, the preview will dynamically change to that page and highlight the area.

You can increase or decrease the number of groups by using the slider. Now, there are fewer colors in each group. 

One advantage to using color groups is that you can designate a primary color for each group. When you change any value of the primary color, it automatically affects all the colors in the group. This enables you to quickly change multiple colors at once while keeping them in the same color family. 

So, the color groups provide another way to specify your theme colors. You may find that using a combination of the color groups and preview pages is the most effective way to make your theme just right.

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New Search Features in SBM 11.5

Check out these exciting enhancements to the Search feature in SBM Work Center, available to you starting in SBM 11.5.

Regular Expressions

Work Center now supports searching for work items using a regular expression, which is a powerful search method that utilizes pattern matching to help you find work items. To search using a regular expression, select the RegEx option on the Work Center search page, and then enter your search query. For a list of operators that are available, refer to the SBM Work Center Guide or help.

Advanced Search

Have you ever used Advanced Search in User Workspace, and wished the same feature was available in Work Center? Well, now it is.

What’s cool about Advanced Search is that you can search all kinds of tables in addition to the primary table (if you have the appropriate privileges): auxiliary tables, archived tables, and notes/attachments. 

For example, let’s say I want to sort through all of the string IDs in the IDM application that have to do with the calendar. I select String IDs from the Search in Table list (see above), and then enter “calendar” as my keyword:

Here are my results: 

URL Attachments

While Advanced Search enables you to search notes and associated attachments, the main keyword search now enables you to search the names and addresses of attached URLs.

Below, you can see that I searched for items containing the keyword “Micro Focus.” In my results, all items with the attached URL named “Micro Focus” appear.

Search Results

Lastly, you can now choose how many fields you want to appear in each row of your search results. This option is available in your user profile on the Search tab:

If I set this to 5, then 5 fields will appear in a row in my search result:


We hope these search features make your SBM life easier and more efficient. Happy searching!


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New Administrative Changes View in SBM 11.5

In SBM, it’s useful to be able to analyze administrative changes, especially when you suspect changes to the system may have caused setup or security issues. In previous releases of SBM, you would have to query the TS_ADMINCHANGES and TS_ADMINCHANGESVALUES tables in the database to view these changes. Now in SBM 11.5, you can easily view administrative changes within Application Administrator.

The Administrator Changes view (available under the More category) displays the type of change made, the timestamp of the change, the administrator who made the change, the affected table name and record, and the value that was changed. Here’s an example of some of the changes you might see:

Click in the Changed Values column to view the prior value and new value.

To filter the list of changes, click Filter. Let’s say I want to view all changes that have been made involving the user Kathy. In the Record Name field, I enter “Kathy.”

Here are my results:

To see which privilege changed for Kathy, I can click Changed Privileges in the Changed Values column. Now I can see she was granted the Remote Administration privilege.

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New @user Mention Feature Available in SBM 11.5

You may already use a “mention” feature in other applications you use—it’s an easy way to catch another person’s attention within the context of a post. Wouldn’t it be handy to be able to do that from a work item in SBM?

Starting in SBM 11.5, you can. In an item’s text field or note, simply type “@” followed by the user’s login ID, and the user will be sent an e-mail notification.

For example, let’s say my team is collaborating on a particular issue, and we’ve met to discuss the issue and assign action items. I’ll add a note to the issue and mention the applicable users by typing @laura and @rhadika (highlighted below).

Once I add the note, Laura and Rhadika will each receive an e-mail notification similar to the following:

Handy, right? This means I don’t have to send a separate e-mail from the issue; I can just notify the users within the context of my note.


How does this work behind the scenes? SBM now provides a new “Any [item] mentioned user” notification and associated rule with every process app. Within the rule is a new Mentions operator. The default notification is set up so that when the current user is mentioned in a text field or note, a notification is sent to that user.

You can use this notification as-is or create a custom notification and rule that use this new Mentions operator.


To make sure that users receive a notification when they’re mentioned, subscribe them to the notification on the Subscriptions tab:

That's all there is to it!  Once you subscribe your users, make sure to let them know that they can now mention other users in text fields and notes.  When they thank you for the info, you now have a great pun to use as well. 

Recent Comments
David Sheaffe
Is this new feature 'predictive' - in that when you start typing @... - it will start displaying the users that match the letters ... Read More
Wednesday, 19 December 2018 9:09 PM
Jeremy Vorndam
Hi David. The @user feature is not predictive in SBM 11.5; however, R&D has an enhancement to add that functionality in a future ... Read More
Wednesday, 19 December 2018 10:10 PM
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Setting up Submit on Behalf of Another User in SBM

Setting up Submit on Behalf of Another User in SBM

As of SBM 10.1.4, you can enable the Submit on Behalf of Another User feature for your users.  This lets service desk technicians easily submit items on behalf of business users who call the help desk.

To enable this feature, edit the Submit transition in your parent workflow, click the Options tab, and then select Allow submit on behalf of another user.

Recent comment in this post
Jackie Gilmour
See related post for SSM too if you are using 5.1.1 and prior - Read More
Wednesday, 25 March 2015 8:08 AM
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Need help? We have it

If you have questions about Serena Business Manager (SBM), the documentation likely has the answers.  For help installing, configuring, administering, or using SBM, start with the SBM documentation. 

You might not know where to find all this information though.  If that’s the case, look no further. 

There are the two main sites to visit when you are looking for documentation: 

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