OK, so you can think of Company as the 'big entity' and Location as the 'smaller entity". The labels for those can be renamed if it makes more sense to do so (e.g. Company can become Region and Location could become Office, or whatever...)
So you are right that it is limited in that if your Location is based on cities, if you have ATL as your location that can only belong to one Company. So in your Scenario you might have BigCompanyOne (company) that has offices in Houston and Austin and Dallas (Locations). You would likely need to actually name those Locations BCO-Houston, BCO-Austin, and BCO-Dallas, so that they can all be associated with Company "BigCompanyOne"
For Companies and Locations, some of the primary use cases are:
- You can enable or restrict certain things from being displayed based on the Client user's Location. So, i could have particular Request Types that only show up in the menu if you're in BCO-Dallas, or particular FAQs that only show to people in BCO-Austin.
- In reports you can filter on Location or Company.
- IF you allow the Client users to change the Location of their tickets when they submit them, the default behavior is that they can only choose Locations that belong to their own Company.
- IF your Techs are assigned to Location Groups, tickets can be routed to them specifically when a Client from their Location submits a ticket - even if the Tech Group that the ticket came to has many other Techs.
Example; I have 8 Techs in my Desktop Support Team. 2 are in Houston, 2 are in Austin, and 4 are in Dallas.
Using that example, if someone puts in Houston puts in a ticket for a laptop repair AND the Techs have been assigned to Location Groups AND the Tech Group has auto-assignment of tickets turned on, then the default behavior of the ticket routing is that it will go to one of the 4 Techs within that Tech Group that are assigned to the Location Group that contains Houston.
^^hopefully that wasn't too convoluted. I'm sure there are a few other points i'm not thinking of, but those are the ones that come to mind.
kellytice thanks for that explanation. I had considered using the location convention you suggested but then it would be possible for my clients to see information regarding other clients in the location field in the WebUI. One option I am considering is using locations but not assigning them to companies; by doing this any of my clients can select the location they need when opening a ticket.
We are a MSP and we have data-centers in multiple different locations and I wanted to have a location represent each of our data-centers. All of our assets are located at those locations so this model would work for how asset assignment seems to flow in WHD also. I don't have any need to use locations as a means to control ticket flow, only for asset association and client association.
Do you have any thoughts on this and if there is a better way I could do this?
RE: " I had considered using the location convention you suggested but then it would be possible for my clients to see information regarding other clients in the location field in the WebUI."
Let's say i have a couple of Companies called SOLARW and BOBSBURGERS
and a few Locations: AUSTIN-SOLARW AUSTIN-BBURGER DALLAS-SOLARW DALLAS-BBURGER
and i relate those Locations to the (obvious) Companies that they 'belong' to...
If my Client user's record in WHD has a Location of DALLAS-BBURGER set, by association that Client user 'belongs' to the Company... so I believe the drop-down Location choices they would have in the WebUI would only be other Locations belonging to BOBSBURGERS.
I'll see if i can confirm that in my test environment.
Yes, the view of the client is restricted
Here are the Companies in my environment:
Here is where i am associating the Client record with a Location (DALLAS-BBURGERS). You'll note that because of that Location setting, the Client user account now has a "Company" set for them as well (BOBSBURGERS):
Now, when i log in as that Client user, start to enter a ticket, and go to change the Location field, I only see Location options for "my" company listed. The SOLARW Locations do not show at all:
kellytice so if I am understanding the behavior correctly, if you assign a location to a company then only clients from that company will be able to see that location; however, if you don't assign a location to a company then all clients will be able to see it?
I think the problem I am struggling with is my use case is a bit different. If I am using locations to assign assets to then all of the locations need to be my data-centers because that is where my assets are. My data-centers are also where my clients are located. Unfortunately as best I can tell there is no good way to support this use case.
Please let me know if I am missing something obvious here.
"so if I am understanding the behavior correctly, if you assign a location to a company then only clients from that company will be able to see that location; however, if you don't assign a location to a company then all clients will be able to see it?"
Yes, that's the way i understand it. The case I'm not sure about is if all Locations are assigned to Companies but you have a Client that is not in any Location... i don't know if their drop-down would just be blank or if they would see everything since they don't have an association themselves.
"If I am using locations to assign assets to then all of the locations need to be my data-centers because that is where my assets are. My data-centers are also where my clients are located. Unfortunately as best I can tell there is no good way to support this use case."
One option might be to create a Location for your datacenters, e.g.
AUSTIN <-- for your Clients
AUSTIN-DC <-- for you datacenters
The real weirdness would be is if you need to represent multiple different 'entities' at the company level but they are in the same datacenter, then it could still be possible but messier, e.g.:
AUSTIN-Company1 <-- for Company1's machines in your Austin datacenter
AUSTIN-Company2 <-- for Company2's machines in your Austin datacenter
AUSTIN <-- for your Clients
Yeah, sounds like you are seeing my issue. I think the solution I have come up with is to append the the ClientID to the location such as <clientid>-<location name>.
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If you want Companies to be there you have to enable it to show Companies under Setup -> Locations & Departments -> Options.
There is not a relationship between Locations and Departments at all.
There IS a relationship between Companies and Locations however. Once you enable Companies as described above, you'll be able to make a Company and associate Locations to it.
To change the name of 'labels' like Company or Location (e.g. you could make those say "District" and "School" instead if you'd like...) there is a way you can make a custom labels file and it will read the names for those items from the custom labels file first instead of from the default labels file. there is a basic description of that here: Customize the Web Help Desk GUI language and labels - SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC. Help and Support
Those instructions will have you create an empty text file called CustomLabels.properties and you will edit it to make entries in there (one per line) of the things you want to rename.
When the system goes to display a particular label, if the CustomLabels.properties file exists it will look there first. If it doesn't exist, or if that particular label is not in CustomLabels.properties then it will read the label from the Labels.properties file.
To use the example above, i opened the default labels file and identified the lines that i want to change:
lbl.location = Location
lbl.company = Company
and now i know what to use in my CustomLabels.properties file.
So i create a text file with that name (CustomLabels.properties) in the same folder and i add just these lines into it, but change the stuff past the equals sign to be what i want the new name to be:
lbl.location = School
lbl.company = District
and Save it. now when i restart WHD (using the 'stop web help desk' and 'start web help desk' icons from the start menu) those labels will reflect what i put in that CustomLabels.properties file.
THANK YOU THANK YOU Kellytice.
I really appreciate the help as this will go a long way to making it easier for clients.
question since we as a tech would have to know company since it does not show up when the client sees his profile is there a way to create a custom field that is linked with company and would automatically fill it? Example I set the company label to be city and make a custom field for clients that is city with a drop down of cities can that info populate the company(city) field? That way it would then filter location based on what they chose? Thanks.
No, custom fields can't populate other fields like that.
Basically, as you noted, the end-user will only be able to select Location. If that Location is related to a Company, the ticket itself will "know" that it is related to the Company, but i don't think that Company relationship is shown to the end-user.
byrona I am in the same boat as you here. We recently got WHD approved, and I have been struggling to set things up properly. I feel like the WHD logic works completely opposite to the logic I would use in NPM. (not exactly apples to apples, I understand...)