54 Replies Latest reply on Jul 6, 2015 2:35 PM by aselitto

    Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?

    recklessop

      This week my question isn't direct tied to Remote access, however I think it plays a big part when companies decide to implement a remote access solution, especially for troubleshooting and ease of administration purposes.

       

      I work as a principal architect for DPSciences, which is just a fancy way of saying that I figure out how to make things work so that customer problems get solved. Occasionally I have to help an IT manager figure out ways to justify the price tag on those solutions too, and more often than not when I ask if they have a trouble ticketing system to track the time the spend on support of end user workstations or remote sites the answer is "No". If however the customer does have a ticketing system it is really easy to determine the number of hours that they spend troubleshooting problems, or driving to remote sites... and that time converts nicely into dollars that can be spent in the future to fix those problems.

       

      So my question is: Does your IT department have a trouble ticketing system, and do you use it ?

       

      Also, have you done a project where time logs would (or did) help to sell that project?

        • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
          mdriskell

          I have never worked for an IT organization that didn't have some sort of a ticketing system.  These systems if designed and configured properly can invaluable in looking at hours spent on an issue and can also be a source of information for problem mitigation.  Looking for historical trends in tickets for a system/service/site can help with problem solving and find key areas to allocate resources.

          • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
            chipsch

            We utilize Connectwise PSA as our troubleshooting system. Since our business model is based around IT we wouldn't be profitable without it. As far as do we use it, if it isn't in the ticketing system it didn't happen is the motto around here. For a while to we were undercharging on projects to bring customers on board and this was easily determined by correlating hours in the project tickets to what it was estimated it. Now the baselines on that have changed enabling us to make more in regards to initial setup (NRC).

            • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
              Aforsythe

              I'm with Mike, I've never worked for an IT department that didn't have a ticketing system. But I have worked for a few that didn't have a ticketing system before I got there...

               

              Ticketing is on my top5 list for "Do you have its" when I'm either consulting or considering a position, and it's one of the first things I add if it's not there. The other 4 items for those curious are... Documentation, SLAs, Network/Systems Management software, and Internal IT Staff (as opposed to outsourced IT).

              • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                matt.matheus

                We absolutely have a ticketing system, and we use it to track time spent on every task or project.  Since we employ project managers, being able to see the end result of their time planning (or lack thereof) is extremely valuable.  It has helped us to better plan required hours / resources for future endeavors as well as retroactively see where things we did caused wasted time.  I also personally like to use the system to let me know where my time is being spent, and whether a faulty workflow is causing me to spend too much time on a task that could be better executed by a lower tier of support. 

                 

                An example that we're dealing with right now is the help desk personnel sending tickets to the network team when a desktop technician hasn't even looked at the problem yet.  So, instead of having your 2nd level support make sure things are plugged in and turned on, we're currently escalating all the way to 3rd level support right off the bat.  I'm trying to educate the help desk technicians in what an appropriate path in troubleshooting should look like, not only to cut down on my workload, but to make sure the user doesn't have an extra long wait while the ticket gets passed around.

                • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                  byrona

                  We have a ticketing system that we use to manage issues and communicate to our customers.  While we have talked about using it for time tracking and management we have never really implemented that part.

                  • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                    IGFCSS.DSI

                    Hi recklessop,

                     

                    Let me start by saying that I agree with you: a ticketing system is something you must have on today's enterprise, at several levels and with many benefits. Although I think this way I can't help myself by sharing my current experience with one of those systems: bad experience.

                     

                    When I first arrived at company X (doesn't matter which one), they had a "in-house" developed ticketing system for HelpDesk. Internal users should open a trouble ticket for IT, which triggered an e-mail to the Support Team; then followed diagnoses, solution (if found) and later the original ticket owner's evaluation of the whole problem resolution. The idea behind the system was not also to provide record of the support requests but also to allow the use of metrics (SLA's) to evaluate the IT Support Team performance (ex. the time between each phase is measured, along with other factors to provide a service performance scale). The elements of that team are evaluated by those performances at the end of the year and it's one of the factors considered to the achievement of their yearly goals.

                     

                    Of course they soon found out that they could detour the system by instructing the end-users to place a phone-call before they open the ticket. They would help the user to solve the problem or solved it themselves and the politely asked the users to open a support ticket in order to keep records of the support case. This way the time between each phase was considerably small and they all "worked at the speed of lightning", achieving each year the goals set for them!!!

                     

                    No comments...

                    • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                      flobb

                      From a NOC perspective: Tracking issues and workflow are standard practice. Getting other departments to collaborate is standard pain in the ...

                      • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                        superfly99

                        When I first started here some 18 years ago, there was no ticketing system. It came a few years later and it was recently replaced by another product. But in neither of them was time management looked at closely. The new system has more options for time management, but it doesn't seem to be policed.

                         

                        But these days everything must be logged no matter how menial the task is.

                        • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                          jspanitz

                          As most others here, every place I worked eventually had a ticketing system.  And at every one of them, the IT folks who handle the tickets hated those systems, while the IT folks who looked at the numbers loved them.  While I have used the system at every place of employ, I have to chuckle at the value poeple put in the numbers, since most of my coworkers tend to just guess or fudge the numbers when closing tickets.

                           

                          While I think there is great value into tracking the issues / requests / projects and making sure service levels are being met, I haven't seen a aystem that was quick and easy enough to use to not be hated by most of the folks using them.

                            • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                              matt.matheus

                              I feel that problems begin to creep up when time tracking becomes the focus of a system.  When you force your engineers to log 40 hours of time to the system every week, you tend to get fudge.  Nobody I know works 40 hours a week on directly billable projects.  Bathroom breaks and other bio-mandatory distractions aside, how do you log that 15 minute distraction when the boss came over to ask you about something you weren't even working on?  If an engineer is mandated to log 40 hours toward specific tasks, and he knows that he will have to take at least one bathroom break + answer asinine questions from outside parties, maybe that 5 minute fix becomes 15?

                                • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                  Aforsythe

                                  Matt,

                                   

                                  That's a management problem though, and has nothing to do with the ability to track time in the system. A good manager should understand what they are managing and if they don't, then they absolutely will create problems. The metric isn't broken, the expectation is broken. And if it's your manager, then just maybe that needs to be pointed out to him/her.

                                   

                                  You can walk into a restaurant any day, stick your head in the toilet and complain that the food tastes like ****, but that doesn't change the quality of the food the restaurant serves to the customers who know the difference between a booth and a stall.

                              • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                zackm

                                We have both a ticketing system and a project management suite to track our time for both internal and external customers. From a financial standpoint, I don't think you can truly justify costs to a customer unless you have metrics to point at for them. It is just too easy for them to move on to the next company and save $10 if they aren't seeing the behind the scenes work and the value you provide them.

                                • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                  bsciencefiction.tv

                                  We use BMC remedy with several modifications, we actually have 2 developers dedicated to the back end and an third person who acts as a system admin for it (so much for out of the box solution, eh?).  We have customized our Alert Viewer to open ticket, some automatically. 

                                   

                                  I agree with what a lot of people have stated, I do not perceive how one would even consider not having a ticketing system, not only for current workload, but tracking issues, work time and travel..

                                  • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                    ssei

                                    We use two different solutions at our company. We have a home grown web based help desk software solution for regular problem resolution tracking and assignment. However, for project management, we use AtTask. AtTask works well for assigning the various tasks that make up the overall project and coordinating all of the people that work on them.

                                    • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                      RandyBrown

                                      We use ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus.  I agree with the others, a ticketing system is definitely a must have.  However, time tracking is only as good as the folks that enter their time.  I've had HORRIBLE experiences at other companies where time tracking became a major focus (almost the main focus) of the system ... this is not good for moral.  People that have to micro-manage their days or have them micro-managed for them generally are not happy.  At my current place of employment, the ticketing system is used to provide excellent customer service by insuring that issues are prioritized and worked on in a timely manner and to for documentation purposes.  I believe that there is a place for time tracking for projects ... I'm just not sure that it belongs in the Help Desk ticketing system.

                                        • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                          Aforsythe

                                          RandyBrown wrote:

                                           

                                          I've had HORRIBLE experiences at other companies where time tracking became a major focus (almost the main focus) of the system ... this is not good for moral.

                                           

                                          I know the feeling Randy, one of my earliest experiences in the IT industry began on a Help Desk (Unusual right?) I worked for a 3rd party help desk company that provided tier 1 support to some of the major 90's players. I'm not going to name names, but there were a lot of acronyms and at least 1 cow involved.

                                           

                                          Management was so focused on personnel vs. calls, intital call duration, etc... They were not concerned about 1st call resolution or nonsense like that. After a few months, one of the most common mantra's being heard from supervisors and techs on every isle was "Hose em and Close em, scandisk, defrag and reinstall".

                                           

                                          Lots of innocent PC users lost data, pictures, etc... simply because some game their kid put on the system corrupted the sound drivers and numerous similar issues that could have easily been resolved if someone tried. The company lost a few major accounts over the ordeal and then immediately beefed up their escalation teams with those of us who refused to "not help the customer". Lesson learned.

                                           

                                          The moral of the story is that it wasn't the software's fault. Data is just data, and if you can use it, then it's valuable data. If the person using /managing the data is an idiot, there's no software to fix that, trust me, I've looked.

                                        • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                          rgeist

                                          We use Microsoft CRM for ticketing, but for networking tickets.

                                           

                                          For projects, we use the SCRUM process for tracking.

                                          • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                            familyofcrowes

                                            i agree.  I have not worked for a compthat that did not have some sort of ticketing system.   Most commonly  used has been remedy and this is the one am I currently using.  A ticketing system, hopefully combined with change management and asset management Is totally nesessary   I don't see how a company of any decent size can get by without it. 

                                            • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                              jswiss8608

                                              I use Spiceworks ticketing system here.  I have it setup so users can email in their issues and the email will be forwarded to me for review.  I like using this because it allows me to research something if I need to before I go take a look at the issue.  Both places I have had a ticketing system.  The last place I worked we used TrackIT.  I like Spiceworks because it is Free!

                                              • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                Webbster

                                                We use BMC Remedy with extensive modifications, we have a BMC Remedy developer to continue providing us with new functionality.

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                                                • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                  UKTonyK

                                                  We do, but it is an in house built app that was cobbled together as a temporary measure 10 years ago! It is not very user friendly, adaptable or forgiving. we also have a separate timesheet logger for day to day work, which again is just awful. There is talk of bringing in Remedy to bring it all together.

                                                  However, having said that, time logging especially against problems, I feel is very important and vital for a company so that they have good visibility of hat their IT staff are doing.

                                                  • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                    michael2907

                                                    I've used a few different ticketing systems in different jobs. Currently I'm using the integrated Spiceworks ticketing system that comes with that free service. Previously, I've used FogBugz for issue tracking and such. Both are very good, and as long as you have some sort of method to track your work you are good.

                                                    • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                      Scott Sadlocha

                                                      A ticketing system is a must. At my previous job, we used Altiris HelpDesk extensively, and had a great deal of rules and customization built in. At my new place, we are going through a Remedy implementation right now. At my previous place, time use wasn't really monitored heavily, but some reporting and metrics were occasionally done, especially by the Help Desk and Support Center. One thing I can say is that people are very resistant to ticketing systems, and many will not update tickets in a timely manner. I feel that some type of motivation needs to be applied. This was done in the form of reporting that ran daily and went out to all managers. These reports detailed High, Medium, and Low priority tickets not updated within a predetermined threshold. Management was not ridiculous about it, but it served as a good snapshot of what needed to get addressed.

                                                      • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                        ssd

                                                        We use Remedy in my current organization for trouble ticketing. My last employer also used Remedy. Prior to that, the organization I worked for used FootPrints -- I don't know what FootPrints is used for now; this was prior to it being scooped up by BMC.

                                                        • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                          jeffreyc


                                                          We use CA Service Desk Manager for ticketing and Change control

                                                          • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                            sam1195

                                                            We use Remedy as well in our current organisation.

                                                            • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                              nivin.js

                                                              We use Manage Engine Service Deskplus. Which is quite a good tool.

                                                              • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                jkuvlesk

                                                                SolarWinds uses Web Help Desk (which is also a product we sell, and there is a free version too) for IT ticketing but also for tracking requests for other departments for requests for information, purchasing, etc.

                                                                • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                  Alen Geopfarth

                                                                  We recently switched from Service Now to Cherwell, which is someone I had never heard of. I am not yet a fan of the new service. The alerts I get via email do not include actual ticket details so I have no idea about severity or even the name of the user affected. I am working with our service desk to try to integrate with Solarwinds, but with a small IT shop this is low on the old priority list.

                                                                    • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                      sbarger

                                                                      We are using ServiceNow and it seems to be pretty solid.  I like the flexibility and the "more than a ticketing solution" aspect of the tool.  We tie Solarwinds in with IBM Netcool, then make the web service calls to ServiceNow.  Its quick and robust.  We plan to use ServiceNow for more customer "self service" in the future so users can determine their own priorities, impact and urgency for each of the Solarwinds situations.

                                                                    • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                      solarchamp

                                                                      We use ServiceNow on a global scale with thousands of users.  It works great except I feel it is sometimes overly granular but that could be just how my company set it up.

                                                                      • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                        casolver

                                                                        We use Service-Now, before that we used HEAT. Service-Now is great compared to HEAT imho. We current only use the Incident and Project modules, but are looking to expand into the entire suite they offier. It has helped with driving projects to finish and shown that doing a certain project will be fruitful.

                                                                        • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                          k2737

                                                                          I currently use Request Tracker and users submit emails to HelpDesk@ and then the tickets get created automagically.  It has really helped us see the areas we have the most issues so we can spend more time in those areas to reduce issues going forward.

                                                                            • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                              typhoon87

                                                                              For the first almost 4 years I was my current place we did not have a ticketing system it was all email/phone call and it was easy to lose track of things. Also being the only person on the helpdesk did not help matters. Now that we have one I see how necessary and important it is. It needs attention it needs a ticket it took some user training but most people are now pretty in line with using it.

                                                                               

                                                                              We now use Solarwinds WebHelpdesk we atucally had purchased it just a few months before Solarwinds bought out the original vendor Macs Design Studio. It works pretty well but there are some improvements needed on how it handles process workflows and change management voting.

                                                                            • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                              ecklerwr1

                                                                              Almost the full boat of Remedy.  It sure has changed.  I used it back in the day when the company consisted of like 12 people and the whole interface was text.  They has a couple sales people, a manager that did everything and the rest were programmers.

                                                                              • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                                quinn

                                                                                We use Spiceworks for our helpdesk ticket system... It's free! We use Lansweeper to do network inventory.

                                                                                • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                                  jtoshack

                                                                                  I've just recently started with a new company - they had nothing previously so Spiceworks was the quick simple and free solution for now.

                                                                                  • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                                    weiss

                                                                                    Until recently we had no ticketing system. We have started using service desk from Citrix. I think all IT departments should have some sort of ticketing system and was surpirsed that we didn't. This has helped us build a data base of knowledge, identify trends and document our time.

                                                                                    • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                                      derekschauland

                                                                                      We have a ticketing system, but it doesnt always get used (and some times it gets misused).  Getting things into the system is easy, but many times the employees do not use it.  Some do, but generally emailing IT rather than the helpdesk alias is easier.  Then replying to an existing ticket email doesnt happen at all if a problem appears while a ticket is still open.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      So I am working on getting better at helping it get used and guiding everyone that way... slow process, but having a solutions list or previous information to fall back on is great.  However the system isnt used enough to be used in justification of spending.

                                                                                      • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                                        terredean

                                                                                        I work for a time management company. They build software’s, so definitely they have this software installed. It records time and work done and all the other activities. Here is the software.

                                                                                        • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                                          Aaron Denning

                                                                                          I've never worked for a company that didn't have a ticketing system. while i was in the military we used Remedy and now that i'm out i'm having to learn Service now ticketing system.

                                                                                          • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                                            ecklerwr1

                                                                                            We use Remedy and it's been a challenge but everyone is on the same page now and everything is built around the ITIL model which is good!

                                                                                            • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                                              earleyj

                                                                                              We use systems for service desk/ticket management (Numara Track-It), change control (ChangeGear), and project management (AtTask). The problem with all of them is that they don't communicate with each other.

                                                                                              Track-it doesn't use LDAP (no idea why), so although we live and die by it, it's horrible to maintain and keep fresh with our users, titles, locations, callback #s, etc.

                                                                                              Changegear is good, but cumbersome to fill out with all the required fields, and it's not easy to calculate the impact of implementing a change that you've never done before.

                                                                                              AtTask is heavy on the front end to build projects, and when you're living in Track-it for daily tickets and service requests, now you have to document project work & hours somewhere else? It's a pain.

                                                                                               

                                                                                              We are weeks away from implementing ServiceNow, and our 3 month plan is to retire Track-It and ChangeGear. ServiceNow brings a new level of accountability to our organization that we are really looking forward to. No more blind ticket closes without true resolution, no more changing the completion dates to make your queue look OK.

                                                                                              I don't think any organization could survive without something keeping track of what needs to be done, what is being done, by who, and when expected completion will be... it's also a great way to justify new employees, additional resources, and ROI's.

                                                                                              • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                                                itsysadmin

                                                                                                We are a mid sized enterprise shop and use LANDesk Service desk and management suite for everything from ticketing and change management to group policy and patching. There are many products out there to choose from but we find this to be very well rounded with the ability to fully customize.

                                                                                                • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                                                  silverbacksays

                                                                                                  Ticketing systems are essential. It gives you a unique identifier for each issue - the ticket number. It also gives the end user something pseudo-official from your business - a response from the ticketing system. This gives your customers the reassurance that their cry for help has been heard and something tangible to quote next time they call, helping both you and them stay on target in all future comms.

                                                                                                   

                                                                                                  Over the years the organisations I've worked in have used mostly in-house solutions (AmberCat, eServiceDesk), but the hosted model seems to be gaining ground, ServiceNow being the most recent one I've used.

                                                                                                   

                                                                                                  tl;dr:


                                                                                                  If you're anything more than solo consultancy business, you need a ticketing solution.

                                                                                                  • Re: Do you have a trouble ticketing system ? Should you?
                                                                                                    jprice@calkins.com

                                                                                                    We use an in-house web based ticketing system developed and maintained by one of our programmers. It's not very fancy and lacks a lot of bells and whistles that many commercial products have, but it works well for us. But where I find it most valuable is being able to search the system for closed tickets to look up a solution to an old problem that has cropped up again. A lot of times I know I've dealt with a similar issue six or seven months ago, but don't remember what I did to fix it! Other times one of my colleagues may have fixed the issue and rather than reinventing the wheel trying to figure out what he did to fix it, I can look up the problem and find the solution 1-2-3. As a result, I always try to fill out the resolution fields with as much detail and step-by-step instructions as possible, in the hopes that it may save me or anyone else who comes after me, some time.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    Now that said, we don't log everything into the systems, even though we should (Our bosses here continually yell at us not to fix a problem if there's no ticket for it opened by our help desk). Those problems are generally the ones where users call us over to their desks when they see us walking by. Nine-times out of 10, they're pretty simple issues that we can fix in a minute or two, so we just don't bother to do it.