TechSoup.org The place for nonprofits, charities, and libraries

IT Assistance Request Systems?

  • Hi all

    My organization is re-evaluating the system we have in place for submitting IT support requests. Currently requests are submitted through our profile on SmartAnswer.com. I'm wondering if there is a better, more convenient option out there? We like the service because it's easy to track open requests, however I think some staff members are put off by having to browse to a URL and log in.  How do other organizations handle requests?

    I'm thinking that we could either build a new request form into our company's online staff homepages (where time sheets, time off requests are electronically submitted) or instead of building a new one, just make it so that it automatically directs the staff member to the SmartAnswer site and automatically logs them in.

    I'm not sure how much simpler we can make it for everyone, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

  • Barbara -

    Here are some of my thoughts.

    I like the idea of linking to the from in your staff homepages.

    Also, from the Q&A section of SmartAnswer.com, you can allow people to send an email directly to your account form an email. You use helpdeskid@smartanswer.com. The "helpdeskid" is the id for your SmartAnswer.com account. Another way to email would be to setup a "Help@Barbaraksorg.com" email account and have it forward to your SmartAnswer.com account.

    At my organization we use Zendesk to track tickets. People can send support requests by email to help@blueprinteducation.org, or by going directly to the web form and logging in, and by my support agents forwarding email to the ticketing system.

    Training is important. You may need to let people know why they need to use your ticketing system. Explain that it helps to keep track of tickets/requests so that nothing falls through the cracks.

    It may take forcing them to use the system to make it work. Create a standarized response/email template so that when people send a request outside of the ticketing system, you send them a friendly reminder on how to use the ticketing system and advise them to send the request again through the proper channels.

    You can also make a game out of it.  You could have a contest where anyone who submits a ticket via the ticketing system gets entered into a drawing for a thumb drive or a geeky tshirt. Or just randomly give a "prize" to a person who submitted a ticket and then use that as a chance to publize and train for the ticketing system. Take a picture with the "winner" and put it into an internal blog post or email and thank the person for submitting a ticket and then remind people on how to use the system.

    That is probably too many ideas, but it has been one of my goalso get people to use our ticketing system and so it comes from experience. 

    Good luck.

    David Richards

  • Thanks for the feedback.

  • As far as simplifying a trouble ticket system, probably the simplest and most familiar method to most people are those trouble ticket systems with a feature that allows email submissions to create corresponding help desk tickets.

    The advantage is that everyone uses email, the address can become part of the company address book and there is minimal staff training required to send a letter to the IT department.

    This is the manner we use where I work. User training about submitting tickets to the IT department is as simply as saying "If you have a computer problem, email the help desk."

    Regards,

    Paul S.

  • I am Using Spiceworks, you can set up to email right to the helpdesk. and the price is right for nonprofits, FREE.

    this program is very good, you can have a website to send tickets or just set up email, all replies and updates  are tracked, you have a section to track time and costs.

    You can even pay to not have the advertisements, but they are really not very intrusive.

  • "SOE Technology Support Request System can be used to request assistance for the following needs:"

    But the URL you posted is for John Hopkins University, and the software seems to be available only for staff there. Are you a part of JHU? Is this software available for anyone, not just JHU staff?

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
    Jayne Cravens
    TechSoup Community Forum Manager

  • I HIGHLY recommend Spiceworks if you are running a Windows domain.  Not only do I use it to run my helpdesk, but also hardware and license inventories, network maps, vendor database and a new RFQ system, extremely useful support forums... The list goes on and on.

    I've been using Spiceworks since v 1.3 (it's on v 5.4 now I think), was one of the first million users, and founded the new user group "Spicecorps of Downtown Chicago."  

    And, as another poster mentioned, it is free.  Not "free as in speech" since it isn't open source, but "free as in beer" - it's paid for by advertising, so the end user - whether big business or small nonprofit - doesn't have to pay for it.

     

    edit: on the technical side, I set up an account "helpdesk" in our Exchange, and connected that to Spiceworks' helpdesk, so all the users have to do is email their support requests.  There is a web-based portal they can use too, but for my users - who were just used to emailing their requests directly to me - it was an easy switch.  Plus, if they forget and email me, I can just forward it on to create a ticket and then add them to it through the admin side.  Keeps it really simple for everyone.

  • A very simple solution we’ve been using is FocalScope (www.focalscope.com). We have it installed on our own network and as a site on our intranet. It works by turning emails into tickets. It also has a very familiar interface. Hope this helps…