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A trouble ticket success story: part 1

Thursday, March 01, 2007

(This post is written for those with a passing interest and familiarity with Expression Engine, an outstanding CMS/blogging tool)

Our school needed a trouble ticket system.  My original question was posted here: http://www.expressionengine.com/forums/viewthread/43107/. After some tinkering, we have a working system, and with over 100 tickets, the system is an outstanding success. Our office is more organized, and we have been able to respond to technical issues far more efficiently than before.  We have also identified large areas of our school with serious issues (like an entire lab full of computers with no anti-virus).  We have solid data which will guide our budgeting and planning processes in the future.  The system is being so well received, it is now being considered to replace our building-and-grounds paper-based job system. Quite an accomplishment!

To be fair, the ticket system enabled us to look more systemically at our technical issues and our technical support process - this was as much a technical achievement as it was a process achievement. That being said, let’s get down to brass tacks.

We created a weblog called help_desk and assigned the following custom fields:

problem_location
problem_type
problem_description
problem_private_tech_notes
problem_public_notes
problem_techie

We then setup the following categories - these related to the department making the request:

Admissions
HCES (this is an elementary school)
HCHS (this is a high school)
Support

We have a single-user sign on, for the entire school. This way, we don’t need to be concerned about lost passwords and usernames (although we use EE to power our entire school website, and eventually every staff member will have their own username/password we haven’t really reached this point yet).


We have a “teacher zone” on our school website, and the help-desk link is only visible if someone logs on (using
if group_id == ‘1’ OR group_id ==‘7’ )

We use the stand alone entry forms (SAEF) for users to enter help-tickets,  and stand alone edit form’s (SAEF)  (with the help of SolSpace’s EXCEPTIONAL form helper plugin) to edit the forms.

It’s a very clean, very simple system.  We have three statuses open, closed and urgent, and use simple queries to count the entries with each status and/or category.  At a glance, we can see how many computer problems, internet issues, printer problems, etc…



On 11 March 2007, Ilija ?ivi? inscribed the following thoughts about this post:

Great smile i need that, hope there will be better tutorial how to do all that

On 26 April 2007, Joshua Brewer inscribed the following thoughts about this post:

Oh, my good lord! I am in the same situation and have been banging my head against the wall trying to come up with a solution… could we correspond about some of the details of how you set this up.

I am the IT guy for a one-to-one laptop school in La Jolla, CA and have been playing with EE for an upcoming website redesign… so you may help me kill 2 birds w/ one stone!



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Bill MacKenty, Chief Zuccini

I make a difference in the life of kids. You want to tell me what's more rewarding?

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