By now you may have read my related blog post titled "Five Reasons Why Implementing an In-House Monitoring Solution is a Bad Idea." In that post I mentioned how the alerts created by a monitoring system need to tie into a management system so that the proper response, automation or human, can be initiated. This management system would generally be referred to as a support or help desk ticketing or issue tracking system.
In this post I will outline my four reasons why implementing an in-house support ticketing system is not a good idea for the average small or medium-sized business. One of the most common in-house ticketing systems is Spiceworks because it’s free but it also one of the most common under-utilized software implementations. Here’s why.
1. It is not just about assigning ticket numbers
Issue tracking systems are not just about assigning numbers to an issue. The ticket number is associated with a record in a management system and links all of the elements that are critical to ensure a suitable resolution, the person affected, the people working on the problem, records that relate to the problem including email conversations and ultimately a well-defined accounting of the problem, cause and resolution.
Without careful discipline and oversight, ticketing systems cannot improve the support process. For example, if our IT person doesn’t follow up on a ticket, who will be informed?
2. Ticket systems need to be correctly implemented
As mentioned in the point above, a issue tracking system should have layers of oversight and management that ensure problems are dealt with in a timely fashion and resolved properly. A newly installed system needs to be configured with appropriate workflows and reporting in order to really be effective. Decisions on what is important, who should be informed and timings all need to be configured. Properly implementing the system takes time and requires ongoing maintenance in order to work effectively.
3. One layer of personnel doesn’t work
Even if you configure your system as outlined in the point above, with a single in-house IT person, possibly someone that also has other responsibilities, you don’t have the people necessary to properly implement an effective workflow. While you could be the person alerted when tickets are not closed in a timely fashion, taking time away from growing your business to ask why likely defeats the intended benefit of implementing the system in the first place.
4. Metrics are key
IT people are smart. We have an entire team of highly skilled IT people that are very effective at getting problems solved and properly closing tickets. What they don’t have time for however is to pull reports and statistics from the ticketing system and analysing them for trends and patterns that can be used to proactively identify root causes of common issues in order to eliminate them. As mentioned in the point above, you could be the person that does this analysis, but again it takes time and focus away from growing your business.
Ticketing systems are critical to any effective IT support system. From ensuring problems do not get overlooked, to organizing and directing workflow and providing layers of oversight through to providing the raw data needed to detect and resolve the root cause of problems they keep your IT support on track and proactive.
As important as they are however, implementing a ticketing or incident tracking system in a small or medium business is a time consuming task that even when complete may lack the resources and necessary layers needed to be effective. Partnering with a qualified Managed Services Provider with a fully realised solution, the people to respond and resolve issues and the management to provide oversight and analysis is by far the preferred path by far.