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Request for Sub-Categories(list) under Categories ?

May 7, 2009 at 9:17 PM
Is there a way or can I ask for Sub categories to be added?

 And example of why.  Say you have a Category called printers.  Now you want a sub category under printers based on brand or make. ?

How many large shops have several printers located in their buidling and get the usual arequest to help desk stating " I need toner !"  Now you have to waste your time to respond by asking what make and model where the user can choose , say HP from Dell and then the model under the make ?
May 9, 2009 at 12:52 AM

What you want to do is actually a common feature of most other Help Desk systems.

The lack of that feature, and others like, is also a very deliberate part of the design philosophy behind ticketdesk  --Getting rid of all that sub-categorization is why I wrote ticketdesk in the first place. 

This philosophy is NOT necessarily right for every organization, but simplification in their Help Desk systems actually can benifit just about every organization if they'd just give it a shot.

I wrote a little about the philosophy of TicketDesk on my own site. It explains why TicketDesk doesn't do sub-categories and similar.

In your particular example, having the categories to deal with models and type of equipment is the wrong solution to the problem. Your users probably don't know they model numbers, and it is probably a mistake to expect them to be able provide that information to your help desk accuratly anyway.  

TicketDesk is the wrong place to attempt to solve that problem... and TicketDesk avoid trying to solve problems it isn't positioned to solve on purpose. That's why it doesn't do time-tracking, scheduling, and employee perfromance reporting too.... a Help Desk system is not the right tool to solve any of these problems.  

I recommend that you solve your particular problem by getting an equipment tracking system in place. Use it to keep accurate track of ALL of your IT equipment resources. IT should be able to pull up information about any user in the equipment tracking system and be shown exactly what equipment is on that user's desk down to the serial number. If your shop is too small for equipment tracking then it should be small enough for IT to just walk over and look at the printer themselves. It might waste a little time for your staff, but your staff will only spend 10 seconds deciding what model printer it is... how long does it take a user to locate the model number?







May 9, 2009 at 6:05 AM

 Well I have to admit. You are correct. Trying to get the user to find the model # would be difficult. And accurately so the solution is to otherwise find alternative methods of attaching to those devices and pulling the information from them thats needed.

 You are wrong in the matter of size. I actually have around 350 pc's to monitor and maintain at this site with only myself and another helper. Understaffed is and understatment.  And installing trapping mechanisms isn't quite that easy for me as I do not have control of the switches or routers which block most communications for me.  So for me. Personally it is a viabale alternative rather than walking 4 flights of stairs with the wrong toner, monitor, scanner or other device to find it was the wrong one to begin with.

 I am trying to use this system to help the users become more self sufficient and know there own equipment.  I was actually hoping to add the feature of self service to my clients to save them time themselves by being able to look up solutions to their own problems. Which most of the time is taken care of with a simple reboot of the pc.

  All in all. Still a fine product.  But keep in mind people that stumble across this may have different needs in mind than you as well as expectations. And like you said this may not be the right fit. personally I think this can work for me. I will try to tweak it a little on my own and thank you for the link to your article. I do look forward to reading it.


May 9, 2009 at 7:52 AM

I know exactly where you are coming from.... brings back nightmares actually, and reminds me why I switched to Development... not that Development Lifecycle tools don't have their own problems too.

I do have to say though that 350 PCs with only a two person help desk is outright insane! I hope they pay you good at least.

I haven't had good luck with automated network based inventory systems. They all claim to magically scan your network and track your stuff, but I've found that you need a deticated staff member with deep expertise with that kind of system to get them to work. I worked one company with 900 PCs (about 1/2 of them were laptops for mobile employees). We did just fine with a decent spreadsheet where we tracked the major items for each user. It took a bit of dicipline to make sure everyone updated the spreadsheet when stuff moved, but overall it worked really well. Low-tech and ugly, but we rarely had to guess what was on a user's desk either. Sadly, we didn't do such a good job tracking the servers, switches, and routers though... so that was always a mess. 

TicketDesk is pretty easy to customize, so if you wanted a more complete categorization setup you could probably hack one in pretty simply... especially if you didn't need to have an online admin editor for the cats and didn't have to include the cats in searches, list views, filters etc.  In your specific case I don't see it really helping the problem in the long run, but I do understand why you'd consider trying to tackle it with TicketDesk anyway. I can't fault you for trying it, even if I'm not optimistic about the outcome.

I do understand that there are a lot of different types of organization out there with different needs. I am currently looking at how I can expand into some of those other cases without hampering the primary design goals of TicketDesk or complicating the system. I'll be honest though, sub-cats probably wont be a core feature though. I am looking at support for multi-departmental use as well as a high-level queue segmentation for multi-project scenarios. So far that has been a very strongly requested feature set and I can introduce those without complicating the design.   

That said, I do recommend you look at some of the other Help Desk tools out there. I've heard good things about HelpSpot for example especially if you need custom workflows, escalations, custom fields, and advanced reporting. TicketDesk is a "do more with less" system, but sometimes you might just need "to do more" instead.