Monday, February 27th, 2012

Why do IT companies have faulty ticketing tools?

I have been working in an I.T. Help Desk environment for many years now. I have previously worked for Convergys and then Hewlett-Packard. Now I am working at Microsoft within their MSIT Help Desk providing Tier 2 Exchange Server support. Yes, I know. I am working far from my passion, which is *NIX and Python. However, it pays the bills, and in this economy that is really all that matter at this point in time.

The point of bringing up this post, is that some of my readers must work in some sort of Information Technology environment which makes use of a ticketing tool of some sorts to report bugs and issues with software or servers your team is responsible for. I have had all the luck with corporate ticketing software. Once I was hired on for Microsoft, I thought to myself, they must use the state of the art ticketing software which will rarely break or crash. Well, I was wrong on so many levels. Not to dive too deeply into the problems of the ticketing software. I'm just surprised on how many different ticketing tools I have used in my career and basically none of them are more than 75% reliable. Shouldn't a ticketing tool be more reliable than the software being reported on, in order to actually be-able to carry out daily activities and report/act upon tickets?

With my experiencing in working on various Tier's of Help Desk in the Information Technology industry. I wouldn't mind creating a new cloud-based ticket software targeted at the Information Technology industry. There are actually a few existing products which already do this, Sales Force is to name one. However, this product is mainly used on Internet-based sales websites. It is not directly targeted for the Information Technology sector. There is a rather large list of help desk software, some of which I have heard of, namely ZenDesk. Although, I have not yet worked at a HelpDesk which uses any of these solutions.

I have already developed a Ticketing/Asset/Contact/Billing management system for an existing website I manage. I plan on incorporating the skills I made there into a new cloud-based ticketing system, targeted at I.T. The largest different between my solution and the many pre-existing solutions on the market, is that I will customize the solution for my clients specific requirements. Does my client need new fields or a special API developed for integration with their infrastructure? No problem. Does my client require some sort of Active Directory connector to easily read customer/engineer information? Is there a specific mailbox the client would like scanned for newly updated tickets? These are just some of the customizations which I will be willing to provide. I plan on going above and beyond when it comes to developing a solution which matches the requirements from my client.

The entire solution will obviously be built using Python technologies, with scalability in mind from the start of development. I will make as much efforts as I can in documenting the development process through my blog here. Do you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in a ticketing system?

Comment #1: Posted 2 years, 1 month ago by Adam Skutt

Cloud solutions are great, and many companies will love a cloud solution. However, just as many companies will be resistant and/or unable to use a cloud solution due to the way they perceive their tickets--namely, they could contain proprietary data that can't leave the "4 walls" of the company.

Keep that in mind and make sure you build software that can be purchased and deployed by others.

Comment #2: Posted 2 years, 1 month ago by Ross Patterson

If you're looking for SaaS ticketing etc. systems, my employer offers a pretty good one ( Lots of companies use it, including some very small and some very large ones. You might find it interesting, especially if ZenDesk looks a little too limited and SalesForce's support system looks like it's just an "extra feature".

P.S. I'm just a geek who reads Planet Python, not a sales rep :-)

Comment #3: Posted 2 years, 1 month ago by Aaron

One of the biggest reasons companies use terrible helpdesk software is money.

One company I worked for purchased or leased a ticket system for something like $25,000/year. It came with it's own super-awesome over-engineered server because the application ran so poorly.

The system worked terrible for the technicians and administrators. People stopped using 99% of the features because they were never reliable. And because 'add-ons' like the ability to use a non-IE browser (say..your cell phone while out and about) prevented techs taking good notes and logging time, the system had bad data in it.

But could we switch? Nope. That would mean throwing away a *huge* investment the company made in their ticketing software.

After a few years, the top brass was convinced there *might* be a better (and free-er) alternative out there in Open Source Land. We've been 'demoing' Request Tracker for 2 years now with no hope in sight of switching.

Comment #4: Posted 2 years, 1 month ago by Kevin Veroneau

The entire article didn't not publish... caching problem. Although it should have been full intact via the Atom feed.
@Aaron: I plan on publishing another article right away which will shed some light on companies not able to easily switch to a different ticketing platform. I have a very interesting idea to get through this road block in a very elegant manner.

Comment #5: Posted 2 years, 1 month ago by Kelly Jones

I've been wanting to construct a better ticketing system for *years*. I'm constantly amazed at the shoddiness of every single ticketing system I've used. My idea was the same as yours. Cloud based, customizable, reliable, etc... My particular aim is at IT rather than software developers. I have a pretty good list that I've updated over the years that is a very loose set of requirements and feature wish lists. Wouldn't it be amazing to create software that filled this need and didn't require an IE ActiveX plugin, or that only ran reliably on XP, or..... you name it.

Comment #6: Posted 1 year, 5 months ago by George

I'm curious to find out what blog platform you have been utilizing? I'm having some small security problems with my latest site and I would like to find something more secure. Do you have any suggestions?

Comment #7: Posted 1 year, 5 months ago by Kevin Veroneau

Hello George, I am sorry to hear about your website security issues. This blog is a custom solution I built from scratch to tailor to my specific requirements and grow overtime. The source code for it is not currently public, but I may make it public at a future date once it matures into an easier to use platform for everyday people. At the moment, the platform is very technical to use in nature and requires Django template knowledge to write rich articles.

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