Closing the loop. Dropping the ball. Falling through the cracks. Pick your phrase, but it all boils down to the same problem: tracking every process from beginning to end and making sure that somebody is assigned responsibility for every task. This is a particular challenge with IT issues, which are often dealt with on an ad-hoc basis. Is there a way to streamline and manage the way your company deals with computer problems, so that you can quit worrying about computers and start paying more attention to your business? You bet!
If any of these scenarios sound like something you’ve dealt with lately, you need a better tracking system:
- An employee needs a new laptop, so they send the request to their manager. The manager sends the request to accounting, who says they need to fill out a PO and get executive approval. The approval sits on the executive’s desk for weeks, the manager assumes that the order has gone through, and the employee still doesn’t have a laptop.
- Your in-house IT resource has a completely full slate of commitments. Then they have a family emergency and have to take a few days off — and that’s when your servers are hit with a denial of service attack.
- You’re a manager trying to set next year’s budget. In order to find out how your employees have been spending their time, and where you should concentrate your investments going forward, you spend hours sifting through last year’s emails.
- Your email won’t work, so you can’t send an email to your IT guy to have him fix it. Instead, you shout over to his cubicle and hope for the best.
- A link is broken on your Website. Somebody mentions this to your IT manager, who mentions it to your outsourced Web guru, who’s too busy setting up your new blog to deal with it. Two weeks later, the link is still broken.
- Your IT resource is so overwhelmed that you need to hire a second staffer — but first, you need to make the case to your boss. She’s demanding statistics, and all you have are a few anecdotes about how busy your IT guy is.
In all of these situations, the solution is a formalized system for tracking client requests, IT issues, and business processes. A system that keeps all stakeholders informed and closes the loop when the process is complete. A system that lets you see at a glance what each employee is working on. And one that lets you offload IT tasks to a third party when your in-house resource is overwhelmed or unavailable.
A ticketing system lets you break down processes into discrete tasks that are then assigned to individual employees. It helps you juggle multiple ongoing tasks, ensure accountability at every step of the process, and make sure that tasks are distributed in a sensible and equitable manner. Most issue-based ticketing systems are designed around managing IT problems — but they can be used to handle a lot more than that.