Monday, August 15, 2011

Tickets, Work orders, Email, oh my!

Ok, for those of you keeping score, it has been a while since my last post.  This summer has been busy with budgets, strategic planning, and new systems being deployed.  Oh, there was a little vacation in there as well.  No excuse, just the reality.

We are getting ready to roll out the iPhone as a supported platform.  Before we turn everyone loose, we have to make sure that we can properly support the device as well as the required desktop connectivity (what in the world do we do about iTunes??).

As many of our users do, I strolled up to the service desk and asked them to order a couple of iPhones.  In the initial excitement they simply agreed.  Good, done.....  Ahhhh, but not so fast my friend!  A few minutes later, I had a visitor from the service desk who asked me to fill out and sign a work order.  What?!  Seriously?  Hey, I am the leader of this group, this only applies to the other users, right?  Wrong!

This planted a seed for my next blog post.  Why are we doing work orders, tickets, etc. and do our users understand it?

First off, no process should exist just for the sake of process and bureaucratic B.S.  We should always be asking ourselves, regardless of our work activity, if there is a better way.  The work order process is actually very effective.

So, why does the IT team create tickets, work orders, and ask you to submit formal project requests?

The answer to this has many facets.  The first of which is incident management.  On an average month there are over 1,500 calls made to our service desk.  When you have only two people handling those calls you need a way to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.  With each call, a ticket is created in our service desk system.  This ticket is used to make sure that if the issue cannot be immediately addressed it will enter a queue and addressed as soon as possible.  The added benefit of this process is that with each ticket, we build a database of problems and resolutions.  This can help make the next call on the same problem quicker and easier to solve.  We also review the tickets to find trends so that we can prevent problems from happening again.

When you request a new PC, an iPhone, or any other service requiring an expenditure, a work order form is required.  From a financial perspective, we need to have evidence that someone other than an overzealous IT person is ordering all of this stuff.  The financial auditors require and appreciate it. 

These work orders turn into tickets just like incidents do.  They go into the queue and are addressed based on the type of request and the business impact.  We have a key operational metric that we track on standard requests to see how efficient we are.  Today we average just over 4 business days.  Our goal is to be at or below 4 days on average for all standard requests.

Nobody likes bureaucracy.  The ticket and work order system is intended to provide you with the desired level of service you expect as well as provide key information to help make the business run even better.

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