This article is part of an ongoing series where I discuss how a particular customer in a specific industry uses OneDesk.
When we think about educational institutions, we often don’t consider all of the processes and machinations needed to keep that system running across all of the different faculties and departments. As competitive as it is for students to be accepted into colleges, it is also a competition between the educational institutions themselves to remain current and up-to-date in order to attract the top students and professors. Across the many teams involved in keeping a college’s operations going smoothly, there is a common need to track the work that they are doing to support their peers as well as to move forward. In order to keep students coming through their doors, colleges need to focus on upkeep of their current premises and systems as well as innovating and keeping pace with the world beyond their doors.
With all of these aspects in mind, our client came to us needing a solution for managing their work across multiple departments.
Our client is the director of a major college’s IT department. He wants to be able to capture and track all incoming work in a logical system. Their current solution is a helpdesk system that was created internally a few years ago. Although it works, it is not an ideal solution due to its limited capabilities. Creating a ticket in their current system is cumbersome, so much so that the preferred way of creating these work items is through e-mail, and then tweaking them inside the system. Another area where our client’s current system is lacking is with reporting. The system was not designed with reporting in mind, and so it has become a hacked-in solution developed over the past year. This is less than ideal when other members of the faculty are trying to understand the breadth of the issues that the IT department is facing so resourcing and finances can be allocated. On the infrastructure level, this system also takes up a couple servers to keep running, which is an unnecessary cause for concern and maintenance. As this helpdesk software is used by both the IT and Operations departments, it’s clear to our client that they need to move away from it.
As the director of the college’s IT department, our client outlined that not only do they need helpdesk software, but also a project management tool. Although the most immediate work that the IT department may have to work on are support tickets filed by other members of faculty, IT also involves projects to ensure that the campus’s technologies are kept up-to-date and maintained. Even a task such as upgrading the college’s Wi-Fi is a project that needs to be planned, broken down, estimated, and tracked. Our client is aware of this dichotomy in the type of work his team tackles, and so it was crucial for him to have software that provided tracking of both support and project work.
Out of the box, OneDesk provides helpdesk and project management software that work seamlessly together. Because both kinds of work are logged and tracked within the OneDesk product, they can be linked and referenced. Managing projects, tickets, and tasks happens in one place, which makes it easy for our client to manage all of the work his teams do.
There are many teams and departments involved in running a college, and so our client knows how important it is to give other people visibility and insight. By default, OneDesk provides a set of views that our client can use to dig into his teams’ projects as well as support work. Whether our client is looking at a hierarchical tree view to see the relationships and relatedness of work items, or a card view in order to transition items through KanBan states in a workflow, OneDesk enables him to see the teams’ work from multiple views. Besides the default views that we provide, OneDesk also allows our client to create custom views based on filters and criteria. These can then be saved and used as dashboards. This customizability gives our client freedom and full access to the data on his teams’ working habits, making it simple for him to decipher what areas his department needs help with. When the time comes for the finance department to work on the next year’s budget, our client can provide solid reasoning and justification for the areas where more help is needed.
Our client highlighted that there are instances wherein his team might come up against a particular task over and over again. This might be setting up a new faculty member with the right equipment and credentials or a regular maintenance task involving electronic equipment. For any of these recurring tasks, OneDesk provides simple functionality to clone and duplicate tickets. By setting up projects with a certain structure, templates can be defined for various tasks that are of the nature to crop up over and over again. This streamlines our client’s ability to set up projects and define the tasks in a project. Coupled with OneDesk’s workflow rules and automations, ticket management can happen with minimal interaction. Our client noted that around 25% of his time is spent managing work tickets, so by using the ticket management tools provided by OneDesk, he can get some of his time back and focus on the work that needs to be done.
The image of the slow-moving, antiquated college is one that is steadily and surely going out of style. Colleges and universities these days recognize that they cannot remain stoic and stagnant in this age of technology. As campuses grow, the amount of work for faculty only increases, and it was clear to our client that their old solution for tracking work was not enabling his department to work efficiently. By switching from their in-house solution to OneDesk, our client modernized his department’s workflow and enabled them to work more quickly and efficiently.