Infrastructure and IT are basic requirements for nearly all companies as we live in an increasingly distributed world. For companies that are trying to grow quickly, it can be difficult trying to hire for so many other key roles as well as build out their own IT department. This is where turning to a managed service provider can be a game-changer. By offloading infrastructure and IT strategies to another company, this frees a company up to focus on driving forward in their business goals. However, for these providers, it can be tricky keeping track of all of the work across their various customers. From differentiating what work is for what customer to ensuring their customers have visibility into crucial requests they’ve logged, one client approached us wanting to serve their customers readily and thoroughly with a ticketing system and project management tooling.
Our client is a managed service provider (MSP). As they are providing professional services to other companies, they do not have a lot of operational, day-to-day work. Their main tasks consist of identifying infrastructure upgrades for their customers’ systems, defining requirements for customer requests, drafting proposals and designs, and doing the work to either implement or upgrade the systems. The types of systems our client provides services for range from networking to storage, to setting up e-mail servers, and even data recovery. Without a formal ticketing system in place currently, our client needs a way to allow their customers to log tickets, and they themselves need a way to organize these tickets as well as the larger projects that form from these requests.
Logging tickets in OneDesk via e-mail and more
For our client’s need to have a ticketing system, OneDesk’s tickets application gives them a breadth of features that covers all of their requirements. In particular, our client identified the desire to take e-mail requests and turn them into tickets automatically. This is something that can be done in OneDesk by default – for every ticket type, we set up a unique e-mail address that will take any e-mails sent to it and automatically log them as tickets. By taking the e-mail’s subject, body, and sender, OneDesk will translate those as a ticket’s title, description, and creator. Any follow-up e-mails in the thread will also captured on the ticket as a conversation. Although our client identified e-mail as the main means by which they wanted tickets logged in their system, OneDesk also offers two other methods as well. The first is manual creation, wherein any user on our client’s team can log a ticket directly themselves. The second is through our customer portal. This puts the power in the customers’ hands to log tickets directly in OneDesk, while giving our client the ability to define what information they need from their customers.
Giving customers visibility with the customer portal
Our customer portal application works seamlessly with our ticketing software, and can be customized to match our client’s branding. Based around the use of webforms, our client can specify what information they need from their customers in order to start work. Since our client offers work for a variety of services, it makes sense for them to put a field on their webform to capture upfront what the kind of work is – networking, storage, data recovery, or something else. The true value in using the customer portal comes once a customer logs a ticket. In the portal, they are then able to view any tickets that they’ve logged, view the status of them, and even start conversations on them with members of our client’s team. This visibility is paramount to creating a good relationship, and these permissions can even be extended to everyone in the same organization. By allowing this, a customer can see any other tickets logged by their coworkers.
Managing projects and organizing work by customer
Our client provides services to multiple companies and organizations, which adds complexity to tracking and managing their work. The requests that come in from customers often spin into larger projects, and our client highlighted that they need a way to group their work on a customer basis. Alongside our tickets application, we also have a project management tool. The key difference between the two applications is that projects have tasks rather than tickets to capture work. These tasks are then grouped together under a project, and can be planned out according to estimates and timelines in various views such as Gantt. Beyond the concept of projects, OneDesk also has folders and portfolios that we identified for our client to use to organize and track the work they do for each customer. Because OneDesk doesn’t enforce a hierarchy or structure for how work is tracked, our client has full control over how they want to group and slice their work, whether they want to use a portfolio to represent a customer, or folders to capture project work and small requests separately.
Integration possibilities to cover every use case
Often clients come to us while they are already using some project management or ticketing software. As the client transitions to using OneDesk, this usually creates a gap between their usage of our software and their previous tools. One way to bring their previous work into OneDesk is through integrations. Built into OneDesk, our data import options allow our client to take a spreadsheet of project, ticket, or timesheet information and bring it into the OneDesk system. Conversely, data can also be exported out of OneDesk, which our client identified as a great feature for their time-tracking needs. Delving into integrations some more, Zapier can be used to set up custom integrations between OneDesk and virtually any other service in the Zapier ecosystem. This opens up myriad possibilities, and can even be used to integrate with some of the use cases our client identified. When one of their customers’ systems goes down, our client knows that they will be receiving a ticket shortly after to resolve the downtime. Although OneDesk doesn’t offer direct connectivity to monitoring tools, by setting up a Zapier integration with their customers’ systems, a ticket can be logged automatically so no time is lost when a critical system goes offline.
Whether the work is a one-off request or a much larger project, OneDesk excels at simplifying the management of tasks and tickets. With our fully featured ticketing system and integrated customer portal, we do all the heavy-lifting so our client can focus on providing the best service to their customers. When smaller tickets grow into larger projects, our project management software picks up the slack and has the tools to help our client understand their project’s complexity through additional concepts such as estimation, and different views. These views are customizable as well, based on a set of filter criteria. With OneDesk’s ability to export these views, reports can be shared to surface insights around any aspect of work. Bundled all together, OneDesk is the perfect solution for an MSP looking to unify their ticketing and project management solutions.