Charitable organizations can be complex institutions. On first blush, many of these kinds of organizations might seem to only be focused on marketing and finance, but with everything increasingly moving online, more avenues are opened up for work done on a computer. For charitable organizations based in a university setting, it follows that these organizations would need to keep up with the university’s technical presence as well. This need only becomes more critical if the organization deals directly with the university students and is centered around helping them. It can be difficult tracking issues raised by the students along with managing campaigns to raise money and awareness across multiple teams.

We had a client recently come to us in this situation. This client is a non-profit charitable organization representing students at a university. They have a number of different departments – including their commercial branch, charity branch, marketing, design, communications, and IT teams – comprised of around 60 employees across them. The solution our client is seeking revolves around incoming requests for their IT team and how to field, manage, and track them. They would also like to use some software that will enable all departments to do project management more efficiently. Since our client is focused on supporting and serving the university students, they would also like the ability to allow students to directly log requests into the system.

From the get-go, OneDesk’s suite of tools features a solid helpdesk. With the ability to capture incoming requests manually through OneDesk or automatically through e-mail, everything entering the system is tracked as a ticket. These tickets contain all of the requisite information in order to track and do the work, and can even contain custom fields. The basic information tickets generally contain include name, assignee, priority, and details. Our client mentioned that they were interested in having multiple fields to enter descriptions of the work, stating that the details field was not enough. Using custom fields, our client can then define additional description fields for holding all of the ticket’s information. Along with custom fields, OneDesk also offers customization in terms of workflows. By default, every ticket type in OneDesk follows a basic workflow outlining the different statuses a ticket goes through from start to end. For each ticket type, these statuses can be edited, added, and removed according to our client’s current processes.

As a charity dedicated to serving the university’s students, it is crucial that our client has some means by which students can log requests. With our customer portal, our client can provide a safe, regulated method for students to both view and raise issues. From the overall look and feel to the forms by which data is entered, much of the customer portal is configurable. Our client mentioned that they field different kinds of requests that might be handled by different teams. The customer portal can include separate forms for each kind of ticket type that our client has specified. For example, our client might have IT support tickets and commercial service tickets. On their customer portal, they can set up a form for IT support requests, and a separate form for commercial service requests. In each form, our client can then require certain fields be filled out by the students and even allow attachments to be uploaded.

In terms of project management, OneDesk has software specific to meeting that need. Similar to the helpdesk in terms of tracking work items, our project management software instead revolves around the concept of tasks instead of tickets. The concept of tasks is similar to tickets in terms of how they can be managed via workflows and updated with all of the relevant details for it to be worked on. The main difference between OneDesk’s project management and helpdesk offerings is that project tasks can be planned in terms of a greater project. With a variety of default views, projects tracked in OneDesk can be viewed and managed in whatever way makes the most sense for our client. For example, if our client’s IT team is working on a project to develop new internal software, they might want to use the card view to easily see what work is in-progress or now completed. Custom views can also be created based on filtering and grouping that our client can specify. These custom views can surface insights and define metrics to evaluate the project on.

One subtle benefit to using OneDesk as the primary repository of work items is how communications around work are also managed and centralized. Each ticket or task has a section for conversations, which can contain messages that are visible to all users or only to the internal team. Along with conversations, another communication tool is the concept of followers. Followers generally include any stakeholders who need to be kept up-to-date on how a work item is going. Our client outlined a case in which their IT team works on a request and attaches a file to the ticket. Ideally, they would like the act of attaching a file to trigger a notification to the user who logged the initial request. With OneDesk’s follower system, by default, any changes are e-mailed to everyone who is following a ticket. Because the ticket reporter is automatically added as a follower, this communication will happen automatically, without additional setup.

Given how many teams and departments our client’s organization is made up of, it is no surprise that they need a tool for project management for all of these teams. As a charitable organization, our client is focused on supporting their community of students, and so it makes sense for them to use a helpdesk to manage all of their incoming requests. With these two needs defined, OneDesk makes sense as a solution for them. With an intuitive way of organizing project work that translates across to helpdesk requests, it’s clear to our client that OneDesk meets their needs now and offers enough flexibility to continue to do so into the future.

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