Engineering encompasses a wide range of fields such as Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical, Software, Aerospace and more. Though each discipline has its own set of responsibilities, planning projects is a standard process in all engineering sectors. These projects are often complex and require precise planning to complete within time and budget. Apart from that, task dependency is another challenging aspect of engineering projects and can only be resolved through proper scheduling and constant communication between all parties. Therefore it is imperative to invest in a robust system that eliminates the need for multiple applications and provides versatile solutions.
OneDesk is a combination of HelpDesk and Project Management in one application. With OneDesk, you can support your clients and manage projects without the need to purchase, learn, integrate, and switch between multiple applications. OneDesk’s helpdesk and ticketing system serves as a CRM and allows you to manage tickets, maintain a knowledge base to answer questions, and create automations to eliminate manual work. In terms of project management, OneDesk enables you to create tasks and organize them into projects or portfolios, which can then be assigned to your team members and tracked in multiple viewing layouts.
In this panel, you can create projects and portfolios. These portfolios act as containers for your projects. Portfolios can be titled according to the customer name, client organization, the project type, or the departments in your operation managing the assigned projects.
For example, Absolute Technologies receives multiple quotation requests from clients for different products. Therefore it makes sense for them to create a portfolio titled Request for Quotations. The portfolio contains numerous projects, and each project is named after the products that the company designs. In this case, the client requested a quote for the Condensing Unit and provided the Technical Specifications for the product as well as Delivery Date and Installation Location. This information enables the Engineering Manager to move to Phase 2 of the project.
Based on the request, you can organize the projects related to their respective portfolios. You can then monitor how the projects are progressing in this specific portfolio.
In each of these projects, you will be able to view the client support request & planned assignments using the Tickets and Tasks applications.
Client communication is an essential part of successfully carrying out engineering projects. It is necessary to respond to questions and requests to meet the demands of your client or partner. Whether your client chose to engage with you via email, live chat or web forms, OneDesk captures the customer records and categorizes the requester of the ticket according to their organization in the customer application.
Your client communication will generate tickets in your ticket application. Tickets require immediate attention and can be resolved right away. In OneDesk, you can capture tickets in multiple ways.
The first way is by auto-forwarding your support email to the email address found here. When a client sends an email to your support email address, OneDesk will capture that email and generate a ticket. All the critical information in the email will be captured on the ticket.
The second way is by receiving a client request through the live chat application from your website. OneDesk’s live chat application is a customer-facing application that allows your clients to get in touch with your support engineers in real time.
Your clients can attach multiple files via the messenger app, enabling your team to access important documents instantly. The livechat application is highly configurable. You can customize the chat window with your logo, add company colours and include a BOT avatar to offer client support around the clock.
Once the client messages you via live chat, your team members can view this in their Messenger application, reply, and create the ticket from the conversation. In doing so, OneDesk links the ticket and conversation together, enabling your team to view all the necessary data from one platform.
The third way is through completing webforms in the portal. The webforms allow you to capture all necessary information to quickly resolve your client’s request or question. By making use of webforms you can reduce the number of emails received during the day. Once submitted, your clients can communicate with your team members and review their tickets.
Your clients can then check the progress of their support ticket through the portal system and communicate with you in case of questions or problems. With OneDesk you can provide transparency by displaying necessary updates in the portal such as percentage complete, planned start and more. Additionally, you can control what your clients can see and provide role-based access to handle confidential information. You can also enable viewing options for clients to filter tickets according to ticket request type, the project it belongs to, and more.
The default web form looks like this.
Webforms allow you to control the kind of information that you receive from your clients. To customize this webform, click here. You will be able to set certain fields as required, rename existing fields, and add additional fields, including custom fields.
For example, you can create a webform for clients who may inquire about your services and submit a quotation request for a product or service. In that case, they can navigate to your customer portal and select the webform titled ‘Request for Quotation (RFQ).’ You can then add the standard or customized fields to capture the appropriate information needed to resolve the ticket. You can also configure these fields to be required to ensure all necessary information is captured. [show how to add custom fields in OneDesk]. Once your client completes the selected webform, you will generate a ticket in your Ticket application in OneDesk.
The ticket allows you to see the details that were filled out on the webform. You can then assign this ticket to a specific individual, team or department. OneDesk allows you to assign multiple team members and departments to a ticket. However, you can eliminate manually assigning teams through automating the process.
OneDesk can automate your workflow and eliminate any manual intervention to route tickets to the appropriate team or project. With OneDesk’s Workflow Automations, you can route items to teams and projects, auto-reply to clients, add custom notifications, and much more.
Engineering companies have multiple departments that rely on one another to successfully complete projects. Therefore it is critical to assign tickets based on a team’s expertise so other departments can take the finish to finish approach to eliminate any inefficiency. This is why it makes sense to utilize OneDesk Workflow Automations to set up auto-assignments to maximize productivity. The way to do this is by navigating to your administration settings and clicking on the ticket tab.
You can create new workflow automations or edit an existing one. For instance, if a potential client submits an inquiry about Product Warranty Issues, you can route this ticket to the support engineers and rotate between users each time a new ticket is created. An evenly distributed ticket rotation will allow you to provide the best service to your clients.
You can also create automations to change the lifecycle status of your tickets. In doing so, you can get an idea of what tasks are currently being worked on vs the completed tasks.
Communication is critical for agile projects. Engineers rely on communication to collaborate with different departments within the organization as well as clients who provide them with constant feedback until project completion. At OneDesk, we understand that communication strengthens relationships with your clients. Therefore it is necessary to follow up on emails and provide your clients with the 24/7 support that they need.
If clients want to follow-up on their ticket, they can either respond via email or create conversations directly from the portal. This message will appear in the messenger and will also be linked to that specific ticket.
Your colleagues can reply to this existing conversation to communicate with the end-user or create internal messages for their team members.Internal conversations are hidden from your clients as it is displayed as an ‘Internal Reply’.
By typing the @username or @departmentname, you can get your message across to expert team members or departments who are best fit to answer your questions. The messenger application allows your team to carry out your daily correspondences and reduces the long response time associated with emails. The messenger application is especially effective as it encourages prompt reply and eliminates delaying resolutions that are needed for the success of the project.
Additionally, clients can also initiate engagement through the Livechat application feature in OneDesk. The live chat enables your clients to send attachments and carry out conversations in real-time. Since chat formats are instantaneous in nature, questions or problems can be resolved immediately by your team members. Apart from that, OneDesk’s live chat feature timestamps the conversation, which helps your team check conversation time in case of any dispute.
Engineering companies work on several projects at the same time. These projects are complex and are heavily dependent on client feedback. Therefore these projects need to be continuously updated until the client signs off for production. In OneDesk, you can break down the project into simple tasks. Tasks highlight the project management side of OneDesk and can be defined as work that requires careful planning and execution. In OneDesk, you can convert a ticket into a task or simply create a new task in the Task application. Next, let’s take a look at the project management side of OneDesk.
As all projects are billed by engineering hours and production hours, the engineering teams need to complete their timesheets. The project managers can log their time on tasks in OneDesk and enter the percentage complete of the assigned tasks. Work is logged by creating a timesheet or running a task timer. When submitting a timesheet, you fill out how much work was done, the current status of this item, percentage complete, etc.
OneDesk task forms include a series of lifecycle statuses that change due to several actions. For instance, once your team member adds percentage complete, communicates with the client or waits for the client’s response, OneDesk automatically switches between the appropriate lifecycle statuses. These lifecycle statuses are configurable; you can add, rename or delete the existing statuses, change colours and even add automations to eliminate redundant work for your team members. Lifecycle statuses help your project managers to understand what tasks are completed and what steps they need to take to quickly finish the projects in time.
Designing and building HVAC systems require multiple steps. For instance, the first step would be to have the scope in place. The scope provides design considerations and recommendations specific to locations. After reviewing the scope, the engineer will carry out load calculation and then move on to designing the system. Once the system design is complete, engineers will prepare the design for ductwork and then make selection for the appropriate equipment for the building team and also write the control philosophy for the electrical engineering team.
In OneDesk, you can create a project for such programs and break down the project into simple tasks. You can then assign these tasks to your expert team members or departments, who are best qualified to expedite the process.
As the project engineers work closely with the electrical engineering team, it is important to collaborate about each step of the project. For instance, the project engineer will have to send the control philosophy document to the electrical engineer who will then use it to program how the system components are controlled. Similarly, each step may require collaboration or assistance from another team. In OneDesk, you can carry out conversations from the task forms. This enables you to engage with all parties and helps you make decisions unilaterally. Apart from carrying out conversations, you can also attach and send important folders to multiple individuals or teams, allowing them to locate the attachments and download them into their computers quickly.
You can organize your tasks inside the project structure or add them to different folders or portfolios within the project. You could create a project template for similar recurring projects, such as the HVAC System Controls. In doing so, the electrical engineering team can simply clone the project each time they work on similar projects. [show them] That way, you can have an existing template in place, each time you work on these projects. It is especially useful since you have the option to select the items and properties you wish to copy from the original project to the clone project.
OneDesk offers viewing layouts and filters that enable you to monitor and track the progress of the projects and tasks.
Gantt charts consist of horizontal bars that indicate a project’s schedule on a horizontal timeline. Each bar represents a task with the left end of the bar indicating the start date of the task, and the right end of the bar displaying the task’s finish date. In OneDesk we have two types of gantt charts: The task-level gantt (where the bars represent tasks), and the project-level gantt (where the bars represent projects). You can link tasks to create task dependencies to lead your team members to finish one task before starting the next. Once the tasks are linked together, OneDesk will calculate the critical path and provide your team with the overall project length. You can also add date constraints to prevent a task being scheduled at a later date. The Gantt Chart also shows you your planning vs your actual work. The blue bars denotes your planning, while the green bar represents the actual time logged by your team. Having the blue bar next to the green bar helps you to visually compare how well you’ve planned your project hours.
Additionally, you can also utilize the other standard views in OneDesk to manage your tasks based on your needs:
The Tree view arranges tickets or tasks in a hierarchy.
The Flat view shows the tickets and tasks without the hierarchy structure.
The Status board arranges all the tasks by their lifecycle statuses. You can drag and drop the task to change its status.
The Calendar view displays all the tasks’ schedules to keep you informed when a task is due.
The Dashboard organizes all the tickets in the form of graphs and pie charts. These charts can be downloaded in different formats. You can use the charts for your reports and presentations for your clients.
In OneDesk, you can create all the views you need to help you manage your tickets and tasks. My Views allow you to customize views according to your requirements. To create your personalized views, you need to select a layout and add filters, groups and columns.
You can create a custom filter to view all tasks assigned to the Document Control team. That way you can check all the drawing revisions and documentation that are currently in progress.
Whether you are creating reports for your clients or providing insights to the management, you can extract data and create reports in OneDesk using pre-created templates or customizing your own. These reports can be downloaded in Excel sheets and PDFs and emailed to your team to keep everyone updated.
Timesheet reports are crucial in the engineering business. Clients are billed on engineering, project management, production, testing, installation and commissioning hours. Therefore it is important to keep track of timesheets to maintain project hours. In some cases, engineering firms sign contracts that have a Not to Exceed clause, which forces them to submit timesheets and equipment material cost to their clients.
OneDesk allows you to create timesheet reports, which are CSV files that can be imported in Microsoft Excel. These reports are data records of timesheet properties presented in a tabular data format. Item name, priority, billing type, requester name are some necessary information that can be shown within the timesheet reports. However, other critical information, such as the percentage completed, can be displayed for internal reporting. OneDesk timesheet application allows the administrator to delve deeper when creating reports. Therefore timesheet reports could exhibit internal data such as assignee name, the appointed team and more.
It is important to present accurate financial reports to your clients. With OneDesk, you can easily integrate with accounting services such as QuickBooks and Freshbooks and complete all your work in one platform. You can also create more in-depth reports in OneDesk.
With OneDesk, you can complete all your tasks in one platform. OneDesk’s built-in integration enables you to integrate with file hosting services such as Dropbox and Box, or secure authentication software such as OKTA. Additionally, OneDesk’s Zapier plugin helps you seamlessly integrate with 2000 + applications.
You may be wondering how all parties can stay up to date. By default, email notifications go out to the ticket followers for any status change or message you send. Similarly, your clients can look for updates in their customer portal, and additional notifications with Workflow Automations can be established.
OneDesk has all the capabilities to streamline your workflow. With OneDesk, you can capture, automate, manage and track your support tickets, allowing you and your team to take the necessary measures to resolve the problem immediately. With OneDesk’s project management features, you can assign work to the appropriate team and track your projects’ progress in multiple viewing layouts.
Your team members can submit their timesheets for all their work, enabling you to better manage your hours. In addition, OneDesk also helps to keep your clients in the loop. Through customer applications such as web forms and customer portals, your clients can contact you with specific requests, eliminating the problems associated with long email threads. Additionally, with OneDesk’s knowledge base, clients can access self-service articles, which reduces your ticket load significantly.