At a local basketball game recently, a mutual friend inquired about my profession. When I said that I work at Ilient, I was greeted by a blank look in return. I added, "IT and Customer Service Help Desk Software," to which our friend rather helpfully replied, "Oh, like SysAid?"
I had to explain my laughter. It was a telling response indeed.
Over the years, our flagship product has grown so much that the SysAid brand has come into a life of its own in the minds of many of our customers. We now believe that the time has come to officially merge the SysAid product, brand and company into a unified whole, as we step up to the next level to greet the future of SysAid.
It is with great pleasure that I announce the new company name to replace Ilient Ltd., SysAid Technologies Ltd. The change reflects the evolution of SysAid, from our past as Ilient, to the strong foundations of SysAid today, and beyond, towards our broader vision for SysAid Technologies in the future.
I'd like to welcome you to this landmark event in SysAid's history, and the launch of our new SysAid Technologies website.
We are also excited to continue our SysAid Flash Tutorial Series, a program that began last month to great success. These visual demonstrations show you how to accomplish important tasks through easy, user-friendly steps. These tutorials are part of our ongoing effort to make SysAid as practical and intuitive as possible, so stay tuned to simplify the SysAid learning experience.
Finally, we are pleased to announce the release of SysAid 6.0.9, a minor release which resolves over 70 bugs that were discovered in the release of SysAid 6.0. This is a recommended upgrade that will enhance the functionality of SysAid 6.0. As always, we are happy to receive your feedback.
Our future newsletters will be emailed from this address, so make sure that your spam filter allows you to receive messages from the new domain. That way you can keep up with exciting SysAid news in the months to come.
When she's not ATV 4-wheeling or camping in the rugged outdoors with her family, SysAider of the Month and IT veteran of 13 years Michelle Urffer is busy forging a path through the wilds of IT and championing the end user experience in Consolidated Services Group, Inc. With 385 users and more than 500 IT assets, she describes how SysAid's Asset Management, software tracking and report capabilities have kept her firmly in the driver's seat across all IT terrains.
Michelle Urffer, Assistant Vice President, Infrastructure Manager Consolidated Services Group Inc., USA
Your high end user focus has made quite an impression here at SysAid. What, in your experience, sets some Help Desk software apart from the rest in the eyes of the customer?
There are a few key things. First, is the software user friendly? A user is likely to already be frustrated when entering a ticket, so a difficult software package will just make the situation worse. Also, if they don't feel comfortable with the application, they will be reluctant to use it. Secondly, does the software keep the user informed? Our end-users just want to be kept in the loop with their requests. They are happy to find out when a ticket is assigned to an administrator, as they know someone is working on their request and it isn't just sitting unopened. It's also great that an automatic email is sent when a ticket is closed. The more information given to the user, the better.
Could you tell us about some of the ways you have enhanced SysAid to improve the overall end-user experience?
We customized the End-User Portal to fit our requirements, by including and removing fields based on the categories selected by the end-user. That way, we were only getting the most relevant information. We also had multiple training sessions with our managers and staff members. In these training sessions, we stressed to our end-users that we wanted to customize this software package for them. The more feedback we got, the better we could make their experience.
You also participated in the SysAid Certification Program. What was your experience of the program, and what was the most useful aspect of the course?
It was very helpful. I learned a great deal about what SysAid was able to do for myself and my company. Sarah's explanation of service request statuses was especially useful. She used a great analogy about a train and train station, which made me rethink the way I currently had our statuses set up. She made me realize that the more statuses we set up, the better, as they are like 'stops' along the way. The more specific they are, the more transparent the process is for staff and end-users, as they don't just see that a ticket is open, they also see exactly what is being done with the ticket.
Which SysAid Community sub-forums and topics do you visit most frequently, and why?
I usually start out under 'Recent Topics'. I like to see what is currently going on and if there are any topics that I can help out with. I spent a great deal of time on the Beta Issues forum when 6.0 came out. I was very excited about this release and wanted to upgrade right away. This forum was extremely helpful in that process. Other than that, I also head to the Asset Management and Helpdesk forums to see what tips I can pick up. SysAid forums are a great place to go to learn. There's a whole community of SysAid users out there who are ready to help anyone who needs a question answered.
How did you first discover SysAid?
I had been looking for a centralized Help Desk software package to service our multiple locations. We had tested many applications and just couldn't find the right fit for our company needs. Some were over-priced, some too complex and some just didn't have enough features. We came across the SysAid Free Edition, installed it and were impressed right off the bat with its features. I was even happier when I found out the cost. Compared to other applications, SysAid has a great deal of options and a low ticket cost. I was easily able to fit this into my IT budget.
You tested SysAid in your development environment a number of times before recommending it. What were your findings?
The top requirements we had for a Help Desk software package were as follows: (1) Ease-of-use (2) User Notification (3) Cost and (4) Asset Management. SysAid fit all of these. First, the software was easy to implement, easy to navigate and didn't over complicate the process. Having the End-User Portal also allowed us to keep the end-users involved throughout the entire process for both past and active tickets. Thirdly, the cost of the SysAid Full Edition software package compared to many others was very appealing. It made it very easy for me to sell my CIO on the software package. And lastly, but most importantly, we found the Asset Management module was packed with useful features. Now, for example, I can easily track where IT equipment is and where it has been. Also, the ability to see every software package installed on each PC drastically saves time when our software contracts (Microsoft etc.) are up for renewal.
Could you describe what some of the main organizational benefits of using SysAid have been so far?
One of the main problems we had was duplicate service requests being sent to multiple administrators, resulting in inefficient waste of valuable IT time. We are now able to catch these duplicates, saving us a lot of time and IT resources. Another problem I had was simply tracking my staff's use of time. Without a ticket tracking system, I didn't have any reports to help me gauge if I was properly staffed. SysAid has now given me that ability. Finally, it has improved accountability. Administrators are expected to follow through and close their assigned requests as quickly as possible. At times, tickets are delayed when an end-user is unavailable to answer questions or provide more information. Our ticket statuses now show exactly when the ticket is in the administrator's or end-user's hands.
And what has been the feedback from administrators and users?
So far it has been very positive. My staff now has a central place to keep track of all their tasks. As I mentioned earlier, we had a problem with duplicate requests. Now administrators can clearly see any duplicate tickets that come in, and link it to the original ticket to ensure that no time is wasted. From the enduser's perspective, SysAid is also a great tool to track their service requests. They know what is being worked on and who is working on it, and are informed by email of any changes to their tickets. I am finding this is the key to making sure our users are happy.
What are some of the most useful SysAid modules and features that continue to assist in your day-to-day IT challenges?
My favorite is the Asset Management module. We needed the ability to track our equipment, as items would move from one department to another and then we could not locate them. SysAid makes asset tracking so much easier. I also love the software tracking ability, as I handle all of our software licensing contracts. In the past, when a contract was due for renewal, I would spend days or even weeks manually gathering all of the licensing information per department. Now with SysAid, I can simply customize a report to help me gather the counts, broken down by departments, which has reduced that time to just minutes.
What, in your experience, have been some of the challenges or benefits of working in a largely male-dominated IT industry?
I personally haven't faced too many challenges in this respect. I have been fortunate to work with the same company for the past 13 years. When I first started here, we had only 3 IT staff members and now we have a group of 20+. Since I have grown with the company, I have always felt that I was just part of the team. Gender hasn't played a role in that, as we all respect each other.
What are your hobbies?
My family and I enjoy the outdoors. We often go camping and 4-wheeling with our ATV's. Anything that involves nature and being outside is what makes me happy.
Finally, if you were offered an all expenses paid holiday anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Great question! I would love to do an African Safari. I would love to be surrounded by the amazing wild life of the Serengeti.
Consolidated Services Group, Inc. has more than 25 years experience in the Medical Claims Management industry, and provides Managed Care, Utilization Review and a proprietary PPO to auto liability, general liability and workers' compensation insurers. All services are delivered through its integration technology platform, MEDLOGIX®.
Could you be next SysAider of the Month?
Only one way to find out! Simply fill in our quick 2-minute Application Form, for your chance to win a sensational SysAid prizes and more. Award categories include: SysAid Moderator, Community Contributor, Loyal SysAider, Internal Promoter and SysAid Evangelist. Don't miss out!
Internal SysAid Campaign
Reward your Internal SysAid Achievers
Morten Braüner from Elstock A/S in Denmark has a few bright ideas that will send your admins and end-users racing to the top to use SysAid...
SysAid Award Certificates
Generate recognition and rewards for the most outstanding SysAid end-users and administrators in your organization. "It started as a little joke in the IT department, but then became a huge success for getting people to report their problems in SysAid instead of trying to phone or email first."
SysAid Wall Charts
Morten also offers a creative strategy to keep administrators and end-users informed about the activities of their IT department. "I use the reporting tool in SysAid to export data to Excel, and make some graphs and statistics to hang up."
Convert the latest SysAid charts and graphs into creative colour posters, to let your organization know about IT department achievements and the great work your administrators are up to.
Morten reports... "I wanted to get rid of the idea that many of our end-users have that SysAid is just another 'useless' application that the IT department imposes on them. We've had some failures in the past with other software, and this has somewhat damaged the trust in IT. We're trying to let them know that SysAid is a professional way to manage IT, and help them feel that SysAid actually works."
What Works for You?
Thanks to Morten Braüner for these fantastic internal promotion tips. Have you implemented some great ideas of your own to reinforce SysAid in your organization? Share them with us at SysAid Marketing Communications.
A Tip for Out of Office Administrators
From Sarah Lahav, Head of SysAid Customer Service and Support
For many of you, summer has arrived, and with the heat comes the opportunity for all you IT professionals to take some time off for vacation. In the spirit of summer, I'd like to discuss a helpful SysAid feature that will help you manage your day-to-day tasks without having to repeatedly reconfigure SysAid to reflect the staff that is currently available.
As you know, you have set up routing rules in your SysAid configuration that enable you to automatically route different tasks to specified administrators simply by selecting the SR category.
Now, in the event that members of the IT staff are out of the office, you don't need to redefine the routing rules settings to reflect staff changes.
You simply need to ask the administrators that will be unavailable to define themselves as "Out of the Office" with the Out of Office feature.
Using the feature is simple:
In the main screen, select Preferences from the dropdown list of menu options.
Choose My Settings.
Select the Out of Office checkbox.
Choose or enter the name of an alternative administrator.
Without having to change the routing rules, SysAid will now forward your open service requests to the selected administrator, and during the time that you are away, all of your service requests will be automatically reassigned to an available administrator.
When you return to the office, all you need to do is uncheck the Out of Office checkbox.
As they say, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Did you know that Windows Vista has a built-in Snipping Tool for capturing parts of your screen? This conveniently allows you to illustrate a particular screen shot without having to search for the words that describe what you see.
It can be found under:
Start --> All Programs --> Accessories --> Snipping tool
Just add it to your taskbar so you can simply launch it from any screen. Once activated, it freezes your current view and allows you to select a specific part of the screen. Once selected, you even have basic editing options, such as marking and highlighting. You can then easily copy it to your clipboard for pasting in Word, Powerpoint or any other application, or email it directly.
Remember, with just a few clicks, you can add this and other handy Knowledgebase posts to your SysAid. We're here to help each other, so feel free to visit the SysAid Knowledgebase to spread your handy hints and gather more tricks of the trade.
SysAid Flash Tutorials
Welcome to our NEW SysAid Flash Tutorial Series!
Introducing the next generation SysAid 'How To' User Guide...
Our brand new SysAid Flash Tutorials are a series of bite-sized online visual demonstrations designed to help you quickly and easily learn about a wide range of SysAid functions and feature innovations.
Every month, we'll uncover a new area of SysAid, and take you on a basic, step-by-step 'How To' tour of each featured capability. We'll simplify your SysAid learning experience, so you can get started right away!
Check out this July's SysAid Quick List Flash Tutorial. In just 3 minutes, you'll find out how to enable auto-population of service request fields for common problems, and save both your end-users and administrators valuable time.
We also invite you to view last month's Flash Tutorial and stayed tuned for what's to come. The learning never stops here at SysAid...
Hottest Posts from the SysAid Community
Calling All Gamers!
Let's lighten IT up this month! July's hottest thread, opened by Haim in SysAid Support begins:
"Like we're not already spending enough time near the computer as IT guys, some of us also play video games...
What is your favorite game?
Played an interesting game recently?
How many hours do you play per week?"
Here's just some of the hot (or not) games being discussed right now:
Soul Caliber III - "Great story, great 3D."
Marvel: Raise of the Imperfects - "Cool fighting arena and the ability to throw things at each other"
Fallout 3 - "Absolute masterpiece, although it almost took my MacBook PRO to its limits"
World of Warcraft - "Amazing game, both if you like the social experience or if you like competing with other people PvP."
Are you a fan of Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 2, RailRoad Tycoon 2, Warzone 2100, HALO 3 on X-Box, or BIOSHOCK?
Then get in there and have your say! Check out this month's hottest community post 'Gamers'.
There's never a dull moment in our SysAid Community. Why not take a break, and join in on the exciting action this month?
SysAid Poll of the Month: What's the secret to success in your IT department?
All you successful IT professionals, we want to know: what's your secret? Are you the dedicated perfectionist always ready to go the extra mile, burning the midnight candle long after the office has emptied? Is it your deft ability to diagnose and repair the complex IT issues that are so vital to ensuring user satisfaction? Do you turn heads as the creative visionary that imagines the world of possibilities out there in the IT universe? Or do you ease your way into management's good graces by chatting about weekend plans and complimenting the undeniable cuteness of your boss' children? Now's the time to be honest - and give yourself a little pat on the back, because you know you're good!
What's the secret to success in your IT department?
As IT buffs, it's hardly surprising that out of the 18 or so waking hours we have a day, the majority (50%) of SysAiders spend up to 15 hours a day in front of the computer screen. 11% of SysAiders reported using a computer for over 15 hours each day, leaving less than 3 hours of "unplugged" time!