All organizations need a way to efficiently deal with the issues and requests raised by their customers and other users of their services. The nature of the issues raised can vary greatly from organization to organization, and even within an organization from month to month and across the range of end users that the IT department supports.
Without an appropriate ticketing system, issues can still be addressed with skill, enthusiasm, and the efforts of committed staff – but these issues will most likely not be dealt with effectively or efficiently. Instead, to ensure that all end-user issues are captured, matched, monitored, and recorded by the IT help desk or service desk a fit-for-purpose ticketing system is required, to support staff skills and enthusiasm in their endeavors.
The answer to the above question, therefore, is “yes”. But that ticketing system has to interface with the organization’s processes, procedures, and employees’ skills and knowledge capabilities. This means some adjustment of processes when a new ticketing system is introduced; new ways of working to learn. It also means ensuring that the ticketing system is configured and established to best support what is good about the existing skills and procedures.
First and foremost, a ticketing system provides a single, integrated mechanism for capturing, monitoring, and reporting on IT issues. This allows for multiple IT and business benefits, including:
All of this will help the IT support organization to better deal with business-affecting IT issues, sometimes even before the real issues are known.
Without a comprehensive ticketing system, all of the above need to rely on individual staff skill, experience, and knowledge. However, the talented staff are without a coordinating system and as such there will not be consistency, and tickets dealt with by one person will not easily provide input for another to solve. This requires the constant “reinvention of the wheel,” instead of rapid reapplication of known solutions and service provision.
The evolution of ticketing systems, support approaches, and end-user expectations have also moved the goal posts for IT support. Although the traditional focus of a ticketing system has been on dealing with incidents, more and more the ticketing system will now be driving service requests and other routine communications with the help desk software or service desk. And modern end users might now expect technology to be their first and favorite communication method, with many end users more comfortable dealing with a smart phone application than with a person via telephone. This is especially true in terms of seeking to establish progress on an issue, where merely an indication that work is ongoing is the message required. This type of communication, driven and supplied via the ticketing system is therefore firmly focused on the future but not possible merely by talented staff and telephone access.
Thus, some might argue that an appropriate ticketing system, and the new capabilities that it can offer, is an essential foundation for an IT support organization’s future. Suitably established and maintained, it can provide the basis for ITIL continual service improvement and also for an organization’s expansion – perhaps into new geographical or logical markets or into new industry sectors. The consistency and communication ability offered allows faster expansion and retention of already established benefits.