The web service for managing repair requests that is web-based are often called “ticketing systems,” because one submits a “help ticket” that summarizes a problem; the ticket is assigned to someone with the skill and network credentials to fix the problem, and notes regarding steps that are taken are added to the ticket. Once the problem is resolved, the ticket is marked “closed,” and the technicians moves on to new assignments.
The value of a fully functioning ticketing system is that it facilitates communications regarding several aspects of managing a large fleet of computer devices:
- Users can report malfunctioning devices with little effort; so the system facilitates communication from users to IT staff. Most IT managers place a link to “create a ticket” in multiple places that computer users frequently visit (the school web page, the LMS, and other portals). In addition, IT managers create an email address, so users can send an email to create a help ticket. Ideally, the ticketing system is part of the collection of tools that use a single sign-on scheme, so the individual who submits the ticket is identified automatically and submitting a ticket does not require on to log on to a different system.
- The technicians can triage malfunctioning devices and decide the best use of their limited resources. While the individual who submits the ticket can usually assign a priority to the repair, the technicians can override those settings, and repairs that will affect a greater number of users or that restore critical systems can be given higher priority.
- A history of each device is maintained. Devices that are troublesome despite repeated repairs are known. Likewise, technicians can track similar problems throughout the fleet. This is particularly helpful when a design or hardware (or software) problem affects the same model; steps taken to resolve a problem on one unit are likely to resolve the same problem on other units. In this point and the previous point, there are examples of how the system facilitated communication within the IT staff.
- Ticketing systems also provide a database on which the inventory can be kept up-to-date. This helps IT professionals understand their fleet and it helps leaders understand the need to plan and budget for replacement devices.
- The total number of repairs performed by technicians and the time they spend on them can be recorded in the ticketing system. This information is used to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the systems, so that support can be improved by refining systems and by supporting those who support IT users. In this point and the previous point, there are examples of how the system facilitated communication between IT staff and school.