Tag Archive: Support


So, 8 months since the original post;┬áhttps://tickett.wordpress.com/2017/09/28/tools-to-run-an-it-company/ let’s see what’s changed…

Laptop Upgrades

Our newest laptops are all HP Probook 640 G1; The fourth generation and last to supersede the Elitebook 8440P whilst still fitting the HP docking stations we are using. Sooner or later we will have to bite the bullet and get some newer generation and replace some docking stations.

Printer Upgrade

The Xerox Phaser 6121MFP finally reached the end of days and got upgraded to a Xerox WorkCentre 6515N. Offering much the same features but much newer with more RAM, a faster processor and a few nice bonuses; Active Directory (LDAP) integration and duplex scanning/printing.

Version Control

Our development team have now moved from SVN to GIT. We are using GitLab Community Edition (hosted on-premise). I hope to share some of our practices and customisations soon. We feel GIT provides a more natural integration with Visual Studio and handles our collaboration better.

Support / Helpdesk / Ticket System

Over the Christmas period we wrote our own in-house helpdesk system which better fits our business. This continues to evolve each month and we hope to market it sometime in the future.

There should be a reasonable cost saving moving away from Solarwindows WebHelpDesk but we will be investing a large amount in developing the product and the biggest gains will be realised by the productivity improvements and enforced process/workflows.

Project Management

Once our in-house helpdesk system was live we quickly started work adding project managements features and moved away from Trello and Freedcamp. This will now prevent a lot of duplication previously keeping the disparate systems in sync.

Password Storage

We have now built a simple web based password manager with full and access control which we hope to market in the near future.

Internet Service Provider

After about 18 months of trying, Virgin Media Business has now been installed. The service is significantly poorer than I expected. Whilst we do often manage to achieve 100mb/s+ down and consistently 15mb/s up, the latency is poor (around 30ms) and the way they deliver static IP addresses is ridiculous (and forces you to use their router for the weird gre tunnel, you will need a minimum of 5 static IP addresses, the single IP will be assigned to the router itself and cannot be assigned to your own hardware).

I’m often seriously impressed by cheap (or possibly even free/open-source) alternatives to enterprise software- so decided to look into purchasing some form of support ticket / helpdesk / issue tracking system to help me get on top of things.

I had a fairly small list of requirements:

  • Cheap (I will be the sole user so cannot justify much expense)
  • E-mail Integration (Clients must be able to e-mail support@blah.com and a ticket is automatically created. Updates must then be sent from support@blah.com to the clients)
  • Web based (I need to be able to access from anywhere, any o/s etc)
  • Time tracking (I want to be able to log “time spent” against each update to help with billing)
  • Hosted (It would be nice not to have to host myself and have some form of uptime guarantee and limited level of suppport)

I did a lot of googling and spent quite a bit of time on wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_issue-tracking_systems) and looking at each individual solution. I found a few offerings that I liked:

Help Scout ()

 

  • Free for up to 3 users, 150 tickets/month
  • Brilliant simple, neat effective hosted web front end (and novel concept)
  • Unfortunately it is a little too “simple” and doesn’t offer many features- it really is just notes (no time logging etc)

Zendesk (http://www.zendesk.com)

 

  • Price looked reasonable at first ($9/month/agent for the starter package) but e-mail integration (domain mapping) is only available in the regular and plus+ flavours ($29/month/agents and $59/month/agent respectively)
  • Nice hosted neat interface
  • Good e-mail integration (really like the rules/actions/macros you can setup to streamline/automate workflows)
  • No time tracking (they offer the ability to add custom fields to the ticket but not to individual updates- a bit limiting)

I was still unconvinced and realised I was going to have to compromise on some aspect of the chosen solution. I started looking at products which don’t offer hosted packages or where their host-it-yourself package is considerably cheaper. Nothing excited me until I stumbled across:

Web Help Desk (http://www.webhelpdesk.com)

 

  • Quite pricey for a hosted solution but if hosting yourself free for a single user license- perfect!
  • Excellent e-mail integration
  • Clean modern web interface
  • Ability to track time against individual updates
  • Tons of other features (runs on all platforms, supports multiple database server technologies, reporting etc)

I am now using Web Help Desk! I will treat it like a trial for the first month (I think I will have definitely decided by that time whether it has any serious flaws). After a month I will treat it as a production system!

L

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