June 26, 2017

Customer Support Desk (Part 2): Request Management

help-iconIn my last blog entry, I introduced Changepoint as a strong option to automate Support Desk operations. The key decision criteria were summarized. Customers have the option to execute Changepoint on premise or SaaS. Beginning with Request Management, I will describe how these key Changepoint Support Desk elements are used by Support teams to manage global customers.

Changepoint has a built-in Request Management system to record and manage all customer incidents and problems. You can create, process and monitor requests related to the products and services that your organization provides to its customers. The kinds of requests that can be logged include: Support, Feature, Defect, Change and Work, but you can also define your own and then apply an easy-to-configure workflow. Our organization use Support Requests to track all customer and internal reported incidents. We use Feature Requests to maintain a feature ‘wish list’ that populates a queue to be categorized and processed by Product Management. If an incident is declared as a defect, a separate Defect Request is automatically created. Defect Requests are managed by our Development organization and are prioritized and processed when building service packs and major product releases.

Requests are usually submitted by external contacts using the Changepoint Web Client Portal and by enterprise resources using the Changepoint UI in a browser, including mobile devices. Some of our customers use the API interface to create Support Requests from sources such as email or other software applications.


Figure 1 – Configure Client Portal access for external contact

In Figure 1, we have configured an external contact to have Client Portal access during paid maintenance period. This user can submit and review requests, search team folder contents for useful documents contributed by internal and external users. As a workflow participant, the contact will be notified when they are assigned an action step in the workflow.

When a Support Request is created the Initiator provides descriptive information regarding the incident and can attach screenshots, log files, etc. that will help Support diagnose the incident. An associated Engagement record with defined request processing rules determine the SLAs and the appropriate help desk queue to route the request including working days, business hours and time zones. Request escalation occurs if there has been no response or resolution within the escalation time interval set in the service level agreement (SLA). When a request is escalated, it is automatically assigned to the support desk manager.

The request workflow defines the routing and approval process and ensures the appropriate people within our organization are assigned to the request at the right time during the request life cycle. The workflow also includes escalation procedures and email notifications to ensure requests are responded to, and resolved in a timely manner.

blog-pic3In addition to the out-of-box fields on the request, additional configurable fields have been applied to our Changepoint implementation so we can capture information relevant to our specific business requirements.

A chronological record of activities is captured in the request history. History entries are marked for internal viewing only, or exposed to the external contact.

When a Support Request is updated, the Support Analyst is presented with the option to enter time worked on the request, which enables subsequent reporting to measure the cost of requests, and other time-related metrics.

In my next blog entry, I will further describe how we support our customers using our deployment of Changepoint.

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We’ve been serving corporate businesses with professional services software and IT management solutions for more than 20 years. Our flexible and powerful professional services solution enables growth, financial health and improved efficiency for our global customers. It marries professional services automation (PSA), project portfolio management (PPM) and powerful business analytics to provide total operational visibility and control over their strategic business portfolios.