Issue Tracking Software & Web CRM

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Issue Tracking Software: Connect the Dots

The failure of common issue tracking systems

Consider the typical organization... many departments interacting with customers and tracking critical data with independent tracking databases. A crude diagram might look like this:

Typical_Company_Data_Organization

Problems with disconnected issue tracking

It's easy to see how these disconnected issue tracking systems evolve within companies and organizations. A department wants to start tracking system - so they do it. They might use Excel, or sticky notes or an elaborate multi-million dollar issue tracking software system. At first, everyone's happy. Eventually though, folks realize the pitfalls with fragmented systems:

  • Outdated, out-of-sync databases. Key pieces of data are stored in multiple places. Each department has its own customer contact records for example. When the repair department hears from a customer that his address has changed, the repair tech might update the repair tracking software... but he's unlikely to update every database in the organization.
  • Ambush alert: Critical data is not accessible to all stakeholders. For example, the marketing and sales staff would like to have the best possible "view" of the customer. They may have a crude "sales dashboard" in their CRM... but they need more. Much more. Let's say a regional sales rep is about to visit his top client... a client who had 5 repairs in the last month, 3 service calls, and lodged a complaint with the tech support manager. Your sales rep is about to be ambushed.
  • Maintenance effort. Who maintains the repair software? How much effort is required ($$$)? Is repair database being backed up? Will it work as new versions of Windows & web browsers are released? What about the users in the repair system - if someone leaves the company, will someone lock that account?
    That's just one issue tracking system... now multiply that IT/administrative effort across all the tracking systems. Multiple/decentralized issue tracking software systems is expensive to maintain.

That's just a few of the problems. There are more. Many more. Certainly you can name a few that apply to your current organization.

A Better Way: Web-Based Issue Tracking that Connects the Dots

Here's a much better way to manage the data in your organization: rather than many disconnected issue tracking databases combine your data into a single database. With some thought, your data model might look something like this:

Improved_Company_Data_Organization

This is a bit simplified... your real-world database may require some additional tables, connections, and "structure" but it will work for our discussion.  The first thing you'll notice with this system is that the user contact data is centralized in a single table. This way, when a tech support rep alters a customer's email address, the update is applied globally. No more wasted effort maintaining user data in multiple issue tracking databases!

Next, you'll notice that because everything is in a single database, users can get the "big picture" (if permitted). For example, a sales rep could review the past complaints, tech support calls, repairs and requests of his client prior to a site visit. No more being ambushed.

There are several ways to effectively organize your data tracking systems using EnterpriseWizard. With EnterpriseWizard, the implementation process is relatively pain-free and very fast (new issue tracking systems can be brought on-line in less than a week!).  A couple of advantages to creating a single issue tracking system using EnterpriseWizard:

  • You can start small and easily expand as needed. Perhaps you'll start with an online tech support system and later expand it to include customer change request tracking, and field support. Unlike competing systems, you can simply add another tracking table - no charge. With other systems (such as Oracle), you'll be charged for additional products or "modules". See the EnterpriseWizard pricing page for more info.
  • As you add tables of things to be tracked into the web based issue tracking system, you'll be able to add them to the user layout with a simple drag and drop. In the image below, we're viewing the issues tied to a customer. There are tabs at the top of the user record for Contact Information (address, company, etc.), Account Info, Activies, Opportunities and Support Items. We're looking at the Support Items tab which is displaying all the support items for that customer.
EnterpriseWizard_Data_View

EnterpriseWizard - a great way to connect the dots in your organization.