Ticketing systems were - and still are - systems for managing bug reports from users in the IT sector, combined with the capabilities of today's technology. These solutions have been rapidly adopted by other high technology service industries that are relatively close to IT (eg. ICT, banking, insurance and financial sectors) as the management of customer needs in these sectors can be greatly facilitated by the use of a good ticketing system. Of course, ticketing has been used in these industries along with various other customer service solutions to provide appropriate support for less technology-responsive customers.
Open source offerings of ticketing systems are colorful and diverse. There are many great solutions to choose from, but it is always a good idea to consider whether an open source solution provides sufficient operational security for a business - critical system. How much damage can a possible downtime cause you, when there's no vendor to help you? Is it certain that your system administrator will be able to resolve all issues? Is it foreseeable what financial damage will be caused by system downtimes? In addition, open source solutions tend to offer a locally installed solution - either with limited functionality or possibly "freemium" products, the use of which will not bring real benefits at the level of customer service or cost efficiency. Of course, we do not want to discourage anyone from using open source solutions, but if business continuity is of paramount importance - as usual - using open source solutions can pose risks.
Paid solutions, on the other hand, are more costly in the beginning and usually require some regular fees during operation. However, even in the medium term, paid systems can be more cost-effective compared to their open source counterparts by providing guaranteed, contractually agreed availability, quick bug fixes, and on-demand help that keeps the system running smoothly, with little or no chance of downtimes. Hence, customer experience is also enhanced as clients will be ascertained that their issues are being resolved. It is also important that a complete, robust, cloud-based ticketing solution can only be found among paid devices, which is also worth considering when choosing.
In the next few paragraphs, we have collected the main ticketing features that represent a significant business advantage - or lack thereof - especially from a business point of view. The business benefits in this case are based on the technological solutions used, so we are going to focus on them first. Of course all of the below criteria is based on our knowledge and opinion about ticketing systems - feel free to add yours as needed!
In the case of a ticketing system, it is of utmost importance to choose a system that offers a satisfactory answer to the challenges and shortcomings of the IT environment at the level of functionality. Another important consideration is how much workload the implementation of the system, whether locally deployed or cloud-based, puts on the IT team. This is an important criterion not only at cost, but also at the organizational level, since the less human burden the system implementation and usage implies, the less organizational resistance it will have. In terms of features, it is not necessarily important that the system you choose "knows everything", but that the features you need in the future can be conveniently activated with just a couple of clicks as they become necessary.
Moving on with the topic of functionality, I would like to highlight the importance of ticketing automation and process control capabilities. From practice it can be stated that the receipt of each error ticket generates some kind of task within the organization. These may be simpler or more complex chains of activity, but we can definitely say that they will be needed to some extent to solve the problem. Accordingly, a ticketing system that does not handle background ticketing workflows can be characterized as a half-measure rather than an adequate technology solution. If process management can only be done outside of the ticketing system, the customer service team will be overburdened, resulting in higher human resource costs. In addition, a well-parameterized and process-able ticketing system ensures transparent operations and makes ticket management faster, more efficient and customer-centric. The only counter-argument is that such more serious ticketing systems cost slightly more than their "traditional" counterparts, while the human workload reduction demonstrates a reduction in ticketing costs, even at higher technology costs. Hence, a more expensive system can yield higher ROI and at the end of the day it might become cheaper than a "classic" ticketing solution.
Compatibility and integration are intrinsically linked to what was written in the previous section. Today, isolated systems can no longer operate within an organization, since fast and complex operation requires interoperability among systems. Think of how many systems may need data to fully handle an error reporting process? A CRM system, a financial system, or even an HR system as data providers may be needed to manage the ticketing process! Accordingly, we have two choices: either we choose a system that is 100% compatible with existing systems, or we purchase a system that has integration capabilities that allow it to connect to existing systems. Let's be honest: unless we are committed to a supplier from scratch that offers the best solution for each different system - which is unlikely - partial compatibility can be difficult, while full compatibility is almost impossible. Of course, there are connectors that connect some systems at some level, but they are specific - if one of our systems does not have a connector, then compatibility will not be available. Therefore it is most advised to choose a ticketing system which offers a range of integration capabilities.
In order to analyze and improve operational efficiency, it is essential that the ticketing system of your choice can log each error ticket and its associated solution process in a searchable manner. Including documents, notes, or even telephone conversations, SMSs (from the client side) generated during the process so that every single event can be accurately tracked. This way, if any data is needed later on error tickets, they can be easily and quickly found in the system without the need for a long search or loss of any relevant data or documents. Furthermore, all data is linked to a customer and to a certain ticket - therefore it becomes possible to track the entire client lifecycle from the tickets' perspective.
If you are thinking in the long run or do not want to bother with the introduction of a new system in case new functions are needed, then it is advisable to choose a process-based ticketing framework. A special feature of such so called workflow frameworks is that they provide a framework for managing entire processes and process-level provision of ticketing functions, into which any other process can later be integrated. Also, such systems are capable of managing different business processes, say customer management, sales, operations or others. In practice, this means that for example, if you want ticketing and CRM functions to be in a single system, it is enough to implement the sales and other CRM processes in the framework and you will already have a completely new system that can handle processes completely different from ticketing.