SharePoint Issue Tracking solutions

What is Issue Tracking system?

The IT infrastructure of almost any modern enterprise requires a special environment to track and manage user requests. Such systems are used primarily in the areas of deals processing, technical support, bug tracking, etc.

In fact, such an environment is a software product or web-based application that provides the following basic functionality:

  • you can add requests/issues;
  • you can assign a person who is responsible for the processing and solution of a particular request;
  • you can set and change the request status (new, is being resolved, closed, etc.);
  • you can configure additional parameters of the request (set the due date of the response, set priority, leave comments, create and configure notifications, etc.).

Advanced issue tracing systems makes it also possible to consider the time and efficiency of operators’ work, group and filter requests by various parameters, consider the dependence of the request on other requests, build a knowledge base on the basis of processed requests, etc.

The most sophisticated and functional solutions are often able to communicate with other systems for obtaining additional data or coordinating all phases of the work. For example, issue-tracking systems used in the software development may be related to version control systems, source code repositories, specialized knowledge bases, etc.

Thus, the most advanced issue tracking systems allow you, in addition to the above basic functionality, to do the following:

  • monitor the current state of requests and provide statistics on them;
  • save and systemize data accumulated in the result of request processing (maintain knowledge base or Wiki);
  • set user permissions, assign roles to them;
  • support customizable notification system;
  • and much more.

Issue Tracking in SharePoint

In SharePoint, issue tracking process is implemented using a standard SharePoint Issue Tracking list.

SharePoint Issue Tracking list
New issue form in SharePoint Issue Tracking list

The main idea of SharePoint Issue Tracking list is to enable consecutive comments during the processing of the original request and tracking the corresponding chain – who and when commented on, what actions have been taken, how and when the issue was resolved.

For example, a user had left a request for technical support, after which various technical support specialists communicated with the user by phone at different times. At the same time, after each conversation, an employee of technical support left a comment for the given issue – what exactly he was talking to the user about and at what stage the solution is now. Accordingly, any other employee of tech support could easily follow all the previous steps communicating with the user.

SharePoint Issue Tracking list provides some opportunities for optimization of the request processing, thus, you can assign categories and priorities for requests, set processing time, assign a responsible person, email notifications on the request creation or change of its status.

It is possible to use a Three-State Workflow, for example, to coordinate the request status in case of its processing by different subdivisions.

SharePoint Issue Tracking list does not provide the feature for the creation of a knowledge base, but has a useful capability for associating a new request with the existing one, which makes it possible to offer a typical solution for the request.

HarePoint solution for issue tracking in SharePoint

HarePoint introduced HarePoint HelpDesk for SharePoint. Of course, the field of usage of the helpdesk solution is much more wide than issue tracking software (it is possible to say that issue tracking is a part of helpdesk), the product thus provides all mentioned capabilities intrinsic to the issue tracking solution.

HarePoint HelpDesk request options pane
HarePoint HelpDesk request options pane

The screenshot of request properties shows the following functional features of the product:

  1. Current status of the request.
    In this example we see that the request is open, i.e. is being processed.
  2. Request creation mode.
    This request has been created through a web form on the site and has been developed in the form of a message chain. Various editions of HarePoint HelpDesk offer different modes of the request creation and support, more information can be found on the page of product editions comparison.
  3. Request priority.
    In this case it is determined as low.
  4. Information about the participants of the discussion.
    The roles of participants are listed right there: Support representative and User. The request can be reassigned.
  5. Due date for problem solution.
    In block “Request activity”, in addition to information about the time and date of the request creation and its last modification, due date for issue resolving can be set.

Mechanism of e-mail notifications is implemented at the highest degree. First, the responsible person will be notified of all new requests. Second, when the request is assigned to someone, the new responsible person will be notified of it. All participants of the discussion are notified of new messages/comments, or change in the request status. Finally, if the due date for issue resolving is determined, the system will notify of that this period is close to expiry or has already expired. All notifications are customizable.

HarePoint HelpDesk provides dashboards and reports that allow you to quickly check the current status of requests and efficiency of the technicians’ work. «Standard edition» of the product provides a broad support of the Knowledge Base: the capability of using materials from the knowledge base to resolve typical issues, with it, filling of the base by the results of successfully resolved issues.

Thus, HarePoint HelpDesk contains all the necessary functionality for creation and maintenance of a full issue tracking system in the SharePoint environment. It is important to note that there are few issue tracking solutions working directly on the platform of SharePoint (in comparison to other platforms or independent solutions). On the other hand, in the case of HarePoint HelpDesk, issue tracking system is an integral part of the corporate helpdesk, suitable for use both in the corporate intranet and also for servicing requests of outside users.

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