“We were using e-mail to manage our help desk and it just wasn’t effective,” said Jack Dempsey, IT manager of Johnson Crushers International Inc., an Astec Company that manufactures rock crushing and screening equipment. “We were losing service requests and our customers wanted visibility into the resolution of their issues. We needed a better way.”
Among Dempsey’s requirements for a solution was ITIL compliance. The company was also approaching its first Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) audit and had not yet developed a system to meet documentation guidelines.
“I was looking for an automated solution that was ITIL-compliant, would assist us in managing our help desk workload, give our customers visibility into the status of their service requests, and enable us to meet our SOX requirements,” he said. “I wanted one system that could do it all.”
“I wanted one system that could do it all.”
Dempsey spent four months searching for a solution that was within his budget and met all of his requirements.
“I installed, talked to and sat through web demos for dozens of help desk software solutions,” said Dempsey. “They were either not very feature-rich and within our price range, or they were abundant with features at too high a price.”
In the end, Dempsey narrowed the list down to two products, one of which was Issuetrak.
“We actually bought the other product because it was more ITIL-compliant at the time, but it turned out to be too complicated. They wanted to send out an engineer from the U.K. to install it, which I declined. After a month of trying, we still couldn’t use it, so I sent the product back and said ‘no thanks.’”
“I immediately went back to Issuetrak, and was pleased to find they had worked to meet our ITIL compliance needs. The next day, I downloaded the software and within a couple of hours we had it up and running, and were configuring it to our environment,” he said.
Dempsey rolled the system out internally for a trial period, and after two weeks felt confident enough in Issuetrak that he released it to a select group of customers for testing.
“After three days, we got such positive feedback we made the decision to roll Issuetrak out company-wide and to our entire customer base,” said Dempsey. “Now, our customers can go in any time they want and review the status of their service request. We’ve even opened it up so they can see all of the service requests in our queue and know what kind of IT workload we have.”
In addition to helping customers, Dempsey says his internal end-users have really embraced Issuetrak.
“It’s an easy program, and that’s probably the biggest thing I like about it. Our end-users don’t want something complicated. In fact, one of the comments I’ve received is that it is actually easier to use than e-mail, but it goes beyond to give us all the information we need,” he said.
The company has taken advantage of Issuetrak’s Active Directory Integration feature, which allows for seamless access to user data from within their Microsoft Active Directory.
“It’s really nice because we don’t have to create another user account. It makes it much easier to administrate on the IT back end and users don’t have to log into another system. It’s all done automatically,” Dempsey said.
According to Dempsey, Johnson Crushers has experienced many benefits from using Issuetrak, including greater efficiency and happier customers. But the biggest benefit has been in SOX compliance.
“SOX requires us to complete certain tasks, such as conducting system health status reports and reviewing firewall logs, and then documenting that we’ve done them. By using the recurring issues feature in Issuetrak, we’ve created these tasks as ‘issues,’ and set them to automatically prompt us. When we’ve checked the back-up log, for example, we can attach it as our proof and it gets recorded,” Dempsey explained.
“The auditors really appreciate it, and since implementing Issuetrak, we’ve seen a nearly 15% time reduction in our IT audits so we’re paying less.”
Even managing internal workflow has become easier, according to Dempsey.
“Issuetrak has helped us standardize our responses to pre-configured issues, such as user permission changes, new user account creation and e-mail groups. Now the auditors can see who issued the request, who approved it, and who created the change,” he said.
“We’ve even expanded Issuetrak to our technical publications department for issuing bulletins. If there’s a special notice or change in procedure, the person responsible for approving the bulletin now receives it as an ‘issue,’” explained Dempsey. “It speeds up the process and helps with accountability, so it doesn’t sit on someone’s desk for three weeks. Since it’s all in Issuetrak, the filing cabinets we used to use are no longer needed.”
Issuetrak has been such a success at Johnson Crushers that Dempsey says they’re in the middle of expanding its usage to the accounting department, which will be managing its own SOX compliance with the software.
“One of the SOX guidelines says that any person who orders or sells does not have the capability to change master records. To raise a customer’s credit limit, for example. By using Issuetrak, we have an audit trail showing where the modification request came from, what was changed, and who made the change,” he said.
“Now the maintenance department wants it,” Dempsey chuckled. “It’s great though, because we won’t have to install another application and train new users, and we can roll it into our standard licensing structure.”
“Issuetrak is one of the best tools that I’ve ever found for the cost. You could spend thousands of dollars more and get a solution with all the bells and whistles, but I don’t think you would use it as much as you use Issuetrak. We’re using 85-95% of the application, and we use it in ways it was never even meant.”
“Issuetrak is one of the best tools that I’ve ever found for the cost.”