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Announcements Special 35th Anniversary Physics Computing
Usage Generalisation of a Problem Report Management System for Problem Tracking in IT Division
Nicole Crémel , IT/User Support
Following the outsourcing of the IT Computing Helpdesk to an external company in 1998 (see related articles in CNL 232, and "Central Computing Helpdesk - Outlines and Strategy" in CNL-2000-001), the Helpdesk has been one of the first units (together with contracted Desktop Support staff) which required the introduction of a professional "Problem Report Management System" in order to keep track of all interventions. The tool was also needed to measure performance of the company according to the "Service Level Agreement" (or SLA) as defined by the contract. At that time CERN had decided to purchase the product which seemed to be the most appropriate and widely used (also used by the AS division), which is the Action Request system proposed by the Remedy Corp. company.
Using the Action Request toolkits from Remedy, Alan Lovell (IT/TS/IR) built in 1999 a problem-tracking application named PRMS (Problem Report Management System). Initially designed for the Desktop Contract, PRMS was extended in 2000 to become a general tracking system, available to all CERN groups and support lines including User Support. User Support was using (until end-2000) another Remedy-based application fully tailored to their needs. This application was abandoned for PRMS in order to use a common problem-tracking environment inside IT. More information on PRMS is available from the Web pages for the Remedy service.
Some users consider such a product as an overhead, making the
dialog between the support service and the user less "human".
Indeed the dialog is fully defined by the system, with mail
templates adapted to the different situations and problem status
Together with the advantage of tracking all user queries in a
unique and central database, for later analysis and searches,
another important point perceived by IT division is to promote
rationalisation of policies that ensure that all user questions
should be treated consistently. In that direction the
"Problem Report Management System" (simply called PRMS)
already used by the Helpdesk and the Desktop Support contract, will
be very soon used by all support lines inside IT division. For this
to be achieved, a new domain "IT Services" has already
been created. Progressively, categories corresponding to all
the different support area in IT will be introduced. Already
"Mass Storage", including AFS, Castor and Tape support and
"PDP" (for system problem on the Unix central servers)
categories are in use.
Very soon, both
Your query has been received and entered into the IT Problem Report Management System (domain ...) with the identification number: CT000... You should receive some feedback or a possible solution soon or you may follow the progress of this case using the URL: http://consult.cern.ch/problem/... Please do not forget to use your ticket number "..." in any further communications related to the same query.In PRMS ticket numbers are always in the form
Please note: The Helpdesk is using PRMS. When users
submit a query directly to the Helpdesk, or any e-mail address that
is mapped to them for a first filtering (e.g.
About the author(s): Nicole Crémel is member of the User Support group in IT, and she is sharing responsibility for the supervision of operations of the Computing Helpdesk. She is also playing a major role in the Remedy (PRMS) coordination for IT division, in collaboration with the Remedy team in TS group.