Help for the Help Desk: BridgeTrak
Keep track of support requests with one of these packages.
I remember sitting around a conference table with a handful of developers
and support technicians talking about features we could add to our internal
help desk application. We had been using an application originally developed
with Microsoft Access 95 for that many years with little or no updating.
It had served its purpose well, but as our customer base grew, our little
internal application began to expose its deficiencies. When I started
to use BridgeTrak by Kemma Software, two things happened. The first was
that I was a little disappointed in the interface because it was reminiscent
of an old Access-style application. Certainly that is nothing wrong with
that, and for may people this is ideal. For me, however, I was hoping
to see a cleaner and more expansive UI with some Web functionality. The
second thing that happened was that I quickly forgot the initial hesitation
I had with the UI because I discovered that BridgeTrak was replete with
time-saving and documenting features for the support or help desk environment,
many of which I had been requesting for our own application for years.
One detail that struck me immediately was BridgeTrak's ability to maintain
an accurate accumulation of time associated with an incident. Even though
the technician is ultimately responsible for pushing the "Start" button
to begin the time count, a log of each action or interaction is recorded
on the Actions tab. For instance, a line showing that a call was entered
into the system at 3:00 p.m. and assigned to someone at 3:05 p.m. Because
there is a start and stop button for both the "call time" as well as the
"work time," the accumulated time for each is easily derived. This is
ideal for customers with special billing requirements. BridgeTrak gathers
other useful information, such as links to pertinent files and attachments,
it even has a tab that captures specific information about the version
and build number of the product for which the issue is reported. I could
make immediate use of this feature for beta test customers. One feature
I found in no other product, but that could potentially save an engineer
lots of time on rote data entry, is the use of issue templates. These
can be created with specific priorities, customer IDs or support types
so that all an engineer has to do is enter in the specifics of the case
and start the timer.
|Kemma's BridgeTrak packs an overwhelming amount of information
into multiple screens. (Click image to view larger version.)
BridgeTrak does offer a Web interface and support for larger databases
such as Oracle and SQL Server. If the Web interface has as much attention
to detail as the Access version, I'd highly recommend it-it's obvious
that with the version of BridgeTrak I reviewed that the developers worked
closely with a help desk to build this application.
Rodney Landrum is an MCSE working as a data analyst and systems engineer for a software development company in Pensacola, Florida. He has a new book from Apress entitled ProSQL Server Reporting Services.