"Helpdesk Enterprise Server" is the name currently given to a totally separate server based application that interacts with the SQL Database used by the current Windows client “Hexagon Helpdesk” product. Its purpose is to add functionality to the Helpdesk environment by performing functions that are server based, rather than user PC based. These functions effectively fall into three categories:
- Workflow & Business Processing
- Document Management
- Web Access
Call Aging & SLAs form a good example of what Helpdesk Enterprise Server does. Any user can change the status of a call using the Helpdesk windows client, however the helpdesk server will continue to automatically change the status of a call, and escalate its priority over time when nobody is using the system at all. Indeed Helpdesk server will not only automatically escalate calls but push them through workflow processes, email notifications and alerts and build reports and e mail team leaders with advice.
Because most organisations have performance targets and SLAs, most Helpdesk clients will want Helpdesk Server. In addition to which Helpdesk Server is the tool that allows documents to be stored and version controlled centrally, and for external users or those away from their desks to access Helpdesk functionality over the web.
Workflow & Business Process
Helpdesk Enterprise server provides several methods to define and automate business processes or workflows. It allows you to define a set of conditions that causes an incident to pass from one logical state to another (ie elapsed time) or events (eg saving of a document), and lets you create tasks to be performed by the server when that transition occurs (eg changing the status or sending an e mail).
These workflows can occur at the start of an incident’s life (eg when a new document comes into the system, check its owner & what type of document it is, create a new incident and assign it to the correct team for that doctype and owner), during its life (eg escalation), or at the end of its life (call closure or archiving).
Workflow processes can be very simple (eg find me calls with this set of criteria and e mail me a report) or very complex (eg when the invoice screen is saved capture the information as xml, send it to dream and wait for feedback, automatically render an invoice document, send it to the printer & convert it to PDF format and attach it to the Document Management library, then move the case onto the next stage).
The image below shows two workflow processes configured in Hexagon Enterprise Server.
When Helpdesk Server is installed, an extra tab becomes available in the Hexagon Helpdesk windows software, the “Business Process” tab. It allows the user to see where in the process an incident currently is and what to do next. A checkbox list also allows the user to mark off progress as they perform the required tasks. The tab uses the “CallType” & the “CallStatus” to work out what should be displayed on the Business Process tab, according to the processes defined in Helpdesk Server. (See this working in Integra Helpdesk here...)
In any environment where the Hexagon Helpdesk Windows client is used it is expected that a large number of documents are likely to be generated, that are either generally associated with the client / property / tenant, (brochures, contracts, letters etc) or that are directly related to the incident itself (eg reports, inspection documents, correspondence). The Helpdesk Enterprise Server is intended to help with this in two basic ways:
- To act as a central, structured & scalable repository for inbound documents
- To act as a central source of version controlled templates for outbound documents
In an ideal business cycle:
The user uses the correspondence tab on the Windows client to create a new letter to tenant of a property. The Windows client only displays the documents that the server has said it can have for that stage of that process (or general ones). The server automatically presents the latest approved version of the template to create the letter, and the Windows client prepopulates much of the data (eg the address) from the information it has about the tenant from Landmark. A bar code is automatically added to the letter for use when scanning later.
When the user finishes the letter & hits save, it is automatically added to the document store for that case & tenant. The server will probably automatically convert it to a locked PDF format (if configured) before saving it. The windows client allows you to browse other documents relating to that case/tenant/client.
When the letter or form is received back it is scanned and if no barcode is on the document one is added using the Helpdesk Server application. The server automatically reads the barcode and files the scanned image in the correct part of the document library so it can be accessed by the Windows Client in future.
Helpdesk Server is a totally separate application that significantly extends the functionality of the Windows “Hexagon Helpdesk” application, converting a standalone application into a central business workflow application that can span multiple systems and companies.
When the Hexagon Helpdesk client is connected to a Helpdesk Server it is also transformed into a more generic business tool than simply being a Helpdesk, with every user having their own inbound work queue. Call Types also become more dynamic, changing tabs to suit their position in a business process rather than as configurable but static electronic forms.
Helpdesk Server is a server application and uses current Microsoft server technologies. As such it commands a price commensurate with other workflow server applications and Microsoft Server solutions.