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Introducing the itgroove Support Orb

November 30, 2012

Ah the things that give me pleasure Winking smile

itgroove is SharePoint-centric. Our documents, holiday request forms, client info, – everything – goes into SharePoint in our shop. We also use SharePoint as our issue tracking system – new internal and client requests wind up created as SharePoint List Items, which are in turn assigned to our staff for tending to.

There’s a few vectors that these new “cases” in our support channel can arrive as, on our individual plate for attention:

  • Someone completes one of our public contact forms on the web
  • We send an email to an internal email address and the SharePoint list receiver converts it into an issue
  • We go to our SharePoint portal and input the new issue details in a form manually
  • They get generated as part of a Nintex Workflow

So, everything’s super – we’ve got a nicely integrated pipeline of info that ends up in our SharePoint portal. Using SharePoint & Nintex Workflows gives us a lot of flexibility which allows us to mold our workflows to our business needs.

The Problem

There remained something missing from the formula in getting our Consultants on the support cases quickly – real world interactivity, a “Bat Signal” if you will. In an office with 8-ish guys, phones ringing, clients visiting, and a barrage of electronic distractions like email, how do we bring attention upon a new inbound support issue? Our first crack at this was to introduce an AJAX-enabled flashing alarm clock (orange icon below) that appears in our SharePoint portal pages, whenever a new, inbound support issue arrives and needs to be claimed or delegated by our staff:

image

Clicking on the icon brings one to the particular support item where we have a look and assign to the appropriate staff member. This is accomplished by clicking on the dropdown menu in this Support Receiver List, and clicking the “Convert to an Issue” in the menu, which kicks off a Nintex Workflow that assigns the case:

image

Adding this Alarm Clock was a great addition- time to response on support calls was dramatically reduced since, because we “live” on our SharePoint portal throughout the workday, the odds were high that one of our staff would notice the flashing icon soon enough. There’s no guarantee, however, that one of us would notice this alert – there was still slack to be pulled up!

 

Enter the “itgroove Support Orb”

image

Ingredients

  • 1 novelty jigsaw puzzle light from the shopping mall (pictured above)
  • 1 IP enabled 4 port power switch (essentially, a power bar with its own web server). Can accept HTTP, SNMP, Telnet or Email requests to turn its power ports on or off
  • Nintex workflow + SharePoint
  • Several itgroove staff to screw in the light bulb

Steps to Implement

  • Plugged in the light’s power cable to the IP Power switches port 1, and connect the switch to our LAN via RJ-45 cable

image

  • We add a new Web Request action on to the tail end of our existing “Convert to an Issue” Nintex Workflow. This Action adds makes a simple, password protected GET web request to the switch to turn on the Support Light power socket – on = 1, off = 0

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So now, when a new support issue comes in, you get the following:

The itgroove Support Orb. Defender against Support Ticket Evil

The Result

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Now everyone in the office notices and the new inbound support issue gets immediate attention. When the new inbound support issue is converted to a support issue by a staff member clicking the “Convert to Issue” menu action, another workflow action issues a similar command to turn off the Orb.

The net result is that our customer service is snappier than ever – in recent days clients have even been repeatedly expressing surprise at how quickly we have been turning around support requests (from minutes to, er, less minutes… ;). What began as a geek’s experiment “what can we do with workflow”, has morphed into a legitimate business process enhancement.

All Hail the ORB…

No Responses

  1. Alex says:

    Brilliant!! 🙂

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Sean Wallbridge

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