Case Study: Vitesse helps the help desks

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How does a multi-national semiconductor company offer fast, responsive technical support to thousands of its own employees, located at sites spread around the globe? FootPrints provides Vitesse with a web-based tool that has automated the process of routing requests to dedicated support personnel, and enables technicians and users to centrally access, manage and track issues from start to finish.

Founded in 1987, Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation is a designer and supplier of high-performance integrated circuits used in next generation networking and optical communications equipment. The company has1200 employees worldwide.

Business challenge
Vitesse has manufacturing facilities in Camarillo, California and Colorado Springs, Colorado, with sites throughout the US as well as in Germany, Denmark, and Singapore. To support its worldwide employees, Vitesse has dedicated support personnel for each site, offering assistance for anything from voice mail trouble to hardware issues, licensing matters, software problems and more.

Vitesse's employees had been using an HTML-based form to generate email requests, which were forwarded to the main support manager. That manager subsequently routed each issue to the appropriate technician, manually tracking open tickets using an Excel spreadsheet. But as thousands of requests started to pour in each month, this process quickly became overwhelming. With a single person reviewing hundreds of tickets each day, it grew increasingly difficult to forward each one in a timely and efficient manner.

"Typically, those issues that were marked highest priority would get through first. But many others were often left untouched for hours, even days. Some even got lost in the shuffle altogether," explained Dave Marshall, systems administrator for Vitesse's Colorado Springs Manufacturing facility.

"In addition, with so much time being spent just trying to manage the routing process, it became nearly impossible to enter every request in Excel. We had no way to track who was working on what, the status of open tickets or whether or not a ticket had been closed."

The hunt is on
To simplify the process and improve service, Vitesse started the search for an online help desk solution that could centralize and automate support efforts. Though a number of solutions were available, Vitesse had a checklist of key requirements that quickly narrowed the field.

Tough requirements
With offices located around the world, it was essential that Vitesse find a web-based solution, into which both employees and technicians could submit input via HTML, from any location. The help desk needed to be simple, from initial installation to ongoing maintenance and use. To reduce response times and speed the resolution of issues, Vitesse wanted a solution that could generate automatic email updates to notify technicians whenever a ticket was entered or changed. In addition to being able to centrally track open issues and requests, the solution had to have strong reporting capabilities, so managers could easily check the status of every issue, and generate reports on workflow and trends.

Finally, the company wanted a solution that flexibility, and could be easily customized to support the company's existing UNIX infrastructure. Specifically, Vitesse needed its help desk to dynamically link with its centralized Network Information System (NIS), which stores critical company user and password information.

Only one answer
To support these requirements, Vitesse selected FootPrints, UniPress' 100% web-based help desk and issue management software. According to Marshall, FootPrints was the only solution they reviewed that could support its exact requirements. It provides organizations with a centralized tool to track and manage issues and tasks for help desks, as well as a range of other business applications.

"Though we received the names of nearly three dozen help desk solutions that are currently on the market, we quickly discovered that FootPrints was the only one that could provide us with the specific functionality we needed, especially with regard to the HTML input and UNIX support," explained Marshall.

Solution to the problems
FootPrints provided Vitesse with a fully web-based solution, designed to seamlessly support the company's multi-location environment. Because FootPrints is truly web-based - not a web-enabled add-on to a client/server system like other solutions - it eliminates the high costs, complexity and hands-on administration required by other tools. The software's web architecture also enables global access for anyone, at any of Vitesse's worldwide locations, via the web, email and wireless tools. Users need only a browser. No client software is required.

FootPrints supports multiple users and project groups, and multiple projects simultaneously, enabling Vitesse to easily track a range of support activities from a variety of users and sites, all in one place. Automatic email reminders keep technicians and employees informed of changes, updates and other status at all times.

Looking for a quick fix
"Whenever our employees encounter technical problems, they understandably experience some frustration, and are anxious to find a quick fix. Before FootPrints, this frustration had only been exacerbated by their inability to track down the status of their tickets," explained Marshall.

"FootPrints' email functionality has really closed the communications loop, ensuring not only that our technicians are quickly responding to issues and changes, but also that the employees themselves are automatically updated on all activities as they progress."

FootPrints is extremely easy to use, and can be quickly deployed in less than a day. Within a week, Vitesse had its help desk fully up and running across the organization. A key part of the installation was the customization to support Vitesse's existing NIS directory.

"UniPress was extremely helpful in extending FootPrints' functionality to meet our exact needs," explained Marshall. "FootPrints is dynamically synchronized with our NIS database, so we can add users and make changes as usual in the system, and they are instantly recognized in FootPrints - along with the appropriate password and other user information"

Business Benefits
Today, around 40 technicians and 1000 users access FootPrints from Vitesse's global sites. Users enter tickets directly into the flexible FootPrints web screens, which enables them to categorize information by location, type of request and more using simple web forms and drop down menus. This makes it a snap for the main support manager to identify and sort requests as they come in, and route each one accordingly. As a result, tickets are forwarded within minutes, not days - ultimately speeding response times as well as issue resolution.

Hours become minutes
"Since installing FootPrints, we have seen a real difference in the
effectiveness of our internal help desk," said Marshall. "A ticket that used to take hours just to forward to the right technician now takes a few minutes. We can also follow each open item from start to finish, and make sure that it is addressed quickly and efficiently. Before, we didnÕt know where a ticket went or if it went anywhere at all."

FootPrints automatically tracks a ticket throughout its life cycle, identifying who is assigned to the issue, previous requests submitted, when a ticket is closed and more - eliminating lost issues and delays. This information is available online to Vitesse technicians and employees alike, improving communication by enabling everyone involved to easily view current status, make changes and more.

Managers can also leverage FootPrints data to streamline workflow, offer assistance and reassign tickets as necessary. The software offers extensive reporting features that has provided Vitesse's managers with better control over the help desk environment as a whole, providing a range of built-in and custom reports to study trends, statistics, time tracking/billing and more. Information from multiple projects can be shared in a single report.

"FootPrints has really improved the level of service we provide to our own employees - which has an important effect on our business as a whole," concluded Marshall. "By streamlining our internal operation, we can turn our full attention to our customers, and continue to provide them with top-quality products."

Leave only your FootPrints
FootPrints is an advanced, yet simple to use, 100% web-based help desk and issue management software. With FootPrints, you get fast installation without the high costs, complexity and hands-on administration of other tools. The software can be up-and-running and in production in less than one week - without any programming, database administration, consulting or training. Users need only a browser to access self-service online; no client software is needed.

Unipress Software
Headquartered in Edison, New Jersey since 1983, UniPress Software, Inc. is a developer of web-based issue management software used to support internal help desks, external support center/CRM, development/bug fixing, IT resource tracking and consulting.

Unipress Software

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