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Build an IT help desk with MS CRM 4.0 RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi All,

       My company is trying to introduce CRm4.0 to the help desk assistant. I recently read this article.

    "I was recently working on a Microsoft CRM 4.0 roll-out for a company that also needed a help desk for their IT department to assist internal users. They were looking at several packaged solutions but the CRM project had consumed most of the IT budget for the quarter. However, there is a customer service module in CRM 4.0 that can be made to serve as a help desk. With a couple of tweaks and some mild customization, the company had a help desk and it didn’t cost them any more money.

     

    An email or a phone call triggers the creation of a case with a case number. Cases are routed by queues to the appropriate tech. All related emails and phone calls are attached to the case and tasks are created to complete the request or solve the problem. Knowledge base articles can be attached and notes added to the case. All this is stored in a history for each case and is searchable. The internal users, the customers of the help desk, are not required to have a CRM 4.0 license. You only save money though, if you are already planning to implement CRM 4.0. You will also need an asset tracking tool that is not part of CRM 4.0. When used in conjunction with an inexpensive asset tracking tool such as AuditWizard , you have a basic IT help desk for a fraction of the cost of a packaged help desk solution"

    If anyone knows how I can do it with CRM4.0 (on-premise) please help.

    Thanks,
    Hanoi

    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 7:21 PM

Answers

  • Hi Hanoi,

    Since your company is not interested in spending money, my guess is that they won't want to spend money to have a consultant help you identify requirements, document, obtain feedback and finalize.  This, of course, is the optimal way to proceed so that the solution can be implemented in a way that works the way your company does business.  Since CRM is highly flexible, there are several ways to get the job done.

    Here is what I suggest.  Start out by taking small steps with 'big' shoes.  By this I mean, you want to identify the highest priority items and ensure those are addressed first.  Please see below for my specific suggestions to get started.

    1) it is good to create each application as a differnt entity and design the forms(specific screens for each user) with whatever fields they wanted.

    I would use the Case form to create help tickets rather than creating a lot of different entities.  Using one form to enter help tickets will allow the users to have a form that they can become accustomed to, easy to follow, provides them with the fields needed to capture essential business data and facilitates reporting

     2) Is it good to create a Service/Cases to log evrything when the help desk get a call or an e-mail .Where should I start like when they get a call or e-mail  etc...

    For now, teach users to create a Case for each Call and E-mail received.  Moving forward, you can add some automation through workflows, queues, etc., but for now it is important to get the users taking the same action.  This will be better than putting things in Excel, an Outlook journal, etc. as you will have the data in one place.

    Once the users have a Case created, they can add activities like tasks, phone calls, e-mails etc to the Case and track the amount of time spent on each activity by setting the activity duration.  When users close the Case, CRM will add up the time from all of the activities associated with the Case and give you a Total Time spent on the Case.

     3) Also they wanted to connect to sharepoint from a field and how should I do that i.e. link filed?

    If this is not a high priority item then I would move it down in the list.  You can explore this later based on the requirements like does the link have to be intuitive, dynamic based on other field values, etc.  There are lots of web sites that show how to generate scripts, links, etc.  If this is something they don't have right now, then I would focus on the items that are going to better streamline processess and allow the company to report on their services.

     4)Which is the best available resource which helps me in this endeavor.

    I suggest you buy a couple of CRM books to gain a good overview of the application.  Additionally, check out the Resource Center from within CRM.  Go to Service section as that will give you lots of information about Case and Case related Activity.

    As an aside, in response to one of your initial questions, I would create a new Entity with the fields needed for Asset Tracking.

    The Service Module of CRM is very robust and there are lots of options for designing a good help desk and help desk response process.  Start with Cases, create activities when users perform services against the Case, train the users to track the time against each activity and you will have a good start to building a good foundation for your new Help Desk.

    Best Regards, Donna
    Thursday, November 5, 2009 8:24 PM
  • Hi Drew, I normally recommend that your corporate users and IT users each have their own CRM instance. They each have their own set of customers and their own requirements -- so it doesn't make sense to share a single CRM instance. It looks cheaper now, but if you need to reverse it out, for example, if your corporate users need to use cases in the future and you've already customised cases for internal IT, it could get expensive.

    However, an easy workaround is to use a different email address on the contact and user records. This prevents CRM e-mail router getting confused. For example, use firstname.lastname@example.com on the user record (their real email address) and f.lastname@example.com on the contact record (an alias set up by your email admin).

    HTH, Neil
    Wednesday, November 25, 2009 4:34 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Everything mentioned here is possible with CRM On-Premise to include tracking Assets.  Can you help me understand the 'help' that you want and I can respond.  I could give you a lot of general information but it might not be relevant to your questions or needs.  Maybe you could provide a list of questions or let us know more specifically about what type of help you need.
    Best Regards, Donna
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 8:12 PM
  • It’s actually pretty easy. You simply define your process for opening and closing a case. Add some workflow to ensure a case is address and closed.

    You can build dashboards to track cases and who closes then time to close etc.

    You can also write a very simply process to feed the data into back office ERP.

    Don’t forget to leverage knowledge base to make the resolution of cases faster and easier.

    The next step is to tie CRM cases into your VoIP phone system to popup a caller and create a case if needed.

    Dean Jones

    http://www.powerobejcts.com

    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 8:29 PM
  • Hi Donna/all,

       Our Company has different help desk(IT) who takes calls ,e-mails for different applications which(applications or programs) are supported by our Company.
    Now what these help desk do is enter everything like date of contact,Trainings(That they give to their user for the particular applications), Issues,Policy,web issues,enhancement QA calls,Hardware issues,data change etc into excel or a journal in outlook.But after our company had CRM4.0(on-premise) our projecct lead wanted everything(different applications) to be one place so that even if one help desk is unavailable oanother person can pull all info and everything is in one place.Right now my company IS NOT interesrted in spending any extra.
    My questions is
     1) it is good to create each application as a differnt entity and design the forms(specific screens for each user) with whatever fields they wanted.
     2) Is it good to create a Service/Cases to log evrything when the help desk get a call or an e-mail .Where should I start like when they get a call or e-mail  etc...
     3) Also they wanted to connect to sharepoint from a field and how should I do that i.e. link filed?
     4)Which is the best available resource which helps me in this endeavor.

    We just started so I have time to pull everything together. You guys are great and get a lot of info from you all.
    Thanks,
    Hanoi
    Thursday, November 5, 2009 2:50 PM
  • Hi Hanoi,

    Since your company is not interested in spending money, my guess is that they won't want to spend money to have a consultant help you identify requirements, document, obtain feedback and finalize.  This, of course, is the optimal way to proceed so that the solution can be implemented in a way that works the way your company does business.  Since CRM is highly flexible, there are several ways to get the job done.

    Here is what I suggest.  Start out by taking small steps with 'big' shoes.  By this I mean, you want to identify the highest priority items and ensure those are addressed first.  Please see below for my specific suggestions to get started.

    1) it is good to create each application as a differnt entity and design the forms(specific screens for each user) with whatever fields they wanted.

    I would use the Case form to create help tickets rather than creating a lot of different entities.  Using one form to enter help tickets will allow the users to have a form that they can become accustomed to, easy to follow, provides them with the fields needed to capture essential business data and facilitates reporting

     2) Is it good to create a Service/Cases to log evrything when the help desk get a call or an e-mail .Where should I start like when they get a call or e-mail  etc...

    For now, teach users to create a Case for each Call and E-mail received.  Moving forward, you can add some automation through workflows, queues, etc., but for now it is important to get the users taking the same action.  This will be better than putting things in Excel, an Outlook journal, etc. as you will have the data in one place.

    Once the users have a Case created, they can add activities like tasks, phone calls, e-mails etc to the Case and track the amount of time spent on each activity by setting the activity duration.  When users close the Case, CRM will add up the time from all of the activities associated with the Case and give you a Total Time spent on the Case.

     3) Also they wanted to connect to sharepoint from a field and how should I do that i.e. link filed?

    If this is not a high priority item then I would move it down in the list.  You can explore this later based on the requirements like does the link have to be intuitive, dynamic based on other field values, etc.  There are lots of web sites that show how to generate scripts, links, etc.  If this is something they don't have right now, then I would focus on the items that are going to better streamline processess and allow the company to report on their services.

     4)Which is the best available resource which helps me in this endeavor.

    I suggest you buy a couple of CRM books to gain a good overview of the application.  Additionally, check out the Resource Center from within CRM.  Go to Service section as that will give you lots of information about Case and Case related Activity.

    As an aside, in response to one of your initial questions, I would create a new Entity with the fields needed for Asset Tracking.

    The Service Module of CRM is very robust and there are lots of options for designing a good help desk and help desk response process.  Start with Cases, create activities when users perform services against the Case, train the users to track the time against each activity and you will have a good start to building a good foundation for your new Help Desk.

    Best Regards, Donna
    Thursday, November 5, 2009 8:24 PM
  • Thanks,
     
     Donna That was really helpful.

    Thanks, Once again!!!
    Hanoi

    Thursday, November 5, 2009 9:16 PM
  • You're welcome, glad it helped.
    Best Regards, Donna
    Thursday, November 5, 2009 9:58 PM
  • Hi Donna,

    I've familiar with CRM and the email tracking ability and also want to use the cases & KB within CRM to handle my dept IT help desk functions. A problem we had and would like to know if its been resolved in a recent build or workaround is. If you put staff into CRM as a Contact & User the email router will become confused on which document to attach the email to. Is it the CRM user account or CRM contact account. THe only way I can think of getting around this is by creating a new CRM DB for just internal use and keep staff contacts out of the day to day CRM db?

    any ideas?

    thanks
    Drew
    Thursday, November 12, 2009 7:46 PM
  • Hi Drew,

    Can you help me understand why there is a need to create both a CRM User and a CRM Contact record for your CRM Users.  In most cases, creating the CRM User record is sufficient.
    Best Regards, Donna
    Thursday, November 12, 2009 9:28 PM
  • Hello Donna,
    Currently there is 1 CRM db. approx 28 corporate users leverage the tool.  Should we want to use the CRM for IT help desk, all corporate users will have to be added to the db as contacts. ie customers of IT dept. In doing so marketing manger will be a customer (of IT) but also a user of CRM. In other cases QUality Control will just be a customer.
    THis is with the context that we use the 1 CRM db. If we create a whole new CRM db for IT the only user & customer combination will be IT staff. But then again when it comes to email tracking the CRM system will become confused. Also inorder to do the CRM help desk do I need another CRM db licnese (multi tenancy) or use  a dev. copy?
    Wednesday, November 25, 2009 3:30 PM
  • Hi Drew, I normally recommend that your corporate users and IT users each have their own CRM instance. They each have their own set of customers and their own requirements -- so it doesn't make sense to share a single CRM instance. It looks cheaper now, but if you need to reverse it out, for example, if your corporate users need to use cases in the future and you've already customised cases for internal IT, it could get expensive.

    However, an easy workaround is to use a different email address on the contact and user records. This prevents CRM e-mail router getting confused. For example, use firstname.lastname@example.com on the user record (their real email address) and f.lastname@example.com on the contact record (an alias set up by your email admin).

    HTH, Neil
    Wednesday, November 25, 2009 4:34 PM
    Moderator
  • THanks Neil,
    I've heard about the latter soultion and most likley will opt to do option A and create a new instance. I'm not certain of the licensing requirements. thank you for the advise.
    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 5:17 PM
  • Thank you


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    Wednesday, December 23, 2009 10:03 AM