Census v8 Handles the Hot Tickets

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Latest release of generic issue tracker responds to increasing legislative and competitive pressures on issue resolution.

Vector Networks Group is pleased to announce February 29, 2008 as general availability date for v8.0 of the Vector Census issue tracking platform.

V8.0 of Vector's Web-based issue tracking foundation reflects how corporations are taking a much more directive position on the implementation and monitoring of standards of corporate governance. Interactions with customers and with society as a whole are under intense scrutiny.

Issue tracking tools have historically been selected at departmental level, in response to operational and departmental level needs. What Vector now sees happening, and which Census v8 reflects, is that the organisation mandates standards of performance, adherence to procedure, and accountability and traceability, from the top down. Any issue tracking tool required at a departmental level must perform.

There are a number of particular features in the v8 release which are relevant to this change.

Continuing reduction of target resolution times is heightening the need for automated time-based escalation and issue re-assignment. Census 8 introduces new SLA management capabilities enabling powerful rule-sets to be defined to manage the escalation process dependent on the user and other factors such as the criticality of the business process affected by the issue.

It is equally critical that incoming issues are routed swiftly and if possible automatically to the most appropriately skilled support analyst. Also, e-mail is becoming increasingly popular as a method of directly raising concerns. Census v8.0 addresses these factors with a powerful new Mailbox Workflow rules engine and email integration functions to analyse incoming issue emails and invokes appropriate pre-defined actions such as optimal routing for the issue.

Erick Yanez, head of development engineering for the Vector Networks group of companies, reported that many dispersed organisations use multiple mail servers, even in the SMB/SME market. In response, Census v8 provides Multi-server E-mail configuration that enables the Mailbox Workflow engine to monitor email from multiple accounts and multiple e-mail servers. This capability is of course Web-based so configuration details can be changed at any time, from anywhere.

All email traffic generated in the course of submission, investigation and resolution of an issue is automatically linked into an easy-to-view Issue history.

As Jeff Lalonde, Sales and Business Development Manager for Census observes, "Having a detailed history of the way in which an issue has been handled provides an audit trail, and allows an organisation to assess the competence and professionalism with which an issue has been handled -- to see whether or not it has met the organisation's standards in this regard."

At an operational and efficiency level, it is important to note that these histories support Issue text search, facilitating finding related issues. Lalonde reports that "Our customers tell us that average issue resolution times can be greatly reduced if analysts can locate and exploit previous issue resolutions of the same nature".

Issue resolution teams gain a further boost in efficiency from the new on-line Self-service issue View, which can used to both post issues to the team and review the status of issues on demand, without using analyst time. This view can also be used by the end user to add further information for the analyst -- reflecting the reality that frequently the end user realises there is more information for the analyst, at some time after posting the issue.

As an alternative to connecting to a Web site, users can request an Emailed status report at any time, simply by clicking a 'mailto' link that is sent out with the initial response to the receipt of the issue. Jeff Lalonde again: "Self service has to be simple and practical or it ends up unloved and unused!"

About Vector Networks Group
Vector Networks is perhaps best known for its activities in IT Asset Management, and the issue tracking technology in the Census product is also available customized to IT end-user support as Vector HelpDesk in Vector's Service Management Pro solution. The core Census technology is developed at Vector's Metaquest Inc subsidiary in Montreal, which also hosts a separate Census business development unit. This unit focuses on ensuring that the Census platform continues to evolve in a way that matches the evolution of corporate governance and the management of business processes. The lessons learned and the resulting product features are replicated as appropriate in the IT-support focused HelpDesk. Further information on Census including case studies is available at http://www.metaquest.com.

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