Open source web based service level management software

In the previous article, I briefly mentioned about why and how IT departments within organizations should implement an IT services chargeback model. Photo by interrupt.

Today’s post, I’ll walk you through the implementation with the help of an open source Service Level Management software called OTRS.

OTRS stands for Open source Ticket Request System – an ITIL compatible Service Desk for you to manage sales, pre-sales enquiries, IT management, help desk, and many other support services.

I found out that OTRS is not just a simple Ticket Request System but rather a comprehensive solution which focuses on the entire service level management offerings.

What I mean by the service level management offerings include abilities to:

  1. Create the IT service catalog.
  2. Attach service level agreements (SLA) to each service.
  3. Allow service offerings to be transparent and made known to all users.
  4. Allow users to request or respond to a particular service.
  5. Allow service desk personnel to respond or escalate a service.
  6. Allow a service manager to monitor all tickets from an overall perspective.

OTRS has an online demo and it is from this demo that I will attempt to show you how OTRS can fulfill the offerings as stated above.

1. Creating a Service Catalog

The IT service catalog is a list of IT services that an organization provides to its users.

Via OTRS, an administrator would have the rights and abilities to define the service catalong.

Below is an example of adding a new service offering.

After adding all the services, below is an example of the list of services (service catalog)

2. Defining Service Level Agreement to each Services

Now that your list of services are up and running, it’s time to attach an SLA to the respective services.

Below is a screenshot of how you would add a new SLA for Email Access.

After adding the SLA, see the following for a list of all defined SLAs.

list of all SLA

3. Chargeable IT Services to be transparent and made known to all users

Communicate the list of available services to all users via an email announcement or memo with a simple message / instruction on how users can requests for IT services.

This particular task can be done outside of the OTRS solution.

4. Allow users to request or respond to IT services

OTRS has a web based interface for users / internal customer to login, view and request for any IT services they require. Below is a screenshot of a user requesting for an email access service.

Note that OTRS allows the user to select the SLA. My initial thoughts were that SLA is supposed to be tied automatically to each service. Giving users the options to select their SLA probably provides a bit more flexibility in terms of the user’s expectation for a particular service. If a user is willing to pay for the service, then he would select a 24 by 7 service availability. Otherwise, without selecting an SLA would mean that the service is provided for free on a best effort basis. This setup could possibly be arranged and communicated to your users.

5. Allow service desk personnel to respond or escalate a service.

A typical service desk environment would have a service desk agent, a 2nd level service desk agent and a service manager. OTRS has built these roles in by default. You will just need to assign appropriate people to assume the responsibility of each roles.

To follow up from the user’s request above, a service desk agent would be notified whenever there is a new request. The screenshot below shows a list of all new ticket requests.

Clicking on the ticket allows the service desk agent to take several actions which includes:

  • Lock and work on the ticket (to ensure that not more than 1 agent is working on the same ticket).
  • Contact the user regarding the request whether by phone or email.
  • Update the status of a ticket request (close, pending).
  • Change the priority of a ticket.
  • Escalate the responsibility of a ticket to someone else.

6. Allow a service manager to monitor all tickets from an overall perspective

A service manager would have the ability to look at the statuses of all tickets and to take the appropriate actions to ensure that all IT services can be served within its appropriate service level agreements.

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I hope you gained some value from this this quick and simple walk through on how you can utilize OTRS – an open source service level management solution to implement an IT service chargeback model.

Thanks for taking time to read and do feel free to provide any feedback or comments you may have.

About the author

Bob Lee

Hi! My name is Bob Lee and I’m a web developer / technical writer who specializes in developing and reviewing web applications. As an entrepreneur, blogger, developer, and tech enthusiast, I have been in this field for more than 10 years, and have been loving every minute of it.

1 Comment

  • Hi… I saw something about an integrated CMDB on this software in a previos article, but you didn’t said nothing about it in your article, does OTRS has an integrated CMDB?

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