What is OTRS and what it does?
Initially, in 2001, OTRS was meant as Open-Source Ticket Request System. It was a ticket-based help desk system, which could be used by anyone anywhere: on the Internet forum, online shop, or corporate website. Having a technical problem or question, the user could create the so-called “ticket”, where he could describe the issue. Then the ticket is considered by the specialist of the help desk, who can offer one or more ways to resolve the issue. If the problem is solved, the user can close the ticket and mark it as “resolved”. Just as simple as that.
Brief history of OTRS
Now, after 21 years of development, OTRS is not “open-source” anymore, but rather a commercial “Open Ticket Request System” with seriously upgraded functionality. The open-source version of OTRS, called ((OTRS)) Community Edition, was discontinued by its original creator, OTRS AG, in January 2021. Now it is supported by the third-party developer, Centuran Consulting, while the code of the initial OTRS was also used to create several “forks”, separate projects, based on the common open-source code, some of which are still available online. Znuny and OTOBO are the most successful of those.
OTRS AG is now a transnational corporation, which, except for the headquarters in its native Germany, has six subsidiaries in the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mexico, Brazil, and Hungary. And it still makes one of the best help desk systems out here.
Three main components of OTRS and how they work
Its software, OTRS service management suite, contains three main components: a customer portal, an agent portal, and an admin dashboard. Each of these components may either be integrated into a corporate network and run on a dedicated server along with the corporate website, or may be installed on a separate Virtual Private Servers.
The customer portal is basically a special webpage, where clients may leave their tickets with questions, requests and additional comments, check their status and confirm if the problems were solved. It may serve both external and internal clients. External clients usually ask questions about the services they pay for, while internal clients are the workers of the enterprise, who may need help from the technical and IT staff.
The agent portal is another customized webpage, where those technical and IT staff work. It contains instruments allowing to receive questions from the customer portal, distribute them among the specialists, check the status of the clients and their requests, and control the quality of work of the help desk personnel. OTRS contains built-in reminders and notifications, as well as escalated privileges for specific customers, which help to greatly improve the help desk reaction time, especially for important matters.
The admin dashboard allows administrators to set up and control the whole system and its separate components, change all the settings, roles and members of all groups, automate the processes, integrate the channels and checkup the databases.
Main features of OTRS and why using it on your VPS
OTRS also contains a special set of tools, called performance metrics, which allows top managers of the enterprise to evaluate the efficiency of help desk staff and the level of customer satisfaction. These tools not only help to improve the service, but also upgrade the efficiency of interdepartmental operations when the requests of internal clients are processed, which may even influence the income and profitability of the enterprise as a whole.
OTRS is designed to be seamlessly integrated with many third-party systems and applications. Some hosting providers even allow clients to automatically install OTRS on their Virtual Private Servers to create the effective corporate help desk systems from scratch without any other tools necessary.
The last but not least, OTRS contains built-in templates for standard and frequent processes. During the system installation, you may apply the following profiles:
- Room Bookings;
- Material Complaints;
- Travel Expenses;
- Holiday Requests;
- Material Requirements.
Using these drastically decreases the amount of further moves necessary, but if the existing setups are not fully compatible with your business, OTRS Process Management allows you to create your own templates according to your needs.
So, the only thing needed to upgrade your business with the full-fledged service desk is to choose the right hosting service with VPS and preinstalled OTRS.