Late Night Insomniac (Work) Thoughts

Can’t sleep, mind is working overtime on some work thoughts. Technical support shop talk ahead.

One of the major problems we face at work is getting information out of the call tracking system we use. In two years we’ve generated almost 60,000 tickets but trying to find trends or related incidents inside of that lump is almost impossible. In part it may be because of the system we are using, Magic. I’m not sure if there are any other call tracking systems in the market that actually do a better job of tracking related issues. Actually I’m sure there are better systems, I’m sure Magic could be improved, if we only had the money to buy professional consulting or a more expensive system. So given the constraint that we can’t spend any money how can I address the problem?

Two possibilities are raging in my head tonight. One, create a simple form that runs an SQL query against a small number of fields: customer name, company, problem description. Two, create a script that translates the same information into plain text files and then use an open source project such as Lucene to index them and perform latent semantic searches on the whole set. The SQL option is likely to be computationally expensive and inefficient but how much of a difference would there really be.

This is but one of the heretical open source ideas that is going through my head to make our support operation better. Getting money to invest in infrastructure and support is hard in good times, getting it in the current economy seems impossible. So given the constraints how can I build or provide direction for a cheap and easy system that will get us some of the way toward our goals. And given how many times people have implemented calendaring systems, surely it would be possible to use one of these for change control. Or use a wiki for knowledge management.