Category is a key and critical attribute within Remedyforce. It allows for the overall classification of a ticket (whether Incident, Change, Problem or Release) in order to better manage the activities within that record, as well as to assist with reporting standards. Properly defined categories can greatly enhance an organizations ability to automate routing processes, as well as ease the reporting on ticket performance, SLA’s, staff/queue volumes, etc. There is no “one size fits all” answer to how an organization defines their categorization structure, but the following are some tips that we believe can help:
Use a Simple Rules Based Method – When defining categories it is important to review how they will be used. Are they one of the sources for ticket routing? What reporting requirements will drive your category requirements? How will they be reviewed, modified and managed? I find it best to define a simple set of rules that translate to your categories and ensure that you are consistent with your use of the rule(s) for categories. The following are some types of rules to consider:
- Rule 1 – Organizationally Aligned Categories: Categories can in many cases align with your IT or end user organizations. If your IT organization is aligned by infrastructure services and applications services, and then further delineated this may be an option to start as the basis for category design. An example would be: “Applications - ERP/SCM Support”.
- Rule 2 – Business / IT Service Categories: If you have gone through the process of defining an internal service catalog, categories can be used as an extension of this. In organizations that have adopted a service oriented model to support and deliver IT services, categories can easily align with the catalog of services. An example would be: “Voice/Telephony Service”.
- Rule 3 – Categories that Describe the Work: Some organizations find it easier to use categories as descriptors of the expected work to be performed. Especially when exposing the categories to end users through self-service. While this can cause for a potentially higher number of categories in your category tree, in a simple support organization with limited scope this might be the most relevant to your users. An example would be: “Password Reset”.
IT Categories vs. End User/Client Categories – With Remedyforce, you can differentiate what categories are end-user facing versus the ones used by staff users within IT. This should be accounted for when defining your category structure. It can be very aggravating for an end user to try and interpret an IT nomenclature for categories, especially if it is required in order to submit an incident via self-service. Additionally, IT’s use of categories might require more granularity in order to properly make the best use for routing and reporting. A clear matrix can help you define your categorization structure and account for internal and external uses.
Category Hierarchy – A hierarchy or tree structure can be leveraged for grouping of categories to assist with the navigating and finding the appropriate category for use with a record. Within Remedyforce you can use the Parent Category capability to build your category tree. Category Type also offers an ability to group and align categories together from an administration/reporting perspective.
Be Careful of the “Other” or “Unknown” Bucket – This is one of the toughest items to achieve. There is always the unknown or unforeseen requirement when defining your categories. My recommendation is to try and minimize the need for an “Other”, but realize that it might be necessary. If you do implement an “Other” category – continuously review where and how this is used to try and further evolve your categories to minimize the need for it.
Categorization Should Flow Through the Tickets Lifecycle – My last tip is to remember that assigning a category is not something that is just done at the creation of a ticket. Throughout the tickets process (routing, troubleshooting, resolution and closure) the Category field should be re-evaluated to ensure accuracy. At the very least as part of the closure process, someone should assess and determine what the appropriate category should be.
Hopefully you found these tips helpful, and for further dialogue please reach out to your Remedyforce Business Relationship Manager.