7 Replies Latest reply: Jul 10, 2012 5:55 PM by Alejandro Araujo RSS

Calendar Blues

Alejandro Araujo

A recent problem that cropped up with one of my customers got me thinking about the Track-It! calendar (a.k.a. "Operating Hours"). See, this customer had a problem whereby the Scheduled Work Orders were not being created at the scheduled time, if at all.

 

At one point, during diagnostics, one of the great guys at Support suggested something along the lines: "Have the customer delete all past holidays from the calendar, as that seems to take care of a number of odd behaviors with Scheduled Work Orders".

 

The customer did so, but that didn't help in this case. We eventually found a solution for the customer's problem, but that's a different story.

The immediate question my customer had at the time was: "Wait, I have a few work orders whose correct SLA times depend on one of the (already past) holiday dates defined in Operating Hours. What happens to those times if we delete de holiday from the calendar?" 

I didn't know for sure, so they were unwilling to delete the date until the work orders had been closed.

 

So, the first question is: what does happen? If I have event policies with SLA's that depend on the Operating Hours schedule, and a few Work Orders are created where the due date is a day or two later than it would normally be due to a holiday registered in the calendar: will the due date change if they delete the holiday after the work order has been created?   I'm inclined to think not. But then, if not, why would it make any difference whether the past holidays stay in the calendar or are deleted?

 

The second question is: how come that such a great, useful, and well though-out application as Track-It has such a limited calendar function?  About 90% of my customers invariably ask things like: "Ok, but what about technicians on the second shift?" , "Ok, but what about my clients in different time zones?", "Are you seriously telling me that I have to enter every year's holidays manually?  There's no way to schedule recurring holidays?", and "Ok, but how do I fet my Saturday schedule, which is only half day?". Please say "Yes, the calendar is definitely being improved, and it will be awesome!" 

  • 1. Calendar Blues
    Cris Coffey

    Once a work order is created with a due date affected by a holiday, removing the holiday will not impact the work order. We currently do not have the option of recurring holidays because aside from July 4th and Christmas Day in the US, most other holidays are never the same date each year. We also find that mose companies only have 7-10 official company holidays each year so entering them when the fiscal year starts is not a big deal. A scheduled work order as a reminder to enter the new holidays works well.

     

    Perhaps this is more of an issue for corporations outside the US that have more holidays? I would be interested to hear what other users think.

  • 2. Calendar Blues
    Alejandro Araujo

    Let's, see, ragarding the number of holidays:

     

    Just to name a few coutries I am personally familiar with:

     

    Colombia lists at least 20 holidays in its official holiday calendar.

    Venezuela lists about 16

    Puerto Rico: 21

    Argentina: 14

    Chile: 17

    Mexico:19

    Spain: 15, not counting the assorted regional holidays

    Jamaica: 10

    Barbados: 13

    Turks and Caicos Islands: 12

     

    So, perhas the 7-10 days is a bit US-Centric, or at least Anglo-Centric. Regardless, setting 10-15 dates every year in a calendar doesn't seem like so much of a hassle, but I get to work with a lot of these IT departments, and they are typically extremely overloaded and hassled. They buy solutions like Track-It! to lighten the load a bit and generally try and make their lives easier. For these guys and gals, having to spend time entering holidays in a calendar is an additional pain in the rear they don't need.

    I don't make my living as a programmer, but I have done just enough to know that if you have already gone through the process of building a calendar function, it doesn't really take that much more to add the capacity to automatically calculate recurring dates. Probably far less for the programming team at BMC than the time it takes a harried IT technician to fill recurrent data year after year.

     

    Having said this, which perhaps is a relatively minor thing, I should be interested to find out whether I am in a minority in thinking that Track-It! could really benefit greatly from having a really good calendar /scheduler feature. Perhaps only a few US companies need to schedly more than a couple of recurring holidays, but surely the number of companies that either have two work shifts, or different weekend schedules, or both, is not that small.

     

    I just can't help thinking that for the level of power and sophistication that Track-It is capable of showing otherwise, the calendar function is surprisingly rudimentary, to say the least. Why? 

  • 3. Calendar Blues
    Cris Coffey

    Much of the functionality you see in Track-It! today was driven by feature requests by users over the years. A calendar which can automatically figure out which holidays there are every year has never been near the top of that list. I am curious to see how many other users share your concerns.

  • 4. Re: Calendar Blues
    Alejandro Araujo

    Me too.

    Perhaps the recurring holidays is not such a big deal, but for several of my customers (if not all - I think the vast majority have asked about this at one point or another), being able to program separate work shifts and weekend schedules would indeed make a BIG difference. I find it hard to believe that my customers are all that unique...

  • 5. Calendar Blues
    Paul Ottar Tornes

    Take a look at the Calender function in the "Gannt Project" http://www.ganttproject.biz/

    They have specifyed the Holidays calender for several countries.

  • 6. Calendar Blues
    Chris McLane

    In regards to the Scheduled Work Orders not being created due to holidays in operating hours, we did recently identify an issue in which having multiple holidays with the same date (even though they have different years) could indeed block the scheduled work orders from being created if the "use operating hours" option is enabled in the scheduled work order configuration.

     

    For example, in one test we had 7/4/2012 and 7/4/2013 entered in operating hours and noticed that the daily work order wasn't created on 7/3 even though it had been created daily without issue prior to that. Once the 7/4/2013 date was removed from operating hours and the Track-It! services were restarted, the work order was created as expected. This has been logged with Track-It! Support.

  • 7. Calendar Blues
    Alejandro Araujo

    Thank you, Chris. However, this is not the problem in our particular case. The holidays have been created for one year onely, and there are no multiple holidays with the same date. This is good to know, though.