Callsheet numbering, saves, updates, and name interpretation

In addition to these utilities, there are some helpful things to know about how ServiceDesk manages a few elements of housekeeping.

First, you’ll notice all the Callsheets, existing on your system at any particular time, are sequentially numbered. The purpose of this numbering is to provide you with sign posts, so to speak, so you can easily tell how many you have at a given time, and where you are within that set. It’s also so that when you want to draw a coworker’s attention to a particular Callsheet, you can easily reference it via that number (i.e., I might say to my secretary Brenda: “Mrs. Zelipsky on Callsheet 23 needs to be scheduled). The thing to remember is that this sequential numbering, of working-area Callsheets, is nothing more than that. The numbers are not, by any  means, a permanent ID assignment for such Callsheets—as are, by contrast, the InvoiceNumbers that are assigned to actual jobs.

Second, when making changes in a Callsheet, it may sometimes be useful to know they are not continuously recorded (i.e., "saved") to your hard drive. However, 'saves' happen with some frequency, as specifically triggered by particular events, including: your own action in moving from an edited Callsheet (i.e., into another form, including any other Callsheet), your action in switching a Callsheet from one desk to another, changing its status, and so on. Of course the work is done in the background, and you needn't think about it. And please be assured these automatic 'saves' are frequent enough that, even if you had a system crash, you'd be unlikely to lose anything more than what you were typing in the preceding few seconds.

Moreover, even if you've done nothing inadvertent to trigger a Callsheet save (in terms of moving to another form, etc.), ServiceDesk automatically invokes an unseen, 30-second timer after any editing activity (i.e., typing in a Callsheet, deleting text, etc.). If the timer counts down to zero and there has not otherwise been a save, ServiceDesk invokes one on its own.

And further still, if wanted you can purposely invoke an immediate save, in any Callsheet that's had changes, simply by hitting Esc. As you do so, you'll notice that the normally teal-colored background (the area between the Callsheets) momentarily turns to a blue color. This is confirmation that your Callsheet is saving. As a matter of fact, this momentary change in color occurs during any Callsheet-save event, whether triggered by the manual Esc or automatically.

Something you'll quickly notice if running with multiple stations is that ServiceDesk is designed to allow the use of only one set of active Callsheets network-wide. In other words, the entire set of active, not-yetarchived Callsheets is the same for every station in the network, so from any desk the same Callsheet information is available and displayed. The difference between each desk is that if mine is the desk that a particular 'Current' status Callsheet happens to be assigned to, then it is on my desk alone that such a Callsheet will be illuminated, while on all others, it will remain dimmed (and those others will also be locked out from editing my Callsheet). Thus, while everyone has the same information, it's obvious to each which tasks they are immediately responsible for.

Since all stations constantly display the same set of Callsheets, you might wonder how is it when one station makes a change that others are updated (i.e., when one station edits an existing Callsheet, adds a new one, changes status, etc.). In particular, you might wonder what happens when two stations are both in the same first-vacant-Callsheet position, typing in their own separate info to create their own independent new Callsheets. In such a circumstance, both stations are essentially claiming the same position, on the same Callsheet page, for their own new Callsheets. How is this handled? Don't worry. ServiceDesk takes care of it, and does not require that you pay such matters any attention.

However, and even so, in the event you encounter situations like this, it may help if you understand a few quirks in operation, in terms of how ServiceDesk is juggling each user's demands. Basically, it follows these rules.

  1. ‍If your station is not on the same Callsheet page as the one on which another station has just saved a change, no reaction is needed (the updated information will be received, in a matter of normal course, whenever you move to that page).
  2. ‍If your station is on the same Callsheet page as the one on which another station has just saved a change, your station will immediately read the newly saved Callsheet information, and display it.
  3. ‍If both you and another station are simultaneously making new entries in the same firstvacant-Callsheet position (which by definition must be on the same page), the station which saves first will claim that position for its new Callsheet. The other station's current position will be moved, together with whatever text has been entered, into the next first-vacant-Callsheet position.

The result of the above protocols is that, from your perspective as user, there's virtually nothing to worry about. The only time anything seems even unusual, within ServiceDesk,  is in the case described for situation 'c.' In this case, you may be merrily typing information into a new Callsheet when, suddenly, because another station has just saved their own new Callsheet in the same position, you find yourself being unwillingly transported to the next vacant spot. The event could seem disconcerting if you did not understand what was happening. However, with the explanation here provided, it should not cause alarm.

Occasionally, you may enter information into a Callsheet that you want to immediately display to other stations, even while you have no purpose for otherwise engaging in an action that would create a save. Again, the Callsheet-Esc method comes in handy. Just press that single key from your Callsheet, thereby inducing an immediate save, and thus causing instant updates to other computers.

Another matter of note concerns ServiceDesk's treatment of text in a Callsheet's two name fields (i.e., CustomerName and LocationName). The underlying reality here is that, as a user, you might be entering either a business or person's name—and the treatment in certain contexts needs to be different, depending on which is involved. If it's a person's name, for example, you'll want only the last name applied to shortreferences in the DispatchMap, to the "Dear So and So" in future billing reminders, and so on, while if it's a business name, the entire name will (in most cases at least) be used as a unit. Thus, ServiceDesk needs a means to distinguish between the two situations, and since it still lacks full human intelligence, you need to provide a little assistance. All you need to do is follow this convention: any time it's a person's name, use the format of LastName-comma-space-FirstName (e.g., “BOYLES, JOHN”). Finding the two words separated by a comma, ServiceDesk will figure it's dealing with a person's name, and will separate out the last name as that. In the absence of this format (i.e., no comma in the line), ServiceDesk figures it's dealing with a business name, and treats it accordingly (see note beginning at page 293).

As still another matter regarding your typing of info into Callsheets, you might note that ServiceDesk automatically engages the caps lock on your keyboard whenever you enter a Callsheet. The reason is because there is little point here in slowing down your typing by requiring the use of both upper and lower case. The expected convention, therefore, is that unless there's a specific reason to do otherwise, all your typing in a Callsheet will be in upper case. This simplifies the typing, and provides for a nice uniformity of output. You'll find the invoices look just fine in such format too.

Oh, and incidentally, in regard to the four telephone number fields that are provided in each Callsheet (two in the Customer-Info section and two in the Location-Info section): it’s our convention that home telephone number is placed in the left box and business telephone number in the right. You can certainly do otherwise (and attach appropriate notations to indicate pager numbers, etc.) but we find as a basic convention, this works well.