Focused dispatching, a Solution for the Large Enterprise

The majority of ServiceDesk clients have ranged in size anywhere from one to ten trucks.  If you begin to get larger than this, you’ll probably have more than one dispatcher controlling all those many techs.  As these dispatchers contend with their respective tasks, they’ll likely notice that the DispatchMap becomes so cluttered (having such a large quantity of jobs displayed) that its usefulness is compromised.  To deal with this situation, we’ve developed what we call Focused Dispatching.

The general notion is very simple.  You’ll likely want to have one dispatcher concentrate on one portion of your territory and set of techs, while another concentrates on a different area and set of techs.

The method we’ve designed for ServiceDesk to accommodate this is, at this point in time, very basic.  Indeed, the one accommodation it directly provides is that it allows you to define a focus-link between a particular office person (probably a dispatcher) and a set of techs.  With this link established, when that office person goes go her DispatchMap, all the non-focus group jobs will be, essentially, grayed out.  This makes it easy for that dispatcher to focus only on the set of jobs and techs assigned to her.

To define this focus-link is very simple.  It’s all done within the Settings form.  The idea is to place a “third word” after each applicable person’s name—that word being a number which indicates the focus-group-number to which that person is assigned.

More specifically, you can use any number you want for each focus group, but if, for example, you’re planning to divide your staff into two such groups, it would probably make most sense to call them groups ‘1’ and ‘2’ (though, so far as ServiceDesk is concerned, it does not matter so long as you use any whole number).

When ready to place each of your techs into a focus group, you should go to the Settings form, and within the ListOfTechNames there (purple section, net-wide settings) append each tech’s name with the focus-group-number that you wish to assign him to.  Remember, this number must be arranged as the third word in the name line (his first and last name constituting the first and second words).

With that task having been accomplished, the next is to designate each of your dispatchers according to the particular group they will focus on.  For this purpose, you’d probably assume you could just go to each of their names within the ListOfStationNames, and similarly designate there, much as we just did within the ListOfTechNames.  While you could do that, it would not have any operational effect within ServiceDesk.  Instead, to designate that a particular operator is assigned to a particular focus group, ServiceDesk looks at a local value: specifically, the local StationName as designated in the upper right-hand corner of the green section.  There (note that, since this is a local setting, it must be done at the particular machine to which the dispatcher is assigned), you can append a number, after the dispatching person’s name, matching the focus group that you wish to assign her to.

As you can see, the strategy for setting this up is indeed simple—and the result is simple too.  The only thing, that occurs differently on an operational level is that, on a station where the operator is assigned to a focus group (as in the above illustration), jobs assigned to techs from any other focus groups will, as stated, be grayed out when viewed from within the DispatchMap.

In addition to the above, a user might choose to do other things.  For example, you could setup each dispatcher’s station so that the “home” position on the DispatchMap is centered toward the geographic area that is their focus (for instruction on how to do this, if wanted, consult RossWare).

Also, if the need should arise, we might in the future do other things to the programming itself.  We might write code, for example, that would make a job by itself default to one group or another, without requiring that it first be assigned to a particular tech within that group (note that at present that’s the only basis of designation for the job).  We’ll welcome feedback on whether you have any such needs.