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'[OT] Field tech software'
2009\06\01@094305 by Tony Smith

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Anyone got any software recommendations for tracking field tech jobs and so
on?

We have equipment that occasionally break, as stuff tends to do.  The
machines can phone home with certain faults, or they may be customer
reported via a call centre.

In short, a fault is logged, techs get a message, one accepts the job, it
gets fixed (or not), fault clear and customer advised if need be.

Current using Xora.com, which works but has a few annoyances, such as a
timestamps being wrong (it reports the server time, which is in another
country...), needs an app installed on the techs phone, weird default
settings such as jobs expire in 12 hours, so faults reported on the weekend
tend to get missed etc.

Xora does all that GPS/GPRS tracking which we don't care about.  We want web
based (mobile version a plus), which can be accessed by techs, the
(outsourced) call centre and admin.  Some API for updating data (eg adding
equipment reported faults) and data extraction is needed too.  I'm
increasingly disliking the 'click this button to save to XL' stuff, people
have better things to do.  Basic reporting, exceptions reports (fault not
cleared after 2 days etc) is a definite.

What do you use?  Even "they all suck, we built our own with Outlook forms,
SQL Server & IIS" is helpful.

Tony

2009\06\01@103515 by Rolf

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Tony Smith wrote:
> Anyone got any software recommendations for tracking field tech jobs and so
> on?
>
>  

Mantis?

I have used it for a few things, but I have only scratched the surface
of the available functionality. I know that it does some of the things
you want (Mobile, etc).

You should at least look at the web page ....

http://www.mantisbt.org/

Rolf

2009\06\01@135850 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Rolf wrote:

> Tony Smith wrote:
>> Anyone got any software recommendations for tracking field tech jobs
>> and so on?
>
> Mantis?
> [...]
> http://www.mantisbt.org/

I second that. Very stable, lots of functionality out of the box and
reasonably easy to extend the (PHP with SQL database) code.

Gerhard

2009\06\02@111456 by Tony Smith

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> >> Anyone got any software recommendations for tracking field tech jobs
> >> and so on?
> >
> > Mantis?
> > [...]
> > http://www.mantisbt.org/
>
> I second that. Very stable, lots of functionality out of the box and
> reasonably easy to extend the (PHP with SQL database) code.


Bug tracking could work.  I looked at Mantis ages ago, but I'd forgotten
about it.

I'd have to add a fair bit to Mantis to get it to do what I want, eg adding
in scheduled maintenance (not something bug tracking does) and so on.  In
this case I can throw money at the problem rather than hack together
something myself.  A rare experience, I must say.

I guess I'll keep rummaging thru the glossy websites that have little
content, and their typical poorly written manuals - "The Event screen is
where you can view and edit Events" - like well duh.  So what actually is an
Event then?  

I was amused to see one solution that essentially duplicated Outlook in a
web browser.  Maybe it was Outlook.

Tony

2009\06\02@140753 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Tony Smith wrote:

>>>> Anyone got any software recommendations for tracking field tech jobs
>>>> and so on?
>>>
>>> Mantis?
>>> [...]
>>> http://www.mantisbt.org/
>>
>> I second that. Very stable, lots of functionality out of the box and
>> reasonably easy to extend the (PHP with SQL database) code.
>
> Bug tracking could work.  I looked at Mantis ages ago, but I'd
> forgotten about it.
>
> I'd have to add a fair bit to Mantis to get it to do what I want, eg
> adding in scheduled maintenance (not something bug tracking does) and
> so on.  

I don't look at Mantis as "bug tracking" only; it's a pretty flexible
task scheduler, too. Not sure what you mean by "adding in scheduled
maintenance", but there's a (sometimes surprising) lot that Mantis can
do out of the box. (It also has grown since ages ago :)

Gerhard

2009\06\09@070807 by Tony Smith

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> >>> Mantis?
> >>> [...]
> >>> http://www.mantisbt.org/
> >>
> >> I second that. Very stable, lots of functionality out of the box and
> >> reasonably easy to extend the (PHP with SQL database) code.
> >
> > Bug tracking could work.  I looked at Mantis ages ago, but I'd
> > forgotten about it.
> >
> > I'd have to add a fair bit to Mantis to get it to do what I want, eg
> > adding in scheduled maintenance (not something bug tracking does) and
> > so on.
>
> I don't look at Mantis as "bug tracking" only; it's a pretty flexible
> task scheduler, too. Not sure what you mean by "adding in scheduled
> maintenance", but there's a (sometimes surprising) lot that Mantis can
> do out of the box. (It also has grown since ages ago :)


Recurring task might be a better description, "Go do this every Monday" type
stuff.  Most likely someone has added it somewhere.

Most of this software these days seems to be more interested in tracking the
workers, not the work.  I don't care all that much if they spend all day at
the pub so long as they fix what's broken.

Tony

2009\06\09@075736 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Tony Smith wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Ah... That's different. Even though you can put dates on items, Mantis
isn't really a scheduler; it's a tracker.

> Most likely someone has added it somewhere.

You're right. See
<www.mantisbt.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4469&p=11430&hilit=recurring#p11430>.
Run the script from a scheduler at the required frequency.

This was under the first few hits using "recurring" as search term in
their forum. One thing I like about Mantis is that it's well organized
and has good documentation.

Some plugins: http://deboutv.free.fr/mantis/

> Most of this software these days seems to be more interested in
> tracking the workers, not the work.  

Not Mantis, at least not as I see it. It helps track the issues and
their way to resolution. Whether you resolve them in a pub or at home in
your underwear is irrelevant :)

Gerhard

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