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Interactive status page for small company

By n8matt ·
I am the solo IT/IS guy for a 90-user company. I want to implement a tool to serve as my "sounding board" for current or planned IT issues.

What solutions do others have in place for this type of tool? -- I want to be able to quickly post hot issues - like "Server_Z is experiencing troubles and will be rebooted over the noon hour" or "the Phone Company will be here at 10 am to troubleshoot reported dial tone issues, please be patient" etc

I would also like to give the users a chance to post any trouble they may be experiencing - slowness on the ERP software, static on the phones, etc - something they may just want to throw out there to see if others are experiencing it as well - and I can then reply back that I'm looking into it, or reply in whatever way is appropriate.

I've used MS NetMeeting in the past among technicians at a much larger company, but I would prefer to have the tool be web-based so folks don't have to have another tool running on their desktop, learning curve for use, etc.

So I don't get slapped for not including this info, we do host a portion of our corporate web page from this location - the rest is on a paid marketing site - the point being that we have SOME web design ability inside our walls (software, drive space, etc) - just no TECHNICAL ability anymore, as the engineers or technicians who set that system up are no longer with the company.

Any thoughts - I'd love to hear how others meet this need - I'd worked as a contract support person for 7 years prior to this Net Admin job and aside from a formal help desk, I've never seen anything try to meet this need

Thanks, Nate

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by Malcolm R In reply to Interactive status page f ...

There are several different ways you could do this. The problem with a web-based solution is that the users have to go to the web site to get the info and they won't do that in any kind of timely fashion. To do a "real-time" notification, you need a proactive tool.

1. The messenger service (net send) is great for this, provided you haven't disabled it due to Internet annoyances and security threats.

2. An Instant Messaging tool would also work.

3. We have an internally-developed app that runs on all our PCs. It essentially just looks every few minutes for a text file in a specific location. If it finds such a file, it popups up on the users' screens with the text from the file.

Malcolm

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true...

by n8matt In reply to

Thanks Malcolm R
I agree that if folks have to put forth ANY sort of effort to receive updated info without some sort of prompt, then they will quickly be trained to NOT check. For that reason, I appreciate your 3rd item - as it performs the check for them. We have a similar auto-updating tool in use here - albeit for a completely different purpose - but it could likely be adapted to serve in this type of a solution - sad that I didn't consider that already - thx.

In thinking through this process more completely, I quickly approach "analysis paralysis" - too many options being added to try to solve too many varieties of situations... - Kind of a Windows XP thing... lol

Falling back to my original idea - is there by chance a plain vanilla web interface that would allow me to post text and allow users to choose from a pre-set list of issues to report trouble (thinking free/shareware of course)? I probably just need to spend some cash and have a web designer throw something together... - I could couple this with a pro-active element where I push a MS Messenger message or post a flag to the auto-updating tool when I need to get people's attention in short order. - I kinda like that combo -- Sort of like MS Critical update reminder - there's always SOMETHING you could update (or broadcast), but when urgent things happen, the icon pops up on the sys tray.

and now - thoughts on implementing? / shareware out there? ... grin

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Just the thingy

by Matmak In reply to true...

M8 your using the very thing that the answer to your problem, create an inhouse Message board using some free CGi scripts and applications.

You can setup multiple boards and proactive steps for users to check first when they are expereincing problems, for the simpler tasks you understand but would cut down on call frequency for minor faults.

There are a few out there m8 check out this resource

http://cgi.resourceindex.com/Programs_and_Scripts/Perl/Bulletin_Board_Message_Systems/

I recommend Yabb for it's ease of use and setup it's a total skoosh.

even if your not familiar with cgi it doesn't take much time to fathom out and you could setup a cheap inhouse Linux server to act as your intranet If you don't already have one that is.

Hope this helps Dude

Regards
Martin Mack

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Many Thanks -

by n8matt In reply to Just the thingy

I'm browsing the CGI Resourse site and many more questions are coming to mind - I really need to get out more - Thanks for the pointer - I should probably look at broadening my horizons on this type of thing - I'm trying to aim my company's IT actions toward more of the Open Source community (lots of pros, but one KEY con is that I don't have anything to contribute) - looks like this would be a good step for me to get it started here.

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World at your fingertips

by Matmak In reply to Many Thanks -

You missed the first vital lesson in proposing any new technology.
Present a project plan of your intentions and tie in training costs for yourself in the desired area.

You may think that the company wont go for that But I''l guarantee that the training costs for yourself will be far more cost affective than Hiring a new person with that skill set already.

Just a few things to pitch in your favour.

If you have a broadband connection go to the suse website and download their Version of Linux, burn the images off onto the cd's and install side by side with your current operating system, If you have a spare box all the better. and start familiarising yourself with it.

I assume as the sole IT person your also the administrator thus check out "Samba for Linux" administrative tool.

The online help in linux blows away anything you'll get in windows and courses for training are quite cheap.

Give your company a typical example for just one desktop and show them how much they would save both initially and yearly based on licencing costs.

Remember most versions of linux come with Star Office and Open source version with just as much functionality as Microsoft Office.

Just a few Ideas kicking around the Noggin dude

L8rs

Martin Mack

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