Ticket Management with osTicket


Setting up Email Piping

If you want to process support requests in a timely manner, you should opt for email piping; this technology allows real-time processing of email. osTicket supports remote and local piping. This is an email delivery method in which email messages are used as input for a program (in this case, osTicket) instead of saving them in a mail box file. Because each mail server has its own email delivery procedures, it is difficult to give a general description of the use of this technology.

In most environments, osTicket operates on a hosted or dedicated server that also processes all email. This scenario is referred to as local piping. You need to set up aliases for forwarding; more specifically, a forwarding rule for each email address as in /<path/to/api/pipe>.php.

If your hosting provider provides you with something like the cPanel management environment, forwarding is enabled in the CPANEL | Email | Forwarders | Add Forwarder menu. Enter the forwarding domain and the path public_html/osTicket/api/pipe.php in the advanced options.

Problems with email delivery suggests several potential solutions. For example, you can update the php.ini as follows, and then restart the server:

display_errors Off

Or, you can update the configuration file exim.conf in the /etc/exim.conf directory as follows:

driver = pipe
driver = pipe
group = "${lookup{$domain}lsearch* {/etc/userdomains}{$value}}"
user = "${lookup{$domain}lsearch* {/etc/userdomains}{$value}}"

Replace return_output with return_fail_output.

To modify the alias configuration of a Qmail installation, edit .qmail-* for the domain and add a forwarding rule. The approach is similarly simple for Sendmail. You need to edit the alias file, modifying it accordingly.

Remote piping is useful if you run osTicket and the mail server on different computers. Piping is implemented as an HTTP post to the osTicket API. osTicket offers two scripts for this: automail.php and automail.pl. Their functionality is accessible via http://<IP-Address>/osticket/api/tickets.email . Before you can use remote piping, you must create a key for the remote system in Manage | API Keys .

User and Group Management

As a rule, a ticket system is used by several agents, and often even by various groups and departments. In an osTicket installation, you have set up the system administrator, but the help desk environment should be used by other employees. osTicket supports agents, teams, groups, and departments. The related management functions are available in the Agents tab (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Managing users and groups via the web-based environment is a breeze in osTicket.

To create more agents, open the Agents management section and follow the Add New Agent link. In the corresponding form you define the username, the typical contact information, and authentication method. In the account and status settings, you can define the account type, and thus whether define whether the user is an administrator or an agent.

The access privileges are defined by departmental and group assignments. In addition to the status (active/locked) you can assign the new agent to a Group and a Department. The team assignment is also handled in this dialog. Pressing Add Agent saves the entry.

Simple Team Management

Team management (Agents | Teams ) is significantly easier. When you create a new team, you assign it a name and a status and define an optional team manager. Group management (Agents | Groups ) is available as a flexible system for controlling permissions. After a basic installation, osTicket has three groups: Supervisors, Administrators, and Agents.To view and edit an existing group configuration, just click on the group name. In the group permissions, you can then edit the group's privileges and thus those of its members. For example, you can specify whether tickets can be created, edited, deleted, or assigned. The group configuration also grants access to any existing departments.

In department management (Agents | Departments ), you will again see three predefined departments: Help, Support, and Sales. The configuration options are quite extensive. First, determine whether it is a public or internal department. Then, you can assign an SLA plan and a department head.

Checking the Ticket Allocation box ensures that the ticket assignment is restricted to the department members. Next, select the templates for outgoing email and determine when the autoresponder responds to incoming messages.

One major shortcoming of osTicket is certainly that the web interface does not let you import and export user data. If you want to create an extensive agent base in osTicket, you can only do so indirectly via the database manager. Another shortcoming of the project is the weak documentation.

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