As part of the Berlin state government, the Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family Affairs shapes important areas of social coexistence. One focus is education policy with daycare centers, schools and adult education, while the other two areas of responsibility are youth and family.
The Integrated Software Berlin Youth Welfare (ISBJ) unit of the Family and Early Childhood Education department provides daily support for the specialized software used in Berlin’s districts to guarantee and ensure the payment transactions of the specialized procedures as well as a smooth flow of processes and thus the provision and organization of assistance, counseling, care, support, and recreation services related to matters such as daycare, after-school care, parental allowance, youth welfare and much more.
In order to be able to offer optimal support in the form of processing and documenting faults and incoming service requests, the process operation, which was launched in 2005, required a ticket system and in 2006 decided on the service management software OTRS, a work structuring and communication solution.
Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family Berlin, Department for Family and Early Childhood Education
- Accessible documentation
- Operational reliability
- 24/7 accessibility
- Free interfaces for integration into existing data systems
- All relevant information is managed in one system
- Increased transparency in inquiry processing facilitates handover, substitution, and onboarding
- Increased quality in the processing of inquiries
- Ensures a consistent level of quality in external communication
- Continuous knowledge documentation
- Structured communication
- Increased service orientation
- Facilitates service evaluation, analysis and planning
Role and authorization management
- Ticket classification
- Ticket prioritization
- Ticket history
- Ticket monitoring
- Enhancement dynamic fields
- Phone communication channel
- E-mail communication channel
The software supporting the services for citizens was predominantly organized in a decentralized manner in the Berlin youth welfare offices of the 12 districts until the introduction of centralized IT specialist procedures.
In the event of technical faults in the applications used, the responsible persons at the respective youth welfare offices had to ensure that the faults were rectified and that they were able to act again. Either by solving the problem independently and exchanging information with manufacturers or service centers. There was no central point of contact for all youth welfare offices because there were also no uniformly used procedures.
The ISBJ unit provides uniform specialized procedures for each youth welfare office, ensures smooth operation, and, with the help of OTRS, is the central point of contact in the event of malfunctions and for addressing service requests.
The ISBJ department is responsible for ensuring the operation of the specialized procedures, i.e. it acts as support and contact for the users at the youth welfare offices if there are problems, malfunctions or even failures with the different specialized procedures.
In this role, the ISBJ unit also manages the contracts with the respective software manufacturers and contacts them when necessary. The employees of this department are thus the contact persons for the users at the youth welfare offices as well as for the software manufacturers and the computer centers in which the specialized procedures are operated.
When ISBJ was founded, it quickly became clear that it would need a ticket system for its extensive tasks and complex communication. At that time, the Berlin Senate Administration had no experience with service management software solutions, and there was not as much choice as today. It was clear that technological support was needed - German-language support was the decisive point for the decision for OTRS at that time.
OTRS is now used to map all communication for process operation, first and second-level support, incident and change management, and all communication with customers and service providers. All exchanges take place via tickets, with only the ISBJ specialists using OTRS as agents. The users from the youth welfare offices start the process by sending a request by e-mail to a functional e-mail address of ISBJ. The request ends up in the queue created in OTRS and thus generates a ticket. The first step after the receipt of an error message is the classification of the ticket to the respective specialized procedure, which is taken care of by different employees depending on their responsibility.
In addition, the concern of the ticket is checked and evaluated whether it is a user error or a problem with the software. In the event of a user error, the ISBJ specialist contacts the Youth Services staff member and provides the appropriate support to resolve the issue. If a software problem is identified, exchange and communication follow, which is handled entirely via OTRS on the part of the ISBJ unit, to resolve the malfunction. First of all, the problem is analyzed, for example, by evaluating the error log at the computer center, viewing it and re-enacting the error message. Once the problem has been narrowed down or identified, a structured template is used to send a request to the software manufacturer for further discussion of the troubleshooting.
This is also very extensive and sometimes takes place over a longer period. The clarification of the facts requires queries, and a discussion of the type of troubleshooting, which is usually carried out as part of a patch applied by IT service providers, tested, released and finally set productive.
There is usually very extensive exchange and communication until the final resolution of the problem. All these steps and stations of the process take place within OTRS in a ticket, primarily via incoming mail to function mailboxes that OTRS serves.
For the work at ISBJ, continuous data maintenance in OTRS is of particular importance. This includes the current 15 dynamic fields. In addition, part of the smooth process is classifying and assigning each ticket.
To ensure that requests are processed promptly and to avoid a flood of requests, concerns are already bundled in the districts as part of first-level support and requests are transmitted to ISBJ in a coordinated manner.
With OTRS, the ISBJ unit currently manages 33 specialized procedures and requests from 6,000 internal users in the youth welfare offices of the districts and about 4,000 external users, for example at sponsors or software companies.
"In order to keep up with the constantly growing requirements, the introduction of OTRS was definitely a positive factor, especially in the areas of knowledge documentation, structuring, role understanding and service orientation," says Sebastian Erb, head of the working group Procedure Operation and Further Development in the ISBJ unit.
One solution for everything - structured communication, knowledge database, documentation, analysis and planning with OTRS.
The features included in OTRS, which allows tickets to be assigned and prioritized, or the ticket history to be viewed and completed, and audit-proof documentation to take place, are particularly important in this respect. The same applies to the availability of knowledge databases or the possibility of completely individual configurability of the software solution.
The use of OTRS also makes it easier for the ISBJ department to take over tickets in the event of a replacement - be it due to illness or vacation. The continuous documentation of all steps already taken in a request helps, as does, for example, the option of setting an agent's status to Absent, thus ensuring that the reopened ticket is not overlooked but processed by team colleagues.
For recurring processes and procedures, the freely configurable response templates in OTRS are also used, ensuring communication quality and guaranteeing legal certainty in external communication even in stressful situations.
In addition to supporting all communications and thus ensuring efficient and rapid processing of all incoming requests and messages, the ISBJ department also uses OTRS for evaluation and planning. It is crucial that all relevant data and information is stored and available in OTRS. For example, the unit can use OTRS to evaluate the volume of requests. It can be evaluated by how many tickets are received from which district and which topics are mainly reported. This information provides information on any need for optimization of the procedures themselves, or whether and where there is a need for staff training.
OTRS is also used to monitor expenses and budget planning.
In addition to the original process operation itself, the department also includes the area of further development. This department takes care of any necessary adjustments to the specialized procedures, for example, if they are required by a change in the law. The communication required for this is also carried out via OTRS and supports this area with the same advantages as the procedure operation.
The flexibility of a service software solution required by ISBJ and provided by OTRS will be further increased in the future by the even more consistent conversion of queues to free fields.
If it supports you instead of hindering you, then it is configured correctly.Sebastian Erb, Head of the Process Operation and Further Development Working Group in the ISBJ Unit.
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