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Web+Center Multi-Department / Instance easy deployment options coming soon!.

Multi Instance hosting to create multiple department systems easily
Our traditional model of our software installation and purchase requires one complete “Web+Center folder tree” for each instance and one associated database.   We often sell and install a completely different and separate system for users who wish to install a second or third department system (ie, one for I.T., another for facilities, another for HR, etc).   We are calling each of these unique Web+Center systems an “instance”.

While working on a project  where we have a potential clients that wants to host 10-20 separate instances of Web+Center for a hotel group, we developed a fairly simple configurable change and hosting model to allow (1) Web+Center code base folder but numerous instances of Web+Center that have their own unique databases and their attached file  directories.

With a relative few simple changes to Web+Center IIS web hosting layout and moving a few of the configuration options like license keys into the database, one can now easily add and configure multiple departments of systems.  To manage all of these instances, we have created a set of tool called Instance manager that allow these special instance managers “techs”  to manage and easily access all of the instances from a higher level account.

Each of the instances will still have their own unique set of customers, techs, tech groups, categories, assets, cases, prompts, email messages, etc that is tailored for their specific departments or instances.

Example Uses of a Multi-departmental Web+Center

Let’s say you are a large higher education college that has many departments that tend to prefer to work in smaller independent departmental work organizational units.  Each department has it’s own director and it’s own method of handling student or internal staff requests and methods to fulfilling those requests or support requests.  In most Web+Center scenarios, the various departments DO NOT want to share their ticket queues, categories, reports and work flows.  The IT department does not want to see or dispatch the issues that come in the maintenance department ticketing like a leaking toilet.  This new approach allows easy deployment of new systems for departments that could possibly utilize a issue/project request tracking system if offered to them.  Some examples of different departments that could use Web+Center at a higher education environment might be:

  1. Campus Wide IT services – College wide systems and networking infrastructure, PC repair, telephones,
  2. Natural Sciences Department IT department – Smaller department focusing on one departments IT issues
  3. School of Agriculture and Engineering department – IT Department
  4. Distance Learning systems and services department – Serving distance learning students and staff
  5. HR – School HR ticketing system for issues
  6. Transcripts and records department – Students and staff requesting reports and transcripts
  7. Facilities – Campus wide maintenance ticketing system
  8. Housing – Handling housing trouble tickets – Could be broken down into smaller dorms based on support model
  9. Food Services – Ticketing system to allow issues from food service consumers to be processed
  10. Parking and Safety – Issues and tickets from parking and safety users and officers
  11. School Grounds and reservations – Using Web+Center Reservation+Center for on-line catalog for rooms and fields

Each of these departments can often benefit from a ticketing request system if they currently don’t have a system installed of which most smaller departments do not.  With a simple set of deployment steps requiring only a few minutes, you can add and deploy additional departments Web+Center instances quickly and affordably.   Since Internet Software Sciences is now only supporting 1 file code base, the cost and support of these departmental instances will be priced less than purchasing and supporting individual systems.  Additional systems that have 2 or less techs can be installed for free.  Pricing and licensing for this new departmental hosting model is still being developed and we are looking for feedback on the pricing models that would best fit your requirements.

Web+Center Hosting URL’s
Each of these instances will each have their own unique set of  six Web+Center applications (Tech+Center, Tech+Mobile, Customer+Center, Customer+Mobile, Business+Center, Reservation+Center).

To handle these different departments, the IIS application sub directories will allow a URL scheme like:

Each of those URLs will use the same Web+Center code base but they will reference a different database, and point to a different directory when downloading and storing attached files.

Multi-Departmental Management tools
For organizations and companies that wish to review and monitor multiple help desk instances from a higher level, some new tools will allow a new higher level administrative logins to  access all of the systems and perform some views and reports of all of the systems.

Multi departmental systems overcomes issues preventing initial deployment
There are many reasons why smaller departments have not invested in a ticketing request  / help desk system to help in their process flow of support or requests.  Some of these reasons include cost, complexity, IT requirements and organizational inertia.  Getting their specific requirements into a larger campus wide deploy of a ticketing system may not happen either as campus wide systems get unwieldy when too many groups are asked to help deploy a single one system does all for everyone approach.  Installing smaller systems whose basic configuration is under the control of the department might have a better chance of deployment as it can be deploy incrementally when the department and resources are available.

Test on demo on-line and provide us feedback!
As we fully develop this feature, we are soliciting feedback on the architecture and tools and will soon be looking for customers to test our designs in their environments.  First we have created a demo on our on-line sandbox site for your testing. Please contact us if you are interested in being one of test sites for this new model of Web+Center deployments.  We are planning production release of this feature in Version 10.0 (Jan 2019).  We are also considering offering a more hosted approach model with this feature as it allows easier deployment for applications that require several unique systems and centralize management of those systems.

To test the Multi-Departmental / Instance feature (BETA) on our sandbox, please visit these test sites.

To log into the instances, you can  log in as special “instance” administrator.  If you log into the Tech+Center with this account you will see the new instance admin button on the top bar menu in Tech+Center.  Instance administrator has a “tech level” even higher than “configurator”, the highest level available in previous systems.

Example: Suppose we have a college that decides to implement two help desks.  An campus IT department Web+Center instance and a Distance Learning Support site.  With the instance manager we will define the two instances as:

Instance Directory      Instance Full Name
CampusIT                   Campus IT
DistanceLearning        Distance Learning Support

Click on any on of the links below to test our our multi-hosted environment using the tech login information listed below.
* Note – This demo is not set up to add additional instances but once developed, new instances could be created and deploy in 1-2 easy steps in a few minutes with server access.

Instance Manager Login Account:
LOGIN ID: instanceconfig
PASSWORD: instanceconfig

Regular Tech+Center Configurator Login:
To log in as tech in each system, you can use the default configurator tech account of
LOGIN ID: css-1000
PASSWORD: config

Web+Center Example customer account example:
LOGIN ID: james

Instance 1: Campus IT Help Desk

Instance 2: Distance Learning Support

We continually connect with various smaller groups, departments, companies daily who understand the value of a help desk system to better handle their request/support issues but need the initial support of some more IT proficient types to help to deploy a system.   This approach is designed to share that IT department web hosting expertise and enable other departments to get their own ticketing systems with minimal costs and effort.