Manage your Assets, Helpdesk and your Boss..

When I'm talking about trying to improve the enterprise there is no escaping one constant factor, MONEY! No matter how much we say "IT is a profit center not a cost!" (since business would cease to function without us in the trenches) -- to those who make the decisions it's always about the bottom line.

And the bottom line is ... when you have an opportunity to make managing your network easier, in several different areas, with one package, you have to explore that option. The product I'm talking about is Numara's Track-IT, combining Asset Management, Help Desk, and Performance Management into a single easy to install and implement software.

The history of the company is actually very cool and to me that is even more of an incentive to recommend them and their products. In 1991 Track-IT was released by Blue Ocean Software. The company was then acquired by Intuit in 2002 and the name was changed to Intuit IT Services. Track-IT under Intuit's umbrella continued to grow and expand, offering more features and enhancements.

Just three short years later Intuit sold its IT services division to an equity firm. Track-IT would be sold under the company name Numara meaning "New Ocean" software. Therefore, you could say Track-IT went from one ocean to another, with a stop at intuition. (HA, HA, I crack me up... WHAT? Well, they can't all be gems.) I was IT Director at the time of all the changes and more importantly a Track-IT customer. The product continued to get better and the support was always good.

So what do you get for your money? At the core is the Track-IT asset management feature. This feature easily integrates with Active Directory or LDAP to discover all your assets. Any item with an IP address can be captured with auto discovery, which can be scheduled or launched manually.

Once discovered the asset can be managed and the view can be customized to include hardware information such as serial number, CPU, memory. PCs can be further audited by the audit agent that will gather information such as software installed on the PC. Here's a great way to find out what those laptop users (who are constantly mobile) are installing without your knowing.

A help desk solution that integrates with your e-mail system is also included. User requests are automatically transformed into trouble tickets, which can be categorized by establishing SLAs for each event category. Even better, you can create event policies that will notify and assign the ticket to technicians based on criteria. From the perspective of managing an IT department, the item can be automatically escalated if the ticket is not resolved and completed in the specified time. Dashboard view allows for a quick assessment of help desk status.

One thing that is often overlooked is the ability to add self-service to a help desk component. With self-service, you can create a Web-based ticketing system in which users can submit work orders to re-set their Windows passwords and use the help desk solutions you create to try to resolve basic user issues on their own. One last gem is the ability for technicians to access work orders via a Web browser. I remember spending some time early in my career with a major credit card company doing support calls. I thought it was crazy that every time I finished a call I had to go back to the cage (the 9 x 9 closet, where they stuck all 20 of us) to pick up my next help desk ticket. Therefore, this feature for my staff was something I always insisted on them using. Just access the program via a Web browser and move to the next ticket.

Track-IT calls the last part Performance Management, I like to call it managing your boss (hence the title). Track-IT has over 100 preset reports to quickly bring your boss up to speed on inventory and help desk status.

In addition, included in Track-IT is a purchasing module to create purchase orders and track delivery and payment information. Great stuff if your responsibilities include budgeting and planning -- and you can use Track-It to manage purchased software licenses and to track training courses taken by staff. All these are tools to not only oversee what's taking place in your environment, but to "manage the expectations" (I hate that term) of the person who signs your check.

A single Technician license goes for $1595 supporting 50 nodes out of the box. A five-technician license is $3895 and supports 100 nodes. If you need to build off the already plentiful features of Track-IT, you can purchase some additional add-ons:

  • Numara Industry KnowledgePaks - contains over 77,000 problem resolutions
  • Numara Track-It! Recurring Work Order - pre-populates repetitive work orders
  • Numara Track-It! Survey - develop simple questionnaires that the end-user is directed to when they are notified via e-mail
  • Numara Remote - Keyboard and mouse control, bi-directional file transfer, integrated into the help desk management module
  • Numara Patch Manager - manage patch deployment for Windows systems
  • Numara Deploy - Install and update applications
  • Numara Network Monitor - Real time monitoring
  • Numara Track-It! Bar Code - include bar coded assets and track them in Track-IT
  • Numara Track-It! Mac Audit - Audit and manage your Macintosh assets

This is a good product. However in the interest of not sounding too much like a cheerleader. I have one screen shot for you.

The download screen said the demo would take 4min 59sec to download. That was stuck like that for two hours. I tried another download and got the same response for an hour. So we could use a little work on the demo downloads. Overall, I think Track-IT makes it A Better Windows World.

What do you think? Love Track-IT, not so much, have another tool in mind, let me know by leaving a comment.

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