In celebration of OTRS 9th birthday *, the community is pleased to publish the following two News/Stories.

Today's News

User Story I - The fast and powerful way

by Daniel Obee

My new year's resolution for 2010: Learn another language. It was meant to be Italian and ended up being Perl. And this is why: This came somewhat natural. I built a theme to match the CI (and please the agents) and tweaked some lines here and there. A mostly try and error with a prevalence on error.

Back then I used to work as project manager in customer service at Jamba!. To replace the incredibly expensive and still not efficient mail system decision was made to switch to OTRS as primary costumer contact solution.

The OTRS soon after served to handle requests from 38 different countries, connecting three different service levels in three different call centers on two different continents.

Together with Martin Edenhofer of the OTRS Group we found ways to develop and integrate some essential features like sorting tickets by last customer contact, bulk treatment of tickets, a watcher functionality to keep track of tickets and more. Working on the concepts with Martin was an awesome experience and some of them made their way to the standard later.

Three years later I left Jamba! and followed a call to MY-HAMMER AG. It was time of big changes. MyHammer was in the middle of both a move from Neuss to Berlin and the process of outsourcing its customer service. As a matter of surprise (I really had no idea before I started there) what I found was the smoking ruin of an ill maintained OTRS serving as mail system to the agents both in house and in the call center.

After the initial woes it remained part of my duties as a product manager to maintain and develop the OTRS to the call center's needs. Again together with OTRS AG we implemented some more call center orientated functionality like a text template library, a modified call ticket and so on. We're now able to handle hundreds of customer contacts a day and still growing.

This was about the time when I realized some of the smaller changes weren't exactly rocket science and could as well be made by myself. (This is the moment I have to confess I'm not a linux intimus. Don't laugh - I still don't know how to grep and I love my mouse.) So still full of awe I entered the world of black and white screens, daemons named foo and bar and symbols I never dared to reckon on my keyboard.

First steps were merely changes to the UI, as in 'this button could be a little more to the right'. I had some basic html knowledge so this came somewhat natural. I built a theme to match the CI (and please the agents) and tweaked some lines here and there. All mostly try and error with a prevalence on error.

It was only May last year when I decided to go deeper, bought me "Learning Perl" Lama-Book ence. Since then I wrote a couple of dashlets and spent a good portion of time in trying to enhance the SQL performance of OTRS.

I found out that there's more companies using OTRS in call centers many of them not making full use of the given functionality. I started to connect to other users, sharing knowledge and offering OTRS consulting to other companies too, mostly concentrating on call center scenarios and mass ticket handling.

The networking idea meanwhile led to being member of the newly founded OTRS Community Board. As such I want to continue connecting people and push the OTRS development to our, the community's, needs. Hope to see you soon!

push(@life, 'joy')

Daniel Obee (daniel.obee@mac.com)

OPAR - Public OTRS Extention Repository for everybody

by Renée Bäcker

I'd like to announce "OPAR". "OPAR" is a CPAN-like repository for OTRS extensions.

There are a lot of OTRS developers in the community who would like to share their packages and extentions. And there is not a single point where they can publish their work. Such a central repository will help to improve a lot of OTRS instances.

And users can get an overview of all available extentions. You need some features in OTRS? You should have a look at OPAR. There is a chance that any developer has had the same feature on the wishlist and she developed an OTRS extension. Hopefully she has uploaded it to OPAR. Then you will benefit from her work.

OPAR will make it easier to share ideas.

OPAR will change the OTRS world and will help to make it more attractive for all users.

Register and upload your extension today! Also all extentions which will be announced this days will be available via OPAR!

Available now at: http://opar.perl-services.de/

- Renée (perl@renee-baecker.de)

* This is the Birthday Party of the OTRS Software (March 11th 2002, was the first official release of OTRS). Later, the Company OTRS AG was founded in 2003. The Open Source Project was founded in 2001 by Martin Edenhofer.
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