Mambo & ActiveCampaign Help Desk Software (Case Study)

The Mambo foundation is a volunteer, non-profit organization charged with the governance of the Mambo open source content management system.  Mambo is free software released under the GNU/General Public license and like all such projects, dealing with emails and organizational issues takes valuable time away from software development.   They use Help Desk to manage both time and resources more effectively.

Mambo developers must work in collaboration from many different locations which makes email key to their communication.   “Email is the key communication tool. The Mambo development team and the members of the Board of the Mambo Foundation are geographically distributed and work in a virtual, online environment.  All email that is not addressed to individuals is managed through the help desk.”  Directing email traffic through a central ticketing system allows multiple members to work together on the same issue if it is not specifically addressed to a particular individual.

Mambo foundation uses the knowledgebase in ActiveCampaign’s Help Desk Software to provide a central location for corporate documents that require routine turn over.  “For the management of Board affairs Help Desk has proven to be an ideal solution.  Previously, corporate documents were kept by officers of the Foundation and handed over to new officers following our annual elections of the Board. This meant that record keeping relied on the diligence of the individuals who handled those documents. Help Desk is used as a central repository and archive. By keeping all documents in the knowledgebase and keeping emails we now have accurate corporate records that are available to future Board members. This gives us confidence that we can not only meet our statutory obligations but also that institutional knowledge is retained for the future – two things that are extremely important and sometimes difficult to achieve in a volunteer environment.”     This improves efficiency and allows accountability that would otherwise be difficult to maintain.

“Volunteer, free software projects tend to have a reasonably high turnover in personnel. People work when they can, in their spare time, and often find it hard to commit their time in advance. By having a central document repository and by handling all email through the ticketing system it does not matter who is around and when. People can come into new roles and read what has happened previously and people can take leave for a few months while knowing that others can step in and take over handling of the enquiries.

“In the past, individuals took responsibility for one or more email accounts. There was no way the rest of the team could be certain that emails were being responded to in a timely manner and no way the team or Board could be certain it was receiving all information. By collecting all emails within the help desk the groups collectively have access to each email and the responses. This has made us more accountable and has improved our responsiveness to enquiries.

“Prior to installing Help Desk we also had issues due to the distributed, virtual team environment we work in. Team and Board members are located all over the world and not everyone has reliable internet connections. Some countries have high fees for bandwidth. This resulted in some Board members being reluctant to take on responsibility for handling email enquiries due to costs – especially as a lot of the email is spam. By using the helpdesk nobody needs to worry about the costs because email goes into the ticket system and is not downloaded to individual’s computers. If someone’s internet connection is down for awhile this is not a problem – responding is a collective responsibility and no longer a burden put on individuals.

“The Mambo Foundation has used SupportTrio for nine months now. The improvements in our responsiveness and productivity have been significant. Best of all, we now have more time to devote to developing the software.”

SupportTrio provides a central framework to allow Mambo Foundation address the challenge of working in an environment that requires the collaboration of volunteers working in different locations.  It also provides a means for maintaining efficiency and accountability in an environment that necessitates a high turnover rate.

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  • JAG

    It’d be interesting [for a geek like me] to know how the Mambo folk set up Support Trio… How did they connect the dots of Support Trio to bridge distances, and create unified teams out of people who come and go from their ranks? That’s an interesting topic to me.

    How did they set up departments, satellite desks (if at all), the nature of the communications they exchange with one another (do they submit enhancement requests to each other?, etc), announcements, groups, how much of their use is internal vs external to users or even volunteers?

    Sooo… Can we expect Support Trio to turn into a Mambo/Joomla extension anytime soon? :)