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When administrators are implementing a software system, templates and guides can be very handy. It is often much easier to pick from a list than to develop one on your own. However, there can be some considerations to factor into choosing what to use vs. to ignore. "Crafts" in MaintenanceDirect and "Problem Types" in ITDirect are categories that often come into discussion when we perform Tune-Up or other Success Plus Services at SchoolDude as too many categories may have been enabled.
So, why were those lists developed? Along with faster account setup, we were looking for consistency in reports and benchmarking/KPIs, especially for those groups that have to report to their respective state. Over time, the lists grew as some topics needed to be specific or there was another moniker that was needed to describe something (e.g., energy management vs. utility management).
Who was this list designed for? While it is beneficial for the facilities or the IT department, ultimately, the Craft and Problem Type categories are most beneficial to the people who are requesting services. Does the person in the building really care if you are tracking an issue with Boilers? No, they just want to tell you they are cold. Does a person having trouble with email care if it's a server vs. connectivity issue? No, they just want to be able to send and receive email.
We sometimes get the question of "Why can't we create our own categories?" and that is something we will be addressing, but in the meantime, consider that with many choices, there must come many considerations. Remember that simplicity is best for some categories and details are better in others.
To know what your requesters, site administrators and technicians see when they submit work orders, try this trick: if you are on the home page of MaintenanceDirect or ITDirect, there is a link for "MySchoolBuilding". Click it and you will experience what your users experience. Unfortunately, when we hear of people complaining that their users find using an online form to be complicated, it is often because too many choices has overwhelmed them.
In addition to the user experience, if you use automatic routing, more Crafts or Problem Types could need more routing rules established. That is not necessarily a negative for some educational facilities, but it is something that must be considered.
So how is it best to address this topic if it is or could be a possible issue?
1) Keep your Craft or Problem Types to general categories. Instead of various types of floors, just use the category of Flooring. Instead of naming the various types of mobile devices that constantly go in and out of the marketplace, use "Tablet". Same with "Equipment" as you have another option below.
2) Use Purpose to identify the "why" such as repairs, installations or removals
3) Use Classification and Type or use Equipment for detailed categories or for very specific assets. You have total control over these categories, so you can say "Oil-Fired Boiler" or "Dell Latitude 6500 Series" as needed. You can also use Classification and Type to identify non-physical categories such as vandalism types.
4) Ask yourself about how work gets routed. Does someone get all Printer issues or just ink or cartridges? Does someone get all Custodial work or just certain types of custodial work? Don't overthink what could be simple.
Ultimately, it all comes down to reporting and trending. If the graphs and trends get too complex, people outside of your department can get overwhelmed with the amount of stats by topic. They often do not need to know the dozens of types of flooring work or materials, they just need to know what is involved with flooring as a whole. It's the same with IT on the variety of hardware and software that fluctuates much more rapidly. Consider limiting your Crafts or Problem Types to around a maximum of 20-30 categories and use other types of data fields for the specific breakout of information as needed.