Open Source

Cerberus

Cerberus Helpdesk is an open source email management software that helps enterprises to effectively track and manage the emails sent by their customers thereby enabling them to provide better support services. It has been developed by WebGroup Media, a US based software development company, using the PHP scripting language. Cerberus Helpdesk is a licensed software, in order to use Cerberus Helpdesk relevant licenses need to be purchased from WebGroup Media.

Apart from email management, Cerberus Helpdesk application can also be used to create and manage a knowledge pool where all previous issues, their resolutions, expert opinions etc can be stored. This knowledge pool can be accessed and browsed by the support staff thereby enabling them to act in a more informed and efficient manner. Cerberus Helpdesk also provides a web based support center which can be accessed by the customers and helps in online issue tracking.

In Cerberus Helpdesk, when a customer sends an email to the company, the mail server receives the email and proceeds to route it to the Cerberus Helpdesk application where the email is parsed and stored in the database as per the rules/parameters defined. Cerberus Helpdesk determines whether the email sent regarding a new issue or not. In case the email is regarding a new issue a ticket number is generated and associated with the email. Cerberus Helpdesk will identify all further communication by the ticket number. All emails that are stored in the database can be managed using the web based interfaces provided by the Cerberus Helpdesk software. The interfaces provide various tools that can be used by the support staff to manage the emails.

Cerberus Helpdesk has easy to use web based interfaces that can be easily customized to meet the requirements of individual organizations. Open Source Development offers to customize and implement the Cerberus Helpdesk application for clients. We can also customize Cerberus Helpdesk to be integrated with other solutions thereby enabling a help desk functionality to be built in.

Features

Some of the features that are included in Cerberus Helpdesk include the following:

  • Cerberus Helpdesk application and e-mail management software provides support for multiple languages.
  • Has an in-built anti spam tool that helps keep out spam emails and emails that contain viruses.
  • Includes an auto response features. Various auto response templates can be defined.
  • A knowledge pool can be created containing all information about previous issues and their resolutions.
  • Provides a web based support center that can be used by the customers for online issue tracking.
  • A scheduler feature has been provided that enables support staff to schedule responses.
  • The support staff can set their preferences to customize the elements of the user interface.
  • An extensive reporting module is provided in Cerberus Helpdesk that can be used to monitor the performance of the support staff, the response time etc.
  • Custom fields can be added by the support staff in order to capture additional information required for tracking customer tickets.

Modules

The following additional modules can be used with Cerberus Helpdesk to provide additional functionality:

Cerberus Support Center: This module is a web based support center interface that can be used by customers to submit issues online. Customers can also track and view the status of their tickets through the interface.

Cerberus LiveHelp: This module enables companies to interact with their customers and reply to their queries. Various tools included within it are:

  • Knowledge Management – tools to create an information storehouse with extensive inbuilt query features, which can be accessed while chatting with customers.
  • Spell check tool
  • Visitor Browser Chat – Customers can place a chat request through the website.
  • Real-Time Traffic Monitoring – Modules to monitor users on websites.
  • System Tray Notification – A tools that displays an alert when a customer requests a chat
  • Transcript Browser – Log of every customer chat handled through the website.
  • Canned Text Manager – Through this module, blocks of text can be saved and reused.
  • Report Generation – Tools to generate reports about website activity.

Benefits

Using Cerberus Helpdesk for email management and issue tracking provides the following benefits to organizations:

  • All emails sent by customers and their responses sent by the support staff are stored in a centralized database. Organizations can easily manage and track all customer communications.
  • Helps in creating a knowledge base which can be accessed by the support staff and can lead to faster resolution of issues thereby increasing productivity.
  • Cerberus Helpdesk can be easily customized to meet the unique requirements of each enterprise.
  • Cerberus Helpdesk is template based. Templates can be associated with different interfaces. The layouts of the interfaces can be easily customized using style sheets.

Solutions developed by Open Source Development

Some of the solutions where Cerberus has been customized and integrated include:

Student Helpdesk

Cerberus Helpdesk was integrated with an online education support application in order to provide a helpdesk for handling student queries. Cerberus Helpdesk application was customized to enable Administrators to create categories for which help would be provided. Only students who had registered for the service could post their queries pertaining to the specified categories. Designated users could view the queries and send their responses to the same. The helpdesk admin module can be accessed by multiple back-end users. The users can access the Helpdesk Admin module based on the access levels assigned to them.

Recommendations

Outsourcing web development efforts can yield drastically different results depending on who you partner with. In the end, success depends on so many factors far beyond code development itself - strong project management skills, the ability to balance a strategic vision and end user needs with technical realities, discipline in execution, steady productivity, honesty, and a positive attitude in dealing with unexpected challenges and changes to name a few. I've found that those who can consistently deliver on these key attributes are rare.
Ted Bream
CEOCore Agenda Inc.