An idea came up on a Christian Linux mailing list I read: using computer help desk software for church administration. Admittedly, this would be a large church that fields a lot of questions. And think “insider user” — ministers, church staff members, lay congregational and district leaders; you get the idea — rather than newcomers or inquirers. And since I can’t think of a church in the UUA large enough (except perhaps the CLF, but more for how it is organized) I’m thinking more about the UUA itself, or one of the larger districts.
If you’ve never administered a server or used one, here’s the deal. As a known user — you’d have to be signed in or known in such a way that your name, identity, and contact information would be clear — you would submit a “ticket” for help. The software may then compare your request against a recorded knowledge bank, and the user is presented with answers that match similar questions. Sometimes that’ll do that job and the ticket is closed. If not, the user forwards the ticket to the help desk where it is worked on in the order it was received. A few instant-message-like emails back and forth and that usually resolves the problem.
I mention this as an idea to make the most of staff to triage need and provide quick service to those that can be turned over the easiest. And since mature open-source options exist, it could be done at little cost.
What do you think?