Assets/Tickets/CFs versus Tickets/CFs for issue tracking

Our service department is looking to revamp our RT install and try to make it more robust. We sell Machines to customers. Currently, customers only have access via email. The web interface is reserved for staff only. One thought was to import all our Machines from our ERP system into RT’s Asset manager and use that to link issues to each Machine. That way with a single click we can see everything this Machine has been through (including changing ownership). The issue we’re having is there isn’t (at least to us) a seamless way to search ticket & asset criteria at the same time. The closest I’ve found is to use “asset:#” in the “Refers To” but that’s not very clean.

Does it make sense to try and leverage Assets in this case, or should we just opt for Custom Fields on all the tickets & use that to identify the Machine? Another thought I had was to create some kind of Scrip on ticket creation where I have a CF on an Asset and Ticket for the Machine’s Serial Number. This would give people a common element to search for on either form & provide (IMO) a reasonable way to look for Machines.

All feedback appreciated. Thanks!

You probably want to think about what your users’ workflow is and work from there. If searching by the machine serial number is a the way they would usually need to look up a machine (maybe that’s what they ask customers for when talking to them?) then your plan sounds plausible. If there’s other things in the asset that your staff might want to search on, then you’ll need to somehow expose those as well.

Depending on how comfortable you are hacking up your own Perl Mason modules you could also write a custom search interface that let you combine looking for tickets with assets attached. We do a load of custom forms for searching, reporting and requesting here for example. This makes for a nicer user experience, but the downside is that it is a large body of local code that we need to write and maintain (and is very locally oriented so not much point trying to get BP to include it in RT).

One more thought… ISTR that RT can link custom fields to values held in external systems. Could you use that to link directly to data in your ERP, rather than duplicating it into RT assets?