Enterprise ticketing systems are among the vital subsystems that “keep the lights on” for broadband service providers – or, more accurately, keep service-related lights off. Service-related tickets, not unlike the complex and interwoven landscape of “tools,” in general, are foundational for identifying, tracking, and resolving internal and external operations, from scheduled maintenance to incident handling. For those reasons, ticketing systems are often as layered and difficult to detach as multiple layers of wallpaper on a wall -- they got that way through decades of growth, patches, ownership changes, and management shifts (e.g. from centralized to decentralized and back again).
As the title of this paper indicates, this paper is about how to get to “zen” when it comes to incident and trouble ticketing. We define zen as a general state of enlightenment attained by summing the parts, which in this case, are the many different ticketing systems acquired through decades of individual acquisitions that helped defined our industry’s consolidation.
In this paper, we will share how and why Comcast pivoted toward a unified ticketing system -- including what constitutes realistic expectations, lessons learned, useful metrics, and best practices. We will characterize what it takes to unify multiple ticketing systems, so as to attain the benefits that come from operational scale.