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Video: Mar 2, 2023 Session: Unleash the Power of Autotask with Dustin Puryear’s Expert Office Hours

In this session, we answer your live Q&A about: How to organize your Autotask so that it self-documents and effective Autotask Workflow Rules (WFRs).

Do you need assistance with a complex task in Autotask? Are you looking to enhance your reports or optimize your Workflow Rules? Look no further! Join Dustin Puryear, Autotask expert and founder of Giant Rocketship, for his weekly office hours. It’s a complimentary opportunity for you to pick the brain of an expert and get things done. All you need is your curiosity and a willingness to learn. So, don’t hesitate, sign up today!


01:36 Hello, everybody. Welcome to my office hours every Thursday, 10:00 A.m.. I’ll be going for about 30 minutes to show some things in Autotask. Most importantly, it’s completely attendee driven. I’ll be answering the Q and A that you have for me.

01:55 Let’s go ahead and get started. The first thing I’d like to do is verify you can hear me. So if somebody can put to the QA, Q and A that I can hear you, that’d be awesome. Also, I am screen sharing. If you are unable to see my screen ASAP, let me know.

02:14 You should be able to see it just fine. All right, so as you have questions, put them in the Q and A. I did have one email question that was sent to me, and it was how to keep things organized and Autotask.

02:31 So it’s interesting. I wrote a blog about this, and the name of the blog was how to Document Your MSP, I think it was. So one thing that people struggle with an Autotask, manage whatever is, as you tweak it, it’s going to get more and more complicated and hard to understand what is going on.

02:54 Let’s take an example here. This is our test tenant. And so there’s a lot of different boards. And if you go into our ticket search, you’re going to notice I have multiple queues. And so it seems like, okay, that’s not that big of a deal, right?

03:13 So look at all these different cues we have. But as you fine tune things, you’re going to find that you have certain cues dedicated to certain tax and certain departments, and you even have certain ticket statuses or ticket categories.

03:29 This is for my MSP side. This is for my breakfast. This is for our backup team and our knock team. This is actually for our marketing and sales team. It starts to get really unwieldy because now you have different cues, statuses and oh goodness.

03:46 Now we have workflow rules that are specific to each of these departments. And it gets really complicated as you fine tune any major software solutions, solution like Autotask, it gets difficult. And so people ask the question, well, how do I document this?

04:03 It’s a nightmare to figure out what’s going on. And so they embark on this long process of documenting every workflow rule and who owns what queue. It’s all important but it’s really going the wrong direction.

04:20 By all means document your procedures. But what I have always argued is you need to embed documentation into the process itself in the configuration, right? And so you’ve probably heard configuration as code.

04:38 So we’re going to call this configuration as documentation. And I’m going to show you one thing that you can do that will have a huge impact on you knowing what the heck is going on in your Autotask.

04:50 So what you’re going to start doing is you’re going to use a department code. This one thing is going to make a huge impact. So let’s take a look. Departments. Okay, so let’s say we have all of these different departments, right?

05:13 And so we want a department code. Code. Apartment number. Still call us marketing, right? Now the trick here is this. We’re going to start using this everywhere, right? And so for service or MSP, you may just put MSP in front of it.

05:32 You’re. Or managed services is common. So you just say Ms Finance, you might put Acct Engineering, admin. Just pick the key thing here is pick three letter codes. So adm and you’re going to see why it’s visually pleasing and it makes sorting work better.

05:49 And the other part of it is if you want all queues and workflow rules to sort for managed services first, then you can put a number in front of your codes, right? So this is my managed services and then maybe marketing would be like marketing or you can even use this, but it’s a little bit more confusing.

06:10 The reason this is important to watch what we’re going to do here. So now we know this is our marketing department. Now we’re going to do configuration as documentation. So we’re going to do, we’re going to do these queues.

06:25 We’re going to say that let’s say we did this to five different queues and these five queues only were used by marketing, right? And then you can also, again, a lot of people have tickets that are just for certain departments, right?

06:50 And even priorities. So marketing may always have urgent now versus a 30 day resolution versus payment services, which is usually going to have low, medium, high critical. So you can really break this out.

07:06 And then, and here’s the big one. In your workflow rules, puts your department code in front of your workflow rules. When you do that, everything’s tied together. You just saved a ton of documentation just by using a department code in front of all of your configuration.

07:31 And we’re just waiting on Autotask workflow rule builder to come up. And so whenever you are creating workflow rules and you’re auditing things and your team needs to look in certain queues and you hire a new person and what is going on?

07:48 Autotask. And you hire a new person and they’re looking at your configuration, they’re like, wait, I have to put this ticket where’s this ticket go? Okay, it goes over there. Okay, this ticket goes this queue.

08:01 But because this ticket is purple, it goes in that queue. So you have to build a whole training program for these people. Marketing, right? This is a marketing workflow. So all of your marketing workflows start with Mkt.

08:18 This is so simple and nobody does it. Now you hire a new person and you say, all banner service tickets go. What queues? In the Ms queues is just a sales inquiry. It goes into the sales queues. How do I know what the sales queues are?

08:34 It starts with Mkt or SLS, right? However you want to code that out. But it reduces your documentation dramatically because you’ve encoded the documentation into the configuration and you’ve encoded that configuration into a simple to understand, consistent format.

08:55 Because we all know onboarding new employees is rough because there’s so much training. You should have a training system at my It company, we call it Per Year University. You onboard them, they’re learning stuff, but they’re not going to remember everything.

09:09 They’re constantly going back to documentation, asking questions. So you always want to encode that information to your configuration. I don’t go to the circles here, but it’s the simplest thing you can do and it will have dramatic outcomes for you.

09:24 What serum do you prefer to use and do you integrate it in Autotask? That’s a good question. I’m a big Zoho fan. For giant rocketship, we use Zoho CRM and it’s an interesting beast. What I like about Zoho is like this huge universe of systems.

09:45 And I’ll be honest with you, one reason I picked Zoho, and this is between me, you and the wall, is that it was not Autotask. And I specifically wanted to use a system that forced me to exit because I’ve always had experience.

10:00 We’ve used manage and other products. But I’ve just been with Autotask for so long, I wanted to pull myself out of Autotask and then also let’s build a connector with rocket ship. It forces me to kind of think, okay, what are things that another package may do well?

10:16 The Autotask is not doing well. How do we solve that? And what are things this happens more often than you. I think some people want to admit now that you say about Autotask, but there are some things Autotask is just superior.

10:29 And I’ve noticed when I use Zoho desk and some other products, I’m like, oh, I wish they did what Autotask was doing. And it’s really helped me understand that I like Zoho. You can connect that way.

10:41 But honestly, for the MSP, we almost exclusively we’re using Autotask CRM system, right? And the reason we were able to do that is we use quote works as part of that. But we just had a very rigid system and we were very KPI scorecard driven.

11:00 And one of the negatives of the Autotask CRM, because it’s really kind of an add on, it just happens to have that data. So why not have a CRM that’s not it’s like superior module. One of the issues with Autotask CRM is that there’s not a lot of automation in there.

11:18 For example, in a CRM specific platform like Salesforce or even act, if you ever I guess it would be Act. If you ever use that back in the day, it would remind you of things all the time. And that was really nice.

11:35 So we just use KPIs for that. In terms of hooking up Autotask with other systems. I’m going to show you something real quick. So people, if they’re using HubSpot or Mailchimp, they’ll use Zapier. The problem with Zapier is, and I’m a developer by trade, but I’m definitely very comfortable and I like no code tools.

11:59 You can spend things up so much faster with no code. But man, it gets so expensive, particularly when you hook up Zapier to your CRM because there’s so many little updates happening. You’ll just find that the cost of Zapier goes up really fast.

12:12 What you really want to do is you want to set up web hooks. So I’m going to show you something real quick. Let’s say that you’re using Salesforce just because I just mentioned it. And Salesforce lets you create web hook so that every time something happens, you can trigger an event, right?

12:31 And so if there’s a change in account, then you want to trigger an update. You can actually notify these remote services by creating your own extension call out. Like, for example, in tickets for custom web hooks.

12:47 They obviously have to support that. But you can actually trigger some stuff using these extension call out and call out to the CRM. But another option is you can build blows between Autotask and the third party platforms using no code.

13:04 I always thought integralmat, which is now make, was very powerful. I like power automate. But the problem is, believe it or not, they just don’t have that many connectors compared to some of these third party no code.

13:17 If you get in there, you’re like, oh, it’s awesome. It connects all kinds of things, but it’s very Microsoft driven. Some of these third parties have an incredible amount of connectors. So that you can connect the rest.

13:27 API is how you would connect to the Autotask side, and then you would connect that to, like, a salesforce or HubSpot. Maybe I’ll do one specific to that. If you guys are interested, email me, and then maybe I’ll have a 30 minutes session where I literally just walk you through connecting Autotask with a third party CRM and trying to avoid zapier again, because it just gets expensive.

13:54 Okay, somebody else uses the whole one. So power team, man. It’s a good product. I think it’s underrated in the It community sometimes, so okay, department codes. Again, simple thing, huge impact on your documentation.

14:11 Let’s see. I had actually an email question, how do you track ticket history? So there was a whole long question on this. They were not asking. So a lot of people are not aware of this, but they weren’t asking, hey, how do I go?

14:30 Look at the actual audit log, which is this, by the way. This thing is beautiful. You can debug so many workflow role issues. You can see who’s the blame, who’s been changing the status. Why is the status changed on this thing?

14:47 Right? And so you can see where we’re testing here, but by the way, so rideshare one of the modules is called Status Protect. And so it’s always making sure tickets are scheduled and there’s activity on them.

15:01 And if one of your techs leaves a ticket in an orphan state, which is something techs like do, so they do work on the ticket, and then they don’t escalate it, close it, they do nothing with it. Those are the tickets.

15:14 You come back a week later like, oh my God, why is this ticket not close? Or why have we not helped the customer? Will detect that and send it to a service manager and say, look, you got a problem. You need to deal with this, and it detects it within, like, 30 minutes.

15:27 Okay? So the question was not how do I just look at my audit log? It was, if I want to build reports, Dustin, how do I know? Was this ticket ever in a waiting customer status? A ticket. Sorry about that.

15:45 What percentage of my tickets goes into a waiting customer or waiting parts? How many of my tickets got escalated? Right? And rocket ship. Of course, we give you the reporting for that. Let’s say you’re doing it by hand.

15:58 I’m going to show you how you do that. That’s a combination of udfs and workflow rules. I’m going to show you the right way to do it because absolutely the default way you’re going to do it is wrong.

16:11 So we’re going to call this ticket, and so the UDF is going to be waiting customer. The trick here is there are two tricks. First, don’t do multiflex. There’s a reason for that. Just because the API doesn’t like that.

16:30 So it’s going to really hamstring you in the future. But you always create a kind of a binary UDF, and I’m going to show you why. Because otherwise you’re going to get confused on how to build these work through rules.

16:45 So let’s say that you had a bunch of these, right? And so you have a ticket history. Again, always encode documentation into your configuration. Don’t try to remember. Just take a history, right? Ticket history.

16:59 Let’s say this was an escalated ticket, and so we’re going to do this. Yes. Then no. Again, us doing this has a huge impact on how the workflow rule is going to be designed. I hoped I had left the workflow rules open.

17:26 I did not. And so now we’re going to create our workflow rules to trigger when that happens. So ticket history, waiting customer. And honestly, or created, well, it would be flipped into waiting customer.

17:44 Technically, you could create a ticket that’s in waiting customer. So we want to track that, right? So status is equal to waiting customer. Now, what you don’t want to do is you don’t want your workflow rule trick firing every time, because it just makes your history like this long if you do the system notes in the view.

18:07 And so what we can do as well is looking for UDF. Look how obvious this is. Ticket history, waiting customer, not equal to yes. What I have found is never do a rule here that says equal to no. It’s not equal to yes.

18:26 And the reason is it may be no, but it may also be nothing. Right? That field may be empty. And so you don’t want to say not equal to no. You want to say what is not yes, whatever that is. And then what we’re going to do here, it’s pretty obvious now, is we’re going to trigger this to yes.

18:44 Now, the beauty of this, and we can do the same thing for escalating all different rules, is you can report off of udfs, right? And so now let’s go to a dashboard. Here we go. The beauty here is you can report off of these udfs.

19:06 And so what we’re going to do here is what percentage of my tickets over time. That’s what this is good for. Is ticket count and then group by actually, you do group by time. So that we created that were grouped by time.

19:34 For example, or you could say, which tickets do I have that have been closed in the past day? Let’s just do Q. Let me do this complicated for you guys. We’re just group IQ and then what percentage of tickets by queue have ever there’s not going to be any results, of course.

20:02 So this graph would say for all the tickets that are in that by my queues, what percentage of these tickets were? Yes, right here. Right. And we probably need to do a Pivot on that as well. And so you would have maybe all your tickets and then just those.

20:21 And you would very quickly see man tickets in my help desk, like 60%, it looks like, of my tickets at some point go waiting customer. And yet my tickets in this other queue, which maybe is for like my breakfast or something, it is a lower waiting customer because they’re paying hourly or something.

20:43 Right. That’s how you get data out of your tickets. You get away from freeform text, which is where people type stuff in. You can’t do anything with it. Create Udfs. But don’t try to get too crazy with UDF.

20:55 Yes, no, udfs are by far the best reporting Udfs you can have. Okay, actually, I just saw this one earlier today, so I was going to go over it. How to create a workflow for quote needed. So let’s see.

21:17 So you need to encode a process. Sometimes we want to encode processes into Autotask. Instead of saying, hey, don’t forget to you want them to process. So in rocket ship, you encode processes using force people to fill out forms and stuff and then it will route them.

21:43 But let’s say that you were going to do this inside of Autotask itself. You’re going to have less flexibility here because you can’t force them to enter data. But we can do the best possible here, right?

21:56 And so let’s say that you wanted to create a process that says, look, if you need a quote on a part, you need to route it to a certain key or status. And we need data on that. So the two things you’re going to do here actually, let’s just do it using the simplest solution as the form template.

22:17 So a lot of people really don’t use these. You should actually have a ton of these. Again, with rocket ship, people don’t tend to have too many of these just because the macro is a little bit more flexible in force form entry.

22:29 But if you’re not going to use that puppy, let’s go ahead and use a I think what we really want to do here is a ticket note. Again, this isn’t used nearly enough. Again, always encoding stuff, right?

22:57 So let’s say that your procurement goes through your accounting team, right? So quote needed. Maybe it’s your sales team, right? Your account manager. You know what? I’m just going to beat this dead horse until you guys scream.

23:14 Encode information into your settings. Don’t ask yourself a year later, what the heck is this for? Who owns this? Quote needed because it sells, right? Dead horse sells. Quote quote needed. Right? I like doing the numbers because you can’t have confidence like from the naming 10 two share with my team and then status would be I don’t think there’s a quote needed, just say wait materials.

23:50 And then the ticket note would be quote needed details. What I like to do here again, you can’t and I can’t force the tech to fill out a form, which is unfortunate, but you can sure make it obvious that they didn’t do a good job.

24:06 So what I like to do here is I trained my team that this was a placeholder. Enter information below or else part skew and then provider, let’s say it’s Ingram micro or whatever. Ingram or Cdw or Amazon business or whatever, right?

24:36 And then the cost is in a quantity needed estimated price. What you want to do here is people will always with the data. You didn’t expect them to put price per unit to them because naturally what they’re going to do if you put cost price, they’re going to put the cost per unit and then they’re going to do the cost the price for the whole thing.

25:07 It’s going to be confusing. So just be obvious with them. Key thing don’t publish this everywhere. Internal only. And then here from here you route it to that new status, right? And then we would save this and now it’s available to your entire team.

25:31 And where did I put this? Did I turn that off? Alright, so let’s see. Okay, so here we go. Now look how obvious this is. This is sales related, encoded in the configuration sales. Quote, needed to notice how it all nice and encoded here.

25:54 And then quote, needed details. Guys can’t get more obvious than this. Force them to fill out that information. And this is going to route it for you. Again, whenever we’re working with customers, maybe 50% of the customers have speed codes or forms set up and it’s kind of shocking because really this is the best way to route stuff internally inside of Autotask.

26:15 So I highly recommend it. Okay, I think I covered some big items and I’m not going to have time for anything else big, so I appreciate you guys attending. I don’t see any other questions. By all means.

26:31 Actually it looks like two out of the three questions I got via emails on this, so that seems like a good way to go. So by all means shoot me. Emails. [email protected], very easy to remember.

26:43 Dustin with a D at [email protected]. If you send to me early enough I can prep, make sure I have a really fleshed out answer for you, otherwise I really appreciate it guys, and I will see you guys next.

26:58 By all means bring your questions. Thank you.


In this webinar, Dustin Puryear, Autotask expert and MSP industry veteran, will show you how to set up Kanban boards in Autotask, integrate them with your workflow rules, and how to get the most out of them.

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