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Systems of Record vs Systems of Engagement: Have Your Cake and Eat It Too with Jira

by Jenny Choban on December 4, 2017
Reading about the trend of “systems of record” being displaced by “systems of engagement” reminds of course I once took on nutrition for preschool-aged children. We learned all about the nutrients young children need and what foods contain them. But then it was pointed out that children only receive nutrition from food they actually ingest. The discussion changed from tracking nutrients to using cookie-cutters to make fun-shaped sandwiches.


Systems of record are little bit like liver and broccoli. They get the job done, but - yuck. They tend to be accurate, expensive and designed for specific, but limited business tasks. Systems of record are typically selected by leadership, with or without input from the team members who will be using them. The system dictates the business process. People use these systems because they have to.

Then there are systems of engagement. These are designed with the user/customer in mind. They are stuff we use every day and they overcome the principle problem of systems of record - the fact that few people use them. A friendly, intuitive user interface is considered paramount. Systems of engagement are like teddy-bear pancakes.

 Jira Service Desk - The Best of Both Worlds

Looked at through this lens, Jira Service Desk is an incredible tool that offers users the best of both worlds. Data storage, infrastructure and security are centralized, held safely within your Jira instance and managed by your Jira Administrator.

Yet the business processes themselves can be decentralized - designed and controlled by the teams who use them. Features like a user-friendly customer portal, easy integration with a self-service knowledge base and queues for managing and prioritizing requests make it a system that both customers and agents are happy to engage with.

A Service Desk Solution for Every Business Team

There’s no reason that a system like that should be limited to IT teams. The reality is, every business team is a service team that has to manage and respond to customer requests. Every team can benefit from streamlined processes, easy access to analytics and freedom from having to handle the same request multiple times. The good news is that making Jira Service Desk fit for business teams doesn’t have to involve extensive admin and complex customizations. There’s an obvious though deceivingly simple solution that will allow you to adapt JSD for any business team without needing to create additional issue types, hordes of custom fields or complex screen schemes.

That simple, humble solution is a form. Forms remain unequalled as a mechanism for gathering information (and getting the right information up front is the key to only handling requests once). Forms in Jira allow teams to:

• Collect information in a familiar format that customers understand

• Receive structured data, specific to what they need to know

• Format and validate fields to conform to their processes and business rules

• Ensure that the process the form sets in motion gets completed and tracked as it progresses through the workflow

• Easily aggregate and report on data

The tool and the data are centralized. The processes are not. ProForma forms and templates for Jira make it easy to offer your business teams the structure, security and stability of a system of record as well as the flexibility and user-friendliness of a system of engagement.