What is a Queue?

On many mail systems, it is common for all messages to flow into an Inbox file, where they remain stored. New messages are appended at the end of the Inbox file. The mail client program used to read and write mails reads this Inbox file and presents the content to the user.

A queue in OTRS is somewhat comparable to an Inbox file, since it too can store many messages. A queue also has features beyond those of an Inbox mail file. As an OTRS agent or user, one needs to remember which queue a ticket is stored in. Agents can open and edit tickets in a queue, and also move tickets from one queue to another. But why would they move tickets?

To explain it more practically, remember the example of Max's company described in an example of a ticket system. Max installed OTRS in order to allow his team to better manage support for company customers buying video recorders.

One queue holding all requests is enough for this situation. However, after some time Max decides to also sell DVD recorders. Now, the customers have questions not only about the video recorder, but also about the new product. More and more emails get into the single queue of Max's OTRS and it's difficult to have a clear picture of what's happening.

Max decides to restructure his support system, and adds two new queues. So now three queues are being used. New messages arriving at the ticket system are stored into the old queue titled "raw". Of the two new queues, one titled "video recorder" is exclusively for video recorder requests, while the other one titled "dvd recorder" is exclusively for dvd recorder requests.

Max asks Sandra to watch the "raw" queue and sort (dispatch) the messages either into "video recorder" or "dvd recorder" queue, depending on the customer request. John only has access to the "video recorder" queue, while Joe can only answer tickets in the "dvd recorder" queue. Max is able to edit tickets in all queues.

OTRS supports access management for users, groups, and roles, and it is easy to setup queues that are accessible only to some user accounts. Max could also use another way to get his requests into the different queues, with filter rules. Otherwise, if two different mail addresses are used, Sandra only has to dispatch those emails into the two other queues, which can't be dispatched automatically.

Sorting your incoming messages into different queues helps you to keep the support system structured and tidy. Because your agents are arranged into different groups with different access rights on queues, the system can be optimized even further. Queues can be used to define work flow processes or to create the structure of a company. Max could implement, for example, another queue called "sales", which could contain the sub queues "requests", "offers", "orders", "billing", etc. Such a queue structure could help Max to optimize his order transactions.

Improved system structures, such as through the proper design of queues, can lead to significant time and cost savings. Queues can help to optimize the processes in your company.