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At Unisys, its Enterprise Transformation Services provides software integration services to governments, banks and airlines. Working in virtual teams, the services group's employees are dispersed throughout the US and Canada. While the distributed team helps the enterprise group serve a wide range of clients, it had made it more difficult to track defect issues in the software solutions it develops.

Because at first it couldn't find a single package to track issues and distribute them to its geographically-dispersed group, Unisys was forced to use two different tools for issue tracking and dissemination. "We had to take extra steps, including printing an issues list and mailing it around," said Weston Morris, a Plymouth, Mich.-based system architect in Unisys' Enterprise Transformation Services. The result? "Not everyone had access to information in a timely basis," said Morris. Customers also suffered, Morris said, with developers hesitant to share information with customers since there was no easy way to separate customer issues from internal matters.

To solve these problems, Unisys turned to Elementool's Issue Tracking, a web-based solution.

"The product has paid for itself in terms of savings of time and expense without even considering all the other benefits," Morris said. Because it is an ASP, Unisys also eliminated the cost of a web server and security mechanisms.

Noting Issue Tracking's customization and flexibility, Morris said, "It lets us work the way we want to work rather than the way the people who invented the tool want you to work." For example, Unisys added its own fields to reflect its company's business rules such as the estimated and actual time spent to work on an issue.

Elementool's Issue Tracking also lets Unisys restrict different users' access to the tool so that customers see only reports pertaining to their issues. "Customers appreciate that they can see in real time what is going on," said Morris. "Now the minute we make a change, it shows up in the customer's email."

"The time we spend in the process of finding, tracking, correcting and reporting on defects is greatly reduced with Elementool," said Morris.

"Managers want to know where we are with issues. Now they just log on and get the answer. The same is true with customers. When they want to know if something is fixed they just log on and see the date it will come on. Everyone is satisfied."

Morris said the Issue Tracking typically draws this response of anyone seeing it: "Wow, great." In fact, Morris said he is so satisfied with Elementool's Issue Tracking he plans to recommend that Unisys use it on an enterprise level.

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