When you're beginning a new endeavor, a shared email inbox is a convenient way to immediately start managing requests. But as your success leads to more team members, that shared inbox scales poorly with more incoming email. Request Tracker, with its first class support for email, offers the familiarity of a shared inbox. On top of that, RT brings the organizational power of an enterprise ticketing system.
In RT, a ticket captures all the information that accumulates over the lifetime of a task, much like a single email thread. A ticket tracks not only communications, but also important metadata such as the task's current owner.
A queue functions much like an email folder to organize tickets. For example, a Human Resources queue would address employee vacation requests. A Projects queue would track the progress of each long-running customer project. RT often manages both a team's outward communication and its internal initiatives.
To manage a multitude of queues, administrators can control which staff members can see which queues. The permissions management can even include which actions a user can take. This granularity enables different groups to focus on only the tasks for which they are responsible. For example, there would be sensitive information captured in tickets in an HR queue. HR staff would need to be able to see and update these tickets. A team lead would have only limited access to this queue, such as being able to see only the requests she has made. Everyone else's tickets would be invisible.
In a shared inbox, sending sensitive notes to only a subset of the people involved can be fraught with peril. RT helps you achieve this by distinguishing internal-only comments from external replies. No more worrying about whether you'd accidentally clicked "Reply All"!
An organization must adapt itself to the strictures of a shared inbox, but RT can match the process you have. RT goes well beyond email by tracking the status of a ticket (is the ticket still open? Is this problem resolved? Is it spam to be deleted?), its due date, time worked, and so on. If RT's built-in fields are not enough, custom fields can capture your domain-specific information. Tickets can link together, even across queues, to split a project between different teams. You can also reuse specific responses you've written with RT's knowledge base, Articles.
This is just a small taste of RT's full feature set. If you're interested in migrating away from your shared inbox to help your team grow, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Which, by the way, is not a shared inbox. 😄