IT Policies

Five apps to meet your help desk challenges

A number of good tools are available to reduce help desk headaches, streamline management, and optimize workflow.

Running an IT help desk is a daunting task, and the wrong software can make it even harder. These apps can help reduce problems and simplify operations.

Note: This list is also available as a photo gallery.

1: SAManage

SAManage (Figure A) is an online, on-demand ITIL help desk tool that provides asset and service management. It is integrated with salesforce.com and Google Apps for Business. It lets you create customized workflows, and it provides a help desk portal for your end users. The pricing is competitive with other SaaS options, including an attractively priced small business option.

Figure A

SAManage

2: Spiceworks

Spiceworks (Figure B) is a free system for on-premise IT asset management and monitoring in the small to midsize company space. While the help desk functionality is not the system's primary focus, it ties in nicely with the rest of the features to produce a fully integrated package. Spiceworks has a tight focus on the smaller companies, and the feature set reflects it.

Note: The author has performed contract work for Spiceworks in the past to write content for its library. At the time of this writing, the most recent work was in 2010.

Figure B

Spiceworks

3: Remedyforce

Remedyforce (Figure C) comes from BMC, which also makes the Remedy system for enterprises. Remedyforce, like SAManage, is sold on the SaaS model and lives in the cloud, so there is no installation pain. Because it is built on top of Force.com, it integrates with other products, like the Chatter system. It also has mobile access, which is a huge help for busy IT administrators and managers.

Figure C

Remedyforce

4: ServiceDesk Plus

ServiceDesk Plus (Figure D) comes in three versions (Standard, Professional, and Enterprise) to meet the needs of different organizations. Stepping up from Standard to Professional adds asset management and monitoring, for example. Like other products, ServiceDesk Plus is based on the ITIL model and has a self-service portal. It also supports SLAs to help technicians meet their contractual obligations.

Figure D

ServiceDesk Plus

5: Numara Footprints Incident and Problem Manager

Numara's Footprints Incident and Problem Manager (Figure E) is an enterprise-class help desk application. In that vein, it enables you to create dashboards of the sort that management teams often like, and it allows a fair degree of customization. You can create your own workflows and escalation paths as well. Footprints is a Web-based application and can be used in a SaaS model directly provisioned by Numara.

Figure E

Numara Footprints Incident and Problem Manager

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

20 comments
RamsaySmith
RamsaySmith

The list is a bit short - there are a number of other good solutions out there. ServiceNow is rapidly eroding market share because it is a simple to use platform (that can do far beyond simple help desk) that is delivered securely in the cloud, and is easily configurable to meet business requirements. Additionally - and perhaps most importantly - its functionality is 100% organic in that it has evolved without 'buying' 3rd party solutions to enable functionality

Kerah
Kerah

We are Using OVSD for the help desk in our company and i think it`s amazing as it is including every thing from the level of incident to the level of tracking and config

bernardo.dorey
bernardo.dorey

Has anyone used www.readydesk.com software? It looks amazing - but can't find any references to it! Thanks for help.

quokka_z
quokka_z

I've used Remedy in a large enterprise a few years ago and found it cumbersome with promised features that didn't work or weren't used. A lot of effort was spent for possibly little return. Our old in-house system at the time would have done the job easily if the same resources were used to upgrade it. Now I'm in a SME with 200 users and Spiceworks does everything I need easily, cheaply and efficiently. Remember IT needs to support the users and shouldn't need to spend too much time or dollars supporting its support tools.

robert.mcmillen
robert.mcmillen

I found this product when searching for Help Desk software. Open Source approach. www.otrs.org I'm wondering if anyone else has tried it out. I've set it up and it has both the Help Desk and Service management. Web-based but you can host it. Considering it to replace a really old version of Altiris.

rahulvsd
rahulvsd

You can also try out HappyFox to meet your helpdesk needs. HappyFox is hosted on the cloud and is free for a two member team. HappyFox easily integrates with your mailbox and website. Features include: Smart Rules (Automations), Reporting (even on it's free plan), Knowledge Base, Multi-lingual support, API, Custom Fields, Role Management, tagging, escalations, contacts management, customizable notifications, personalized dashboard & queuing and many more. I

brooks@intellinet-comptng
brooks@intellinet-comptng

SysAid has been a good tool and choice for those that need the features and a Helpdesk/Asset system on the cheap. However, I do find the service request process very cumbersome and it does not flow well. I want all the essentials on one screen to create a ticket or close it. I do not want to hop around to different tabs. I am working with Spiceworks now at one location and will be able to comment further after I've had a chance to use it for a while.

seggsyuk
seggsyuk

I work for a small company,

gabbynizri
gabbynizri

Tool that will automate your Incident Resolution end to end - Level 1 will be able to solve 80% of the incidents that previously had to be escalated to L2 team. eyeShare from Ayehu: http://youtu.be/8UKfQjTSEoA

rpevley
rpevley

We use a system called IssueTrak for our Help Desk solution. It's designed for the enterprise so it's large; in fact, it is also an asset manager. It's quite pricey and not at all made for small business, but it is fully customizable...

bkindle
bkindle

WebHelpDesk http://www.webhelpdesk.com Been using it for 2 years, great management tool and attractive pricing. I think it may even been cheaper than SysAid.

Sandyth
Sandyth

I used Remedy enterprise solution at a prior agency. It is an exceptional tool, although a bit costly. Definitely for larger organizations. With dedicated staff assigned to support this solution, both IT and Administrative support, the return on investment will be high.

sgilston
sgilston

Snapping little Help Desk with Free and Enterprise editions. Can be run local from a single workstation.

TNT
TNT

I use Numera FootPrints where I work presently and feel there are better solutions out there. It is slow, and I know its the software and not the server or network implementations. I set up SpiceWorks for a small non-profit organization a few years ago and was impressed with its feature list and its price (free!), but it isn't suitable for a company with several thousand clients. That's my 2 cents.

mckinnej
mckinnej

Awesome program. Very inexpensive for what it can do. We recently selected a new helpdesk tool. The only thing that kept Ready Desk from becoming our winner was it was only able to handle one inbound/outbound email address. We have different support email addresses for different products, so that capability was essential. It would have won if not for that. We ended up going with OTRS instead.

mckinnej
mckinnej

We're using it. Very powerful and versatile. Only shortcoming I've found is a lack of a hierarchy in the companies (Co only. No Company->Division->Dept). Developers are very active too.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The service desk has always struck me as the type of application that being web-based would have definite advantages.

Justin James
Justin James

... quite extensively. It was very much so an "enterprise" application, where what you got out of it was directly proportional to what you put into it... integrations, training, customization, etc. Very impressive package if you had the time and energy and resources to devote to crafting it to fit your needs. J.Ja

greg
greg

Sysaid has so many features and this is the only downfall - the learning curve is huge, but worth it

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

but I don't like it either. The search capabilities are cumbersome and slow. This reduces the value as a library of previously solved problems.