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: SAManageSAManage (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.
2: SpiceworksSpiceworks (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.
3: RemedyforceRemedyforce (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.
4: ServiceDesk PlusServiceDesk 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.
5: Numara Footprints Incident and Problem ManagerNumara'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.