Last updated on: May 18, 2020

The comprehensive guide to help desk software is a one-stop resource for answers to some of the most common questions related to help desks.

This guide attempts to build a complete understanding of help desks and their implementation, best practices, metrics, and other key aspects. It can help IT teams establish, optimize, and maintain an efficient IT help desk.

In this help desk software guide, we will discuss the following:

  1. What is help desk software?
  2. Features of a help desk software
  3. Help desk software for small business (workflow)
  4. Help desk vs. service desk
  5. Choosing the right help desk software
  6. Customer service metrics and best practices
  7. Help desk workflow automation
  8. Integrated help desk software
  9. 6 Challenges faced by help desk
  10. Future of help desk support
  11. Help desk software glossary of terms
  12. Download IT help desk software evaluation kit

What is an IT help desk?

What is help desk software

IT help desks deliver a variety of IT services in an organization. The help desk typically serves as the single point of contact for any requirement, issue, or assistance end users need to access technology services.

In mature organizations, the help desk guarantees timely assistance and prompt resolution of issues by defining and publishing their assured service levels. By delivering such high levels of service, organizations can meet their business goals and increase their leverage in the market.

What is IT help desk software?

IT teams typically deploy help desk software to manage the IT ticket life cycle, automate routine tasks, and optimize their processes and workflows, which directly results in increased productivity, reduced costs, better service levels, and improved customer experience.

Some key features of help desk software include:

  • Live chat tool
  • Incident and service request management

    Manage the life cycle of incidents or service requests raised by end users.

  • Contact center software
  • Problem and change management

    Manage the life cycle of a problem or change from creation to closure.

  • IT self-service portal
  • Self-service portal

    Allow users to resolve common issues on their own and reduce the help desk technician's workload.

  • SLA management
  • Service level agreement (SLA) management

    Manage the quality and timeliness of services provided to end users.

  • IT asset management
  • Asset management

    Manage an organization's hardware and software assets.

  • Live chat ticketing software
  • Other features

    Some help desk management software may also include other modules for project management, contracts, purchase management, etc.

What are some of the key features of a help desk software?

Help desk software key features

There are certain must-have features every IT help desk can benefit from. Some of these key features can be found listed below.

Helpdesk software installation

Installation and usage

  • Straightforward setup
  • Easy to use
  • Processes and workflows aligned with ITIL guidelines
  • Multiple deployment options: On-premises and cloud
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Multi-channel ticket creation: Email, phone call, and self-service portal
  • Minimal learning curve
Help desk software solutions

Modules

  • Incident management
  • Request management
  • Problem management
  • Change management
  • Service level agreement
  • Service catalog
  • Self-service portal
  • Asset management
  • Knowledge base
  • Reporting
  • End-user surveys
Helpdesk automation

Automation

  • Create tickets from emails
  • Automatic escalation of SLAs
  • Automatically assign tickets to technicians
  • Automated password reset tool
  • Automated workflows
  • Automatic notifications for requesters and technicians
IT support help desk software

Customization

  • Customizable dashboards
  • Customizable self-service portal
  • Customizable forms and templates
  • Customizable KPIs and reports
  • Drag-and-drop widgets
Help desk reporting

Reporting

  • Standard reports
  • Custom reports
  • Query reports
  • Scheduled report generation
  • KPI tracking and analysis
IT support desk software

Mobility

  • Native mobile apps for major platforms like Android, iOS, Windows, and Blackberry OS
  • Complete capabilities and features, as supported by desktop version, in mobile apps
  • Features and interface optimized for mobile devices
Help desk security

Security

  • Role-based access permissions
  • Secure communication with data encryption
  • Audit logs
Help desk integration

Integration

  • Seamless native integration with other IT management tools to build an ITSM suite
  • API integrations with third-party solutions
  • Central command center for managing all IT operations
Help desk improvement ideas

Implementation

  • Quick and easy implementation
  • Client Software
  • Support for open standards
  • No additional programming for client or database customization
  • Documented database
Help desk ticketing system requirements

System requirements

  • Operating systems supported
    1. Linux
    2. Windows
  • Databases supported
    1. Oracle
    2. SQL
    3. MySQL
    4. Postgres
  • Browsers Supported
    1. Firefox
    2. IE
    3. Chrome

Download the ITIL-ready IT help desk software trusted by some of the leading organizations worldwide.

What are the benefits of using a help desk ticketing system?

Help desk software benefits

The value added by IT help desk management software goes beyond IT operations. Help desk software benefits all the stakeholders of an IT help desk: the technicians, end users, management staff, and the entire organization itself.

End users

  • A one-stop solution to all IT-related issues or questions.
  • Readily available ticket history and status information.
  • Access to self-help articles to solve common issues.
  • Timely service, largely due to the SLA management capabilities of help desk ticket management software.
  • Real-time notifications about requests or tickets.
  • A standardized way to approach the IT help desk with questions or issues.

Technicians

  • Centralized database of end user details, tickets, workstation history, and resolution tools.
  • History of all tickets and actions performed on them, along with technician details.
  • Repository of solutions in a knowledge base.
  • Automated workflows and processes.
  • Real-time notifications about requests and tickets.
  • Multi-tier, organized help desk architecture.
  • KPI tracking and measurement.

IT management

  • Implemented best practices.
  • Increased IT help desk productivity.
  • ITIL-compliant workflows and processes.
  • Increased transparency in IT operations, leading to better time and resource management.
  • High-level or granular reports to aid in decision-making.

Business

  • IT help desk converted from a cost center to a profit center.
  • IT help desk becomes a strategic asset instead of a tactical one.
  • Ensured continuity of IT services and operations.
  • Reduced costs associated with higher productivity, a more efficient help desk, and fewer redundant tasks.

How does a help desk software work in different industries?

Help desk software for SMBs

Small businesses

Help desk software for small business

Small businesses usually operate with small IT departments and only a handful of technicians. The small staff size makes it a challenge to handle all the incoming requests on time. Carrying out changes or maintaining assets is also difficult to do manually.

Therefore, small businesses can gain many benefits from implementing IT ticketing system software, such as:

  • Organized management of IT operations from a central location.
  • Less burden on IT staff to carry out tasks manually.
  • Empowering end users through a self-service portal.
  • Reliable data automatically generated and stored in the system instead of manually updated in spreadsheets.
  • Automatic generation and maintenance of asset inventories through network scans.
  • Safeguards against hefty penalties by ensuring compliance during audits.
  • Readily available reports to improve performance and demonstrate value.

The easy to use ITIL-ready help desk software for your growing business.

Healthcare

Healthcare help desk software

In the healthcare industry, time is critical. A hospital's help desk must be able to offer quick service when needed. Hospitals usually use a lot of equipment that is critical to patient's lives. This makes it important for help desks to manage equipment efficiently and without any errors.

IT support desk tools can help healthcare organizations in the following ways:

  • Assign priority to tickets that are crucial to the hospital's operations. For example, an issue with a workstation/node in the ER needs immediate attention, while a workstation in the payroll department can wait.
  • Automatically route the tickets to the right technician or support group to ensure immediate resolutions.
  • Help ensure that incidents are resolved on time with SLAs and automated escalations.
  • Use vendor and contract management capabilities to optimize purchasing of expensive medical equipment.

IT support

Help desk software for IT support

IT support professionals are naturally the best fit for an IT help desk ticketing tool. In the absence of a solution, IT teams usually work with spreadsheets and email, which is a slow, inefficient, and error-prone approach.

Out of the numerous benefits that IT help desk solutions offer IT support teams, a few key benefits are listed below:

  • Centralized control of all IT operations.
  • A comprehensive knowledge base to help end users and technicians alike with known and approved solutions to common issues.
  • Automated processes and workflows that reduce time, effort, and errors.
  • Simplified communication through emails from within the application as well as notifications.
  • Native problem, change, and asset management capabilities in addition to incident and service request management.
  • Tracking KPIs and metrics and generating in-depth reports.

Education

Help desk software for education

Educational institutions usually deploy workstations for teaching staff, administrative staff, and students, making their user base fairly large.

In many cases, schools rely on IT for computers, projectors, and software applications. So, to provide reliable IT service to a large user base, educational institutes can use IT help desk software to:

  • Provide a central portal for students to create service requests like access to the college Wi-Fi network.
  • Provide a common platform for IT announcements.
  • Simplify student enrollment and the onboarding process.

IT help desk software evaluation kit

An exclusive package of a feature checklist and a request for proposal (RFP) template

  • Feature checklist

    Comprehensive list of must-have features that you can use as a benchmark

  • RFP template

    A guide to a great RFP that helps you get all the information you need about a vendor

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