Helpdesk/Service Desk Recommendations

This topic was created by PaulW .

Helpdesk/Service Desk Recommendations

All,

Just ramping up to look for a new Helpdesk/Service desk with the current employer. They have and homegrown Access based application which... is difficult to use at the best of times. Normally I would go to Jira and build something but quite frankly I need something quicker.

Thoughts on what works best for a company of 100-200 users, of which ~50% are remote. My list of features is nothing a-typical:

* Email integration for submissions / updating users

* Web interface for Helldesk workers and/or submitting updating tickets by users

* Ideally fully customizable on queues (one for desktop, network, biz-apps, etc.)

* Supports subtasks if possible (but not a deal breaker)

* Good Management Reports (aka pretty graphs)

* Could usefully have KB type functionality too

* Needs to be self hosted due to some of our special contracts.

I throw this to the wide audience. I was looking at something like Zendesk but... suggestions would be appreciated.

Cheers,

-- Paul

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Helpdesk/Service Desk Recommendations

Try OP Smartdesk.

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Re: Helpdesk/Service Desk Recommendations

The upcoming service desk show at Earls Court might be worth a look [http://www.servicedeskshow.com/]. Assuming you are in the UK.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Helpdesk/Service Desk Recommendations

Try System Centre Service Manager - probably the most powerful solution on the market at the moment - especially around process automation. Pretty easy to setup and run too.

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Re: Helpdesk/Service Desk Recommendations

Hi Paul,

SysAid is your answer.

Granted I work for SysAid and I am probably biased, but let me give you a call or shoot you an email, and we can show you what our software can do.

Everything you mentioned that you need in a helpdesk solution is out of the box with SysAid.

If you are interested, than please contact me privately at yitz.fink@sysaid.com and I will be happy to assist.

Good Luck!

Yitz

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Happy

Re: Helpdesk/Service Desk Recommendations

OTRS, last time I looked was very good. And cheap too. With good free support and so I suspect first class paid for support.

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Bronze badge

Re: Helpdesk/Service Desk Recommendations

Always found Manage Engine's Service Desk application to be exactly whats needed. Support for the application is very helpful, it looks pretty for users and is good at email updates.

KB is there but I never found anyone actually used them.

Can be hosted on a variety of OS's and the patching process is easy enough.

Backend DB can be one it installs or your own SQL server.

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I didn't mean Zendesk above - I meant Sysaid

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Anonymous Coward

Zendesk

"I didn't mean Zendesk above - I meant Sysaid"

We looked at Sysaid, but ultimately went with Zendesk, and while there have been some idiosyncracies and quirky issues it's been very useable, and we make heavy use of the API to integrate it with our Nagios setup, our provisioning system and a rather funky dashboard SaaS app called Geckoboard. We also use the Gooddata option to get some detailed performance reporting out of it, which revealed amusing stats about common issues, and well... certain individuals who monopolise IT's time more than they should, and the reasons they do the monopolising.

It's not perfect (nothing is), and not necessarily the cheapest option but we're into our second year with it now and the difference between it and our previous solution is night and day.

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Bronze badge

Re: Zendesk

Allow me to fill in a couple of blanks.

We also use the Gooddata option to get some detailed performance reporting out of it, which revealed amusing stats about common issues, and well... certain individuals (IDIOT manglers) who monopolise IT's time more than they should, and the reasons they do the monopolising (sheer stupidity and gross incompetence).

FTFY!!!

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a little late but ...

we use spiceworks, its worth a look and it seems to suit our > 200 org.

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spiceworks

Yeah, same here. I think Spiceworks is virtually the default for SMEs looking for a cheap, no-hassle ticketing system. It isn't great and I'm not sure the reports can do graphs (I've never looked. Management only want to know how many tickets are outstanding and how many we closed this week) but, once set up, it runs with very little admin.

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Re: spiceworks

Spiceworks can be extended by add-ons to be actually a lot more useful than the OOBE.

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Kaseya?

Used it before in a school with 400PCs/1000 users, I'll be honest, I can't remember if it does all that stuff, but it certainly worked well enough, and had integrated remote desktop tools etc.

If anyone has used it recently, feel free to knock me down, but that's the first one that comes to mind as it wasn't too bad at all as I recall.

Spiceworks isn't one I thought of, but looking through it, it's probably worth a look - would need to open up WMI on the network though as I recall.

I'll be keeping tabs on this thread as it's always worth knowing what the current good support systems are, might want to update our own internal stuff at some point.

Steven R

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Silver badge

Forget Spiceworks

As Mrs Coat says: "Spiceworks is shit. Really shit."

Mrs Coat now uses GLPI and lives happily ever after.

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A few to recommend.

We use WHMCS from www.whmcs.com at our site servwise.com, it is a hosting eCommerce system but has integrated Support desk / knowledge base with some nice features but maybe not quite enough for you. The good thing though is the website interface for customers which is highly customisable to allow people to open support tickets and no limit on number of agents. (I should point out there is no need to use the eCommerce part of the software if you don't need it)

The next two have agent limits so you pay for the more agents answering tickets.

Kayako.com (another we have used) works well and probably has more of the features you are looking for.

If you prefer something is .NET then try SmarterTrack (Nice pollished system and includes live chat if you want that. http://www.smartertools.com/smartertrack/help-desk-software.aspx

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Helpdesk?

This is too small for the paid ones. Open ITSM (otrs.com) is probably the best in this case, since it's free, and you have the source to expand on. It does the job, and is very easy to configure. This is PHP based, and can be self hosted. Just see the current userbase portofolio for this free solution, measure up the out of the box features, and make judge it yourself.

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Re: Helpdesk?

That looks very nice.

And free?

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Re: Helpdesk?

Yes, but if you aren't familiar with php, then you'll be stuck, like I was, googling for how to actual make it do things.

On the whole it was easy to install, but doing the initial setup was painful.

One of my biggest issues with zero-cost software is they usually have a zero-cost manuals. Some actually have docs that do LIST all of the commands, options and settings, but very few have well-written, IMNSHO, manuals and not just command lists. Hell, I can generate a list of commands just by using: strings <filename>

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H H

Re: Helpdesk?

OTRS seems to be written in perl, not php.

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Re: Helpdesk?

Yep, completely agree. I rolled the OSS version of OTRS out to over 3000 users successfully and it worked beautifully from day 1. It became the go-to solution for IT, FM and most other internal service needs.

Run it on LAMP, preferably on its native database. It's pretty good for most of the other ITIL stacks as well as incident too.

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Re: Helpdesk?

Oh yeah, correct! It is perl. It has been a long time since we installed it. It just keep on running, never broken down on us in any way.

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Citrus

Hi. I've recently gone through the same process and found the majority of packages to be overcomplicated and expensive.

Came across Citrus Help desk which is a UK company and its an excellent product which ticks all your boxes. We purchased it for a very reasonable cost and we are currently rolling it out to our company of 350 employees

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Re: Citrus

That looks nice as well.

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Another vote for GLPI

I've implemented GLPI and all were fairly happy with it. Also does a brilliant job of asset management and inventory tracking.

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I second OTRS. I have used kace, altiris and desktop authority in the past. There are also mobile apps as well. All your requirements will be meet including a customer portal. I believe there is an appliance version as well.

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Live Project - https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/live-project/id808101896

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Access Based Solution

A homegrown Access based solution that's somewhat difficult? You sir, are a gentleman and a scholar. Your discretion is to be applauded.

Your answer will be found in that Access solution. I promise this will make sense, stick with me. Access is a fantastic tool for people like me, for instance, who are only marginally competent at software development, but who know the intricacies of my company/division/role very well. Assuming there is someone similar in your clients organization who has worked on their internal solution, beginning your search in that internal solution is a good place to start.

You want to look for features/functions that seem weird, superfluous or just stupid, then find out why those features/functions were put in place. Are they addressing actual business rules and needs and/or organizational politics (both are equally important in the minds of clients) or are those features/functions the result of someone's best effort at conquering a technical challenge where a more appropriate answer was simply beyond their abilities. (For some reason, cascading drop down menus and variables of any sort seem to attract special sort of Rube Goldberg personality to all Access solutions).

Kooky technical workarounds can be safely ignored as long as you know what they are supposed to be doing. Just make sure any new solution handles that task in a 'proper' manner, and be certain to point it out to your client (just pointing out you felt their pain and solved it is worth 100 Client Bonus Points and if the opportunity to fluff the ego of whoever created the workarounds presents itself it's 1000 extra points. Especially if it's a middle manager person :).

The rest of it is down to simply assessing their homegrown solution and finding a 'shrink wrapped' alternative that meets their needs with the least amount of process change possible. Technical superiority, cost and ease of deployment (for you) aren't nearly as valuable as a smooth transition and a solution that actually works as opposed to turning off the building HVAC every time a calculated field returns a prime number (or whatever).

I'll close out with this; your job isn't to select their help desk solution. Your job is to figure out what their help desk solution actually needs to do. I guarantee they don't actually know. Selecting a product can be done by anyone who can read the features list. You've got to determine what they actually need, what they want and how they will determine if you were successful. Once you know those things it's a simple matter of you reading the features list and choosing the best fit and sending them a bill.

You've got a big advantage with them having an internal solution. Ask around and find the biggest pinch points for all the different users,and try to make them disappear in the actual deployment. It sounds kind of crappy, but try to identify who the heavyweight influences are in the user group, and which members of management are pushing for the new helpdesk and make sure you address their issues too. I realize users are actually the most crucial element, but the people who sign the checks are important too, and you can usually satisfy them with 3 seconds of attention and a chart with lots of primary colors.

But don't be shy about making a show out of listening to, and addressing what everybody wants from the end result. A solution is fit for purpose if it meets the clients ideas of the purpose, not its 'value added features' or technical superiority. The clients are telling you what they want, but they don't actually realize it, they never do. Listen to them and interpret it and if you do it well you can make lots of money. If you don't do it well you'll be another frustrated geek trying to get by in an illogical world, and nobody wants that :)

Also, for your own sanity, as you narrow down your field of contenders to a small(ish) set, start really digging into the documentation, help and support each solution has (user/admin documentation, not code comments & such). If you're going to stay in this field as a professional just accept the fact you won't get to charge for every phone call or support email if you want clients to do your marketing for you: You own those clients for all eternity. Make sure you can get answers if you need them. Besides, RTFM only works if there's a FM to read :)

I haven't done contract IT work in almost 14 years, and I still get occasional phone calls from old clients or their successors or recommendations from them to others. I would rather choke myself to death on slag from our blast furnace than do contract IT work again, but one day when you're old like me it'll be nice when you get those calls and can pass them off to some brave young person starting out and payback a favor to a former colleague or friend, and that's what makes the world go round.

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Anonymous Coward

We use Service Now

And my advice to you is: don't.

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Silver badge

Hesk is free and does the job, except for subtasks, I believe. LAMP app.

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OTRS

I also second OTRS.

It'll do everything you need and then some - including some great reporting.

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Re: OTRS

Can you point us to the document that allowed you to make it do everything?

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K
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Service Desk Plus

Its a good bit of software and ManageEngine are giving the Standard edition away free.

We use their IT360 NMS which includes Service Desk Plus, but we also their DesktopCentral for Patching and Desktop/MDM management which fully integrates with ServiceDesk Plus.. good tools and if you speak with them they give good discounts. I'd rate these over Solarwinds products.

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Re: Service Desk Plus

Another vote for Service Desk Plus. It's what we use here for a firm of ~650 staff, IT team of ~25, geographically dispersed across the country with a couple of international branches.

It works well, it seems to be functional, and the Support team maintain it themselves. Upgrades are really easy, and it all Just Works.

In fact, it's so good that a couple of the other internal depts (Corp Services, who take care of leases, desks, calling a guy to fix the dishwasher, etc, and both HR and Finance) want us to configure queues in the system for them, to handle their client care.

We looked at Kayako, and while I still think it's a good system, SDP was cheaper and meets all our our requirements admirably.

Good luck.

Cheers,

Matto :)

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GLPI.

Fabulously customisable, runs on Windows or Linux, ties into AD, does full inventory and really powerful scripting/rules to promote / hand-off tickets.

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SharePoint 2010/2013 with custom lists & workflows will do all you need quite easily - I have built an online crime recording system using it for a FT100 company & it works like gangbusters & has been for last 3 years. Sometimes simple just works.

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Are you kidding?

aargh.

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We Use

http://www.nethelpdesk.com/

It is very good for a small MSP / inter departmental stuff.

I doubt it doesn't do something you need it to, if it doesn't they are pretty good on the requests!

Been using them for many years and they are pretty much the cornerstone of our tracking and invoicing. They do asset engagement and diagrams n stuff too... but don't touch that.

Talk to them. Let me know.

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Nobody's recommended HelpSpot!

www.helpspot.com - rolled this in for a 40-staffer 4000-customer service desk solution three years ago, it's still happily ticking along. Vendor support is ace and features aplenty. Self-hosted is fine.

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Thanks to all!

Lots of input here so thanks - need to review and think as it were.

On spiceworks - one of the few I did get into looking at - its easy to setup, but for our user base a little confusing would be the best way to put it (think C-Level staff, manufacturing people and sales).

Access really isn't in our cards. Yes it could be done but our two Access people (myself included here) are busy supporting access on our shop floor system (works great - beyond great - but its a resource drain) hence the need to go with something a bit more out-of-the box.

PHP would be fine (I've done enough LAMP type systems to write a book) but again see previous paragraph.

Will investigate some of the rest above and report back once we have a solution.

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Only 200 people?

Use the fucking telephone!

Unless your network and employee training are both fundamentally completely fucked up ... in which case, all I can say is that I feel sorry for you & suggest you move on. Life is too short.

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Re: Only 200 people?

You either lack experience of working in a real front line support environment or are just stupid. The practicality of having technical staff who can actually fix whatever somone calls up about constantly available to answer the phone, and have time to get all their work done, is basically non-existant in most real world environments.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Only 200 people?

"Use the fucking telephone!

Unless your network and employee training are both fundamentally completely fucked up ... in which case, all I can say is that I feel sorry for you & suggest you move on. Life is too short."

Here in the real world, people who work actually work in IT support (which you so manifestly do not) are expected to provide metrics as an indication of performance. In additional to the simple expedient of proving they're not spending their day on Facebook or watching cat videos, said metrics often contribute to their objectives, and hence any bonuses they might earn. You might just about manage to manage this with Excel, assuming you possess an inclination towards masochism. What do you hand your imaginary bosses at imaginary review time jake? A phone bill?

Paris, because she'd make a better IT Professional than you ever would.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Only 200 people?

> You either lack experience of working in a real front line support environment or are just stupid.

Either?

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Trollface

Re: Only 200 people?

Fuck off troll.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Only 200 people? @Phil W, Andrew Fernie, AC

I would say "Go easy on him, he's just turned 14," but - naahhh!

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This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge

@ Phil W (was: Re: Only 200 people?)

Front-line tech support is just that. They should have no other "work".

I agree that it's basically non-existent in the real-wold, alas.

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@ Andrew Fernie (was: Re: Only 200 people?)

Ah, yes. Metrics. So beloved by manglement. And so fucking useless.

Why would the corporate network be allowed to connect to Facebook or anything providing Cat Videos?

Bonuses? You're not salaried? Again, move on. Life is too short.

Excel isn't an option here. I run Slackware on the desktops & BSD on the servers and Internet facing gear. (Rumor has it that Microsoft is thinking about making the Apple version of Excel run on proper BSD).

My bosses aren't imaginary. That's the wife & I. I don't have "reviews". I land contracts.

Yes, my clients pay my phone bill on a fairly regular basis. Think about it.

Paris is a useless bint who was disinherited by her Grandfather. But at least the teenagers of the world know what her shaved twat looks like. Something to be proud of, no doubt.

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@AC (was: Re: Only 200 people?)

A. Coward: care to expound on "Either?"? And prove you are that particular Coward?

With examples? Maybe even a paragraph?

Thought not. Kids these days.

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