Help Desk Software?

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Help Desk
Tech support
I am looking for some advice in choosing an off the shelf help desk solution. If anyone has sugestions on what products to look at or stay away from, it would be helpful. I need the ability for users to make and check status of tickets online, a Knowlege Base or FAQ section online, and asset tracking to be included in the product. I support a small business with 13 locations and only 100 users. Thanks.
ASKED: February 24, 2005  10:47 AM
UPDATED: March 1, 2012  10:01 AM

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I have used a product called Track-It by InTuit (originally by Blue Ocean software) for many years at 2 previous companies. It has a knowledge base, flexible filtering choices to provide quick lookups, as well as the ability to be scaled by number of users and or technicians. While we did not specifically use it, an Enterprise edition was available at an additional charge that would allow non-technical end-users the opportunity to add work orders and check the status on previously entered work orders. Asset tracking was also a standard feature if I remember correctly and could run over a LAN or could be run using a script on each PC that reported the data from local machines as scheduled.

Best of all, the price was relatively inexpensive compared to some other packages we priced (Can’t recall their names off-hand) and we rarely needed any technical support for the product. If you chose, you could pay for priority support which got you free upgrades as well as priority phone numbers and web-based assistance.

Hope this helps…

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  • BlueKnight
    There are a number of good Help Desk packages on the market. When I was looking for one, I got demos of those I was interested in. Ultimately I selected HEAT from FrontRange (then Bendata) http://www.frontrange.com/heat/service_management.asp HEAT has a knowledge base and you can purchase add-on "knowledge packs" for specific software you have installed. With the web interface users can open their own tickets and check on the status. As I recall HEAT has an auto-escalation feature so trouble tickets don't get ignored/lost. You can also manage your customer SLA's. They also have asset management and you can get a varety of reports from it. I don't know what their pricing is these days... for a small shop, which I was in at that time, it wasn't all that expensive. For large organizations that used all the add-ons etc. it could get a bit pricey. Our Help Desk where I work now is strongly considering HEAT to replace Win HelpDesk which lacks a knowledge base (though they say they have one, but it's unusable as far as I'm concerned) and asset management. Iwouldn't recommend Win Help Desk to anyone. Help Star (http://www.helpstar.com/) is another package that has knowledge management, asset management and provides reporting and analysis. BMC's Remedy for Small Business (http://www.remedy.com/solutions/magic/helpdesk_iq.htm) might be another you'd want to look at. One of the lower priced packages is Intuit's Track IT (formerly Blue Ocean) (http://www.itsolutions.intuit.com/Track-It.asp) -- you may periodically receive their demo CD in the mail. The best way to select a package that fits your needs is to make a list of all your must-have features and come up with a price limit. Google help desk software and start comparing features and pricing. Be sure to demo the ones you feel are the best fit so you get a good feel for how the product works and behaves. Have some of your Help Desk techs use the demo also; they can provide you with good feedback on its usability and shortcomings if any.
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  • DigitalCreature
    HEAT seems to be a very good help desk software, with it's many features, if you need more information, the web site has a very comprehensive demo: http://www.frontrange.com/heat/heat_demos.asp
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  • Getmygto
    We are just finishing the selection exercise. We will buy Track-It if not for its Help Desk functionality but for it's add-ons. It can Audit your PCs and report all the software and configuration on them, Deploy applications which can also monitor for and uninstall unwanted applications, Remotely control another desktop directly from the ticket, monitor both PCs and Servers with Alerts when thresholds are exceeded, and has a password reminder module. In it's core functions it can perform Purchasing, Inventory tracking, decent reporting, all in addition to the normal ticket creation, tracking, and notification with integration to Active Directory. A pretty complete package for a 200 user organization for under $13,000. Best SMB bang for the buck I could find.
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  • Graemew
    I manage a Helpdesk environment, and we are currently using Remedy Action Request System from BMC Software, which provides Helpdesk, Change Management and Asset Administration modules. BMC also provide an out the box Helpdesk package, which integrates all of these functions. The great thing aout this system is that it is open API and an interface ca nbe developed with most other management tools. We are currently integrating an Inventory control system called Sync Pro into the system.
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  • PaulTormey
    Another Help Desk product that we are using is IWISE from Information Retrieval CO in Raleigh NC USA. Have a look at http://www.infrawise.com/solution.php or http://www.infrawise.com . These applications are used to manage all major systems areas, including problems, calls, changes, configurations, voice systems, networks, requests, assets and liabilities, inventory, helpdesks, human resources, projects, vendors, policies, clients, and products. And excellent customer support. We're based in South Africa and IRC are always willing to assist p telephonically, email or even on site support for major developments.
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  • Sonotsky
    Remedy is usually a good choice. It offers a lot of options, depending on how much you're willing to pay for. McAfee Help Desk (MHD) is decent, but I don't think it's offered anymore. If you ever come across a package called SupportMagic - run. It's a system originally designed as a sales tracking system for cleaning products. Each record in the database has about 200 fields, 80% of which are either duplicates of earlier fields in the same record, or are completely unused, yet still take space. Stay away from Tivoli Help Desk from IBM. Yes, it integrates nicely with other Tivoli software, but it is a bitch to customize, and will conk out on you at the drop of a hat. If you have the time, resources, and budget, I suggest creating your own system. That way, you get the specific needs of your organization covered off, and you don't have to rely on support contracts for your support tools. For a small org such as yours, you can probably get away with a simple app written in Visual Basic, that accesses a couple of Access databases. Maybe a SQL Server/Oracle/MySQL/ instance if you need a more robust system. Good luck!
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  • Melenie
    We are a school district, where funding is always a problem, and we use Track-It by Intuit. For Helpdesk, Inventory and our Work Order system is on Track-It. It has a web interface that seems to work well for our customers and there are security features that we can set ourselves which are a plus. I would recommend it to others.
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  • Pennman
    I've been a helpdesk manager for 12 years and have seen many problem management systems. For your size of organization I believe Track-It by InTuit to be the best way to go as has been suggested by a few others. I have been hired by two much larger organizations to come in and fix problems they were having meeting their SLAs. In each case, they were using Magic (a recently acquired BMC product). While this can be a dynamic program, it is very inflexible once you start down the wrong path with it. It is also relatively expensive (abt $3400 per seat). These two organizations had the technical skills to resolve issues but lost big time by using this dog of a program. One of the companies even had it externally hosted which added to the customization frustrations. NShomes: I don't think you can go wrong with Track-It for your size organization and the kinds of duties you want it to perform. If anyone in this forum has had any success with Magic, I'd be interested in hearing about it.
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  • Poppaman
    Having used Remedy, TrackIT, HEATand "home grown" software I do believe that the best most complete package I used was a home grown system based upon Lotus Notes... Great if you use Notes and have access to (or are ) a Notes DBA. Of the commercial packages offered, my choice is probably TrackIT. I have used it both from Blue Ocean as well as after its' acquisition by Intuit. It's a solid product, with a short learning curve. My only hesitance here is Intuit's tendency to restrict usage with revisions to their EULA's: I am a bit gun shy of using any of Intuit's products at this time. But as far as raw functionality, it's a good product. Remedy is also good, but realluy oriented towards a larger, enterprise type organization....
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  • Ciscocat6k
    I actually prefer LANdesk as it not only has assest control but loads of other plugins or a complete Management Suite. It is just grand for our organization. We currently control 15000 clients, 25000 users acros 60 sites with it. Cheers, CatMan
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  • KawWebguy
    My employer has tried several solutions, none of which in my personal opinion have been fully implemented or used to capacity. We first used a home grown system first based on Notes (I was not involved at the time with desktop support) and it failed because of lack of good design for a tracking application by our helpdesk team in the workflow, database and the inventory. The other problem that existed whas that in our shop at the time Notes was an orphan product, with no champion. Secondly, we used Track-IT from Blue Ocean, then after it was acquired by Intuit. IMHO it was excellent. It had the inventory, remote control and that sort of stuff which did work, like reporting, mostly. I was then involved in support and really liked it. I do have a few "gotchas" with Track-IT. The first was the migration from v5 to v6 was a beast (and that migration was contributory to TrackIT's demise in our shop. Second, DO NOT LET A NON DBA TRAINED TECH SET IT UP. The Help desk manager (no longer with us...) let a purely IT certifications and BS in Physical Education guy set it up. He screwed us over by changing definitions and usages of the custom fields in the middle of the year, without rolling the old stuff out of the database, which might have worked, but definitely didn't with it in there. Very sucky. Licensing and seat count were issues, (as often is the case with Intuit). All this then turned a potential win situation into a loser. Now we are using Remedy, with the Web Client, and a provider for the front line calls, who escallates to local IT if they cannot resolve the problem. First, it seems that they escallate a lot, even for ordinary MS Office end user questions, not good. Second, the web client, running Java times out on a regular basis, and we have multiple T-1's for our pipe to the net. Third, I now email all of my requests in, since it seems that our provider has folks whose first language is not American English. (This was after my request for a server share point for a new project was so mangled by the o/s telephone tech that our server guys were ROTFLTAO over the request). Fourth, the web based reporting really sucks, mostly because it Does Not Function. Lastly, there are evidently lots of hidden costs, because one of the recent mantras is "Don't create a remedy ticket unless you need to" where before it was "Get a remedy ticket for everything we do" ....) Also, we didn't use their inventory and remote desktop, we are still looking at various alternatives for inhouse..... -Kawwebguy
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  • Beelymagee
    Has any reviewed/used any of the Open Source help desk packages out there? Mozilla Bugzilla and MySQL Eventum are both web-based (Apache, PHP, MySQL) - require a bit of set up knowledge and management, typically in a Linux environment. Both of these are Open Source and free software. -*-Bill
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  • Jklipa
    Track-It! is what we use... We have it configured so that when users send email to a HELPDESK address it automatically creates a ticket and sends that ticket # to the users... Full of features and functionality, even has a browser interface so you don't have to load the client on each pc... You won't be sorry.
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  • Jagdish
    I think the best bet is Smarttracker : http://smartworks.us I have used this package and it can track all the status of the reports by the enduser. A trial version is available. Just have a check...
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  • 1024
    Hello I have one software site that i would like to suggest you for your problem. I think this would very helpful to you. Knowledge management software that helps you to manage all your activity in your organization.
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  • Autonomics
    Microsoft has made a Service Desk tool (released in 2010). It is called System Center Service Manager. Microsoft's advantage is they watched all the other vendors, understood mistakes and created what I believe is one of their best kept secrets. The issue with Service Desks is they need to tie people, process and Assets together to allow the IT Team to work together. Microsoft has the technology that people and assets all already speak with (Active Directory). Microsoft has integrated their service desk with AD to automatically populate information whilst the service desk is fully enabled with ITIL 3. The beauty is if you have a Microsoft Enterprise Licence agreement, you already own the technology. Please see Service Desk for more information.
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  • Derik
    If you can live without the KB, a great help desk system for companies with a multiple locations is FocalScope (www.focalscope.com) . It has solid email ticketing and a mobile client so agents/technicians are always connected to the office to respond to and update tickets/tasks. We’re using it at the office and it really works very and it was easy to deploy.
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  • Priyag
    Check out the fxf help desk software reviews and comparison from ITHelpDeskSoftware.com. Surely, it will help you in choosing the best help desk software for your business.
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  • mikosi
    A good one that has option to check status of ticket online is orcadesk (http://www.orcadesk.com)/ It is a web based system so you can access it fro all of your locations
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