Picking a Helpdesk Software

One of the first I was assigned when I became a manager was to find a new helpdesk solution.  Our current solution was OK, but had been in use for several years and our department had outgrown the usefulness.  Plus a big plus was we wanted our user base to be able to track the status of their tickets.
I had assumed that this take would be easy, I would just search for helpdesk software on a search engine and there would be a couple choices and I would go from there.  I was horribly wrong, there are many many different helpdesk software choices out there.  With so many choices, I couldn’t just randomly pick sites to visit and demo, so I thought hard about what choices were relevant when choosing the right software.

  1. Know your budget
    Anyone who has evaluated software knows that total cost is important.  There was some software that was absolutely free and some charge several hundred dollars per tech (and we had a couple).  So one of the first things I had to do, was look at software that was in my budget.
  2. Map out and order wanted features
    With the wide range in prices mentioned above also comes the wide range of features.  So once you eliminated all software that is outside what you can spend, list in order all of the features you need and how important they are to your organization and further trim down the list.
  3. Email compatibility
    Many companies out there use Exchange for their e-mail hosting, and in the previous step I wanted Exchange compatibility so that users could use e-mail submission and verification.  Though what I had eliminated in the previous two steps there wasn’t much.
    We had to consider open up IMAP or POP to get the software where we need it, so make sure you check e-mail compatibility.
  4. Database type
    We had a database server already in our environment, and with many of the software choices supporting
    one database type or another.  So if you want to have your database compatible with your server…or a particular server type make sure you put some thought into that.
  5. Security
    Something you should always be concerned about is security.  With data and information being passed back and forth from the users and the software, you have to make sure the password and data are kept securely.  Consider something that uses secure methods to make sure your data stays safe.
  6. Web interface
    I wanted our software to accept e-mails or submit online via a web interface.  Making the web interface a more important feature than I would have thought.  You want to think of it from two sides, the one that you, the tech, sees and maybe more important what the users see.

These are some of the things that helped me narrow down and select the helpdesk software that was right for that company at that time.  Every company has different needs and different budgets, but using this list I’m sure it will get you on the right path to pick your helpdesk software.

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