Are you familiar with IT Service Management? Because to understand the essence of the Service Desk Software you first need to know what ITSM is. Sometimes these two terms can be used interchangeably where people sell service Desk software as ITSM tools. However, while there are indeed Service Desk solutions that pack the full ITSM functionality this reference is not always true. ITSM is a broad concept that defines how IT services are designed, delivered, and managed so that they deliver the most value to the end-user. An example of an IT service would be the development and deployment of a managed system such as an exchange server. Or the creation and optimization of an IT network.
ITSM is an encompassment of all the activities that take place during the deployment of a service such as checking whether it is in sync with business expectations, tracking of various software and hardware components required to implement the service and also incident management where you handle any arising performance issue with the service. Basically, the purpose of IT Service Management is to ensure that each service meets it’s required performance requirements as highlighted in the Service-Level Agreement (SLA). Or more simply ITSM ensures that the customer is happy with the service.
So, what better way to execute that than by having a central platform where the service provider and the end-user interact. And that is where the Service Desk software come in. It acts as a single point of contact between an IT company and the service users who could be customers, company employees or business partners. A Service Desk serves as an avenue where the end-users can raise their concerns regarding a company product or service and then have the support staff respond. But then this raises another question. Isn’t that what a Help Desk software does?
What’s the Difference Between a Help Desk and a Service Desk Software?
If you know what a Help Desk is then you have probably made the distinction based on our introduction. However, I must admit that the line separating the two terms is a thin one. Actually, before the release of Information Technology Infrastructure Library Version 3 (ITILv3) in 2007, these two terms could be used interchangeably. But in 2007, Service Desk was expanded to include more capabilities. So while Help Desk is just about providing help to the customer service desk now also includes service requests where the customer can request for new services. Service Desk also mainly focuses on the provision of IT services and is completely in line with the ITIL standards. That said, all Service Desk software can pass as Help Desk software but the vice versa is not true. Here is a post where we discuss the Help Desk software in more depth and also recommend the Best Help Desk Software to use.
But now to the main point of our article. Which are the best Service Desk software to use?
1. SolarWinds Service Desk
Is there anybody who can dispute the superiority of SolarWinds when it comes to the monitoring and management of IT environments? Probably somebody who has not heard of their Network Performance Monitor. Today we will be looking at the SolarWinds Service Desk. Yet another of their genius products that will play a critical role in the management of your IT services.
This tool serves as a central place where all the tickets and service requests coming from your employees from multiple channels can be received, organized and managed. Some of the supported channels include emails, phone calls, a customized service portal within the software or even face to face requests. The tool can also compare all the tickets and try to find a relationship between them. Several tickets alluding to the same issue may be an indicator of a bigger problem that needs immediate addressing. The Service Desk will also help in associating a ticket with an upcoming change or release which would eliminate the need to resolve it individually.
The tool allows employees to keep track of the status of their tickets through the self-service portal where they can also leave comments and aid in the ticket resolution by completing approvals and tasks associated with their requests. Alternatively, you can send them emails updating them on the current state of their tickets.
The other great thing about this software is the Knowledge Base. You can create problem resolution guides complete with images, videos, and links and save them on the knowledge base so that the employees can refer to them when they need to resolve their problems. The SolarWinds Service Desk incorporates some automation aspect and assigns tickets to members of your support staff based on their workloads.
Apart from the ticket and request resolution, this software will also be excellent for IT asset management. It works in conjunction with SolarWinds Discovery to produce a clear outline of the software and hardware situation in your IT environment.
This SolarWinds Service Desk is available in 3 versions. The Team edition is the most basic and will provide you with the standard help Desk capabilities which are Incident management, a service portal, and a knowledge base. At the middle, we have the Business version which builds upon the Team features with extra capabilities such as Change management, SLA, and custom roles. Then we have Service Desk Professional which is the top tier edition. This version provides you with all the ITSM features including asset management and access to the API which enables you to integrate the Service Desk with third-party software.
2. ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus
ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus is another popular tool that is quite similar to the SolarWinds Service Desk. The software can be deployed both on the cloud and on-premise and it is used to implement all the service Desk functionalities defined by the ITIL standard. Although that only applies if you subscribe to the Enterprise version of the software. The Standard version users will only have access to the functionalities of a help desk. That is incident management, a self-service portal, and a knowledge base. If you subscribe to the professional edition then you will get Asset management as an added functionality. ServiceDesk Plus can automatically discover the assets within your environment and employs agents to scan for assets that are outside your network.
A distinguishing factor about this tool is how it lets you create different service desk instances for other departments in your business. So customers from various departments like Finance, HR, and legal will send their request from distinct portals but you will be able to manage them from a centralized request interface.
Tickets can be configured to be automatically assigned to a technician based on their availability. And to ensure that all tickets are assigned, the Service Desk employs both round-robin and load balancing allocation techniques. The end-users will be constantly updated on the progress of their tickets through email and SMS notifications.
Another great thing about ManageEngine Service Desk Plus is that it allows integration with other IT management apps. For instance, you could link it with the ADManager plus to enable you to manage the activities of the users in your AD. Or you could integrate it with the ManageEngine Analytics Plus to help you visually represent the performance of your service desk. Will all the right tool you can easily achieve a full-suite system for monitoring your IT environment.
Also, the tool packs excellent reporting tools for various activities in the ITSM process. And since it can be accessed remotely via Android and iOS apps, you don’t have to be physically present in the office to respond to customer tickets and requests.
This tool also employs built-in survey tools that will help you measure and improve the quality of your services. All you have to do is create the kind of questions that you need answers to. ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus can be used in both Windows and Linux operating systems.
Freshservice is an excellent service desk software that’s not only simple to use but it’s also fun in a game-like kind of way. Yes, it’s an unusual way to describe a service desk but it’s true. The initial set-up process is quite straightforward even for the non-trained people and the modern and intuitive UI is what makes it fun to use.
A great thing about this Service Desk is that it can be customized to handle both IT and non-IT needs. It accepts tickets and requests via email, a self-service portal, phone, chat, and also allows you to lodge requests submitted in person. The fact that it comes with an Android and iOS app means that you can respond to customer requests from anywhere.
Freshservice allows you to create response templates that can be sent automatically based on the customer query which is a great way to increase the productivity of support staff. It also allows you to assign tasks to your staff automatically and then use the workflow Automator to a system that approves the ticket resolution process. This Service Desk also features a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) which facilitates the tracking and management of your IT assets. As part of management, the tool allows you to deploy patches to your IT component while also protecting them from unauthorized changes.
The software tracks the performance of your team in the deployment of services and then displays the key performance metrics on its dashboard to help you measure and improve the quality of service. This data can be further converted to reports and sent to you via email to help you make informed decisions on how to improve the provision of services.
Auto-suggest is the other feature that can help to avoid solving a single problem multiple times. How this works is that before the end-user submit their ticket, they will receive an article suggestion that could help resolve the issue.
The Freshservice Service Desk is implemented from the cloud so it doesn’t require any infrastructure investment. It is available in 4 packages that are creatively named Blossom, Garden, Estate, and Forest. And as expected, the most basic version will only give you access to elementary help desk features while the highest level provides you with all the features highlighted by ITIL standard.
4. Jira Service Desk
Jira is a simply designed but powerful Service Desk that will serve as an excellent central point of contact between you and your customers. Naturally, the tool comes with a knowledge base where you can store solutions to the most common problems and thus avoid solving one issue over and over again. All tickets and requests are neatly arranged in a queue where the support staff can easily browse through them and resolve them based on their urgency.
Jira also doubles as an asset management tool and even includes a dedicated app. Through the app, you will be able to discover all the assets both inside and outside your network and it will enable you to develop a relationship between the assets and requests sent by the end-user.
This tool can also be linked with the JIRA software, another software by Atlassian, which is a tool for tracking bugs and other issues in your IT environment. This will enable collaboration between the support team and the dev team to quickly close tickets by identifying the root cause of issues highlighted on the tickets. The integration will also add project management capabilities to your Service Desk.
Then finally, Jira allows you to extend the functionality of their Service Desk by provisioning a robust API. Even better, you can even create your add-ons with their REST API.
Our last recommendation is Servicenow, a feature-rich Service Desk that does not lack anything that concerns the improvement of the IT Service Management process. The tool allows effective incident management by implementing intelligent routing when allocating the tickets and requests to support. It also allows the support staff to collaborate in the resolution of tickets to hasten the process and reduce bottlenecks. The tickets and request are lodged via the Servicenow self-service portal and other multiple channels including face to face.
To ensure that you spend your time productively, Sevicenow has incorporated virtual chatbots that can respond to tickets automatically. This is possible through machine learning and workflow automation. And thanks to these two aspects you also don’t have to waste time performing the routine tasks such as ticket categorization, routing, and assignment of urgency level.
Additionally, Servicenow has built-in analytic tools that evaluate your services, decode patterns and then produce actionable data that can be viewed through the Servicenow dashboards. This data will be critical when making decisions on how to improve your services.
This Service Desk tracks the status of all your services through a health dashboard and will help you avoid downtimes by identifying exactly where disruption is coming from on the service map and then initiating a remediation process. As expected of any ITSM tool, Servicenow can also be used in Asset and Cost management. It can track all the hardware and virtual assets in your environment as well as their associated costs and contracts.
This software can also be integrated with an existing IT monitoring tool. You can then combine its extensive database of incidents with the threat identification capabilities of your IT threat monitor to quickly identify and resolve problems in your IT environment.