Help desk software is used to assist the IT support team to log requests for help, track and communicate responses and collate IT support information to further assist with planning and training requirements. At its core is the ticketing system, which formalises the logging, management and response of user inquiries and requests so none are lost or overlooked. Helpdesk software generally goes further beyond the ‘fix’, helping often larger support teams to manage IT hardware, software and service related issues more efficiently and effectively: this may introduce Service Level Agreements (SLAs), prioritise responses, manage escalations of complex inquiries to more appropriate resources and use reporting at a business level.
Helpdesk software is used not only to manage the lifecycle of the call or inquiry, from raising the request to communicating its resolution, but it may also be used to offer responses to known problems by introducing the concept of knowledge management. This makes the ‘official’ response to known common problems available to the IT team so they can quickly answer queries. This can incorporate text and documents, images and even video – easily searched by tagged key words – to assist the IT service desk to solve the issue. The IT team may in turn make these directly available to end users too by sending links, leading naturally for many organisations to step towards the provision of self-service portals. Helping customers to help themselves is a key next step in using help desk software – self-service saves time for the IT team and leaves resources better placed to resolve more complex issues.
Help desk software can also start to offer more structured support to the IT team as it may mature towards adopting ITIL processes – or the notion of these – to the user support offered. Helpdesk software which is built with ITIL processes in mind can be used to label
Beyond assisting front-line IT support, reporting within help desk software is used for informing management of different departments’ requests on IT teams and for helping to inform and plan for technical training as well as hardware and software requirements in the future. If the IT team is working towards SDI accreditation of its services, helpdesk software such as Sunrise ITSM can offer structured templates which quickly provide the evidence pack reporting the SDI requires.