Not all help desk tools are alike, says Jeffrey M. Brooks, research director at Gartner. Although the tools are commoditized and provide basic functionality, they will vary in terms of their ease of use, cost, training requirements, language support and integration capabilities.
Help desk solutions also differ in how they’re categorized, so it’s important that companies consider the requisite maturity of the help desk’s people and processes when shopping for a product. Brooks provides the following guidelines:
- Help desk software is for organizations with a maturity level of 1, which can be defined as providing very reactionary support, generally in firefighting mode. This type of solution enables basic ticketing and typically does not follow any best practice framework, such as ITIL.
- IT service desk software is for level 2 organizations that are moving from reactive to proactive support. This means that they’ve begun to formalize their processes around people, processes and technology, and are following a best practice framework. Added features might include problem management, configuration management and service-level management.
- IT service support management tools are for organizations that have reached maturity level 3 (and above), which means that they are providing proactive support, have broken down silos within the IT department and have good integration between people, processes and technology. Additional features include release governance, tighter integration between processes, and visualization of the relationships between services and the business.
For more information on help desk solutions for your business, read our story "Finding the Right Help Desk Solution for Your Business."