Help Desk Software

Definition: Help Desk Software is the product behind many companies' provision of technical support services to their customers; it is accessed by staff fielding support calls or emails and taps into the company's problem resolution knowledgebase. It also logs and tracks users' requests for help.

The importance of the help desk cannot be over-estimated. The help desk is now a core and vital part of a successful business. It is a central point through which problems are reported and managed. Help desk users can be external or internal (or both) but where ever the users are coming from the smooth operation of the help desk is fundamental to the smooth running of an  enterprise selling technical goods or services.

Help DeskTraditionally, and prior to helpdesk software solutions, help desk functions involved a call being logged, numbered, and allocated to a person/team in "first line" support (see also process management). Failing a resolution is it escalated to second/third line support. When the problem is resolved the "ticket" is closed. During the time the ticket is open there may be need to add updates, log further issues, or track contact with the user.

There is of course a lot of repetitive work there and problems that have simple solutions and/or problems that appear on a regular basis still go through the same process and use employee time. There is therefore a good case for using an intelligent help desk software solution. 

Regular problems can be dealt with by a knowledge base. Further, with help desk software other problems can be handled more efficiently, an audit trail maintained, and help desk staff freed up for more useful tasks. Having a good help desk software package is also good management practice for the feedback it provides into areas where there is scope for improvement.

Increasingly companies are using remote access applications to resolve users' technical problems. Windows XP, for example, allowed remote diagnostics that saved engineers visiting a customer's premise to deduce the fault. Software such as BOSSAssist, Microsoft Remote Desktop, IBM Tivoli and Dameware are just a few of the many such programs around.