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Help Desk Software Types
Not all help desk software is equal - some is more advanced, some is less advanced, and some has all the bells and whistles. Whats important for the buyer is to make sure which products can deliver an interface that works with existing systems.

Internet technology is the latest addition to help desk software. Several software packages let the end user access the help desks knowledge base through a Web browser. Self service for common help desk chores such as resetting passwords, solving printer problems, and answering common application questions is then available. There is an added benefit in that employees can still have access to the softwares knowledge base even when the help desk itself is closed. If an answer cant be found through self-search, the employee can initiate a trouble ticket for help desk personnel and the technicians also have access to Web-based solutions. Roving technicians can even use the Web browser from the employees machine to close out the trouble tickets or view a list of open tickets and dont have to return to their desks before answering another call. When end users can solve many of their software problems on their own, analysts are freed up to work on only the most complex problems.

Some help desk software is so sophisticated that analysts can use a Web browser to access the help desk application with no need for a dedicated client on analysts desktops. This solution cuts costs because it runs applications without the use of leased lines which can be expensive. It also allows companies with more than one office scattered around the country to centralize help desk applications and databases as well.

Efforts to reduce the help desks workload can be enhanced by the application of help desk aware applications which can be configured to take specific actions when an application fails or a user is having difficulty. When the user encounters a specified error within this type of enhanced application, the service desk aware component kicks into gear. I may notify the help desk to call the user or bring up a list of frequently asked questions on the users screen. Some even launch a natural language search engine on the users browser.

Call optimization options can often locate the cause of a problem without analysts having to spend time gathering information from the end user. These run on the end users system and continuously gather information about everything from hardware configuration to network settings, to installed printers. If the user receives an error message while performing a function, the call optimization agent inserts an html link into the error message box. When the analyst opens the trouble ticket the software has already gathered most, or all, of the pertinent information about ho the system is functioning and/or where it is not functioning. This particular type of solution is not a self service one and doesnt help with commonly asked questions or lost passwords, but it can make the help desk analysts job much quicker and easier. Thus call times are kept shorter and call queues are also reduced.

There are some substantial improvements in help desk software that have been developed in the past few months. They can help end users help themselves for the most commonly experienced difficulties and they can also assist help desk analysts by providing up front information. Companies that are considering purchasing updated help desk software need to conduct a careful investigation of software features to determine not only which features are most applicable to their business, but which packages will fit in most readily with their existing software.


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