The IT help desk is by no means, a commodity software solution. Different platforms can vary wildly in terms of how they are delivered, their core functions and how they can be expanded over time. This has led to increased scrutiny on the help desk industry as organizations look to not just find a solution that meets their budget requirements, but also discover a system that is the right fit for their operational needs.
A recent study from the help desk research firm Software Advice found that many organizations are working to upgrade their help desk solutions, and the research focused on providing a broad look at how the technology is helping companies improve operations.With the IT help desk becoming more important than ever, let's take a look at the three key insights unveiled by the study:
1. Key functions of the help desk
The core function of an IT help desk is to give organizations the ability to support internal and external customers as they run into technical issues and operational problems. This functionality is delivered in a variety of ways, and the study found that a few use cases are the most prominent examples of how companies leverage help desk systems:
- Ticket Management - Sorting and prioritizing different support tickets to ensure help desk teams are able to resolve incidents as efficiently as possible and avoid letting anything slip through the cracks.
- Reporting and Analytics - You need to understand how well support teams are working before you can meaningfully improve operations. Reporting and analytics tools help you to understand the nuances of your help desk so that you can work more intelligently. They can also benefit from dashboards that clearly provide the help desk staff with information to keep them focused on productivity. Working smarter, not harder is the key here, as many help desk teams are already pushed to their limit and can only improve through innovation, not effort.
- Collaboration - Organizations need tools that support efficient collaboration with the IT staff and others to resolve issues quicker. This includes bi-directional communications on specific issues and notifications on ticket status and overall IT performance and availability.
2. Positive impacts of the modern help desk
Modern help desk solutions are pushing the limits of how users can leverage support technology. Most notably, modern help desk solutions are increasingly delivered through the cloud. While Software-as-a-Service help desk solutions are still not dominant in the market, the study found that businesses turning to cloud-based service desk solutions do so because it helps them to reduce both immediate deployment costs and long-term spending.
In many cases, security is considered one of the primary barriers to taking advantage of the cost benefits of the cloud, but the study found that as of 2014, 31 percent of respondents who had no experience with the cloud thought security was a significant challenge. Conversely, just 13 percent of those polled with significant cloud experience thought of security as an issue.
The combination of cost benefits and solid security makes modern, cloud-based help desks a powerful option.
3. The business case for a new help desk
According to the study, the three most prominent benefits cited when talking about help desk solutions include reducing software problem resolution times, IT productivity and first-contact resolution rates. The tangible business benefits of help desk solutions are so great that approximately 84 percent of respondents with clear help desk investment plans in 2015 plan to increase their spend.
All of this information comes together to showcase a brighter future in the IT help desk industry. Customer-centric operations are becoming a priority among businesses, and that mentality extends out to IT support teams - regardless of whether their customer base is internal or external. As such, finding ways to invest strategically in help desk resources is proving an integral catalyst to innovation, giving businesses the process and customer management tools they need to improve support in meaningful ways.