Startups that originate in someone’s dining room or a tiny office somewhere may start by using email to communicate with their IT person (who may simply be the employee who seems to know the most about computers) when there’s a problem. In early days, when budgets are tight, this may have to suffice.
But sometimes businesses hang onto this IT service delivery system well past the point where something better makes sense. While there’s nothing wrong with using email as a communication channel with an IT help desk, relying on email to submit and track all IT services can quickly become inadequate and problematic.
Problems With Using Email as an IT Help Desk Solution
Maybe you have one IT person, who receives help requests by email. Most days the volume of requests is manageable, and things go okay. But there will be days when the unpredictable occurs. Perhaps it’s a problem no one has experienced before, or it’s one of those days when everything seems to go wrong with the computers. Keeping track solely via email can be extremely difficult, and the likelihood of errors goes way up, no matter how talented your IT person is.
Or suppose you have two or three IT people, using email as their IT service desk solution. If more than one person works on an issue, they have to ensure the right people are always CC’d on the messages, and they may have to sift through a crowded inbox to find a message containing vital information. Someone could miss an important fact, or think a problem has been resolved, because he wasn’t CC’d on a particular message. Again, errors and confusion result.
IT Service Desk Software Saves Money in the Long Term
Don’t think that IT help desk software requires powerful on-site servers and a big capital investment. Many of today’s top IT service desk solutions are run in the cloud, and you only pay for the licenses you need. Up-front investment can be amazingly affordable. The tools provided by a dedicated IT help desk solution can empower your small help desk to work far more efficiently, without worries about missing important email communications. Furthermore, they can use the system to track tickets, from submission through resolution and keep statistics about them. They can even set up self-service pages to help users solve minor problems (like password resets) on their own.
How an IT Service Desk Solution Improves Your Business
Investing in an IT service desk solution early gives your business many advantages. If you choose wisely, you can scale your solution up easily as your business grows. IT service desk software with built-in metrics helps your IT leader track who is working efficiently, and whether end-users are getting the service they need. They can even generate reports that can help with major IT purchasing decisions.
Using help desk software rather than email allows your IT people to prioritize tasks and customize workflows, ranking user issues according to urgency and helping ensure the most important problems are solved first. Tracking capability makes it easy for multiple people working on an issue to track exactly where everyone is in the process so their work can be done in a coordinated fashion.
Ticket tracking capability is also great for job continuity. Sometimes an IT help desk worker has to be called to another task, and a ticket must be reassigned. Doing this through email can be an exercise in frustration, but with IT service desk software, it’s easy. And as your IT service desk grows, it will be far easier to delegate tickets fairly and ensure workload is distributed optimally.
What to Look For
Cloud solutions are great, because getting started doesn’t cost a lot. Plus, patches and upgrades are done automatically, so your team is always using the latest software version. Cloud help desk software is also great if you expect to scale up operations, because adding seats can be done quickly and painlessly.
Look for software that offers multiple ticket submission channels, including email, phone, chat, and even social media. You may not use them all now, but later you might. Finally, look for help desk software that includes IT asset management capability, so you can identify and track all the software and hardware your growing operation uses. This can prevent unnecessary purchases, and ensure software licenses are paid for and up to date.
About Brad Kremer
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