Best IT Help Desk Software

Thanks to the cloud, a boom in administration tools for IT departments in recent years means buying new software requires no small amount of comparison shopping.

If you need new IT help desk software, there’s a great deal of choice. Your IT help desk team can employ customer support, collaboration systems, and service management software.

This guide aims to help you narrow down your search. We include plenty of detail below, but in case you are short of time, here is our list of the best IT Help Desk software & tools:

  1. Atera Helpdesk EDITOR’S CHOICE Cloud-based RMM for MSPs with PSA, Remote Access, and a Pay-per technician only pricing model. Start a 30-day free trial.
  2. SolarWinds Web Help Desk (FREE TRIAL) This Help Desk solution is a powerful ticket management solution that can be installed on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Powerful IT asset discovery and management features.
  3. SolarWinds Web Help Desk Free Edition (FREE TOOL) Free version of the SolarWinds Web Help Desk, which also installs on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
  4. SolarWinds Service Desk (FREE TRIAL) Cloud-based Service Desk and IT Asset Management platform. Includes ticket management, knowledge base, and self-service platforms.
  5. ManageEngine Service Desk Plus (FREE TRIAL) Available to install on Windows and Linux or to use online, this package allows tickets to be raised by phone, email, or web form.
  6. Freshservice A cloud-based service desk system that includes customer-facing web help features.
  7. Spiceworks Help Desk/Cloud Help Desk Installs on Linux or you can use a Cloud-based version.
  8. Zoho Desk This tool is an industry leader in the Help Desk market. It is only available as a cloud-based subscription service.
  9. Zendesk Suite Comprehensive Help Desk solution that is marketed as a Software-as-a-Service solution.
  10. Dameware Remote Support Windows-based Customer Support system that is aimed at managed service providers.
  11. Agent.ai This tool uses a virtual helper that is operated by artificial intelligence and it installs on Windows and Mac OS or you can opt to subscribe to a Cloud-based version.
  12. SolarWinds MSP Manager A professional services automation package that is based in the cloud and can manage teams of MSP technicians.
  13. Oracle Service Cloud With a Windows on-premises version and a Cloud-based option, this system enables your users to communicate with the help team via phone, email, chat, and web forms.
  14. SAP Cloud for Service Cloud-based service provided by the world’s leading ERP and CRM solution provider.

The best IT help desk software & tools

You can have an in-depth look at each of the service management tools below where we go into plenty of detail and provide links for downloading and free trials. Many considerations have gone into the ranking of each of these tools, including but not limited to, the likelihood of continual updates and support for the tool, robustness, and reliability for use in most situations, ease of installation, set up and use and excellent overall value.

1. Atera Helpdesk (FREE TRIAL)

Atera

Atera Helpdesk provides a platform for support teams. Although mainly aimed at managed service providers (MSPs) this tool would also be suitable for the IT Help Desk in a multi-site organization.

The Atera package contains two essential elements. These are remote monitoring and management (RMM) and professional services automation (PSA) modules. RMM provides tools to your department that track the behavior of remote equipment and also allow access to those machines for software updates and fault resolution. PSA is a team management module that is essential for any IT support department manager. PSA is even more essential for outsourced support services because it tracks performance for service level agreement (SLA) goals and enables accurate billing.

The PSA features of Atera include customer relationship management (CRM) screens. These give the operator details of each customer and user and the customer manager can track contracts, contacts, SLAs, and ticket throughput with the tool.

Atera Admin Knowledge Base Panel

The help ticketing system that is bundled into Atera gives operatives a task to track and also delivers overviews to team managers. A complementary knowledge base module also supports operatives. This enables researchers to build up a profile of the equipment on client premises and log solutions for frequently occurring problems on those sites. The knowledge base also acts as a repository for solution scripts and service checklists.

As all of the work performed for each client is carried out through the Atera platform, the PSA module quickly logs all service times and goals, which enables billing to be generated automatically by Atera. Those invoices can be backed up by details of itemized events, enabling your clients to confirm the charges contained in each invoice. Servicing multiple clients through the system is made a lot easier thanks to these timesheet functions that are tagged with the relevant customer contract number.

Atera Helpdesk Portal

The services of Atera are charged for on a subscription basis per operator per month. You can pay for a subscription annually, which brings the price down. The Atera package is offered in three editions with all plan levels including ticketing and knowledge base features. The plans are called Pro, Growth, and Power. The two higher plans include a chat system, which eases communication between users and support staff. The Power plan also includes database replication facilities to aid disaster recover.

The cloud-based help desk model of Atera makes it very suitable for small and middle-sized MSPs and IT Help Desk departments because you don’t need to maintain servers or software for your team, which brings start-up costs crashing down.

The pricing structure means you can start your Help Desk with just one operative and add on more subscriptions as your team grows. The service also enables you to deploy remote staff to cut down on office costs.

The companion RMM functions of Atera will reduce the costs of providing a Help Desk because the automated monitoring of client devices means that you can head off software or equipment failure before it happens. Configuration and patch management are also included in the RMM package. All of the plans can be tried out on a 30-day free trial.

EDITOR'S CHOICE

Atera Helpdesk is our first choice. The companion RMM functions of Atera will reduce the costs of providing a Help Desk because the automated monitoring of client devices means that you can head off software or equipment failure before it happens. Configuration and patch management are also included in the RMM package.

Start 30-day Free Trial: atera.com/psa-professional-services-automation/helpdesk-software/

OS: Cloud-based

2. SolarWinds Web Help Desk (FREE TRIAL)

SolarWinds Web Help Desk - Group Tickets view

The SolarWinds Web Help Desk is an on-premises system that installs on your web server — it isn’t available as a cloud service.

SolarWinds produces very comprehensive system administration tools, and all of them have a slick and professional look and feel. The Web Help Desk utility maintains the company’s high standard of excellence. This is essentially a ticket management system. It covers the functions needed by support staff and the overviews and analysis required by management.

The reports generated by this tool track performance in terms of SLAs (service level agreements). If you provide metered support services to other companies, you can offer clients access to data views and reporting tools that enable them to track your company’s performance in terms of the service contract. The Dashboard alerts you if performance targets look as though they might be breached, and graphical elements in the console highlight failure. You can set date-related alarms to remind you of approaching deadlines in contracts. Workflows can be adapted, escalated, and deprioritized to help the team leader switch resources to critical tasks.

SolarWinds Web Help Desk - Assets Basics view

Operatives get plenty of assistance from the dashboard. The Web Help Desk system automates many of the administrative functions needed to log each call and the actions they triggered. Those triggers can be set as rules to automate notifications and scheduling on the creation of a ticket. Workflows enable the responsible operative to track progress on issue resolution. Tickets can be linked to enable complex tasks to be split among departments of competence.

Further support for help desk operatives comes in the form of case scripts and a knowledge base. These enable the first line operators to filter out common errors before passing the ticket on to specialist technical staff.

User-centered features of the packages start with an email to ticket conversion. This speeds up the process of logging problems by automating the ticket allocation process. You can also set up a user satisfaction questionnaire on completion of a ticket. This will help you find out about problems in the user experience and give you an idea of where your help desk’s strengths and weaknesses lie.

SolarWinds Web Help Desk - Setup view

The Web Help Desk includes network asset discovery and infrastructure inventory management modules. This enables Help Desk assistants to see immediately if network problems or hardware failures could be the cause of user complaints.

For more comprehensive network and server monitoring, you could integrate this tool into other SolarWinds products, including Network Performance Monitor, Network Configuration Monitor, and Server & Application Monitor.

The SolarWinds Web Help Desk utility can be installed on Windows, Windows Server, Linux, or Mac OS. The company offers a 14-day trial.

SolarWinds Web Help Desk is a powerful ticket management tool that you can easily integrate into other core network management systems. Includes powerful IT asset discovery and management modules. It runs on Windows Server, MacOS, CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora. Windows 8.1 & 10.

SolarWinds Web Help Desk Start 14-day FREE Trial

3. SolarWinds Web Help Desk Free Edition (FREE TOOL)

SolarWinds Web Help Desk free edition

The SolarWinds Web Help Desk also gives you your best free help desk software option in the form of a free version. The SolarWinds Web Help Desk Free Edition has many of the essential features that you get with its paid counterpart.

The tool installs on Windows, Linux, and Mac and it requires login credentials, so it can’t be accessed by just anyone that gets into the office. The account structure of this free tool doesn’t enable you to set up several access accounts, though, just one. That access system can be linked to your Active Directory or LDAP authentication system.

This tool gives you intuitive service request management and also has a self-service portal for system users. User self-help facilities also extend to a knowledge base system.

Although this is a good option for ticketing software, that includes SLA enforcement and tracking of support requests, this free tool doesn’t include many of the benefits built into the full SolarWinds Web Help Desk. These missing features include Help Desk task automation through automated IT asset discovery and asset-to-ticket association. There are no change management or change approval processes in the free tool or purchase order management, parts, and inventory management, or billing management features.

If your help desk functions are simple to manage, then the tracking features of this free ticketing software should be enough for you to meet support requests in your business.

SolarWinds Web Help Desk Free Edition Download 100% FREE Tool

4. SolarWinds Service Desk (FREE TRIAL)

SolarWinds Service Desk

This ITSM solution is delivered in a Software-as-a-Service format, so you don’t need to install or maintain any software on your site. However, It is possible to get the application installed on your servers by special arrangement. The standard configuration of SolarWinds Service Desk is completely scalable because you are charged per agent and per monitored device, so this very comprehensive Service Desk solution is accessible to small enterprises as well as large corporations.

The SolarWinds Service Desk covers all of the Help Desk support functions that you need to keep your IT services running. These utilities include a ticketing system for solution tracking, and a knowledge base platform to enable you to make guides and system documentation accessible to the user community and a self-service portal that will reduce the number of calls that your service center has to process.

Management facilities in the service extend the package beyond Help Desk operative support through to IT service and facility management. The organizational features of Service Desk support incident management, problem management, change management, and release management.

The SolarWinds Service Desk system is designed following the ITIL standards. That enables you to fully track the planning, introduction, and monitoring of system extensions. The support of change management includes the monitoring of software and its rollout and control across the enterprise. A Configuration Management Database logs and tracks the software operating on your network. This feature not only monitors software versions but records the interactions between software elements and alerts to any impact on performance that transfers from poorly integrated processes. Service Desk appeared at the top of a recent market-wide list, you can download the comparison report here.

This is a very comprehensive IT asset management service that integrates process automation supported by machine learning and AI methodologies. Both asset and problem management services in Service Desk include reporting and analysis features that enable human intervention to activate, refine, and extend the level of automation deployed in your support strategy.

Departmental management is supported by SolarWinds Service Desk through SLA tracking, which makes this tool suitable for managed service providers. It also tracks departmental purchases, sales, and goal attainment. The software monitoring functions log license usage and subscription expiration so you don’t over-provision software or let essential service agreements lapse unintentionally.

The knowledgebase feature of SolarWinds Service Desk isn’t just for informing and training users. It can also become a repository for best practices and support staff training material. The delivery of support can be guided so you aren’t forced to rely on each agent being a field expert with the background and wits to provide bespoke solutions to problems. Instead, support calls can be guided by scripts, directing agents through investigation routines towards a well-known solution. The ticketing system will manage the routing of problem resolution tasks away from the frontline to third line technicians when complex problems require detailed investigation and expert attention. Reporting, benchmarking, and monitoring features of Service Desk help you spot team areas where expertise is overtaxed or underused.

Service Desk recognizes the success of Salesforce and produces a flavor of its ITSM system that fully integrates with that software. Samanage also integrates well with more than 200 other business applications, including Gmail, Active Directory, and Jira.

The pricing structure of SolarWinds Service Desk offers three levels of service. The Team pack gives you the classic Help Desk support functions of incident management, a knowledge base platform, and a self-service portal. For a higher fee, you can step up to the Business deal, which adds on the software version, change management, and SLA monitoring. The top package offered by SolarWinds Service Desk is the Professional deal. This is the full SolarWinds Service Desk service and includes process automation and APIs for application integration.

You can get a fully-functioning 30-day free trial of the Professional package to test the system for yourself. Once that period ends, you can switch to any of the three packages, or walk away without obligations.

SolarWinds Service Desk Start 30-day FREE Trial

5. ManageEngine Service Desk Plus (FREE TRIAL)

Service Desk Plus screenshot

ManageEngine is owned by Zoho Corp. As a rule, Zoho brands all of its systems management tools under the ManageEngine name. However, there is a little overlap between the identities of Zoho and ManageEngine, which results in Zoho Desk being available both through the Zoho website and the ManageEngine website.

The ManageEngine stable ranks as one of the top brands in the systems tools market and the range of tools that the company offers can all be integrated. Service Desk Plus is the key ManageEngine help desk offering. It is available as a cloud-based service or for installation on-premises. The installed version can be run on Windows or Linux.

Service Desk Plus is packaged in three service levels. Fortunately, the cheapest option, Standard, is targeted at IT help desks. If you want to add greater depth to your help desk software, you could look at the higher packages. These are the Professional Plan, which adds-on asset management functions, and the Enterprise Plan, which includes asset management as well as project management utilities and ITIL features. The software is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Danish, Dutch, Polish, Norwegian, Swedish, Serbia, Russian, Chinese, and Vietnamese.

With the Standard package, you get a range of filtering utilities that help users solve their own problems without contacting a help desk agent. In this division, you deploy a self-service portal that includes a knowledge management base. Tickets can be raised by phone, email, or web form. You can assign each ticket to agents automatically, and automation included in the package performs standard tasks run without tying up technicians.

The user’s journey begins at a self-service portal.  A vital element of this online help center is a searchable knowledge base. The hope is that the user will find a solution in this system. However, the self-service portal is also a place where users can raise support tickets. The portal displays a dialogue with the support team over the ticket’s lifecycle and each user can access multiple tickets — both open and closed — from a page in the portal.

Tickets can be assigned automatically to an individual technician or to a group. Business rules organize ticket management. These rules categorize tickets and enable you to specify priority departments, equipment faults, or user groups. The business rules form a workflow and the assigned technician or group is notified by email or SMS when the rule is applied to a ticket, kicking off a task.

Service Desk Plus can serve a central IT help desk responsible for multiple sites. You can track service level agreement goals through the system and use standard or customized reports to help presentations of departmental throughput. The IT support functions contained in Service Desk Plus can be integrated with other ManageEngine infrastructure management tools to resolve problems highlighted by tickets.

ManageEngine offers a 30-day free trial of Service Desk Plus so that you can test its suitability for your IT Help Desk department without risk.

ManageEngine Service Desk Plus Start 30-day FREE Trial

6. Freshservice

Freshservice dashboard

Freshservice is a service desk system that includes comprehensive Help Desk and incident management features. This is a cloud-based help desk platform, so you won’t need to install any software on your site. All of the features of the facility – for users, support technicians, and managers – are accessed through any standard browser.

This platform is delivered on a software-as-a-service model, so it isn’t just a software package. It also includes the processing power to run the software and storage space for records and documents. All communication between the various user types and the Freshservice platform is protected by encryption. Accounts and all of their related storage space on the Freshservcie server are protected by access credentials and encryption. Although it might worry business managers that a vital part of their infrastructure is owned and run by an external company, the security procedures in place for this platform mean that even the technicians of Freshservice won’t be able to access your company’s private data.

The Freshservice Help Desk support feature includes interfaces that facilitate access by users, workflows for task management and control and supervision features for managers.

A self-service portal represents the front-end of the Help Desk. This begins with an index page, which features a searchable knowledge base. The platform provides a framework for the knowledge base, which the technicians of your company will need to populate with user guides, terminology definitions, and FAQ. The home page also includes help articles on how to use the portal and other helpful information, such as the Help Desk’s operating hours.

Users can raise support tickets through a web form in the self-service portal. This triggers the ticketing software. Users can also contact the Help Desk via email, with emails going directly into the Freshservice system. Each received email triggers the creation of a receipt confirmation and the queuing of a task for the support team. Other access channels include in-person service and a telephone hotline. In these instances, the support operator will need to access the portal and create a ticket.

The ticketing system creates a queue, which will prioritize tasks for allocation. The prioritization process can be enhanced through a service level agreement implementor. This is created through a standard screen in the manager’s dashboard. The incident management chief needs to translate the condition of the support center’s SLA into the system. These factors will then influence which tickets get prioritized. The SLA enhancement also influences the setting of deadlines and the completion tracking and escalation engine of the platform. The Freshservice system then allocates tickets to technicians based on technician availability and capabilities.

The task allocation workflows in Freshservice shows just part of the automation of this platform. The time management and team supervision sections of the platforms are other automation examples. Each technician gets a dashboard, which helps the ordering and management of several tasks that can be active simultaneously. The management screens of the service enable the team leader to supervise the team with minimal efforts, thanks to performance metrics and a communication channel through a live chat service.

Freshservice is charged for by subscription and is available in four editions. There is also an ‘MSP mode’ for managed service providers. You can get a free trial of Freshservice to check it out for yourself.

7. Spiceworks Help Desk/Cloud Help Desk

Spiceworks screenshot

If you want a free help desk system that you can access in the cloud, then check out the Spiceworks Cloud Help Desk. This utility is also available in an offline version, which can be installed on Windows and Mac OS.

Spiceworks also makes a free network monitoring tool, so you can get a lot of system administration from this company without paying a penny.

A significant advantage of the cloud version of the Help Desk is that you can access it from anywhere with an internet connection. You can get to the dashboard on a tablet or smartphone. The Spiceworks Help Desk Mobile App can be installed on Android and iOS devices. Mobile access to this system is a big advantage if you have a small team and your top experts are frequently on the go. It also means you can stay on top of support performance while out of the office.

An advantage of the on-premises version of the Spiceworks Help Desk is that it has more functionality than the Cloud version and it can be integrated with Spiceworks’ network monitoring tool.

You might wonder how Spiceworks makes any money if it gives away all of its software. The answer is that its applications are ad-supported. You may find the advertising panel in the dashboard a little irksome. If you can’t live with the adverts, then you won’t be interested in Spiceworks because the company doesn’t offer a paid ad-free version of the Help Desk.

The main screen of the dashboard is customizable and adapts to different roles. The system will generate new tickets in response to emails and assign each task to an operator. Alternatively, you can allocate work manually.

The operator’s dashboard includes notation and messaging features. Messages sent to and received from the user appear in chat format even if the communication is through email. The operator can close tickets once the complaint has been addressed.

The application ships with some standard report formats included. However, you aren’t limited to just those report types because it is possible to create your own reports within the system.

Self-service features include the ability to tailor on-screen forms to let the user specify a problem in writing. A knowledgebase feature reduces the number of problems referred to support staff. Those knowledge base solutions don’t write themselves, however, so you will need to allocate expertise and resources to fill it with relevant help documents.

The Spiceworks Help desk integrates with Active Directory. That enables it to employ system authentication routines to verify the users who send queries.

Tickets can be split to enable multiple workflows when a solution requires a range of skill sets. It is possible to centralize support across several sites, which means you can use the Help Desk system to serve external clients.

The Spiceworks Help Desk is a great solution for small- and mid-sized networks. Its functionality can be expanded by plugins available for all Spiceworks tools. This library of functions is developed by the Spiceworks Community, so an ever-expanding number of utilities supplement this help desk tool.

8. Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk screenshot

Zoho produces accounting software and has an excellent systems administration software division. Zoho Desk is its help desk offering. This tool is accessed on the Cloud. It supports both external customers and other departments of the company.

Support operatives get a dashboard that organizes open tickets by time frame. These categories need to be defined by management, but they show which tickets are overdue, which are nearing their critical solution time, and which are new with plenty of time on the clock.

Other operative facilities include the steps for managing a ticket. The support team member just progresses through those steps to resolve a ticket. This dashboard layout creates a working framework for each team member and establishes correct routines to reduce corner-cutting. Communications with the users are made through a single dashboard panel no matter what method of delivery those messages use. The messaging system enables the help desk responder to include back-office specialists on a ticket to collaborate on providing a solution.

As Zoho Desk is hosted in the Cloud, team members do not have to be within sight of each other. This allows support staff to work from home. For essential services, you can group together contributors at different locations around the globe to ensure a solution will be worked on around the clock. Zoho delivers apps for Android and iOS so your team members can access their dashboards while on the move.

Self-service features of the system include a knowledge base facility that helps users find answers to their problems without tying up support staff.

Forum pages allow users to post their experience in solving problems so that others may learn from that information. Users can also post questions for the community to seek solutions and tips on getting the most out of the office system. A wide range of contact methods include phone, email, chat, and social media. However, if you want to restrict the channels through which users and customers can communicate problems with the help team, just leave those facilities disabled. You can integrate a ticket submission page into your website with a customizable form.

Managers get a live view of open tickets. The dashboard displays a card for each operative, dividing the group into those who are online and those who are not currently on their shift. The number of open tickets that each operator has to deal with is shown, and these are categorized by timeframe.

The management console includes analysis tools that include reports on demand over time and the turnover of each support team member. Specific tasks can be automated like work allocation and problem notifications.

Other Zoho products can interface with the Zoho Desk module including Zoho Books, Zoho CRM, and Zoho Bug Tracker. Zoho offers a 15-day free trial of Zoho Desk to test drive the system. You don’t have to pay anything upfront to appraise the software.

9. Zendesk Suite

Zendesk screenshot

Zendesk is very widely deployed on websites that offer subscription services. For example, this help desk software is very widely used in the VPN industry.

The most noticeable features of Zendesk are its ticket management system and its live chat facility. Webform, live chat, and email are centralized in the console, so the operative only needs to access one point to communicate with customers instead of having to swap between the email system, a chat app, and the web interface. Although SaaS and cloud storage providers widely use Zendesk, it is also suitable for in-house support departments, including an IT help desk.

Zendesk Suite is a package of support utilities available on the cloud. It doesn’t matter which operating system predominates at your company; you can access it from any computer or mobile device as long as you have an internet connection.

The suite includes a knowledge base platform, which can be your first port of call for users in trouble. Many calls to the IT help desk originate from users who just want to know what directory to save work in and which printer is the closest to them. So, creating user manuals and a troubleshooting guide on the company intranet will ease pressure on the support team.

Although live chat is probably more regularly regarded as a sales channel, using this feature for IT help desk provision can speed up the problem resolution process. You don’t have to staff the live chat all the time because Zendesk diverts live chat queries to email delivery if the chat app is not attended.

All communications between a user and a support team member are logged in the system under a ticket number. That ticket can be forwarded to specialist staff or split to create multiple workflows. The user is given the option to close a ticket, and if an operative closes the ticket without permission, the user can reopen the issue. The involvement of the user in deciding whether a job is finished supports team members who tend to close a ticket rather than deal with it. It is also possible to add in a user or customer satisfaction survey during the ticket closure process to monitor staff performance.

Management screens in the dashboard enable you to track costs and analyze the department’s performance. You can set goals to reduce the time each issue takes to resolve, identify the most common issues that provoke calls to the help desk, and track SLA performance. The standard reports produced by Zendesk support analysis and agreement performance delivery, but you can also create your own customized report formats.

The pricing model of Zendesk is entirely scalable. You pay a monthly subscription rate per agent. This makes a very high-quality support desk system available to the smallest of enterprises and you just add on more agent subscription as your company grows. Zendesk offers a free trial of the service so you can give it a run-through before committing any money.

10. Dameware Remote Support

Dameware Remote Support

Dameware is a division of SolarWinds. That company takes the top spot in this list of the best tools for IT help desks. However, Dameware Remote Support is a tool that you should consider to enhance the performance of your support technicians.

This is an on-premises system and is priced per technician. It can be installed on Windows and Windows Server environments. You don’t pay a monthly subscription because the license you pay for is perpetual. However, it is easy to expand your coverage just by buying in more agent licenses.

As the name of this tool suggests, it enables your technicians to access user devices, explore issues, and fix problems. This capability is especially necessary if you’re supporting non-technical staff, and your centralized IT help desk department has to interact with offices spread over a wide geographical area. You don’t need to send a technician to sit with the user and sort out a problem if you can get access to any computer on the network from anywhere.

The remote access function can take control of remote computers that run Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Dameware Mobile lets you remotely control Windows computers from your Android device, iPhone, or iPad via DameWare Mobile application. DameWare Mobile includes the same remote control mechanism used in the desktop version of DameWare Remote Support, so it allows IT pros and end-users to share the desktop screen during remote support sessions.

Although the Dameware system can be used for customer support, the issue of control over remote computers is easier to implement on in-house equipment. So, you can expand the use of this software beyond the boundaries of your company, but this strategy is probably better suited to internal support functions, such as an IT help desk.

The software includes a range of network analysis tools, such as Ping and Traceroute. These enable technicians to check on possible network issues if a user query sounds as though its cause is outside the endpoint device. The interface includes access to Active Directory to let technicians add or reset user accounts on the network, adding more functions than just endpoint configuration resolution to the technician’s toolset.

AD entries, endpoint configurations, and software inventories can be exported to CSV or XML files for further analysis. The Remote Support tool is shipped with a number of pre-written analysis and inventory reports, but you can also specify your own customized reports.

Security features of the tool include the enforcement of 2FA, and you can get access to devices that are powered off or in sleep mode. SolarWinds operates a user community, called THWACK, where your team leaders and technicians can get tips and troubleshooting advice from fellow owners of the Dameware Remote Support system. The company offers a 14-day free trial for Dameware Remote Support.

11. Agent.ai

Agent.ai conversation

Agent.ai is an artificial intelligence solution to help desk tasks. It acts as a self-service platform in both searchable troubleshooting pages and in a chat window format. This solution doesn’t provide a full ticket management system. In fact, it doesn’t include any ticketing software functions at all. However, it is an interesting utility, which, as an add-on to your ticketing system, can drastically reduce calls to the IT Help Desk and maximize the capabilities of unqualified help desk agents.

The AI-driven knowledge base approach of Agent.ai distills the knowledge management of your experts and makes it available to anyone. This means you could outsource your help desk functions to a call center once you have the knowledge engine of the system correctly set up. However, that approach would require a very comprehensive mapping of all the technical expertise in your IT support department. That encompasses not only the information on how to fix a problem but the process of decision making that derives the probable cause of a problem. In some instances, that can lead to very complicated paths. As most support technicians know, some problems are caused by an unexpected combination of errors, and it can be tough to isolate each contributing component.

The Agent.ai system is delivered in two formats and these can very effectively filter all support requirements down to the point where problems only rarely require the input of human technical expertise.

An effective support scenario implemented with Agent.ai starts with the user accessing a support page or a chat bubble. This uses the Auto-pilot facility of Agent.ai. The module asks questions of the user, successively narrowing down the problem to arrive at a solution. Once the solution phase begins, the Auto-pilot requests feedback from the user on the effectiveness of the suggestion. If the first solution doesn’t work, the Auto-pilot will move on to deliver the next most likely solution. This process repeats until the problem is solved. The Auto-pilot can be dressed up to pose as a real person. This can be achieved by implementing the utility through a chat window and giving it a human name.

If no Auto-pilot solution works, the user should be passed on to a support agent and at this point, your ticketing system should kick in. The support agent doesn’t need to have any technical capabilities at all. Again, this contact can be performed through a chat screen, or it can be carried out over the phone. The support agent has access to the other format of Agent.ai, which is Co-pilot. This facility uses probability to guide the agent through investigation and solution options. This is probably going to be exactly the same path taken by Auto-pilot. However, the inclusion of the human element at this point can help improve the interaction between the user and the AI inference engine.

When all of these defenses fail, the ticket can then be passed on to an expert who, with the log of all of the facts unearthed during the Co-pilot stage, will already have much of the investigation taken care of. This investigation assistance will significantly reduce the time that each expert needs to dedicate to support tasks.

The software is a Cloud service, so you don’t need to install it on your site. However, you will need to populate the knowledge base, and that task can take quite a long time.

12. SolarWinds MSP Manager

SolarWinds MSP portal dashboard

SolarWinds MSP is a division of SolarWinds that focuses its efforts on providing support products for managed service providers. The main software packages needed by MSPs are remote monitoring and management systems (RMM) and professional services automation software (PSA). SolarWinds MSP Manager provides that PSA package.

While RMM software provides the systems that MSP technicians use to gain access to the client’s system and assist its users, the PSA software manages the support team.

The PSA functions in MSP Manager include customer management. Each MSP can be expected to serve several companies simultaneously. Keeping track of each customer’s contact person, the agreements signed with that company, and the team allocated to support it are essential features of customer management.

The service comes with a brandable customer portal, which enables the employees of the supported company to raise a support request ticket and receive feedback on the progress of the problem resolution. The portal is also accessible through a mobile app.

Functions included in the SolarWinds MSP Manager are a ticketing system, which creates access points for users into the support team through email or from the customer portal.

The manager also queues queries form users and allocates them to technicians. The MSP Manager tracks the amount of time each technician takes to work on each ticket and logs the resources used in solving the user’s problem. The time information that comes out of the ticket management system automatically flows through to a billing system.

MSPs using this system can generate their invoices from within SolarWinds MSP Manager, or export the data through to a specialist billing system.

The SolarWinds MSP Manager provides all of the functions needed to run a managed service. However, you will also need an RMM package to complete the software needs of your MSP. SolarWinds MSP offers a 14-day free trial of MSP Manager so you can put the system through its paces before you commit to sign-up for the subscription service.

13. Oracle Service Cloud

Oracle Service Cloud screenshot

Oracle is one of the world’s largest software providers and it was at the forefront of the move to the cloud. Oracle Cloud now caters to a range of business functions, and Oracle Service Cloud is the module to support your IT Help Desk.

This package can be used to support in-house departments or customers and their staff. The dashboard of the service can be tailored so that you create different screens for different roles. This gives call center staff access to the same system as technicians and managers without revealing functions and data views that could compromise data security.

The system copes with a range of communication channels including calls, email, chat, and web forms. The agents who field initial calls can be given a searchable troubleshooting system that enables them to identify the problem. A knowledgebase module gives first-line agents sufficient instructions to help them solve the user’s problems. If a ticket needs to be allocated to a back-office technician, the system carries through records of contacts and actions that have already been performed. A deeper technical knowledge search facility is available for technicians that give access to corporate-wide applications.

So, Oracle Services for Cloud supports two different levels of Help Desk staff. A troubleshooting option is specifically tailored to field agents. Managers can allocate staff to support calls either in-house or out in the field. That allocation can also be automated. In the automated task allocation scenario, you need to set up groups of competence so specific problems are allocated to members of specific groups.

Managers get live metrics in the dashboard that show current activity in the IT Help Desk Department and tickets that are open but not currently being worked on. You can set up workflows to set a path of actions and designate collaborators on a ticket. The progress along that critical path is visible in the management dashboard.

Standard administration tasks, such as logging and archiving can be performed automatically. The system also has a library of standard reports that cover all of the metrics you are likely to need for presentations to executives. It is also possible to create your own customized reports.

Oracle Service Cloud is charged on a subscription basis, with a fee being charged “per seat.” The cheapest option doesn’t unify the data generated by each agent. This is called the Standalone package and it costs $99 per month per agent. The most expensive package is called Enterprise Contact Center and it includes a chat facility for communication with users. That package costs $250 per month.

14. SAP Cloud for Service

SAP Cloud for Services screenshot

SAP is a very successful ERP provider and they have a related CRM product. Their software reach now also extends to customer service productivity tools and support. This module, called SAP Cloud for Services can be integrated with other SAP products, or it can be deployed as a standalone application. As the name suggests, this support system is delivered through the Cloud.

Although the focus of this platform is to serve external customers, the software can also be used for an IT help desk or other in-house support services.

The user contact with the IT help desk begins with a self-service portal. This can be used as a location for a troubleshooting guide, a FAQ page, and a searchable knowledgebase to encourage users to fix their own problems.

If the problem is higher than the user can cope with, they can use many channels to contact the IT help desk. The first of these lies in the self-service portal, where there is a ticket submission form. This portal also lists open tickets, progress, and any communications that were carried out on the ticket. Other channels for contact include phone, email, chat, and social media platforms.

Back end functions for the IT help desk include ticket creation, allocation, and tracking. Tickets can be split into sub-tickets for shared efforts, and duplicate tickets can be merged. The management dashboard provides another view on the ticket database, offering analysis functions on historical data as well as live reports on ticket statuses and team member workloads.

SAP Cloud for Services charges on a subscription basis and it is pretty pricey. In fact, it is the most expensive system on this list with prices (set in Euros) starting at €1,500 per month. You can request a free trial of the system.

Considerations for choosing the best IT help desk software & tools for your company

You are unlikely to change all of your hardware just so you can install the perfect IT Help Desk support software. So, your first consideration when buying new software is to cross off the tools that can’t be installed on your system.

There has been a strong move in the software industry over the past two years to provide software-as-a-service over the internet. This development has led software vendors to charge for a subscription rather than a perpetual license. This pricing model creates more flexibility in the scale of provision and can help spread out the cost of the software.

It would take a long time for you to investigate and assess every IT help desk solution, which is why we have created this guide to the top 20 IT help desk tools. The 20 include examples of different support options. For example, some businesses manage to avoid providing any live support because they find that self-service systems are sufficient.

It is unlikely that knowledge bases and FAQ pages could ever solve every problem that arises with your company’s IT system. It is important to also invest in network monitoring and error prevention system tools as well as effective help desk software. This combination of problem prevention and self-service tools drastically reduces customer support costs.

Do you already use an IT help desk system? Leave a message in the Comments section below to let the rest of the community know about your recommendations.

Related post: The Best RMM Software Solutions

IT Help Desk Software FAQs

What is the best help desk ticketing software?

The ten best help desk ticketing tools are:

  1. SolarWinds Web Help Desk (FREE TRIAL)
  2. SolarWinds Service Desk (FREE TRIAL)
  3. Atera 
  4. Freshservice 
  5. Spiceworks Help Desk/Cloud Help Desk 
  6. Zoho Desk
  7. Zendesk Suite
  8. Dameware Remote Support 
  9. SolarWinds MSP Manager
  10. ManageEngine Service Desk Plus

What is the difference between a service desk and a help desk?

The term “service desk” refers to an outsourced managed service provider’s contact point for clients. The activities that the MSP performs cover a range of IT management functions. One of those functions is the Help Desk. The Help Desk is the technical team that users contact when they have IT-related problems.