Saving money on the help desk with email integration

Help Desk access options for your users: any favorites?

A straw poll last week of the account managers for our service management , IT helpdesk and business issue tracking offerings revealed some interesting information on how the people they talk to each provide access for their IT user population to their organization’s help desk. The methods used often reflect the characteristics of the user population, which in turn encompasses a blend of human nature and knowledge and attitudes toward computers. It’s not necessarily the case that professionals in intellectually sophisticated professions such as medicine or law will be computer savvy. I know one highly accomplished attorney specialising in software licensing and software IPR who hates Powerpoint on principle and delivers great seminars with flip chart and pen. Conversely, a generation brought up on texting and Facebook may be only semi-literate but is very comfortable with web connections and email.
So, methods commonly used include phone to the helpdesk, a Web link that is accessed by clicking an icon on the desktop, an email interface that is opened via an icon on the desktop, and conventional email. Given the bad name that email has for creating misunderstanding, it was a liitle surprising to find how popular this was as the main method used. Digging a little deeper revealed why. Email communication offers more scope for automated analysis and response, leading to streamlined operations and cost savings, and provides a great audit trail – usually to the benefit of the help desk staff.

IT help desk software: email integration highlights

It’s been some time since I looked at the email integration functions in our own HelpDesk and Issue Tracker solutions, and I was pleasantly surprised at how it has expanded in recent releases. I have no doubt that we share these capabilities with many other products, but we can summarize them as a baseline set of functions to look out for.

  • Connections to MS Exchange, and support for multiple Exchange servers in dispersed organizations.
  • Automated workflow based on analysis of Subject, sender and content.
  • Amalgamation of email threads with actions and help desk notes in an integrated chronological issue history.
  • Template responses for frequently encountered topics.
  • Subject and content search to help locate similar issues already resolved.
  • Automated status query and messaging.

For a fuller appreciation of these ideas, there is some new content on helpdesk and issue tracker email integration just posted. I would welcome – by email of course! – any comments about greater capabilities you have found elsewhere; it’s our intention to provide the best.

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