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5 Must Have Components of an Internal Help Desk system

by Alex Yumashev · Updated Apr 17 2023

Your employees are your business's most valuable ingredient. And dealing with internal employee-facing issues is just as important as solving the customer-facing ones.

In fact our recent survey has shown that more than 45% of companies that use help desk software - are using it for internal IT problem solving exclusively, without connecting customers to it.

And even though the requirements can overlap, an internal support system still needs a slightly different feature set.

Here are the 5 "must have" components to look for in a service desk tool for internal support:

1. Single sign on (via SAML, AD, oAuth, Windows domain, etc)

Look for "SSO" which stands for "single sign on" and is an absolute requirement for an internal service desk system. You don't want your users to register additional accounts in another tool - let them use the logins they already have.

Possible options are:

2. Business Automation

A recent report by Reuters' expects the help desk automation market to grow to 11 billion USD by 2023.

But what is "help desk automation" exactly? Two things actually.

1. Automation engine which is a "trigger - action" module included with some help desk software suites. Think of it as a "scripting" engine, that works on an "if this - do that" basis.

For example:

You can use this to create auto-responders or even automated chatbots!

Here at Jitbit for example, we realised that when a customer sends a question, the first thing we ask is "it is the hosted/SaaS version, or the on-premise?" and if the answer is "on-premise" we ask "ok, then what's the version number? you can find it at XXX". This conversation is a perfect candidate for automation. And allows you to slap a fancy "powered by machine learning" label in your marketing materials as a bonus ;-)

2. Scheduling - every corporate IT department or MSP has a bunch of maintenance tasks that happen on a schedule: system patching, file archiving, hardware checks, backups (and restores), security scans, software and hardware upgrades... Let the help desk system take care of scheduling these tasks, assigning them to members of your team. Or may be even automate things a little using an outbound API (more on that later).

3. Integration

We bet your company's IT infrastructure already has tons of software. For email, project management, messaging, CRM, HR, accounting, budgeting, software source control, bug tracking etc. A help desk system needs to talk to them all, becoming part of your organization's bloodstream.

For example, a ticketing system should be able to import tickets from emails (by using IMAP/POP protocols or via MS Outlook/MS Exchange integration), pull ticket creator's data from an external source (like an HR database or a CRM system), export time sheets into a time-tracking app, convert support tickets into project-management "tasks" in Basecamp or into bug-tracking "issues" in JIRA for example.

So look for built-in integrations of the help desk app you're considering.

An easy to use API is also a "must have", in case the company needs to integrate IT ticketing into a custom in-house built system or a legacy app.

4. Internal Knowledge base

Just like a customer facing solution, an employee facing help desk needs a "Knowledge Base" with a self-service portal where users track their tickets progress. The Knowledge Base is then used by the IT department to publish common "how to's" and public FAQs for employees, or even private articles for internal IT staff. Let employees help themselves!

It is worth mentioning though, that a Knowledge Base will have little to no impact on your processes unless you make it part of your company culture to use and, more importantly, to publish up to date information from the IT team.

5. Logging tickets "on behalf"

As you can see, when it comes to internal service center - people have slightly different preferences:

Almost no one wants to use live chat or social media when it comes to internal support. "Phone" and "face-to-face" being the top two preferred options.

But even if a request comes in through an "offline" support channel like phone or walk-ups, it is still best practice to log it in some database.

And here's the thing - only a handful of issues can be resolved on the spot, during a call or a meeting. The majority requires research, discussion, and a bunch of back and forth iterations anyway. So - yes, have a "point of contact" where people can simply phone in, but still log the call to follow up later.

Another reason for logging is - believe it or not - resolving and preventing conflicts and misunderstandings. "I never asked for this" - yeah you did, and it's been logged right here.

This brings us to our 5th must have feature - logging tickets on-behalf of users.

6. Bonus feature - self-hosted option

Many CIO's and CTO's still want an option to host all the software "on premises". Sometimes it's the laws and regulations, other times it's paranoia company policy. So make sure the helpdesk vendor offers this option (we do!).

7. Bonus feature #2 - asset management

Asset management is an essential component of internal helpdesk software as it enables organizations to effectively manage and maintain their IT assets. With asset management, IT teams can track hardware and software inventory, monitor equipment utilization, and ensure that all devices and software are up to date and secure. Assingning assets to employees and being able to quickly view, which hardware a ticket is related to enables faster troubleshooting and problem resolution. Additionally, asset management provides critical information for budget planning and helps organizations make informed decisions about upgrading or replacing outdated equipment. Overall, asset management is crucial for maintaining a well-functioning internal helpdesk system, ensuring optimal performance, and improving the overall productivity of the organization.

Can we use one tool for both external and internal ticketing?

Sure thing. Many help desk apps (including ours) can talk to both customers and internal employees at the same time.

Just make sure the app allows granular permission control and smart routing/visibility for tickets.

Images courtesy of Freepik