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Setting up a Helpdesk

Discussion in 'Software' started by THXbob, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. THXbob

    THXbob Bit Poster

    Evening all

    I've been asked (along with loads of other things) to set up a Helpdesk for our department - IT.

    A brief low down - our company is a manufacturing site with about 70 personal computers running Win98 to WinXP all with Netware Clients authenticating to a Novell Netware 5.1 Server. Email at the moment is GroupWise 5.5 but will be soon upgrading to GroupWise 7.0.

    There's only 2 in our IT Department, both of us Network Administrators. Can ony one suggest a helpdesk solution that free????? I'm, we're, really busy fighting fires and having to do managerial stuff like Server Strategies, IT Strategies, Scorecard systems, funnels, CRM etc etc personally I think we're being put on :(!

    However that's another post. Helpdesks, I've come across Spiceworks which looks quite good but not had much time to look into it further. Are there any others that are easy to setup?


    WIP: CompTIA A+ and Network+
  2. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    Seems to be loads of free ones after a quick google....

    How many "helpdesk" type tasks do you get each day? Might just be worth setting up a shared mailbox and ask users to email requests there. 8)
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Office 365, Server 2016, CEH
  3. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

    The division of the company I'm now in use RT (click me)

    Good little free system, with a decent amount of options, and good search functions. IMHO, that is :)
    Certifications: MCP, A+, Network+
    WIP: Clarity
  4. THXbob

    THXbob Bit Poster

    Thanks for the reply Sparky

    I've looked on google and there are quite a lot. I don't want to sound lazy but I don't seem to have the time to sit down and install/config/test a suitable solution as someone always wants something doing.

    I did set up an internal email account ([email protected]), but that didn't last long. People prefer to ring up or stop you on your way to your next job. If you tell them to send an email or fill out a request form you get bombarded with expletives!!!!

    Tomorrow I'll make a effort and have another look at some of the options offered by google again.


    WIP: CompTIA A+ and Network+
  5. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    It’s difficult to implement a helpdesk system internally if you haven’t had one previously. There were 3 of us in the IT dept my last job and one day we were asked by the MD to setup a helpdesk system.

    We set one up but it was difficult for users to get used to the new “system”, gone were the days when they could barge into the office and ask for someone to fix their printer ASAP! It didn’t quite work that way though as I just ended up fixing the printer anyways to save all the hassle.

    Might sound bizarre but is the IT dept based close to where the users are? If so then people will always walk into your office, bypass the helpdesk, and just ask you to fix whatever problem they have, so much for logging calls etc.

    Probably best just to go for a simple piece of software just now and if the whole helpdesk idea seems to work then perhaps move to something better later on. 8)
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Office 365, Server 2016, CEH
  6. THXbob

    THXbob Bit Poster

    You hit the nail on the head.

    Our department is right in the middle of Sales, Planning, Customer Service, Accounts and Quality, plus we're next to the MD's office and 'Directors Row' as we call it. Therefore its always going to be easier and quicker for someone to call in rather than 'open' another appplication, type up a problem and then wait for a response from us.

    A difficult one.

    WIP: CompTIA A+ and Network+
  7. dales

    dales Terabyte Poster

    Yes had issues with that before, I suspect the helpdesk system will be met with the same level of dispondancy as the email address. however you must be firm and clear that when people walk into the office or collar you when you are doing work around the building that the response will be slower than using the email/helpdesk system, and they are delaying you from completing other requests from users. Its really hard to say to people "no I'm afraid I cant help you unless you email/helpdesk the call" especially when you know its something so simple. But they will get used to it. ...eventually.

    You could always of course also put out an all user email stating the new rules and why it has to be done this way, which might help. Although at my work not many people read the emails from us and then start moaning when we have scheduled downtime for something!
    Certifications: vExpert 2014+2015+2016,VCP-DT,CCE-V, CCE-AD, CCP-AD, CCEE, CCAA XenApp, CCA Netscaler, XenApp 6.5, XenDesktop 5 & Xenserver 6,VCP3+5,VTSP,MCSA MCDST MCP A+ ITIL F
    WIP: Nothing
  8. mattwest

    mattwest Megabyte Poster

    I think the most important thing for getting a helpdesk system in is senior management support. If you can get the top bods to sign off that they "want" a helpdesk system then they can filter this down to middle management and they in turn can enforce that the helpdesk WILL be used.... however i am more than aware that this will not be easy.... but it will be much easier with management support.

    I've worked in similar environments where people walk in and expect you to drop everything or try and get the priority of their issue raised.... and i understand you are busy and are reluctant to waste time on such a s system.


    Think about a helpdesk system in a positive light for a second:

    - If every call is logged it gives you (and more importantly management) an idea of how busy you really are. If you are overworked this can be used as ammo to gain more resources etc.

    - Every quarter for example you could show how many calls you have completed - again this can be used to support requests for extra resources or to deflect new projects - you can show how little time you have free. ("This quarter i completed 600 calls which in turn equates to 10 calls a day... as you can see we really need to invest in product A or to employ additional staff...")

    - Helpdesk systems can act like a knowledge base. You fix problem A and a few months later it reoccurs.... but did you have time to create specific documentation for this event? Maybe you were too busy? Maybe you got interupted to fix "bob's pc".... but if you wrote up the call resolution on the call you had open and subsequently closed for problem A? you can search back through old calls and find this fix... possibly even improving you call resolutions.

    - Better call management - If every call has a priority level set and you have rough SLA's for fault resolution it allows you to see which calls are priorities and so not to get sidetracked by a lower priority call.

    - Finally you could set up automated alerts so when you close calls the call closure description is sent to the user via e-mail which saves you having to the phone or e-mail the use to tell them its fixed.

    Just my two cents! :blink:D

    Helpdesks can be a pain... but they also have their uses! 8)
    Certifications: See my signature...
    WIP: Maybe re-certify my CCNA
  9. BrizoH

    BrizoH Byte Poster


    Sysaid - http://www.ilient.com/free-help-desk-software.htm

    2 Freebies that I'm aware of - Liberum is open source if you have any coding skills.

    I'm in a similar situation (or will be soon). The main benefits IMO, as Matt rightly pointed out are the ability to show how busy you are (handy come review times) and the Knowledge Base/resolution history - I'm sure we've all thought after fixing a tricky problem that we'd remember it, but it never quite happens that way.
    Certifications: CCNA, CCNA Security
  10. ThomasMc

    ThomasMc Gigabyte Poster

    We use Sysaid, I'm spread over 3 sites so i set it up to txt me on new tickets, which i find very helpful
    Certifications: MCDST|FtOCC
    WIP: MCSA(70-270|70-290|70-291)
  11. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

    Simple barricade the door, none of the nump... erm users :twisted: will be able to get in then 8)
    Certifications: SIA DS Licence
    WIP: A+ 2009
  12. r.h.lee

    r.h.lee Gigabyte Poster


    Use your management chain to request a policy from the CEO that usage of the helpdesk is mandatory. Unless you get an umbrella from above in the form of policy, you're going to continue to face attempted "short cutting" of the helpdesk system.
    Certifications: MCSE, MCP+I, MCP, CCNA, A+
  13. nugget
    Honorary Member

    nugget Junior toady

    I found spiceworks a little while ago and it's quite good. Another one I found about 2 weeks ago was OCS Inventory NG. Looks like it takes a bit of setting up but as I understand you could also use it to install software remotely too.
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP (270,271,272,290,620) | MCDST | MCTS:Vista
    WIP: MCSA, 70-622,680,685
  14. THXbob

    THXbob Bit Poster

    Hi Guys

    Thanks for all the interesting comments.

    On the software side I've downloaded and I'm currently testing Spiceworks 1.7, which looks like a really polished bit of software. All run from a web browser and is easy to use from a client point of view.

    Most of you have said it will be easier if the helpdesk is push from Management, and I have the support from my Finance Director which hopefully will help.

    I'l let you know how I get on

    Many thanks

    WIP: CompTIA A+ and Network+

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