Buy Help Desk Software – a buyer’s guide

buy help desk software

July 8, 2015


How to Buy Help Desk Software – a buyer’s guide to purchasing help desk / service desk software.

When looking to buy help desk software, there are many aspects to consider and it is essential to map out your specific requirements. For organisations embarking on software procurement, whether looking to replace a current application or implement new systems from scratch, the following article offers a few helpful suggestions on how to approach the process…

Look at the reports and data you want to pull out of the system, then work backwards.

First of all, you must define what you need, and a good way to identify the functionality you require from a help desk software tool is to first consider the reports and data that you wish to capture, then work backwards to identify how this could be possible. For example, there may be a monthly requirement to identify where Service Level Agreement targets are being met or missed. Therefore, a help desk tool that can handle a suite of SLAs is essential, but which also has a reporting tool offering the capability to schedule regular reports.

Deployment method: Cloud or On-Site?

Consider which deployment method would be best suited to your organisation: on-site or in the Cloud? Installing the software on-site is ideal for companies wanting to administer and manage the software in-house. This will include managing hardware, performing software updates and backing-up data. The software will be owned by the organisation and installed on in-house servers.

With Cloud or Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, the software is rented from the supplier, who takes care of hosting, and all software maintenance and upgrades. This can be a great time-saving advantage, as IT teams are focussed on supplying the best support and taking care of customers’ needs, rather than administering the system. For more information on the benefits of SaaS ITSM take a look at this article.

Deployment method choice will ultimately depend on what is best for your business, now and in the future. Therefore, it is worthwhile checking to see if both a Cloud and on-site option is available for the software tool that you choose, and also if there is capability to switch from one deployment method to the other if business requirements change.


Always search for competitive pricing amongst the suppliers that you are considering, and find out how the software pricing is structured. A common model is to price service desk systems by the number of Named and Concurrent service desk agent Logins, so it is worth considering the size of your team and how they will be using the system. A ‘Named‘ login means that the login is assigned to an individual user who requires access to the system at all times. ‘Concurrent’ logins are for support staff that may not require constant access to the service desk, but can share logins across multiple machines/ sites etc.

Therefore, check whether the pricing structure allows for a mixture of Named and Concurrent logins, and assess what login setup would work best for your team. If you are a charitable organisation, do not forget to ask suppliers about whether charitable discounts are available.

Recommendations and Referrals

Speaking to businesses using a service desk software tool on a daily basis is a great way to find out what it could be like to implement the solution in your business. It is worth seeking referrals from organisations of a similar size and sector to your own, and also looking online for user reviews, case studies, testimonials, and seeing what people are saying on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

Free Trials

Try before you buy! Suppliers will offer free trials of the software, sometimes accessible via their website. There will often also be the option to install an on-site trial which may be made available for you and your team to use for a pre-specified period of time, so that you can add users, customers and get an idea of how process workflows can function.

Software Demonstrations

Contacting the supplier for a personalised demonstration allows you to delve much deeper into the functionality of the tool. The supplier will create a personalised demonstration based around your requirements, so that you looking into just the exact features that your organisation will need. Do not pay for these demonstrations, as they should be supplied free of charge. It is also worth enquiring as to whether there is the option for a remote demonstration via the web, if that would be more suitable for you and your team.


We hope that you have found this article useful. If you would like to speak to a House-on-the-Hill consultant regarding anything covered in the text, please get in touch.

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