As more companies are pushing their information technology (IT) departments to continue using the same technology and make it last longer, the job of help desk professionals becomes magnified as more problems are flowing into the department. Having to field simultaneous inquiries via phone and email can get difficult for administrators trying to fix everyone's issues, yet keep them satisfied.
While virtually no organization will get rid of their email and telephone channels, live chat could possibly be a way to deliver real-time communication -- and issue resolution. Looking to streamline operations and simplify the IT process for companies, Israel-based help desk software provider SysAid unveils an integrated IT help desk live chat capability in its latest release, SysAid IT 6.5.
According to Oded Moshe, SysAid's director of product management, the vendor has a robust community forum it taps for direct feedback on what should be added to future iterations of its software. Additionally, the company has its own vision and product roadmap and tries to marry the two together. "Fifty percent of release 6.5 comes straight from voters around the world," he says.
Moshe's colleague, SysAid Director of Marketing and Sales Saar Bitner, says live chat was part of the company's roadmap. "It's a new communication channel in the IT/help desk world," he adds. "People already know how to use it, but it was less used in internal IT. By offering this integrated within the service desk, it is another smooth communication method that allows IT guys to support multiple channels and five or six different end users without having to be busy on the phone."
The company is confident in its latest piece of functionality, as approximately 1,600 beta testers had a chance to take SysAid 6.5 for a test drive and "the overwhelming majority ... responded that live chat will be the cornerstone of IT support in the future," said SysAid Chief Executive Officer Israel Lifshitz, in a statement.
Dan Yachin, research director for consulting firm IDC's Europe, Middle East, and Africa emerging technology group, explains that having the live chat capability, particularly for a help desk company offering a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, is important. "System management SaaS is becoming more acceptable as an alternative or complementary model that is less costly and labor intensive compared to traditional on-premise system management deployments," he says. "However, customers are still concerned about issues such as security, reliability, and responsiveness. A chat service incorporated into help desk SaaS, as provided by SysAid, makes sense as it enables IT administrators to provide closer and more timely support to end users."
Live chat, while highlighting SysAid's latest release, is just one of approximately 101 new or enhanced features. Moshe says another one worth noting is the new IT Benchmark module, giving administrators real-time insight on selected statistics in an attempt to better analyze, measure, and evaluate their IT performance in comparison to other customers of the vendor worldwide. "There's a lot to share from our more than 55,000 installations in 120 countries," Moshe says. "We can give you a perspective of how you're doing compared to others ... integrated into the help desk application."
Bitner believes that by having live chat and these other modules tightly integrated into one offering, it provides a competitive advantage versus others that have these capabilities, but only through third-party vendors.
Yachin echoes Bitner's sentiments, adding that especially in the growing SaaS help desk spcae, going to market quickly with a cohesive yet robust offering will be important. "Although the system management SaaS is still at its infancy in terms of revenue, the market incumbents and most notably HOP and IBM are moving into this space and investing aggressively to build out SaaS portfolios," he says.
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