Recently, in amongst the myriad of Jerome and Total ReCal (not to mention G2, the CWD revamps, fixing LUNA bugs, Dashboard, Nucleus, Linking You, Get Satisfaction, colour remote printing and a swathe of other Labs projects) I’ve been taking a serious look at Zendesk as a replacement for our current service desk ticketing system. In short I’m sold, and I’m pretty sure that a few other people are as well. After looking at a few other SaaS1¬†helpdesk providers Zendesk wins out for me on a number of features, but first and foremost on its simplicity and flexibility. Let me elaborate.

Yesterday we switched on a sandbox for us to play around in and use for testing. It’s already visually customised, using our SSO2 solution, using a custom domain, running with an SSL certificate, has custom fields in the ticket view, implements some of our business logic in triggers and automations, has our SLAs built in and flags trouble tickets, integrates with our Twitter account and Get Satisfaction support portal, has a variety of custom reports ready to go and has a small set of knowledge base articles available. Not bad for a few hours work.

We also gain the inherent benefits of SaaS, meaning that we no longer have servers or infrastructure for our support desk solution to worry about, and we gain new features the moment that they’re available without needing to sign up to another n-year contract. Licensing fees are on a per-agent basis so we’re not spending any more than we have to. We can access it on and off campus (something we can’t do at the moment without resorting to VPN. There’s even a mobile application so our roving support technicians can update tickets as soon as they need updating.

Alongside this there are a few other side effects. Our knowledge base can finally be extracted from the inner depths of Portal (where it resides in a set of PDF files and Word documents) and updated so that it’s finally up to date. We can have more agents, so that finally issues can be assigned to the right people. We can email everybody when things happen to tickets so they don’t languish at the bottom of the queue forever. There’s a nice web interface for everybody, so both agents and users alike can look through their own ticket history.

My target is to have us using it in two weeks. Wish me luck.

  1. Software as a Service []
  2. Single Sign-On []