Five Reasons Your IT Help Desk Should Move Away from Spreadsheets ASAP!

Use Spreadsheets to Crunch Numbers, Not Help Desk ProductivityIT and IT support, as we all know, have started influencing the direction of business in organizations around the world. Understanding this influence, large organizations have implemented IT help desk software to manage their IT. However, many SMEs still hesitate to implement help desk software because they lack the budget and the specialized IT staff as well as the necessary capabilities required for implementation. Instead,  they use spreadsheets to track and support issues in their IT.  What SMEs fail to realize is that help desk software delivers the maximum return on investment to these organizations and helps them increase their productivity.

IT help desk software has moved from being a nice-to-have tool to being the basic foundation on which ITSM operations are built.  On the other hand, using spreadsheets handicaps the IT support team and prevents it from enjoying a lot of other benefits and capabilities, including:

  • Minimize Business Impact of Incidents

The tools and software used to manage and support IT should aid IT be a key business driver in an organization, which spreadsheets don’t. Spreadsheets lack the basic capability of handling incidents based on the business impact. The smallest disruption, such as a printer problem at the billing department, can have a serious business impact if it is not rectified on time. Help desk software are loaded with features like defining business rules, setting SLAs, and prioritizing tickets based on impact  and urgency. All those capabilities help minimize the incidents’ business impact and handle them based on their urgency and the impact. 

  • Gain Visibility into Help Desk Operations

Spreadsheets are nothing but a static log book of all the incidents in an IT environment. They provide end users with zero information about how IT and  IT support could help end users do their jobs better. Unless the end users are aware of the available service desk operations, IT support will remain a mere ticketing team, closing tickets day after day. With features like service catalog and request templates, help desk operations are more visible to the end users, helping them to utilize the IT and IT resources in a better way. Also with a proper help desk, technicians can keep users updated about the progress of the tickets they have logged thereby preventing duplicate tickets entries from the same user.

  • Engage End Users  

When SMEs use a spreadsheet to aid their IT support, how does an end user log in a ticket or an issue? What happens when an issue is reported? Who attends the call? Who provides a solution? Who does an end user contact to get correct updates on a ticket? What happens when a similar issue is reported multiple times? Those are a lot of unanswered questions that  lead to chaos and extended resolution times. With help desk software, the technicians can actively communicate and engage with the end users by making announcements, sending & receiving mails from within the tickets, and updating end users about the ticket status through notifications. 

  • Automate Processes

Using a spreadsheet the IT team has to juggle multiple windows to handle a ticket and resolve even the simplest tickets; like a password reset. A lot of time is wasted on juggling tickets rather than resolving them. A help desk tool comes with its own set of process automation features – from simple password reset to complex work flows that reduce much of the IT team’s workload. With this workload reduction, IT teams can concentrate on working towards business objectives rather than operating in firefighting mode.

  • Track Performance 

When using spreadsheets, getting necessary information to track performance becomes a tedious task. Though reports could be generated from spreadsheets, they are not generated in real time so can only provide post-mortem analysis. With the custom reports and dashboards in a help desk tool, information that reflects the IT team’s performance – such as the number of unassigned tickets, tickets handled and closed, and SLA violations – are available to the help desk managers in real time. These reports and dashboards help the managers to regular check the IT department and make proactive decisions to contribute more towards the business objectives. 

Though a complete ITSM solution still is a luxury for SMEs, a help desk tool for handling IT and  IT support has become a basic necessity in any organization. A simple help desk tool implementation will improve the IT and IT support teams’ ability to facilitate business and achieve the business objectives.

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About the Author: Shannon Lewis

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