[Review] SolarWinds Help Desk Essentials Pack

Without the proper IT Service Management (ITSM) tools and remote access capabilities, companies inevitably find themselves struggling to see every help desk ticket through to resolution. It becomes challenging or even impossible to manage their software and hardware assets, and effectively prioritize the steadily increasing stream of IT help desk requests.

Countless companies look to the ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) framework as a guide for addressing their business process needs, but the complexity of implementation can be daunting. Others simply opt to manually manage support workflows and forgo the time and cost saving benefits of automating these and other support functions. Companies get stuck in this challenging state of affairs thinking that comprehensive software solutions are too expensive or complex to use.

Thankfully, there is the Help Desk Essentials Pack from SolarWinds. Affordable, powerful, and incredibly easy to use, it combines the ticketing and IT asset management features of Web Help Desk, a premier ITSM solution, with the versatile remote troubleshooting tools of Dameware Remote Support.

Figure 1: Affordable, powerful, and easy to use, the Help Desk Essentials Pack by SolarWinds combines the IT Service Management (ITSM) solutions of Web Help Desk with the extensive remote troubleshooting tools of Dameware.

Web Help Desk alone has a proven track record for decreasing mean time to resolution for help desk tickets by 40-60% and delivering cost savings of $10,000-$20,000 USD. Software Advice, a Gartner company, named Web Help Desk as a Leader in their July 2017 FrontRunners Quadrant and positioned it as the greatest value for small businesses among the entire field. Combined with Dameware Remote Support, the two solutions work together to further improve end user support and asset management.

Help Desk Essentials Pack Overview: Everything You Need To Drive Down Mean Time to Resolution and IT Costs

Help Desk Essentials Pack saves time at every step in the IT service request lifecycle. It streamlines ticket creation, prioritization, and assignment through highly customizable automation features. Asset tracking and mapping are also automatic, reducing the workload on your IT staff and allowing them to remote directly into a problematic workstation, laptop, or server from the ticket with a single click.

Resolve technical issues fast and minimize disruption to company workflow using the Dameware Remote Support’s troubleshooting tools. They offer highly secure connections for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X systems without inconveniencing end users by requiring them to log off.

As your efficiency increases and your strategies evolve, protocols will change. The adaptive change management features let you establish approval and escalation protocols as simple or complex as you require. At any time, quantify your results and measure customer satisfaction with the robust reporting and monitoring tools.

Convenient Assignment and Automation with Essential’s Powerful Ticket Management System

The Help Desk Essentials Pack can create tickets by the web or email and import existing tickets from legacy systems. The convenient dashboard lets you observe ticket status, priority, alert level, assigned technician, escalation level, client, and other critical elements at a glance. With one click, you can dive into any detail you need.

Figure 2: The powerful ticketing system provides at-a-glance summaries of critical information. Dig deeper into the issue, pull up asset histories, remotely access hardware, and automate tasks.

Based on your unique criteria, you can ensure that the best technician for the job receives the ticket as quickly as possible. What defines the best technician is highly customizable to meet your specific needs, including their location, availability, and task group, among others. Tickets can even be set up to automatically distribute to employees. You choose the distribution method, such as round robin or load balancing, and other details using easy to configure house rules to automate distribution.

A powerful ticket criterion is the request type, which is selected by the end user during ticket creation. The request type routes the ticket to the right group or lead tech, specifies which custom fields it includes, facilitates reporting, displays appropriate FAQ’s to end users, and contains workflows and action rules. Related tickets are simple to group together using parent-child relationships, so when the root problem is resolved, the solution can be implemented with ease company-wide.

IT specialists can use Dameware to log extensive metadata, including screenshots and chats with end users resulting in a centralized knowledge repository within Web Help Desk. Solutions are accessible directly from the ticket or the asset inventory. If a technician finds a solution to a problem, they can create an FAQ on the fly under the ticket, sharing their knowledge with the whole company, expediting solutions for similar problems.

Figure 3: No programming required to create flexible rules for ticket automation.

Centralize Solutions with Asset Management

Assets are detected automatically, a huge time saver for IT teams both large and small. They can also be uploaded via TSV, CSV, or Excel format templates for companies with existing inventory lists. Assets are remotely accessed directly from tickets, keeping everything centralized for maximum organization. Detailed asset histories integrate directly into tickets. A solid understanding of an assets age, date of license renewal, physical characteristics, and history empowers IT professionals to reduce resolution time plus plan for future upgrades and maintenance. Beyond troubleshooting, it also supports the quick identification of training gaps, standard operating procedure documentation issues, and early identification of degrading assets through data-driven trends.

Detailed asset histories double as a powerful purchasing and inventory control tool. IT inventory management can become complex when you take into account software licenses, expiration dates, hardware components, upgrades, and rollbacks. The asset management features greatly simplify inventory management and streamline purchasing, installation, and version control.

Free Yourself from Costly On-Site Visits Using Powerful Remote Solutions

Dameware’s one-click remote access compliments the ITSM tools of Web Help Desk. Whether your IT professionals are using a desktop, laptop, or mobile device, the time-saving simplicity of Dameware cannot be overstated. It includes all of the chat, file transfer, and screenshot capture utilities that every IT expert relies on, plus many more. Dameware is capable of resolving issues both inside and outside of the firewall while maintaining a thoroughly secured connection.

Technicians can choose from FIPS 140-2 compatible cryptography support, FIPS-mode SSL connections, AES 256, 3DES/Triple DES, and RC4. If another layer of security is required, such as for compliance with government policy, two-factor authentication is supported using smart card login and technician PIN’s. There is no need to involve messy third-party middleware and wrestle with compatibility issues or invest the time and resources in setting up a VPN. Dameware’s security features have you covered across the board.

Dameware includes a host of TCP utilities that allow IT team members to investigate and repair issues behind the scenes, minimizing the disruption to the daily workflow. Reboot systems, start and stop programs, and manage files and event logs. Ping systems, trace routes, lookup a DNS, utilize FTP, Telnet, and others without hanging up productivity. Greatly decrease or even remove the time-consuming need to physically visit out-of-band machines by remotely connecting to sleeping or powered down computers using the built-in Intel® vPro™ with AMT, Wake on LAN, and KVM support tools.

Figure 4: One-click remote access from assets and tickets, anytime, anywhere, inside or outside of a firewall.

Adapt and Improve with Change Management

Without robust protocols, it is all too easy for IT workflow to dissolve into a chaotic blur. IT teams can stay organized and adapt to future changes by designing change management rules ideally suited to your unique workplace dynamics. Escalation and approval are quickly configured based on house rules. Change Advisory Boards (CAB) can be assigned to tickets programmatically, so your team can react with the most effective plan based on their unique situation at the time. Panel voting is easy to setup and can be as simple or complex as you need to streamline the process based on your individual situation. End users can also be used as approvers, keeping them involved and increasing the quality of customer service you provide.

The Measurement of Success: Reporting and Monitoring

Gather key feedback from your end users by integrating feedback forms directly into the ticket. Dig down into individual technician performance, ticket by ticket, to quickly and easily identify how to best train your team and assign jobs. Develop an in-depth, data-backed assessment of your team’s strengths and weaknesses so that you can set yourself up for success.

Figure 5: The report feature generates useful tables and graphs automatically or on request with as much detail as you require.

Out of the Box Usability and Expandability

Help Desk Essentials Pack grows with you. It readily integrates with the powerful Orion® Platform by SolarWinds, adding even more network management features. If you elect to use third party software, Essentials integrates with JAMF Casper Suite, Absolute Manage, Microsoft SCCM, and SMS straight out of the box.

Proven History of Success at Improving Ticket Resolution Time and Reducing IT Costs

Help Desk Essentials Pack includes two software packages, both of which are proven veterans in their respective fields. From education to industry, other users has reported powerful results after adopting the Essentials package. For example, AP Gas and Electric reduced their resolution ticket time by 40-60% and minimized operational and overhead costs. D’Youville College reduced their ticket resolution time by 60-80% and improved the quality of their support. One educational institution saved time and effort for their technicians using ticket automation and even saved up to $100,000. You can also check out the Dameware product reviews on Capterra.com, where the product received a solid 4.5/5 stars. Or see what the users are saying about Web Help Desk at TechValidate, who surveyed 553 customers resulting in 54 case studies.

In-Depth Technical and Community Support:

Should you ever have a question, the SolarWinds support team provides extensive resources. SolarWinds offers one year of maintenance with the purchase of every product, and the SolarWinds Success Center is a rich resource full of free training videos, comprehensive and concise FAQ’s, and quick access to manuals and user guides. For additional resources head on over to THWACK®, SolarWinds online community of over 130,000 IT professionals, for tips, tricks, and advice.

Figure 6: Learn, collaborate, and grow with SolarWinds’ extensive list of free training videos, documentation, and dedicated user communities.

Try It For Yourself For Free

Overall, Help Desk Essentials greatly reduces ticket resolution time, helps you deliver higher quality service, and provides considerable cost savings.

The Web Help Desk pricing system is easy to understand, with no hidden fees or games. You pay per technician login, and you always have the ability to support an unlimited number of end users. Web Help Desk pricing starts at $695 per technician for your first 1-5 technician licenses. Add Dameware to complete the Help Desk Essentials Pack starting at an additional $365 for your first technician.

Try the Help Desk Essentials Pack fully functional free trial for 14 days, or contact SolarWinds at 866.530.8100 or [email protected] to request a customized quote for this solution.

Shane Landry

Shane Landry is a technical content writer with a degree in Applied Physics and over five years of experience as a scientist and an engineer. His work experience includes 13 months in the South Pole in Antarctica as a research assistant. He specializes in copywriting and technical writing for both technical and non-technical audiences. You can learn more about him at www.theshanelandry.com.