Help for the Help Desk: HelpStar 7.0 Professional
Keep track of support requests with one of these packages.
There are times during an installation of new software that you have
to stop and just admire the care for detail that went into the procedure.
That is how I felt when I began to install HelpStar 7.0. I knew from reading
the accompanying literature that HelpStar 7.0 had many features that help
desk or support engineers, their clients and their managers would be interested
in, and I was anxious to start using the package right away. I fall into
one of the above three categories, in that I am director of client services
for a software development company. I know first-hand how important support
is for an organization and also how the appropriate help desk software
can boost productivity and customer satisfaction.
I installed HelpStar to work with a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 installation
that I already had available. Otherwise, I could have opted for a version
that installed and used MSDE. HelpStar created the database and copied
the installation files; then, it presented me with an option to load my
new HelpStar database with my data. I was anticipating hours of meticulous
data entry. The process, however, was very straightforward thanks to the
wizards that stepped me through each step and explained how the data I
was keying was interrelated. For example, when adding users, I got an
understanding of what a user was to HelpStar: either an internal user,
who was most likely a support engineer with security privileges higher
than an external user, or client, who might only be able to create incidents.
Inside of 10 minutes I was already working within HelpStar's client application
(self-described as being Microsoft Outlookish) and adding support cases.
There is a bar on the left, for instance, that is similar to the Outlook
Bar, which contains buttons to indicate which support cases are overdue
or "In Queue' as opposed to "In Dispatch." Having a receptionist or call-taker
area for logging is a small but nice touch. This way the customer receives
a real person instead of a voice mail system.
|The HelpSTAR interface will be comfortable for anyone
familiar with Outlook.
HelpStar contains other features that I consider as standard for help
desk software: auto-escalation, a Web interface that supports internal
and external clients, and a comprehensive reporting engine. The only thing
that I honestly did not like about HelpStar was the StarWatch application
that runs in tandem with the client application and handles tasks like
the auto-escalation. It does the job of a service but it has a GUI. I
found that a little odd. Still, HelpStar is a well-rounded and well-designed
application with good documentation and an easy-to-learn interface that
will be utilized to its full potential.
Rodney Landrum is an MCSE working as a data analyst and systems engineer for a software development company in Pensacola, Florida. He has a new book from Apress entitled ProSQL Server Reporting Services.