Monday, 29 October 2012

Cost Evaluation of Online Web Based Help Desk Software Solutions

Cost Evaluation of Online Web Based Help Desk Software Solutions

The cost of help desk software varies greatly and ranges anywhere from $0 to $1,000+ per agent per month, with self-hosted solutions occupying the higher-priced end. When figuring out the cost of any solution, however, it is important to also figure in deployment costs, such as the costs associated with adding and maintaining new hardware infrastructure, and other short term costs that may be required, such as hiring an outside agent to set up the help desk.

Additionally, the final total must be adjusted by subtracting the ongoing costs associated with hiring additional employees, including their wages, benefits, and any new equipment that is required, to resolve support requests in the event that a software solution was not purchased.

Since most help desk software companies base their prices on the number of users who will be using the software, larger companies will typically have to pay more than their smaller counterparts. Fortunately, many companies offer multi-user discounts as well as promotional pricing on extended contracts.

In addition to cost per user pricing, cost structures are typically based upon the number of features the client requires. The most affordable packages, for instance, may only include the most basic of features, such as email functionality and a help topic database. More expensive solutions tend to be more robust, allowing an organization to fully customize its help desk with add-ons and custom code, gather analytical data, and receive 24-hour support from the help desk manufacturer. For larger companies, the advantages of a more robust solution usually outweigh the higher costs.

Excluding freeware solutions, a bare-bones (basic email and help topic database) cloud-based solution typically costs around $250 to $300 per month for ten agents, with more complete packages costing around $500 to $700 per month. For organizations with very small support teams that require minimal functionality, it is possible to find software priced at as little as $30 per month for up to three agents.

A self-hosted solution containing only the most basic of features typically starts at a one time only cost of $300 for an unlimited number of users on the low end and $1,000 for up to five users on the higher end. For more robust solutions, an organization can expect to spend anywhere from $800 for an unlimited number of users to well over $5,000 for up to five users on more expensive systems. However, these prices exclude any costs associated with new equipment purchases and maintenance, software upgrades, and ongoing technical support.

When it comes to help desk software, cost does not necessarily equate to quality. Any and all solutions should be thoroughly researched before one is chosen and the decision should never be based upon cost alone. Choosing the wrong system, regardless of how inexpensive it is, can end up costing a company more than a higher priced solution due to difficulties in deployment, maintenance, and use of the system, as well as the potential loss of clients due to poor service.

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