Help desk suite speeds response

UniPress Software Inc. credits its General Services Administration schedule with a 20 percent increase in public-sector sales of its FootPrints Web-based help desk system since 2001.

The Edison, N.J., company recently opened a Washington office.

FootPrints lets any user with Internet access send, monitor or answer IT help requests through centrally managed servers. It runs on Unix, Linux and Microsoft Windows 2000, NT and XP platforms.

FootPrints 5.6 has optional integration with Microsoft Systems Management Server 2.0, which inventories and manages Windows desktop software and hardware. FootPrints Asset Management 4.4 expands that inventorying ability to other in-house, licensed and unlicensed applications, including future upgrades.

Using network audit technology developed by Centennial UK Ltd. of Britain, FootPrints Asset Management inserts a snapshot of a PC's hardware and software configuration into an IT help request to give a clearer picture of the technical glitch.

Help desk personnel 'click a link and pull into the ticket automatically what is on a person's desktop and network,' UniPress president Mark Krieger said.

See configuration

'Now we know the configurations without all that work,' said Tom Fartello, a systems analyst for the city of Ventura, Calif. Fartello, who manages IT needs for all city departments, said his office hopes to start installing FootPrints Asset Management citywide soon.

Fartello said he paid about $40,000 for 100 licenses, incurring a $5,300 annual maintenance fee. For Asset Management, he paid an extra $10,000 with a $1,600 maintenance fee.

'The response time is real,' said Linda Walker, webmaster for the Navy Recruiting Command, which has used various FootPrints versions for the last two years. 'Somebody is able to help users within a reasonable time, usually within a day'a lot of times, within three hours.'

With about 5,000 recruiters in 31 districts connected by a LAN, the command normally gets about 350 IT trouble tickets a day.

FootPrints required little to no training, Walker said, but she wishes it were more customizable. Right now, she said, she must call on a UniPress programmer to make a substantial change.

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