THE LAB

One click and help is on the way

Sometimes an agency’s user base becomes so large that technical support overshadows most other IT tasks. At that point an automated help desk system is nearly essential. Such a system would need to coordinate the efforts of the entire department, help moderate workflow, and maintain accurate and complete documentation.

HelpSTAR2012 Enterprise Service Desk collaboration suite can do just that. It’s accessible through desktops running client software or even mobile devices.

We found the installation and setup of HelpSTAR2012 to be moderately easy. The deployment server will run on any Windows Server 2003 or 2008 computer, and the database requires SQL Server 2005 or 2008. Any client computer running Windows should also have the HelpSTAR Client installed.


HelpSTAR2012 Enterprise
Performance: A-
Ease of Use: A-
Features: B+
Value: B
Price: $7,995 for two user licenses
Pros: Works on desktops and mobile apps, automates help tickets
Cons: Somewhat detailed setup


For remote use, HelpSTAR provides a Web portal that allows users to access the system over any Web browser. With this in place, HelpSTAR even works with any mobile device’s browser. This can be especially useful for organizations with a lot of remote locations to keep track of and support.

Once we had everything in place, the next step was to set up the roles of the fictitious tech staff of our test network. We applied roles to each user, and determined which roles would escalate tickets to which. That way the workflow could be tightly controlled so that no job would fall through the cracks.

The default administrative interface is very helpful, and shows open tickets and graphs that indicate the types of issues that were solved or are pending. It can be customized to show any information pertinent to your organization’s needs.

The calendar function integrates seamlessly with Exchange, or can function as a standalone system. It will keep meetings and appointments straight and associate them with the correct users and/or tickets. Even if it is used by itself, HelpSTAR offers a program that synchronizes with Outlook, so that everyone can still have all of their appointments in one place.

Help tracking

We were especially pleased with the documentation control present in HelpSTAR2012. When multiple people and groups start to work on the same issue or set of issues, keeping track of who did what becomes vitally important. Through HelpSTAR a user can associate any number of files with the projects and tasks in the system. These files can be updated by other users as a project or ticket gets updated or escalates.

Because setting up a complex help desk system can be tricky, to say the least, HelpSTAR has technicians that can lead you through installation and configuration. This service can save a lot of time by smoothing out the learning curve.

The basic price of HelpSTAR2012 Enterprise is $7,995. This includes two Named User Licenses for specific users. Additional Named User Licenses can be purchased for $695 each, or non-specific Concurrent User Licenses run $1,995 each. This price may seem a bit high, but for a large organization, it could save a great deal of time and money by elimination duplication of effort.

This solution would be ideal for a large agency looking to streamline its help desk system.

Help desk Technology International Corporation, www.helpstar.com

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