Canada lags U.S. in adopting help desk software as email, spreadsheets still prevail

A recent survey found that, surprisingly, a majority of users were satisfied with their IT help desk. Now a new report from Software Advice suggests the primary driver for updating help desk software is that organizations see customer service as an area in which they can gain competitive advantage. However, the report also found that Canadian organizations are more likely to be still making the move from manual systems.

Software Advice found that 37 per cent of Canadian prospective buyers are still using manual methods, while 26 per cent are looking to replace existing help desk software. Eleven per cent have multiple systems they are looking to replace and another 11 per cent have nothing in place.

Craig Borowski, help desk researcher for the IT help desk research and evaluation company, said Canadian firms are more likely to be replacing manual methods such as email, spreadsheets and written notes, while the largest group of U.S. buyers is replacing other help desk systems. “While both groups indicated improving efficiency at the highest rate,” he said, “the second most cited reason was adding functionality for Canadian buyers and adding automation for buyers in the U.S.”

Borowski said 28 per cent of Canadian prospective buyers cited improving efficiency as a reason for their help desk system purchase, while 24 per cent were looking to add functionality. Sixteen per cent of these buyers were looking to modernize and another 16 per cent were looking to support company growth.

Customer service and help desk software systems have become increasingly popular in the past two decades, the report noted, with sales of customer relationship management (CRM) software, which includes help desk software, growing 2,000% between 1997 and 2007, and double digital growth has continued every year since.

Software Advice’s 2015 found that a majority of help desk software buyers are purchasing software for the first time, while 37 per cent are replacing existing systems. Most of those replacing existing systems are doing so because they need to add functionality, such as better reporting and analytics.

Meanwhile, first-time buyers are more concerned with improving efficiency, which can mean different things to different companies, but when it comes to help desk software it usually means allowing a limited number of agents to better handle incoming service requests, making sure no requests get overlooked, and helping agents address requests faster by presenting them with all the relevant information.
Software Advice noted the need to improve efficiency often is driven by a growing customer base, while some companies view customer service as an area in which they can compete with larger, more established competitors. The latter are more likely deploy help desk software in earlier stages, using it to provide a level of service that will accelerate growth.

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Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

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