Find the Best Jira Service Desk Alternatives for Helpdesks and IT Ticketing Solutions
A complete guide to employee help desk and IT ticketing solutions that are strong alternatives to Jira Service Desk.
A complete guide to employee help desk and IT ticketing solutions that are strong alternatives to Jira Service Desk.
If you’re currently searching for a ticketing and IT help desk solution, it’s likely that Jira Service Desk from Atlassian, is on your shortlist to consider.
Jira Service Desk, which is now bundled into Jira Service Management, isn’t right for every team, so what are some of the alternatives that you should consider? This guide will walk you through ticketing solutions specifically catered to IT that can help everyone in the company be more productive. No matter if you’re a company of 10 employees or 1000+, this guide will help you quickly get a clear picture of your best ticketing options to meet your needs going forward.
Let’s start out by answering: why do companies choose Jira Service Desk?
Jira Service Desk is a flexible, collaborative IT Service Management (ITSM) solution that allows teams to resolve issues quickly. They offer service desk software that is aimed at IT teams who need to manage incoming issues/requests from other teams/customers. Jira Service Desk is part of Atlassian’s productivity suite and is the sister product for Jira, a popular development tool for agile engineering teams.
Atlassian is a publicly-traded company with a customer base of over 130K worldwide. Jira Service Desk was announced in 2013.
Jira’s primary users are IT support agents who are responsible for fielding numerous requests for support. But many IT teams find themselves spending too much time on manual procedures or technical configurations. So whether you’re a large enterprise, SMB or startup, you may be wondering what alternatives to Jira Service Desk are out there to solidify your IT service desk.
Below are some key features that initially attract many customers to Jira Service Desk.
Integrations with Atlassian products
As a part of the Atlassian product family, Jira Service Desk offers deep integrations with Jira Software, Confluence, Opsgenie, Statuspage and more, enabling closer collaboration across development, operations and support teams. Although Jira Service Desk does not offer a native knowledge base, your organization can choose to integrate Jira Service Desk with Confluence to establish a knowledge base for agents.
IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a set of practices that focus on aligning IT services with business needs, is the most widely accepted enterprise approach to IT Service Management (ITSM). Jira Service Desk is ITIL-certified and offers out-of-the-box ITIL templates to help your organization get up and running with the best practices. You can also customize the templates to your organization’s specific needs with technical configuration and marketplace apps.
Tailor Jira Service Desk to your organization’s specific use cases with a marketplace of 1,000+ trusted applications & integrations and a development platform that allows you to create custom add-ons. Add-ons are used to extend the functionality of Jira Service Desk, which could be an integration with another existing service, new features for Jira Service Desk, or even a new product that runs within Jira Service Desk.
Offer multiple channels for users to submit their tickets. The primary customer-facing UI for Jira Service Desk is its customer portal, but customers can also reach out using email or an embedded widget on any website. In May 2020, Jira Service Desk also recently acquired the conversational ticketing solution Halp, which allows users to submit requests through Slack.
Jira Service Desk has a number of limitations that keep it from being the perfect ticketing and operations solution. The top 5 biggest drawbacks are:
While Jira Service Desk offers basic functions that an IT service desk should offer, Atlassian requires you to purchase other key features. As a fool.com’s review states, the two biggest omissions are knowledge base management and asset management. In the meantime, Jira Service Desk is trying to address this problem by acquiring Mindville for asset management and offering customers the ability to integrate with Atlassian Confluence. The required integration with Confluence could incur additional time and financial costs.
Jira Service Desk does not leverage AI capabilities to reduce manual work that IT professionals are saddled with. While it’s possible to automate some tasks using the workflow editor, Jira Service Desk also requires manual action on a lot of basic tasks. Most notably, Halp, a recent acquisition for conversational ticketing, requires agents to take manual action to convert every single question asked in Slack into usable tickets.
Jira Service Desk’s user interface can feel cluttered, messy and not user-friendly. As mentioned in this Capterra review, even technical service desk agents find the back-end UI for managing tickets overwhelming, which can slow down the IT team and the organization as a whole. There is definitely opportunity to make the experience more intuitive, as the UI can intimidate new users and poses barriers to usage and adds burden of training.
Although there are over 1,000+ apps and integrations for Jira Service Desk, most organizations will need to leverage the development platform to customize their instance to their unique needs. In addition to investing time and resources in the initial setup, technical resources will be required for the ongoing maintenance as your company’s process evolves. As this G2 reviewer shared, learning the tool “can be an exhaustive learning process as not much free help is available on the Internet”. Overall, the costs for the apps or custom development can add up quickly and become expensive.
Jira Service Desk was designed for IT teams and is extremely difficult for non-IT teams to set up, manage, and utilize. Given how it is the sister tool for Jira, the development tool of choice for agile engineering teams, it’s no surprise that Jira Service Desk is mostly used for bug tracking support. As this Capterra reviewer said, “When trying to get non-techy people to use this they find it nearly impossible to navigate.” For support teams outside of IT (i.e., HR, Marketing, Sales Ops, Design, and Office Management), Jira Service Desk will have a steep learning curve.
Jira Service Desk issues that mid-market and enterprise companies experience:
For enterprise and mid-market companies, Jira Service Desk poses some significant challenges. These fall into two main categories:
Jira Service Desk does not come with a native knowledge base or a native asset management tool. As a fool.com’s review said, “you need many components to run a successful help desk and when these features are segmented out to different tools, I believe it splinters the entire experience and opens the door to unnecessary problems.” By forcing the customer to purchase additional software to create the ideal IT service desk experience, Atlassian is charging for more money for more complexity.
Jira Service Desk is purpose-built for IT, service, and support teams. The software provides everything IT and support teams need out-of-the-box for service request, incident, problem and change management, including seamless integration with Jira Software. On the other hand, organizations will not be able to maximize their investment and leverageJira Service Desk for use cases outside of IT. It is more difficult to integrate with non-Atlassian products, and there is a steep learning curve.
So where should enterprise and mid-market companies turn for a more robust ticketing alternative? Let’s start out by examining atSpoke.
atSpoke is a modern workplace operations platform built to ITIL standards that helps businesses scale by giving every employee what they need to be their most productive. The product is purpose built to work with a company’s existing SaaS toolset, allowing IT teams (as well as HR and Operations) to get more done fluidly right where they work and resolve requests faster within one central command center, backed by intuitive ticketing, a dynamic knowledge base, and end-to-end machine learning. atSpoke allows for 5x faster ticket resolution and resolves 40% of tickets automatically through AI-driven workflows and conversational interfaces. IT agents are freed up while employees get convenient and immediate self-help in the tools they already use with conversational omnichannel experiences that allow organizations to unlock their workforce’s productivity and move work forward faster.
atSpoke outpaces other ticketing systems thanks to:
It’s never been easier for employees to make requests, and it’s never been easier for agents to move quickly through tickets, giving everyone more time to focus on the highest value work. Thanks to atSpoke’s intuitive, modern, and connected platform, employees have convenient access to the knowledge and services they need when they need it. Agents also have a centralized “command center” that empowers them to resolve tickets faster with context from disparate systems (i.e., user profiles, user responses, and assets), access points to trigger events in integrated tools (i.e., SSO), and automated AI-powered answers. Tickets are also synced in real time across email, chat, and web, reducing the need for context switching.
How intuitive is the UI? No training is required for support teams in IT or support teams that are less familiar with traditional ticketing processes like HR, Marketing, Sales Ops, Design and Office Management.
Your organization will move faster when you leverage the power of AI in your ticketing system or help desk. With atSpoke, AI provides automated answers in a personalized way and uses AI to complete repetitive and mundane agent tasks. When an employee reaches out with a question, atSpoke uses natural language understanding (NLU) to auto-answer with a response based on that person’s profile for any routine question already addressed in the Knowledge Base. This deflects routine questions via AI to preserve time and resources without sacrificing a relevant, personalized touch. atSpoke then automatically updates Knowledge Base content as questions are answered, applying machine learning to answers for next time. For complex questions that do require human intervention, AI can help escalate, route and tag the best available expert at that moment,further prioritizing the most efficient service and scaling support across the business.
Your organization can get up and running with atSpoke in days, instead of months. The familiar, intuitive and polished interface reduces the need to invest technical resources in complex configurations, removes the need for instructions or training, and eliminates barriers to employee adoption. Without a learning curve, your entire organization will be able to jump in and experience the benefits immediately. Even machine learning requires zero out-of-the-box setup, and it gets smarter with every agent conversation. Our Slack integration is seamless and leverages the full extent of the features you’re already used to – forms, buttons, threads, notifications, and actions. The robust capabilities do not need to be unlocked by IT staff dedicated to configuring the instance; atSpoke is designed for usability and engineered for speed.
More information: www.atspoke.com
ServiceNow offers service management software under the NOW platform targeting enterprise users across IT, HR, customer and field service. Their product focuses on scaling service and ticketing operations quickly by leveraging AI capabilities to “bridge the gap between traditional IT and modern business needs” through ITSM, business management, asset management, DevOps, security/compliance. While offering a robust solution, the feature-laden product may be under-utilized by IT teams for the heavy price tag, with long integration timeframes to implement at scale, posing barriers to rapid deployment. A less-than-intuitive UX can also mean a steeper learning curve and longer ramp up time across teams.
More Information: www.servicenow.com
Zendesk is a customer service/support platform aiming to improve omnichannel customer experience by reducing resolution time of support issues. Primary users are customer service agents, marketing and sales teams, as well as IT responsible for fielding numerous requests for support. In addition to the service desk tool, support offerings are divided into three levels: basic support, support suite or custom-built. Some of the features available at the higher tiers include tracking and prioritizing requests, knowledge base for “smart” self-service, and live chat/messaging/voice to unify omnichannel operations. The Sales Suite offers the “Sunshine” CRM, analytics and reporting and community forums for external-facing customer operations. Founded in 2007 in Copenhagen, Zendesk has grown into a Silicon Valley success story now publicly-traded and with a customer base of over 150K worldwide.
More Information: www.zendesk.com
Freshservice is a service desk software aimed at enterprise IT departments under the Freshworks portfolio of CRM and customer service products. (See section on sister product Freshdesk aimed at smaller companies and startups below). The product caters specifically to large IT organizations with complex workflows offering a robust feature set across the full scope of ITSM needs. The density of features however can overload the UI, leaving users confused and often causing more work for IT staff to course correct errors as a result. AI functionality (“Freddy”) is for IT staff for reporting use cases vs enabling self-service for users. Automation features (rules-based) have been reported as prone to breaking, with IT staff often required to “teach” it how to do things which can defeat the time-saving benefits.
More Information: https://freshservice.com/
While you might know Spiceworks as an IT professional industry association, they also offer free software for the IT helpdesk integrated with sister product Inventory for asset management and monitoring infrastructure in the Connectivity Dashboard. The helpdesk product focuses on ticket and task management with self-service, Active Directory integration, configurable roles and team collaboration options all available free with no admin or ticket number limit. Be warned that “Free” does mean dealing with in-product ads said to be invasive to the UX, and more sophisticated enterprise users are cautioned to fully vet that all needs are met with this solution –– because migrating off of Spiceworks later basically requires going back to square one.
More Information: www.spiceworks.com
BMC Helix (formerly BMC Remedy) is an ITSM solution for enterprise companies. Aligned with ITIL best practices out of the box, the product offers service management with AI and machine learning to deliver intuitive, consumer-like experiences across channels through integrated Digital Helix workspace for conversational support across Slack, chat, SMS and Skype. The product focuses on predictive service to create and resolve incidents faster through intelligent, context-aware, and proactive incident matching.They also offer lifecycle management features on the Knowledge Base to keep content fresh. However redundant, mandatory multi-step fields and “click happy” requirements to file and close tickets are known to frustrate users looking for a faster way to progress through tasks with less friction at each step.
More Information: www.bmc.com/it-solutions/remedy-itsm.html
Issues that SMBs and startups experience with Jira Service Desk
Small-medium size businesses and startups run up against a different set of challenges with Jira Service Desk in two key areas:
Key features are not native and requires additional purchases
At SMBs or startups, budgets for IT investments are scarce and need to be carefully allocated. While Jira Service Desk offers basic functions that an IT service desk should offer, Atlassian also requires you to purchase other key features. As a fool.com’s review states, the two biggest omissions are knowledge base management and asset management. In the meantime, Jira Service Desk is trying to address this problem by acquiring Mindville for asset management and offering customers the ability to integrate with Atlassian Confluence. As a smaller business, you should be looking for a tool that comes with everything you need.
Lack of AI and native integrations result in manual work
SMBs and startups usually have under-staffed IT teams that could greatly benefit from AI. Jira Service Desk does not leverage AI capabilities to reduce manual work that IT professionals are saddled with at smaller companies. While it’s possible to automate some tasks using the workflow editor, Jira Service Desk also requires manual action on a lot of basic tasks, including how to convert Slack questions into usable tickets. It is also expensive to purchase add-on apps, and it’s time-intensive to customize your instance with the development platform.
So what solutions are out there for startups? In addition to the above solutions like atSpoke that cater to startups and enterprises alike in feature and pricing, below are four additional options to consider.
Freshdesk is a service desk solution under the Freshworks family of products, aimed at smaller companies with external-facing customer service oriented use cases vs its enterprise IT sister product Freshservice (covered above). It’s focused on omnichannel, bot-based self-service for customers to streamline and automate repetitive inquiries with unique features like a “thank you detector” that help agents quickly skip past lower-priority inbound emails. However, the lack of change, asset, and project management features could be a dealbreaker for certain IT teams.
Zoho Desk offers an IT help desk and service solution catered to small business teams. With a relatively thorough IT feature set available at a startup-friendly price point that includes self service, automation, and a “Zia” AI assistant to proactively triages support tickets, analyze customer sentiments, and spot anomalies in ticket traffic along with VoIP the system can meet some needs for smaller teams. However the lack of asset, change, and problem management features even in the “enterprise” tier product may rule it out for IT teams intent on building their system around ITIL practices.
More Information: https://www.zoho.com/desk/
HelpScout provides support software solutions in the Zendesk model aimed at startups supporting external customer inquiries. Beyond its lack of alignment to ITIL best practices, you won’t hear them use the term “help desk ticketing system” or even ticketing at all except when forced to draw comparisons to explain what their offering actually is. Help Scout instead deliberately positions themselves as “not ticketing” in favor of viewing all interactions as “conversations” that should be personalized and handled collaboratively. The product centers around shared inboxes to deliver personalized experiences informed by user profiles for context. Automation through if/then logic and collaboration features for IT teams include private notes, saved replies, collision detection and tagging to categorize items for automation and reporting. Overall, for startup IT managers that actually need a ticketing solution at the end of the day, this “non-ticketing” outlook may go against the grain a bit too much to get the job done effectively.
More Information: https://www.helpscout.com/
Kayako offers customer service and help desk software aimed at startups. SImilar to Help Scout, their concept centers on shared inboxes and conversations vs the IT ticketing paradigm to enable unified customer service. They do embrace the term “ticketing” but emphasize personalization by consolidating all agent-customer conversations across live chat, email and social with context to immediately respond. Like Help Scout and Zendesk, this is another non-ITIL customer service solution retrofit to IT use cases vs designed for them from the ground up. Some IT teams may find this only goes so far to meet their day to day needs.
More Information: https://www.kayako.com/
Because IT traditional ticketing systems lack native AI capabilities and natural language processing, start-ups like Aisera and Moveworks have created solutions to layer on top of Zendesk and other ticketing systems to expedite workflows. These tools automate certain repetitive software-based tasks and are purchased in addition to a traditional ticketing system.
Aisera is an AI-driven service solution for IT, HR, customer service, sales, facilities, and operations teams. Heavily focused on AI, Aisera labels their offering “AISM” or AI Service Management bringing NLP/NLU and conversational RPA to detect intent and automate support through AI consumer-like experiences that plug directly into existing company systems of record and offer predictive service. However IT teams may be cautioned by reports that the product feature is still playing catch-up to close the gaps in what is offered out of the box, and certain customers publicly investing in more than Aisera alone to meet their ticketing needs.
More Information: https://aisera.com/
Moveworks offers AI-driven IT service solutions for both startups and large enterprises. Through AI software pre-trained on 75M IT tickets to refine its ML/NLU capabilities, the Moveworks bot aims to completely automate IT service auto-resolving issues without human intervention. Features include understanding conversational requests with no scripting/training required up front, automated routing and predictive service capabilities to proactively contact a user when locked out of an account. However the standard 8-week deployment timeframe may rule Moveworks out for fast-moving startups that can’t wait this long, in addition to enterprise-grade pricing available only on request. And with certain flagship customers publicly providing testimonials for competitive solutions (such as Aisera) some companies may find that Moveworks does not meet all of IT needs for an AI add-on solution.
More Information: www.moveworks.com/
And that completes our whirlwind tour! As you can see, while Jira Service Desk is a well-known and heavily-utilized tool, it isn’t the solution of choice for all IT ticketing and operations teams. Exploring options that leverage deeper best practices specifically designed for IT teams can unlock net new levels of productivity for agents and all the people they support.