When deciding to adopt any help desk solutions many factors should be explored before taking decisions. This will change from business to another but in general there are some kind of rule of thumb.
Here are some quick tips:
Do we need only ticketing system or a complete suite that include asset management, CRM and communication tools, resource reservation...?
Ticketing systems online nowadays offer variety of options that we should be aware of before going on and start using them. For example not all solutions available offer the e scalability option. For example if a technician is assigned a job it is important to know if we would like to re-assign this task to another person.
Having a knowledge base is also a feature that also should be considered, because it can save time for both the technician and the customer.
Another issue that could we focus on is the level of automation that we can have. Some systems allow this by having rules that can detect the problem category and auto assign it for the right technician, moreover some systems could do kind of load balancing between the team so no one is overloaded while the other is just sitting and waiting for something to happen.
Some people will be interested in a system where the users would not have to be recreated again, so a connection to Active direcory or LDAP server could do that job, this is an important feature that should be taken into consideration.
What about the interface:
The interface should be as much friendly as possible, because it is know that users do not like to use complex system. Keeping one level of problem categories is a good tip to follow, for sure with the cooperation of the nice GUI, so you can attract the customer to enter the call on the system rather bothering you by calling or flooding you email.
The most hard part of this article is suggesting witch technology to use: PHP/MySql? ASP.net? Oracle and Java?
One of the negative points that people have to say about php/mysql is the security issues. I think that establishing a good security "network defense level" could comes up with this problem as php/mysql seems to be the only system offering fast responses. JAVA and ASP technologies has the slowness issues.
AJAX is now the new web technology that is offering reliable and fast systems.
Another issue to consider, is if we need to go further in the ticketing system and make it following some standard like the ITIL. In that case the database will grow more and more and will include more components and reach a level where the system itself can be modeling the business process.
Finally, all those features could be found as:
Open source freeware, the problem generally that they lack support
Personal editions, where an amount of money should be paid to get support
Enterprise editions:Usually per license fees with full support and updates.
Here are some useful links: