CRM/Help Desk Software Comparison

We are currently evaluating CRM packages for a support front end.  We currenlty use Test Track for bug tracking, but would like to provide our customers with support IM, call tracking, message boards or a publishable KB, and maybe a download center.  AD integration would be a plus.  We also would like to be able to integrate the package with Test Track if possible.

We have demoed Kayako and MS Dynamics is up next.  Does anyone have any input on these 2 products or can you recommend a solution that you have implemented and is meeting your needs.

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Out of the box CRM will not provide IM but otherwise does a pretty good job. We use it here for tracking calls and it works just fine.

Knowledge base is very good.

Whilst there is no built-in download centre, you could easily create a new entity to act as one. Be aware though that the maximum size of files stored in CRM is 8192k which may not be big enough for your needs. But the product is mega-customisable so you could bolt on a small download website without too much difficulty.

i would say that it depends upon what your other 'hidden' needs are. CRM4 is a very flexible tool but in order to completely fill your requirements you'll have to work at it a bit. The other tools are (potentially) more limiting but could well meet your needs more immediately out of the box.



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Mike LazarusAct! Evangelist - CRM ConsultantCommented:
TKayako has IM, but don't think it links to CRM -

Not sure if Telesupport Helpdesk does IM, but has basic CRM or links to ACT! or GoldMine for more -
How big is your budget? How large is your operation? How critical to its success is the help desk?

If "as big as we need," "pretty big (or bigger)," and/or "extremely critical," you should look at market leaders HEAT and Remedy. Remedy tends to be focused more on full-scale enterprise environments. HEAT is designed for small and mid-sized firms. Both are very robust, and very expensive.

If support is important, but not necessarily critical, any of the mid-range tools should suffice.
I am a HEAT admin. I can say that the program is ridiculously flexible. Often times you you have to bend over backwards and go through very tedious hoops to get things done, but you can make it do pretty much anything you want it to. Example: every single screen, button, field, color is completely customizable - you can make it a one screen system with 2 buttons or something so complex your brain melts just by looking at it. Being so flexible makes it easy to break as well. And every version has some bug you have to work around (pick the latest well established build, not the very newest build - it will have something dopey wrong with it). It offers AD integration that works quite nicely but doesn't have very many options. I've integrated it into web forms and SAP - you can bridge any system as long as you can have the other system send a strictly structured email or drop a text file into a folder. It allows for lots of automation capabilities as well. All in all it is very challenging to admin (if you know SQL, the back end is often easier to work with) but if you have talent and dedication it is worth it. If you purchase support, their support is very good. We have about 20 (only a couple are helpdesk, the rest are tech services) staff that use HEAT and we are supporting 1200 users. You can also use HEAT for asset management and change management and HR and whatever else you want to use it for.
I forgot to mention - customer tools are nil unless you purchase the HEAT Self Serve add-on, then you get customer web interface to log and track tickets, and a KB too I think... no IM or download center though.
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