Open Source Comes to the Help Desk

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There's a fine line between being reactive versus proactive when it comes to end-user support that is going to greatly influence your approach to help desk software in the future.


If all you really need is a solid help desk application, then you should take note of OTRS, which most recently added a change management module that complies with version 3 of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) specification.

OTRS isn't as feature rich as some help desk offerings, and the company is a long way from including advanced levels of IT automation that are designed to integrate proactive policy management within the context of a help desk system.

Built on top of the MySQL open source database, OTRS has most of what an IT organization expects from a help desk, according to company vice president Christopher Kuhn.

OTRS will probably create something of a disruption in the help desk space as it gains traction. But the best thing about it is that it makes help desk capabilities available to a broader array of IT organizations, while giving companies that already have help desk software installed a much lower cost option.

Like many open source vendors, OTRS expects to make money from selling support and a few add-on modules down the road. And if the concept gains traction, it might not be too long before systems management vendors in general are including interfaces that couple their tools to the open source help desk from OTRS.