Despite the prevalence of cloud-based systems in the help desk software market, 68 percent of respondents to a survey from Software Advice said they use on-premises systems.
The survey of 218 IT professionals in the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia revealed that the most frequently used help desk functionalities are ticket management, reporting and analytics tools, and live chat integration, and the three departmental performance factors that help desk software improves most are software problem resolution time, first-contact resolution rate and overall productivity of IT staff.
Among organizations with clear help desk software investment plans for 2015, 84 percent plan to increase their spend, while 44 percent cited the need for new functionality as the primary reason to increase their help desk investment in 2015.
"There's a paradigm shift happening right now: The traditional corporate organizational structure is changing. The traditional model has companies divided into distinct departments, like sales, service, marketing and product development," Craig Borowski, market research associate for Software Advice, told eWEEK.
Nearly half (46 percent) say they have no plans to increase or decrease the amount spent on help desk software in 2015.
Respondents identified the average time needed to resolve problems with software as the area of departmental performance that help desk software improves most.
Ticket management, the most central functionality of help desk software, was the most-used functionality among respondents in the sample (66 percent).
Reporting and analytics functionality, which ranges from the calculation of very simple tallies (such as the number of tickets currently open) to advanced predictive analytical models that can suggest future actions based on analysis of current data, was rated as the second most used.
Third on the list of most-used functionality was live chat integration, a communication channel for which consumers have expressed strong demand, a previous Software Advice survey indicated.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software collects some of the most pertinent data, straight from the front lines where the company meets the customer, Borowski said. "In the near future, we'll see more CRM platforms with integrated analytics features, allowing and automating more information sharing between departments," he explained.
In addition, the high rate of live chat usage among the help desk professionals surveyed indicated that many are aware of this trend.
The biggest motivation to choose cloud deployment is lower long-term and upfront costs, cited by 18 and 15 percent of respondents.
Stronger security, better remote access and lack of an on-premises option were each cited by 13 percent as the primary motivation for choosing a cloud-based system.
"For the most part, the security concerns regarding cloud-based software aren't at all specific. Actually, I'd describe most of them as being very general. They mostly stem from unfamiliarity with the cloud as a popular, viable deployment model," Borowski said. "Companies that have always kept all their data in house and on-premises, who have no experience with cloud deployments, often assume that their data is safer closer to home. This is a mistaken assumption. It's rooted more in psychology than in a solid understanding of IT security."