OTRS – The Best Open Source Helpdesk System

Having searched, installed and trialled many freely available open source Helpdesk systems and played around with demonstrations of many commercial Helpdesk systems, I must say OTRS came out on top among all the trialled open source and commercial systems. However, I must warn you that OTRS is not a simple system that could easily test up in minutes (for version 2.1.0, but better in later releases). OTRS requires patience and open-minded individual who willing to sits around to find out all the little hidden features that OTRS offers.

Initially, it took me more than a month to get OTRS up and running with my busy schedule as the software development manager at Allied Express. Soon, after have installed and upgraded OTRS a few times, I learned the in’s and out’s of OTRS which made life alot easier to install or upgrade OTRS. After the sucessful installation of OTRS, I whipped up a quick user manual for the IT department. Soon, I found that OTRS is so flexible and fully of features that made it to be very confusing to use. The terminologies used were translated from German which made life hard to understand for an Australian IT department.

Despite, it long list of bugs, OTRS is stable enough for production within any IT department of at least 20 users. I have both IT and non-IT users using the system without any issues. We did have some issues due to the confusing terminologies used but eventually once the process have been clearly written out then there is light at the end of the tunnel. OTRS does not dictate the process – so you have to carefully design the process which fits your department/company.

I want the implementation of the OTRS as least disruptive to the users as possible but still maintain the strict process is by letting the users to use the familiar email interface without needing to learn a new application. It was very difficult to enforce the process with much a large group of users (500+ users) which took more than a month for the users to finally learned to reply/follow-up with the tickets number and to the IT Helpdesk’s email address.

Now, we use OTRS for every queries and every requests that come into the IT Department. It saved alot of time while keeping everything logged hence easier to track where an issue is up to and who has worked on it. I don’t believe could go back to the day with emails of issues/requests. Thank you to OTRS Team.

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