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Help Desk, Customer Service, Cloud & Security Insights, with a Side of Altruism!

Knowledge Base Key Features

Are you looking for help desk or customer service software?

When looking at the Knowledge Base module here are a few features to look for:

Automatic Customer Profile Creation

When a new customer requests someone contact them, besides creating a service request, the knowledge base software application automatically creates a new customer profile.

Capability to Designate Knowledge Base Records as "HOT" Knowledge Base Records Bypassing Approval

Some knowledge base records need to be available immediately without going through the approval process. A knowledge base proposer can designate any record as "HOT.” The knowledge base record is then immediately available for others to utilize. Later, if the knowledge base record is approved, the "HOT" designation can be removed.

Assign a Scope to a Knowledge Base Record

Record Scope is a field used for grouping knowledge base records for a single service desk, multiple service desks and parent/child companies.

Knowledge Base Record Redundancy Avoidance

When knowledge base records are initially proposed and also during the approval process, the knowledge base software automatically searches all existing approved knowledge base records to identify possible redundancies. This allows the knowledge bas record proposer or approver to consider these possible redundancies.

Here are two great White Papers on the topic:

https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/customer-service-best-practices.htm

https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/help-desk-best-practices.htm

Cloud/SaaS/Hosted or Traditional Software Licenses?

Here is a great white paper with a comprehensive look at the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis any decision maker should complete before making a choice between a SaaS or a traditional software deployment.

The key cost drivers for any software implementation are the cost of the software application, the hardware required to run the application and the people services required to design, deploy, manage, maintain and support the application.

> Traditional software pricing is limited to the cost of the software application, in most cases an upfront fee in exchange for a perpetual user license. It is up to the customer to determine the cost of the hardware and the people services.

> SaaS applications are charged on a subscription basis. The subscription fee includes the cost of the software application, the hardware and the people services.

This difference in pricing models can make an apples-to-apples TCO comparison “tricky”.

Software and hardware costs are well understood but the people resources associated with traditional software applications are often underestimated or omitted in a TCO analysis. As a result, the usage driven subscription cost of SaaS applications can seem to be the more expensive solution over a multi-year period. However, when these people resources are correctly associated, deploying a SaaS application becomes – in many cases – the more cost effective option.

This white paper helps in better understanding all the different cost factors and includes a TCO calculation for you that will help influencers and decision makers to better estimate the true TCO of a SaaS versus a traditional software deployment. The ultimate goal of this paper is to educate the reader that in some cases traditional software applications remain the right choice, but in other cases deploying SaaS applications provide a better business case.

Please see https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/Save-Money-with-Software-as-a-Service-SaaS.htm

Most Successful CIOs Use SaaS

It's not easy to become a wildly unsuccessful CIO or CTO. TechRepublic asked around to find out how this can be done. They found seven habits of wildly unsuccessful CIOs. I want to mention just one very important habit.


Wildly Unsuccessful CIOs and CTOs Create Solutions in Search of a Problem


With any wildly unsuccessful CIO or CTO, any problem that arises is handled, always, in-house. Always. "They think that what they do is so absolutely special that nothing off the shelf could fill their needs," said Scott Testa, Chief Operations Officer for Mindbridge, a leading provider of Enterprise Intranet Software solutions.  "They expend a lot of energy building a solution that could have been bought right off the shelf," Testa said. These same CIOs often are not open to other vendors or anyone else "who may have other ways of solving certain problems," Testa said.


This hardly reflects well on the IT department, which can lose quite a bit of credibility with the other non-IT departments and personnel. In time, this can spell smaller budgets and work staff. However, that isn't the only reason this CIO is unsuccessful. This habit also is a very expensive one. Their in-house custom solutions cost more time to develop and launch. Those same "solutions" could well be abandoned a short time later if a higher C-level executive gets wind of a better way—or even a worse way—if the in-house solution is genuinely a bad idea.

Smart and successful CIOs and CTOs look at Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) to fill needs and voids quickly, painlessly and at a much lower cost to the company.

 

See the following link for a great White Paper on saving money with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/Save-Money-with-Software-as-a-Service-SaaS.htm

Reduce IT Help Desk Costs with Cloud/SaaS

Given the state of the worldwide economy, it is timely to now to review how much money your company can saved with Software-as-a-Service.  Why is Software as a Service (SaaS) so popular?  Is your company making budget reductions, but want to keep providing exceptional levels of customer service and support?  SaaS can help you reduce costs while giving your team a product that is generally easier to learn and use with minimal training and not require any IT resources to support. Every time you go to your IT department to ask for assistance, they probably say they have too many project that will directly impact revenue so they cannot help your with customer service software selection, deployment and ongoing maintenance. With Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), you do not need resources from the IT department to get your project started and keep going.

It's the economics stupid!

Look at the Total Cost of of ownership for required hardware and software for a typical midsized Customer Service department, Call Center or IT help desk.  These costs do not consider the cost of the actual customer service, call center or IT help desk software.

It's Green and Cheap!

Also, do you really need to have more servers in your company data center burning up power for server operation and cooling. It's an inefficient use of energy. Ask a SaaS vendor if they use a multitenant architecture. Many Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications are architected from the start as pure web applications and have multiple customers sharing the same underlying server infrastructure.  This saves power and cooling resources by leveraging and sharing computing infrastructure. Smart CIOs and VPs of Customer Service are planning for this today.

Take a look at these numbers. Are you surprised?

GARTNER GROUP ESTIMATES- 3 YEAR INFRASTRUCTURE & ADMINISTRATION COSTS OF OWNING 2 SERVERS

SUMMARY:

3 Year Infrastructure & Administration Costs of Owning Servers $259,100

  •      Server Support & Maintenance $208,500
  •      Server Hardware & Software $50,600

DETAILS:

1. Database Server required
One server at minimum is required to run applications. DB server cost estimate is $10,000 for hardware. Plus annual maintenance contract and power 40% of cost per year. Use $10,000 x 40% x 3 years = $12,000
$22,000

2. Database Licenses Required
Microsoft SQL @ $5,500 processor license x 2 processors is $11,000. Plus annual software maintenance is 20%..$11,000 x 20% x 3 years =$6,600
$17,600

3. Web Server required
A web server is required for best performance. Total Web Server cost estimate is $5,000 for hardware. Plus annual maintenance contract and power cost is 40% of cost per year. Use $5,000 x 40% x 3 years = $6,000
$11,000

4. General Server Administration (O/S, Patches, Virus, BIOS, HD...)
Servers and O/S require continuous maintenance. Gartner Group estimates 65 hrs/year @ $150/hr. per server is $9,750 x 2 servers x 3 years is $58,500.
$58,500

5. Daily Incremental and Full Weekly Back-up
Your IT department either performs or must automate data backup. Back-up media storage process and costs associated with off-site storage. Gartner Group estimates $10,000/yr. per server x 2 servers x 3 years is $60,000.
$60,000

6. Required Application & Database Administration
Database and application requires continuous monitoring for performance and storage. Gartner Group estimates 50 hrs/year per installation @ $200/hr. is $10,000 x 2 servers x 3 years is $60,000.
$60,000

7. Man-hours required for upgrades
How many total IT man-hours are required to implement an upgrade (Backup, install)? Gartner Group estimates average upgrade requires 80 hrs @ $125/hr is $10,000 x 1 time/yr. x 3 years =$30,000. This does not included user training.
$30,000

Other costs to consider if you want to own Customer Service, Call Center and IT Help Desk software:

8. Up-front configuration required
Configuration requires outside consulting, significant time and input from your organization. As your needs change, this is an ongoing cost.

9. Frequency of incremental upgrades (Months)
How often does the vendor distribute upgrades? What is your required process to deploy an upgrade?

10. User Training
How much additional administrator and user training is required to gain proficiency with a complex client server application deployed locally vs. an externally hosted application? Do you need to maintain programmers and Crystal Reports experts on staff?

Here is a great White Paper on the topic.

The title is "Saving Money with Software-as-a-Service". See  https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/Save-Money-with-Software-as-a-Service-SaaS.htm

Reduce Costs with SaaS/Cloud IT Help Desk

The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) revolution allows companies to subscribe to software applications and outsource operating the back-end infrastructure to the SaaS vendor. In most cases, the SaaS vendor can do this much more cost effective; providing overall cost savings for the company. As a result, companies can spread their IT budget across many more applications to support and grow their business operations which will in turn contribute to the bottom line.

 

Here is a great White Paper on Saving Money with SaaS. See https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/Save-Money-with-Software-as-a-Service-SaaS.htm

Save Money-Cloud IT Help Desk and Customer Service Software

As budgets are being set for 2009, your company is looking to save money. Due to budget constraints, the help desk and customer service software markets are really moving rapidly toward Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) to save a lot of money.

The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) approach can significantly lower your annual costs and provide a better product.  SaaS can significantly decrease capital, deployment, labor, operations, network, training, support and intangible costs.

According to Gartner Group, a global IT research firm, the annual cost to own and manage software applications can be up to four times the cost of the initial purchase. As a result, companies end up spending more than 75% of their total IT budget just on maintaining and running existing systems and software infrastructure.1 The number of software applications that a company may need are infinite. The resources to operate these applications however are finite.

 

1 Timothy Chou, The End of Software, SAMS Publishing, 2005, page 6

 

Here is a great White Paper on Saving Money with SaaS. See https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/Save-Money-with-Software-as-a-Service-SaaS.htm

Service Level Agreements-SLA Compliance Trends Reports

This report shows SLA compliance over a period of time. Managing trends toward a higher goal can dramatically increase customer satisfaction. This SLA Compliance Trends Report should be part of your standard reports that you study every week.

 

Example SLA Compliance Trends Report

 

SLACOMPLIANCETRENDS

Service Level Agreements-SLA Compliance Reports

Measuring Success

Success of service level management can only be measured by reporting on what percentages of cases by Severity Level were resolved within the goals of the SLA. The reason that you want to measure each Severity Level is that it is absolutely critical to resolve high severity level cases consistently within the SLA. However, sometimes lower severity level cases can fall outside the goals. In other words, we would like to say that we resolve 100% of all Severity Level 1 cases and 90% of Severity Level 4 cases within the times stated in the SLA. Customers will appreciate the process more when they know that if they are really in trouble, there will be resources there to help them.

 

Example Service Level Agreement Compliance Report

SLACOMPLIANCE

 

See Dashboard Reports at https://www.givainc.com/help-desk-dashboard-charts.htm 

Here is a great White Paper on Implementing Service Level Agreements. See https://www.givainc.com/white-papers/index.htm

Select Implementing Service Level Agreements: "The Critical Element in Service Delivery"

Needs Assessment Tool-Buying Customer Service Software

Giva radically reduces the complexity of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) buying process by offering a vendor-independent Needs Assessment Tool that allows companies to make a more rigorous and objective comparison of vendors based upon a prioritized list of feature requirements when buying customer service, call center and IT help desk software.

Customer Service departments, Call Centers and IT Help Desk professionals looking to purchase IT help desk software or customer service software encounter a myriad of problems and obstacles in the purchase process.  Giva is offering its new Needs Assessment Tool on a complimentary basis.

Industry Leading Help Desk & Customer Service Software

This vendor-independent tool allows evaluation teams and senior executives making important business decisions to approach the purchase of software in a much more rigorous and analytical manner. The Tool provides the information essential to negotiate a services contract, avoiding the difficult struggle to understand the differences between software products and assess vague claims.

Here is a quote from a company that used the Excel Tool:

"At Patient Care Technology Systems, we used Giva's Tool to document our requirements across multiple work groups to generate a single prioritized list. We shared this list with a number of vendors and were able to make a more rigorous and defendable vendor recommendation to our senior team," said Jim Kline, Vice President of Client Services, Patient Care Technology Systems. "The Needs Assessment Tool provided the objective criteria we needed to evaluate several vendors on an apples-to-apples basis."

Patient Care Technology Systems used this tool in 2005 to sort through their requirements and select a vendor. They have been a very happy Giva customer for three years. Here is a customer case study. A great deal of their satisfaction is due to the fact that Giva is a great fit for their requirements. Do your homework now to document your requirements.  See https://www.givainc.com/case-study/customer-service-pcts.htm for the medical industry success case.

This Giva Needs Assessment Tool can be a starting place and the single document to drive cross-functional consensus of all the departments involved in the purchase of customer service, call center or IT help desk software. We listened to many companies struggle with this process and they asked us for our help. This vendor-independent Tool really helps management teams make an objective comparison of vendors based upon their prioritized list of requirements.

See the following link for free Access to the Needs Assessment Tool at:  https://www.givainc.com/free-needs-assessment/index.htm

IT Cloud Software Needs Assessment Tool

Finding and acquiring any new software product to enhance your business operations can be a daunting task. How do you select the right one?

Giva has built a new 2008 Needs Assessment Tool with Help Desk, Customer Service/Call Center, Knowledge Management and Change Management software "Industry Best Practices". You can modify this sample template as you see fit. It contains Best Practice Product Features, Descriptions, Priority, Vendor Score, and a Priority x Vendor Score calculation field. If you are evaluating a number of vendors, then this is an excellent tool to download from Giva for free.

After you add to this Excel template as you desire, you can provide it to each vendor that you are interested in and ask them to “Score” themselves. This is a good way to get preliminary information. While they perform a “live” demo of their help desk or customer service software, you can ask them to show you each software product feature and you can revise the “Score” as you see appropriate.  After you discuss your help desk or customer service/call center software needs and requirements with your team, you can decide how important each feature is to you. You can place a “Priority” next to each software feature. We have also included a third tab in this spreadsheet. It has all the Acquisition and Lifetime costs that should be considered in determining the Total Cost of Ownership of customer service/call center or help desk software. When comparing vendors, besides focusing on your exact software requirements, you might want to ask some of the following general questions:

· How long has your organization been in business?

· What is the true total cost of ownership? When calculating the associated costs, include items such as costs of hardware, software, professional implementation services, and ongoing maintenance, training and support.

· What is the strategic plan for your organization within the next year? Do you have plans to develop new products/services?

· How many organizations have you worked with in a similar situation?

· Will your clients provide references?

· What types of support do you offer?

Read more about our Needs Assessment Tool and how Giva customers successfully used the Needs Assessment Tool at: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2008/05/prweb904544.htm.

Download the Needs Assessment Tool at: https://www.givainc.com/free-needs-assessment/index.htm

Thanks for Reading!

 

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