PRD Software recently exhibited at the annual CeBIT in Sydney to showcase our IT helpdesk software product, HelpMaster.
As usual, CeBIT was busy and had a good cross-section of delegates and visitors. The HelpMaster team were doing non-stop product demos for 3 days straight. Each year, the face-to-face interaction with people from the IT support industry reveals something new. This year was particularly interesting.
Here are some key points.
Hooray!!!....at last!! What a refreshing change!
In previous years, ITIL was a frequent discussion point. As a vendor, it was frustrating trying to answer ITIL-based questions, whilst at the same time trying to correct/educate people on their mis-application and/or understanding of what ITIL is and is not. In previous years, it was obvious to spot those who had just done an ITIL foundation course, or who were part of a team/business unit that was undergoing some sort of ITIL transformation (whatever that is). What a relief it was not to hear the question "Is it ITIL compliant?"
There was an increased number of MSP representatives visiting the booth this year. Young ones, old ones, and a good diversity from Australia and beyond. Almost all of them already had some sort of ticketing solution in place (mainly Autotask, ConnectWise, SalesForce, ManageEngine), but almost all of them were dissatisfied with the software.
Naturally, we pressed them to speak of their pain-points. Common complaints were:
• Too expensive, with long-term contacts that they are stuck with
• Their hosted data was not fully available to them (for custom reports, exports, analysis etc.)
• Limited functionality, or missing functionality - particularly around time, billing and integration with accounting apps.
• Limited reporting and/or exporting abilities.
• Perhaps the biggest complaint was the performance of the hosted app. Almost everyone commented on how slow their application was, and how unreliable it was. Compounding this was the inability to quickly and effectively speak to someone on the provider-side to address the situation.
MSPs are tech-savvy, no-nonsense users of this style of software. They know what they want, and they know what doesn't work. Speaking with representatives from the MSP market is always enlightening. HelpMaster is already used by quite a few MSPs, but this is a market that we're definitely developing for. Stay tuned!
As usual, the HelpMaster stand was displaying our "Australian Made" banner. We also went with the simple "Helpdesk Software" fascia, rather than "ITSM", the company name, or some such acronym that means nothing to most. This approach stopped a lot of people in their tracks. We were encouraged by the number of people that were pleasantly surprised by the combination of these "Australian-made", and "Helpdesk Software". Now you know! There is Australian made Helpdesk Software out there. It was great to connect with IT workers and consultants that were impressed and interested to find us.
Many people using foreign-made ITSM software were dismayed by the lack of product support outside of sales channels. Again, the face-to-face communication that CeBIT offers us provides valuable insight.
There is still a market for on-premise software, and it was reassuring to meet many who preferred their helpdesk and business data to be fully controlled by them, on-site, using their infrastructure. It seems the SAAS market has burned quite a few service-desk operations with limited reporting AND a lack of in-app reporting. This can be a deadly combination for SAAS vendors.
A very common question we faced this year was "What is the licensing and cost for this product?" We actually ran out of our licensing and pricing brochure because of this (note for next year). The perpetual licensing model of HelpMaster also means that you can buy the software once, and use it forever. No more vendor-lock-in with monthly fees, and holding your data. It was interesting to see the positive reaction of people when they enquired about our licensing model, and they loved the fact that we were upfront about all costs, no jumping through hoops or vague answers.
As usual, we also met a number of businesses that are using Outlook as a support and helpdesk system. For start-ups and small business, this is a natural occurrence, however this year we met more than a few mid-sized, well established businesses (household name businesses) that are still colour-coding email, sorting into customer folders and tagging email for various staff to respond to.
If you are a business that is still running your customer support operations entirely out of email, please know that there is a much better way that will yield a massive increase in productivity, transparency, efficiency and overall customer satisfaction. Check out http://www.helpmasterpro.com/Product/Features/Email-to-ticket-conversion Contact us for a demo and let us show you! The HelpMaster Email Manager is one of the most popular and powerful components of HelpMaster.
Trade-shows are a highlight of the year for us. It's great to get out of the office, mix it up and meet people face-to-face. It gives us an opportunity to test our software against the reality of a "give me a 2 minute demo". It's like an elevator pitch for software demos. Most importantly, it gives us the chance meet with existing clients, meet new people, connect with old acquaintances and strengthen the bonds of business friendships once again.
Thanks to everyone that stopped at the HelpMaster stand to say hi. We really appreciate it.