Spiceworks vs. Zendesk

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Spiceworks vs. Zendesk
Spiceworks vs. Zendesk

Spiceworks and Zendesk are two help desk solutions that offer a low-cost but effective way to streamline your IT workload. They measure up really well against a much more expensive competition and we were pleasantly surprised by the amount of features they offer.

We performed an in-depth analysis of both solutions and stacked them up against each other comparing them in various categories: Intended users, Features, Customization and Interface, and Pricing.

Intended users – Spiceworks vs. Zendesk

Spiceworks is a free service and as such, it is best suited for small and medium businesses that require a simple help desk solution. It’s browser-based network management and administration program contains all the core features that will satisfy the needs of an IT department. If you need management for a network that has less than 1000 devices, Spiceworks will fit in your requirement perfectly.

Zendesk is also best suited for SMB’s and really shines with it comes to customer service oriented businesses. If a business requires a lot of customer interaction, Zendesk offers a solid help desk software with an abundance of help resources.

Pricing Info – Spiceworks vs. Zendesk

Spiceworks stands out from its peers as it is available free of cost and they charge no fee for hosting, storage etc. They don’t impose admin limit or ticket limit as well.

With pricing ranging from $5 a month per agent to $99 for the enterprise version, Zendesk is extremely competitive in the market and is being used to serve even some of the leading international companies.

Detailed pricing plans are as below: Essential ( 5USD per agent per month), Team ( 19 USD per agent per month), Professional ( 49 USD per agent per month), Enterprise ( 99 USD per agent per month).

Features – Spiceworks vs. Zendesk

Ticket management is one of the most important features in a help desk solution and both Spiceworks and Zendesk have a highly developed ticket management system. All the basic functions are the same, but we got the feeling that Spiceworks offered more focus to the IT agents and their needs while Zendesk had the customer’s needs at the top of the list.

Spiceworks offers ticketing through user portal, email, or in the Admin user interface. It also includes ticket auto-assignment to designated IT specialist through “Ticket Rules” and offers ticket collaboration that helps resolve the issue faster.

You can attach private comments and option for replies and add additional fields in the ticket window itself. It is quite obvious that Spiceworks had the IT agents in mind when designing the UI.

Zendesk makes ticketing possible through the Web, email, telephone, and social media as well which is really neat. What we found really helpful is that their interface combines all phone calls, email, live chat, social media, and help center questions in one single view.

This feature helps agents to distinguish urgent requests and keep track of important issues. Once a ticket is created, an agent can assign custom notes that really help speed up a process, especially when a ticket is being handled by multiple agents.

Zendesk offers more ways for ticket creation, but relies more on the agent doing the legwork. There is no distinct edge when it comes to ticket management between Spiceworks and Zendesk, it is only the slight difference in focus groups that they have.

Reporting is on the satisfying level in both cases and it offers all the standard options with small differences between the two. It is easy to create and access reports and data interpretation is really good.

Not a single piece of information was more than a couple of clicks away on both platforms and we had no issues with them what so ever. As for the depth of the reports, Spiceworks has the advantage here as they offer detailed reporting for all price ranges while some of the detailed analytics are missing for the Zendesk basic plan, although fully available in the top two pricing tiers.

Customization and Interface are something that these companies took a different approach to. While both interfaces were responsive and well designed, some major differences were noticeable between the two.

Spiceworks focused heavily on making the interface as customizable as possible with lots of options to choose from. They offer standard and advanced customer data sets as well as the option to implement over 150 third-party extensions and rearrange the interface.

Zendesk took a much simpler approach and their interface looks minimalistic comparing to Spiceworks. There is nothing to steal your attention and the amount of data is considerably lower, but that isn’t to say that any crucial data is missing.

Everything essential is displayed and we found no need to switch between tabs in order to get the job done. The amount of time you would spend customizing the UI of Spiceworks is about the same as the amount needed to get used to Zendesk interface. It is a matter of personal preference, but the slight advantage here goes to Spiceworks.

All the other features are more or less the same and performance was overall satisfying on both platforms. As for the extra features that these solutions offer, we really liked the Spiceworks community with more than 750,000 members which is a great asset to have. On the other hand, Zendesk offers a great tool to measure customer satisfaction which is an important aspect of a help desk solution.

Pros and cons

Spiceworks:

Pros

  • Highly customizable user interface
  • Free if you don’t mind advertisements
  • Large community of users and IT experts for help

Cons

  • Can be difficult to install to non Windows systems
  • Reporting only available in table format
  • A bit thin with ticket creation options

Zendesk:

Pros

  • Very user friendly
  • Abundance of ticket creating options
  • Affordable pricing

Cons

  • A bit heavier on the IT agents
  • Takes time getting used to
  • Thin reporting customization in lower price tiers

Bottom line – Spiceworks vs. Zendesk

Both Spiceworks and Zendesk offer very good help desk solutions and are intended for small and medium businesses, but their approach is slightly different and that is the main difference.

There is no clear winner between the two and it all comes down to the preferences you have about setting up a help desk platform that best suits your needs.

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Shlomi holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Information system engineering from Ben Gurion University in Israel. Shlomi brings 10 years of IT and IS management experience in consulting, selecting and implementing information systems for small and global companies.

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