IT Help Desk Jobs: Online Resources for Software as a Service (SaaS)

By Tyler Regas

Working an IT help desk job will likely mean you will need to know about SaaS. More and more people and businesses are using Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions for operations instead of monolithic applications and classic client/server applications. Following is a list of a range of popular services that provide a range of functions for businesses:

  • Google Apps for Work: Exchange is becoming less and less of an option for enterprise email as the Internet grows as a vehicle for applications, and Google’s Apps for Work (GAW) has become one of the most popular options. Offering email, messaging, document storage, collaboration, calendaring, and many other features, GAW can be easily integrated into most any company’s operations.

    GAW works much like Gmail does, but eliminates ads and has comprehensive administration controls and domain integration capabilities. It costs $5 per month, per user, or $50 per user, per year.

  • Microsoft Office 365: Don’t get the idea that Microsoft has been sitting on its thumbs while Google was establishing a foothold in its territory. Office 365 for Business is Microsoft’s answer to GAW, but takes a different tack. Office 365 has three versions. The $5 per month version gives you access to online-only tools, email, online file storage, messaging, and conferencing.

    The $12.50 per month version offers everything from the $5 per month version and adds installation of Office applications and file editing on tablets and other compatible mobile devices. There is also an $8.25 per month version that offers only the desktop applications, online Office apps, and file storage. All accounts come with 1TB of online file storage.

  • Zendesk: Arguably one of the most popular SaaS help desk solutions is Zendesk. As companies grow, they need to develop a greater sense of accountability, track completion of tasks, establish pipelines for triage and solutions, and identify opportunities for improvement. One of the primary tools in this battle is the ticketing system. Zendesk offers all the features of a ticketing system, but online. That way, you don’t have to support an installation of a monolithic application.

    Zendesk also has a very large number of integration tools for other services, and even has an API for integration into anything not already covered. Of course, you should have some developers to make that happen. Zendesk is priced to move. The Starter account is $12 a year per engineer if paid annually. Bump up to the Regular level, and it’s $300 a year, but you get added features and a custom domain. The price goes up from there.