I spend a lot of time talking about the accounting software space and bemoaning the absence of a nice set of standard formats to ease transactions between different applications. Given this fact then I was pretty interested to hear about the launch of NetworkedHelpDesk.org, an initiative that seeks to create seamless communication among multiple partners and suppliers to hopefully deliver better customer experience.

The rationale for the offering is that organizations with multiple partners, suppliers or departments typically use disparate systems to perform project management, customer relationship management, or customer support. The initiative provides a uniform way to connect these disparate systems for seamless collaboration through an open API.

Founding partners of the initiative are Atlassian, New Relic, OTRS, Pivotal Tracker, Service Now, SugarCRM, and Zendesk, while a bunch of other applications endorse this open standard including Coherence Design, Connect2Field, CustomWare, Freshbooks, GroundWork, PagerDuty, Pervasive, Rypple, Twilio, and Wildbit.

At the Atlassian summit today the first fruits of this link up were announced with the beta release of an integration between Atlassian JIRA and Zendesk that was developed using the open API. This integration allows engineering and customer support organizations to seamlessly collaborate on resolving customer issues.
For example, when an issue comes into the customer support team via the Zendesk help desk, the support agent may recognize that the issue requires assistance from the engineering team. That support issue now can be sent from Zendesk to the engineering team’s JIRA issue tracking system through a single ticket.

Zendesk is using the open standard themselves to provide their own customers with something new – Zendesk Ticket Sharing is a feature that allows a support agent to share a customer support request from their help desk with another organization also using Zendesk perhaps a partner or supplier. All of the support interaction is then documented to make sure that no details slip through the cracks, and problems are resolved faster. Previously there was no integration and hence no visibility into cross-team customer support.

Sri Vemuri from Harvest, a Zendesk customer, appreciates the utility of this feature, saying that;

Sharing tickets is extremely useful when we receive inquiries better suited for our integration partners, like Syncr. Our support team no longer needs to spend precious moments sending the ticket off in a separate email, and our customers don’t have to wait for a long time. Instead, we share a direct line of support that always gives us visibility into the progress of the support request, and ultimately results in a faster resolution for our customers.

I’m a big fan of open standards and even more so when competing vendors come up with them of their own accord. It’s really an example of the rising tide theory and help desks just won’t be the same again.

Disclosure – I previously contributed to the Zendesk customer support blog and am an adviser to Connect2Field

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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