Jira Service Desk: Low starting price with a steep ramp. Easy to deploy and highly customizable solution. But without additional product licensing, it lacks a knowledge base, complete security, or asset register.
People who don’t embrace the full Jira suite of tools won’t be able to get the most out of Service Desk. Atlassian Corp is an Australian software company started in 2002 by two university students who could borrow money on a credit card. And, it has since grown to employ 130,000 customers and 3,000 staff supporting millions of customers.
Two of the most successful product lines are the wiki collaboration and management tool Confluence, and the Jira line of issue tracking products.
Jira Service Desk (opens in new tab) is part of the latter collection and was designed to support any modern IT team fielding customer requests and issues.
Starting at just $10 for up to three agents per month, is this the affordable ticketing system that so many companies are trying to find?
Jira Service Desk Features
A new customer visiting the Jira website may be confused about exactly the right software for them, as Jira Service Desk is not the only help desk solution that Atlassian sells.
It also has Jira Core and Jira Software, so let’s explain how these differ from Jira Service Desk.
JiraCore is a basic project management tool, intended to help an organization implement change in a way where everyone understands the critical path and their part in it.
Jira Software is also a management tool, but it focuses on software development and integrates the tools used in these processes with functionality to keep all developers connected to other team members and their code on a larger project. can be kept
Both of these solutions are integrated with Jira Service Desk, although they can work independently, for field service requests, change, issue tracking, and asset management that are presented to IT, and support staff.
Like every help desk solution we’ve reviewed, it’s a ticketing system that allows users to make requests via a software portal, email, or phone call.
What Jira doesn’t actively support is social media, although we’re sure there are ways you can convert service requests from those channels into emails.
Tickets are grouped under projects, allowing multiple service contracts to be handled by one system, and agents can then manually or automatically track and resolve tickets assigned to them.
When you first install the system, it asks several important questions about what type of support is needed and how tickets will be allocated. These choices enable some pre-configuration for ticketing templates, but if they’re not appropriate, that’s going to change everything.
Service request types, agent roles, SLAs, workflows, and a million other things can be easily edited by admins. And, you can control what permissions each user role or team has.
What isn’t included by default is a knowledge base for users to help themselves before calling an agent to deal with their problem. This functionality exists but uses Jira’s Confluence software that must be licensed in addition to Jira Service Desk.
Many businesses use Confluence to document projects, define service agreements, and track business processes, but this is an additional licensing cost that nearly doubles the cost of using the Jira Service Desk. If all agents need to create knowledge base content.
A very attractive feature is that Jira has an application marketplace, which allows additional code to be bolted onto the Service Desk framework.
As of the time of writing, there are 668 apps in the Atlassian Marketplace, which provide all kinds of enhancements and integrations with commonly used business applications.
Scripted automation, Gantt charts, asset management, embedded diagrams, and the list of available extensions is practically endless.
For example; There are 29 apps for connecting Jira Service Desk with Google services and apps, and another 25 created for Microsoft technologies to do the same.
Some of these tools are great and free, and others, such as asset management tools, come with an additional monthly cost.
Without some apps, Jira Service Desk’s functionality seems basic in places, but they add a high level of customization that goes beyond aesthetics.
Jira Service Desk Interface
Jira has a very clean and attractive interface that follows the well-worn path of having a hierarchical menu on the left and content on the right.
It’s generally pretty easy to follow, but for those who aren’t familiar with it, there may be some jargon that might confuse them.
While in Jira Service Desk you will occasionally need to access settings or features that are part of the larger Jira Cloud service. And, selecting them can take you to a web page with no obvious way back to the top-level menu.
They can also have a very different visual style, highlighting that you’ve left behind the relative security of the Jira Service Desk.
That they are different is probably a good thing, but it would be useful to easily get back without using some anchor system browser history.
If the default interface is not in company colors, the admin login allows changing the look and feel of the product, adding colors, logos, and icons to whatever style is needed.
There’s nothing revolutionary about Jira Service Desk’s interface, but it works reasonably well.
Jira Service Desk Security
When anyone reviews security, they have a list of features they would like to see offered, and Jira Service Desk has most of these key features.
However, what you don’t get is SAML single sign-on, two-step authentication, password policies, and user provisioning as standard.
To get either of these you need a license subscription to Atlassian Access, and for the first ten users that costs $30 per month, and then it works out to about $3 per agent above that volume.
This service controls access and security across all Atlassian Cloud services and can be connected to Okta, Adaptive, Google Cloud Identity, Azure AD, Onelogin, and ADFS
But getting anything other than password entry forces you to quickly add the cost of this service ramps up. It also adds additional complexity in situations where the user only wants two-factor authentication, and nothing else.
That there is no layer between Atlassian Access’s enterprise-grade security controls and the very basic ones offered by default is disappointing.
Jira Service Desk Plans and pricing
Jira Service Desk is aggressively priced to engage businesses.
The biggest lure is that the first three agents only cost $10 a month as a monthly fee, but strangely, it gets more expensive as the price increases initially.
The first 15 agents cost $20 per month if paid monthly. Above these numbers, costs increase in the expected direction, with 85 agents costing just $15, and 150, a very affordable $8 per month.
Once you reach $250, each additional agent costs just one dollar, and you can lower the overall cost by signing up for an annual contract.
It’s important to understand that all of these tiers add up, so if you have 60 agents, for example, you’re billed for 15 at a $20 price tag and then 45 at a $15 price tag.
This scheme avoids a scenario in the pricing model, where having more agents leads to higher overall costs. A problem that other vendors have created by accident.
If you want to use this solution with Jira software, you will need licenses for both.
As we mentioned earlier, Atlassian Access will also be required if you want more than the basic security license.
And, if you want to build an extensive self-help system, you’ll also need Confluence licenses, and they start at an additional $5 per agent per month.
When you factor in the premium pricing as well as ongoing costs and training for admins and agents with some paid apps from the marketplace, spending on this solution may undoubtedly require approval from senior management.
We conclude that Jira Service Desk is not the bargain that $10 for three agents might indicate, and that the company will deal with larger software development or IT service companies than small businesses.
As part of this pitch, they also offer a customer server installed option for a single payment.
That’s $56,900 for 251+ agents, but you can have three agents for just $10 and fifty for $16,500. Alternatively, for those where downtime is not acceptable, they also have a data center option, priced at an annual license starting at $12,000 for 50 users.
Server installations have an ongoing maintenance cost (first year free), although this is included in the annual cost of the data center.
These choices enable enterprises to have more control over their Jira Service Desk instances, but depending on the number of agents, it can also be on the expensive side.
What we can’t deny is that Jira Service Desk’s customer base is generally very happy with this solution, even with a complicated pricing scheme.
We would recommend proper planning of any deployment and subsequent steps before investing time and resources into it.
For those who want to use other Jira products and services, this software is the obvious choice as it integrates seamlessly with Confluence and Jira Core.
Used in isolation it’s still a decent solution and reasonably priced, but you don’t get the benefits of all the other Atlassian products.
For a small business that needs an IT help desk solution, the likes of Zoho (opens in new tab) and Happyfox (opens in new tab) offer more functionality for your money. Where Jira Service Desk can be ideal for large businesses tracking software updates, squashing bugs, and unexpected hardware issues.