Atlassian this week announced it has acquired Halp, a provider of a help desk platform that employs Slack as its user interface.
Steve Goldsmith, head of product integrations at Atlassian, said Halp will provide organizations with a way to manage lightweight processes via an interface that is already commonly used within many organizations. The goal is to provide a level of integration between Halp and the JIRA Service Desk platform from Atlassian to handle more complex requests, he said.
The Halp platform has already been integrated with Confluence, a knowledge base platform from Atlassian that enables help desk staff to share best practices for resolving known issues. Deeper integrations with JIRA and Confluence will be forthcoming, added Goldsmith.
At the same time, Atlassian is working on tighter integration between its service desk platform and Microsoft Teams, which has emerged as a popular alternative to Slack, he noted.
Halp CEO Fletcher Richman said that approach has gained traction because the biggest challenge when it comes to help desks is making it as easy as possible for an employee to generate a help ticket. Halp addresses that issue by enabling end users to simply drag and drop on an emoji to generate a help desk ticket.
The help desk staff is then provided a web interface through which they can remotely manage tickets and respond to requests via Slack. That approach eliminates the need for the help desk staff to be physically located in an office or employ a virtual private network (VPN) to access a help desk platform running on a local area network, he said.
Richman noted too often employees wind up supporting each other because the process of generating a ticket is too complex. At a time when many employees are working from home to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not really possible for employees to currently provide that mutual support.
It’s not really clear to how many employees might ever be heading back into an office at this point, so Halp also provides a way for remote employees to more easily remain productive, he added.
Slack and JIRA, of course, are already de facto standards among many DevOps teams. Halp should provide developers with a means to instantly resolve a wide range of low-level issues in near real-time by generating a help desk ticket via Slack.
Richman noted that for any IT service management (ITSM) platform to be successful, it needs to meet users where they are. If the platform is too complex or intimidating, users will look to their fellow employees for help first. Before long, however, all the mutual support saps productivity. By making help just a simple Slack message away, many more issues will be resolved by help desk personnel who already know the right answer, he said.
It’s too early to say how many more help desk tickets might be generated because of Slack. However, in the wake of the rush to remotely enable the entire enterprise, the need for an easier way to provide support is now more apparent than ever.