Spiceworks Adds Tool to Match MSPs with Customers Needing IT Help

The tool is a new part of the company's user community, where IT people can seek help with IT issues.

Todd R. Weiss

September 24, 2019

4 Min Read

SPICEWORKS SPICEWORLD 2019 — Users of Spiceworks’ free help desk services now have a new built-in online search tool that can help them find qualified and local IT help for difficult problems when they don’t know where to start.

The new service provider matching tools are part of the Spiceworks help desk user community, where millions of IT users in companies from small to large look for technical advice and help to solve their IT issues.

Included in the online listings so far are about 63,000 MSP and other IT service provider resources, Francois Caron, the executive director of product management for Spiceworks, told Channel Futures here at the company’s annual conference in Austin, Texas. The service-provider matching tool was introduced in September after being released to the Spiceworks community portal in preview earlier this year.

The new feature was inspired by many conversations with IT users who have been having trouble finding qualified service providers near them to help solve vexing IT problems, he said.


Spiceworks’ Francois Caron

“We were talking to IT pros about their pain points,” and finding help seemed to be a common problem, said Caron. In addition, many IT customers were also seeking help to deploy and manage IT systems for them and didn’t know where to start looking for qualified service providers.

Using the service provider matching tool in the Spiceworks community portal, those IT users can now identify the technology they need help with, find a service provider based on their location, describe their IT help needs in detail and review the providers that pop up in the listings. Users are provided with the name of a person to contact and the ability to communicate through a private message to start.

There is no cost to service providers and other channel partners to be included in the listings, said Manish Dixit, senior vice president of products and engineering for Spiceworks. To get into the database, channel partners can go to the Spiceworks website and register their business. They can create a detailed profile of their work, including the services they offer, as well as their business focus on customers from SMBs to enterprises.

Many of the partners listed in the portal so far are services companies that have been participating for some time in the user-fueled Spiceworks community, said Dixit.


Spiceworks’ Manish Dixit

“Sometimes an IT pro might ask, ‘Hey, I have to deploy this technology and I need someone to help me out,'” so they post on the portal, said Dixit. “And service providers want to be part of that conversation.”

The new feature can help IT users while also bringing potential new opportunities to channel partners, he said.

Also announced by Spiceworks on the first day of the SpiceWorld conference was the company’s new on-premises help desk server application, which lets service providers or any business user deploy their own install of the Spiceworks help desk instead of having to use the online, cloud-based portal. For some service providers and end-user customers, the on-prem version can be desirable because it removes security and regulatory concerns compared to the cloud version, while also providing better performance for users with bandwidth challenges.

The new help desk server application is free, with the initial version only being …

… available for deployment as a virtual appliance, said Caron. For MSPs that want to provide management services to customers for the application, they can install one instance of the help desk and provide services to multiple organizations from the same instance.

“It helps the channel because they can easily manage their multiple customers because of the multiorganizational capabilities, said Dixit. Most users of the on-premises version are using it through an MSP and not on their own.

The new on-prem help desk server replaces a legacy version of the service that was previously available as Desktop Help Desk 7.5 some 10 years ago. Another previous service was Spiceworks cloud help desk, but it had performance and security limitations due to its cloud ties.

By providing the help desk server for free use by MSPs and other service providers, Spiceworks is giving them another tool that could help partners increase their revenue and end-user services, said Caron.

“An MSP is a very low-margin business,” said Caron. “Every dollar saved at the end of the month is a big thing. For small- and medium-size MSPs, that’s a real game-changer.”

Spiceworks is a professional network of more than 7 million members who use the company’s online user support forums on a regular basis. Spiceworks, which is often referred to as the Facebook of the IT world, offers a variety of free help desk and other services that are widely used by businesses of all sizes. The free services are provided through an ad-supported business model.

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About the Author(s)

Todd R. Weiss

Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist who covers open source and Linux, cloud service providers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, mobile devices, security, enterprise applications, enterprise IT, software development and QA, IoT and more. He has worked previously as a staff writer for Computerworld and eWEEK.com, covering a wide variety of IT beats. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies and collecting toy taxis from around the world.

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