Implementing Service Desk in the Condomimium Association
Role: Chairman of the Homeowners Association
Period: since October 2023.

There is a compact international community representing Denmark, Poland, Germany, and Russia -12 units overall.
One of the tasks is to improve the management and maintenance process and provide one single entry point for all corresponding requests and information space for homeowners.
After a brief discussion with board members, I’ve come up with the idea of the implementation of the Ticket management system. It didn’t take me long to think about – I’ve formalized the criteria for the product:
1. Free -no need to pay - obligatory.
2. Minimum agents – 2 - obligatory.
3. Has different types of tickets (questions, maintenance, etc) - obligatory.
4. Has Knowledgebase accessed by agents and customers - obligatory.
5. Has a Discussion board or community board (to discuss improvements and other things with all owners) – nice to have.
6. Has workflow and basic automation (rules and SLA) – nice to have.
7. Has private access - user registration should be approved, or user invited only- obligatory.
A brief search by the first criteria (free accounts) gave me a list of around 10 products, 5 were selected to be evaluated according to all 7 criteria.
Final list:
1. ZohoDesk – I knew this pretty well, since 2015 using it for ticketing in ProActive Software, was my preferred one, but suddenly their cut off the Knowledge base from a free package
Score - 5 of 7 of Requirements – No Discussion board and Knowledge base in the free edition.
2. Jira Service Management – I had a lot of experience since 2000 as a user and implementor in all of the projects and companies I’ve worked for. Medicata was the last one – Jira and Confluence have been used extensively from Development and Deployment to Legal and Accounting, but not for the help desk, just because it wasn’t as nice and smooth as Zendesk.
Score 6 o7.
3. FreshDesk – Modern look, up to 10 agents, nice dashboards and knowledge base, workflows, automation, everything looks perfect.
Score 6 of 7
4. LiveAgent Desk – simple, a bit outdated UI – there are limits of features – no customer lists, no customer portal knowledge base and Discussion board -
Score 5 of 7 of Requirements – No Discussion board and Knowledge base.
5. HubSpot Service -Nice design, but limited features in the free edition. Every time I evaluated HubSpot, it didn’t fit my requirements somehow, it was the third or fourth time that HubSpot appeared in my evaluation list and lost in the competition.
Score 5 of 7 of Requirements – No Discussion board and Knowledge base.
Service desk evaluation
FreshDesk and Jira appeared to be head-to-head competitors.

Pros – 10 agents on free plan, all basic features on free plan, except discussion board, good looking UI, clear and simple built-in dashboard, very intuitive and easy in configuration and management, extensive knowledge base.
Cons - Customs fields and ticket security available on paid plan, one queue (project) only. Automation can be triggered by ticket creation event only (free plan limitation).

Pros – Flexibility, any scenario or workflow is possible any custom fields and workflows, a lot of triggers like change of field or issue transition, request, or issue type. Role based model, custom request and issue types and so on. Jira is a like a Swiss army knife -it has a tool for practically any business process you need.
Cons - Outdated UI, especially for the end-users, complexity, and time consuming in initial setup – other side of great flexibility.

It was a hard choice for me - 10 agents, nice and simple UI on one hand and great flexibility and my experience on the other.
Despite my likeness of getting experience of new products, I’ve decided to stick with Jira.