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Vanilla Help Desk or scalable software?

“We are looking for an out-of-the-box Help Desk tool”, “Do you have a demand template that applies to all? “, “Are applications and HR-related processes standard? “; Here are some comments and questions that we have heard recently. There are many advantages to using some basic templates or a “vanilla” version help desk tool, but there are also many advantages to customizing your software and some of its components. Some prioritize the turnkey- type solution with their simplicity and their exploitation / rapid operational deployment. Others are looking for flexible software where demand extensions, categorizations and prioritizations can be easily configured.

This article will explain what these benefits are and will make you aware that the time spent on customization can be cost effective.

Vanilla templates: the pros and cons

Many tools come with generic templates or are available for use without customization, or with very little customization. Let’s take here for example the change management or problem management process. Even the incident management process can have its template.

Of course, there are some advantages to using these templates, for example:

  • Saving time (and money)
  • Starting faster using the tool
  • Not asking about current and desired processes in our company

However, there are also some disadvantages:

  • These processes can be too complex for your needs, or not enough
  • Templates cannot have your “language”, be less intuitive for your customers and resources
  • These templates are not necessarily tailored to your business environment
  • The automation configuration of these templates may not meet your needs

So even with the use of templates and vanilla process, it is to your advantage to implement a minimum of customization on your part to be successful and achieve your short- and long-term goals (user satisfaction, response time and improved resolution, percentage use of the self-service portal to eliminate some manual recurring tasks.

How does personalization make life easier for users?

When we talk about customizing your tool, several elements can be customized, among others:

  • ​Customer Portal: colours, logos, and terminology can be adapted to serve the customer better, offering him a suitable interface where he will feel supported and easily supported.
  • Special demand forms
  • Varied automation: View ITSM Automation Guide.

It can be demanding at times to customize the tool during initial implantation; however, this time will be rewarded with a tool that perfectly meets your needs and the time required for manually handling errors will be reduced, and some will avoid, and thus, the performance of your employees will be positively impacted.

Benefits of customization

Customer Portal: colours, logos, terminology

  • Using your colours and logos will make your website portal a tool that will look more professional in customers’ eyes.
  • Using your terminology will allow your customers to find them more easily because they will see the usual terms of your business.

Special requests forms

  • The fact that we customize the demands form will help your customers as much as your resources and even your managers.
    • For customers, this will be a good way to document their requests or problems properly.
    • For your resources, they can work faster on the application, as they will have fewer questions to the customer, with more information on hand.
    •  For managers, having more defined forms will help them create reports and statistics more easily.
  • It can be long to set up these forms; however, this will save many your resources time. If it takes about an hour to set up a form and saves 5 minutes of your clients and resources’ time, imagine the amount of time you will have saved after a week, a month, a year, or even more!
  • There will be less exchange between the resource and the client, thus positively impacting each and all.


  • Automation is the most underestimated aspect when customizing a tool but it is also the most powerful. We must think of the process of setting up, configuring, and testing them. However, automation can actually save time and money in the long run.
  • When it comes to automation, here are some examples of processes that need to be automated:
    • Hiring / Departure of an Employee Process
    • Access Approval Process
    • Major Incident Process
    • Change Management Process
    • Climbing a ticket to the next level
    • Sending email at critical times
    • Service Contract Renewal
  • A vanilla process can give you an idea of ​​how to work, but as every business is different and has different needs, it will change the base template to fit your reality sooner or later. Why wait if it saves time for everyone?

In short, as you can see, there are several advantages to customizing the environment for a software solution Help Desk or Service Desk type as part of a service / ITSM management practice. The personalization makes sense and will be profitable when the scope or managers integrate it at the very beginning of the project. Note that this step may also be implemented after the deployment of you tool.