Networked Help Desk

Networked Help Desk is an open standard initiative to provide a common API for sharing customer support tickets between separate instances of issue tracking, bug tracking, customer relationship management (CRM) and project management systems to improve customer service and reduce vendor lock-in.[3][4] The initiative was created by Zendesk in June 2011 in collaboration with eight other founding member organizations including Atlassian, New Relic, OTRS, Pivotal Tracker, ServiceNow and SugarCRM.[5][6] The first integration, between Zendesk and Atlassian's issue tracking product, JIRA,[5] was announced at the 2011 Atlassian Summit.[7] By August 2011, 34 member companies had joined the initiative.[8] A year after launching, over 50 organizations had joined.[9] Within Zendesk instances this feature is branded as ticket sharing.[10][11][12]

Networked Help Desk
Networked Help Desk Logo.jpg
Networked Help Desk logo
First publishedJune 2011
Latest version1.0[1]
Base standardsHTTP, JSON, REST[1]
Related standardsJSR 91: OSS Trouble Ticket API[2]
DomainIssue tracking, Bug tracking, Customer relationship management, Project management.[1]


Support tools are generally built around a common paradigm that begins with a customer making a request or an incident report, these create a ticket. Each ticket has a progress status and is updated with annotations and attachments. These annotations and attachments may be visible to the customer (public) or only visible to analysts (private). Customers are notified of progress made on their ticket until it is complete. If the people necessary to complete a ticket are using separate support tools, additional overhead is introduced in maintaining the relevant information in the ticket in each tool while notifying the customer of progress made by each group in completing their ticket. For example, if a customer support issue is caused by a software bug and reported to a help desk using one system, and then the fix is documented by the developers in another, and analyzed in a customer relationship management tool, keeping the records in each system up-to-date and notifying the customer manually using a swivel chair approach is unnecessarily time-consuming and error-prone. If information is not transferred correctly, a customer may have to re-explain their problem each time their ticket is transferred.[13][14]

For systems with the Networked Help Desk API implemented, it is possible for several different applications related to a customer's support experience to synchronize data in one uniquely identified shared ticket.[15] While many applications in these domains have implemented APIs that allow data to be imported, exported and modified, Network Help Desk provides a common standard for customer support information to automatically synchronize between several systems.[13] Once implemented two systems can quickly share tickets with just a configuration change as they both understand the same interface.[16]

Communication between two instances on a specific ticket occurs in three steps, an invitation agreement, sharing of ticket data and continued synchronization of tickets.[16] The standard allows for "full delegation" (analysts in both systems each make public and private comments and synchronize status) as well as "partial delegation" where the instance receiving the ticket can only make private comments and status changes are not synchronized.[10][17] Tickets may be shared with multiple instances.[11]

Implementation listEdit

System Implementors Language Status Launch date Refs
Request Tracker Ruslan Zakirov of Best Practical Perl Complete 2011-08-10 [18]
YouTrack Java Complete 2013-01-31 [19]
Zendesk Darren Boyd, Pierre Schambacher and Josh Lubaway Ruby Complete 2011-06-01 [20][21]
HostBill (from Atlassian) PHP Complete 2012-05-05 [22][23][24][25]
JIRA (from Atlassian) Java Complete 2011-06-01 [26]
Node.js JavaScript Incomplete [27]


Harvey Kandola of Countersoft suggested that it would be preferable to have a single application that consolidates all tracking related functions, rather than using multiple tools and "connecting the dots" with initiatives like the Networked Help Desk.[28]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "The Networked Help Desk 1.0 Protocol". 2011-06-01. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  2. ^ "The Java Community Process(SM) Program - JSRs: Java Specification Requests - detail JSR# 091". 2007-08-21.
  3. ^ "Open Standard for Customer Service and Help Desks". 2011-06-01.
  4. ^ Asay, Matt (2011-06-01). "One help desk API to unite them all: Down with the Software Tower of Babel". The Register. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  5. ^ a b Carr, David F. (2011-06-07). "Help Desk Shuffle: Will New Standard Help?". InformationWeek. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  6. ^ "Networked Help Desk Members". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  7. ^ Latkiewicz, Matthew (2011-06-07). "Zendesk's JIRA Integration Rocks!". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  8. ^ " Welcomes 34 New Member Companies". 2011-08-12. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  9. ^ " One Year Later". 2012-05-31. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  10. ^ a b "Share Customer Support Tickets Seamlessly with Zendesk". 2011-06-02. Archived from the original on 2011-10-28. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  11. ^ a b Latkiewicz, Matthew (2011-06-06). "Share Support Tickets Across Multiple Zendesks With Our New Ticket Sharing Feature". Archived from the original on 2014-01-22. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  12. ^ Latkiewicz, Matthew (2011-06-06). "Networked Help Desk: An Open Standard for Better Customer Service". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  13. ^ a b Feil, George (2011-06-08). "Building the Web 3.0: NetworkedHelpDesk". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  14. ^ Weinberger, Matthew (2011-06-07). " Helping Partners Break Help Desk Barriers?". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  15. ^ Finley, Klint (2011-06-07). "New API Aims to Unite Customer Service Applications". ReadWrite. Archived from the original on 2013-09-23. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  16. ^ a b Hinchcliffe, Dion (2011-06-18). "Enabling collaboration with open APIs". ZDNet. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  17. ^ "API Walkthough". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  18. ^ "GitHub - bestpractical/rt-extension-nhd". 2011-08-10. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  19. ^ "Integration with Zendesk". Archived from the original on 2016-04-21. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  20. ^ "GitHub - zendesk/ticket_sharing: Ticket Sharing". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  21. ^ "Résumé of Darren Boyd". Archived from the original on 2017-11-11. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  22. ^ "HostBill 3.4.1 Release – introducing ticket sharing". Archived from the original on 2017-10-02. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  23. ^ "Configuring support: Ticket Sharing". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  24. ^ "Configuring Support". Archived from the original on 2016-03-30. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  25. ^
  26. ^ Yan, Steven. "Setting up and using Zendesk for JIRA Server (OnPremise)". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  27. ^ "networkedhelpdesk". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  28. ^ Bridgwater, Adrian (2012-09-07). "Countersoft's One-Stop Task and Project Tracker". Dr. Dobb's Journal. Retrieved 2016-05-06.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit