Zendesk vs. SolarWinds

Brenda Gratas September 26, 2022
- 17 min read

Are you faced with choosing the right IT Service Management (ITSM) solution between Zendesk vs. SolarWinds? In today's fast-paced business environment, optimizing service delivery and enhancing operational efficiency are not merely goals but imperative for staying competitive. Your choice of service desk software can make all the difference in achieving these objectives.

In this blog post, we’ll embark on a deep ITSM tool comparison between these two major players in the ITSM arena. 

But if neither of these platforms perfectly aligns with your organization's distinct needs, we’ll uncover an alternative solution that could be your ideal match – InvGate Service Desk. This robust ITSM solution offers a wide array of features tailored to streamline your service delivery and empower your organization.

Ready to uncover the perfect ITSM solution for your organization? Keep reading!

Table of contents


  • Zendesk stands out for its comprehensive customer support solutions and intuitive interface, although users cite pricing concerns and customization limitations.
  • SolarWinds excels in IT management with robust features, yet users highlight challenges with initial setup and third-party integrations.
  • InvGate Service Desk, on the other hand, offers robust ticketing, user-friendliness, comprehensive asset Management, and top-tier ITSM solutions, emphasizing user adaptability and streamlined operations.
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We tried to be as thorough as possible, but if you don't have enough time to read it through and through, here's (another) TL;DR: InvGate Service Desk can do everything we say here, and you can test it right away for free for 30 days.

Most looked-at features by buyers

When assessing ITSM solutions, buyers tend to concentrate on specific functionalities that cater to their organization's requirements. These desired features play a crucial role in helping them make informed decisions. Let's explore the fundamental aspects that prospective buyers typically consider when comparing ITSM tools.

  1. User-friendly experience and interface - Prospective buyers take the user experience and interface of the platform into account. They focus on how user-friendly it is and how it contributes to user adoption and productivity. An intuitive interface that fosters efficient interaction with the software is highly appreciated. Additionally, organizations with remote or mobile workforces find mobile accessibility to be a significant factor.

  2. Pricing and support - Buyers assess the solution's cost-effectiveness, considering licensing models, subscription plans, and any additional costs associated with features or users. The availability of customer support, documentation, and training resources also significantly influences their decision-making process.

  3. Customization and flexibility - Buyers appreciate software solutions that offer customization options, allowing them to adapt the platform to their unique business needs. This flexibility ensures that the software aligns with their specific workflows and processes, enhancing user satisfaction and overall effectiveness.

  4. Self-service portal and knowledge base - Buyers highly value the inclusion of a self-service portal as it empowers end-users to independently resolve common issues and access relevant information without requiring direct assistance.

  5. Ticket Management System - Buyers attach great importance to having a comprehensive Ticket Management System within their help desk software. This feature enables effective tracking, assignment, and resolution of customer inquiries and support requests.

  6. Streamlined IT service catalog - Organizations often require a service catalog that enables users to request specific IT services or resources. This feature simplifies service requests, provides visibility into available services, and facilitates effective service delivery management.

  7. Scalability - Organizations undergoing growth and evolving needs prioritize solutions that can easily adapt to their expansion and allow for customization. It is crucial for the solution to offer the ability to create custom fields, workflows, and extensions/plugins, enabling organizations to tailor the solution to their specific business requirements.

  8. Support automation and Workflow Management - Buyers actively seek software solutions that offer automation capabilities to streamline everyday tasks such as ticket routing, approvals, and escalations. These automation features enhance efficiency and productivity.

  9. Seamless integration capabilities - Integration with other systems and applications is a critical requirement for buyers, as it ensures smooth data flow and process automation. The ability to integrate with existing tools and platforms is highly valued for improved efficiency and a unified user experience.

  10. Efficient Asset Management - Users prioritize software that provides robust IT Asset Management capabilities to help them maintain accurate inventories and optimize resource utilization within their organizations.

  11. Comprehensive reporting - Buyers seek help desk software with robust reporting tools, including dashboards and reports, to gain valuable insights into their IT operations and performance. This data-driven approach facilitates informed decision-making and continuous service improvement.

  12. ITIL compliance - Many organizations adhere to ITIL best practices for IT Service Management. Buyers may prefer solutions that support ITIL processes, such as Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, and Asset Management, as these processes align with their organizational standards.

What is Zendesk?

Example of Zendesk's interface.

Zendesk for Service is a feature-rich offering created to meet the needs of IT Service Management in businesses. 

Zendesk Inc. is a software development firm that specializes in customer service solutions delivered through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach. The platform equips organizations with resources for individual customer interactions, predictive analytics for typical customer questions, data collection, customer engagement, and valuable insights. It serves customers worldwide in different areas, such as Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and North America.

What users like from Zendesk

Customers have highlighted several benefits of Zendesk, as evidenced by reviews from reputable sources such as Gartner. Here are some of the benefits that have been recognized.

  • A diverse range of features - Zendesk has introduced a wide array of valuable features, including multichannel messaging, workflow management through the flow builder, and advanced knowledge management tools. The Admin Center simplifies configuration tasks, making it easier to handle the platform's complexity.
  • Exceptional customization - The platform's user interface is notable for its outstanding customizability, enabling businesses to tailor it to meet their unique requirements precisely.
  • Expansive app marketplace - Zendesk offers a marketplace with over 1,200 third-party applications and integrations, serving as a valuable resource for organizations seeking to enhance their ITSM capabilities.
  • Comprehensive reporting - Zendesk Explore provides a comprehensive suite of reporting and querying options, enabling informed decision-making and robust performance tracking.
  • Efficient multichannel support - The tool excels in managing tickets across various channels, seamlessly integrating with social media, chat applications, and traditional communication channels like email. This integration ensures that agents have a unified workspace for efficient operations.

What users don’t like from Zendesk

While Zendesk has many strengths and positive attributes, customers have also voiced criticisms and concerns about certain aspects of the platform. These concerns have been gleaned from assessments conducted by sources such as Gartner. Here are some of the shortcomings that have been highlighted.

  • Constraints in reporting and analytics - Although the Explore tool within the platform offers a diverse array of reporting options, users on an Enterprise plan have notably limited options for customizing dashboards. Enhancing this aspect, particularly in conjunction with the pricing structure, is an area of consideration for Zendesk.
  • Integration and compatibility complexity - While the software seamlessly integrates with third-party applications and Zendesk Sell, its proprietary CRM solution, fully harnessing these capabilities frequently requires users to opt for higher-tier plans.
  • Limitations on dashboard customization - Comprehensive dashboard customization is constrained for users on lower-tier plans, primarily being accessible at the Enterprise levels. This limitation can impede the ability to tailor analytics views to specific requirements.
  • Pricing challenges across business sizes - Zendesk's pricing structure can pose difficulties for businesses of varying scales. Starting at $49 per agent per month, it may be prohibitive for small to mid-sized enterprises, and accessing enterprise-level features necessitates higher-cost plans.

What’s Zendesk’s argument over SolarWinds?

While SolarWinds may have its strengths, Zendesk presents a compelling argument against its competitor for several key reasons.

  1. A diverse range of features - Zendesk offers a wide range of features designed to streamline customer support and ITSM processes, making it significantly easier for organizations to navigate and harness the platform's capabilities. 

  2. Exceptional customization - One of Zendesk's standout qualities is its exceptional customizability. This feature enables businesses to tailor the platform to their specific needs precisely. 

  3. Expansive app marketplace - Zendesk's marketplace is home to over 1,200 third-party applications and integrations, making it a valuable resource for organizations looking to augment their ITSM capabilities. 

  4. Comprehensive reporting - Zendesk's reporting and querying capabilities, offered through Zendesk Explore, provide a robust suite of options for data analysis. 

  5. Efficient multichannel support - Zendesk excels in managing customer tickets across various communication channels. This integrated approach ensures support agents have a unified workspace for efficient operations.

What is SolarWinds?

Example of SolarWinds Web Help Desk's interface.

Solarwinds Corporation is a software company specializing in IT systems management. Their main product is SolarWinds Service Desk, which is a cloud-based platform designed for IT Service Management. This platform offers a range of tools and functionalities to make IT operations more efficient and boost productivity. These include automation features, self-service options, tools for managing IT assets, and the ability to integrate with other software systems. The platform is structured into distinct modules for handling incidents, problems, releases, and changes. It also includes a Configuration Management Database (CMDB). Users of this platform can create customized reports to gather valuable insights into their operational processes. 

What users like from SolarWinds

Customers have shared several positive aspects of SolarWinds Service Desk in Gartner reviews. Let's explore some of the benefits highlighted by both customers.

  • User-friendly interface and experience - Customers consistently laud the user-friendly interface and ease of navigation. This makes the platform accessible and straightforward to use for individuals with varying levels of technical expertise.
  • Comprehensive ITSM features - Users have shown strong appreciation for the platform's extensive array of features, including Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, Asset Management, and a service catalog. The platform's all-inclusive nature is highly regarded by its users.
  • Effective IT Asset Management - Users place high importance on the Asset Management capabilities of the software. It enables them to efficiently track hardware, software, licenses, and contracts, resulting in effective ITAM practices.
  • Customization and integration options - Users find great value in the platform's customization capabilities, which enable them to tailor it to their specific requirements. Additionally, the platform's integration capabilities with other tools and services receive high praise from users.
  • Efficiency and productivity improvements - Feedback from users indicates that the software has significantly enhanced efficiency and productivity by streamlining IT operations and providing effective incident resolution processes.

What users don’t like from SolarWinds

While SolarWinds Service Desk has many strengths and positive attributes, it's essential to consider specific customer concerns and criticisms raised by users in Gartner reviews. Here's a look at some of the issues that have been highlighted.

  • Challenges in initial setup and implementation - A few users have mentioned that the initial setup and implementation process of SolarWinds Service Desk can be time-consuming, especially when importing existing inventory.
  • Limited customization options - Users have indicated that the platform's customization options are somewhat restricted and could benefit from expansion to accommodate varying needs.
  • Integration with third-party apps - Users have expressed a desire for improvements in terms of supporting seamless integrations with third-party applications within the SolarWinds Service Desk ecosystem.
  • Limitations in reporting functionality - Users have conveyed the need for enhanced reporting capabilities and more comprehensive analytics within the software to gain deeper insights.
  • Complex workflow - Some users find the workflow within the software to be complex or cumbersome, indicating a need for more streamlined processes to improve user experience.
  • Localization and language support - Some users have recommended that SolarWinds Service Desk should enhance its support for multiple languages and improve localization features to better cater to a diverse user base.
  • Limitations in search functionality - Users have identified limitations in the search functionality of the tool, suggesting the necessity for enhancements in this area to facilitate efficient data retrieval.
  • A desire for additional features - Users have raised the addition of extra features to the tool, such as requests for a calendar booking system, webhooks for integration purposes, and improved functionality on the mobile app.

What’s SolarWinds’s argument over Zendesk?

SolarWinds puts forth a compelling argument against Zendesk for several reasons.

  1. User-friendly interface and experience - Customers consistently applaud the user-friendly interface and ease of navigation within SolarWinds. This emphasis on user-friendliness ensures that the platform is accessible and straightforward for users with varying levels of technical expertise. 

  2. Comprehensive ITSM features - SolarWinds Service Desk has a comprehensive suite of ITSM features, which provides a holistic solution for ITSM needs.

  3. Effective IT Asset Management - Users place significant importance on SolarWinds Service Desk's Asset Management capabilities. The software allows them to efficiently track and manage hardware, software, licenses, and contracts, leading to effective IT Asset Management practices.

  4. Customization and integration options - SolarWinds Service Desk offers substantial customization capabilities, empowering users to tailor the platform to their specific requirements. Furthermore, the platform integrates seamlessly with other tools and services, a feature that receives widespread user praise.

  5. Efficiency and productivity improvements - Feedback indicates that SolarWinds Service Desk helps users streamline processes and facilitates effective incident resolution, improving overall operational efficiency.

Considering InvGate Service Desk as an ITSM solution alternative



While Zendesk and SolarWinds are recognized as strong competitors in the ITSM industry, exploring alternative solutions that can better cater to your organization's specific requirements is crucial. In this context, consider giving thoughtful attention to InvGate Service Desk. 

Let's delve into the advantageous features of InvGate Service Desk that position it as a valuable choice for meeting your organization's ITSM needs.

ITSM excellence with ESM capabilities

Specifically designed for ITSM, InvGate Service Desk seamlessly extends its capabilities to Enterprise Service Management (ESM). It empowers operational departments to enhance their processes and fully embrace the advantages of digital transformation. With a primary focus on ITSM and strong performance in ESM, InvGate Service Desk enables streamlined workflows and comprehensive digital transformation initiatives across all departments.

Comprehensive Asset Management

When integrated with InvGate Insight, organizations gain a comprehensive view of their IT ecosystem, leading to improved service delivery and reduced downtime. InvGate Insight offers a variety of features, including IT Asset Discovery, Inventory Management, Software License Management, and maintenance schedules.

Efficient Ticketing and Incident Management

Example of the Ticket Management view on InvGate Service Desk.

InvGate Service Desk excels in providing robust capabilities for managing tickets and incidents. It empowers IT teams to efficiently track, collaborate, and resolve incidents, enabling effective prioritization. With features such as automated ticket routing, customizable workflows, and SLA Management, InvGate Service Desk significantly enhances the efficiency of incident resolution processes.

Exceptional user experience


InvGate Service Desk prioritizes delivering an outstanding user experience through meticulous design and adherence to UI/UX best practices. Its intuitive interface promotes rapid adoption, reducing the need for extensive training and enabling users to be productive.

Comprehensive reporting and analytics

InvGate Service Desk's customizable dashboard view.

InvGate Service Desk offers comprehensive reporting and analytics functionalities, allowing organizations to gain valuable insights into their IT operations and performance. The platform provides ready-to-use reports and customizable dashboards, enabling IT teams to analyze data, identify patterns, and make informed decisions to enhance their services.

Powerful self-service functions


InvGate Service Desk incorporates robust self-service functionalities, including a user-friendly portal, an extensive IT service catalog, and a knowledge base. These capabilities empower end-users to independently resolve common issues, access a wide range of IT services, and utilize self-help resources, thereby reducing the workload on IT staff.

Streamlined configuration and setup

InvGate Service Desk offers a simplified configuration and setup process, utilizing a no-code/low-code approach. This approach allows both inexperienced and experienced users to implement the system without requiring extensive technical expertise. The platform expedites setup by providing straightforward configuration options, enabling organizations to harness its robust ITSM capabilities quickly.

Customization and flexibility

InvGate Service Desk provides flexible deployment options, offering organizations the choice between on-premise or cloud-based solutions. This flexibility ensures that the platform can adapt to the specific requirements of various sectors and industries.

Cost-effective solution

InvGate Service Desk delivers a cost-effective solution without compromising functionality. It offers a comprehensive range of ITSM features at a competitive price, making it an attractive choice for organizations seeking affordability without sacrificing capabilities. Compared to alternatives like Zendesk and SolarWinds, InvGate Service Desk strikes a balance between cost and functionality.

ITIL4 certification

InvGate Service Desk has obtained the prestigious ITIL4 certification from PINK Elephant, showcasing its commitment to upholding ITSM excellence. Whether organizations are embarking on their ITIL journey or managing complex operations, InvGate Service Desk offers a user-friendly and feature-rich experience aligned with industry best practices.

Fast ROI and continuous innovation

InvGate Service Desk ensures a rapid return on investment through efficient implementation processes. Within weeks, organizations can start realizing the benefits of this robust ITSM solution. Additionally, regular feature updates keep users at the forefront of technology without incurring additional costs.

Next steps

In the quest to find the ideal IT Service Management solution, the choice between Zendesk vs. SolarWinds can be pivotal for your organization's efficiency and IT service optimization. As we've delved into comparing these two leading platforms, they each have unique strengths and attributes.

However, one option shines brightly in this competitive landscape: InvGate Service Desk. With its streamlined functionalities, this platform emerges as the top choice for organizations seeking to revolutionize their IT operations and fully embrace the benefits of digital transformation.

Request our 30-day trial to experience the transformative power of InvGate Service Desk!

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