The 8 Best Issue Tracking Software Systems of 2021

Kendall Pennington

Issue tracking software provides a ticketing system to record and follow the progress on a project.

As companies and teams grow in size and complexity, the limits of an Excel sheet for tracking issues begin to show very quickly.

Customer support and success roles are often demanding and fast-paced. For your team to perform to the best of their ability, they need to be organized and have the tools to help them deliver.  This technology helps reps manage their task and keep track of long-term or complicated inquiries.

In 2021, issue tracking software is one of the most fundamental customer support tools currently available. As your team scales, you'll almost assuredly need some sort of system to organize incoming support requests.

In this post, let's cover the basics of issue tracking software and the best options currently available.

What is an Issue Tracking System (ITS)?

Issue tracking systems, commonly referred to as ITS, are software applications that provide a ticketing system to record and follow the progress of every issue identified by a computer user until the issue is resolved. Cloud-based offerings make it simple for service agents to access the system and process service tickets from anywhere. Successfully manage, organize, analyze, and respond to numerous support tickets to foster better customer relationships and create better status reports with issue tracking software.

An issue can be lots of things; anything from a troubleshoot report to a customer inquiry to a feature bug. Issue tracking systems often encompass resource allocation, time accounting, priority management, and oversight workflow in addition to implementing a centralized issue registry.

Issue tracking systems are commonly used by business's customer success teams to create, update, and resolve reported customer issues, or even issues reported by that organization's other employees. A support ticket should include vital information for the account involved and the issue encountered. An ITS often also contains a knowledge base containing helpful information on each customer, resolutions to common problems, and other similar data. Basically crucial factors if you want to offer a great customer experience in 2021.

Features of Issue Tracking Systems

Each issue in an ITS usually has several details associated with it. Some issues may have greater urgency or higher priority than others, whether that's because they affect the most customers or because they represent a major problem that needs to be immediately addressed.

Likewise, issues can also have low (or zero) urgency to indicate that they should be resolved when time allows.

Other details include everything from the identity of the customer experiencing the issue to detailed descriptions of the issue itself or even previously attempted solutions.

Luckily, most ITS solutions also make it possible to assign issues to specific reps, track how much time is being spent on them, and monitor how they are being handled.

Compared with more traditional issue tracking methods, modern ITS solutions provide helpful accountability and the necessary measures to ensure that issues are resolved in a satisfactory manner and that goals can be set. They can also be integrated with other applications and management tools.

In this post, we selected eight of our favorite ITS currently on the market.

Let's dive in:

1. Jira

JIRA (from Atlassian) is a proprietary project management tool with extensive issue tracking capabilities. It was first released in 2002, making it one of the oldest issue tracking systems in the world, and it’s currently used by over 75,000 customers around the globe. It's essentially the industry gold standard at this point.

JIRA is a very comprehensive tool, which is why some of the largest organizations in the world, including Twitter, Skype, and NASA, use it. At the same time, for this reason, JIRA can sometimes feel a bit confusing or overwhelming.

With that being said, JIRA’s on-premise version for small teams is a great deal, and we wholeheartedly recommend anyone who’s looking for a capable issue tracking system to give it a try.

2. Zendesk

Customer issues don’t always come from the same place. Zendesk makes it simple to track every customer issue from all of your channels. Many companies, including Uber and Airbnb, use Zendesk Support as their issue tracking software.

This customer service support software offers the best issue tracking solution where customer service departments can easily communicate with their customers through live chat and messaging and resolve their issues easily.

The software also provides a phone option to directly connect with customers. With Zendesk, customer service reps can easily audit issues, scheduled issue management, and assign tasks.

3. HubSpot

HubSpot's ITS tool, Service Hub, provides a help desk and ticketing system that, together, create an extensive issue tracking software. With the ticketing system, you can record, organize, and follow customer issues, ensuring no case ever slips through the cracks. Its help desk features prioritize tickets and assigns cases to ideal team members. Your team can also set goals based on metrics like ticket response time and track progress using the reporting dashboard.

Service Hub also has omnichannel support, feedback loops, and reporting tools that help service teams optimize the customer experience.

4. Backlog

Backlog is an all-in-one project and code management tool. It combines the organizational benefits of task management with the power of bug tracking and version control.

Backlog's issue tracking follows a four-step process when resolving any software issues: capture, prioritize, track, and release.

During "capture," employees document exactly where and when the issue occurred. In "prioritize," issues are prioritized based on urgency and assigned to specific team members. When the issue reaches "track," team members working on the task can comment on it with updates. Finally, in "release," developers can share their resolutions right within the tool.

5. Asana

Asana was created in 2008 by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and ex-Google-and-Facebook engineer Justin Rosenstein to simplify team-based work management, and it's safe to say it achieved its goal.

Despite its approachable design and overall simplicity, Asana includes everything teams need to manage team projects and tasks. It makes it possible to assign work to teammates, specify deadlines, and communicate about tasks, and it also includes reporting tools, file attachments, calendars, and other useful features.

Although Asana lacks all the bells and whistles of purpose-built issue trackers, it provides the benefit of displaying issues with all other tasks, which can be incredibly beneficial from a time management perspective.

6. WebIssues

WebIssues is an open source client and server-based issue tracking system that can be used to store, share, track, and otherwise manage issues with various descriptions, comments, and file attachments.

The WebIssues Server requires PHP 5.2.1 or newer and a MySQL, PostgreSQL, or SQL Server database, and its installation doesn’t take much time or effort, which is something that can’t be said about many commercial issue tracking systems.

WebIssues is highly customizable and perfect for smaller teams who might not yet be ready to invest in a comprehensive project management solution, but would love to use a quality productivity apps out to achieve more efficient results.

7. Airbrake

Airbrake's issue tracking system is designed to resolve problems as quickly as possible. The software alerts your team in real-time whenever an issue is discovered and shows them the exact trail of events that led to the issue so you can prevent it from happening again.

With expert diagnostics, your team will quickly identify the most critical errors and resolve them before they affect your most valuable users. You can release new products feeling secure that you'll be able to recognize and troubleshoot any issues that arise.

8. Trac

Not much younger than JIRA, Trac is an open source project management and an issue tracking system that has been adopted by a number of organizations, including WordPress, OpenStreetMap, and Django. It uses a minimalistic approach to web-based software project management and has an integrated wiki and convenient reporting facilities.

Issues in Trac are referred to as “tickets,” and Trac’s ticket management system can be adopted for defect management as well. Trac is available on all major operating systems and also on various cloud hosting services. While Trac’s documentation is very comprehensive, its support leaves a lot to be desired when compared with commercial products such as JIRA.

In Conclusion

If we haven't made it clear, Issue Tracking Software systems offer salvation to support and success teams who have tried to manage issues using spreadsheets, email messages, and sticky notes, only to fail desperately and realize that’s not the way to go, at least once you're trying to scale.

When selecting an issue tracking software, you need to carefully evaluate your needs and pick one that can improve your workflow without burdening you with too much complexity or draining you of your resources.

These were our top picks for the best issue management software that you can use in 2021.

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