One of my first jobs as tech director is to create a helpdesk for users across the district to submit support tickets, check the status of the tickets, and for me to aggregate data on support needs (i.e., what's going wrong generally and what do we need to do to reduce support needs).
Since I have a whopping 3 weeks until school starts and about 45 other tasks to complete, I was planning to simply start with an email-based system: I get emails from users, triage the requests, and get the requests to the right folks. Something more sophisticated (and less time-consuming for me, more transparent for users, etc.) could wait.
However, as I was updating some tables in our student information system, I realized that it would be simple enough to modify tables, create a few forms, and generate some simple reports and meet the needs of our helpdesk.
Plenty of alternatives are out there, though. A simple forum could be set up, we could outsource it, I could share a spreadsheet on a server somewhere, etc. We could use any number of tools, free to expensive, rudimentary to sophisticated. For us, I think using our web-based SIS, to which everyone already has access and that is designed to store and report data long-term, makes the most sense.
What are you using? Tell us how your helpdesk works.