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Review: Cherwell Software Request Fulfilment

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This independent review is part of our 2012 Request Fulfilment Group Test. See all participants and terms of the review here.

Executive Summary

Elevator Pitch Cherwell offer a holistic approach by providing customers with a comprehensive out of the box offering, for fast deployment, and ease of use.
Strengths Predefined forms based on their years of experience of what details are required, for a number of standard requests.
Weaknesses Although not programming outright, some of the depth of customisation lends itself to administrators with strong process knowledge, business logic and data structures. For example when it comes to defining tasks for requests (New Hire).
Primary Market Focus Mid-size across diverse sectors

Commercial Summary

Vendor Cherwell Software
Product Cherwell Service Management
Version reviewed V4.01
Date of version release August 2012
Year founded 2003
Customers 400+
Pricing Structure Fully inclusive (i.e. all ITIL management processes, modules, integration tools, etc.) concurrent user usage for both perpetual and SaaS licensing models.
Perpetual licensing from £1995/$2995 per concurrent seat. Hosted SaaS subscription licensing from £76/$114 per concurrent seat, per month (minimum 12 month contract).
Competitive Differentiators
  • Completely integrated management processes and totally configurable against an organisations current and future service request models, without the need to write a single line of code via programming or scripting services
  • Integrated Platform as a Service (PaaS) technology to empower users to easy develop and deliver integrated business services offerings
  • Quick and easy system upgrades and low cost of ownership for going system management overheads
Additional Feature Integrated application development platform. Integrated Project Portfolio Management module. Full social media integration and features for BYOD management. Multi portal, multi user, fully configurable web portal technology.

Independent Review

Cherwell are big believers in the 80/20 rule – something I believed in very strongly in my former roles.

Provide 80% of the functionality and more often than not, the other 20% will either be indulgent frosting, or something that can be customised at a later date.

Cherwell provide a large number of templates out of the box, and also (from their experiences) realise that the finer workflow is where the real focus needs to be.

This gives customers a lot of flexibility to use as much (or as little) of Cherwell’s professional services to help configure the system.

Everything in the Cherwell universe is driven by dashboards – which are easily customisable by the user.

Cherwell will offer customers consultancy to help get them started, as well as administrator’s training.

Request Models

A request record’s life starts out surprisingly as an Incident, and the business object logic depends heavily on the Categorisation and Sub Categorisation of the record.

As soon as the sub-category is for a request, the ticket changes (both in a Service Desk call and a self-service scenario) to a Request.

Up until the first save of the ticket, changing the categories will flip it from one to the other.

Once you haves settled on a request, the real magic comes in the use of the “specifics” forms, which provide the detail and granularity required.

The best example of this comes in their New Hire form. Once categorised as such, a very detailed form appears with one of the most comprehensive set of options I have seen.

Furthermore, responses to details generate the spin-off tasks for that request.

These are part of their 80/20 templates, based on their experiences, and the depth of information provided is very impressive, straight out of the box, and from a customer perspective means less of a reliance on professional services to complete the job.

Menu Selection

Cherwell provide different ways for users to view the service catalogue, and also very configurable styles for the self-service portals.

All of these can be configured without specific coding skills, and they offer a one day administrator self-service portal training course as well.

The ability to customise for a variety of client views is pretty extensive, again offering customers a great degree of flexibility.

Request Fulfilment Lifecycle

The key is to understand the business logic to drive the lifecycle of a request ticket.

Cherwell’s approach is to try and focus on automating as much as possible the tasks you need to have happen consistently, and removing the more mundane tasks from the user.

They achieve this with a “Onestep” configuration to create multiple steps – for example the tasks required for a new starter.

Onestep allows you to group together a number of tasks in one consolidated, automated action.

Editing onesteps are covered in depth in the course, so that administrators fully understand how system automation is constructed.

Creating new workflows is via dragging and dropping options, but administrators will need a very good understanding of the business logic behind their processes.

Although Cherwell are not the only vendors to provide such capability, it does make you aware that administrators need a range of skills – process implementation, business logic, data structures.

Whilst not “programming” outright, the depth of possible customisation options for workflow lends itself to those with a strong analytical and logical mind to get the best from configuring workflow.

Conclusion

For customers that require a lot provided out of the box, and the ability to develop additional services and workflows, they have that with Cherwell’s 80/20 philosophy.

It is an interesting approach to lead with, but the depth of information they have put into the specifics really makes it comprehensive, even before you start to develop workflow.

More and more of their clients want their “Quick-start” approach of taking what is provided out of the box and developing the detail for themselves.

As simple as their workflow building is (using drag and drop), it is clear that administrators taking this approach have a very good understanding of end to end process to get the best from all the available options.

Although they are not doing out and out programming, it would be very advantageous to have a decent analytical mind to get the best out of the system.

I believe that their understanding of their clients’ “get up and DIY” aspect of their software is refreshingly unique approach.

Cherwell Software Customers

Screenshots

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.

From The Cherwell Software Brochure

  • 11 PinkVERIFY™ ITSM processes
  • Intuitive wizards and simple drag-and-drop functionality
  • With Cherwell’s Codeless Business Application Technology (CBAT), you never need to write a line of code or script. Upgrades are effortless.
  • Rapid easy implementation and easily adaptable over time
  • Out-of-the-box processes to assist customers with critical Business Alignment

Further Information

Group Test Index

This independent review is part of our 2012 Request Fulfilment Group Test. See all participants and terms of the review here.

Ros Satar

Ros Satar is a Blogger and Analyst for The ITSM Review. Her journey in ITIL/ITSM began in 2005 when she jumped into the deep end of Configuration Management. When not knee deep in paper and having a love/hate relationship with her many gadgets, she can be found putting in time at various sporting publications.

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