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2012 Request Fulfilment Group Test – The Results

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In a previous article I looked at what ITIL 2011 had added to the Request Fulfilment process and some of the pitfalls we may have seen with implementation in the past.

This technology review looks at what this means, in practical terms, when approaching Request Fulfilment – what should we be looking for?

Our goal is to highlight the key strengths, competitive differentiators and innovation in the industry. The assessment criteria we used to steer the review process can be found here: REQUEST FULFILMENT ASSESSMENT CRITERIA.

Tools Reviewed:


INTRODUCTION

There is a particular challenge when it comes to assessing ITSM tools in some depth.

You want to see more than just a glossy demo – you want to understand how it can help you tackle some of the key processes at its core.

I decided the best way to showcase how ITSM tools and suites could help potential customers meet their process AND tool needs was to split up the processes and throw the doors open to vendors one by one.

The best place to start was the End User – how they come into contact with the ITSM beast in as seamless a way as possible to their experience.

Although the guts of the process involves pushing records from group to group before closure, the ways in which our participating vendors get you to the finish line was at times quite varied.

Do end users care about all the steps along the way regarding their requests? Or do they just want to see an end date by when they can expect a shiny new smartphone to land at their desk.

All of these elements can be tracked and configured to within an inch of their lives, if required.

One thing that was refreshing in this round of reviews was gaining an understanding of more than just the tool/module.

Quite often, the lifecycle of a record for any of the processes is going to be similar, creation, assignment, some decision trees and then done (in a perfect world!).

But it is the journey, and more importantly the interpretation by our featured vendors, that made this review as interesting as it was.


MARKET POSITIONING

Unlike many single-function tools out there, ITSM tools tend to have their fingers in many pies, and will offer integration to all kinds of other tools. All the vendors who participated were classified as Specialists – i.e. Vendors whose sole focus is ITSM.

Vendor

Mid-Market

Enterprise

BMC FootPrints

Cherwell

Marval

PMG

ServiceNow


COMPETITIVE OVERVIEW

The next table provides a high level overview of competitive differences between the tools.

  • In a nutshell – A brief description of each technology
  • Primary Purpose – Each technology may be used in different ways but this is the main purpose of the technology.
  • Strengths – key positive points highlighted during the review
  • Weaknesses – key negative points highlighted during the review

Vendor

Elevator Pitch Strengths

Weaknesses

BMC FootPrints Entry-level, flexible ITSM solution, offering customisable services Nice tough in incorporating screen-prompts to start to mould end-user behaviour Text driven workflow is comprehensive but lacks the visual effect of graphical workflows
Cherwell Cherwell offer an holistic approach by providing customers with a comprehensive out-of-the-box offering for fast deployment, and ease of use Predefined forms based on their years of experience of what details are required, for a number of standard requests Although not programming outright, some of the depth of customisation lends itself to administrators with string process knowledge, business logic and data structures.
Marval Marval bring their “ITIL: Common sense written down” approach to their tool, which takes you to the root of the task to get the job done. Simplicity and flexibility which does the job smartly. It would have been good to see what the supplied services and examples were Out of the Box.
PMG A “rescue remedy” for replacing inadequate Service Catalogue/Request Fulfilment modules of ITSM Suites A dedicated approach to providing enterprise delivery specifically around Service Catalogue & Request Fulfilment Although they have a few standalone ITSM customers, their Ticketing system for other ITSM processes is very basic when standing up against other
ServiceNow A solid integrated platform, with the focus on improving the user’s experience of Request Fulfilment, and also focussing on the equally important business view. They boast a unique approach of focussing on an end-user’s experience in engaging with IT through the Request Fulfilment process Although there are administration courses, all too often the responses relied on finding answers to configuration questions “in the wiki”.As comprehensive as it is, when others promote that element of “handover” to the system’s custodians, ServiceNow seem to want to default to detachment.

CUSTOMERS

Approximate number of customers for each vendor:

  • BMC Footprints – Europe: 1000+ ; Worldwide: 5000+
  • Cherwell – 400+
  • Marval – 400+
  • PMG – Not disclosed
  • ServiceNow – 1200+

BEST IN CLASS

Of the five vendors reviewed I was particularly impressed with the following vendors:

  • Best in Class Mid-Market: Marval - Their ethos of keeping it simple just made it stand out.
  • Best in Class Enterprise: ServiceNow - I had a managed service view of this product and thought I knew what I would see.  I was pleasantly surprised, and although I can completely appreciate PMG’s position and can absolutely understand why they are called in to replace some ITSM suites.
  • Best in Class All Tools: Cherwell - I was an IT Architect, specialising in ITSM, and the Pareto 80/20 rule was my mantra in my former life. Cherwell’s approach to (re)use their expertise and develop a depth of standard requests covering pretty much most details that are required makes them the most comprehensive offering in this review.

Deep Dive

Further details for each vendor can be found by using the links below:


DISCLAIMER, SCOPE & LIMITATIONS

The information contained in this review is based on sources and information believed to be accurate as of the time it was created. Therefore, the completeness and current accuracy of the information provided cannot be guaranteed. Readers should therefore use the contents of this review as a general guideline and not as the ultimate source of truth.

Similarly, this review is not based on rigorous and exhaustive technical study. The ITSM Review recommends that readers complete a thorough live evaluation before investing in technology.

This is a paid review. That is, the vendors included in this review paid to participate in exchange for all results and analysis being published free of charge without registration. For further information please read the ‘Group Tests’ section on our Disclosure page.

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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