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Review: Biomni Front Office for Service Catalogue

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This independent review is part of our 2013 Service Catalogue Group Test.

Executive Summary – BIOMNI

Overview
  • Good functionality
  • Nice commercial approach
  • Good option for Tech-only implementations (e.g. MSPs)
Strengths
  • Good intuitive functionality
  • Commercial approach
  • Speed of implementation – doesn’t need other ITSM processes
Weaknesses
  • Little Strategic implementation focus
  • Functionality gaps
Primary Market Focus Offers IT Service Management, with integration to third party Systems Management software

Commercial Summary

Vendor Biomni
Product Front Office
Version reviewed V7.3
Date of version release December 2012
Year founded 1999
Customers 600
Pricing Structure End Users; either one-off purchase or subscription.
Competitive Differentiators
  1. Flexibility via easy configuration not customisation and supporting of multi-clients with users of different language
  2. Intuitive self service portal designed with shopping cart or app store like request experience
  3. Decoupled service catalogue able to integrate to multiple existing fulfilment system and not tied to any specific services desk
Additional features Biomni say “We have built a variety of integration adapters for cloud, service desk, asset management, user directory systems and platforms. Our community site allows customer to download service and request templates and adapters.”

largeIndependent Review

Biomni is based in the UK and is focussed on Service Catalogue capability. The vendor has developed a number of proven technical links with other products and providers, and offers a ‘bottom up’ discovery and integration approach.

The product is simple to use and has an intuitive WYSIWYG interface – the user view is similar to familiar retail experiences. The system meets most functional requirements, although there are gaps in visualisation of services and hierarchies, plus also some areas of reporting and demand management – although some aspects of this look effective (Reporting consumption forecast vs. actual).

Prospective clients can also use the product free as a trial until the catalogue is needed as an ‘actionable’ system (i.e. transactional) – this is useful for flexible and fast appreciation of Service Catalogue concepts and also for presentation of services, which can be useful to get buy-in and financial backing.

The vendor is focussed on developing and selling mostly at the technical level, so is not widely known as a fully functional option – they are now extending some marketing activity to make more of the industry aware of the product.

This product is useful for a variety of organisations as a simple and low cost entry to the market – the commercial option allows potential users to try out and create some functionality without major effort or expense. As a more strategic option it requires more focus from the vendor on positioning and capability around the product – in order to sell in at a more senior level.

This product is an excellent option for small and medium sized organisations as a means to quickly get up and running with Service Catalogue – it is also a good option for those looking outside their own existing ITSM product, as the vendor is experienced and capable in developing interfaces and integration with a number of ITSM tools. It is sold to enterprise organisations, although mostly as part of a ‘bottom-up’ technical integration.

Overview

  • Specific Service Catalogue/Request Management Vendor
  • Simple, easy to use and effective portal, user administration and request management system
  • Well established and integrated with multiple ITSM and other 3rd party systems management software
  • Interesting and useful commercial approach – software provided free as a presentation system
  • Meets most of the stated requirements – full request management – gaps in visualisation, service hierarchy, demand management, reporting
  • Sales and implementation approach is focussed on technical integration and organic development
  • Vendor becoming active in ITSM community
  • Little focus on strategic/top down approach

Strengths

  • Strong product for Service Portal and Request Management, plus discovery and IT user administration – e.g. security
  • Strong track record of integrations and front-end implementations with other ITSM and systems management tools
  • Product is offered on free basis until it becomes actionable (i.e. with transactional capability rather than just a service brochure). This is useful in this area as it allows for gradual organic development and implementation – or ‘suck it and see’ approach
  • Vendor becoming active in ITSM community – marketing and partnerships
  • Strong technical focus and subject matter skills from vendor
  • Demand Management not fully complete but looks to be potentially highly effective – forecasting vs. actual feature already in place. Looks intuitive and easy to use

Weaknesses

  • No dynamic graphic visualisation for service structure and hierarchy
  • Some gaps in demand management
  • Little vendor focus on business services and strategic approach
  • Gaps in dashboard and reporting features OOTB – requires specific consulting or in-house SQL skills
  • Vendor focussed on technical and bottom up implementation – could do more marketing around IP and practise to develop interest beyond technical level
  • Vendor has limited recognition beyond technical areas and also beyond UK/European base.

Front OfficeService Catalogue Customers

In Their Own Words:

“Biomni Front Office provides IT organizations of any size a flexible decoupled self-service portal through which users can intuitively discover and request services of any type. With easy point and click configuration and extensive interfaces to integrate supporting systems, processes such as cloud, software and user provisioning can be made available for self-service consumption with highly automated fulfilment.

In use by over 1 million production users globally, Front Office is a proven addition to any customer ITSM tool portfolio, delivering rapid tangible and highly visible value.

Front Office Essentials is the free entry level edition to the Front Office suite and provides foundation Service Portfolio/Catalogue management and publishing functionality.

Front Office Express adds shopping cart and app store requesting with optional approval to provide a fully actionable Service Catalogue. Request forms, approval routing rules and service packages/bundles can be configured and linked to services for intuitive self-service requesting.

Front Office Enterprise adds request fulfilment and measurement functionality, allowing requests to be orchestrated across multiples fulfilment systems and teams.

Front Office Service Provider adds multi-client support including client specific branding and support for client hierarchies (e.g. distributors and resellers) within a single instance of Front Office.”

Screenshots

Further Information

Group Test Index

This independent review is part of our 2013 Service Catalogue Group Test.

Barclay Rae

Barclay Rae is an experienced ITSM mentor and business manager. He has worked on approximately 500 ITSM projects over the last 25 years, as well as starting life on the operations side of IT, setting up and running Help/Service Desks.

Barclay has worked for a number of ITSM organisations, as well as running consultancy company e2e for 10 years. He delivers strategic ITSM consultancy, mentoring and business development, as well as media analyst services to the ITSM industry.

Barclay has created ‘ITSMGoodness’ – a set of practical steps and guidelines – simple practical and proven tips and tools – for successful ITSM. Visit www.itsmgoodness.com for details and free to air access – join the Twitter conversation at #ITSMGoodness and follow Barclay at @barclayrae.

He is also a regular speaker at conferences in the industry, in the UK and globally, including, SITS, SDI, itSMF, Pink Elephant, Fusion, UCISA, BCS and others. Details of forthcoming speaking engagements are on the website homepage.

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