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Review: Cherwell for Integrations

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This independent review is part of our Integrations 2013 Group Test.

Executive Summary

Elevator Pitch A key understanding of what is required and the ability to provide innovation across the whole organisation – Cherwell show they understand what organisations need and are ready to supply connectors to a wide variety of additional sources of information. A comprehensive solution throughout.
Strengths
  •  Based on their experience – Cherwell cover pretty much everything required in typical deployments – the 80/20 rule – which gets clients running very rapidly but also ticks all the boxes in terms of what is offered versus what is generally required,
  • Recognise areas to offer clients in terms of integration points using elements such as Twitter and RSS.
  • Provide web services inbound bound and a very comprehensive range of connectors to external sources
Weaknesses
  • Perhaps missing a trick now in terms of integrating with task management and resource management tools (such as linking with Outlook calendars and tasks for technicians).
Primary Market Focus Based on the information provided, Cherwell are typically active in the mid-market but are scalable to Enterprise customersThey are classified for this review as:Specialised Service Management Suite – Offering ITIL processes and proprietary discovery tooling and Data Integration Points

Commercial Summary

Vendor Cherwell
Product Cherwell Service Management®
Version reviewed Version 4.6
Date of version release July 2013
Year founded 2003
Customers 550+
Pricing Structure Saas, Subscription, Perpetual options
Competitive Differentiators
  1. Service automation and innovation through actionable features – a nice touch in particular is being able to create a new incident from an incoming Twitter feed, and exploring using RSS feeds for travelling technicians.
  2. Mobile applications (iPad/iPhone) for IT users utilising location services but also recognise that this has a business use as well – allowing service business managers to visit locations making the integration more of a proactive tool
  3. Continued ease of use, through effective development of wizards to handle all the integrations.

Independent Review

logo_cherwell-softwareCherwell recognise that all points of integration can be applied to any part of the ITSM suite, and that organisations are going to have tools in place and so focus on making the inevitable need to pull in data from external sources as easy as possible.

Integration points are all guided by wizards – even at the start of the pre-deployment, which is in keeping with their fundamental principle that everything should be codeless – so the UI hides the administrator from the backend XML magic that goes on behind the scenes.

Within their admin panel – the customer is created as a business object – which creates a core table in their database and allows the flexible wizard driven interfaces to map across to whatever is required.

There is a lot that can be done with their One-Step macros, that allow simple customisation for repeatable task – a clued-up admin can make light work of many of the pre-deployment and scheduled updates using these customisable objects.

They have utilised some nice new innovative touches to lend itself not only to ITSM staff (travelling technicians being able to use either mobile devices or RSS feeds to pull information depending on their location), but also to continue to build on what IT can offer other business areas – that same technology can be applied to business managers travelling from location to location.

Perhaps an area could still benefit from attention – more and more vendors recognise the value of linking with resource or task-management tools, as tools start to connect with Outlook calendars and put intelligence around task management and more importantly task distribution.

Cherwell very much hold by an 80/20 philosophy in what they offer – and that still provides one of the most comprehensive ITSM and business process suites on the market.

Integration and specific recognised criteria

Cherwell offer the following points of integration with no additional coding required (everything is driven by wizards):

OLE DB

Connect to External Databases – commonly used to pull data from SCCM, LANDesk, SNOW, Lansweeper, CRM data.

Active Directory (and other Directory Services)

Used for Authentication and Data Population (e.g. Customer Contacts)

SAML

SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) is an XML-based open standard for exchanging authentication and authorization data between Identity Providers and Service Providers to support Single-Sign-On (SSO) capability

Email (POP/SMTP, IMAP, Exchange (EWS))

Used for inbound and outbound electronic communications

Bomgar

Secure Remote Control and Chat

Twitter

Monitor Feeds and Send Tweets

RSS

Monitor Feeds and RSS Query for Cherwell

Web Service

Consume external (WSDL and REST) Web Services via our codeless one-step functionality

File System

Write File and Read File functionality from our codeless one-step functionality

Run program

Run any external program from our codeless one-step functionality – call any program or Powershell script parsing parameters from Cherwell

Cherwell Windows API

Any .Net developer can utilize the Cherwell Windows API to call Cherwell functions and features

Cherwell Web Service

Any .Net developer can utilize the Cherwell Web Services API to call a subset of Cherwell functions and features

Security Controls

Cherwell use the security controls which are governed by the specific type of integration.

Pre-Deployment Integration

Typically Cherwell will look to use Active Directory for contact information to import with all subsequent updates as a scheduled activity.

Asset and Configuration Information

Cherwell has its own Discovery and Inventory to capture data on network devices, printers, windows PCs and devices and Apple MAC workstations, utilising it’s scheduled and automated processes.

Again Cherwell use wizards to handle migrating the collected data into the CMDB including mapping the fields, frequency of updates and so on.

Cherwell also recognise that third party ITAM tools (SCCM, LANDesk, Centennial, SNOW, etc.) are often in place in organisations – they recommend using an External OLE DB Connection method to map, import and schedule updates from external database tables and views into Cherwell.

After the CMDB is populated with information, then a configuration manager can manipulate and maintain the non-auto-discovered aspects of the data and the relationships. That then is used across all the other ITSM processes (e.g. incident, problem, change, etc.)

Support Services Integration

  • Remote Control

Cherwell partners with Bomgar and can use their Chat function in any ITSM and/or business process that has been built into the CSM platform. This allows them the flexibility of linking what would be considered as service management tooling into parts of the business that may not necessarily use the same interfaces (for example HR portals).

  • Social Media

Twitter, Email and RSS are all possible communications methods that can also be incorporated into any of the processes (Business or ITSM processes). The platform used then depends on the kind of process – Major Incident communications might use Twitter and RSS, regular Incident may suffice with email. Cherwell can offer the flexibility depending on an organisation’s requirements.

Additional Areas of Integration

  • Cherwell offer the flexibility to build out business processes (for example to Finance or HR) to help join one part of the business to another. When the industry is constantly looking at ways to show how IT can help the business – this is a useful area of development.
  • Event management – the tendency is for it to be centred around email integration – alerts come in and get converted into an event record from that point.

Cherwell Customers

From the Cherwell Brochure

  • Fully integrated, comprehensive view of the relationships between Incidents, Problems, Changes and other processes and resources.
  • Intuitive wizards and drag-and-drop functionality that allows you to quickly and easily modify processes to match your specific business needs
  • Service management teams move from managing activities to delivering solutions.

In Their Own Words:

Positioned on the 2013 Gartner®  Magic Quadrant for ITSSM tools and recognised by Forrester Research as one of the top three enterprise SaaS ITSM tools worldwide, Cherwell Software is one of the fastest growing IT service management software providers. It has corporate headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., U.S.A.; EMEA headquarters in Wootton Bassett, U.K.; and a global network of expert partners. Cherwell Software is passionate about customer care and is dedicated to creating “innovative technology built upon yesterday values.”

Its flagship product is Cherwell Service ManagementTM, a fully-integrated service management software solution for IT and technical support professionals with out-of-the-box PinkVERIFY accredited ITIL processes. Its wizard-driven customisation allows customers to tailor the tool to match their processes without writing any code. Cherwell Service Management offers unmatched flexibility in hosting and concurrent licensing for low total-cost-of-ownership.

Please visit www.cherwell.com for more information about Cherwell Software.

Screenshots

Further Information

This independent review is part of our Integrations 2013 Group Test.




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