SIAM Group Test – The Results

This group test is a review of software products and vendors in the service integration and management (SIAM) market area. Our remit was to explore how toolsets can support and optimise SIAM.

SIAM Overview

SIAM is a framework for managing multiple suppliers of information technology services and integrating them to provide a single business-facing IT organisation.

The starting point for SIAM is the creation of a SIAM team. This team acts as the single point of accountability and is an effective way of minimizing or mitigating potential multisourcing issues, and optimising the composite IT organisation.

A SIAM function, department or team will typically:

  • Manage multiple suppliers to give the optimal mix of flexibility, innovation, standard and consistent service.
  • Be accountable for the integrated services that are being delivered back to the business.
  • Specify IT service management processes and procedures to be deployed across the enterprise and ensure they are followed.
  • Act as the central point of control between IT demand and IT supply.
  • Play a pivotal coordinating role in all service management processes.

Market Overview

For most organisations, just following ITIL best practice isn’t good enough any more. ITIL focuses on delivering end-to-end service via the life cycle approach but provides limited guidance on how to manage a multi-sourced environment. SIAM complements ITIL by focusing on the effective, efficient and safe management of services in a multi sourced environment. The challenge is, while ITIL is well established and has a set of books to guide practitioners and process managers, SIAM is a much newer concept and different people will have different interpretations of what integration truly means.

As more and more organisations are moving towards outsourced, cosourced or multisourced operating models, best practice is evolving and the tools universe is expanding to support SIAM. Tools that don’t currently offer integration functionality will struggle to keep up in an already crowded market, as the need for SIAM isn’t going away. As more and more organisations move towards the flexibility afforded by working with multiple vendors and partners, the need for SIAM will only increase.

For our money; the market for SIAM tools is going in two directions:

  1. Current ITSM tool providers are adding SIAM capabilities to existing solutions
  2. Stand-alone tools are being developed to act as a complimentary add-on to traditional ITSM products.

Ultimately; this is good news for anyone considering the need for a SIAM tool as it means that the buyer can select the best possible fit for the customer organisation.

The Group Test Process

It was really important to me that the group test was fair. Each vendor was asked to fill in a questionnaire and then I had an individual session with each supplier; for them to demo their tool and for me to ask lots of geeky questions. All the vendor presentations were slick and professional; it really helped me when vendors went out of their way to tailor the session to differentiators and functionality that was value driven. 

SIAM Group Test – The Players

  • Service-Flow
  • Cherwell
  • Vivantio

Key Benefits of SIAM

  • A single point of contact, ownership & control for IT Services.
  • Clearly defined roles & responsibilities (preferably nailed down in RACI charts)
  • Optimised cost of services
  • Streamlined management of IT services
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Consistently applied processes
  • A more transparent IT landscape

Product Strengths & Weaknesses

Service-Flow
Strengths

  • Market leading technology
  • User friendly interface
  • Fast set up – can connect, run and configure in a day
  • Built in support for all ITIL processes & SIAM
  • Collaborative approach
Weaknesses

  • Positioning needs to be clear to avoid confusion; this is an integration product to work alongside existing ITSM tools
  • Role based security isn’t currently available, something that might be challenging for organisations in more heavily regulated sectors such as the financial services industry
Cherwell
Strengths

  • Impressive list of integration options
  • Enterprise level reporting capabilities
  • Colour based widgets to view SLA clocks making it easy to track tickets across entire lifecycle via multiple suppliers
  • Cordless functionality means that changes can be made easily via drag & drop or wizards without a single line of code needing to be deployed
Weaknesses

  • Sheer size may mean that it may be too big a solution for smaller organisations
  • Sticker shock; the price may seem higher than some of the competition but the price is all-inclusive
Vivantio
Strengths

  • Built in support for ITSM
  • Technical excellence via WebHooks & WebMethods
  • Scheduled tasks to make life as easy as possible for Supplier Managers
  • Flexible; interfaces include Microsoft Azure, Gmail & Bomgar
Weaknesses

  • New player in EMEA market
  • No chat function at the moment but work is under way to create one

 

Product Reviews

Service-Flow

  • Market leading technology
  • User friendly interface
  • Fast set up – can connect, run and configure in a day
  • Built in support for all ITIL processes & SIAM
  • Collaborative approach

Service-Flow was founded in 2011 when CEO and co-founder Juha Berghall identified the need for integration. As organisations moved to multi sourcing models, integration was becoming complex, expensive and slow, a real pain point in the market. The idea behind Service-Flow was that there must be another way; one that was driven by the customer and service provider rather than being held to ransom by technology.

Fast forward to 2016 and Service-Flow has offices in Helsinki and London with over 130,000 end users and over half a million messages being transferred across the tool each month.

Integration Service-Flow can be connected to any tool with an interface. The product can provide ready-to-use adapters that can be taken into use without any coding or development work on the linked system. All adapters are part of the Service-Flow SaaS meaning that they’re automatically and continuously maintained and developed.

Out of the box integrations include:

ServiceNow, BMC, HPE, CA, LANDESK, Efecte, Jira, Microsoft.

Security Each integration is supported by a defined read or edit access for the management of all configurations related to a single end point.
Supplier & Contract Management Service-Flow clients can easily on-board new suppliers. In practise this means that we have technology that adapts to any interface, meaning supplier and the end-user clients can keep their interface and related ITSM tool “as is”. Typically these supplier tools are connected via an ESB (Enterprise Service Bus) or similar integration platform which mirrors ITSM tools interface. More importantly, Service-Flow SaaS also enable all parties to keep their processes “as is” since mapping, data translations and business rules are defined and configured “in the middle” via Service-Flow UI. This makes on-boarding of new suppliers so much easier since processes and data models don’t have to be equally defined in ITSM tools.

When new supplier connection is set-up (takes a couple of days) it will automatically become part of the SaaS solution and has SLA of 99.9% / 24/7 and is monitored by Service-Flow Ops.

Industry Best Practice Service-Flow SaaS supports all ITIL processes, but is not limited to ITIL/ITSM related data and process integration.
End To End Ticket Management Even though most tools use industry standards in their API’s, the way they use them and the data models are always unique. Service-Flow’s technology adapts to these different ways of communication and displays the result in a common way. The product can manage master ticket data by either including this info into the synchronized ticket data, or by setting up a separate integration to sync needed master data. The future tool will provide tools for doing lookups to validate the data used in process integrations.
Reporting & Analytics Service-Flow provides clear and understandable dashboards to integrated related variables. The views are for message relaying, integration configuration and integration related variables such as pass-through times, error counts etc.
System Access Options Web & Mobile.

Service-Flow aims to enable the digitisation of IT processes in a typical use case, an Incident is logged and passes via multiple suppliers. Multiple reference numbers are created, one for the customer and one for the vendor so that the ticket can be tracked across the entire lifecycle. One of my favourite things about the tool is that when you log an Incident, you get a picture of a motivational whale that says, “everything’s going to be ok”. Can we have this feature in all IT tools please? The user interface is clear and easy to follow; all information is available in a predefined format with a conversation view that most users will recognise from Facebook, LinkedIn etc.

Established as the world’s first SaaS product for service integration, Service-Flow provides a ready-to-use, online integration service for connecting disparate ITSM tools used by companies and their IT service providers, as well as subcontractors, partners and other suppliers. As a result of this, Service-Flow are becoming more visible in the ITSM market as the need for service integration increases year on year. What really impressed me about ServiceFlow was their commitment to the user experience (motivation whale anyone?) as well as the extensive list ITSM tools it can integrate with. The speed of deployment coupled with the ease of integration with other ITSM tools makes Service-Flow an ideal choice to supercharge an existing ITSM tool into one that can handle SIAM quickly, effectively and securely with market leading subject matter expertise.

Cherwell

  • Impressive list of integration options
  • Enterprise level reporting capabilities
  • Codeless functionality
  • Integrated ITSM & SIAM functionality
  • Role based security

Lets face it, Cherwell need no introduction. A regular presence at industry events such as the itSMF UK conference and SITS, along with their “80% of the functionality at 20% of the cost” ethos, Cherwell are talked about in industry as one of the few ITSM tools that could compete with the juggernaut that is ServiceNow.

Cherwell was founded in 2004. Its first product launch was in 2007 and they now have over 1,000 customers worldwide. They acquired Express Metrix in 2014 and now have a host of partners including T Systems and Pink Elephant.

Integration Cherwell can integrate via:

  • Web Service / API
    •  both REST and SOAP supported.
  • Database
    • link and import (SQL, MySQL, Oracle, OLE DB, ODBC).
  •  Email
    • inbound, actionable email monitor; and
    • ad-hoc & automated outbound notifications.
  • Data import
    • Scheduled & ad-hoc data import via CSV.
  • Data export
    • Ad-hoc data export from e.g. lists.
    • Reports can be run on a scheduled & ad-hoc basis (multiple formats including PDF, PNG, CSV).
    • Pre-formatted Excel reports can be run on a scheduled & ad-hoc basis (e.g. for finance departments).
  • Other / bespoke applications via command line
    • Any application that can be controlled via the command line, launched from Cherwell’s automation engine.
  • Specific integrations:
    • OOTB integration plugins to Bomgar, AD, Exchange, Skype for Business, Twitter, etc.
Security All security and permissions are role based and all access to the application is audited in a system audit log
Supplier & Contract Management New suppliers will have a new record created, to reflect the on-boarding process phase of the supplier. Then the supplier is mapped to the appropriate catalogue items (and the individual tasks that are covered by the new supplier). The end users normally are not aware of the new supplier, as all automation happens behind the scenes. Where a new supplier is a preferred supplier; any new requests that include the supplier work unit/ task will be assigned to the new supplier. Existing tickets are not impacted.

Cherwell only charges for licences for [IT] users, there is no concurrent licence consumed for portal usage or integrations.

Industry Best Practice Cherwell aligns with the ITIL framework (PinkVerified for 11 processes). Whilst not certified for COBIT and ISO 20000, there are elements from these frameworks.
End To End Ticket Management Cherwell collects the information from internal and external supplier sources. This information can then then be utilised across the Cherwell solution, such as in the integration supplier service catalogue, incident management, or change management, for example. Many integrations have been performed previously; others can be integrated using common integration methods such as API, database links, or email.

Cherwell manages master data via an integrated CMDB. Each CI can be integrated with others and/or external sources. An example is a computer [CI] which has a dependency on software licenses, installed software, and location and ownership data.

Cherwell manages the multiple SLAs, OLAs and Contracts via a colour coded widget for Supplier Managers to use.

Reporting & Analytics All data in Cherwell can be reported on for historical and real-time data analysis. Cherwell provides over 150 reports based on ITIL best practices. Additional reports can be created using Cherwell Report Writer and Dashboard Manager. Data can also be exported as a CSV file or exported to a formatted Excel document.

There are 4 main ways to use Cherwell’s powerful, critically acclaimed reporting and dashboard capabilities:

  1. Dashboards & Widgets
  2. Report
  3. Search
  4. Excel
System Access Options ·       Browser User-Interface – for access anywhere/anytime.

·       Smart Client User-Interface – Cherwell’s smart-client auto-deploys to the desktop in a matter of seconds for a far superior experience than working in a web browser all day.

·       Mobile User-Interface – Cherwell Mobile provides on-the-go access to common service desk functions for your technicians with iOS and Android apps or browser access for other devices.

·       Outlook User-Interface – Anything that can be done on the desktop can be done from within the Outlook UI including the functions within custom Business Objects that you may develop.

·  Cherwell has a mergeable applications (mApp) exchange; where users can download, and share new applications to the Cherwell platform.

Cherwell has existing integrations with a number other vendors; such as JIRA, BMC, Bomgar, CA, Dell, ServiceNow, FireScope, Infor, Lansweeper, Microsoft, etc. The initial view or landing page displays a process view showing different contracts and a Service Catalogue to underpin Request Fulfilment. There is a preferred suppliers section that maps contract’s scope cost and performance to catalogue items; a really nice feature that will make the Service Catalogue Manager’s job easier and more efficient.

On-boarding new suppliers is an easy, wizard driven process, which prompts the user to select tasks from a predefined checklist. The product can flex to different security models and has role based permissions.

The MAP xchange has been redesigned to be more dynamic and the search function has been improved.

End to end ticket management is seamless with colour based widgets to track Incident SLAs across multiple suppliers and Changes can be labelled as impacting via Task Management so that only service impacting Changes will be visible to partner organisations.

Cherwell are major players in both the ITSM and SIAM markets and from reviewing the product, it’s not hard to see why. The tool combines enterprise level ITSM capabilities with a SIAM component that lets an organisation use a multisourced environment seamlessly. If you are looking for an all encompassing tool that supports both ITSM and SIAM then Cherwell is a great choice.

Vivantio

  • Impressive list of OOTB alignment with other ITSM tools
  • Excellent integration options via Webhooks & Webmethods
  • Scheduled tasks to make life as easy as possible for Supplier Managers
  • Flexible; interfaces include Microsoft Azure, Gmail & Bomgar

Vivantio have been making SaaS based software since 2003 and have offices in the US and the UK.

Integration Vivantio has an open API to integrate with other systems, but by far a better way to do this is via HTTP Webhooks and Web Methods. Out of the box integrations include: JIRA, CentraStage (AutoTask) and Microsoft TFS. The company also have working examples of CopperEgg monitoring, New Relic, Twilio communications platform, Bomgar and ServiceNow ITSM. New connections can be easily established, especially if the other vendors also allow integration via Webhooks and Web Methods or an Open API.
Security There is a full Roles and Permissions module built into the main Vivantio application. Different Partner Portals can be built to give access to the information and functionality needed by each potential partner. Roles and permissions can be set on a per user basis.
Supplier & Contract Management It depends on the level of integration and requirements for each partner. It could be as simple as setting up a supplier portal for the assignment of work to the supplier enabling them to work within the portal, thus measuring work sent to supplier and any SLAs around the contracts with the supplier.

If there is a need for integration with a Supplier’s own toolset, this is achieved by setting up Webhooks and Web Methods within the admin area. This is all configurable within the Vivantio toolset and would not require any additional development work.

The tool supports the effective management of commercial tasks such as managing contracts, procurement, service level penalties and invoicing via the use of Custom Forms and Fields.

Industry Best Practice Vivantio is aligned to ITIL.
End To End Ticket Management The tool acts as an integration engine; taking multiple data streams in disparate formats from multiple partners transforming them into one standardised pre agreed format by utilising either Open API or WebHooks and WebMethods. Vivantio supports all the standard formats within Webhooks; JSON, XML, SOAP.

The product manages the exchange of master ticket data by using the built-in functionality of the ITSM toolset. Vivantio at its core is an ITSM toolset that covers the full ITIL spectrum. Vivantio supports tickets of different types with the possibility that tickets of different type can be linked; Incident > Problem > Change. Tickets can link to different object types as well, Assets Client Callers and equally Assets can link to other Assets, etc. Built-in functionality of the ITSM toolset around ticket and task management and Escalation Rules and Full Business Rules engines. The tool applies multiple SLAs (running in parallel) to Incidents by use of tasks within a single ticket or multiple SLAs running on the same ticket.

Master data management is all controlled within the Admin area of the toolset and the use of bulk uploads and the Vivantio Integration Service Component.

Reporting & Analytics There are built-in reports and dashboards that can be configured or new reports can be written with an easy-to-use Report Builder tool. Once the reports are written, they can be published to the Vivantio application so a library of reports can be built up. These reports can be scheduled or published to the Self-Service or Partner portals. The report builder itself can be used as a wizard type of tool guiding the user to writing their reports or the full SQL can be exposed for more complex and advanced uses.
System Access Options All applications are web-based, but this can be split into the main application, mobile application and the Self-Service Portal application.

The Vivantio ethos is to deliver flexible, reliable, trusted ITSM software to empower the delivery of service excellence to the customer organisation. From the product demonstration, this ethos was clear to see as the flexibility of the product spans interfaces from everything; from Microsoft to Google.

Automation is used to great effect, the Vivantio product has an expression builder based on business rules that automates the criteria for a ticket being sent to the hub vision centre for processing, removing the risk of duplication. The integration options are clearly built with practicality in mind, one available workflow is an integration with Active Directory that automatically identifies a person’s line manager when a Service Request has been raised and automatically prompts them to review and action the request, linking them to their local Request Fulfilment portal.

What really impressed me about Vivantio was their dedication to making life easier for beleaguered Ops and Supplier Managers. The use of technology to not only support integration but also automate pre-defined responses to ticket event, really makes this a strong contender in the tools universe. Vivantio would be a great option for small to medium organisations looking for an ITSM tool that can also support a SIAM environment. 

SIAM Group Test – Winners

Overall Winner: Cherwell

Fantastic tool for organisations that need an integrated ITSM and SIAM solution. The sheer breadth of the Cherwell experience means that the tool is easy to use with seamless integrations. Some of my favourite things about the Cherwell tool are:

  • Impressive list of integration options
  • Enterprise level reporting capabilities
  • Colour based widgets to view SLA clocks making it easy to track tickets across entire lifecycle via multiple suppliers
  • Ease of use; codeless functionality means that changes can be made easily via drag & drop or wizards without a single line of code needing to be deployed.

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. For further information please read the ‘Group Tests’ section on our Disclosure page.

 

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Incident Management Group Test 2016 – The Results

This group test is a review of software products and vendors in the ‘Incident Management’ market area. Our remit was to explore how toolsets can support and optimise the Incident Management process.

Incident Management Overview

Incident Management is a key part of the ITSM Software Market – think about it – what organisation doesn’t do Incident Management? Incident Management is one of the most visible processes in the ITIL lifecycle. The aim of Incident Management is to restore usual service to customers as quickly as possible and with as little adverse impact whilst making sure nothing is lost, ignored or forgotten about. Can you imagine what would happen if end users couldn’t raise Incidents or contact the Service Desk in the event of a crisis? I reckon it would be 5 minutes max before total chaos.

When I’m explaining the Service Desk and Incident Management in ITIL training; I refer to them as the superheroes of the ITSM world. Let’s face it; they’re constantly firefighting, at the sharp end of the user community if something’s gone wrong as well as being under targets that would make lesser beings hide under their desk whilst mainlining vodka.

Frontline service desk and incident management, heroes of the ITSM world
Frontline service desk and incident management, heroes of the ITSM world!

Incident Management is a rockstar process and deserves a rockstar tool to support it so without further ado, let’s get started!

Customer Numbers

  • Alemba (UK) – 300+
  • Atlassian (Australia) –  15,000+
  • Cherwell Software (USA) – 1,000+
  • HPE – Hewlett Packard Enterprise (USA) – 1,500+
  • InvGate (Argentina) – 3,000+
  • ManageEngine (India) – 100,000+
  • Marval Software (UK) – 500+
  • Matrix42 (Germany) – 3,000+
  • Nexthink (Switzerland) – 600+
  • Summit Software (India) – 100+

Incident Management Group Test – The Players

Alemba Ltd.

Strong Incident Management offering which puts the end user experience at the heart of the tool.

Funky user interface using bubbles to highlight workflow and orbitor tool that aids the user by highlighting available actions.

Facebook style notifications alert users and technicians if the ticket has been updated with a handy “add me” option for Major Incidents.

Special module for displaying analytics to Service Desk screens – great idea that does away with the need for manual processes and faffing around with USB keys.

Atlassian

Solid Incident Management functionality. Atlassian are Incident Management ninjas; they aim to get customers up and running within one – two weeks of buying the tool.

Integration with Hipchat for easy chat and video calls.

Seamless integration with other JIRA products so that the customer has a consistent user experience.

Cherwell Software

User friendly user interface with Outlook integration to make it easier of users to log tickets.

Xmatters compatibility gives it advanced SMS gateway, telephony stats, monitoring and fault tolerance functionality.

Thriving customer community; FAQ’s, “how to” guides and oodles of free apps.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)

Awesome landing page that empowers everyone from end users to senior management to customise and view reports.

Revamped reporting module that completely removes the need for any Crystal Reports faffery. Relationships clear and specific; instead of vague linked records, tool delivers meaningful linkages such as “fixed by Change” or “caused Incident”.

Big data is used to power the Knowledge Base; fixes and workarounds are automatically suggested and hot topics can identify Incident trends and proactively raise Problem records.

InvGate

Brilliant customer focused ethos: “Service Desks are like snowflakes, no two are alike”.

User interface modelled on common social media platforms making it easy for end users to navigate.

Service Catalogue actively encourages end user to use the self-help route and gives a virtual high five message for every Incident logged.

Market leading gamification; kudos points for adding Knowledge Base article, merit badges for resolving Incidents within SLA and mini quests to encourage healthy competition between Service Desk Analysts.

ManageEngine

ManageEngine user their superpowers for good; free PinkVerified Incident & Knowledge Management tools available via the ManageEngine website.

Thriving user community; customers have access to over 90 products and free tools.

User friendly interface; users can chose from raising an Incident or a Service Request and FAQs are on the right hand side of the screen meaning that help and further information is easily accessible.

Impressive use of predefined categories and email integration – tickets can be auto logged and updated without duplication of effort.

Marval Software

Outstanding Incident Management functionality.

Just like Starfleet, Marval have a prime directive, theirs is to enable people to be as productive as possible as quickly as possible.

Special instructions field part of every customer entry.

Each Knowledge entry has a set of work instructions, useful links, tools and diagnostic scripts.

Integrated ITSM process driven solution which is service and customer centric underpinned by a service portfolio.

Brilliant use of Near Field Communications, you can log an Incident simply by zapping a smart tag.

Slick Major Incident process that closely links into Problem, Change and IT Service Continuity Management.

Use their powers for good out in industry, regular contributors to the itSMF and Service Desk Institute.

Matrix42

Initial landing screen is very similar to your standard Microsoft offerings so most users will find the familiarity of the dashboard makes it easier to navigate.

Analyst screen easy to customise.

The tool can be configured to integrate with CTI systems so you can start a phone call and have it added to the audit diary.

Fab use of automation so you can use workflows to schedule routine tasks like server reboots.

Concurrence management is in place so if more than one person is updating the Incident at the same time, the data is merged and nothing is lost.

Nexthink

A vendor that loves talking to customers and end users!

Impressive IT analytics tool to drive proactive Incident Management.

Initial dashboard gives you an immediate, real time view of business critical services.

Automation drives out white noise and focuses on anomalies; enabling Service Desk Analysts to focus on the most important issues to the business.

The end user analytics support asset tracking and licensing monitoring.

As part of the product training, Nexthink advises Service Desk analysts to spend the time saved by automation to go out and talk to users; maximising value and improving the relationship between IT and the rest of the business. Love it when a vendor recognises that the end user is everything!

SUMMIT Software

Easy to navigate user interface – when an end user logs on to raise an Incident they can see their five most recently logged Incidents along with status information.

Analyst view flexible and easy to customise.

Service Request module is directly accessible from the Incident screen and is clear and fully configurable. Up to ten levels of approval can be used which to me covers every possible scenario.


Deep Dives


The Group Test Process

It was really important to me that the group test was fair. Each vendor was asked to fill in a questionnaire and then I had an individual session with each supplier to demo the tool and to ask lots of geeky questions. All the vendor presentations were slick and professional; it really helped me when vendors went out of their way to tailor the session to differentiators and functionality that was value driven.

Key Benefits of Incident Management

ITIL defines Incident Management as “the process responsible for managing the lifecycle of all Incidents. Incident management ensures that normal service operation is restored as quickly as possible and the business impact is minimized.” An effective Incident Management tool is a fundamental part of delivering Incident Management to the rest of the organisation.

In general, Incident Management is made up of the following steps with monitoring, communication, ownership and tracking carried out by the Service Desk:

  • Incident detection – something falls over, has performance issues or isn’t as it should be
  • Logging and recording; capturing all the details in an Incident record
  • Categorisation and prioritisation – ensuring that the Incident is categorised against the correct service and has the appropriate priority set by impact and urgency
  • Initial diagnosis -first go at resolving the Incident. If the Incident is resolved by the Service Desk at this point it is known as a first time fix.
  • Escalation -there are two types; Functional, where it goes to the next level of support eg from first line to second line support and Hierarchical, where something gets escalated to a team leader or manager.
  • Investigation and further diagnosis – where we figure out what’s gone wrong and how to fix it.
  • Resolution & Recovery -we’ve fixed the issue – happy days – normal service has been restored!
  • Closure -ensuring the end user is happy and closing off the Incident record with resolution details.

The following are some of the benefits of using a dedicated Incident Management toolset:

  • Models and templates to ensure all Incidents and Service Requests are handled consistently
  • Central point of capture so that nothing is lost, ignored or forgotten about.
  • Better adherence to SLAs, OLAs and UCs due to toolset monitoring.
  • Major Incidents workflow; especially with automated communication workflows.
  • Better results for Availability and Capacity Management; if Incidents are logged and managed effectively; they will also be resolved more effectively meaning that downtime and performance issues are minimised.
  • Increased Configuration Management accuracy; the Service Desk can check and confirm CI data when logging Incidents.
  • Enhanced management information regarding service quality due to reporting dashboards
  • Increased customer satisfaction.

Market Observations

From carrying out this group test, it quickly became clear that the Incident Management toolset game has been well and truly upped. Recent developments have seen a number of technical innovations that have allowed increased automation, faster delivery and quicker benefit realisation. The areas of differentiation in the market are therefore defined in the following terms:

  • End to end approach- the days of silos or everyone working in their own little bubbles are well and truly over. The most effective tools are aligned with other ITSM modules such as Configuration, Change, Problem, Service Level and IT Service Continuity Management.
  • User-friendly navigation -the most effective tools had the user journey modelled on common social media applications such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. By making it easier to log Incidents and Service Requests not only are we encouraging our customers to buy in to Incident Management, we’re getting them back up and running quicker via self-help and Knowledge Management.
  • Flexible workflow -there is no one size fits all. A start up IT organisation with less than twenty employees will have different requirements than a global financial institution with thousands of employees so flexibility is key.
  • Automation – models, templates and workflows all take the pain out of logging and managing Incidents and anything that makes the Major Incident process less of a nightmare or avoids someone having to get out of bed to reboot a server (automated task management) has got to be a winner!
  • Gamification – we work in IT – we are techies, geeks and engineers saving the world one Windows update at a time so work should absolutely be fun! Not only does gamification drive engagement from both end customers and support personnel; by rewarding people with fun badges and bragging rights in the office, we drive up productivity as well.
  • Big Data – a recent US study estimates that poor data quality costs US organizations over $600 billion a year. Missing, incorrect or out of date information is completely unacceptable in a service driven environment. Enter big data analytics which streamlines the Incident Management process, promotes self-service / self-help via Knowledge Management and allows users to log Incidents via smart tags without a single inbound call to the Service Desk.
  • Value driven approach – ever since the launch of ITIL V3; value has been the name of the game. By doing Incident Management we are committing to our customers. This commitment isn’t applying lip service, talking a good talk or even asking “have you tried switching it off and then on again?” on loop. This is about delivering our customers the service that they deserve. By committing to Incident Management via a solid process and toolset; we’re saying to the business – we care.

Strengths & Weaknesses

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Best Overall: Marval Software LimitedIM Best Overall Winner 2016_Marvel

Awesome tool. Everything about it was lovely to use both from an end user and a techie experience. It’s apparent from working with Marval that they’ve spent years sat beside Service Desk analysts and support techies watching them work, seeing the pressures they’re under and figuring out ways in which the tool can make life easier. It’s slick, user friendly and enterprise focused and a fantastic option if you want to take your Service Desk, support teams and Incident Management to the next level.  Some of my favourite things about Marval are the following:

  • The user information: everything from service information and CI data from the CMS to locational info (with Google Maps) and a special instructions section (FYI; my special instructions would be please send coffee and chocolate)
  • Automation: keyword lookups for suggested models and templates
  • The Knowledge Base: each Knowledge entry has a set of work instructions, useful links, tools and diagnostic scripts. The idea behind this according to Marval is that this information can be pre-populated by second and third line techies.
  • Near Field Communication or NFC: if you happen to walk by a jammed printer, you can let the Service Desk know simply by zapping the label – how cool is that?
  • Slick, effective Major Incident process with solid links to Change, Problem and IT Service Continuity Management.

Marval is fantastic option if you need your Incident Management process to be customer and service centric, bulletproof and mature so we’ve given them the Batman award for best overall Incident Management tool for this group test.

Best Innovation: InvGate Inc.

Gamification is used to fantastic effect to make Incident Management easy, scalable and fun whilst the user interface makes for an efficient, positive customer journey. Some of my favourite things about InvGate are the following:

  • IM Best Innovation 2016_InvGateThe login screen can be configured for single sign on, linking into Active Directory / Windows authentication and also works with Mac machines.
  • All the major navigation buttons are placed at the top of the screen and a social interaction log (similar to the Facebook alerts function) can be expanded to view recent interactions between the Service Desk and the end user.
  • If a user goes down the self-service route – they get a really cool “Kudos” message for successfully logging the Incident. It’s a lovely touch that gives a virtual high five to the user for rocking self-help.
  • Market leading gamification: kudos points for adding Knowledge Base article, merit badges for resolving Incidents within SLA and mini quests to encourage healthy competition between Service Desk Analysts.

InvGate is fantastic option to get up and running quickly; not just for ITSM but for other functions such as HR and Facilities. Gamification and a user centric interface makes this effective and fun to use so we’ve given them the Star Wars award for best innovation for this group test.

Best Use of Analytics: HPE

IM Best Use of Analytics 2016_HPIndustry leading use of Big Data analytics makes HPE the standout in this area. Some of my favourite things about HPE are the following:

  • Fully configurable landing page and introduction screen
  • The revamped reporting capability: point and click, oodles of config options and no complicated third party reporting software needed
  • The chat functionality: the system will even suggest people that could help resolve the related Incident!
  • The big data powered Knowledge Base with smart task management and keyword lookups
  • Heat mapping to view trends and anomalies

HPE is a fantastic product for large organisations. The tool has a comprehensive engine behind it that can manage any enterprise level ITSM task it encounters. Big Data analytics drive efficiency savings and support a move to more proactive service model without compromising on functionality or management information so we’ve given them the Spiderman award for best use of analytics for this group test.

IM Best For Proactivity 2016_Nexthink (3)Best for Proactivity: Nexthink

A powerhouse of proactivity. Here are some of my favourite things about the tool:

  • A new approach and a proactive way to do Incident Management – can notify users of a fault and work on a fix without a single inbound call to the Service Desk
  • Landing page gives a clear view of the operational status of all business critical services
  • Designed to remove white noise so Service Desk Analysts can focus on “the serious stuff”
  • Part of their training is to encourage analysts to spend the time saved by automation to go out and talk to users; which can only be good right?

Nexthink empowers the Service Desk and makes Incident Management proactive so we’ve given them the Superman award for proactivity for this group test.

Using their powers for good award: ManageEngine

IM Best Using Powers for Good 2016_ManageEngineManageEngine are definitely on the light side of the force with their free PinkVerified Incident & Knowledge Management tool available for free from their website. Here are some of some of my favourite things about the tool:

  • Thriving user community
  • User friendly self Service Portal – users can raise an Incident or Service Request and browse through the FAQs
  • Multifunctional – the tool can also be used for desktop support, the deployment of software upgrades, patch management and the management of mobile devices

ManageEngine pride themselves on having a significant percentage of the functionality of the four biggest ITSM vendors, so by offering their Incident & Knowledge Management tool for free they deserve the Black Widow award for using their powers for good for this group test.


Deep Dives


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.

Image Credit

Coming Soon: SIAM Group Test

Our next Group Test will explore how toolsets can aid you on your SIAM journey:

SIAM:

Service Integration & Management (SIAM) is the term given to a multi-vendor service model, where the traditional service towers (storage, network, infrastructure, desktop, service desk, etc) are sourced to a supplier eco-system.

This is supported by an internal or external SIAM function which delivers IT Service Management, end-to-end governance and business focus, as well as undertaking the integration of the various service provider capabilities, into a business facing service

Tool Criteria & Scope:

Our remit is to explore how dedicated toolsets can aid SIAM and deliver value to the client organisation.

The group test will focus on specific SIAM challenges, rather than duplicating the test criteria typically associated with the procurement of a Service Management tool. The tool review will focus upon the following areas:

  • Integration of the tool with other tools for exchange of master data, ticket data and CMDB / Asset data (including relationships between CIs)

  • Ability to onboard / offboard service providers

  • Ability to manage master data (priorities, locations, users, etc), including maintenance, bulk upload, and reconciliation

  • Ability to support configuration changes to workflow

  • Ability to support serial and parallel assignment of tasks to different service providers, potentially across toolsets

  • Ability to track progress of assigned tickets and tasks in real-time, generating automated alerts in accordance with user defined near-breach/breach parameters

  • Ability to apply multiple SLA/OLA/UC clocks to a single ticket and run these in parallel

  • Ability to produce comprehensive reports on Service Provider SLA performance service tower performance and end user SLA performance, both in real-time and on-demand

  • Ability to act as the point of control between IT supply and IT demand

  • Ability to manage Change & Release Management across multiple suppliers – how to carry out a solid risk assessment across multiple vendors and multiple roles

  • Effective management of commercial component; for managing contracts, procurement, service level penalties, invoicing, etc.

  • Effective management of integration component for all activities that focus on the actual coordination of the services provided by the multiple suppliers, and can be split up in three sub-layers: managerial (e.g., vendor analytics, project management), operational (e.g., cross-supplier change management), and infrastructural (e.g., data dictionary management) aspects.

  • Ability to support common use of data to eliminate duplication and make it easy to update individual data elements

  • Appropriate, role based security so that only authorised personnel can access information

  • Workflow engine to support multiple service towers

  • Defined forms to support multiple activities and roles

The research will highlight competitive differentiators; feature key strengths and showcase innovation within each product. Once reviewed, we will crown one Vendor “Best in Class” in Service Integration and Management.

For more information of if you’d like to take part in the assessment please contact us!

Subscribe to The ITSM Review newsletter or follow us on Twitter to receive a notification when the research is published.

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ITAM and ITSM Integration Group Test – The Results

Map-Large
Six tools offering ITAM and ITSM from around the globe

This Group Test explores the relationship between the IT management disciplines of IT Asset Management (ITAM) and IT Service Management (ITSM).

Our remit was to explore the opportunities for managing assets and interacting with ITAM teams whilst maintaining everyday ITSM processes. In particular we were looking to review ITSM tools that offer ITAM functionality or integrate with tools that do – or ITAM tools that provide value to ITSM lifecycles.

I was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the growing overlap between ITAM and ITSM functionality in the tools reviewed. It was great to see all camps taking advantage of the obvious benefits of ITAM and ITSM integration. It was also refreshing to review technology from all four corners of the globe; including some new vendors that some of our readers might not have heard of yet.

Participants in this “bake-off” were:

Supplier Country of Origin Number of Customers Summary
InvGate Argentina 3,000+ Comprehensive ITAM & ITSM solution with next-generation interface
ManageEngine India 100,000+ A good solid solution for building an integrated ITAM and ITSM foundation.
Matrix42[Best in Class] Germany 900+ Arguably the first vendor to offer comprehensive Enterprise grade SAM within a full ITSM suite
Miradore Finland 500+ A desktop management solution providing ITAM and Configuration Management capabilities and opportunities for automating routine ITSM tasks
SupaTOOLS New Zealand 80 A refreshing alternative to big ITSM tool frameworks at a competitive price.
Virima USA 2 ITAM and ITSM in a competitive package. Detailed inventory for datacenter environments plus key service management functions to be able to turn datacenter insight into action.

Deep Dives:

ITXM – ITAM and ITSM (2+2=5)

What are the benefits of integrating ITAM and ITSM?

The vision for fully integrated ITAM and ITSM is –

  • For ITAM:
    1. Meeting compliance and efficiency goals whilst decisions and changes are being made rather than attempting to clean up mess afterwards, allowing the business to make smart technology choices without booby-traps and with visibility of total cost of ownership.
    2. Allowing users to be productive and have access to the assets they need whilst being compliant.
  • For ITSM:
    1. Offering visibility of asset relationships and costs to facilitate faster incident resolution, proactive problem management and less error prone change management.
    2. Delivering self-service without risks.
    3. Updating asset data on the fly as part of BAU for everyone’s benefit – allowing smarter decision making.

Vendor Summary – Strengths and Weaknesses

Supplier Product Strengths Weaknesses
InvGate Assets and Service Desk Code free configuration / Low consulting requirement No server / service dependency mapping
Strong interface and user experience
Next generation IT Management Tooling
Strong embedded game mechanics
ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus Fully Integrated ITAM & ITSM Lacks polish
Free Version Shortage of specialist knowledge
Use for outside IT department
Matrix42 ITSM Suite and Workspace Management A modern IT management platform with vast platform coverage. Minimal market penetration outside central Europe
ITAM and ITSM mapping from day one
Workflow driven solution – adapt for every process
BYOD, Mobile and Cloud addressed
Miradore Miradore Good offering for Managed Service Providers A good complement for the service desk – but offers no ticketing or core service desk functions.
Light versatile and automated desktop management
Low cost monthly subscription
Good inventory and asset verification offering
Self service software request platform
SupaTOOLS SupaDESK, SupaCMDB Strong CMDB centric ITSM offering Minimal license management capabilities
Cloud, on-premise or flip between two
Well though out design, easy to use
Great relationship views for viewing ALL attributes
Low consulting requirement
Virima Technologies EcosystemManager Datacentre Visibility New software offering, limited existing customers
Turn datacentre insights into service management actions
Ideal for datacentre migration or consolidation
Strong visualisation of dependencies

ITAM & ITSM Integration Review (10)Best in Class for ITAM & ITSM – MATRIX42

We’ve awarded Matrix42 Best in Class for ITAM and ITMS integration for their comprehensive ITAM and ITSM suite.

ITXM – Full ITAM & ITSM integration at last!

“Matrix42 want to be the management layer that sits on top of the services that run IT and claim their key differentiators are strength of integration, automation and speed to value – eschewing the consulting heavy approach of many IT management tool rivals.”

Matrix42 is the closest toolset manufacturer we’ve seen to be able to realize the full ITAM and ITSM vision from one platform. The solution offers both strong ITSM capabilities (verified for eight ITIL processes via a modern interface) whilst also offering depth of datacentre SAM coverage (identifying options and packs enabled for Oracle database). Matrix42 are arguably the first vendor to offer comprehensive Enterprise grade SAM within a full ITSM suite.

Deep Dives:

Disclaimer, Scope and 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 our Disclosure page.

InvGate for ITAM and ITSM

invgate logo words verticalI recently reviewed InvGate for the ITAM vs. ITSM Integration group test. Below is a summary, read the full review on Tools Advisor here.

Also Participating:

To read the summary, strengths and weaknesses, and criteria please visit this page.

InvGate Assets & Service Desk

Invgate is an Argentinian software company offering Service Desk and Asset Management applications. InvGate claim to have a strong market share in their home Latin American territory and gaining traction in USA and EMEA. The company has over 3000 customers and is ideally suited to organizations between 1,000 and 5,000 employees. InvGate is well placed to take advantage of both smaller organizations that have outgrown cheap and cheerful solutions and larger organizations that are perhaps weary of the large price tag and consulting heavy approach of large enterprise players.

InvGate offer standalone ITAM or ITSM solutions via an excellent interface. This is a strong solution and we found it difficult to find fault with it. One-third of InvGate customers are said to own the Service Desk only, one-third Asset Management only and the final third own both.

A world-class interface and user experience

The stand out differentiator when reviewing InvGate is the interface and user experience. They have managed to capture very technical IT management capabilities and communication of IT data – in a remarkably well-designed interface.

The balance between ITAM and ITSM features, ease of use and flexibility is beautifully executed. This is the future of IT management tools, tackling IT complexity head-on.

Code free configuration and first-class design means customers won’t need to engage with consultants to customize the software or ask for custom fields, they can simply do it themselves.

Getting beyond ITIL process box checking

InvGate includes a versatile and easy to use process engine to build any process, including core ITIL processes – but it’s refreshing to see this requirement take a back seat in favour of pure usability and experience.

This is technology your teams and stakeholders will want to use. The user experience and simplicity of execution is head and shoulders above anything else we have seen.

A game everyone wants to playInvGate Service Desk Assets Integration

Invgate Service Desk has game mechanics and social network elements woven into its design and day-to-day interactions. Customers or end users provide immediate feedback and ratings to interactions within the workflow itself (as opposed to receiving an email later).

Social network elements are executed well, it not just ‘likes’ and ‘feeds’ but provides a visual and easy to understand ‘RACI’ chart of the key stakeholders underpinning each service desk process. Interactions are natural and collaborative whilst meeting process goals.

See also ‘GAMIFICATION: Collecting coins on the service desk’ from 2012.

 


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Read the full review on Tools Advisor here.

Do you use InvGate?

Please share your opinion for the benefit of others.

Leave a customer review on Tools Advisor here.

 

 


 

SupaTOOLS for ITAM and ITSM

This independent review is part of our ITAM vs. ITSM Integration group test.

Also participating:

To read the summary, strengths and weaknesses, and criteria please visit this page.

 Commercial Summary

Vendor SupaTOOLS
Product SupaDESK, SupaCMDB
Version reviewed 20150104, released 4th April 2015
Year Founded 2014 (The product was formerly known as easyCMDB developed by Tech Inventions Limited which was founded in 2006)
Customers 80 (Approximately 40% Americas, 25% Australasia, 25% EMEA, 10% Asia)
Pricing Structure
  • SupaCMDB = Number of configuration items to be managed
  • SupaDESK, SupaRELEASE, SupaSTOCK = Number of analysts Priced by managed device per month
  • Available SaaS and on-premise

SupaTOOLS

logo6913229_mdMost ITSM tools were born from a foundation of ticketing and logging incidents. SupaTOOLS, in comparison, was first a CMDB. SupaTOOLS began life as ‘easyCMDB’ in 2006 and has evolved into a well-rounded and competitive ITSM offering.

The founders of SupaTOOLS saw a gap in the market for a robust CMDB solution offering and began developing their CMDB. Whilst SupaTOOLS suite of tools can be used without using the CMDB element, it is clear that CMDB is the foundation and a CMDB ethic of configuration, relationships and connectivity runs throughout the software.

SupaTOOLS is a web-based ITSM solution built around ITIL principles. Customers can choose a Windows or Linux install, with MySQL or SQL Server as a backend repository. Customers can also choose either on premise or SaaS (75% of SupaTOOLS customers install on premise). SupaTOOLS customers can also shift between SaaS on premise as required with many SupaTOOLS customers beginning with a cloud-based setup and shifting to on premise once the installation meets their requirements. Both customers and service management staff can access the SupaTOOLS system via mobile – on iOS and Android.

The SupaTOOLS portfolio consists of four main modules:

  • SupaCMDB – for config. and change management
  • SupaDESK – As the main service desk including Incident and requests
  • SupaRELEASE – A release management offering
  • SupaSTOCK – For inventory, warehouse management and stock control

Despite the SupaTOOLS depth of features we found the interface easy to understand and simple to navigate. Core service desk features included in SupaDESK navigation include service catalogue, incident and problem management, known errors, requests, knowledgebase, incident calendar, business services, service level agreements and reporting.

The SupaTOOLS offering is well thought out with great design. Configuration Managers in particular will love it; it is effectively an extensible database that can be configured to suit any individual customer requirements.

Every attribute of every asset, device or service can be clicked, drilled and viewed to a seemingly endless degree. Customers are never short of being able to see interconnectedness or similarities between any elements. In short, everything is linked to everything else. The relationship view is particularly useful when investigating the relationship between assets, previous incidents and changes and we particularly liked the visual management of racks within datacentres.SupaTOOLS_Integration_Diagram

From a change management perspective SupaTOOLS customers can alter how relaxed they wish to be about changes to the configuration database – from very relaxed to draconian. Settings include:

  • Loose – any data changes are allowed
  • Audit – Notes must be written justifying each change
  • Strict – each change requires a change request

These settings allow customers to increase configuration management discipline and control as their maturity improves or situations require.

SupaTOOLS is built from the ground up as a CMDB for IT departments, but could easily be used to other assets beyond IT. Customization to customer requirements is simple and straightforward and designed to be executed by customers rather than hiring consultants.

Our only criticism of SupaTOOLS is that organizations looking for a comprehensive solution for both IT Service Management and IT Asset Management might find some software license management elements lacking compared to specialist SAM tools, but the depth of visibility and control of datacentre environments will be very useful for Software Asset Managers managing datacentre software publishers.

SupaTOOLS is a refreshing alternative to big ITSM tool frameworks at a competitive price. Built from the ground upwards as a CMDB, it is well-designed and high quality solution for organizations seeking to deliver high-class services and IT management without having to re-mortgage the IT department.

Vendor information – in their own words

“SupaTOOLS

SupaTOOLS is a web-based IT Service Management solution based on the ITIL standard. SupaTOOLS comprises 4 main modules that deliver different processes:

  • SupaCMDB – Configuration and Change Management
  • SupaDESK – Incident, Request and Service Management
  • SupaRELEASE – Advanced Release Management
  • SupaSTOCK – Inventory Management 
All of the above modules can be combined into a single database to provide a fully integrated solution. This allows the customer to pick only the functionality they require and gives them the flexibility to add more at a later date.

SupaTOOLS is available as either a Cloud (SaaS) based service or on-premise install. It supports both Windows and Linux platforms running either MySQL or SQL Server back-end.

Most importantly, SupaTOOLS includes an extremely flexible database schema and UI, allowing the customer to tailor the CMDB to record any asset type and brand the UI according to their own requirements.

This can typically be achieved by the customer with minimal additional cost and involvement from the supplier. 
Our customers use SupaTOOLS can be used in a variety of ways, ranging from providing a fully featured and integrated Service Desk, to an Asset repository with integrated Change Management.

Tools are included to rapidly populate the database from spreadsheet data, which is where many of our customers start from. But equally SupaTOOLS can replace multiple existing disparate systems with a centrally trusted ‘source of truth’ 
We pride ourselves on being very attentive to our customer needs, and responding quickly to all customer queries. Many of our customer suggestions and wishes get included in future releases so that all can benefit.”

 

ManageEngine for ITAM and ITSM

This independent review is part of our ITAM vs. ITSM Integration group test.

Also participating:

To read the summary, strengths and weaknesses, and criteria please visit this page.

Commercial Summary

Vendor ManageEngine; a division of ZOHO Corp
Product ServiceDesk Plus
Version reviewed 9.1
Year Founded 2002
Customers 100,000+
Pricing Structure By Technicians / Assets (Nodes) Available On premise and SaaS

ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus

ManageEngine is a division of Zoho Corp, a privately owned Indian software company with 3,000 employees.

Zoho’s divisions include:sdp_high_res_logo

  • ZOHO – CRM, email and back office functions
  • WebNMS – Network management framework
  • ManageEngine – IT management tools

ServiceDesk Plus from ManageEngine includes a service desk offering and asset management features. ManageEngine claim that ServiceDesk Plus has over 125K deployments in over 100K customers and is used in 186 countries in 29 language variations.

A core differentiator for ManageEngine is delivering IT management tools at a fraction of the price of their enterprise IT management rivals.

 

ServiceDesk Plus Editions

ServiceDesk Plus is available in Standard, Professional and Enterprise editions.

In summary: 

  • Standard Edition (Free): Free software for Incident Management, providing self-service and a knowledgebase. Aimed at the first rung of the ladder of ITSM and getting organizations organized for free.
  • Professional Edition – As per the Standard Edition plus asset scanning and Software Asset Management capabilities.
  • Enterprise Edition – The full suite (Incident, problem, change, asset, service catalogue, CMDB and IT Project Management). Billed as ”ITIL ready helpdesk software with Asset and Project Management”.

The free version from ManageEngine is a bold move to capture market share. There are no limitations on number of agents or tickets raised. ManageEngine state that they provide this free software as a way of giving back to the ITSM community.

Complementary Tools from ManageEngine

The full ManageEngine product portfolio includes:

  • Datacenter & Server Performance
  • Network Performance
  • Log Analysis and Security
  • Desktop and Mobile Device
  • Application Performance
  • Active Directory Management

And for the purposes of IT Asset Management and IT Service Management complementary products to ServiceDesk Plus include:

  • AssetExplorer – Standalone Inventory Management Software
  • Social IT Plus – An internal private social network for IT
  • SupportCenter Plus – Customer facing customer support software

 

Asset Lifecycle Embedded within ITSM  

Asset dashboardServiceDesk Plus includes asset discovery of all IP devices directly into the service desk based on agent based or agent-less scanning. All software and hardware information is recorded and managed for each asset.

Once IT assets are inventoried, administrators can group and manage assets by their preferred criteria or attributes. Asset status can also be assigned for easier visibility of assets in use such as ‘in repair’, ‘disposed’, ‘in use’ and so on. Asset managers can assign contracts and maintenance expiry dates to certain assets and manage them throughout their lifecycle, including non-IT assets.

ServiceDesk asset scanning also includes recording of software usage metering, so with effective policies and management ServiceDesk Plus customers can remove software waste and ensure they only pay for software being used. Organizations can also monitor the usage of restricted applications to support the enforcement of IT policy and to mitigate information security risks.

ServiceDesk Plus include Software Asset Management (SAM) features including the management of various license types such as CAL, concurrent, subscription and node locked licensing.

However ServiceDesk Plus should be considered a basic solution for organizations getting started with the management of desktop SAM. In particular – recognition of software is manual, so administrators must manually scan; move applications to managed status and then manually check for accuracy. This will be very labour intensive for medium to large organizations managing hundreds if not thousands of applications.

The real strength of an integrated suite such as ServiceDesk Plus is the asset register and inventory records all living within service management lifecycles.

ITAM and ITSM Integration

ServiceDesk Plus provides a holistic view over both ITAM and ITSM functions and provides a good integration between the two disciplines. Customers can pin problematic assets to service requests, problems and changes and drill down to see the relationships and inventory history for each asset associated with service.

There is a seamless link between asset and service allowing service managers to see how assets perform during a change, plan changes by viewing impacted assets or troubleshoot troublesome assets by analyzing all the incidents, problems and changes associated with assets.

ServiceDesk Plus has no current integration with Microsoft SCCM, a market leader in desktop deployment. Competitive solutions integrate with the patch and deployment lifecycle, although ManageEngine do offer their own integrated solution in the form of Desktop Central as an alternative to SCCM.

ManageEngine report that around 20% of their customers have taken ServiceDesk Plus beyond the IT department to functions such as HR, maintenance, facilities and travel. So there is clearly scope for expanding the initial value and investment in ServiceDesk Plus well beyond the IT department and providing automation and efficiency gains.

Lacks Polish

Customer - software dashboardManageEngine lacks some of the sophistication and polish of their ITSM market competitors, and lacks the depth compared to specialist ITAM players – but nonetheless is a good solid solution for building an integrated ITAM and ITSM foundation.

ManageEngine has an enormous portfolio of products. This diversity is reflected in their ITAM and ITSM offerings, which sometimes show a shortage of specialist knowledge. However for organizations seeking to build a service management platform with inbuilt asset register at a competitive price ServiceDesk Plus should be on your shortlist.

Vendor information – in their own words

“ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus for ITAM & ITSM

ServiceDesk Plus is web-based help desk software built on the ITIL framework with over 125,000 deployments in more than 100,000 organizations. ServiceDesk Plus is SMB affordable help desk software loaded with enterprise features. It can be the right fit for organizations that are looking for to organize their IT help desk without having to spend huge dollars.

ServiceDesk Plus enables an easier service delivery to the end users with a range of easy code-free customizations starting from the user interface. Automation ranging from ticket handling to automated notifications in ServiceDesk Plus help increase productivity of the technicians. ServiceDesk Plus has minimal learning curve and is easy to learn for both the technicians as well as the end users thereby ensuring a faster ROI for service desk teams.

The native mobile apps provide anytime, anywhere access to the technicians to create, edit, assign, and close requests. ServiceDesk Plus delivers the right insights on the help desk performance s with canned and custom reports, and real time dashboards. ServiceDesk Plus is also scalable for organizations of different sizes. The key features of ServiceDesk Plus include: –

  • Incident Management
  • Problem Management
  • Change Management
  • Asset management
  • Project Management
  • Purchase and Contract Management
  • Self-Service Portal
  • Knowledge Base
  • Automated Workflows
  • Multi-Site Support
  • 150+ Canned and Custom Reports
  • CMDB
  • Real-Time Dashboards
  • Service Catalogue
  • User Survey
  • Native Mobile Apps

The standard edition of ServiceDesk Plus with the basic help desk functionality is completely free without any restrictions on the number of end users, technicians, or requests. The main objective is to eliminate the cost of decision-making for small organizations and enable them to take their first step towards an organized IT and streamline their incident management process.”

Product Information: https://www.manageengine.com/help-desk-software.html

Online demo: http://demo.servicedeskplus.com

Matrix42 for ITAM and ITSM [Best in Class]

ITAM & ITSM Integration Review (10)I recently reviewed Matrix42 [Best in Class] for the ITAM vs. ITSM Integration group test. Below is a summary, read the full review on Tools Advisor here.

Also Participating:

To read the summary, strengths and weaknesses, and criteria please visit this page.

Matrix42-Corporate-Logo-300ppi

Arguably the first vendor to offer comprehensive Enterprise grade SAM within a full ITSM suite

 

ITXM – Full ITAM & ITSM Integration at last

We first reviewed Matrix42 back in 2010, when we assessed that the German IT management tool provider had strong ITAM, ITSM and Systems Management capabilities. Five years on and Matrix42 is as competitive as ever, a modern IT Management platform with vast platform coverage.

Matrix42 want to be the management layer that sits on top of the services that run IT and claim their key differentiators are strength of integration, automation and speed to value – eschewing the consulting heavy approach of many IT management tool rivals. Existing customers range from mid-market to very large enterprises.

Enterprise Grade SAM within ITSM

Many ITSM tool providers pay lip service to ITAM. Adding a few inventory fields with incidents or offering database level integrations between tools. Matrix42 is arguably the first ITSM suite to offer fully integrated enterprise grade ITAM capabilities.

The vision of fully integrated ITAM and ITSM is:

  • For ITAM
    • Meeting compliance and efficiency goals whilst decisions and changes are being made rather than attempting to clean up mess afterwards.
    • Allowing users to be productive and have access to the assets they need whilst being compliant.
  • For ITSM
    • Offering visibility of asset relationships and costs to facilitate faster incident resolution, proactive problem management and less error prone change management.
    • Delivering self-service without risks.

Matrix42 is the closest toolset manufacturer we’ve seen to be able to realize this vision from one platform. The solution offers both strong ITSM capabilities (verified for eight ITIL processes via a modern interface) whilst also offering depth of datacentre SAM coverage (Identifying options and packs enabled for Oracle database).

Voila_Capture 2015-06-12_10-55-03_am


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Read the full review on Tools Advisor here.

Do you use Matrix42?

Please share your opinion for the benefit of others.

Leave a customer review on Tools Advisor here.

 

 


 

Miradore for ITAM and ITSM

This independent review is part of our ITAM vs. ITSM Integration group test.

Also participating:

To read the summary, strengths and weaknesses, and criteria please visit this page.

Commercial Summary

Vendor Miradore
Product Miradore
Version reviewed V4.1 (released June 2015)
Year Founded 2006
Customers About 40 service provider customers, servicing about 500 end customers and about 450,000 devices
Pricing Structure Priced by managed device per month

Miradore Desktop ManagementMiradore-Logo300dpi_RGB

A desktop management solution providing ITAM and Configuration Management capabilities and opportunities for automating routine ITSM tasks.

 Miradore was formed in 2006 when three IT specialists working at the Finnish pulp, paper and timber manufacturer, UPM, couldn’t find a suitable solution in the market for their IT infrastructure management requirements. Miradore now has customers in 70+ countries and over 450,000 devices under management.

Miradore is a Desktop Management solution for Windows, OSX and Linux providing ITAM and Configuration Management capabilities and opportunities for automating routine tasks in ITSM lifecycles.

A key route to market is Managed Service Providers who harness Miradore for monitoring and managing client environments. MSP business partners include global integrators such as Fujitsu to local specialists such as Tieto.

A key differentiator for Miradore is providing a light, versatile and automated desktop management solution to partners and end user organizations that find larger frameworks such as Microsoft Configuration Manager too expensive and labour intensive to implement.

Miradore provides partners an easy to use console for visibility and management of client environments via a low cost subscription.  Managed Service Providers can easily see what devices they are supporting and the status of each device to facilitate efficient support.

Miradore also offer a SaaS based Mobile Device Management called ‘Miradore Online’ for the management of iOS, Android and Windows Phones. This provides asset location, technical specification, security settings and installed applications for connected devices. We trialled the system using Apple’s Device Enrolment program and found it remarkably easy to use.

Miradore’s product naming conventions are not obvious and those browsing their website could be forgiven for getting completely confused which product is which. Perhaps calling the products Miradore Desktop Management and Miradore MDM would be more straightforward.

Miradore_screen 1

Self-Healing ITAM

Miradore offers comprehensive device monitoring and management features including:

  • Asset discovery and SNMP scanning for other network devices such as printers, switches and routers
  • Hardware and software inventory for Windows, Linux, OS X
  • Connection to Miradore’s ‘Miradore Online’ MDM solution for management of iOS, Windows Phone and Android devices
  • Power Management and centralized management of endpoint back up
  • Device monitoring, alerting and reporting
  • Automated tasks based on rules e.g. Create an incident in the service desk based on an alert
  • Remote control, operating system and software installation, patch management
  • Asset update service
  • Quality index reporting
  • Software license management including normalized inventory, software usage tracking and a software request catalogue

We particularly liked the asset update service, allowing Miradore customers to confirm the continued ownership of assets and keep their asset and ownership details fresh. The service checks-in with end user customers to ask, “Do you still own these devices?” then provides a workflow for administrators to eyeball and verify any changes.

We also found the quality index reporting a powerful reminder of key metrics and a refreshing change to the usual reporting dashboards found in IT management tools.

Quality index reporting allows Miradore customers to set thresholds for key ITAM or Configuration Management performance metrics as asset visibility or anti-virus coverage. This reporting, presumably driven from Miradore’s SLA driven MSP partners, is great practical use of asset data to improve ITAM quality over time rather than generic dashboard.

Automation and Empowering Self-Service

Miradore_screen 2From an IT Service Management perspective, Miradore is a great complement to a broader service desk solution and provides great asset data to empower service management processes.

Miradore’s close device monitoring and management capabilities allow alerting on the service desk to enable proactive problem management by generating tickets based on device events, or highlighting mismatching configurations of devices, or simply identifying changes.

Similarly, Miradore’s self-service software request catalogue allows customers to select software, seek management software, and for the software to be deployed to the end user’s device – without the need for service desk agent intervention.

Finally, Miradore’s remote control facility will be a useful utility for the service desk. Features include screen sharing, controlling mouse and keyboard, file transfer and drawing tools.

In summary, Miradore is a good all round solution for desktop management and configuration management to support the service desk, especially for those organizations looking for a simpler and easier to use solution to Microsoft Configuration Manager.

Vendor information – in their own words

“Miradore

Miradore was born when three IT specialists working for a global paper giant UPM needed a better way to manage their own IT infrastructure. Since none of the existing configuration management solutions did not address the challenges they faced in a company with 20,000 workstations in over 30 countries, they decided to create their own. The pilot project and full-scale roll out was a success, and so in 2006 they left UPM to found Miradore Ltd. And naturally, UPM became Miradore’s first customer.

Today Miradore provides a mature and feature-rich product for managing different types of IT devices throughout their entire lifecycles. This is done by collecting accurate and up-to-date information from devices, automating device management activities, and integrating Miradore easily to overall ITSM toolset.

Miradore is committed to continuous improvement and thereby strives to further improve the product, focusing especially on utilization of cloud technologies, easiness of implementation and use, and mobility.”

Nexthink V6 Review

nexthink logo N

I reviewed Nexthink earlier in the year, worthy winners of our ITAM Excellence awards for Innovation. Check out a summary of Nexthink below or read the full review on Tools Advisor here: http://www.toolsadvisor.net/tools/nexthink

Nexthink V6.0

Nexthink is a pioneer of end-user IT analytics. This review takes a look at the core capabilities of Nexthink, the route to market for the company, competitive strengths and weaknesses, and market reach.

 A new paradigm in IT Management Tools

Nexthink is perfectly placed to take advantage of the IT industry trend towards end-user centric computing, hybrid IT and analytics. Nexthink provide a sophisticated solution for visualizing IT infrastructure from an end-user perspective in real-time and over time.

This is a next-generation solution for forward thinking organizations focused on transforming the end-user experience, proactive identification of probable causes before end-users flag them as issues and generally increasing service quality.

Key Capabilities Table:

KEY BUSINESS CONCERN  KEY ISSUES  NEXTHINK – KEY CAPABILITIES
IT Operations Service quality gap between what IT believes its delivering and end-user experience View service quality from an end-user perspective
Majority of incidents are not reported by end-users Proactive Problem Management via end-user analytics
Demand to release applications at faster cadence Measure service quality before, during and after App deployments
IT Projects Stale or incomplete inventory Real-time analysis of IT Infrastructure
Lack of insight into project delivery Real-time visibility during App deployment and baseline service quality before and after
Inaccurate, out of date or failed CMDB implementations Continuous automated relationship and connectivity mapping in real-time
IT Security Poor visibility of IT infrastructure and connectivity CCTV-like experience recording real-time and historical
Zero-day exploits and rogue behavior Real-time monitoring and alerting of unauthorized or abnormal application and connectivity activity
BYOD and end-user centric behavior End-user centric relationship and connectivity mapping

Major Product Components – Nexthink V6

  • Collector – continuous real-time monitoring creates a ‘highlight reel’ of each endpoint and end-user.
  • Engine – continuous real-time analytics and alerting, discovery and dynamic pattern analysis to identify anomalies.
  • Finder – real-time visualization and ability to smart search, pivot on data / findings, look for patterns, and create custom investigations, alerts and actions.
  • Portal – near real-time visualization and historical trend analysis, sophisticated custom dashboards that include metrics, goals, thresholds, and status indicators.

Tools Advisor

 

Read the full review on Tools Advisor here.

Do you use NexthinkV6?

Please share your opinion for the benefit of others. Leave a customer review on Tools Advisor here.