Review: EasyVista for Knowledge Management

This independent review is part of our 2013 Knowledge Management Group Test.

Executive Summary – EasyVista

Overview
  • Good functionality meets all stated requirements
  • Seamless integration across the ITSM product set
  • Vendor established global position in mid-market –limited presence in some markets – e.g. UK
  • User Interface user-friendly
  • Some good features around discussion boards, crowdsourcing options and multi-level KAs
  • Overall looks a good option
Primary Market Focus Base on the information supplied, EasyVista typically market to medium and large size customers.

Commercial Summary

Vendor EasyVista
Product EasyVista 2013
Version reviewed 2013
Date of version release April 2013
Year founded EasyVista was created as Staff & Line in 1988 and became EasyVista in 2012.
Customers 300 SaaS and 750 on premise
Pricing Structure SaaS, Named and concurrent options
Competitive Differentiators “Neo Technology: This is our ‘Codeless Framework’ that (at a high level) does two things;

  1. CONNECT – many API’s and integrations have been pre-written into ERP solutions, IT management tools, DB’s, directories, Cloud services and obviously AD / LDAP and Mail etc. all of which are increasingly used in building a service.
  2. BUILD – we believe we are significantly ahead of our competition here as we have not only build the mechanism for codeless programming (Graphical drag and drop / wizards etc — which many vendors have), but we have also developed all of the code required to build a service. (No Java or C## etc needs to be built and added into the graphical objects – which all of our competitors require. This equates to 6000 man hours of programming.”

Independent Review

EV_LOGO_RGBThis is a straightforward and standard Knowledge option with multi-level capability for EV users –  knowledge is shipped with the product and seamlessly integrated with it.

Some nice features around discussion boards, ‘crowdsourcing’ options and multi-levels KAs, plus searching and dashboard capability.

A good knowledge option for EV users or those considering the product with a view to making Knowledge Management work.

Overview

  • Good functionality which meets all stated requirements
  • Seamless integration across the ITSM product set
  • Vendor has established global position in mid-market – with limited presence in some markets – e.g. UK
  • User Interface is straightforward and user-friendly
  • Some good features around discussion boards, crowdsourcing options and multi-level KAs, plus searching and dashboard capability
  • A good option for EV customers or those considering this with requirements for developing standard Knowledge functionality

Strengths

  • Meets all the basic functionality required for the review, for creation, approval, maintenance, tracking of Knowledge Articles (KAs)
  • Pink Verified for Knowledge Management
  • Multi- level deployment in different – 6 languages shipped, can search in different languages Can search content of attachments, controls on records – with control over level of skill required to see and use record – ie based on specific certifications
  • Able to control who can use ‘user rating’ – for relevance of KA Actions. Can ‘publish as a news article’ – generate a record on home page
  • Nice feature to highlight regular searches that return no results – ie identify topics for articles
  • Can reference 3rd party search engines and also rate the solution
  • Search engine automatically searches, on logging an incident and on self-service portal
  • Ability to create question/answer scripts
  • Able to create Known Error with flexibility to allow changes to record during lifecycle and also check for duplicates
  • Can create (and link) technical and simplified version of same KA, then apply to profile to apply to relevant content by individual login
  • Search Statistics Dashboard  – able to see who is doing searches and volumes, types, dates, results – useful to see who is using the KM and whether they are searching for the right things
  • Discussion groups within product – nice like Facebook wall – can send KA information to all or specific groups
  • ‘Crowdsourcing’ by starting discussions on specific items and sharing or specifying viewers
  • Wiki going live – with global front end dashboard of usage across EV users. All product documentation online

Weaknesses

  • Vendor has been geared to mid-market implementation – now aiming more for enterprise market
  • Limited positioning or presence in some key markets – e.g. UK
  • Could provide more focussed, results-based information on customer success stories using KM
  • Global wiki portal relatively new

EasyVista’s Knowledge Management Customers

In Their Own Words:

“EasyVista is a leading, global provider of cloud based IT Service Management, Asset Lifecycle Management, and Organisational Service Management solutions for the large enterprise. We have the very best Pink Verify Certifications, hold a prominent position in the Gartner ITSSM magic quadrant and Gartner ITALM reports. We have one of the world’s most comprehensive cloud infrastructures for ITSM and ITALM. We run over  1.5 million platform tests a day  and support over 1000 clients worldwide. We are also not only a global company, but lead the field with our global product offering multiple languages, currencies time-zone management and administration.

What we do: We specialize in helping organisations make the transition from traditional IT Operations Management that was designed for a very different time, to ‘New IT’ Operations Management designed for now and the future. We transform your customer experience, simplify the management and constant change within of IT, provide visibility and intelligence and we help extend workflow automation services beyond IT into other functions within the enterprise, such as HR, facilities and customer service. ‘New IT’ needs new thinking. We believe the building blocks of IT have changed. Applications, compute, storage and services come from ‘everywhere’. IT is no longer exclusively in the basement. A broker of IT Service and Support is required that can connect, integrate and coordinate service and support across the ‘New hybrid IT’, and remove customer frustration, providing a familiar and logical support portal, for all IT and business services, as well as simplifying the workload on IT.”

Screenshots

Further Information:

 Knowledge Management Review Index

This independent review is part of our 2013 Knowledge Management Group Test. 

Integrations Group Test line up announced

Winning team: Which tool set will lead our Integration Group Test by Ros Satar (…and gratuitous shot of Chris Froome in his yellow jersey enroute to win the 100th edition of the race with Team Sky)
Winning team: Which tool set will lead our Integration Group Test by Ros Satar (…and gratuitous shot of Chris Froome in his yellow jersey enroute to win the 100th edition of the Tour de France with Team Sky)

Absolute Software, BDNA, Bomgar, Cherwell, EasyVista, LANDesk, ManageEngine, Matrix42, Nexthink and ServiceNow are confirmed participants for our upcoming ‘Integrations’ review.

The review will delve into integration tools which compliment ITSM processes.

“Whether it be speeding up implementations by cleaning up the original data needed to set up the system in the first place, to incorporporating Systems Management data, we want to take a look at the supporting products that help us manage IT and business services end to end.”

The assessment criteria at a glance:

  • Pre-Deployment Set-up
  • Integrations to Asset and Configuration information
  • Event Management
  • Support Services
  • Resource Management
  • Any other useful data that supports ITSM

Full details of the assessment criteria can be found here.

Reviewer: Ros Satar

Confirmed Participants:

  1. Absolute
  2. BDNA
  3. Bomgar
  4. Cherwell
  5. EasyVista
  6. LANDesk
  7. ManageEngine
  8. Matrix42
  9. Nexthink
  10. ServiceNow

Publication

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Image Credit (Sky Wallpapers)

Gartner Magic Quadrant for IT Service Support Management Tools (ITSSM) 2012

The extra 's' - a genuine new market definition or marketing fluff?

Gartner have recently published their Magic Quadrant for IT Service Support Management (ITSSM).

The research includes Axios Systems, BMC, CA Technologies, Cherwell Software, EasyVista, FrontRange Solutions, Hornbill, HP, IBM, LANDesk and ServiceNow.

In a nutshell:

  • BMC came out on top, closely followed by ServiceNow
  • Everybody else is sat uncomfortably close together in the ‘must try harder’ niche players quadrant
  • Nobody made it into the ‘leaders quadrant’ (The RFP-shortlist-holy-grail)

What is ‘ITSSM’ anyway?

My first question when beginning to read this new Gartner Magic Quadrant was – what is ITSSM? Where did that extra ‘S’ come from and what does it mean?

The introductory text reads:

“IT service support management (ITSSM) tools offer a tighter integration of functions that correlates with the activities of the broader IT support organization. ITSSM tools leverage a business view of IT services, enabling the IT support organization to quickly resolve or escalate issues and problems, improve root cause isolation, and provide higher levels of business user satisfaction.”

I’m still none the wiser. Still looks like good old ITSM to me.

Marketing Fluff?

In the book ‘The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing’ by Al Ries and Jack Trout we are introduced to the ‘Law of Focus’. The authors argue ‘the most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in a prospects mind’. The most powerful evidence of this is when a product is so totally engrained in our vernacular that it becomes a verb. We ask for a Coke, we Skype, we Hoover the stairs etc (i.e. one product name dominates the entire sector). This begins to explain why technology companies dream up new and exciting ways to explain markets and cook up new acronyms, to try to own the whole concept for themselves.

Perhaps ‘ITSSM’ is a misguided attempt at this new sector definition.  I think it is marketing fluff and does little to help the market. Would it really be that dreadful to admit dropping the previous ITSM Quadrant was a mistake? If it is a genuine new market sector they’ve done an awful job of defining it and educating the market.

Only Behemoths May Apply

My other criticism of this report, and Gartner Magic Quadrants in general, is over emphasis on global reach.

Some of the global players have an international network of offices that span the globe, but how many of the people in these hundreds of offices know about your product? I would ague that is probably about the same amount of people as the total team of a smaller niche competitor. i.e. BigMegaCorp operates in 50 countries with 20,000 staff and 35 of these people worldwide know about ITSM, compared to the small niche competitor with 35 staff – all of whom know about ITSM.

Similarly, vendors in this report had to have revenues in excess of $10M. Isn’t this threshold cutting out the most exciting and innovative vendors in the sector? The target audience for this report is typically large enterprises – but are they really that risk adverse?

In Richard Stiennon’s recent article he stated that:

“Gartner’s 11,000 clients are the largest organizations in the world and Gartner acknowledges that 80 percent of them are late-adaptors. They are much more likely to buy from HP, IBM, or Oracle than from a start-up with the most cutting-edge solution.”

Is that really the case these days? The old adage of ‘You won’t get fired for buying IBM’ is being replaced by users who can search what they are looking for on Google, buy it using a credit card and get the job done in the Cloud without a second thought.

Rudderless Industry?

Finally, I believe the fact that there are no vendors in the Leaders quadrant is a good reflection of the industry. Once upon a time ITIL aligned processes were the key market differentiator, and then came the ability to deliver in the Cloud – the market is now looking for new leadership and new differentiators.

The report is available here free from BMC.