Orange, green, blue, purple – what colour is ITSM?

photo (2)PINK. The answer is still PINK.

PINK14 seem a long time ago now, and I have to confess that I am already secretly (although I guess it’s not a secret when I publish it in an article right?) planning my trip for PINK15.

There has already been a stream of blogs from people providing their thoughts on the conference:

So I guess I’m a little late to the ‘event review party’ (sheesh my legs are still tired from the theme park that was Vegas) but better late than never. So here goes my review.

My favourite sessions

The calibre of the sessions varied depending on the topic and the speaker, but two sessions in particular stood out for me:

  • Slow IT: Meet in the Middle (MITM) – Rob England
  • How to Create & Manage a Successful Service Catalog – Jack Probst

What I loved most about these two sessions was the audience. No offence to either presenter but there were times when I wasn’t giving them 100% of my attention, because I was too busy watching and listening to the delegates in the room.

Rob England

Rob discussed the need to slow down the pace of business demands on IT to focus better on what matters, and to reduce the risk to what already exists (you can view Rob’s presentation as part of TFT here). His session was laden with common sense, and his message clearly resonated with the audience.

There were lots of nodding heads and signs of agreements. There were ‘oohs and ahh’s’ every 5 minutes (to the point that if any one entered the session late they probably wondered what the heck was going on). There were cries from the audience of ‘how?’ and ‘yes!’ It was very entertaining and enlightening to watch, and I think it’s fair to say that Rob had a few new groupies by the time his presentation was over.

Jack Probst

Then there was Jack’s session on service catalog (let’s not have the argument about the spelling). And before I attended the conference a few people had recommended to me “if you only see one session make sure it’s one of Jack’s”, and I’m pleased to say that this will probably be the same advice I give to any new timers next year.

Jack is a very enthusiastic and passionate presenter. I confess that when I entered the room I thought I understood service catalog and when I left I wasn’t so convinced (it was a tad high level for little ol’ me), but nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was question after question literally every five minutes from the audience (ok so maybe it wasn’t just me who found it high level) and once again the audience was very engaged. By the way if anyone saw my tweet about ITSM Review and service catalog, it was from this session.

What I loved most about this particular presentation though was not the actual session or topic, it was what happened after. I wanted to introduce myself to Jack given that the previous week he had written an article for us, and I had to wait a considerable amount of time to be able to do so. There was a very long line of people with questions.  All too often I see similar scenarios at events, and all too often I see very short responses given as answers, or occasionally no answers at all, but not with Jack. He gave clear answers and took contact details to provide even further information after the conference.

It’s interesting because many people raised the question of whether the PINK conference provided enough value to warrant the hefty conference price tag. My thoughts? If all the delegates did was attend these two sessions, then I would say they certainly got their money’s worth.

All the other sessions

A lot of people raised the suggestion that next year there should be less tracks and that presentations should be shorter, which I think is a fair comment.  There were many occasions when it felt a bit like Sophie’s Choice deciding which presentation to go to, not least when I had to make a decision between James Finister and Karen Ferris. James won solely on the fact that it was less distance for me to walk (the Bellagio is HUGE and I only have little legs … although not as little as Gobby Midget).

The keynotes on day one were incredible, and I think that PINK has quite a challenge on its hands finding anyone to match them next year. The keynotes on day two were sadly not as impressive, and along with many women I found the session by Josh Klein particularly poor. It was stereotypical and offensive. I appreciate that all of said stereotypical/offensive comments that he made were meant in good humour, but this is 2014 and jokes about women knowing nothing about tech and only being interested in shoes are not acceptable. There again I’d question whether there was ever actually a time when they were acceptable (although I wasn’t alive in the 1970s).

Anyway, enough of my thoughts for a second, let’s hear from a practitioner:

Currently our main aim at South African Reserve Bank is to be more service focused as well as looking at managing change and so my aim coming to PINK14 was to go to these types of sessions.

I was especially looking forward to Expanding ITSM Beyond IT: Providing Real Value to the Business by Joshua Smith – IT Service Management Team Lead at Mohawk Industries and I think I have taken away some useful points from the session.

We are currently moving to a new Service Desk tool provider and so I am looking forward to visiting the stand and getting to know the people there.

My favourite keynote has definitely been Caroline Casey, she was fantastic and very inspirational [unlike the keynote of Joshua Klein which I walked out of].

On the whole I would say that I have not had the “WOW that’s amazing I will definitely take this back with me” moment I was hoping for but I still think that the conference has been worthwhile.

– Siphiwe Mkwanazi – Head: Service Management Centre, South African Reserve Bank

Final thoughts

The theme was superheroes and I was suitably impressed with how PINK managed to ensure that the theme was present throughout the conference. The dressing up as superheroes and dancing through the ballroom wasn’t really my cup of tea, but that was simply a mismatch between American and British humour. It certainly drew plenty of laughs from the audience.

I won’t mention too much about the awards as you’ll be able to read articles from the winners here at ITSM Review over the coming weeks. However, what I will say is that at itSMF UK many of us complained that the award ceremony was too long and ‘went on a bit’, and yet at PINK we were complaining that the awards were a bit of a letdown (in terms of presentation not the actual winners) and too short. Safe to say that we (the ITSM critics) always have something to moan about and we’ll probably never be happy.

Finally, before I leave you with some photos of the exhibitors along with their views on the conference, there is one piece of feedback that I personally want to give to PINK for the 2015 conference. What I have to say is this:

 

“MORE GEORGE!!!!”

 

Seriously, the man is an absolute breath of fresh air and there was a never a dull moment when he was on stage. Pretty please work even more George Spalding into the agenda for 2015.

The exhibitors

I really shouldn’t miss out the vendors, given that without them PINK wouldn’t be able to run their conference. I personally felt that there was a nice atmosphere in the exhibition hall at this particular event. I’m not sure whether it was layout, the attendees or the fact that the vendors just generally seemed to be a lot more laid back and friendlier than I’ve seen them at other events – whatever the reason it was nice.

I particularly enjoyed assessing each vendors marketing efforts. From “spot me in a t-shirt” competitions to barbeque giveaways (yes you did read that correctly) there was certainly something for everyone. Anyone who knows me will know I get annoyed by vendors on booths very easily, but bar one minor incident that involved a finger (don’t ask) I never had a reason to complain!

Although talking of annoying, seriously, it’s time to stop tweeting about your PINK booth now people!

Before I finish up, here are some photos of a few* exhibitors looking all ‘dapper’ on their booths:

BMC Software
BMC Software
CA Technologies
CA Technologies
Cherwell
Cherwell Software
EasyVista
EasyVista
LANDESK
LANDESK
ManageEngine
ManageEngine
Navvia
Navvia
ServiceNow
ServiceNow
SysAid
SysAid
TeamQuest
TeamQuest

*Please note that no favouritism was involved in selecting which exhibitors to display here. I simply used all of the the professionals photographs provided to us by PINK.

The final finally

I just want to take this opportunity to thank Pink Elephant on behalf of everyone at ITSM Review for having us involved as media partner this year. We thoroughly enjoyed the conference and all of the amazing networking opportunities that the event presented us with.

So who else is going to PINK15?

Podcast Episode 1: Pink14 and the best moustache in the world

ManageEngine
Thanks to our friends at ManageEngine for sponsoring this podcast.

We are pleased to lift the lid on our very first podcast!

Recorded at Pink14 in Las Vegas with Barclay Rae and Rebecca Beach with guest Ian Aitchison from LANDESK.

The team discuss Shadow IT, Axelos Announcements, Pink Conference agenda and other industry news (not forgetting the best moustache in the world!)

Listen on SoundCloud here (Itunes feed to follow soon).

Who and what would you like to hear on future podcasts? Please get in touch and let us know – Drop us a line, leave a comment on this blog post or post ideas on our community forum. Thanks.

Links

Coming Soon: The Battle of Change, Configuration and Release

wrestling
Let the battle begin!

We’re excited to be kicking off our research briefings next week for our competitive analysis on Change, Configuration and Release. Scheduled for publication in May, vendors confirmed to participate so far include:

The research will highlight competitive differentiators; feature key strengths (and weaknesses too of course); and showcase innovation within each product. Once reviewed, we will crown one Vendor “Best in Class” and the “leader” in Change, Configuration and Release.

Our research is based solely on responses to an in-depth questionnaire as well as a series of briefings, but we are always interested in hearing the end-user perspective.

Do you have experience with any of the participating Vendors? Do you have any views on their capabilities when it comes to Change, Configuration and Release? Are there any Vendors that you think are successful in this area who are not currently scheduled to participate in this review?

The review will be conducted by Rebecca Beach. For more information on the assessment view the Group Test criteria here. Vendors can still sign up to be involved up until Friday 31st January.

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

Image Credit

Review: ManageEngine for Integrations

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

Executive Summary

Elevator Pitch An Mid-Market ITSM solution with additional features such as Project Management and web services and a range of supporting tools available from the same stable of products.
Strengths
  • Offers a range of products within their suite to manage across an organisation
  • Nice touch in providing project capability within the ServiceDesk Plus Change function
Weaknesses
  • Misses automation in some key areas (CMDB) and not able to view a graphical representation of the process workflow
  • Some system integrations are only possible by purchasing other ManageEngine modules rather than using what an organization may already own.
Primary Market Focus Based on the information provided, ManageEngine are typically active in the SMB market, but can also cater for larger customers.They are classified for this review as:Specialised Service Management Suite – Offering ITIL processes and proprietary discovery tooling and Data Integration Points

Commercial Summary

Vendor ManageEngine
Product ServiceDesk Plus
Version reviewed Version 8.2 Build 8211
Date of version release 28th August, 2013
Year founded 2005
Customers 24K
Pricing Structure ServiceDesk Plus has a transparent pricing structure. It is based on number of nodes and technicians. Pricing that has been included for the On-Premise version is:Standard Edition – Free up to 5 technicians foreverProfessional Edition – Starts at $395 (5 technicians)Enterprise Edition – Starts at $995 (5 technicians)

The prices for the On-Demand SaaS Version are:

Standard Edition – $14 per tech per month

Professional Edition: $24 per tech per month

£9 per month for a pack of 50 assets

Enterprise Edition – $54 per tech per month

$9 per month for a pack of 50 assets

 

The prices for the Managed Services Helpdesk are:

Standard Edition – $595

Professional Edition – $1195

Enterprise Edition – $3495

Competitive Differentiators
  1. Provides a reasonable level of additional integration (for example web services)
  2. Have developed a suite of products to complement the ServiceDesk Plus product set
  3. Have added Project Management tracking capability
Additional Features ServiceDesk Plus is available in 29 different languages.

Independent Review

sdp-logo-small-size

ManageEngine supplies plenty of integration methods into the tool, offering a complementary set of products to make that process easier, although they also recognise a need to have open integration methods between ITSM tools. They do include some Project Management tracking capability as an additional layer to their offering.

Integration and specific recognised criteria

ServiceDesk Plus is ITIL Ready and includes Incident, Problem, Change, CMDB and Service Catalog.

ServiceDesk Plus makes use of web API standards which they have incorporated into their Request and Change modules.

Data can be added, modified, deleted and created into ServiceDesk Plus and outbound to other vendors via web services.

Process automation is controlled by business rules and the product comes with a comprehensive set of pre-set templates for most basic functions, as well as the ability to create additional ones and customise templates for an environment.

Security Controls

ManageEngine applies the authorisation that is expected in a tool to allow specific roles to view data within their scope.

Pre-Deployment Integration

There are a number of ways that ServiceDesk Plus can bring in data. The product connects to Active Directory to import user data, department information, location, and management hierarchies in bulk, but a CSV file can be used as well.

The relationships for the user with various configuration items are also imported and provided in a couple of views (list and map).

ServiceDesk Plus also provides LDAP integrations for a single sign-on.

Asset and Configuration Information

ServiceDesk Plus comes with an integrated asset management module for the tracking and management of assets in an organisation, and can covers IT and Non-IT assets.

The CMDB is actually a separate module and built up with the combination of user relationship and the collected asset data.

At the moment, though the relationship association needs to be done manually.

They do not offer integration to third party products but can import CSV values.

Support Services Integration

  • Remote Control

There is a web-based remote control which technicians can use to access and troubleshoot a user’s workstation from their desk through a remote session.  It supports either ActiveX or Java plug-ins.

  • Support Chats/Social Media

Integration is with their own Desktop Central product to provide a chat, which is mmore closely tied with management options for the desktop (for example software distribution).

Resource Management Integration

Projects can be created from a change record – these contain tasks and milestones. There is also a time-sheet facility that records how long tasks have taken.

Projects can be presented in a Gantt chart view or graphically, showing milestones and dependencies between tasks.

Additional Areas of Integration

  • Network Monitoring Alerts

Integration is with their network monitoring tool OpManager – alarms detected raise records in ServiceDesk Plus, and technicians can informed via notification profiles whenever an alarm is triggered.

  • DesktopCentral

Integration exists with their own proprietary desktop management server to help remotely deploy patches, software and managing assets, including mobile devices.

ServiceDesk Plus Customers

From the ServiceDesk Brochure

  • Help desk software with integrated asset and project management built on the ITIL framework.
  • There is an MSP version designed to handle multiple accounts in a single Help Desk.

In Their Own Words:

ServiceDesk Plus is a help desk product suite with integrated asset and project management capabilities built on the ITIL framework. ServiceDesk Plus provides help desk agents and IT managers, an integrated console to monitor and maintain the assets and IT requests generated by users. More than 20,000+ IT managers worldwide in 186 countries use ServiceDesk Plus to manage their IT help desk and assets. ServiceDesk Plus is available in 29 different languages.

ServiceDesk Plus is also featured in the new Gartner Magic Quadrant 2013 for ITSSM Tools.

Some of the features include

  • IT Project Management
  • CMDB
  • Self Service Portal
  • SLA Management
  • Knowledge Base
  • Incident Management
  • Problem Management
  • Change Management
  • Software Asset Management
  • Asset Discovery
  • Agent and Agentless scans
  • Service Catalog
  • Business Rules
  • Helpdesk Notifications
  • Purchase Order Management
  • Automatic Ticket dispatch
  • Contract Management
  • Mobile Help Desk App  & Voice Based iPhone App
  • Reports – 150+ Standard and Custom reports options
  • User Surveys

Screenshots

Further Information

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

The 2014 ITSM Tools Universe

Runners, riders, market share and market focus for the ITSM Tools market
2014 ITSM Tools Universe: Runners, riders, market share and market focus for the whole ITSM Tools market

Please note that we are no longer accepting entries to be part of this report.

Today we kick off our 2014 ITSM Tools Universe research in which we will be looking at the multitude of tools out there that claim to help with the management of Information Technology Services; from one function tools through to the ‘all-singing-all-dancing’ suites.

Why invest in ITSM tools?

Organizations typically invest in ITSM technology to help them:

  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Improve service availability and response times
  • Integrate or improve integration between processes
  • Improve root cause analysis
  • Automate or improve business workflows
  • Improve business visibility of IT services

We are looking to talk with ANY supplier who has technology in these areas.

The Assessment Process

There is no cost to participate in our ITSM Universe research.

Steps:

  1. Complete this online questionnaire
  2. Upon completion, schedule an online briefing and arrange customer references

We have tried to automate our assessment process as much as possible given the number of tools we plan to assess, so we have used an online submission form to initiate the process. I have posted a PDF version for participants for reference. If you have any questions please contact me.

ITSM Universe Objectives

Rather than reviewing just the major competitors, this review hopes to shed light on the emerging players and, over time, the changes in the position of the companies involved and moves in market share.

Consideration will also be given to where vendors focus their efforts and to which customer type their products are suitable.

Results will be published in Spring 2014 using our ‘Universe Methodology‘.

The criteria we will be focusing on is as follows:

  • Competitive differentiators
  • ITSM processes included out of the box
  • The level of in-house customization possible and by whom
  • Possible configurations available out of the box
  • Self-Service options
  • Reporting capabilities
  • Process linkage
  • Interaction with business outcomes
  • Alignment with industry frameworks

The last tool showcase I attended offered very little in the way of USP promotion so I am especially interested to see what vendors believe are their competitive differentiators …please don’t let it be ‘The Cloud’!

Participating Vendors

Other Vendors

The following vendors will not be part of this report:

These vendors either declined, were unable to commit to the report schedule or were unable to provide customer references.

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

All results will be published free of charge without registration on the ITSM Review. You may wish to subscribe to the ITSM Review newsletter (top right of this this page) or follow us on Twitter to receive a notification when it is published.

Image Credit (Sky Wallpapers)