This is a competitive review of software vendors who offer Change, Configuration and Release capabilities as part of their IT service management (ITSM) solution.
Change, Configuration and Release 2014 Best in Class
ITinvolve has taken huge strides in the ITSM arena with Service Manager by embracing the adage “knowledge is power”. We feel that the developments that ITinvolve Service Manager has made with the fundamentals of knowledge and collaboration, ensuring that all relevant information is available to the right people at the right time (and in a straightforward way), enables risk assessment capabilities that far outweigh those of other ITSM solutions. This provides increased value to its Change, Configuration and Release capabilities.
The way that these capabilities support and mold Change, Configuration and Release creates a product that gives control, intelligence and awareness back to the IT organisation.
Offered as a SaaS-only solution, ITinvolve states that Service Manager integrates with discovery products, and we feel proactively delivers timely and relevant information whenever needed. The solution greatly reduces the burden on staff and ensures risk can be quickly and accurately assessed.
Best for On-Premise
For those organisations looking for Change, Configuration and Release capabilities in an on-premise solution then Cherwell Service Management® would be our recommendation (please note that Cherwell Service Management® is also available as a SaaS solution).
We believe that Cherwell Service Management® has the functionality the vast majority of organisations require to operate an efficient and successful management of Change, Configuration and Release processes.
The only thing constant in life is change, and this is never truer than in an IT organisation.
In order to get a handle on the myriad of modifications and developments occurring within IT many organisations turn to frameworks, such as ITIL, for guidance on best practice. Change, Configuration and Release Management are three processes that group together favourably and are a valuable continuance for businesses unsure where to progress following successful adoption of Incident, and in some cases Problem Management.
- Configuration Management is the process used to track individual Configuration Items (CIs) and the way in which they interact with one another
- Change Management is the process used to track and communicate any changes in service that may impact the customer, such as when systems are taken offline for updates
- Release Management is the process of managing software releases from development right through to release
Each process can be used individually, but more often than not you will find these processes intertwined. For example, when considering either a Change or Release you will need to know the CI’s that will be affected before you begin.
As listed above it is ITSM Review’s opinion that Configuration should come first. We believe that if you can get Configuration right then Change and Release will be infinitely more straightforward. Establishing that any prospective ITSM tool can record all information for a CI in an easy-to-document-and-locate approach will minimise risk both to individuals and the organisation as a whole.
Too often we see cases where needless mistakes occur during the management of Change and Release due to critical information not being easily accessible. Upon investigation the result is usually that the documentation was circulated and then filed away with the expectation that it would be read in infinite detail and re-read upon any future modifications of said item. There are several issues with this:
- There is a finite amount of time in a day to read the multitude of documents one comes across
- There is a finite amount of storage within a brain to remember which items have related documents squirreled away
- People only know what they know
You can blame individuals after mistakes occur by stating that documentation should have been sought out, or you can employ processes that take the guess work (and leg work) out of the equation in conjunction with using an ITSM tool that offers up the information to the right people at the right time.
In this review we have looked at a range of ITSM products covering Change, Configuration and Release Management, targeting all market sizes.
Market Positioning (Target Market Size)
For the purposes of this review, vendors were classified based on their primary market focus, and product capabilities.
|Vendor||On Premise/Saas||Separate Release Module||Discovery Tool own/Third Party|
|Axios||Both||No||Both (version dependent)|
|TOPdesk||Both||No||Both (version dependent)|
|Axios||Axios assyst is a solid, mature and well-rounded tool marketed towards organisation with 1,000+ end users.The functionality and design of assyst provides the ability to manage both simple and complex workflow processes to support the management of change and request.Available both as a SaaS solution and on premise – with concurrent and named licenses – assyst provides a flexible model to fit around your business.||
|Cherwell||Cherwell Service Management is a functionality-rich and user-friendly tool.The flexibility of Cherwell Service Management allows customers to automate existing change and configuration processes without the need to compromise the status quo to fit around the tool.With Cherwell Choice concurrent licensing and flexible hosting model, you can choose what works best for your business — Pay-as-you-go or perpetual license,. Hosted on-premise, by Cherwell or by a third party.||
|ITinvolve||ITinvolve Service Manager is a progressive and ambitious product.Uniquely combining knowledge capture, analysis, and social collaboration, Service Manager proactively delivers timely and relevant information whenever needed. The solution greatly reduces the burden on staff and ensures risk can be quickly and accurately assessed.Saas based, Service Manager is licenced per user with an additional annual cost for the platform.||
|TOPdesk||TOPdesk 5 is a visually pleasing and easy to navigate tool.TOPdesk’s modular structure accommodates a wide range of requirements from different sized organisations. All products include extensive reporting options, clear overviews and a handy Plan Board for planning resources.Web-based hosted as a service or on-site Service Management software, TOPdesk has made the transition from IT into Facilities Management and HR.||
|Axios||Mature, well-rounded tool covering the larger end of the ITSM market with solid change, configuration and release functionality with strong risk assessment capabilities.||
||Assyst offers solid change, configuration and release functionality with strong risk assessment capabilities. I therefore believe that it is a good offering for both large and enterprise organisations with moderate to mature change processes in place.|
|Cherwell||Functionality rich and user friendly tool ensures that no matter how you want to do something you’re likely to be able to do it.||
||Unless you are an organisation with advanced or complex release management requirements, I highly recommend that you consider Cherwell Service Management as your tool of choice.|
|ITinvolve||Progressive, ambitious and agile product with exceptional use of knowledge and collaboration to underpin Change, Configuration and Release as well as all other processes.||
||Despite the lack of drag and drop and create option functionality from within the calendar, regardless of the size of your organisation I strongly believe that you can’t go wrong with considering ITinvolve Service Manager as your ITSM solution for Change, Configuration and Release.|
|TOPdesk||Modern, attractive and easy to navigate tool which is likely to appeal to the wider business as well as IT.||
||If you are a purely reactive IT organisation, of basic to moderate maturity, with a low to medium number of change requests, then the Enterprise or Ultimate offering of TOPdesk 5 would be a suitable candidate for your organisation.|
Further details for each vendor can be found by using the links below:
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 the ‘Group Tests’ section, on our Disclosure page.