The ITSM Review team recently attended the ITSM trade show SITS15 to collect customer reviews of ITSM tools for our new sister site: TOOLS ADVISOR.
We wanted to know how SITS15 visitors rated their ITSM tools:
How did they rate the tool? is it good value for money?
Are the support team responsive, did tool buyers receive a good level of support?
How satisfied were they with the product and how likely were they to recommend this product to a friend or colleague?
Thank you to everyone who attended the Tools Advisor booth and congratulations to Ben Moore, Head of Service Management at Callcredit Information Group who won the iPad mini.
Notes on Scoring
Below is an early preview of the results, a handful of reviews are yet to be verified or were for tools unrelated to ITSM. We collected over 100 reviews during SITS; the table below includes tool vendors who received more than one review.
Vendors with only one review: Blue Prism, Citrix Gotoassist, Dameware, Infra, Logmein Pro, Marval, Nagios, Netsupport, Omnitracker, OTRS, Podio, BMC Remedy on Demand, Sunrise, Topdesk. It will be great to add these vendors to the table when they have more entries.
Each review published below has been verified as genuine.
Full reviews (including the strengths, weaknesses and suggested improvements to each tool) will be published in full on Tools Advisor soon.
Google searches performed on a mobile device outstripped desktop searches (in certain territories), according to figures released last week.
That’s an important milestone in the meteoric use of mobile.
Of course, the searches refer to global use of Google, including consumers searching for the nearest pizza joint, and are not necessarily reflective of enterprise IT – but we all know, since the introduction of the blackberry, iPad and then current smart phones, of the increasing business demands for mobile.
Will your service work on mobile devices? Will it provide a frictionless consumer-like experience, Does it matter who owns the device? And so on.
It doesn’t matter that we’re not delivering consumer services and that we might be delivering services in heavily regulated industries with back-breaking governance hoops to jump through – the demand for mobility and flexibility continue unabated.
Mobility promises the ability to avoid speaking to pesky humans, get things done, keep track and unlock me from the constraints of a physical office.
Avoiding speaking to people is an important point: In terms of human interaction it’s a case of quality over quantity. When I do (occasionally) speak with a human – I want a great customer focussed experience. You’ve only got to look at the growth (or is it a return?) of IT concierge desks resourced with IT staff especially selected for their more extrovert nature to witness this.
The premise: automate as much as possible, help the customer help themselves, if they do need to speak to us, make it a great experience (which doesn’t necessarily mean fixing everything).
With this in mind it has been great to see traditional ITSM providers innovating with mobile.
The future is here, just unevenly distributed
The terms artificial intelligence and augmented reality go hand-in-hand with the Jetsons, self driving cars and the fridge that knows to order more beer and lettuce. But look carefully, and it’s slowly permeating everywhere, including the humble service desk.
SnapIT from LANDESK promises smartphone image capture to knowledge base lookup. Sharing screenshots or remote sharing with end user customers to identify issues is a staple of the service desk toolkit – but what about cutting out the middle-man and connecting customers directly with help by snapping a picture of the issue on a mobile device?
LANDESK have offered this new capability with no extra charge to existing customers. It’s available via iOS, Android or simply via a browser.
I look forward to seeing this and other innovation at the ITSM show next month, we’ll be on stand 723 collecting customer reviews for TOOLSADVISOR.net (think trip advisor meets itsm tools). Come and say hi!
Rebecca Beach has been locked away in ITSM Review labs reviewing technology and crunching numbers for the last few months in preparation for our ITSM Tools Universe research.
I am very pleased to say that we’ll be lifting the lid on the research in the next few weeks.
In this article I’ll provide a quick preview.
How customizable is your ITSM tool?
ITSM Review readers have told us the ability to customize ITSM tools is a key requirement in selecting new technology. For our ITSM Tools Universe research we asked the customers of participating vendors:
Q. On a scale of 1 to 10 (whereby 1 is entirely customizable in-house and 10 is entirely dependent on consulting / training) please provide an estimate of the level of customization you are able to achieve with your ITSM tool?
The radar chart below compares the responses from customers (in red) versus the vendor opinion (in blue) of ability to customize. 1 means I can tweak everything myself, 10 means I’m not autonomous and need to get consultants in to help.
Most customizable in the ITSM Industry?
The table below shows customer opinion of ability to customize in descending order.
Customers consider Cherwell and EasyVista to be the highest rated in terms of ability to customize in house.
Customers consider ServiceNow and Good Sign the least configurable in-house and dependent on consulting and training to make changes.
Note: We only asked three customers per supplier so this is not an exhaustive study but I believe provides a good indicator of overall sentiment.
Disparity in Opinion?
For me, the most compelling metric for this data is not whether a tool is customizable or not (although this is clearly a key differentiator) – but the vendors ALIGNMENT with customer opinion.
How in touch are vendors with customer sentiment?
As a whole across all vendors there is a significant difference in opinion – by a factor of 39 to 69.83. i.e. Vendors think their technology is more customizable than customers believe. That might be a technology issue, a maturity issue, an education issue – whatever – it’s a big mismatch.
The table below shows the disparity in opinion between customers and vendors in descending order. ITRP and customer sentiment is perfectly aligned. Cherwell believe their technology is mostly customizable in-house and their customers agree. To the other extreme, Axios customers believe their technology is quite customizable, Axios don’t agree. ServiceNow think their technology is customizable in-house – their customers have a completely different view.
One of the first articles we published on the ITSM Review back in 2011 described the market shift from consulting-heavy customized ITSM projects to the simplicity of ‘configure it yourself’ SaaS based offerings, and in particular the significant change in cost structure (‘The ITSM Pricing Ouch-o-meter).
Once upon a time the ability of suppliers to ‘darken the skies’ with consultants was a competitive feature. Nowadays organizations want sufficient autonomy to do things themselves, if not the mentoring pathway to get them there.
This independence provides agility. Ultimately the goal is to empower IT teams to stop on a sixpence and duck and weave as the business sees fit. To dramatically shorten the protracted cycle of budgeting and planning long term consulting engagements to turn the tanker.
So far, so groovy. But what does all this newfound ITSM agility do to the bottom line?
Opening the corporate kimono
The case study below, commissioned by EasyVista, digs into the financial impact of moving to a more agile ITSM system. Thank you to Benoit and Bob at Domtar for being so candid and sharing their financial data.
Kudos also to EasyVista for the confidence in allowing us to publish this case study verbatim. The responses below, which I hope you will find to be balanced and honest, have not been edited by EasyVista or exposed to the usual PR polish.
The transition to EasyVista
Previous Software: 10% of development in-house, 90% developed by external consultants
Development inhibited by costs and by the lack of flexibility in the tool.
Upgrades were made difficult by any customization.
After reviewing eleven different ITSM tools Domtar chose EasyVista.
Implementation began in Summer 2012
Now 5% – 10% is developed externally and over 90% – 95% is configured in house
Significantly lowered / eliminated development costs
Annual saving on ITSM Tool configuration costs: 89% (i.e. They are investing one tenth of their previous spend on changing their ITSM tool)
Reduction in ITSM tool annual maintenance: 75% (i.e. They are only paying 25% of their previous annual ITSM software maintenance bill)
Return on Investment:
The total first year EasyVista investment (software and implementation) was an estimated 113% of the previous annual maintenance and consulting bill. So in other words, Domtar were able to rip out the previous solution and replace it with a better system for just over the maintenance cost of the previous system.
In subsequent years maintenance is 25% of the previous contract
Consulting costs have been decimated.
Interview with Domtar
Q. Would you recommend this technology?
Yes. This technology has given us the flexibility to do everything we ever wanted. It is not perfect and like most things probably never will be. However, it has allowed us to reshape the way we deliver some of our IT services. It has allow us to integrate new way of doing things (SLA, Service Catalogue) that we thought would be impossible with our old tool. For the first time we are able to shape the tool to our process and not the other way around.
This tool has helped us transform they way we see service delivery, to better understand what we do and allowed us to push a vision for the future.
We want this tool to become the ERP of IT, to be the central repository for all the information, to be the source to answer questions about IT and to be more than just a ticket repository.
Q. Which feature(s) would you add to this product if you had the choice?
It is not so much an addition but some improvements. A more flexible self-service portal would be a great improvement. The portal is not configurable enough and a bit static. By giving it more flexibility we could have a better design and make it more user friendly. The way you order service is a bit confusing for end-user at first.
There is what they call wizards, which act as macros function and provide intelligence (Ex: complete a ticker, move an asset, assign a ticket etc.) Wizards do almost anything. They can be adapted but up to a certain point. It would be incredible if we could modify the existing wizard even more but most importantly create our own.
Q. Can you provide any examples of where the increased agility and responsiveness you mentioned have led to tangible improvements in service?
1. Rapid deployment cycle
We have a very rapid deployment cycle on any changes in the tool. We can implement any new configuration changes in an average on 1 week.
Some configuration can be done in a few hours while other requires more tests and will take 1-2 weeks. All this with minimal downtime (1-2 min for most changes).
We have a scheduled change every Thursday where we introduce fixes and improvement. On the other hand, some incidents are fixed live while people are in the system. In our old system, any changes would take several days to code and test (1-2 week total) and several hours downtime (4 in general) to implement.
2. Self-Service Portal
Our end users can now go online not only to enter service requests and incidents but also to track their tickets, something they could not do in the past.
This provides our end user with more flexibility on how they can communicate with us. Those who track their tickets by themselves also save a call at the service desk.
Every service (or tickets) is backed by a workflows to guide IT personnel through the process. It is no longer necessary for every IT member to know complex process by heart. The tool makes sure we go through every step.
Workflows make sure we engage the right people at the right time. The process knows when certain team are needed and are notified accordingly. Fewer mistakes are made and fewer things are forgotten.
4. SLO (Service Level Objective)
They were technically possible in the past but we felt they were easier to do in EasyVista. So for the first time we have SLO with our end-users. We do not call them SLAs because we did not sit down with our customer to agree on them. These are the objectives we have set for ourselves in the resolution of incidents.
We are proud to say that less than 10% of our incidents do not meet our SLOs. Something we could not do before. I would dare to say that pride was not even part of our vocabulary. The result is increased satisfaction and efficiency.
5. Reports, Dashboard and KPI
It was almost impossible to get the data out of Remedy easily or without Crystal reporting skills. This is no longer the case. The reporting tool in EasyVista gives us lot of information on operations very easily. We build hundreds of reports.
For the first time, we have numbers and information that let us understand what is going on in the fields. This has launched several initiatives for service quality improvement.
6. Service Catalogue
All tickets, configuration items and assets are linked to a service. This service chart is the basis of our IT management. It is also used for budgeting, resource planning, and project management. Everything IT does is linked to this service catalogue or service chart.
This allow us to understand what is in every service (CI, Asset, Applications etc.), what tickets are generated for every service, what requests are made for every service and of course how much every service costs. By reversing the process we can figure out how much each ticket costs.
This service centric approach has transformed the way IT delivers it services and allows us to answer the eternal question: What does IT do?
Domtar rate EasyVista
Q. Please provide a general rating of EasyVista:
Q. Please rate the ease of use and intuitiveness of EasyVista:
The back-end for IT people is very easy and good. Everything is easy to find and presented in one screen which make it simple. However, there is so much functionality available that it is sometimes hard to remember all the possibilities.
Q. What are the key strengths?
The flexibility. We can do literally anything if we put our mind to it. Even stuff they thought would be impossible a first.
It does not require any knowledge of programming language other than SQL query.
Q. What are they key weaknesses?
‘The sustainable paper company’
Industry: Fiber-Base technology company
Headquarters: Montreal, QC, Canada, Operations Center: Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA
Revenue $5.5BN (TSX: UFS, NYSE: UFS)
Founded 1848, 10,000+ employees
IT Team 250 staff, Service Desk 11 staff
The Domtar IT Team at a Glance
250 IT employees spread across North America
ITSM team is responsible for ITSM processes, tools and Asset Management
New ITSM tool implemented in 2012
Processes in place include: Incident, Service Request, Change, Knowledge, Procurement, Asset, CMDB