This is a review of software products and vendors with their products in the ‘Self Service’ market area.
- Cased Dimensions
- Cherwell Service Management
- LANDESK (best in class)
1.1 Self Service and the ITSM Market
‘Self Service’ is a current buzzword for vendors and practitioners alike in the ITSM world.
For some time this simply referred to the process whereby users/customers could carry out some standard contact/communications activities via a portal or an Intranet page, rather than call a Service Desk. So for example, this would include: raising and tracking tickets, ordering kit and browsing FAQs and other published pieces of information relating to IT.
These are of course key functions – and most product offerings include them – and have done for some years. The context of this has changed somewhat in recent times due to the demands for better user interfaces and customer experience (no one these days wants or expects to use an old IT menu-driven ‘greenscreen’).
The capability of automation and collaboration products has also increased expectation and potential around what these types of interface can deliver and achieve, not only for IT departments and their users, but also for wider enterprise orgnaisations beyond IT.
In short, Self Service is now the entry point towards great efficiency and as a means of transformation and collaboration. It is an opportunity for IT departments to reverse their fortunes and improve their image and effectiveness, by automating repeatable and manual processes, thereby affording more time for strategy and customer engagement.
So what sorts of capabilities are available? Above and beyond the classic areas referred to above: – e.g. Ticket logging, tracking and escalating, request logging tracking and escalating:
- Automated password resetting
- Mobile support and facilitation
- Automated delivery – e.g. software provisioning, product ordering, account creation
- Non-technical interfaces for Workflow and process creation
- Simple development of work management tools
- Real-time collaboration and social interfaces
- Real-time dashboards and dynamic reporting
All of these functions – particularly around ease of use and automation – are highly valued in the current market, due to the need for IT organisations to use these tools as a means of managing their work more efficiently, whilst at the same time offering a greatly improved user experience of interacting with IT – and other back office departments like HR/Finance – through familiar and easy to use interfaces.
1.2 Market Observations
Recent developments have seen a number of technical innovations that have allowed increased automation, faster delivery and provisioning, which many of the products reviewed can deliver in some form or another.
The areas of differentiation in the market are therefore defined in the following terms:
Target clients – SME, Mid-market and Enterprise, Product and vendor (e.g. Microsoft/VMware) focus.
Some products are clearly only aimed at one specific market niche, or by client size and ITSM maturity. In some areas such as product or vendor focus this is clear, although many of the SME vendors aspire to move into the Enterprise space, which may confuse and squeeze the market.
Flexibility and ease of implementation – including non-technical tailoring, ease of use/skills needed, ability to tailor without coding, vendor implementation support.
A significant focus area for many vendors centres on the ‘codeless’ capability of their products, whereby applications and workflows can be simply modified without technical skills. The level to which this is delivered is a highly useful feature given the need to implement and update portals, workflows and catalogues quickly and efficiently.
This also works well in support of ‘non-IT’ implementation – i.e. for process collaboration across internal service departments.
Complementary products and capabilities – including IT Management, automation, provisioning, security, ITSM capability.
For many buyers, particularly at the enterprise level, simply buying the ‘front end’ or self-service function (and even just ITSM functionality) is not enough.
There is a growing need to procure and implement products that go beyond process and service management, so the need to identify those with the capacity to provide or at least interface with other IT Management tools is becoming a key requirement.
1.3 Market Product Review and Comparison
In summary, LANDESK and Cherwell are seen to be the most complete solutions, with LANDESK having greater capability to deliver to the Enterprise client, whereas Cherwell has the best UI and is more suited to the upper middle market.
EasyVista and Alemba are also seen as excellent products that would fit the enterprise as well as upper mid market.
SMT-X is an excellent option for a front-end solution that can be added to existing ITSM tools for large organisations.
Cased Dimensions is a good option for bespoke solutions – based on a Microsoft System Center platform.
Atlassian and Freshservice are also excellent options for SMEs or discrete teams to get Self Service up and running, with minimum tailoring or bespoking.
|Pros||Cons||Overall Review Rating|
|BEST IN CLASS:
|Target Clients||Flexibility /implementation||Complementary Products|
|Alemba||Enterprise and large IT and ITSM organisations –
particularly VMware customers.
|Broad level of flexibility, vendor supports
|VMware product integration|
|Atlassian||SMB, SME or teams within large orgs||Limited flexibility, client drives implementation||Other Atlassian products|
|Cased Dimensions||Large IT organisations, using Microsoft Systems Center –
looking for bespoke build
|Highly flexible, vendor drives build and implementation||Microsoft|
|Cherwell||Large SMEs and medium enterprise organisations||Customer tailorable, vendor/partners offer
|Numerous industry products. MS Partner|
|EasyVista||Medium to large and some enterprise organisations||Good level of flexibility, vendor moving from SME to
|A number of established links to industry products|
|Freshservice||SME/SMB, small enterprises||Limited flexibility, client drives implementation||APIs in progress – e.g. Azure|
|LANDESK||Large/Medium and enterprise IT organisations||Highly and easily flexible, Vendor offers multi-level
|Numerous LANDESK offerings and industry integrations|
|SMT-X||Enterprise organisations and their IT and back office
|Flexible and configurable, Vendor supports
implementation – limited resources
|Established links to ITSM tools|
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.