ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus Review for Proactive Problem Management

This is part of a competitive review of software vendors who offer Proactive Problem Management capabilities as part of their IT service management (ITSM) solution.

Other products reviewed:

Commercial Summary – ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus Review

Vendor ManageEngine
Product ServiceDesk Plus
Version reviewed 9.0
Date of version Release September 2014
Year Founded 2004
Customers 85,000 (25,000 paid)
Pricing Structure Pricing is based on the number of technician login (named technicians) and the number of assets managed by the application.  License is issued both on Annual Subscription as well as Perpetual models.

Executive Summary

Elevator Pitch ServiceDesk Plus is a solution that contains the ability to carry out problem management but is immature with specific regard to proactive problem management.The attraction of ServiceDesk Plus is the ability to open several instances of the solution at the same time ensuring multitasking is possible whilst providing easy linkage between records.
  • Proactive problem management records link with other record types
  • No automatic suggestion of knowledge base articles, workarounds etc
  • Relationships and services require entering manually within CMDB
  • Does not seem to clearly separate proactive from reactive problem management
Primary Market Focus Based on the information provided, Service Desk Plus is primarily a small to medium-market solution

Independent Review

sdp_logoServiceDesk Plus is a solution heavily dependent upon manual input within the proactive problem management area.

The manual operation required within ServiceDesk Plus, especially the CMDB, means that for organisations with anything other than basic IT infrastructure there is going to be a lot of time and effort involved in mapping relationships and services in order to make troubleshooting easy within the solution as every time a change is made to the network or asset configuration relationships and services will need to be remapped. If however you are content to do this and your primary concern is with procuring a tool that pulls this information in and logs tickets then ServiceDesk Plus will be adequate.

My impression of the solution is that it would be suitable for all small organisations of low proactive problem management maturity.

For these organisations I believe that ServiceDesk Plus has the functionality required to perform proactive problem management. However, if your organisation is likely to mature in the near future then I believe a more sophisticated solution would be suitable. Having said that if ManageEngine were to increase the amount of automation in areas such as relationship management it would appeal to a more mature audience.


User configuration possible for:





  • Drag and drop templates
  • API’s available to integrate with third party tools such as event management
  • Default templates and admin configuration wizard for quick install
  • Implementation support available


ServiceDesk Plus defines the difference between a reactive and proactive problem management record within the solution by providing the ability to add an additional drop down field within the problem template called “Create Problem Additional field” which allows the manual assignation to either Reactive or Proactive. I would like to see the ability for ServiceDesk Plus to automatically recognise the distinction and assign accordingly without the need for the manual process. For organisations receiving large numbers of proactive problems I imagine this would become quite an onerous task.

ServiceDesk Plus does not contain any internal technology to assist in the identification of proactive problems. It can however integrate with OpManager, the ManageEngine event and network monitoring software through a standard integration and third party event and network monitoring software via the open API.

Alerts from monitoring and networking tools can be sent to ServiceDesk Plus to automatically create an incident ticket. In order for this to be created as a problem record, reactive or proactive, the ticket must be manually changed. In the future I would like to see the ability for problem records to be created automatically cutting down on time and manpower for customers.

Assessment and Alerting

In order for ServiceDesk Plus to calculate an objective risk assesment of the proactive problem relationships such as what/who is affected by each item will need to be manually built within the CMDB. Once this is done the solution does have the ability to visually notify of an issue with an asset by displaying an exclamation sign within the relationship map.

The problem with this process, as with all manual relationship creation, is that what was correct yesterday may well not be correct tomorrow. In order for this are of the solution to work for any but the smallest most basic of organisations to work without high overhead in both time and manpower then this really needs to be automated.

ManageEngine state  that there is no current ability within ServiceDesk Plus to automatically alert or route proactive problems to relevant resolver groups. They have however mentioned that by using Business Rules and Problem Closure Rules that there may be ways to manually create these processes.


ServiceDesk Plus provides the ability to easily link records to each other but there is currently no ability to change the status of a proactive problem record.

When updating a proactive problem record with linked records it is possible to copy problem solutions and workarounds to all associated incidents. It is also possible to close all associated incidents from the problem record.

ManageEngine state that notes, .doc, .docx and .xls formats are able to be attached to a proactive problem record within ServiceDesk Plus. I would like to see this extended in the future to include image formats for easier troubleshooting.

Currently there is no provision to record availability and capacity information within ServiceDesk Plus, however, as a workaround, ManageEngine have suggested additional fields can be created within “problem additional fields” to denote stock availability. Although the solution can be used to advise users of planned outages using both email and the self-service area, in the future I would like to see the ability to set items as unavailable, when affected by a fault that causes it to be so, in order that users can easily see the state of the item.

Auditing and Accountability

ServiceDesk Plus workflow rules can be utilised to set thresholds to escalate upon breach of both response and resolution time.

Each record has a history associated with it – problem, change, release etc. that can be viewed after the request has been closed.

In Summary

ServiceDesk Plus provides a very basic and mostly manually driven proactive problem management offering.

I feel that this solution would be more suitable for those organisations looking for reactive problem management capabilities with the ability to integrate event/alert monitoring. If ManageEngine were to invest in creating more automated features in the proactive problem area, such as auto update from CMDB, the solution would appeal to a much wider and more mature audience.

In Their Own Words:

ServiceDesk Plus is a help desk software with integrated asset and project management built on the ITIL framework. It is available in 29 different languages and is used by more than 85,000 companies, across 186 countries, to manage their IT help desk and assets. ServiceDesk Plus comes in three editions. First is Standard edition which covers the IT help desk module. The standard edition is completely free forever with no restrictions on tickets, users or tech agents. Available free both on-premise as well as Cloud. Next is professional edition, which comes with help desk management along with Asset management. And finally, the third is Enterprise edition which covers professional edition and adds ITIL and project management. The ITIL modules include Incident, Problem, Change, CMDB and Service Catalogue. In addition to all the modules, ServiceDesk Plus also comes with Purchase and Contract Management.


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.
  • 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
  • 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


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


Further Information

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