SIAM for Complete Beginners

For those of you who read this website regularly, you’ll know that we are running a joint SIAM workshop with the BCS later on this month. It’s already fully booked and we’re planning further events in 2016. Interest in SIAM has definitely taken off in the last year or so but for every enthusiast there’s also the person asking “what is SIAM and why should I find out more?”

Basic Principles:

Service Integration and Management (SIAM) is a framework for managing multiple suppliers of information technology services and integrating them to provide a single business-facing IT organisation. In other words, SIAM takes this:


and gives you this:



SIAM is an adaptation of ITIL that focuses on the delivery of key services by multiple suppliers in a way that appears seamless to the rest of the business. So far, so good – not too scary right?

Why do I need it?

Lets face it, when we work in IT we’re at the sharp end of every crisis; new product launch from Apple, security threat, social media trend or latest patch from Microsoft . Throw into the equation changing business requirements and the growing senior management appetite for big data, DevOps, TOGAF etc and fun is being had. Add in the opportunities (or to steal a phrase from a former colleague probertunities) that can arise from multi sourcing and working with multiple suppliers and partners and you’ve got a party. I’ve been living and breathing ITIL as my day job for 15 years and by using it as a framework for running your IT department, that’s a great start. If however, you’re using ITIL and it feels like you’re herding cats (or if you’re really unlucky, grumpy toddlers) then you may want to look at SIAM.

What does Service Integration Look Like?

The starting point for SIAM is the creation of a SIAM team. This team acts as the single point of accountability and is an effective way of minimizing or mitigating potential multisourcing issues, and optimising the composite IT organisation.

A SIAM function, department or team will typically:

  • Manage the multiple suppliers to give the optimal mix of flexibility, innovation, standard and consistent service.
  • Be accountable for the integrated services that are being delivered back to the business.
  • Specify IT service management processes and procedures to be deployed across the enterprise and ensure they are followed.
  • Act as the central point of control between IT demand and IT supply.
  • Play a pivotal coordinating role in all service management processes.



What are the benefits of using SIAM?

If you’re starting to feel the stress of managing your IT portfolio then using SIAM could bring the following benefits:

  • A single point of contact, ownership & control for IT Services.
  • Clearly defined roles & responsibilities (preferably nailed down in RACI charts)
  • Optimised cost of services
  • Streamlined management of IT services
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Consistently applied processes
  • A more transparent IT landscape

Where can I go to find out more:

There’s loads of useful information out there; here are our top picks for learning more about SIAM:

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ITSM: Making a big splash in SAM

The following article forms part of a larger publication looking to understand the merits of best-practice as they pertain to Software Asset Management. Like any IT discipline, SAM does not exist in isolation, and can benefit greatly from the data typically deemed resident in Service Management. As ever, your feedback in the comments section below would be welcomed.

Software Support & Maintenance Review Process

To round off this updated version of the Process Kit, we have a process that might not be considered core SAM but should absolutely be in place if we are to make use of valuable data at our disposal. The review of value delivered by Support & Maintenance contracts should be instigated off the back of a software contract renewal. Support & Maintenance costs can add a substantial levy to the cost of software so an examination of its worth to the business should be a built-in step to any decision relating to contract renewal.

Primary Objectives:

  1. To assess the value received of vendor support & maintenance offered on software titles that have entered a contract renewal phase.
  2. To undertake a benefits analysis of the Support & Maintenance contract in relation to the IT strategy of the company.

Secondary Objective:

  1. To communicate the Support & Maintenance findings to the contracts renewal team


  1. That such data required to support this process is retrievable from the Service Desk tool.

Function Step Overview:

1.10 Gather Service Desk data. The contracts renewal team should reach out to the Service Desk Manager to gather support call data relating to the software titles covered by a contract currently due for renewal.
1.20 Plot support calls. The Service Desk Manager should then seek to plot that data in a graph akin to the diagram below (Fig.1) Undoubtedly styles and layout will vary as regards preferences go, but if you can offer a breakdown of support calls answered at the varying levels of support offered to the business then this offers invaluable intelligence to the contracts renewal team.   The very simple Excel Spreadsheet that was used to generate figure 1 is available with this publication.
1.30 Determine acceptable call spread for your organisation.   Having plotted the support calls as per the graph in figure 1, the subjective task of determining the acceptable call-spread for your company has to take place. You might be more forgiving for newer titles, as these will not have received as many hot fixes and patches to plug potential vulnerabilities. Conversely, more for more mature titles, you might expect to see fewer overall calls logged against them due to the stability should titles should demonstrate.One aspect that should be evident of such analysis is the potential burden that these titles place on your company.   Let’s not forget that software is installed to facilitate end users to do their jobs, not to hinder a company in its productivity. A further benefit of such analysis to Service Desk Manager is that he/she can see at a glance where the greatest load is being borne for that software vendor, and so can direct training resources accordingly.
1.40 Examine support calls that escalated to vendor.   The percentage and quantity of support calls that have made it to the software vendor need assessing. As does the effective resolution rate, and overall experience of having dealt with the software vendor. Again, such an assessment will be subjective, but so long as the assessment is consistent and demonstrable to the contract renewals team then any findings are less likely to be questioned.
1.50 Compare Support & Maintenance benefits to future roll-out plans. The final piece of analysis required is to examine what adjacent benefits are bundled into the support & maintenance on offer. Some vendors will bundle in training (both on line and in person) their might even be upgrade rights to the next version of the software covered by the contract; rights to transfer; multiple install rights etc. This list goes on…. Such benefits should be compared to the mid-term direction the business and IT wishes to take those software titles.
1.60 Communicate recommendation to Contract Review Team. Having formulated the preceding research in an acceptable format for the contracts renewal team, the Service Desk Manager can submit his/her report to the team knowing that more than a “finger in the air” assessment has been made of the support & maintenance on offer.

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(Fig. 1 – Example of Support Call Analysis – See Section 1.20)

The business can analyse this data and use it formulate a truly informed decision as to which titles are taken forward with support and maintenance, and which they feel they are capable of supporting through their own in-house technical expertise.

A point worth observing here is that the contracts renewal team will only use this as part of their considerations in deciding the direction to go in renewing a contract – financial considerations as well standard checks and controls on doing business with that particular software vendor will have to go into the overall decision.

A further point the contracts renewal team have to bear in mind is that if they choose to terminate support & maintenance on a given product, then this will have operational consequences on any software left in situ (no further vendor technical support, or possibly even the removal of the software altogether). This could entail switching costs and training demands that require fulfilling. The nuances of terminating support vary from vendor to vendor – take the time to find out what these are (or to inform the contract renewal team what they are).

Finally, with the prevalence of as-a-service, such a review would not be out of place to factor in up-time of software titles. Remember: if you don’t push for compensation at the point of contract renewal, any potential demands for remuneration for loss of service/downtime won’t have a legal leg to stand on.

Software Support & Maintenance Review Process - Page A Software Support & Maintenance Review Process - Page B Software Support & Maintenance Review Process - Page C

This, and 21 other processes have been modelled by SAM Charter in Version 2 of the SAM Process E-Kit. To take advantage of this launch (and as a thank you for making it to the end of this article!) the following promo code will offer you a $50 discount off any purchase made at the link below:



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ITSM – Crossing the SAM Divide

As can be seen from the literature and marketing brochures of many Service Management tool providers, the appeal to cross the border and reach into the Software Asset Management space is proving very difficult to resist, and there is some merit to the approach:

  • Inventory agents for SAM report the same data as inventory agents for ITSM, so if an ITSM tool is already in place, why not use it and save a network manager a headache relating to network bandwidth?
  • If an end user has a query relating to licensing or software in general, their guided instinct would be to reach out to the Service Desk to resolve that question – so it would make sense to have SAM related data at the disposal of the Service Desk.
  • SAM could benefit from the practice of SLA adherence – as a discipline, it is too often rooted in getting reports “just so” rather than being able to offer reports “on time”. The repeated activity of generating compliance reports will see to it that a company is better placed to drive strategic and operational benefit through a company if it borrows such a concept from ITSM.

However, before anyone proclaims “I do”, it is also worth noting a few of the differences that will undoubtedly have to be overcome if a marriage is to proceed:

  • Except for the most basic of calculations, “one licence does not equal one install”. Reconciliation engines within SM tools are going to have to step up to accommodate upgrade rights, downgrade rights, rights of secondary use, multiple use rights etc.
  • If an SM systems provider proclaims “they do asset management” they should be able to demonstrate where and how to import proof of entitlement; IT already struggles obtaining such data from contracts departments as they (can typically) feel duty-bound not to share such data for fear of breaching confidentiality agreements between the company and the software vendor.
  • IT Processes will need an overhaul – Systems integration between SM and SAM are but just one aspect the bullets above allude to; Service Management processes will need to account for licensing deviations highlighted in the software asset management lifecycle if a successful union is to take place.

This final point is worthy of further attention, because regardless of whether you decide to unite SAM and ITSM under one entity within your IT organisation or not, SAM still needs to be woven into your IMAC activities so as to help mitigate the risk of non-compliance.

“Here and there” installations on your desktop may not peak your interest, however, a liberal approach to random installs, moves and hardware changes in the datacenter could lead to liabilities matching or exceeding the salaries of your entire IT workforce; and with the pace and speed with which virtual servers can be instantiated and hosted, due diligence should not be considered a “nice to have” business ethos.

In an article published on this site just over a year ago (ITSM thoughts from the world of Software Asset Management) I posed the question does your service management division assist in the generation of analysis pertaining to a software support and maintenance contract review? (A strategic function of software asset management) Service Management is the discipline sitting on this valuable data, and whilst SAM suites have the capability to record that software has support and maintenance associated with it, SAM suites are invariably not used to monitor the consumption of support and maintenance.

I would welcome your thoughts on this, but also on the forthcoming article – borrowed from the sister-site (ITAM Review) we will be offering a Process of the Month analysis of how support & maintenance analysis could be achieved; and the fringe benefits it offers both Service Management and Software Asset Management.

This article was contributed by Rory Canavan of SAM Charter.

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Review: Cherwell Software Service Management

This independent review is part of our Self Service Market Review.

Also participating:

Commercial Summary

Vendor Cherwell SoftwareTM
Product Cherwell Service Management®
Version reviewed 5.1
Date of version Release December 2014
Year Founded 2007
Customers 700+
Pricing Structure # of IT Users, Concurrent Licensing



Elevator Pitch Fully functional ITSM and self service capability. Product looks good and is simple to manage and maintain. Ticks the boxes for functionality, positioning (ITSM and Front end) and vendor approach.
Industry areas Mid market upwards. Organisations that want to be self-sufficient and to be able to control their own technology.
Flexible and function rich – self service is well designed for user engagement.
Unique points
  • One Step is simple micro template for workflow – can be applied across processes.
  • Process design / workflow are strong and well designed – good UX.Reporting and dashboards are also good quality.Vendor pitch leads on depth and quality of self-sufficiency and integration capability.
  • Merge-able Apps – (app-store) across customers also very useful to provide users with canned applications.
Target market Large SME – Mid sized and large Enterprise market – in-house IT and back office services.
Solutions/ issues solved Provides an engaging UX for customers. Simple to use and administer. Well integrated with other tools and platforms (e.g. Microsoft).
Product/vendor gaps Product doesn’t handle multi-tenancy easily.
Vendor still relatively small and growing – partner base recently tripled.
  • Workflow – editing is recorded – blueprint allows roll back if mistakes are made.
  • My Items – tracking on details of requests, incidents, problems and major incidents.
  • Consumerised product look and feel.
  • Can trigger other tools for Software distribution.
  • One step – workflow templates – micro workflow.
  • Now part of Microsoft Partnership Program.
  • Dashboards for users – can run but not create dashboards.
  • Password reset – requires registration – link to AD or other validation resetting tool.
  • Scripting only for links to other tools – via API.
  • Product doesn’t handle multi-tenancy easily – not target (MSP) market.
Overall view Good all round solution, Vendor’s challenge is squeezed between low end low cost offerings – which it beats on quality and functionality – and high end ‘big 5’, where it can’t compete in corporate terms, but can on usability and self-sufficiency.
Cherwell in top area of the mid-size tier 2 market and now potentially challenging the large enterprise vendors.

Vendor information

download (2)As Cherwell Software was founded on a strategic vision to provide “Innovative technology built on timeless values”—a consummate commitment to build both great software solutions and exceptional customer relationships. Cherwell accomplishes this through a simple yet time-tested approach: we listen to our customers and serve their needs.

Cherwell Service Management® delivers exceptional business technology and business revenue enablement in an innovative and business consumer-oriented way, meeting our customers’ service desk software needs and giving them a powerful development platform to solve their long-term business process challenges throughout any organization – from HR to Facilities to Legal, creating a basis for strategic Service Relationship Management. Other competitors offer a development platform – we just do it better, easier, and make it more affordable.


Untangling the threads of true service leadership

7 threads of activity – for all leaders of teams, projects and continuous improvement initiatives

Philippa Hale and Jean Gamester

We all have the choice of whether to lead or follow, whatever our title, whatever the situation. In IT Service Management, we often see providing support as following. However, evidence suggests that we considerably enhance our reputation and delivery if we take the lead. What does that look like exactly? Is it our remit? How will we bring others with us?

Look more closely at Service Management teams working on continuous improvement and changes. Authentic and effective leadership is happening at all levels; The person who inspires others to act quickly in an emergency, who admits a mistake promptly to minimise its impact or who speaks out when something has been bothering the team or great service isn’t being delivered; the person who mends fences between teams. All of this is leadership.

In our work with many 100s of IT departments, we have identified 7 threads of project leadership activity that anyone can do, at any stage of a change initiative.

Why ‘threads’? Because we want to get away from the idea of steps or stages where one finishes and another starts. Of course a project has a start, various stages and an ending, but the leadership activity and use of emotional intelligence (Goleman 2000) needs to flow all the way through. If these are used well – right time, right situation – it can prevent the project becoming a terrible tangle.



Thread 1 – Spotting and validating needs

Blue thread


This first thread of activity involves observing and evaluating, creativity and ideas. All projects and change initiatives begin with someone being curious, noticing needs or opportunities inside the organisation, with customers or competitors. That same careful observation and ideas generation needs to be sustained throughout the project, often combining gut feel, incisive questions and hard facts. Will this work? Is it still working? What could the costs, benefits and risks be? Have these changed? What else could we do?

Passionate about an idea? Get a ‘reality check’ with others. If you are unsure, get more information, from close colleagues, then from people with different perspectives and listen, don’t just defend your ideas.

Suggestion: Think about your processes and projects. Are they still valid? Based on what criteria? Could you save your and your team’s precious resources by stopping, refocusing or re-prioritising any part of your work?  


Thread 2 – Making the pitch

red thread


This thread involves presenting the idea and making it sound clear, practical and compelling, to get the support of a wide variety of audiences. An idea is pitched to senior management to get funding and approval, to new team members, partners, customers and suppliers, all with different opinions, needs, motivations and levels of understanding. Plus the people not actively involved but personally affected, through changes to roles, relationships, processes or even job security.

You may need to repeat information many times. People are busy, miss meetings and emails, or just don’t have your level of technical knowledge and experience. You will need to explain changes, progress and decisions made, in your audiences’ language, to manage expectations and perceptions.

Suggestion: Next time you prepare a project communication, stand in your audience’s shoes, think how your message will land and what you want them to think, feel, do. A few extra minutes planning a message can significantly increase acceptance, reduce delays and improve decision making.


Thread 3 – Get going

Yellow thread


This is the continual reflecting and planning thread. In the business simulations we run and on live client projects, no matter how experienced the groups, they jump in without doing enough planning. “Never plan alone” is the true project leader’s motto, at all stages. We can make planning activities fun and engaging – visibly laying the foundations of the project. Involve others with diverse specialist knowledge to open up ‘black boxes’, help with estimating, sequencing, interdependencies and workload management.

Find out who needs what information on progress, when, in what format so you can manage expectations, and agree who will be consulted or informed over changes.

Ensure everyone knows the checkpoints that will show progress and if there is something that can’t not be done, then just do it.

Suggestion: Put a simple graphical image of your plan (1 A4 page in a font size you can read) on a real or virtual whiteboard so all can see, and a dashboard to highlight main achievements, risks and opportunities, goals and deliverables.


Thread 4 – Build the team

purple thread


Build a team of people not just with skills but enthusiasm, a willingness to engage and to support each other. Then we need to create and sustain a bond between people who may not have worked together before, who come from different backgrounds and functions. They may be working remotely. Building relationships of trust and respect is a real job and needs constant work. It doesn’t happen by itself. Make managing the team dynamic everyone’s responsibility. Don’t avoid the ‘storming’ stage. Trigger it by reviewing regularly, openly and without blame so the stakes of raising issues aren’t too high. Be realistic about team’s skills and knowledge – allow for the learning curve and different learning styles – yours and theirs. Some like being thrown in at the deep end. Others want support. Be as willing to stand up to poor behaviour and commitment as you are to poor performance.

Suggestion: Add an item to your team meeting agenda: ‘What’s working well and what needs work?’ Demonstrate constructive discussion. If there are some sensitive issues, discuss these 1:1.


Thread 5 – Get engaged

turquoise thread


This is where we track the wider impact of our project on the organisation, navigate the politics, mitigate disruption and resistance to change, rather than being too internally and technically focused.

Even small changes to IT Services and business processes, need to do be done with our colleagues/customers, not to them. It is a myth that everyone resists change. What people don’t like is the unknown, the ambiguous, the arrogant or aggressive. No-one is obliged to collaborate so we need to understand what would make them want to. The strongest human drivers at work are enjoying a sense of belonging, seeing we are making an effective contribution and feeling appreciated/recognised.   So find ways to involve people in ways that genuinely meet these universal needs. You can’t reach everyone so build a strong network of reliable advocates who know each community affected by the project well and can involve them and give support.

Suggestion: Are your stakeholder needs being met? Could they help you succeed if you engaged with them? Consider who could act as advocates and get them on board. Create a ‘stakeholder map’ to better understand who you need to engage with, and work out a plan to build those relationships and get support.

     Level of  understanding        Spectators
(or saboteurs)



Level of emotional engagement


Thread 6 – Making it happen

orange thread


This thread focuses on personal resilience and ability to handle the flow of project activity, challenges and changes. Skilful use of different leadership styles is key: when to push for action and when to open up the debate. When to set the pace yourself and when to coach others to lead. When to focus on the task or relationships to get the job done.

We need to look after ourselves, manage stress levels and workload, emotions and needs and be there for others. Under stress we can get tunnel vision which affects our judgement, relationships and decision making, even our health. We need to be right inside the project, but also keep a helicopter view. Keep taking the pulse of the project: yours, the teams and the organisation around you.

Your Action: Take a step back and make sure you are leading your initiatives and they aren’t driving you. We are all human, so ask for help if you need it.


Thread 7 –Review, learn, celebrate

Green thread


This is the thread of ensuring lessons are being learned, knowledge shared, activities properly finished, all the way through to the end. Take time to ensure each new tool or process is embedded in day-to-day practice and has actually been an improvement. Innovation is fuelled by cycles of improvement, each building on the successes and lessons of the previous cycle.

Good project leaders know that expectations are best managed by dividing a large project into manageable chunks, then visibly signalling completion of each chunk. Regularly recognise effort, remind all of what the project has contributed to the organisation and agree what still needs fixing, without blame.

Your action: Consider how often you have reviews, what they feel like and what they deliver. Don’t accept, long, dull and unproductive meetings. Make them short, inspiring and productive!

About the Authors

Philippa Hale and Jean Gamester are senior consultants at Open Limits and on the Associate Faculty at Henley Business School. They work with organisations including Harrods, FT, British Transport Police and many regional police and local government IT departments, Orient Express (now Belmond), BG Group, Vodafone, SunGard, ACE, Which? and CIPD. They are regular writers, advisors and speakers to itSMF, SDI and the BCS. They help IT organisations in particular weave the threads of leadership and team skills and continuous improvement into their day-to-day delivery. Through team workshops and coaching, business simulations, training and action learning, they help teams make change happen.




About the Authors

Philippa Hale and Jean Gamester are senior consultants at Open Limits and on the Associate Faculty at Henley Business School. They work with organisations including Harrods, FT, British Transport Police and many regional police and local government IT departments, Orient Express (now Belmond), BG Group, Vodafone, SunGard, ACE, Which? and CIPD. They are regular writers, advisors and speakers to itSMF, SDI and the BCS. They help IT organisations in particular weave the threads of leadership and team skills and continuous improvement into their day-to-day delivery. Through team workshops and coaching, business simulations, training and action learning, they help teams make change happen.
Open Limits – 01202 473782

The Only Way Is: Essex County Council ITSM

The only way is.... ITSM
The only way is…. ITSM

Essex County Council might not have its own glamorous television series dedicated to the highs and lows experienced on its own personal IT Service Management (ITSM) journey, yet.

But… the organisation has been doing admirable work in this field and helping (to some degree) local government overcome budget challenges

Excellence through ITIL

The council points out that a focus on improving and refining ITSM through the adoption and adaption of ITIL is helping local authorities to meet objectives despite continued financial pressures. A new case study, presented by AXELOS Global Best Practice, outlines how Essex County Council used ITIL to improve services while reducing costs.

As many readers will know, AXELOS is a joint venture set up in 2014 by the UK government and Capita to develop, manage and operate qualifications in best practice.

Local authorities have faced cuts in their budgets in recent years, and this is set to continue.

Councils in England have been warned that they face an average cut of 1.8% in their overall spending power, according to the provisional local government finance settlement for 2015-2016 published in December 2014*.

“Improving ITSM practices is helping councils with budget restrictions to meet service obligations. Councils across the country have seen very strong results – such as England’s second largest local authority, Essex County Council, which provides services to over 1.4m people,” said Kaimar Karu, head of ITSM at AXELOS.

The council’s 200-strong IT function supports around 10,000 staff and is led by Chief Information Officer (CIO) David Wilde, who joined the organization in 2011.

 “When I joined the council the customer base had little or no faith in the IT department and there was a service report full of red Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). We had silos of knowledge without adequate tools to enable sharing and out of date documentation,” said Wilde. “As the council was and is under continued financial pressure, with aspirations to become a truly mobile and flexible workforce, we needed to standardize our estate, meet our Service Level Agreement (SLA), gain control of the service, get our underpinning contracts into line and capitalize on sensible outsourcing opportunities, such as our networking.”

Wilde had previously worked for the UK Government and was involved in the early design and creation of ITIL, the most widely accepted approach to ITSM in the world. The use of ITIL over the past four years has helped to improve the council’s ITSM, with the whole IT department now trained to at least ITIL foundation level.

He confirms that ensuring everyone is trained to foundation level has really helped to gain momentum and increase awareness and understanding. ITIL provides the right blend of service management, infrastructure management and customer focus.

AXELOS’s Karu added, “The Essex County Council case study highlights how empowering stakeholders in every level of the organization is one of the main factors in the successful adoption of ITIL. David’s experience shows that ITIL plays an important role in successful delivery of services and can help public sector organizations improve service management, even during times of austerity.”

The full case study can be found on the AXELOS website at

Enterprise Service Management – Enabling Value Delivery Outside IT

The lines between departments are often blurred and requests can be passed around or come to a complete standstill

Enterprise Service Management – Enabling Value Delivery Outside IT is a guest post by Darroll Buytenhuys, Chief Operating Officer at Samanage


In IT we often forget this, but we aren’t the only department that provides internal services within an organization.

HR, facilities, legal, finance, purchasing, sales, marketing, administration and other departments all deliver services to other areas of the business outside IT. Business processes flow across these services, so anything that can be done to make the flow smoother can benefit business productivity. Anything that hinders these processes hinders business.

So what prevents people in the business from getting the help they need from other departments? It’s often quite simple. It’s in not knowing where to find the help they need.

Is it always clear who does what in the business? The lines between departments are often blurred and requests can be passed around for a while before they land on the right desk. The process stalls.

The second common problem is the “black hole”. You call Tony in facilities to request assistance with an office move. He says he’ll get back to you in the next hour. Nothing happens. The process stops dead.

We’ve all been there and it’s very frustrating. Having more clarity on which departments perform which specific functions (e.g. internal enterprise services) helps to optimize productivity.

Most departments are aware that they need to operate more efficiently, but few are aware that they also need to interact more efficiently (mainly because their internal metrics don’t tell the full story of their performance in the broader context of the business). No matter how well a department operates internally, there is usually plenty of room to improve the way it handles demand from other business units. Most departments don’t think of themselves as an enterprise service domain.


The Enterprise Service Challenge

The IT end user community is not exclusive to IT. They’re also the end users of other departments’ services. It’s one big enterprise community, so from the end user’s perspective, it doesn’t make sense for each service department to have a different web portal. When you have a number of departments providing internal services to the same end user community, it makes more sense to create a centralized digital portal that exposes the services of all of these business units. A one-stop-shop for all of your enterprise service domains will reduce time spent looking for help and increase business productivity across the board.  

Think about the end user’s perspective. In a day, a member of your enterprise community might:

  • Request a password reset from IT.
  • Ask HR how many vacation days they have left, and book a day off for the following week.
  • Report an issue with the office air conditioning to Facilities.
  • Request the company’s annual accounts from Finance.
  • Ask Administration for help with booking a flight and hotel for a customer visit.

In most organizations, these requests will happen via phone or email, and the responses are probably dealt with on an ad-hoc basis, with no defined process, supporting automation or approval workflow. Even if the request doesn’t get lost, it certainly won’t happen efficiently and within a predictable timescale. Successful outcomes in these situations are underpinned by the work of a few individuals. By contrast, IT has a web-based request system, well defined execution processes and software tools to automate them. Everything is logged. Nothing gets lost. Responses are of a consistently high quality and happen within a predictable timeframe. Successful outcomes are underpinned by the quality of the system (a combination of people, processes and technology).


An Opportunity to Enable Value Outside IT

The IT department has an opportunity to show other service domains the way to a higher level of maturity – from ad-hoc manual processes that deliver “minimum viable service” to a streamlined service management system that communicates and operates in a more efficient manner.  In organizations where IT has got service provision right (implementing processes that actually get results for IT customers and creating a digital interface to streamline response to day-to-day demand), employees may be wondering why they can’t interact so easily with enterprise service domains outside IT. As a department that has been there and done that, there’s an opportunity for IT to help other departments by implementing the same principles that have worked for IT.  Unfortunately and all too often, IT is handicapped in its ability to assist in the enablement of improved service management by their legacy service desk technology.

The vast majority of service desk software products in use today date back 2-3 decades and require a heavy dose of professional services and IT support to build and maintain the required processes.  IT is reluctant to take on these additional responsibilities, knowing that all other departments will require substantial support to deliver benefits to their constituents.  IT also knows that if the support is not excellent, they will hurt rather than help these departments — and IT will be left with egg on their face.

The recent entry into the market of fleet-footed, agile SaaS companies, delivering service management solutions that are implemented in days, if not hours, by non-IT people, is allowing IT to become true champions of the service management cause.  This frees IT up to support these departments by sharing service best practices:

  • Thinking in a more customer-oriented and service-oriented manner.
  • Managing what the department does as a portfolio of services.
  • Monitoring changes in demand from the business – and responding accordingly with new solutions.
  • Focusing on the service user experience and how services generate optimized value with minimal friction for end users.
  • Defining and automating good processes which deliver the right outcomes efficiently and consistently.
  • Making it transparent: articulating what they do and how they do it. Keeping service consumers informed about progress.
  • Setting service-level agreements and providing feedback on performance.

IT has both the know-how and potentially the technology to support the implementation of service management best practices in other enterprise service domains within the business. By applying what they know about managing service portfolios, process automation and support outside IT they can help streamline the way other business units operate and interact. By improving operation internally, the business unit becomes more efficient. By improving interaction with other departments, business operations become more efficient.  And, with today’s SaaS applications, all of this can be built and maintained by the business units without costly professional services.


Darroll Buytenhuys is Chief Operating Officer of Samanage.  Darroll has over 30 years experience in sales, marketing and general management in the software industry. Most recently Darroll was a Senior Vice President and Officer of BMC Software (NYSE BMC). Darroll joined BMC as a result of the acquisition of New Dimension Software where he was the president of the North American operation and was also the company’s worldwide COO. New Dimension Software was an Israeli company (listed on NASDAQ) and its $800M acquisition by BMC was at the time the largest ever acquisition of an Israeli software company.

The ITSM Review are holding a series of seminars this year headed by ITSM superstar Barclay Rae. We will be starting in March with Transforming User Experience – Enterprise Service Management & Self Service. For more information click here

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Review: Cherwell for Outside IT 2014

logo_cherwell-softwareCherwell Service Management

This independent review is part of our Outside IT Review.

To download the full report as a PDF please visit :


Executive Summary

Elevator Pitch Cherwell is an established vendor within the ITSM market, with a particular focus on Customer Experience. It has a growing emphasis on use of its product and service management beyond the IT/ITSM area, and is seen to market and promote the concepts of IT enablement positively and consistently.Cherwell boasts a number of customer success stories and positive case studies of the use of the product beyond IT. There is a clear connection between their marketing messages and implementation stories in this area.Cherwell provides fully inclusive concurrent user usage for both perpetual and SaaS licensing models. Product is sold as one complete application, i.e. not modular
  • Intuitive interface for building and maintaining workflow and extended functionality – attractive object based forms, workflow and reports
  • Product provides secure framework for user-developed configuration that is protected for upgrades
  • Vendor promotes positive and experienced approach to customer experience and tools as enabler for service management and business functions
  • Vendor will need to maintain focus on where to sell and implement – IT and beyond – as organisation is still growing
  • Product can look extensive and perhaps complicated – turnkey non-IT applications/canned versions would be helpful
  • No turnkey Outside IT applications currently available
Primary Market Focus Based on the information provided, Cherwell Service Management is primarily a mid-market solution with the ability to be scaled-up to enterprise class organisations.

Commercial Summary

Vendor Cherwell Software
Product Cherwell Service Management
Version reviewed 4.6
Date of version Release March 2014
Year Founded 2004
Customers 600+ ITSM customers worldwide.
Pricing Structure Fully inclusive concurrent user usage for both perpetual and SaaS licensing models.
Competitive Differentiators
  • Codeless, flexible and fully configurable
  • Ability to design and build to specific business requirements – or use ‘out-of-the-box’
  • Cherwell Service Management is a useful enabling toolset to support IT and business transformation due to the ease of use and flexible nature of the product

Independent Review

Cherwell is emerging as a leader in the service management and extended shared services markets due to the scope and quality of its product, its focus on business value and its quality approach to implementation.

In The ITSM Review’s opinion, Cherwell is particularly appropriate for medium-to-large sized organisations. Whilst it does have very large (enterprise) clients, its own focus and organisation better fits the medium-large sized demographic. The product has extensive flexibility and capability, and can be developed for large or very large organisations use as required.

Marketing and messaging is focussed on speaking directly to IT and ITSM organisations, providing them with the opportunity to improve their service and provide value to their own customers. We view this as a positive, although we do believe that there is a need to develop more specific and targeted non-IT turnkey solutions in conjunction with associated marketing approaches that may be sold beyond IT.

Cherwell is set on selling to IT people and letting them sell-on the product to other areas of the business, which seems to work well, however we do feel that this may need to become a more proactive channel in order to compete with other Enterprise Service Management (ESM) solutions in the market.


In The ITSM Review’s opinion Cherwell offers a strong mix of product capability, and its ease of use and non-technical capability of the product should be well supported by (IT) customers – thus easy to sell-on within organisations.

The simple and inclusive upgrade path also works well as a positive alternative to legacy and large enterprise solutions where bespoke product development can add risk, cost and delay to upgrading. Cherwell have a model which provides a secure technical framework that clients can work within to build their own solutions and which is then protected as part of the upgrade path.


The vendors’ organisation and approach is focussed on promoting and supporting IT as an enabler and driver for business success. Cherwell take a pragmatic approach to this, depending on the maturity and needs of the client as identified during the sales process.

In terms of industry and media messaging, we feel that Cherwell has adopted a positive and engaging set of value propositions around traditional values, people and customer experience. The focus on traditional values is centred around the need for back to basics implementations, focussed on customer needs, simple ITSM concepts and the need to engage with people – i.e. Cherwell push out the message that the product is not the answer to everything.

Sales Strategy

Cherwell has had to work to improve its brand visibility over the last few years and is now well placed and recognised in the ITSM market place. Approach to sales is seen to be positive, professional and consultative, developing dialogue where possible to engage and provide prospects with confidence in the product and company.

In our view, Cherwell will need to maintain focus on where to sell and implement IT, and beyond, as the organisation is still growing.

Current Use

Examples of current customers using Cherwell Service Management outside of IT include implementations in HR, Finance, Legal, and Sales and Marketing.

In Summary

We feel that Cherwell Service Manager is a good option to consider for those medium-to-large organisations looking to develop their service management practices starting from their existing ITSM implementation. The product is simple to develop and configure as a business application so should have a fast time-to-value. Our only reservation would be around the need for turnkey non-IT applications to be provided in order to further provide timesaving solutions for IT and non-IT clients.

In The ITSM Review’s opinion, in the future Cherwell needs to consider where to focus its sales and messaging for implementation – i.e. marketing/selling solely to IT organisations or engaging with other business areas. As the organisation is still growing it needs to ensure that it does not spread its resources too thinly, as otherwise it risks losing focus on key markets. The approach to let IT customers ‘sell-on’ is laudable, although this may need to be strengthened with more turnkey offerings in order to compete and provide clear differentiators.

In Their Own Words

“Cherwell Software is one of the fastest growing IT service management software providers. It began with simple goals: to make service desk software it would want to use and to do business honestly, putting customers first. Cherwell Software is passionate about customer care and is dedicated to creating “innovative technology built upon yesterday values.”

Cherwell Software is one of the fastest growing IT service management software providers with corporate headquarters in Colorado Springs, CO, U.S.A. and EMEA headquarters in Swindon, U.K. A global team of dedicated employees and expert partners who appreciate the technology – but love customers – serve in North America, South America, Asia and Australia. Cherwell Software recently received the SDI Best Vendor of the Year award.

Cherwell’s flagship product, Cherwell Service ManagementTM, delivers an innovative, award-winning and holistic approach to service management, allowing IT and support departments to align with organisation strategy and to deliver maximum IT business value. Cherwell Service Management is the affordable, easy-to-use, ITSM suite with maximum portability. With Cherwell ChoiceTM concurrent licensing and flexible hosting model, you can choose what works best for your business — SaaS or purchase, and hosted on-premises, hosted by Cherwell or hosted by a third party.”

To download the full report as a PDF please visit :

Proactive Problem Management Review [2014] – The Results

This is a competitive review of software vendors who offer proactive problem management capabilities as part of their IT service management (ITSM) tool.

Products reviewed:

 Proactive Problem Management 2014 

ppmThere seems to be a imbalance within proactive problem management and alerting generally that means that either you aren’t able to pull in enough useful data or you end up with way too much and end up drowning in a sea of notifications.

Best in Class – ALEMBA vFIRE

Alemba vFire seems takes all of this in its stride and gives the ability to set outages and rules to stop alerts being received when they are not required leaving analysts free of the need to wade through the detritus that many other solutions produce. This together with the ability to simulate outages to show what kind of impact to the business could be expected in the event of a outage and the one-click ‘Find Causes’ facility which shows all items and services that could be the cause of a failure provide powerful automation and give control, intelligence and awareness back to the IT organisation.

We believe that vFire has the functionality the vast majority of organisations require to assist in operating an efficient and successful proactive problem management process.

Honourable Mention

Nexthink V5 is a highly sophisticated analytical solution which operates by monitoring the end-user experience and reporting back on real-time events recording dependencies and relationships without the need to install additional monitoring tools.

Offered as a stand-alone solution with no ticketing functionality, Nexthink state that the solution contains the necessary API and connectors to integrate with ticketing tools to create proactive alerts and track actions taken upon its analytics. We feel the solution proactively delivers timely and relevant real-time information whenever needed.  The solution greatly reduces the burden on staff and ensures risk can be quickly and accurately assessed.

We feel that Nexthink is a remarkable analytical tool but would perhaps be overkill for those less mature or organisations looking purely for proactive problem management capabilities.


Most of us are familiar with the concept of problem management whether we are practicing it within our organisation or not. The objective is to minimise both the number and severity of incidents and potential problems to the business by investigating the root cause of issues rather than concentrating on finding the cure.

Problem management is split into two different, but equally important aspects:

  • Reactive deals with problem solving after one or more incidents occur
  • Proactive involves Identifying and solving problems and known errors before incidents occur

If reactive problem management is concerned with addressing the root cause of incidents, then proactive problem management is the systems and techniques to address these incidents before they occur and cause service disruption, or reduce or eliminate recurring incidents.

This review looked at four ITSM solutions, targeting all market sizes, that assist organisations in taking proactive step towards managing incidents and problems and exploring problems before they result in incidents.

The main topic areas covered by the review included:

  • Managing the lifecycle of problems
  • Identifying problems
  • Assessment and alerting
  • Solving problems, root causes and problem solving methodologies
  • Known errors / managing work in progress / CSI
  • Integrations, monitoring and triggers

Market Positioning

For the purposes of this review, vendors were classified based on their primary market focus and product capabilities as follows:

  • Enterprise – Either integrated or part of a suite/brand that provides E2E IT Systems & Service Management, for example: Includes Monitoring, Discovery & Service Management capability.
  • Specialised – Offers IT Service Management, with integration to third party Systems Management software
Vendor Primary user base Product Characteristics
Freshservice Small Specialised
Nexthink Large Specialised
ServiceDesk Plus Small to medium Enterprise
vFire Large Enterprise

Competitive Overview

Vendor Elevator Pitch Strengths Weaknesses
Freshservice Freshservice is an uncomplicated and attractive ITIL service desk solution.The simplicity of Freshservice allows customers to provide basic proactive problem management services whilst easily linking to the other areas of the solution.
  • Simple easy to use interface
  • Easy linkage between processes
  • Proactive suggestion of possibly related records when creating description
  • Internal monitoring within the solution could be improved
  • Financial management capabilities require extending
  • Lack of automation in areas such as setting records as proactive
Nexthink Nexthink V5 is an intelligent and attractive solution.Providing far more than proactive problem management, Nexthink delivers extensive analytics and intelligence capabilities in a user-focused manner
  • Ability to search in normal non-IT language (natural language, plain English, google-like experience)
  • Ability to compare objects and contextual situations in order to troubleshoot
  • Robust visual impact analysis
  • No ticketing facility within the solution but has API and connectors to integrate with
ServiceDesk Plus 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
  • Too much manual input required
  • Does not seem to clearly separate proactive from reactive problem management
vFire vFire 9.1 is a strong and uncomplicated proactive problem management solution.The solution provides advanced capabilities allowing customers to take advantage of many automated features to make problem management less painful.
  • ‘Find causes’ functionality takes a good portion of the leg work out of troubleshooting
  • Ability to simulate an outage to show possible impact to business
  • Good visual display of CMDB showing related items and services
  • While the dashboards are easy to create and contain a good choice of information they are not the best looking

Number of Customers

  • Freshservice 1200
  • Nexthink 500
  • ManageEngine 25,000
  • Alemba 350

Please note that for the purposes of this report we are showing paying customers only


Vendor Functionality Summary Analysis
  • Open API
  • Existing standard integrations with Event Management tools such as Nagios and Solarwinds
  • Default forms and structure as basic starting point
  • Easy linkage between Problems and other types of tickets (i.e. Incident)
  • Proactive solution suggestion as ticket details inputted
  • Implementation support available
Freshservice provides basic yet capable functionality for use by users with low to medium proactive problem management maturity.If you’re after bells and whistles such as sophisticated visual service mapping then this is probably not the solution for you, however, if you are after a good basic package, with ticketing, that has the proactive problem management essentials then Freshservice is a good option
  • Nexthink is a standalone analytics and intelligence solution which integrates with ticketing tools. It does not contain it’s own ticketing capabilities
  • Full integration toolkit. Data can be imported into and out of Nexthink in various ways to serve many different purposes. More info:
  • Templates and pre-filled forms and structure available for basic starting point from Nexthink library, a cloud based platform for collective intelligence
  • Web API
  • Existing standard integrations with Service Desk solutions such as LANDESK, ServiceNow, BMC Remedy, EasyVista and PMCS Helpline.
Nexthink provides a comprehensive analytics and intelligence solution which provides far more than Proactive Problem Management capabilities. What’s more it provides them in a user-focused way which is quite different to the majority of other solutions on the market that are all data centre focused.I believe that this solution would create huge value to any organisation looking for real-time end-user analytics.
ServiceDesk Plus
  • 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 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.
  • Drag and drop workflow design
  • User defined dashboards
  • 188 out of the box reports available
  • Existing standard integrations with monitoring tools such as SAM and SCOM
  • Default forms and structure as basic starting point
  • Known errors and outages displayed on customer portal bulletin board
  • Easy linkage between Problems and other types of tickets (i.e. Incident)
  • Proactive solution suggestion as record details inputted
  • Implementation support available
vFire provides very good functionality for users with all levels of proactive problem management maturity.vFire provides more automation than most of the other solutions reviewed and goes the extra mile with regard to fault finding and diagnosis via it’s graphical interface. I believe that this solution would be a good option for most medium to large enterprise organisations.

Deep Dive

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.

ITSM14 Preview: Tony Brough and Re-Igniting the Passion

Tony's session will be on day 2 within the ITSM and Agile track
Tony’s session will be on day 2 within the ITSM and Agile track

In the run up this year’s itSMF UK conference, ITSM14, I chatted with Tony Brough of Holistic Service Management International about his upcoming session entitled “Re-Initing the Passion”.

Q. Hi Tony, can you give a quick intro to your session at ITSM14? 

I had the idea after a meal with an old friend (and ex colleague) I hadn’t seen for a few years. He emailed me the following morning saying thank you for re igniting his passion for service management.

It made me think about the conversation we’d had over dinner and I realized people often need a reboot now and again to clear out the negative and re-establish the positive.

Service Management professionals face a wide range of challenges on a daily basis, so a regular boost of positivity coupled with realignment of perspective is essential.

We so often get so tangled up in the mire that we lose sight of what we are really aiming for. The aim tends to end up becoming to just get out of the mire rather than achieve the greatness we originally intended!!!

Q. What impact can passion, or lack of it, have on an organisation?

Passion is infectious. People with passion infect others who then take more interest in their own work and what’s going on around them. The consequences are that positive changes are made which benefit organisations at so many levels.

Continual Improvement attitudes and behaviors become embedded into the day job.

Lack of passion leads to stagnation.

For organisations to improve, not everyone needs to be passionate, but everyone does need to take an interest in what they do and what those around them do as well and have an attitude that nurtures improvement. 

Q. Is passion something that can be manufactured or created within an organisation?

It’s not something that can be manufactured but it can be nurtured and encouraged, which in turn begins to create a culture that is of great benefit to the organisation.

Q. What are likely to be the potential pitfalls and/or benefits an organisation may experience with attempting to create a culture of positivity?

Passion is a great catalyst to create positivity. We must remember though that we are dealing with people. It is important to manage how we best utilise it, as over-enthusiasm can have a detrimental effect on what we are trying to achieve. Balance, not suppression, is what’s needed. Benefits are endless. Organisations that have a positive, passionate, culture are able to achieve excellence and more importantly maintain it for the long term.

Tony Brough is acknowledged as a leading expert in the Service Management field and is best known for his pragmatic approach explaining every aspect in easy to understand terms, relating them to his students or customers own business. With over 20 years experience in the service management industry Tony is a certified ITIL Expert and ISO / IEC 20000 consultant and was also one of the first people in the world to become a certified BS15000 consultant.

Tony’s session at ITSM14 is on day two and featured within the ITSM and Agile track. To find out more or to book your conference place please visit itSMF UK

Follow Tony on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.