Service Management’s 4 Golden C’s: Codeless Configuration & Complete Customisation

Edinburgh Castle from Princes Park.

Cherwell Software has won a new customer for its Service Desk software solutions in the shape of Baillie Gifford, an independent investment management partnership based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Baillie Gifford is one of the largest investment trust managers in the UK. The firm is wholly owned by 36 partners and manages in excess of £75 billion with 700 staff.

Complete Customisation

Having opted for the firm’s own-branded Cherwell Service Management product from Cherwell Software, Baillie Gifford says that it was drawn to its decision via the option to gain “complete customisation and seamless upgrades” with the tool.

Baillie Gifford’s IT service desk manager Rob Whittaker asserts that Cherwell has an intuitive product (with some products reviewed he found it difficult even to see how to log a call at first glance) that works using single step effectiveness i.e. it can be launched manually or automatically — and that this would help his team to save time and automate regular, repeatable tasks.

Codeless configuration

For its part, Cherwell also champions its “codeless configuration” technology and upgrades that could potentially save time and effort.

“When we started the review process, we had not heard of Cherwell Software,” said Gifford. ‘The company came up in an Internet search, and based on the demos and videos on its website and the fact that its sole business focus is ITSM, it became a candidate we wanted to see more from.”

Prior to the itSMF Annual Conference in November 2011, Baillie Gifford narrowed down its prospective list and reviewed four solutions at the show.

“During the two days, we visited the Cherwell stand three times,” said Gifford. “Unlike other stands, when we asked questions we weren’t just given a standard demo we were shown how the product would function. With the other vendors, features were always ‘coming soon’ or ‘could potentially’ do what we were looking for.  The Cherwell product matched what we had learned from their website. It’s built from the ground up and is not just shoe-horned onto another product.”

Before “go live”…

Following what it has described as a “stringent” software testing and evaluation process starting at the end of 2011, Baillie Gifford placed its order with Cherwell in early March 2012 and went ‘live’ with Cherwell Service Management on 21 May 2012. The company then spent a weekend migrating final data, live testing and rolling out.

“Cherwell offered us the product to test and evaluate prior to making a purchasing commitment,” said Gifford. “No one else offered us that. They allowed us to go away and actually use the software to make sure it met our needs. This told me that the company is confident that the product can do what they promise it will do.”

Cherwell Software 
is headquartered in Colorado Springs, USA and with its EMEA offices based in the UK. Cherwell’s wizard driven CBAT application development platform empowers users to create new screens, business processes and to develop additional business applications without the need for developer resources, bespoke coding or scripting services.

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IT Service Management At VMTurbo Speed

Holonomix MD Darren Prince

Management software company VMTurbo has announced HoloSphereVMT, an operations/service desk management offering which has been developed with industry partner Holonomix.

Claiming to be able to provide “out-of-the-box” integration with service desk solutions such as ServiceNow, Zendesk and OTRS, this new offering aims to reflect real-world customer requirements in its core design

TECHNICAL NOTE: VMTurbo describes its Operations Manager as an intelligent workload management product for virtual data centres and cloud environments. Its capabilities include the ability to look at what resources applications in the data centre require, what resources these applications use and any capacity constraints there are that need to be accommodated for. For those that are not virtualisation specialists, this translates into giving applications more horsepower when they need it based on business rules and demand levels. According to VMTurbo, this integration of back-end IT and service desk management of delivery has the potential to improve how services are made available to end-users.

Holonomix MD Darren Prince contends that (in his experience) customers “love” the problem identification and recommended remedial steps that VMTurbo Operations Manager provides. “We have integrated this information directly into enterprise service desk solutions to streamline the process of logging records. This negates the need for human intervention for those incidents & change requests that require escalation in the Service Desk application,” he said.

HoloSphereVMT automates what is currently a manual process, transferring relevant data from VMTurbo Operations Manager into the service desk. Using HoloSphereVMT customers are said to be able to streamline incident & change management processes by freeing up manpower associated with data entry and ensuring consistency in data between the service desk itself and VMTurbo Operations Manager.

As VMTurbo controls how much resources these business-critical applications receive, improving the speed of getting these changes made should therefore add up to better performance overall.

“Holonomix has worked closely with our own engineering team on the development of HoloSphereVMT,” said Yuri Rabover, vice president of product strategy, VMTurbo. “The ability to automate a manual process provides increased efficiencies and cost savings and is an absolute requirement for IT organisations to maintain service level agreements.”

IT SmartDesk: When Everyone Can Work in IT Support

I recently spoke with Maff Rigby of ITSM start-up IT SmartDesk.

Maff recently presented a session at the itSMF UK conference entitled ‘Social IT – how social media is turning ITSM on its head’. The slides from Maff’s session can be found here.

Facebook Meets IT Support

In a nutshell, during his itSMF session Maff suggested ways in which Social concepts could be used to our advantage in ITSM. These included real time chat and collaboration, using live feeds and activity ‘walls’, harnessing new technology to notify customers or users of issues and using modern collaboration techniques such as wiki’s, crowd sourcing and tagging.

IT SmartDesk is positioned as ‘Social IT Service Management’; using IT SmartDesk I can invite anyone to join me on the system, they can share what they are currently working on, log incidents, ask questions, follow an incident, log bugs and generally join the conversation and collaborate. It’s Facebook meets small IT team support.

IT SmartDesk is aimed at small teams or businesses seeking an online solution, Maff and his team have initially focused on logging incidents and bug tracking – but for me the real key differentiator with this offering is the type of user who can collaborate and provide support.

IT Support for IT Savvy Companies

Traditional ITSM solutions are based on a certain number of IT users who support the larger customer base. E.g. I’ll buy 5 concurrent users for my service desk system to support hundreds or thousands of my customers or users.

IT SmartDesk have turned this model on its head and have priced the system by total number of people logging into the system. They have wisely recognized the market trend that IT support does not have all the answers and many companies are providing support to IT savvy users. With IT SmartDesk anyone in the company can jump in and collaborate. The IT support operator changes from gatekeeper to curator.

The paint has only just dried on this new tool, but from what I have seen so far I found the system to be blindingly obvious to use, easy on the eye, fun to use and clean. Let’s hope they can keep it that way as the feature set expands.

I look forward to keeping track of IT SmartDesk over the coming months.

Further details can be found here > www.itsmartdesk.com

Screenshots below, click to enlarge.

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Answer Question
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ITSM Tools Census – Creating an Independent Guide to Tools

One of the primary reasons for starting The ITAM Review back in 2008 was to simply provide an unbiased list of the key players in the market. The vendor directory was one of the first pages to be published on The ITAM Review and continues to be one of the most frequently visited pages.

I commonly speak to organizations about to embark on their final technology selection with tools that are inappropriate for the job, they simply don’t know what is out there and what is most appropriate for their needs. They are choosing from solid software publishers who have great technology – but the technology may be wholly inappropriate for their current needs.

This is akin to planning a trip from London to the South of France with a family of four and choosing between a Scooter, and Family Saloon and a Juggernaut. All of them are good vehicles in their own right, with their own satisfied customers and accreditations – but only one is really suitable for the job in hand.

Another challenge we face in the enterprise software market is that sales reps make a persuasive case for buying a scooter or a juggernaut when we need a saloon and it is often difficult to assess their advice from an independent perspective.

I believe the same can be said of the ITSM tools market. Oranges are not always being compared with Oranges.

I plan to start conducting independent reviews of ITSM tools in 2012. My goal is to review, compare, rank and classify all of the various tools in the market, from the smallest of nimble start-ups with a handful of customers, to the industry stalwarts with hundreds of customers. My aim is that prospective buyers can discover clusters of tools that might be suitable for their particular need, maturity, size and budget rather than trying to assess the entire market.

In order to prepare for my reviews, I first intend to build a near-exhaustive list of tool providers which will include a high level overview of their value proposition, key competitive differentiators and sample customers and use cases.

CALLING ALL ITSM TOOL VENDORS

I am inviting vendors to complete an ITSM Tools Census to help generate the list – please encourage everyone you know from the vendor community to participate.

PLEASE NOTE: All results will be published free of charge without registration in a permanent public archive for future reference.

For ITSM Tool Vendors – Click here to complete the ITSM TOOL CENSUS

Thanks in advance for your time and cooperation.

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Which ITSM Vendors Engage Online?

I was inspired to compile this list of ITSM Vendors in order of online influence after listening to an edition of the ITSM Weekly Podcast in which James West of ServiceDesk360 discussed his list of ‘influencers’ on PeerIndex.

Of all the segments of the IT market that might benefit from social networking and enterprise collaboration – nowhere is it more relevant that ITSM.

Click to View

Vendors have been ordered by their ‘Klout’, a measure of online influence. Those vendors with a higher score are more likely to be:

  • Listening to the market
  • Engaging with their audience online
  • Responding accordingly and
  • Producing good content and thought leadership that people want to share online.

I believe these principles run right to the heart of service management.

I believe it is also worthwhile to identify those vendors that are producing good stuff and listening to the market.

‘Klout’ is not 100% watertight, I’m sure there are ways to corrupt and circumnavigate the system. For example some companies might hire a top notch PR and a marketing company to provide a ‘ghost’ presence but ignore the principles at work within the vendor itself. Looking at the list I believe it provides a fairly accurate view of genuine influence – you could have a gazillion friends and followers and pump out updates every minute but still not have ‘Klout’.  It is important to note that this list also ignores some of the great work by the service management community offline.

This list is by no means exhaustive, I will add to it and expand it over time.

If you have any recommendations for changes please contact me. The table is compiled from this list. See also – Punditry