ITSM Tools, Service Delivery & Being Awesome; EasyVista Are Leading The Way In Digitisation

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Being just “good enough” isn’t good enough any more. We live in an age of innovation and CSI; where we need to be continually adapting to changing business priorities and finding ways to be leaner and more agile in our delivery. But let’s face it, how does that work in the real world? A real world where budgets are limited, resources are stretched and our people feel overworked and undervalued.

Enter EasyVista with their ITSM tool. With over 20 years of industry experience, as well as being Pink Verified for 11 processes; here’s what they have to say on digitisation.

Digitisation The EasyVista Way

The IT service desk has become ground zero for the Digital Workplace that is currently transforming the work environment and fundamentally changing the relationship between employers and employees. It’s no longer just a place to get IT support. The IT service desk is evolving to become an employee concierge of sorts, offering fast, easy access to all kinds of employee services—things like HR benefits, payroll information, facilities services and hard and soft asset tracking.

We believe that with its digital-first approach EasyVista is at the forefront of enabling enterprise companies to launch their digital workplaces. Serving 1,000+ enterprise companies around the world, EasyVista has many real-world examples of this major trend in the IT service management industry.

If you speak to any of the companies investing in EasyVista IT service management platform — whether they are in retail, insurance, higher education, healthcare, government, etc. — it’s clear how integral their charters have become to corporate strategic initiatives. In fact, Gartner * wrote recently that digital workplace leaders should understand the needs of employees to help focus digital workplace priorities, include non-IT business units in digital workplace planning and execution, and make the service desk one of the focal points of the digital workplace.”

Kevin Coppins, EasyVista General Manager of North America couldn’t agree more. He will tell you that the future success in service management depends on a philosophical commitment to the employee service experience, including:

  • Stronger focus on mobility to enable productivity from anywhere
  • More emphasis on a ‘service apps’ mentality mirroring what we’re accustomed to in our lives outside of work
  • Deeper integration with a wide range of enterprise systems
    • Services that can be quickly created and tailored for any number of employee needs.
    • Services that are device agnostic and available to workers across a variety of platforms or operating systems.

Kevin says companies that leverage the service desk to advance their digital workplace strategy are seeing improvements in several ways:

  • Better support for emerging work styles
  • Increased employee productivity and overall agility
  • Higher employee morale and motivation

How are companies embracing the digital workplace? They:

  • are turning the service desk into a hub for the digital workplace
  • are including non-IT business units in digital workplace planning and execution
  • can better understand the service needs of their employees
  • are embracing shadow IT trends
  • are using a bimodal approach to IT investments to support changing work and business models
  • can allow time for IT to deliver quick value to the organization
  • are changing laggard perceptions to an attitude of innovation

 

The EasyVista vision is easy to deliver, easy to use and with over 6 million SaaS end users and a customer renewal rate of over 98% they must be doing something right!

EasyVista are certainly gaining ground in a packed ITSM market place. They’ve been crowned a high performer by G2 Crowd and have been selected for Gartner Peer Insights. One of the things that differentiates EasyVista is that it is purpose built as a mobile-first experience. Instead of a more traditional experience where it can take months to roll out an enterprise level ITSM tool, EasyVista uses service apps to get customers up and running quickly.

The EasyVista ethos is to use their proven power (hello 20+ years of innovation!) to deliver awesome services without having to spend millions on delivery or supporting tools. EasyVista are seeing a shift from Chief Information Officers to Chief Service Providers and with the industry shift to enterprise Service Management, using ITSM outside of IT to drive other functions like HR, Finance and Facilities, it’s not hard to see why.

The EasyVista tool is run on service based apps and features codeless functionality meaning that you can customise it to fit your business without needing to write a single line of code. The portals are role based and EasyVista aim to have their customers achieve value realisation within 60 days of deployment.

The ITSM industry is certainly taking notice. Gartner placed EasyVista third behind ServiceNow and BMC in terms of digital workplace leadership; given the scale of both the BMC and ServiceNow offerings, EasyVista offers customers a real alternative. An alternative that’s agile, service based and a tool that used digital transformation as an enablement strategy rather than a reactive, defensive strategy.

Awesome services, proven power and over 1,000 happy customers? Deal us in!!

 

* Gartner, Recipe for Digital Workplace Execution: Transform the Employee Experience, March 2016.

 

Image Credit

Self Service Review [2015] – The Results

logoThis is a review of software products and vendors with their products in the ‘Self Service’ market area.

Products reviewed:

1 Overview

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
Alemba
  • Clean and fresh interface – simplified but functional
  • Technical integration and virtualized capability
  • Legacy product well regarded
  • Still being developed to compete at high end of marketSmall
    company, now independent from
  • VMware – still growing
  • Limited social and collaborative interfaces and functionality
8
Atlassian
  • Easy and simple fo use for fast implementation
  • Workload tab – nice quick view of tickets / SLAs per analyst
  • Well set up for non-IT people
  • User access limited functionality
  • Only basic workflow functions can be edited non-techlimited
    innovation or eg social interfaces
7
Cased Dimensions
  • MS focus
  • MS integration – eg with System Center
  • Lots of pre-built processes
  • MS FocusSmall company
  • Bepsoke/consultancy approach won’t work for every organisation /
    small organisations
7
Cherwell
  • Functional capability
  • UX and ease of use
  • Vendor approach and focus
  • Competition from both ends of the market
  • Capability to deliver in tier 1 – though growing in size
  • Multi-tenancy not native
9
EasyVista
  • Good standard self service functionality
  • Open, flexible, using industry tools
  • Global network of data on use and performance
  • Workflows and configurations look complex and not
    intuitive/graphical ITSM tool looks strong although slightly dated
  • May need to focus target market/position
8
Freshservice
  • Low cost
  • Simple, straightforward operability
  • Gamification
  • Limited non-tech configuration
  • Org not set up for Enterprise customers
  • Lacks some key interfaces, social, provisioning
7
BEST IN CLASS:
LANDESK
  • ITSM complete
  • User friendly to develop and manage
  • Focus on automation to improve efficiency
  • May be overkill for some smaller organisations
  • Self service not available standalone
  • Social not embedded in tool – minor
10
SMT-X
  • Clear market niche well defined – good positioning
  • Product is multi-functional/function rich
  • Professional looking – will engage non IT people
  • Company size – small
  • Not an ITSM tool – limited and reducing market as competition
    improves
  • Could improve UI for workflow/design
7

 

Target Clients Flexibility /implementation Complementary Products
Alemba Enterprise and large IT and ITSM organisations –
particularly VMware customers.
Broad level of flexibility, vendor supports
implementation
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
implementation support
Numerous industry products. MS Partner
EasyVista Medium to large and some enterprise organisations Good level of flexibility, vendor moving from SME to
enterprise offering
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
implementation services
Numerous LANDESK offerings and industry integrations
SMT-X Enterprise organisations and their IT and back office
functions
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.

Review: EasyVista Service Manager

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

Also participating:

Commercial Summary

Vendor EasyVista
Product EasyVista ServiceManager
Version reviewed 2014
Date of version Release Summer 2014
Year Founded 1988
Customers 887
Pricing Structure Both EasyVista packaging options, SaaS and On-Premise, include licensing that is all inclusive of ITIL functionality and is based solely on the number of IT Users. Licenses include mobile access, reporting and dashboard capabilities and administration access. Self-service portal and service catalog are included with unlimited access. EasyVista Discovery is fully integrated and based on the number of assets automatically discovered.

  • EasyVista SaaS includes all functionality and is available in named or concurrent subscription models. Maintenance is included in the subscription price.
  • EasyVista On-Premise includes all functionality and is available in a concurrent perpetual license model. Maintenance is 20% of the discounted software license price.
  • EasyVista ServiceApps (Gallery and Interface Designer) is included at no extra charge for EasyVista ServiceManager SaaS customers.

Review

Elevator Pitch EV provides a traditional and function rich ITSM toolset, plus a modern looking App store (Service Apps) approach that uses the toolset and other non-proprietary widgets to build customer and process-based tools.
Industry areas Good for medium sized organisations who want to leverage either ITSM functionality and/or easy to build (non-IT) service apps.
Unique points Self service provided is straightforward and utilizes other industry tools and ‘widgets’ for ease of implementation.
Target market SME to large medium sized or smaller enterprise.
Solutions/ issues solved Provides a good level of standard ITSM capability, plus industry standard tools to build interfaces and more advanced applications.
Product/vendor gaps Workflow, although ‘code-less’ looks basic and not as intuitive/graphics as some of its competitors.

Some functions look like they could be more integrated within the tool – there is a definite old/new split of UX.

Positives
  • Product does standard ITSM and Self Service functions.
  • Good levels of capability around provisioning, security, SSO, knowledge.
  • Widget approach to apps looks good
  • Nice feature re the recording and playback to customers of their analytics
  • Customer success network
  • Unlimited licences for self service and mobile
  • SSO – and 2 stage authorisation when needed
Negatives
  • Decision tree KB Option – a bit long winded
  • UX in some parts of system looks dated
  • Vendor experienced but with only recent experience of enterprise implementations – not set up with comparable professional services
Overall view Looks a good multi function product although doesn’t look and feel like this is really aimed at enterprise, as grown out of SME market.

 
May be squeezed against cheaper SME products and higher spec enterprise vendors.
 

Provides a good level of complete ITSM and self service capability, plus some nice features around customer data and feedback. Maybe needs more of a non-IT marketing focus to sell the enterprise capability.

 Vendor information

EASYVISTA_logo_4c-300x90EasyVista has designed a solution that makes it simple for each and every customer to engage with you.

EasyVista allows IT to design secure, integrated and personalized customer facing Apps (interfaces) that bring together elements from disparate systems to create collaborative customer experiences, accessible on any device and that are tailored to their specific needs. One size does not fit all when it comes to the self-service shopping experience. With EasyVista you are no longer tied to a single self-service portal or service catalog. You can create multiple service catalogs and self-service portals that are brandable and can be embedded in any website or existing intranet portal. The flexibility to fully configure a website with a service catalog, chat/video/audio interactions, important customer facing metrics, knowledge articles, social media feeds, software on demand and any other IT or non-IT service related action is simple and accessible with EasyVista.

Screenshots

 

Technology Review: EasyVista

Easy VistaThis is a review of the EasyVista ITSM solution. The product (set) reviewed was:

  • EasyVista ServiceManager
  • EasyVista Service-Apps
  • EasyVista Click2Get

These collectively make up ‘EasyVista.com’ – the product set reviewed will be released on July 1st 2014.

At a glance

EasyVista is an established and growing player in the ITSM industry – from an initial start in 1988 through to a floated business in 2005 with a native Cloud platform, to its current position challenging the enterprise market.

The company focuses on EMEA and US markets with Head Offices based in both New York and Paris. Recent growth has been impressive and the company is expanding and developing into new markets and market areas. This review looks at EasyVista’s core capabilities, strengths and weaknesses, plus go-to-market strategy and vendor reach.

Summary of Key Findings

Strengths Weaknesses
Simple yet powerful customer presentation layer Limitations on vendor implementation capacity
Comprehensive ITSM functionality – good Service Catalog capability May need to develop more/new capabilities and project services for larger enterprise clients
Cradle to grave Asset Management – extensive financial capability Recent core focus on US has slightly hindered UK presence to date behind, however we understand that this is being addressed
Intuitive user-friendly workflow – NEO capability for tech-free design and admin Reporting capabilities and templates could be improved
Strong multi-language offerings
Impressive recent financial growth

Analysis

Overall EasyVista has a very strong product-set in the ITSM market.With a long pedigree, since 1988, as a mid-market vendor, with focus in some key geographical markets, EasyVista is now broadening its appeal and reach across wider global markets and is also becoming more tuned to enterprise organizations needs.

This is having some success with a number of recent wins over ServiceNow and Cherwell Software, who they view as main competitors. As is the case with these companies, EasyVista is also winning new business from legacy CA/HP/BMC sites with its modern, agile, user-friendly, and user-configurable approach and (web-based) product set; as well as competitive costing and minimized cost of upgrade path.

The product-set aims to provide a comprehensive, yet simple and intuitive interface for build and maintenance, reducing the time to implement and also the cost and skill level required for ongoing tailoring and configuration. A key concept is the simplified ‘presentation layer’, which effectively provides a simple and business-focused interface to allow user organisations to focus on business objectives and not be side-tracked by infrastructure and technical details and data. This also supports the approach that allows the underlying infrastructure and services details to change without impacting the presentation layer – i.e. the User Interface and outputs. EasyVista’s pitch aims to support the idea that the tool helps to reduce complexity around IT and ITSM delivery – by linking ‘Service Management with Content Management’ – so that all sources are presented/rendered consistently.

As an ITSM tool it has a full set of Service Management capabilities available, delivered in ‘standard’ tabular formats (i.e. process functions as expected for ITSM/ITIL processes and lifecycle) with the ability to make changes easily and without technical skills/support.The core Incident, Problem and Change processes are presented in a clean and simple format with the ability to use multiple layers of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Operating Level Agreements (OLAs) as required – e.g. for tracking, OLAs can be easily nested and tracked within a wider SLA. The Service Catalog functionality is extensive and compares well with other product offerings, featuring some straightforward and effective features like graphical displays of linked services, parent/child service ‘bundles’, and simple logical links to all other ITSM functions.

The asset and configuration elements of the toolset are also key features with function-rich capabilities around asset tracking and financial management (e.g. insurance values, residual value, depreciation etc). This includes an end-to-end approach with the ability to create orders and pick from stock as part of the asset lifecycle. Whilst this functionality has been around for many years in large enterprise products, it is encouraging to see this level of detail and control being made available from a mid-size vendor and product – with a modern, simplified and connected (social) interface.

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Discussion threads offer social capabilities that can be used effectively for approvals – e.g. for Change Advisory Boards (CABs) – and are a useful and social way to communicate (like a Facebook wall) and contribute to incidents and other events – i.e. beyond those simply on the escalation path. This can also be used for knowledge sharing and also to present real-time knowledge content within incidents. The ‘NEO’ function provides advanced capabilities without the need for technical skills, and is based on a graphical interface for workflow, forms design, tables, and field and screen creation that is simple to administer – i.e. using drag and drop. Development of the presentation layer for IT or departmental customers is supported by the NEO capability. EasyVista has built a range of widgets, such as charts, navigation, dashboard components, and HTML widgets, as well as provided access to a range of other web widgets from the likes of Google, Twitter etc. These widgets can be used to easily build Service Apps like CIO dashboards or Service Catalogs, enhancing functionality and integration of processes.

Reporting and monitoring are available with user-defined dashboards – i.e. that can include standard widgets as already mentioned. This could be further developed to provide more pre-canned templates and standards offerings to clients. EasyVista has strong language capabilities with 12 core languages available across a single meta-data structure – therefore global implementation can be effective across a single platform. EasyVista also provides a robust network of data centers across EMEA, the US and Singapore to provide continuous business continuity. There is also an extensive and effective global knowledge community sharing product information and guidance.

Languages available:

  • Bosnian
  • Brasilian
  • Catalan
  • Chinese (Traditional)
  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Dutch
  • English (UK)
  • English (US)
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Polish
  • Portugeze
  • Spanish

The vendor is expanding and recruiting to support its current growth and sales success. This is part of a continuing development plan to consolidate and build on an improving market position, and challenging enterprise vendors on price and flexibility, whilst still offering a full set of functionality plus innovation in the product that has been built as a native cloud-based system.

Revenues have grown from $11.5M (2010) to over $20M in 2013, with recurring revenue accounting for over 70% due to its SaaS customer base. The stock price has accordingly quadrupled (from $10.00 to $40.00) over the last year.

The vendor has been operating in the mid-market for several years and is now successfully engaging more with the enterprise market, where there may be more requirements from customers to deliver project and consultancy-based services. At present EasyVista have a global network of (40) implementation partners – with a majority of sales being made direct (95% direct in US, 50% direct in EMEA). Corporate resources are therefore focused on development, and sales and marketing, and less on implementation – this may need to be revised with more demanding enterprise-sized customers.

The challenges for EasyVista are in maintaining its focus on innovation, quality installations and client success, whilst also growing its market share and delivering successful implementations in new vertical and horizontal markets. This is recognized by the company with a recruitment programme and a renewed growth plan in the UK, which was consciously left alone some years ago when the focus was on building market share in the US and continental Europe. At that time the UK ITSM market was seen as stagnant, but there is now renewed interest in this market for replacement solutions following new innovations and the impact of disruptive (Cloud/SAAS) commercial models. EasyVista were left exposed in the UK and are now working to recoup some position in this market – however in future there may be issues in other areas if resources are stretched across multiple geographical markets and levels of the IT/ITSM market.

Delivery of sales message (which is seen to be good) and the ability to deliver to a new market area (enterprise) are also seen as major challenges – along with the ability to consolidate and maintain growth. The product set is comprehensive and possibly complex at first sight, therefore the ITSM Review recommends that EasyVista aligns its message (simplicity and business focus) with its overall presentation of the modules and areas of the product. The three product areas – Service Manager, Service Apps and Click2Get – plus the Neo function, sit over the ITSM modules with different pricing structures and this can initially look at odds with the company’s ‘simplify IT’ message, although we understand the pricing is very competitive. Whilst there are some corporate and delivery challenges, the product provides a comprehensive solution, is well positioned, and the pitch plays well to a market hungry for savings, simplicity and new ways of working.

On a comparative level with the upper mid-market and also at an enterprise level, the product-set has good functionality and offers innovation and a user-friendly operation. Development has been applied to the use and usability of the product and this should reduce the need for extensive consulting and implementation services. However there is always a need for implementation guidance and support for less-mature organisations. This is a gap and opportunity for EasyVista to provide more value-added services to support these clients’ implementations.

Overall, EasyVista is an excellent offering for customers/buyers who are mature, know what they want from ITSM (particularly in some key areas like Service Catalog and Asset Management), and are able to implement this mostly themselves.

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Key Capabilities

EasyVista is an integrated solution that covers IT Service and Asset Management. The modules provided are:

  • Service Operation: Incident, Problem, Service Request and Event Management. This module addresses core service desk functionality.
  • Service Transition: Change, Knowledge and Release Management. This addresses the ability to manage the entire lifecycle of Change records and how they relate to Releases in the CMDB. Additionally the knowledgebase is managed in this module allowing the management and subsequent publication of knowledge articles to technical and non-technical users.
  • Service Strategy: Financial areas such as Budget Planning/Control, Procurement, Charge Back, IT Costing etc. are provided by this module allowing customers to have fiscal control over all aspects of IT delivery.
  • Service Design: The management of SLAs/OLAs, Continuity Plans, Availability Targets, Catalog content etc. is managed in this module, providing the ability to create and manage all of these aspects ‘codelessly’ and quickly.
  • Asset Management: provides full financial lifecycle Asset Management for all assets as part of the core solution. This includes all aspects of Asset Management including request, order, delivery, contract, budget, loan, repair, depreciation etc.
  • Extended CMDB: The extended CMDB module provides a fully graphical interface for viewing and analyzing the relationships between CIs and ultimately assessing impact.
  • Business Relationship Management: This covers the areas of Self-Service Portal, Social IT, and Mobility, allowing customers to interact with all product areas in a variety of different ways.
  • Continual Service Improvement: A built-in, proprietary reporting engine providing Analytics, Dashboards, and Standard Reporting.
  • Business Process Management: Automated Workflow Engine, Business Rules Engine, and pre-defined Business Wizard Accelerators. These areas allow customers to build their own processes, automate workflow, and streamline their day-to-day tasks with no coding required.

These functions are presented in tabular form and generally follow the ITIL v3 lifecycle structure. The building of forms and functions (events, escalations, SLAs, validation approvals etc.) into processes can be done simply using a consistent graphical workflow tool – this can incorporate (e.g. Google) ‘widgets’ as required and can also simply be amended using ‘drag and drop’ functionality. As such, creation of ‘standard’ ITSM processes is simple, intuitive and extensive, based on a turnkey set of processes in the product-set – i.e. capable of delivering to a high level of complexity and detailed functionality for SME and enterprise requirements.

Key functions observed:

Incident Management – extensive, flexible form creation, escalations, tracking and filters, user-defined workflow, and knowledge integration.

Problem Management – as above, plus integrated reporting.

Change Management – includes the ability to use ‘discussion threads’ to manage approvals via social-lie interfaces.

Service Catalog – comprehensive functionality, well-presented multi-view and graphical representation of services and CMDB links. Good use of service ‘bundle’ approach – i.e. grouping of components together to build supply chain of IT services.

Service Level Management – extensive and capable of managing multiple levels of SLA, availability of services etc., plus ability to manage and track nested OLA timeframes within SLAs.

Asset Management – high level of specification and capability, particularly around financial management, depreciation, residual value etc.

Knowledge Management – using ‘widget’ plug-ins can bring a variety of options for presenting and managing associated knowledge articles.

Reporting – dashboards shown with the potential for extended functionality and flexibility. Vendor could develop more ‘templated’ report and dashboard content to enhance presentation.

Go-to-market Strategy

EasyVista’s sweet spot target clients:

Staff 2,000 – 20,000
IT Staff 25 – 600
Nodes 10,000 – 200,000
IT Maturity Medium – High
Market level Mid/upper mid-market and Enterprise, some F500Vertical and horizontal – no sector focus
Challenges Cost, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), global multi-language, need for flexibilty and ease of use

Regional focus:

  • Significant investment in the USA – Past 2 years has seen 100%+ growth per year
  • Continued expansion in EMEA – Past 2 years has seen 20% growth in a tough market
  • Tactical investment in APAC
  • Planned expansion and increased investment in the UK planned for late FY14

Channel Focus:

  • USA – 95% direct sales. 70% direct services and 30% through strategic partners.
  • EMEA – 50% direct and 50% indirect.
  • 40 fully accredited partners with 280 certified engineers worldwide.

Features delivered as part of the standard offering:

Service Manager, Asset Management, Service Apps and Click2Get are licensed independently. SaaS customers can obtain a product called myEasyVista, which is SaaS performance and administration portal – this is included in the SaaS subscription.

Service manager is sold with full functionality (all processes / and capabilities)

  • Incident Management
  • Problem Management
  • Availability Management
  • Service Asset and Configuration Management
  • IT Service Continuity Management
  • Service Catalog Management
  • Service Level Management
  • Service Portfolio Management
  • Request Fulfillment
  • Knowledge Management
  • Change Management
  • Asset Management

Licensing and Payments:

  • On premise = Concurrent
  • SaaS = Named or Concurrent

Range of project values for a typical installation:

  • SaaS: $75K/year – $300K/year
  • On Premise:  $100K – $500K

Annual maintenance and support cost:

  • 20% of On Premise software sale price.
  • 6 – 10 weeks average implementation time.

Key Reference Customers

OTD

Innovation, quality performance, integrity and teamwork – One Touch Direct is a premier call center service company and leader in developing customized direct marketing strategies. They specialize in developing integrated direct response marketing programs supported by state of the art call center services. OTD is based in North America, employs over 2000 team members and offers call center support in English, French and Spanish.

Domtar

Domtar-Centralizing IT Worldwide – Domtar was founded in 1848 and has grown from a widely diversified organization to an industry leader focused on paper manufacturing. The 1990s and the early 2000s were years of significant expansion, including the acquisition of Ris Paper Company Inc. and Georgia Pacific paper mills.

Expro

Expro delivers a true global SaaS ITSM solution in weeks with EasyVista – Expro is a world leader in well flow management technologies with core and more specialized services assisting customers to measure, improve, control and process flow from their wells. Expro’s expertise extends across the lifecycle of a well, reinforcing their ability to help customers achieve their goals – from Exploration & Appraisal through to Abandonment. Expro operates in all the major hydrocarbon producing areas of the world, employing more than 5,000 people in 50 countries.

Case studies available from these customers.

Geographical Coverage

Direct Presence Geographical area:

  • USA
  • Canada
  • UK
  • France
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • Portugal
  • Italy

Vendor Profile – In their own words

“We recognize the IT landscape we live in and therefore the ITSM requirement to our customers has radically changed. ITSM is no longer just about looking after the employees IT equipment and services, but also about how IT can build non-IT centric services and applications that improve your employee and business unit’s function, efficiency and service to the ultimate end customer.

Today’s ITSM challenge comes from these two ‘customer needs’ but also, the fundamental shift in the way we build IT. The number of systems we use directly or indirectly to transact business with our customers is x50 higher than it was just 3 years ago. All of this data and all of the new communication channels needs to be harnessed and coordinated to provide Service and SupportYet the current platforms that provide the service and support were built for a different age. They may support social, cloud and business analytics – but the hard way. Hard wired, ridged and very costly to administer, change and integrate.

IT is now at a pivotal moment in its corporate career. One that could transform the organization and make rock-stars out of IT leadership. The days of big, highly integrated, proprietary and complex platforms are dead. We live in the age of the web. The next generation of service and support will harness web architectures and services into a harmonious and dynamic service.

We would like to introduce you to a New Way. The Easy Way.

  • An Agile Web Service and Support Customer User Interface Engine.
  • An Agile Web Service and Support Workflow Engine.
  • An Agile Web Service and Support Asset Management Engine.
  • An Agile Web Service and Support Integration Engine.
  • With ‘Dynamic Orchestration’ – Not manual hard wired integration.

All codeless, and all joined up.”

Screenshots

Further resources

Contact details

www.easyvista.com

Phone: +1 (888) EZV ITSM

 

EASYVISTA

Summary

Strengths Weaknesses
Simple yet powerful customer presentation layer Limitations on vendor implementation capacity
Comprehensive ITSM functionality – good Service Catalog capability May need to develop more/new capabilities and project services for larger enterprise clients
Cradle to grave Asset Management – extensive financial capability Recent core focus on US has slightly hindered UK presence to date behind, however we understand that this is being addressed
Intuitive user-friendly workflow – NEO capability for tech-free design and admin Reporting capabilities and templates could be improved
Strong multi-language offerings
Impressive recent financial growth

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 our Disclosure page.

"A new way of thinking is required for ITSM" says Andy White (Video)

This interview was filmed at the Pink Elephant Conference and features Andy White, General Manager and Executive Vice President at EasyVista discussing what he sees as the current challenges in ITSM, along with the need to think about your customers’ customers.

In Summary

In addition, Andy also talks about:

  • Driving innovation
  • How to improve IT maturity
  • A need to improve the ITSM platforms that were built for yesterday’s world
  • The need to go beyond IT

Please note that owing to this interview being filmed live at the Pink Elephant event, there may be some minor volume issues and background noises throughout this video.

About EasyVista

EasyVista, founded in 1988, is a leading global provider of IT Service and Asset Management solutions for the mid to large-sized enterprises.

About Pink Elephant

A global company with a proud and pioneering 30 year history – the world’s #1 supplier of IT Service Management and ITIL® education, conferences and consulting.Visit www.pinkelephant.com for more information about the company, services and products. This video was filmed at the 2014 Pink Elephant Conference. The 19th Annual Pink Elephant International IT Service Management Conference and Exhibition will take place at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, February 15-18 2015. Registration is now open.

Case Study: Domtar decimate ITSM tool configuration costs with codeless

CLICK TO ENLARGE
CLICK TO ENLARGE

One of the first articles we published on the ITSM Review back in 2011 described the market shift from consulting-heavy customized ITSM projects to the simplicity of ‘configure it yourself’ SaaS based offerings, and in particular the significant change in cost structure (‘The ITSM Pricing Ouch-o-meter).

Agile ITSM

Once upon a time the ability of suppliers to ‘darken the skies’ with consultants was a competitive feature. Nowadays organizations want sufficient autonomy to do things themselves, if not the mentoring pathway to get them there.

This independence provides agility. Ultimately the goal is to empower IT teams to stop on a sixpence and duck and weave as the business sees fit. To dramatically shorten the protracted cycle of budgeting and planning long term consulting engagements to turn the tanker.

The IT department shouldn’t disappear into the basement for two years to build the next big thing, but should trickle out increments to ensure they are relevant, timely and valuable.

So far, so groovy. But what does all this newfound ITSM agility do to the bottom line?

Opening the corporate kimono

The case study below, commissioned by EasyVista, digs into the financial impact of moving to a more agile ITSM system. Thank you to Benoit and Bob at Domtar for being so candid and sharing their financial data.

Kudos also to EasyVista for the confidence in allowing us to publish this case study verbatim. The responses below, which I hope you will find to be balanced and honest, have not been edited by EasyVista or exposed to the usual PR polish.

The transition to EasyVista

BEFORE

  • Previous Software: 10% of development in-house, 90% developed by external consultants
  • Development inhibited by costs and by the lack of flexibility in the tool.
  • Upgrades were made difficult by any customization.

After reviewing eleven different ITSM tools Domtar chose EasyVista.

AFTER

  • Implementation began in Summer 2012
  • Now 5% – 10% is developed externally and over 90% – 95% is configured in house
  • Significantly lowered / eliminated development costs

Codeless Economics

Hard savings:

  • Annual saving on ITSM Tool configuration costs: 89% (i.e. They are investing one tenth of their previous spend on changing their ITSM tool)
  • Reduction in ITSM tool annual maintenance: 75% (i.e. They are only paying 25% of their previous annual ITSM software maintenance bill)

Return on Investment:

  • The total first year EasyVista investment (software and implementation) was an estimated 113% of the previous annual maintenance and consulting bill. So in other words, Domtar were able to rip out the previous solution and replace it with a better system for just over the maintenance cost of the previous system.
  • In subsequent years maintenance is 25% of the previous contract
  • Consulting costs have been decimated.

Interview with Domtar

Q. Would you recommend this technology?

Yes. This technology has given us the flexibility to do everything we ever wanted. It is not perfect and like most things probably never will be. However, it has allowed us to reshape the way we deliver some of our IT services. It has allow us to integrate new way of doing things (SLA, Service Catalogue) that we thought would be impossible with our old tool. For the first time we are able to shape the tool to our process and not the other way around.

Robert (Bob) Stambaugh, Manager, IT Service and Asset Management at Domtar, South Carolina, USA
Robert (Bob) Stambaugh, Manager, IT Service and Asset Management at Domtar, South Carolina, USA

This tool has helped us transform they way we see service delivery, to better understand what we do and allowed us to push a vision for the future.

We want this tool to become the ERP of IT, to be the central repository for all the information, to be the source to answer questions about IT and to be more than just a ticket repository.

Q. Which feature(s) would you add to this product if you had the choice?

It is not so much an addition but some improvements. A more flexible self-service portal would be a great improvement. The portal is not configurable enough and a bit static. By giving it more flexibility we could have a better design and make it more user friendly. The way you order service is a bit confusing for end-user at first.

There is what they call wizards, which act as macros function and provide intelligence (Ex: complete a ticker, move an asset, assign a ticket etc.) Wizards do almost anything. They can be adapted but up to a certain point. It would be incredible if we could modify the existing wizard even more but most importantly create our own.

Q. Can you provide any examples of where the increased agility and responsiveness you mentioned have led to tangible improvements in service?

1. Rapid deployment cycle

We have a very rapid deployment cycle on any changes in the tool. We can implement any new configuration changes in an average on 1 week.

Some configuration can be done in a few hours while other requires more tests and will take 1-2 weeks. All this with minimal downtime (1-2 min for most changes).

We have a scheduled change every Thursday where we introduce fixes and improvement. On the other hand, some incidents are fixed live while people are in the system. In our old system, any changes would take several days to code and test (1-2 week total) and several hours downtime (4 in general) to implement.

2. Self-Service Portal

Our end users can now go online not only to enter service requests and incidents but also to track their tickets, something they could not do in the past.

This provides our end user with more flexibility on how they can communicate with us. Those who track their tickets by themselves also save a call at the service desk.

3. Workflows

Benoit
Benoit Tessier, Team Lead, IT Service and Asset Management at Domtar, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Every service (or tickets) is backed by a workflows to guide IT personnel through the process. It is no longer necessary for every IT member to know complex process by heart. The tool makes sure we go through every step.

Workflows make sure we engage the right people at the right time. The process knows when certain team are needed and are notified accordingly. Fewer mistakes are made and fewer things are forgotten.

4. SLO (Service Level Objective)

They were technically possible in the past but we felt they were easier to do in EasyVista. So for the first time we have SLO with our end-users. We do not call them SLAs because we did not sit down with our customer to agree on them. These are the objectives we have set for ourselves in the resolution of incidents.

We are proud to say that less than 10% of our incidents do not meet our SLOs. Something we could not do before. I would dare to say that pride was not even part of our vocabulary. The result is increased satisfaction and efficiency.

5. Reports, Dashboard and KPI

It was almost impossible to get the data out of Remedy easily or without Crystal reporting skills. This is no longer the case. The reporting tool in EasyVista gives us lot of information on operations very easily. We build hundreds of reports.

For the first time, we have numbers and information that let us understand what is going on in the fields. This has launched several initiatives for service quality improvement.

6. Service Catalogue

All tickets, configuration items and assets are linked to a service. This service chart is the basis of our IT management. It is also used for budgeting, resource planning, and project management. Everything IT does is linked to this service catalogue or service chart.

This allow us to understand what is in every service (CI, Asset, Applications etc.), what tickets are generated for every service, what requests are made for every service and of course how much every service costs. By reversing the process we can figure out how much each ticket costs.

This service centric approach has transformed the way IT delivers it services and allows us to answer the eternal question: What does IT do?


Domtar rate EasyVista

Q. Please provide a general rating of EasyVista:

8/10

Q. Please rate the ease of use and intuitiveness of EasyVista:

8/10

The back-end for IT people is very easy and good. Everything is easy to find and presented in one screen which make it simple. However, there is so much functionality available that it is sometimes hard to remember all the possibilities.

Q. What are the key strengths?

  1. The flexibility. We can do literally anything if we put our mind to it. Even stuff they thought would be impossible a first.
  2. It does not require any knowledge of programming language other than SQL query.

Q. What are they key weaknesses?

(None provided)


About Domtar

200px-Domtar_LogoDomtar Corporation

  • ‘The sustainable paper company’
  • Industry: Fiber-Base technology company
  • Headquarters: Montreal, QC, Canada, Operations Center: Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA
  • Revenue $5.5BN (TSX: UFS, NYSE: UFS)
  • Founded 1848, 10,000+ employees
  • IT Team 250 staff, Service Desk 11 staff
  • www.domtar.com

The Domtar IT Team at a Glance

  • 250 IT employees spread across North America
  • ITSM team is responsible for ITSM processes, tools and Asset Management
  • New ITSM tool implemented in 2012
  • Processes in place include: Incident, Service Request, Change, Knowledge, Procurement, Asset, CMDB

easyvista-infographic3

2013: A Year in ITSM Review

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

As 2013 begins to draw to a close, I thought it would be nice to finish off the year with a final article that’s an overview of what has happened at the ITSM Review over the last 12 months.  That’s right, this will be our last post for 2013 because the entire team is heading off to fill their faces with mince pies and sherry. But don’t worry we’ll be back in 2014 with slightly bigger waistlines and lots of exciting plans for 2014 (insight into which you can find at the end of this article).

Ironically I like neither mince pies nor sherry. 

Visits and Growth

  • We have had nearly 230,000 page views this year, an increase of a whopping 210% from 2012!!! A huge thank you to the circa 120,000 of you for coming to read our content.
  • Visits to our site increased by an astounding 58% between the end of June and end of July alone, and then continued to grow on average by 5.5% every month.
  • Our Twitter followers increased by 193%.

One thing that I think it’s worth pointing out here as well is that the bulk of our readers are not actually situated in the UK (which is what a lot of people presume given that this is where we are based). In 2013, 17% of our readers were from the UK, but an impressive 30% were actually from the USA. Perhaps we should open a US office?! A large proportion of visitors also came from India, Germany, Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, France and Sweden, as well as plenty of other countries too.

Owing to us attracting more and more visitors year-on-year from outside of the UK and America, we are increasingly being asked to produce region-specific content. We are therefore looking for practitioners, consultants or analysts based in Asia, South America, Africa, and Europe who would be interested in writing about their experiences of ITSM in other countries. If you are interested please get in touch.

What was popular?

The top 3 most-viewed articles of the year were:

  1. 7 Benefits of using a Known Error Database (by Simon Morris)
  2. Gartner Magic Quadrant for IT Service Support Management Tools (Martin Thompson)
  3. AXELOS: Capita and ITIL joint venture lift lid on new brand (Martin Thompson)

Of those articles only number 3 was actually written and published in 2013.

I have to say congratulations specifically to Simon Morris here as well, because his KEDB article was not only the most-read article of the year, but it achieved 37% more hits than the second most popular article of the year! (And that’s not counting the hits it originally got in the year it was published).

Of the articles written and contributed in 2013, the top 3 were:

  1. Future of ITIL workshop – a little insight (Stuart Rance and Stephen Mann)
  2. Four Problem Management SLAs you really can’t live without (Simon Higginson)
  3. 7 golden rules for getting the most from the Service Catalogue (Yemsrach Hallemariam)

Is there a specific topic that you would like us to write about? Are there are practical pieces that you would like to see us cover to help you in your day-to-day job? Please let us know.

Content Contributors

In 2013, we were pleased to welcome 3 new, regular content contributors to the ITSM Review.  These are people who now write for us on a regular basis (roughly once a month), so you can expect to see a lot more great content from them in 2014. They are:

We also published content for the first time from the following companies: Cancer Research UK; EasyVista; Fruition Partners; GamingWorks; LANdesk; Macro4; Oregon Department of Transportation; Service Management Art Inc; and xMatters.

A great big thank-you to all of our regular and ad hoc contributors for helping supply with us with such fantastic content.

If you’re reading this and think you might be interested in contributing content (we welcome content from all, including) please get in touch.

Top Searches

Given that we had over 230,000 pages view this year, I thought that many of you might be interested to see what it was that people were searching for on our site.  The top 20 searches of the year were as follows:

  1. KEDB
  2. AXELOS
  3. Known Error Database
  4. ITSM
  5. Issue Log
  6. Proactive Problem Management
  7. ITSM Software
  8. Gartner ITSM
  9. What is Service Management
  10. Cherwell Software Review
  11. Gartner ITSM Magic Quadrant
  12. ServiceNow Review
  13. ITSM Software Review
  14. ITSM News
  15. Major Incident Management Process
  16. Free ITIL Training
  17. RemedyForce Review
  18. BMC Footprints
  19. KEDB in ITIL
  20. Process Owner

Are there any search terms that you are surprised to see on there?  Or anything that you would have expected to see that isn’t?

Events

In 2013 we branched out and kicked off Media Partnerships at the itSMF UK Conference and Exhibition (Birmingham) and itSMF Estonia Conference (Tallin).

Our aim was not only to spread the word about The ITSM Review, but to spend time with delegates to find out what things they are struggling with and how we might be able to help them.

Next year you can expect to see us the PINK conference in Las Vegas, and we hope to announce some other new, exciting partnerships for 2015 in the New Year!

Launches

In May we launched the ITSM Review App (Search ‘ITSM’ in the Apple App Store). 

Then there is the ITSM Tools Universe, which we launched at the end of November. The Tools Universe hopes to shed light on the emerging ITSM players (as well as the major competitors) and, over time, the changes in the position of the companies involved and moves in market share. Most importantly it is free to participate and unlike any Magic Quadrant or Wave, the ITSM Tools Universe is open to ALL ITSM vendors. 9 vendors are already confirmed.

If you are a Vendor and are interested in learning more the ITSM Tools Universe please contact us.

Additions to the team

As of 1st January 2013 the ITSM Review was still simply just the man you all know and love Martin Thompson (he tried desperately to get me to remove what I just said there… modest and all that jazz).

However, ITSM Review finished 2013 with an additional 3 employees:

  • In January 2013 Glenn Thompson (you’d be right to suspect that they might be related) joined full-time as the company’s Commercial Director. For some reason there was no official announcement (we’ll blame Martin) so for some of you this might be the first you’ve heard of it! Without Glenn we’d struggle to continue to offer all of our content to readers free of charge, so despite the fact that he’s a Chelsea fan, you’ve got to like him.
  • In July, for some reason Martin decided it would be a good move to hire some strange blonde lady who liked penguins (that would be me) as the Marketing and Community Manager.
  • Finally, in October Rebecca Beach joined as a Research Analyst. Famous for being a “gobby midget”, Rebecca will be writing most of our ITSM research and reviews in 2014. Rebecca also spends time (in conjunction with me) making fun of Martin and Glenn on a regular basis (it’s not our fault they make it so easy).

So then there was 4.

If you’re interested in any upcoming job opportunities at the ITSM Review (or ITAM Review), then please let us know.  We certainly plan on increasing that number 4 in 2014.

What’s planned for 2014?

Next year we are hoping to broaden our coverage of the ITSM space even further by securing new content contributors; participating in more industry events; launching new products (such as video product reviews, webinars, and case studies); and more.

We’re also looking very seriously at the possibility of running regular ‘social meet ups’ like we recently did with the Christmas get-together.

In addition to the publication of our ITSM Tools Universe in the Spring we will also be continuing our Group Tests, and a full list of topics for the Group Test series will be published early January.

In addition to the above we also have some planned changes in the works for our website. Nothing too major (it will still look like the ITSM Review that you know and love), just some cosmetic updates to make it easier on the eye and increase your ability to easily find what you are looking for.

Watch this space and we’ll keep you updated of our plans throughout 2014!

Oh and if you’re interested in the 2013 review and plans for 2014 from the ITAM Review, you can read them here.

Is there anything you would like to see us doing in 2014 that we’re not doing currently? Are there any changes that you would like to suggest to the website? Would you be interested in a tooling event or social get-togethers? Are you a Vendor who is interested in our Group Tests? We welcome your feedback, so please get in touch.

And so…

2013 is drawing to a close. Our success and growth throughout the year has made everybody here happy bunnies; but most importantly we hope that our content / site / presence this year has made YOU a bunch of happy bunnies. The whole purpose of the ITSM Review is to help ITSM practitioners, and everything we do has that end goal in mind.  Even if we only gain an additional 5 readers in 2014, so long as our content aids those 5 people and makes their work lives easier then these bunnies will continue to have smiles on their faces.

So with that image of turning the entire ITSM industry into smiley rabbits, I bid you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Thanks for reading throughout 2013; without you… the ITSM Review doesn’t exist.

Image Credit

The Internet of Things, Big Data and ITSM

Science fiction becoming science fact
Science fiction becoming science fact

I have noticed recently during my travels with EasyVista, that Hotel staff have begun to offer two or three WIFI codes on check-in, in recognition of the fact that we are all carrying multiple devices. Like sheep and rats, devices connected to the Internet outnumber humans.

The number of objects connected to the Internet actually surpassed humans back in 2008. According to Cisco 12.5 billion devices were connected in 2010 and they predict 25BN devices by 2015 and 50BN by 2020. Nowadays the average professional might be connected via their phone, tablet and PC. In a few years time you might also add their home thermostat, fridge, home media centre, home surveillance system, health monitoring system and so on.

The Internet of Things

This growing trend of everyday objects sending and receiving data over the Internet is known as the Internet of things or industrialized Internet.

Sensors can be embedded everywhere and programmed to either communicate with us, or communicate with each other.

Machine-to-Machine Communications (M2M)

RFID chips have led the way in devices communicating data about themselves – but this has been surpassed by the incredibly low cost and ease of access of simply providing devices with WIFI connectivity and management control with a cheap smart phone app.

In the absence of a usable WIFI connection, many devices can use a simple mobile phone SIM card to communicate with the wider world. M2M is a huge growth area for the mobile telecommunications industry, especially as connected devices are growing at a faster rate than humans and can provide significant strategic advantage to businesses that analyze and act on their activity.

Runbook Automation – If this, then that

Futurists have long predicted the fridge that can order it’s own food. But the Internet of Things is far from science fiction. Smart meters and apps on smart phones can already monitor and regulate heating in your home or remind you of tasks to be done based on location.

One of the most fascinating developments in the last couple of years is for devices and services to perform actions based on certain criteria. This is demonstrated perfectly via the free online service IFTTT (If this, then that). Simply connect your online services and use ‘recipes’ to automate tasks such as ‘Turn on the lights when I go into a room’. 16 years ago I travelled to Microsoft in Seattle. I had a meeting with Steve Ballmer, but while I was there, one of the execs showed me around ‘Microsoft house’. When you walked from the bedroom into the lounge, the building sensed nobody was in the bedroom, so the wall moved making the lounge bigger and the bedroom smaller. Perhaps a little too visionary, but it was clever.

It is only matter of time before these consumer-oriented services are standard in the enterprise; Zapier is an example of a corporate grade automation tool for joining together hundreds of different SaaS APIs. If the automation sounds too trivial for business consider that pharmaceuticals are building tablets that can signal when they’ve been swallowed or suitcases that can tell passengers their luggage has been loaded on the wrong flight.

Enterprise Automation

Early adopters for such automation are logistics companies using efficient freight routing or redirection based on real time congestion data to save fuel and time. Manufacturing plants are using sensors to adjust the position of component parts in the assembly process to improve efficiency and reduce errors.

The same logic can be applied to the delivery of IT Services:

  • Enterprise objects can have an online ‘information shadow’ similar to the additional reference material found on a Google map or an augmented reality. Printers have long been able to communicate their status over the network – this can be applied to all things a business owns.
  • Support can be provided in context. In an ideal world I only want to be reminded to buy batteries when I’m stood in the queue at the supermarket next to the batteries. The same filtering can be applied to support – for example knowledgebase information can be shown when customers are in a certain location, or using a certain process or device.
  • Devices can also create new knowledge or provide intelligent services. IBM’s Watson is already answering help desk calls.
  • Smart business equipment can report their own faults in real time, and use predictive analysis to prevent failures in the future.  Field service operations can be quicker and more efficient.

Automating a network of connected devices over the Internet is obviously not without risk. As with all IT Services, organizations need to be concerned with what happens with a system failure, or the ramifications of a vulnerability attack when business devices are automated and autonomous. Privacy of data and cultural shifts should also be considered, the UK retailer Tesco received complaints from packing staff for using armbands on staff to track worker productivity.

What this means for IT Service and support

What does this mean to those delivering and supporting IT services?

Ultimately businesses can harness data collected from the Internet of Things to provide better services and make better decisions based on real time data. All of these devices and online services create unprecedented volumes of data to analyze (known as Big Data). For IT Service Management professionals, new skills will be required to visualize these huge data sets, draw insights from the data exhaust and architect run book automation scenarios.

Traditionally IT support have used data from tickets or infrastructure to facilitate support – the great opportunity with the Internet of Things is to learn more about the users themselves and their behavior in order to provide exceptional support.

It also means that IT may just become BFF with marketing 😉

The 2014 ITSM Tools Universe

Runners, riders, market share and market focus for the ITSM Tools market
2014 ITSM Tools Universe: Runners, riders, market share and market focus for the whole ITSM Tools market

Please note that we are no longer accepting entries to be part of this report.

Today we kick off our 2014 ITSM Tools Universe research in which we will be looking at the multitude of tools out there that claim to help with the management of Information Technology Services; from one function tools through to the ‘all-singing-all-dancing’ suites.

Why invest in ITSM tools?

Organizations typically invest in ITSM technology to help them:

  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Improve service availability and response times
  • Integrate or improve integration between processes
  • Improve root cause analysis
  • Automate or improve business workflows
  • Improve business visibility of IT services

We are looking to talk with ANY supplier who has technology in these areas.

The Assessment Process

There is no cost to participate in our ITSM Universe research.

Steps:

  1. Complete this online questionnaire
  2. Upon completion, schedule an online briefing and arrange customer references

We have tried to automate our assessment process as much as possible given the number of tools we plan to assess, so we have used an online submission form to initiate the process. I have posted a PDF version for participants for reference. If you have any questions please contact me.

ITSM Universe Objectives

Rather than reviewing just the major competitors, this review hopes to shed light on the emerging players and, over time, the changes in the position of the companies involved and moves in market share.

Consideration will also be given to where vendors focus their efforts and to which customer type their products are suitable.

Results will be published in Spring 2014 using our ‘Universe Methodology‘.

The criteria we will be focusing on is as follows:

  • Competitive differentiators
  • ITSM processes included out of the box
  • The level of in-house customization possible and by whom
  • Possible configurations available out of the box
  • Self-Service options
  • Reporting capabilities
  • Process linkage
  • Interaction with business outcomes
  • Alignment with industry frameworks

The last tool showcase I attended offered very little in the way of USP promotion so I am especially interested to see what vendors believe are their competitive differentiators …please don’t let it be ‘The Cloud’!

Participating Vendors

Other Vendors

The following vendors will not be part of this report:

These vendors either declined, were unable to commit to the report schedule or were unable to provide customer references.

Knowledge Management 2013 Group Test – The Results

This is a competitive comparison of Knowledge Management technology.

Products reviewed:

  • Cherwell
  • EasyVista
  • ITinvolve [BEST IN CLASS]

Download Review

(Free PDF, No Registration Required – 343kb, 4 Pages)


Knowledge Management 2013 Best in Class

Knowledge Management 2013 Best in Class: ITinvolve
Knowledge Management 2013 Best in Class: ITinvolve
  • ITinvolve – all 3 products are a good option as they meet the basic requirements requested, however this product looks to be an excellent (if brave) choice that works towards an intuitive KM solution. EasyVista and Cherwell have similar in built functionality and are established ITSM players, whilst ITinvolve is a more innovative product, with good customer results and stories so far. Whilst this is the best product option, ITinvolve are still a new and small vendor and will need to develop their client-base to consolidate this result.

Of the products reviewed, these areas were of particular note:

Good for practical simple and effective use (with existing platforms)

  • EasyVista and Cherwell – both provide excellent standard integrated Knowledge functionality with the existing toolsets. Either product is an excellent option for Knowledge Management, integrated with the other ITSM toolset areas – both are recognized and established ITSM vendors.

Good for an innovative approach using new/social tools

  • ITinvolve – Nice approach and social integration means the barriers to usage can be radically broken down. There may be challenges for organisations taking this approach on, but it looks to be excellent option (and is also integrated with some other ITSM tools).

Knowledge Management Market Observations

KM

  • ‘Knowledge Management’ (in the ITSM context) doesn’t really have a specific product sector. This tends to be an application of one or more product areas to support the process of knowledge creation and knowledge sharing. E.g. a useful ‘Knowledge Management’ solution could easily be SharePoint, or an intranet portal.
  • ITSM value in this area comes from integration with regular ITIL processes like Incident, Problem, Change, SLM and Configuration, plus automation and self-help delivered via customer-friendly portals.
  • Of the 3 products reviewed, EasyVista and Cherwell were seen to be good example of knowledge functionality applied to an existing ITSM toolset – both showed good integration and provide good standard functionality. ITinvolve was clearly built more as a knowledge and social platform and is seen as an innovative product with some new concepts.
  • All 3 products displayed capabilities well in keeping with the stated requirements and would offer good opportunities for development of Knowledge Management (with the caveats as described above).
  • Differentiators were therefore relatively minor in terms of functionality (particularly between EasyVista and Cherwell). The main difference was in the overall (and quite radical) approach from ITinvolve – this was seen as positive and interesting, although involving a more challenging procurement and implementation approach.
  • As with many tools in this area, much of the success is down to the interface and usability, plus how this can remove resistance to use. Tools that are seamless and integrated, plus those which can leverage slick and familiar ways of working and user interface will help to build loyalty and effective usage.
  •  Knowledge Centred Support (KCS) was not seen as a differentiator for any of the vendors reviewed – none saw value in investing in accreditation and this had not been an issue in procurement to date.

Market Positioning and Approach

Vendor Mid-Market Enterprise   Approach
Cherwell

Standard ITSM
EasyVista

Standard ITSM
ITinvolve

Innovative Social

        – Definitely

       – Possibly

 

Comparative Overview

Vendor Overview Strengths Weaknesses
Cherwell
  • Vendor emerging across ITSM market space
  • Knowledge approach seamless with other ITSM areas in product
  • Provides all functionality required for review
  • Good vendor approach
  • knowledge article key element of system
  • Overall looks a good option
  • Meets all functionality required for review
  • ‘Knowledge shipped OOTB and is key element
  • Configuration can be done by non-tech users
  • User portal simple and user-friendly
  • Access to KAs can specified to (field) level security
  • KAs can be associated to services
  • Approval process sets % approvers
  • Approval steps can be defined at multiple levels
  • ‘One Step’ feature to simplify approval process
  • Nice ‘Community Discussion’ board
  • KAs can be raised and applied to any (process) area of the tool

  • Can look overly complex in places
  • IT User interface could be clearer and less complex
  • Can’t map approval workflow process

EasyVista
  • Good functionality meets all stated requirements
  • Seamless integration across the ITSM product set
  • Vendor established global position in mid-market –limited presence in some markets – e.g. UK
  • User Interface user-friendly
  • Some good features around discussion boards, crowdsourcing options and multi-level KAs
  • Overall looks a good option
  • Meets all functionality required for review
  • Pink Verified for Knowledge Management
  • Multi- level deployment in different languages
  • Able to control who uses ‘user rating’ – for KA relevance
  • Can reference 3rd party search engines and rate solution
  • Search engine automatically searches
  • Can create technical and simplified version of same KA, then apply to relevant profile
  • Nice statistics Dashboard
  • Discussion groups within product – nice like Facebook wall
  • Vendor geared to mid-market implementation
  • Limited positioning or presence in some key markets – e.g. UK
  • Could provide more focussed, results-based information on customer success stories using KM

 

ITinvolve
  • New vendor with innovative product and approach
  • Viral/organic knowledge approach
  • Lots of good features  well thought-out functionality
  • Product requires a big shift in approach from client
  • Vendor still developing pitch and positioning
  • Good option for some organisations

  • Meets all functionality required for review
  • Uses ‘Social’ crowdsourcing
  • Users ‘follow’ objects, creating knowledge and understanding of real experts and stakeholders facilitates ‘crowdsourcing’
  • Can be used in conjunction with other ITSM products –
  • Approach based on actual usage and practice rather than theoretical processes
  • Support staff see all followers and knowledge for an object.
  • Graphical representation of relationships – showing users + stakeholders.
  • Stakeholders crowdsource knowledge  and change – based on ‘objects’ they are following
  • Can also use more ‘traditional’ approach of approval and review as needed
  • Vendor offers Proof of Concept and trial. Implementation approach aims to support client self-sufficiency where possible
  • Good customer success examples given
  • Implementation approach based around successful client adoption of KM processes
  • Requires a major client shift in approach
  • Requires use of new terminology
  • Looks complex in places and requires clients with open or new approach to implementation
  • Sales pitch needs to be developed to grab attention more quickly
  • New and small vendor with limited market track record

Deep Dive

Further details for each vendor can be found by using the links below:

Further Reading

DISCLAIMER, SCOPE & 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.