Review: Atlassian JIRA Service Desk and Confluence

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

Also participating:

Commercial Summary

Vendor Atlassian
Product JIRA Service Desk and Confluence
Version reviewed 2.2-OD-08
Date of version Release December 2014
Year Founded 2002
Customers 9000 including starter licenses
Pricing Structure Agent based pricing

Review

Elevator Pitch Simple clean transactional / collaboration tool with good standard functionality, based around service desk and back office support functions.
Industry areas Nice approach on pitch around HR/Finance and IT service model.

 

Looks easy to use, simple to develop with standard functions.

Unique points No ‘sales team’ – sold via web.

 

Primarily for SMB and mid size. Enterprise sold via partners (‘experts’) – do have some good Enterprise clients – Twitter, Citi.

Target market SMB, SME or teams within large organisations.
Solutions/ issues solved Looks like product that can get support and self service up and running quickly for small organisations and discrete teams in larger organisations.
Product/vendor gaps End user configuration and access is limited – i.e. to using a specific Service Desk. So no user-based filed level security and e.g. dashboard views.
Positives
  • Some nice presentations of filtered views, based around multiple business portals. Set up using simple non tech, non-ITIL language
  • SLAs are defined from tagged lists and can be set in the background, transparent to users
  • Workload tab – nice quick view of tickets / SLAs per analyst
  •  Quick, standard implementation
  • Well set up for non-IT people
  • Simple toggle between customer and analyst view
  • UI Language – user friendly – What do you need? Why do you need this?
  • Knowledge articles – have ‘likes’ – and can add comments – as per social
  • Analyst Q – ordered in time to resolution – shows breached SLAs and views as required
  • Workflow – simple graphical overview
  • Atlassian Marketplace – can download or buy workflows and add-ons from large app store
Negatives
  • Editing and configuring the system e.g. workflow is limited in some areas and requires more technical updates for some basic functions – e.g. serial/parallel workflow activities
  • UX looks basic in comparison to other products
  • Basic social interface, Knowledgebase
  • Customer portal has limited choices only
  • Partitioning – by Service Desk – will show by SD level. Not by user level.
  • Limited flexibility in user reporting
Overall view
  • Works well as part of larger Atlassian offering and sells well via Web (No Sales Force pitch) – 9,000 customers.
  • Atlassian ‘marketplace’ community is useful for canned data and models that can be used or bought.
  • Good for simple/fast implementations
  • Limited appeal for Enterprise unless bought via partners who have to configure.

Vendor information

jiraservicedesk_rgb_blue_atlassian JIRA Service Desk is new service management software that IT and business teams actually like to use.

Built on Atlassian’s JIRA, the market leader in helping teams get work done, JIRA Service Desk delivers an effortless service experience, adapts to your needs, with pricing and set up time at a fraction of competitors.

Redefine what IT means to your business at www.atlassian.com/servicedesk

Screenshots

 

Review: LANDESK Service Desk (Best in Class)

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

Also participating:

Commercial Summary

Vendor LANDESK
Product LANDESK Service Desk
Version reviewed 7.8
Date of version Release January 2015
Year Founded 1985
Customers 1000 worldwide
Pricing Structure IT-Users, fixed or concurrent license (ability for customers to mix licenses). Premise or SaaS Delivery. Unlimited End Users.

(Also alternatively available as part of LANDESK Total User Management package which is End User licensed only, unlimited IT Users)

Review

Elevator Pitch This is an excellent fully functional ITSM and wider IT Management suite of products, presented with a number of well-embedded links and functional capabilities.
Industry areas It’s aimed at the larger/Medium to Enterprise IT organisation and provides simple to use and user-friendly interfaces and options – e.g. workflow.
Unique points
  • Provides good standard ITSM across the board, plus some innovative features
  • Provides a good deal of automation to remove unnecessary tasks – e.g. adding screen print is simple so that this is not time consuming
  • New USP functions promised
Target market Medium to large enterprise.

Enterprise organisations looking to do integrated ITSM, good for user experience and self service and provisioning.

Solutions/ issues solved Excellent technical integration for auto-provisioning and other IT management functions – SSO, password reset etc.

A number of examples of client built screens and styles, genius bar integration – mobile interface, Chat.

Product/vendor gaps Some social interfaces not in product but these are available via partners – XMatters and Nexthink.
Positives
  • System automaton – run book automation – with service desk
  • Enterprise app store
  • All language codes supported for mobile and end user experience – Self Service set in the language of the user
  • Graphical workflow tool looks easy to use and build without code
  • Workspace – Overlay product that ties together multiple separate area of expertise – single presentation layer rather than having to switch between interfaces. Place you go to do your job
  • Self service embeds in SharePoint – with API
  • Simple button to switch between analyst dashboard and external view
  • Ability to provision software directly – e.g. with adobe, plus costing
  • Single sign on 3rd party authentication
  • Chat – support process with workflow, can create incident problem and change – direct link from self-service to change
  • Simple integration with remote control functions
Negatives
  • Social interfaces not in the product
  • May be overkill for smaller organisations – Self Service not available standalone
Overall view A good fit for high function ITSM and customer experience – particularly for their target market.

They should continue to gain market share because they are continually renewing with industry trends and innovations, whilst still providing strong basic functionality, e.g. moving to collaborative working using ‘workspaces’.

Vendor information

LANDESK-logo-RGBLANDESK’s self service capability empowers workers 24/7 from anywhere with instant access to the services and resources they need, when they need them. The solution offers a consumer-style experience that frees users to help themselves easily. You improve the relationship with your end-user customers and boost their productivity and that of IT staff with minimal effort.

  • Users can log and track issues, search knowledge to help themselves, reset passwords, and collaborate through IT social discussion
  • Users can see and request the services they’re entitled to. Automate software and service deployment for zero-touch provisioning
  • Follow the same IT processes tied to SLAs as if users were calling in. Offer a consistent support experience regardless of the route to the service desk.
  • Easy access from anywhere through an app from the Apple App Store for iOS, through Google Play for Android mobile devices, or through a responsive web app.

Screenshots

 

 

Transforming the User Experience

4813041825_072902db4e_zWe often hear that we need to do more to transform the ‘experience’ of our IT Customers. Transforming what? Why do we need to do this?

Well because so many IT customers and users complain about the quality and level of communications and feedback when dealing with IT departments. This can vary from simply being too slow to respond, or slow to run projects, being negative or resistant to change, (the department that likes to say no). Also there is the need to keep up with new technologies and it seems that our internal IT departments can’t keep up. In the past IT users didn’t have anything to compare this ‘experience’ with, but now everyone buys IT in some way and this has (justifiably) raised much higher expectations.

Here’s some points I regularly find mentioned by IT Customers and business people about their IT departments

 

  • Not easy to ‘do business with’
  • Too much senior focus on technical detail and components
  • Defensive, over protective ‘old IT’ approach
  • Lack of relationship – need to get out and talk/listen more
  • Poor communications across  management and teams
  • Lack of valuable Management Information – or clear targets/service criteria to measure
  • Clunky horrible old tools that we are expected to use

 

For me the case for transformation is absolutely clear and there is right now a great opportunity to do this and win back hearts and minds around the skills and value of IT. We can change from the ‘blocker’ to be the enabler and the solution provider, simply by

 

  1. Realising we can’t do everything ourselves – so we need to use more automation and shared sourcing to free up our time and resources
  2. Using freed up time to focus on customer and business priorities
  3. Using new tools and innovations to improve the experience of dealing with IT – and beyond

 

We can’t keep up with all the latest trends and new tech, particularly if we are constantly firefighting and chasing our tails with inefficient processes and tools. There are areas that can be automated like request management and provisioning, password maintenance, procurement and standard implementation that can free up significant technical resources. In addition its no longer acceptable to get users to use old menu based and confusing, non-user friendly portal and tools – particularly if this is sold as being ‘progress’. Its vital to get colleagues and customers on board by offering a seamless and enjoyable experience when ordering kit or requesting new services – and the tools on offer really can help here.

If we also accept that we probably need to use some sort of shared sourcing model, then there is emerging experience and expertise in this areas – SIAM or Service Integration and Management provides the opportunity to really think through end-to-end service delivery and the associated supply and value-chain activities required. In the past it was too easy to simply outsource a problem, or an area that apparently wasn’t adding value –like a service desk. However it’s important to understand firstly the supply chain (i.e. what is done to deliver a service) and then the value chain (where the areas of value, cost and efficiency lie in this chain) – in order to identify what needs to be kept in-house and what can be outsourced, and still meet business objectives.

All of this requires IT organisations to get out and talk/listen to their customers, as well as building a clear model and understating of what they deliver and how it provides value – so service design and catalogue are key elements. However the real point is the need to first engage then deliver what is really needed by your customers. Sometimes this requires a first step of appreciating and accepting what the current ‘experience’ is like. It’s a good idea to try and use your own services and then listen to those that have to do this regularly – for feedback.

Overall we need to be able to ‘walk in our customer shoes’ and use this as input to drive the best possible experience when dealing with us. It’s easy to talk about doing this but a harder job actually getting out and doing it and also translating the feedback into something truly transformational and enjoyable for customers, and not just another IT-driven tool that is there to serve the IT departments way of working.  So, in order to transform the User Experience, we also need to transform the way that IT works and does business.

Ultimately we can use this approach to develop our service mantra beyond IT – and many are doing this, using portal and request management tools as a starting point to implement single tools and process across a number of internal and external departments – HR, Finance and marketing. As such many forward thinking IT organisations have managed to transform themselves as part of this into clear ‘value providers’ , rather than the guys who like to say ‘no.

 

So let’s say ‘YES’ to transformation – both the User/Customer experience and of course ourselves…

 


 

ITSM Review Transforming User Experience event – how can we help?

The event will focus on the underlying issues, opportunities and solutions available to help you make your transformation. The day will include expert guidance including output from recent ITSM review studies and the current ‘Self Service’ Review.

ITSM Vendors will be on hand to show how their solutions have been used in new and innovative ways to help their IT customers achieve success and value together with a selection of workshops facilitated by a mix of industry peers, practitioners, consultants and vendors to discuss and map out practical strategies to help make your transformation a success.

Click here for more information!

 

Image Credit

Support Provision & the Changing Landscape of the Service Desk

Graph With Stacks Of CoinsService desk teams provide support and service to company employees, helping them to make the most of the IT assets that the company provides. At least, that was always the role that IT Service Management teams saw themselves providing. The overall goal may not have altered, but how this is fulfilled has been changing.

The traditional methods that service desk teams use to demonstrate their value don’t effectively capture all that the ITSM function can deliver. At the same time, new initiatives like Bring Your Own Device, cloud applications and self-service portals are entering business IT. This means that key performance indicators (KPIs) have to be changed. However, are we changing our approaches to keep up, or are we being forced into this? As the service desk landscape changes, how can we take back control and demonstrate more value?

 

Where are we today?

Many service desk teams will still use first-time fix as their number one demonstration of value. However, while this metric is still valid, it’s very quantitative, and only one step above looking at the overall volume of calls being handled. Service desks today have to deal with a larger number of channels than before, so how calls are categorised is a good place to start thinking differently.

The key questions to ask here are: “How do my customers want to interact with me? Are they happy with more traditional email and phone requests, or would they like more options such as chat?” For many teams, answering these questions can be difficult, as options are grafted on over time rather than being thought through strategically.

For a service desk manager looking at all the different traffic coming in, it can be difficult to assign weighting on the requests that come in. Should social media or chat interaction be counted in the same way as a phone request? A lot of this will depend on the process that customers go through as their incidents are handled. This will also affect how success is measured in the future as well.

 

Where do we go from here?

There are two avenues open to the service desk manager here – one is prescriptive, and one is to allow more freedom in how incidents are handled. The first approach would be based on mapping out all the most common problems that are encountered by users, and then looking at the workflow for those incidents across different communication methods.

This can work well when you have a large number of service desk operatives and need to get consistency on customer support experience. Putting this together would provide both guidance on how to handle requests that come through, and also ensure quality of service.

However, there is one issue with this approach, it takes away a lot of the flexibility that service desk professionals can have in solving problems and ensuring that the customer is happy at the end of the call or interaction. Now, for regulated industries where security and compliance are important, this is something that will just have to be accepted but for other businesses, allowing more leeway on how calls and requests are handled can be both better for the customer and for the service desk personnel. Allowing service desk staff to help customers in the way that best suits them – and the customers that make the request – can help to provide better service, both in terms of quality and service levels.

 

Looking at a bigger picture

Thinking about specific targets for the service desk team also involves looking at how ITSM is incorporated into the overall business or organisational goals. Is the service team delivery part of external-facing, “paying customer” work, or more around internal customer or employee satisfaction and keeping users productive? Building up metrics around customer retention and satisfaction leads to a very different set of KPIs compared to this internal service delivery, where efficiency is paramount.

Setting out new KPIs involves looking at what the customer expectations are around service, as well as what the company or organisation wants to deliver. This is a very different approach to the quantitative approach that many service desks are used to. Instead, it has to be more qualitative. Often, there will be larger company goals that will help frame KPIs in the right way.

As an example, your company may provide a product with premium branding. Service delivery around this should therefore match that perception. Creating a measurement KPI around delivering “five star service,” with personnel encouraged to go the extra mile, would be more effective than simply looking at how many calls or requests were handled. Conversely, companies that pride themselves in efficiency would want the same approach to be reflected in their service strategy.

For public sector organisations, efficiency and call handling will still be important metrics to track as well. However, the growth of online and digital service delivery means that requests that might previously have been calls can be answered either through information on websites or email/chat requests. This will leave more personal interaction time for staff, providing a better quality of care for those that really need it.

Alongside these changes in KPIs, the way that service desk teams manage themselves may have to change as well. For too long, the tiered service desk approach has been less about dealing with front line problems and more about managing how skilled professionals can provide support where it is needed. The change from solely supporting phone and email over to using multiple channels should be seen as an opportunity to increase skills for everyone.

 

Managing service interactions more efficiently

It’s also worth considering how sessions are handled. For requests that have a technical or specialist knowledge requirement, playing telephone tag and having the customer explain their issues multiple times can be a painful process. Instead, it should be possible to use those with specialist knowledge in a more efficient way through collaborative sessions.

This approach involves letting third parties join calls securely – particularly if there is a remote access session involved. Rather than depending on the third party and customer to get connected, the service desk can manage this themselves, cutting down on time taken and providing a better experience for the customer. Bringing together assets in this way does mean that the front-line staff have to be aware of what challenges they may face that are intricate or require outside help, but that does not mean that they have to hand a call straight over to someone else.

The growth of online support and services is only going to go up, as more people prefer to work directly through chat or social channels rather than more traditional phone systems. The make-up of the workforce is changing as well. In the higher education sector, research by the Service Desk Institute found that 76 per cent of students preferred using the web form for raising a request rather than picking up the phone or emailing directly, while 37 per cent were happy to use social media channels to contact the service desk.

As these students move from university and enter the workforce, their expectations of support will be very different to what has gone before. Maintaining a consistency of approach when trying to keep all these options open is a real challenge, but it can be delivered by thinking through the problems that are due to come up.

Rethinking your KPIs so they are more aligned with the needs of the business is a good first step. From this, you can then look at how to work more closely with line of business teams, too. Ultimately, the service desk can start to think about changing the perception it has within the organisation, from one of only being there when things go wrong to providing more guidance about how to make things go right in the first place.

There seem to be as many choices on how to manage interaction with customers as there are service desks, particularly as customers want to interact in new ways. However many channels you have to support, the important distinction is around customer service, not just IT support. ITSM teams have to look beyond their role as IT professionals and think about displaying their acumen around other areas, too.

Setting out KPIs is one way to achieve this aim. By linking the aim of the business to the quality of service that is delivered, ITSM teams can look to demonstrate more of the value that they create for the business every day.

 

Image Credit

Review: Samanage for Outside IT 2014

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Samanage

This independent review is part of our Outside IT Review.

To download the full report as a PDF please visit : http://download.itassetmanagement.net/outside-it/

 

Executive Summary

Elevator Pitch Vendor pitch is around speed of implementation and lack of need for technical input and ease of use.
Strengths
  • Native Cloud application and all clients on current version – simple for non-IT people to implement without IT infrastructure requirements
  • Implementation is focussed on lack of need for training and consultancy – based around ‘intuitive’ product, using videos and other media
  • Vendor (relatively new to market) reports selling and winning against traditional IT service management (ITSM) products on capability, ease of use and ease of implementation – with experience of non-IT implementation
Weaknesses
  • Workflow tool does not have graphic presentation which may be an issue for non-IT users in particular
  • SMB focus – limited implementation experiences in larger enterprises
Primary Market Focus According to the information provided, Samanage primarily targets the midmarket

Commercial Summary

Vendor Samanage
Product Samanage
Version reviewed n/a – continuous deployment
Date of version Release n/a
Year Founded 2007
Customers 500+
Pricing Structure For service desk, prices start at $1,000 per service desk technician for service desk and $12 for each computer asset for Asset Management
Competitive Differentiators
  • Agile and continuous deployment model – customer always on latest version and updates protected
  • Code free deployment using user-friendly interfaces means fast time to value
  • Integrated and simple to use Service Desk and asset management modules aims to save time for agents

Independent Review

Product

In The ITSM Review’s opinion, the solution has a clean interface, which appears to be straightforward and easy to use. Workflows can be built simply using drag and drop.

The solution offers a useful feature to ask for help across IT on tickets without requiring escalation. Good practical usability for scanning tickets – ‘Eye’ function allows scan of details without need to open ticket.

Marketing

Samanage states that the product can be easily developed to provide work management and admin functions beyond IT – e.g. HR, Finance, Purchasing etc. However, no current off the shelf Outside IT applications are marketed/offered.

Current focus is on existing IT customers with a view to up-selling to internal departments at a later date. This means that there is no focus on Outside IT in external marketing activities, however this may change in the future as the company evolves.

Sales Strategy

Growing business replacing legacy on-premise solutions as well as low-end SaaS competitors. Focus on demo or trial early in new engagements with prospective customers as to allow user experience and ease of use to do the selling.

Current Use

Limited implementation experience in large and enterprise markets, with a limited global reach at present compared to established competitors. Some existing bespoke applications built for HR, payroll, purchasing.

In Summary

Samanage offer a SMB focussed ITSM solution that looks to be easy to implement and develop and, according to the vendor, has been used by several organisations for functionality beyond IT. We believe that Samanage is a good competitively priced option for small-to-medium sized looking for general ITSM capabilities.

In The ITSM Review’s opinion, Samanage needs to focus on developing its presence in the ITSM market and find a suitable niche either directly in IT or as a bridge to other Service Management areas. Samanage is currently competing against whole market and this may not be sustainable. The brand could be developed to be more service-specific.

In their own words

“Samanage provides the only true multitenant, unified service desk and asset management cloud solution on the market today. For our customers, that translates into the fastest time to value, higher ROI, outstanding service, and most importantly happy end users. Samanage customers enjoy an “always new” application without ever having to perform any maintenance functions.

Our revolutionary user interface delivers an unmatched user experience, allowing customers to fully deploy a robust IT Service Management (ITSM) solution in less than 2 weeks, easily expand beyond IT, and maximize adoption. End users are empowered through an easy to use self-service portal, and technicians have a full-featured platform available at their fingertips on any device.

Customers achieve instant value with Samanage because they are operational immediately and able to go live in days…in less time than it takes to evaluate other solutions. They have instant, accurate visibility into all hardware and software assets, no matter where assets are located. And because our service desk and asset management is on a unified platform, customers are able to easily connect their people, services, and assets all through the same UI. Visually stunning in-app analytics also enable rapid trend detection and easy access to actionable information.

Samanage’s goal is to help customers deliver a superior service experience to their end users, and real value throughout their organization by improving asset control, empowering end users, and maximizing resources.“

To download the full report as a PDF please visit : http://download.itassetmanagement.net/outside-it/

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 : http://download.itassetmanagement.net/outside-it/

 

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
Strengths
  • 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
Weaknesses
  • 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.

Product

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.

Marketing

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 : http://download.itassetmanagement.net/outside-it/

Review: TOPdesk for Outside IT 2014

Logo-TOPdesk-Service-Management-Simplified-CMYK-300x105

TOPdesk

This independent review is part of our Outside IT Review.

To download the full report as a PDF please visit : http://download.itassetmanagement.net/outside-it/

 

Executive Summary

Elevator Pitch TOPdesk offers ‘out-of-the-box’ service management solutions, with standard configurations and integrations for ease of use
Strengths
  • Product is already been used by existing customer base for shared services
  • Product appears to be very user-friendly and simple to build upon and develop for varied use
  • Contains many out-of-the-box templates for internal/organisational functions, e.g. ordering company car, request cleaning etc.
Weaknesses
  • Sales approach based around assumption of shared services rather than supporting IT to grow collaborative approach
  • Limited marketing and sales focus on ‘enabling IT’ – demo based on standard IT service management (ITSM) application which can then be modified
  • Tailoring/configuration looks relatively complicated and limited for end users
Primary Market Focus Based on the information provided, TOPdesk markets to organisations ranging from small (-100 users) to very large, multi-national customers (10,000+ users)

Commercial Summary

Vendor TOPdesk
Product TOPdesk
Version reviewed 5
Date of version Release 2012
Year Founded 1993
Customers 4000+
Pricing Structure The licensing structure is based on the number of end users that the customer wishes to support with the software. This structure allows customers to have an unlimited number of agents, operators and technicians working on the tickets themselves. Both on-premise and SaaS options, hosted by TOPdesk, are available.
Competitive Differentiators
  • Native web-based tool and vendor with broad experience of service implementation across different business areas
  • Licensing structure based on the number of end users rather than system users
  • Product has an excellent ‘multi-tenancy’ approach – a multiple process view to manage shared services across departments and processes – good for field service management and Managed Services Providers

Independent Review

TOPdesk is an established vendor with good global coverage. The solution is primarily used for standard ITSM, but many customers also use the tool for Field Service and Shared Service management.

In The ITSM Review’s opinion, the product looks user-friendly and straightforward to build and develop for varied use. Furthermore, the ‘Forms Design Module’ looks easy to use to build applications with intuitive non-technical skills, which can then be taken forward by people outside traditional IT operational areas.

Marketing

Marketing is primarily focused on ‘Shared Services’, as well as ITSM/service desk, with limited marketing focus around enabling IT, although strong positioning on ease of use and bespoke Outside IT experience.

Sales Strategy

In our view, TOPdesk could do more to promote the success and evolution of its IT/ITSM customers via collaboration – this would be especially useful as more market players focus on enabling IT. From what we experienced, its sales and demo approach seems to take shared services for granted, rather than exploring current and future needs.

Current Use

According to TOPdesk, 63% of customers are currently using the solution for shared services or Outside IT functionality, with good experience and examples provided of product being used for HR, Finance, Sales and Marketing. Customers currently using the solution outside of IT include KLM, University of Edinburgh, and Calor Gas.

In Summary

We feel that TOPdesk is a good offering for mid-sized organisations for both Service Desk and ITSM requirements. Furthermore, we believe that those organisations who already know what they want to achieve with their Outside IT plans would benefit from this solution. The solution is also an excellent offering for Field Service Management, Manager Services and shared services providers.

A key opportunity for TOPdesk, in our opinion, is to develop and promote more standard non-IT functionality and experience around their offerings, in order to compete with the expanding Service Management market.

In their own words

“TOPdesk develops ITIL-aligned Service Management Software for IT, Facilities Management, and eHRM helpdesks and is among the top five service management tools offered worldwide. Our award-winning solution, along with our ITIL verified consultants and outstanding customer support has helped over 4,000 unique customers to process questions, complaints and malfunctions. With over 20 years of service management experience, we have assisted businesses, to optimize their services with our 100% web-based and user-friendly application. TOPdesk’s modular structure accommodates a wide range of requirements from different sized organisations. TOPdesk can be hosted as a Service or can be installed on-site. All products include: extensive reporting options, clear overviews and a handy Plan Board for planning your resources. Every day, millions of users across 47 countries trust in TOPdesk as their service management solution. Raising your service levels and reducing your workload and costs have never been easier.

TOPdesk offers out-of-the-box service management solutions, therefore standard integrations, configuration and other imports are all covered by the implementation process. Our customers are able to customise their TOPdesk system, by choosing the modules, processes and functionalities they actually require. We aim to reduce service desk agents’ stress and reduce their workload by applying a well-defined, standardised, yet configurable and flexible service management tool. This is why TOPdesk is modular in structure, allowing customers to add new processes as they grow.

TOPdesk offers Enterprise and Professional products meeting requirements of every type of organisation from small businesses to large, multinational companies. The framework for both products includes our revolutionary resource management planner, the Plan Board and the Task Board that displays daily workflow and the intuitive Dash Board for reports and KPIs.”

To download the full report as a PDF please visit :http://download.itassetmanagement.net/outside-it/

Review: ServiceNow for Outside IT 2014 (Best in Class)

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ServiceNow (Best in Class)

This independent review is part of our Outside IT Review.

To download the full report as a PDF please visit : http://download.itassetmanagement.net/outside-it/

 

Executive Summary

Elevator Pitch A leader in Enterprise Service Management (ESM) – ServiceNow is positively and proactively leading and driving the industry forward in using ITSM technology and practices beyond IT.ServiceNow has numerous impressive implementations of non-IT bespoke applications, and promotes this as the way forward for IT, also offering several non-IT packages to the market.
Strengths
  • Strong strategic focus and messaging/positioning to help support and drive the Outside IT/collaboration/ESM agenda
  • Toolset provides extensive and mature capability and flexibility for development, plus out-of-the-box ITSM and business process functionality
  • A large number of established turnkey business (non-IT) applications provided e.g. for HR, finance, facilities and asset management
  • Impressive number of customers already using bespoke applications Outside IT in areas such as: HR, Finance, Sales and Marketing, Facilities, Legal, Procurement, etc.
Weaknesses
  • Vendor and product positioned for large-to-very-large size organisations – culture, approach and budget may not fit small-to-medium and mid-market organisations
  • Message and culture may not fit with more traditional organisations/departments not currently looking to integrate or collaborate across internal functions
Primary Market Focus Based on the information provided, ServiceNow is primarily a large-to-very large market solution.

Commercial Summary

Vendor ServiceNow
Product ServiceNow IT Service Automation SuiteServiceNow Service Automation Platform
Version reviewed Eureka
Date of version Release June 2014
Year Founded 2004
Customers 2000+ customers world-wide, of which over 400 are Global 2000 organisations
Pricing Structure “ServiceNow products are sold in suites or individually and are prices monthly on a user basis. Orchestration and Discovery are options that are priced monthly on a node or device basis, respectively.”
Competitive Differentiators
  • Strong presence as enterprise-wide solution provider, following initial emergence as market-disruptive SAAS option
  • Leader in the market in terms of promoting and delivering enterprise-wide solutions that extend beyond IT

Independent Review

ServiceNow is an established leading player in the enterprise ITSM market. The product is multi-functional and appears to be highly configurable to customer requirements. Furthermore, it offers extensive options and capabilities in and beyond ITSM for all internal service functions – e.g. HR, Finance, Customer Service, etc.

In the review ServiceNow provided the most extensive and comprehensive list of examples of customer implementations Outside IT, a good example of which is REI, which uses the toolset for HR and Finance as well as for IT requests and functionality.

This, in tandem with an impressive list of existing bespoke and turnkey business applications in the product, in our opinion makes ServiceNow a proactive leader in the Outside IT space.

Marketing

In The ITSM Review’s opinion, ServiceNow has taken the lead in the ITSM market by promoting the opportunity for IT departments to re-invent themselves and become the facilitators of change and automation across all areas of organisations, using the basic concepts of ITSM and the toolset capabilities.

This service automation capability is branded as an opportunity for ESM and is promoted as an enabler and differentiator for IT organisations to recover credibility and relevance with their customer base.

Sales Strategy

In our view, ServiceNow’s approach to sales strategy is game-changing, given that it can help to re-define value and purpose for IT organisations, by helping them to succeed in ways that traditional IT (and other internal service) departments have struggled for years. It is also clear that the market needs this sort of focus and organisations that are adopting “collaboration” principles are thriving and are focussed on key business needs rather than being weighed down by internal process and functional divisions.

ServiceNow is currently leveraging sales based on this wider business or ESM focus, beyond IT and ITSM, which should continue to support sales growth, as more organisations require internal functions to be integrated and collaborative with the rest of the business.

Current Use

ServiceNow also offers a number of turnkey products, i.e. ServiceNow built non-IT applications, available for areas such as HR, facilities etc. together with customer built custom apps available via ServiceNow Share.

The ServiceNow sales and marketing message and positioning is co-ordinated to drive the message of collaboration across organisations, a refreshed focus on ESM, which is supported by sales and operations teams who are targeting this type of sale.

ServiceNow is established as a global vendor selling to large and enterprise organisations. ServiceNow uses positive IT/ITSM industry and media messaging, high profile events and media to promote their offerings and the ESM approach.

ServiceNow also uses an extensive global network of service providers and partners for building, delivering and implementing its products and business applications.

ServiceNow also integrate with, or are building integrations with, over 85 companies/technologies, thus showing proven experience and accessibility in linking with other technologies.

In Summary

In The ITSM Review’s opinion, ServiceNow is an excellent option for large-and-very large sized businesses looking to achieve synergy and efficiency of cross-departmental operations, as well as flexibility in their IT and wider non-IT shared service operations. Furthermore, we believe it is an excellent option for large and very large organisations implementing service management and work automation across and beyond IT.

We feel that ESM is a strong and forward-thinking message and an excellent opportunity for real success through ITSM and wider service management and automation. In our opinion, this is a stronger and more sustainable message than ServiceNow’s earlier focus on Cloud/commercial models, community and flexibility (although useful and helpful) as the ESM message transcends IT and straddles business areas and can finally take ITSM to a C-Level audience for sales and delivered value.

In our view, continued expansion via the ESM message and product capability for Global Enterprises should be the ServiceNow goal, possibly with some options on how to take this message to the mid-market market in future.

In their own words

“ServiceNow is the enterprise IT cloud company. We transform IT by automating and managing IT service relationships across the global enterprise. Organizations deploy our service to create a single system of record for IT and automate manual tasks, standardize processes, and consolidate legacy systems. Using our extensible platform, our customers create custom applications and evolve the IT service model to service domains inside and outside the enterprise.

ServiceNow offers a portfolio of robust cloud-based products that automate and manage IT service relationships across the enterprise. Our products have the advantage of being built on a single cloud platform that consists of one user interface, one code base and one data model, delivering easy, automated upgrades. ServiceNow provides an intuitive and approachable user experience complete with expert services to accelerate time-to-value.
The ServiceNow Service Automation Platform is a highly configurable, approachable and extensible cloud platform built on an enterprise-grade infrastructure. All ServiceNow applications, as well as custom applications created by ServiceNow customers and partners, are built on this common, underlying platform.

ServiceNow IT Service Automation applications evolve the service model so that IT can spend more time delivering innovative business solutions and less time managing infrastructure overhead. ServiceNow enterprise IT users can replace redundant processes and fragmented service systems with an application suite that utilizes a single data model. This provides a single system of record for IT. With ServiceNow, IT can consolidate legacy systems, automate manual tasks, and consumerize the user experience.”

To download the full report as a PDF please visit :http://download.itassetmanagement.net/outside-it/

Industry News Roundup inc The New Sheriff of the Web

News and Info Week 4No time to read all the interesting news and info floating around social media and appearing in your inbox? Read our round up of what we’ve found interesting this week.

  • Print Everything.Matt Beran (officially the most fidgety man in ITSM), Matt Hooper and Mark Kawasaki talk productivity tools, podcasts and print services. Watch here
  • First NHS IT Service Desk In England To Secure 3-star Accreditation – Informatics Merseyside has become the first NHS service desk in England to be accredited with 3-star certification from the Service Desk Institute (SDI) Read more here
  • Is The BIS Growth Accelerator Scheme Worthwhile For Technology Startups? Caroline Baldwin reports on why few technology companies are taking advantage of the additional financial and growth support available. Read more here
  • Do You Have A Service Management “House Plan”? Matt Hooper explains why one process at a time isn’t going to cut it. Read more here
  • Problem Management – The Value In Not KnowingRyan Ogilvie celebrates the opportunity of unrealized value. Read more here
  • FBI Warns: Criminals Could Walk Free If Tech Companies Encrypt User Data – As tech companies try to outdo one another in the battle to address user privacy concerns, the FBI is warning that new encryption methods might hinder investigations. Read more here
  • Should I Upgrade to Mac OS X Yosemite? – Golden delicious or bad apple? Read more here
  • How Microsoft Appointed Itself Sheriff Of The Internet – Cyber criminals, digital crime fighters and collateral damage. Read more here

Got some interesting news to share – say hello via @gobbymidget 

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An alternative source of talent for your service desk?

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Due to the advances in healthcare and longer life expectancy it is estimated that within 15 years of the date of this article almost a third of the UK workforce will be in the over 50-age bracket.

Do you have an apprentice working in your IT department? Perhaps on your Service Desk learning the ropes, planning their rise through the ranks to Database Administrator or Network Engineer? I of course am generalizing and there may well be many apprentices out there wanting to pursue a career purely as a Service Desk Analyst it’s just that I have never met one.

I did however once meet a man called Paul who started working with me, not in IT admittedly, but who, having been made redundant and failing for over 18 months to procure a similar role, decided to apply for an entry level position in a very different sector to one he had worked in before. Paul was 58 years old.

The Office of National Statistics estimates that in July of this year approximately 325,000 people in the UK age between 50-64 were unemployed. Although this is thought to be about half of the number of unemployed 16-24 year olds, the prospects for the 50+ demographic finding long-term employment are considerably bleaker with almost 50% of those over 50’s having been unemployed for one year or more or forced into underemployment working part-time or to zero hour contracts.

Paul was extremely able, had an excellent manner and was very patient with the callers on the end of the line. His customer service skills were exemplary and in contrast to others, including myself at the time, he did not see the role as a rung on a ladder to somewhere else. He just wanted to help people and do the job to the best of his ability.

Looking back I can see that Paul would have made an excellent Service Desk Analyst. I very much doubt though that at the time, when this particular IT Department contained only one person over the age of 50 who was widely regarded by his colleagues as a dinosaur treading water until retirement, that Paul would ever have been considered.

Despite possessing a healthy interest in IT and possessing good IT skills, pretty much all that can be hoped for when attempting to employ an apprentice, the suggestion that Paul could take on the apprentice role would have no doubt received much laughter.

Luckily things are changing…

Although traditionally apprenticeships have been for young people fresh from education, the 50+ demographic is moving in. In the last year more than 34,000 people over the age of 50 have started an apprenticeship, with many applying for a ‘professional’ apprenticeship in areas that would normally be dominated by graduates.

Please don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly support helping young people into work, my own working life started out this way and I am forever grateful for the opportunity but I think that organisations are missing a trick!

I believe that this older age group is an excellent fit for the Service Desk. With more decision-making and problem solving experience older workers already have a lot of the skills that would need to be taught to a young person alongside technical skills. And then there’s the general life experience aspect. Website Customer Champions carried out a survey on below average customer service and found that people over 50 are the most dissatisfied. It stands to reason that if you have received poor customer service you will work hard to ensure that your customers do not receive a similar service.

Opening up apprenticeships to the 50+ demographic also helps to create a larger pool of suitable candidates, something which in my experience is greatly needed and, as I previously mentioned, with older workers more likely to see working on the service desk as a career rather than a stepping-stone to other things your return on your investment will be far higher.

So do yourself a favour when looking for an apprentice and actively encourage applications from the over 50’s…they have a lot to offer

Types of apprenticeships

Currently in the UK there are over 200 different types of apprenticeships in areas such as retail, education, manufacturing, engineering and of course Information and Communication Technology.

Specific ICT Apprenticeships:

  • IT Application Specialist – providing apprentices with the competence, skills and knowledge to work effectively and efficiently with IT systems, communication and productivity tools and software applications
  • IT, Software, Web and Telecoms Professionals – with the choice of focusing on either telecoms or IT this apprenticeship covers work in a broad range of digital technologies that help to use and share information.

Less obvious apprenticeships that may also be considered by an IT organisation:

  • Customer Service – teaching the apprentice the skills to provide excellent customer service as a customer facing employee
  • Contact Centre Operations – providing the apprentice skills in customer service, communication, problem solving and team working

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