This year, as part of The ITSM Reviews commitment to providing our readers with information that helps them with their everyday work and addresses the specific needs of our community members, a large portion of my time has been taken up with comparing ITSM solutions to each other as part of the “Tools Universe” review process.
Twenty one questionnaires and briefings later I felt like I was due a month’s vacation in the Seychelles. Due to budget constraints this was unfortunately not possible, but after a week in a tent in Wales I feel like I’m able to start to talk about ITSM again without developing a nervous twitch.
So here goes…
An invite was sent to ITSM vendors from all geographies and of all sizes to participate in what amounted to one of our normal Group Tests, but on steroids by completing a questionnaire which covered areas such as capabilities, end user interaction, integrations, reporting and data analysis, business synergy, licensing and framework alignment, followed by briefings to substantiate answers and the provision of three customer references we could contact to give their experiences and opinions of the solution.
As always, at the ITSM Review, our intention is to be as inclusive as possible, and therefore rather than reviewing just the major competitors within the ITSM arena, we also reviewed some of the emerging players in the space and solutions that are popular in other geographies.
At The ITSM Review, we provide an independent and unbiased view of solution capabilities. This doesn’t always make us particularly popular, but we want to provide information that would have been useful to us in our previous roles at the rock face, not just say things that make vendors happy. Sometimes we get to do both at the same time and that’s when my job gets really awesome.
The thing that struck me the most about the solutions reviewed was that most vendors now realise, or are at least starting to realise, that their solutions need to be more than just an ITSM tool. Customers have high expectations (as they should) and with ITSM solutions being, in many cases, a large financial investment, organisations are looking for more than just a one trick pony.
Outside IT, Enterprise Service Management, or whatever you wish to call it, has gained a great deal of traction with organisations, knowing that it is no longer sensible to buy a hundred different solutions to cover different areas and departments of the business. Similarly, rolling a solution out company-wide that does not suit the wider business, although perhaps fantastic from an IT perspective, will only create mistrust within a relationship that already walks a fairly narrow line.
Generally speaking, the solutions reviewed that have embraced this ability to not only get the fundamentals right from the IT perspective but also the requirements of the wider business, are the ones that have scored well, both from a customer and analyst perspective.
The reason we believe LANDESK Service Desk excelled is the ease with which you can expand the solution outside of IT into the further business, particularly because of its additional components for asset management, HR (new employee, HR incident, HR change, HR termination), external customer support and customer lifecycle management.
The self-service area looks attractive and well designed, and has the ability to be configured to suit the needs of different areas of the business with integrations to social features such as chat, discussions and collaboration and allow end users to interact via Twitter, QR codes etc. Giving the business this extensive choice of ways to communicate with IT ensures that you’re not forcing them to connect in a way that doesn’t work for them. Imposing communication channels that work best for you can seem like a smart move but alienate some of your customers, and you’ll soon be spending more time repairing damaged relationships than it would have taken to provide these additional channels in the first place, provided of course your solution gives you the option.
An area within the review that was most disappointing, but unfortunately not very surprising, was the mostly consistent low scores for reporting. Although vendors demonstrated a vast array of pretty dashboards with a multitude of areas that could be reported upon, feedback from customers suggested that this intelligence would be of far more value to them if it could be translated into information the business could actually understand. Fortunately, a few solutions seem to be making great strides in this area including LANDESK.
No solution is 100 percent perfect though and an area picked up on by LANDESK Service Desk customers for improvement is upgrading. Reference scores and comments that this is not as straightforward as it could be and can cause a small degree of disruption when undertaken.
What I have been particularly pleased about, post review, are the vendors that have contacted us to solicit our feedback on how they can improve the areas that they did not score highly in. Although, I do not for one second believe we have all the answers, I do believe that this is a good indication of which vendors truly care about progressing and developing their solutions with users in mind.
During the course of this particular review process it became apparent that rather than keeping this as a static piece of research revisited every year or two, the real value to our readers would be to create a dynamic site which can be updated as new versions are released and where current customers can continue to add reviews of their exposure to the solutions and vendors.
Although still in the early stages, we have a directory of ITSM tool providers ranked by a combination of analyst score and end-user customer scores with our goal to provide a useful resource for those looking for a new or replacement ITSM tool.
Many enhancements are planned to our directory in the coming months and we welcome feedback on improvements you would like to see. In particular any categories or tags that would help with your tool selection process.
Please do visit and help the community by adding your reviews of the ITSM solutions you use.
You can read the full LANDESK review here