This is part of a competitive review of software vendors who offer Proactive Problem Management capabilities as part of their IT service management (ITSM) solution.
Other products reviewed:
Commercial Summary – ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus Review
|Date of version Release||September 2014|
|Customers||85,000 (25,000 paid)|
|Pricing Structure||Pricing is based on the number of technician login (named technicians) and the number of assets managed by the application. License is issued both on Annual Subscription as well as Perpetual models.|
|Elevator Pitch||ServiceDesk Plus is a solution that contains the ability to carry out problem management but is immature with specific regard to proactive problem management.The attraction of ServiceDesk Plus is the ability to open several instances of the solution at the same time ensuring multitasking is possible whilst providing easy linkage between records.|
|Primary Market Focus||Based on the information provided, Service Desk Plus is primarily a small to medium-market solution|
The manual operation required within ServiceDesk Plus, especially the CMDB, means that for organisations with anything other than basic IT infrastructure there is going to be a lot of time and effort involved in mapping relationships and services in order to make troubleshooting easy within the solution as every time a change is made to the network or asset configuration relationships and services will need to be remapped. If however you are content to do this and your primary concern is with procuring a tool that pulls this information in and logs tickets then ServiceDesk Plus will be adequate.
My impression of the solution is that it would be suitable for all small organisations of low proactive problem management maturity.
For these organisations I believe that ServiceDesk Plus has the functionality required to perform proactive problem management. However, if your organisation is likely to mature in the near future then I believe a more sophisticated solution would be suitable. Having said that if ManageEngine were to increase the amount of automation in areas such as relationship management it would appeal to a more mature audience.
User configuration possible for:
- Drag and drop templates
- API’s available to integrate with third party tools such as event management
- Default templates and admin configuration wizard for quick install
- Implementation support available
ServiceDesk Plus defines the difference between a reactive and proactive problem management record within the solution by providing the ability to add an additional drop down field within the problem template called “Create Problem Additional field” which allows the manual assignation to either Reactive or Proactive. I would like to see the ability for ServiceDesk Plus to automatically recognise the distinction and assign accordingly without the need for the manual process. For organisations receiving large numbers of proactive problems I imagine this would become quite an onerous task.
ServiceDesk Plus does not contain any internal technology to assist in the identification of proactive problems. It can however integrate with OpManager, the ManageEngine event and network monitoring software through a standard integration and third party event and network monitoring software via the open API.
Alerts from monitoring and networking tools can be sent to ServiceDesk Plus to automatically create an incident ticket. In order for this to be created as a problem record, reactive or proactive, the ticket must be manually changed. In the future I would like to see the ability for problem records to be created automatically cutting down on time and manpower for customers.
Assessment and Alerting
In order for ServiceDesk Plus to calculate an objective risk assesment of the proactive problem relationships such as what/who is affected by each item will need to be manually built within the CMDB. Once this is done the solution does have the ability to visually notify of an issue with an asset by displaying an exclamation sign within the relationship map.
The problem with this process, as with all manual relationship creation, is that what was correct yesterday may well not be correct tomorrow. In order for this are of the solution to work for any but the smallest most basic of organisations to work without high overhead in both time and manpower then this really needs to be automated.
ManageEngine state that there is no current ability within ServiceDesk Plus to automatically alert or route proactive problems to relevant resolver groups. They have however mentioned that by using Business Rules and Problem Closure Rules that there may be ways to manually create these processes.
ServiceDesk Plus provides the ability to easily link records to each other but there is currently no ability to change the status of a proactive problem record.
When updating a proactive problem record with linked records it is possible to copy problem solutions and workarounds to all associated incidents. It is also possible to close all associated incidents from the problem record.
ManageEngine state that notes, .doc, .docx and .xls formats are able to be attached to a proactive problem record within ServiceDesk Plus. I would like to see this extended in the future to include image formats for easier troubleshooting.
Currently there is no provision to record availability and capacity information within ServiceDesk Plus, however, as a workaround, ManageEngine have suggested additional fields can be created within “problem additional fields” to denote stock availability. Although the solution can be used to advise users of planned outages using both email and the self-service area, in the future I would like to see the ability to set items as unavailable, when affected by a fault that causes it to be so, in order that users can easily see the state of the item.
Auditing and Accountability
ServiceDesk Plus workflow rules can be utilised to set thresholds to escalate upon breach of both response and resolution time.
Each record has a history associated with it – problem, change, release etc. that can be viewed after the request has been closed.
ServiceDesk Plus provides a very basic and mostly manually driven proactive problem management offering.
I feel that this solution would be more suitable for those organisations looking for reactive problem management capabilities with the ability to integrate event/alert monitoring. If ManageEngine were to invest in creating more automated features in the proactive problem area, such as auto update from CMDB, the solution would appeal to a much wider and more mature audience.
In Their Own Words:
ServiceDesk Plus is a help desk software with integrated asset and project management built on the ITIL framework. It is available in 29 different languages and is used by more than 85,000 companies, across 186 countries, to manage their IT help desk and assets. ServiceDesk Plus comes in three editions. First is Standard edition which covers the IT help desk module. The standard edition is completely free forever with no restrictions on tickets, users or tech agents. Available free both on-premise as well as Cloud. Next is professional edition, which comes with help desk management along with Asset management. And finally, the third is Enterprise edition which covers professional edition and adds ITIL and project management. The ITIL modules include Incident, Problem, Change, CMDB and Service Catalogue. In addition to all the modules, ServiceDesk Plus also comes with Purchase and Contract Management.