No time to read all the interesting info floating around social media and appearing in your inbox? Read our round up of what we’ve found interesting this week.
Firms failing on security basics, says Websense – Businesses still failing on the basic requirements for information security such as visibility of their data assets, says security firm Websense. Read more here
ITIL Exam Figures Dropping – ITIL Exam figures for the first half of show a considerable loss compared to 2013. Read more here
Cherwell release major new version – Oooh shiny! check out version 5 here
People Who Jump From Screen To Screen Have Less Gray Matter In One Brain Region, Study Finds – As if we needed any more reason not to multi-task! Read more here
Get More from Difficult People by Shaping Your Requests as Questions – Who doesn’t have to deal with someone on at least a semi-regular basis who lives to be just plain awkward? Read more on how to deal with it here
You’re building what?! More bad CIO decisions – Not focused on the areas where technology will have the greatest impact? Then you’re doing it wrong. Read more here
Employees waste 54 minutes per day as IT systems keep businesses in the slow lane – read more here (Via @knowledgebird)
BMC sues ServiceNow – things are getting nasty between the two ITSM industry giants, read more here.
Around 35% of Australian workers complain they are hindered at work by issues with legacy IT systems. Would be interesting to see the numbers in the UK. Read more here
In August of this year, we will be kicking off our product review dedicated to “Proactive Problem Management”, the use of ITSM technology that enables organizations to practice proactive or pre-emptive problem management.
The aim of this review is to showcase best of breed ITSM software in use outside the IT department, highlight key competitive differentiators and provide readers of The ITSM Review with impartial market intelligence to enable informed purchasing decisions.
This review will support prospective buyers with their selection process by providing features to consider when selecting ITSM systems and highlighting key competitive differentiators between suppliers.
Proactive Problem Management – if problem management is concerned with addressing the root cause of incidents, then proactive problem management is the systems and techniques to address these incidents before they occur and cause service disruption, or reduce or eliminate recurring incidents.
This review looks at the technology to assist organizations take a proactive step towards managing incidents and problems and explore problems before they results in incidents.
Solving problems, root causes and problem solving methodologies
Known errors / managing work in progress / CSI
Integrations, monitoring and triggers
Solutions that do not include all of the criteria above will not necessarily score badly – the criteria simply define the scope of areas will be covered. The goal is to highlight strengths and identify differences, whilst placing every vendor in the best light possible.
Please note: The assessment criteria are just a starting point; they tend to flux and evolve as we delve into solutions and discover unique features and leading edge innovation. Identifying key competitive differentiators is a higher priority than the assessment criteria.
Vendors who wish to participate in this “Proactive Problem Management” product review should contact us directly. We also welcome feedback from readers on their experience with their use of ITSM tools and proactive problem management (although this feedback will not directly impact the review).
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
Known Error Database
Proactive Problem Management
What is Service Management
Cherwell Software Review
Gartner ITSM Magic Quadrant
ITSM Software Review
Major Incident Management Process
Free ITIL Training
KEDB in ITIL
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?
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!
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!
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.
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.
All results will be published free of charge without registration on The ITSM Review. You may wish to subscribe to the ITSM Review newsletter (top right of this page) or follow us on Twitter to receive a notification when it is published.
BMC appear to be having a dizzy spell, a funny five minutes.
Firstly, they declare to the world they are for sale.
“BMC Software ($43.38, +$1.89, +4.56%) shares rose after sources told The Wall Street Journal that the company has been in contact with potential buyers, including private equity firms. The report comes after the firm was urged earlier this year by major investor Elliott Management to seek a sale.”Wall Street Journal, 1st October 2012.
“Bankers have approached potential suitors including software companies and large private-equity firms to see if they are interested in buying BMC or a part of it”CNBC 1st October 2012
What company does that in public?
Investors wanting their ball back and not wanting to play anymore is par for course, but I find it very strange to declare to the world that they want to sell ‘all or part’ of the business.
So it’s a possibility that BMC gets broken up into bits and sold, yard sale fashion, for whatever investors can glean.
What kind of message does this send to employees, let alone the sales pipeline? Perhaps they already have an offer on the table and investors are openly prostrating themselves to the market for a counter bid. Potential suitors include IBM, Oracle, Dell or private equity firms.
Dance Like Your Dad
Secondly, Last week BMC had a marketing mid-life crisis in what appears to be a desperate attempt to appear relevant to potential investors. BMC have borrowed phrases and logos from Apple, the most valuable company of all time.
Genius Bar? It’s embarrassing. It’s like watching your Dad dance at a party with died hair and botox. Where’s the true understanding of the market and the value the company can bring? Not to mention the flagrant violation of Apple trademarks.
If they really want to capture the current zeitgeist and lure fickle investors maybe the ITSM suites should be called:
‘Fifty shades of IPad-Tweet-X-Factor in the Cloud’?
Idle speculation and jaded cynicism aside, the people I feel sorry for most in this whole shambles are the good folks working the cogs at BMC.
Who wants to work for a company that publishes a press release openly stating they are open to breaking the company into pieces, asset strip and maximise shareholder return, especially in the current climate with families to feed and mortgages to pay.
I recognise the importance of venture capital to accelerate growth and build the appropriate resources to build good teams in this industry – but for pity sake – does it have to be such short-term nonsense? How about a bit of leadership?
My first question when beginning to read this new Gartner Magic Quadrant was – what is ITSSM? Where did that extra ‘S’ come from and what does it mean?
The introductory text reads:
“IT service support management (ITSSM) tools offer a tighter integration of functions that correlates with the activities of the broader IT support organization. ITSSM tools leverage a business view of IT services, enabling the IT support organization to quickly resolve or escalate issues and problems, improve root cause isolation, and provide higher levels of business user satisfaction.”
I’m still none the wiser. Still looks like good old ITSM to me.
In the book ‘The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing’ by Al Ries and Jack Trout we are introduced to the ‘Law of Focus’. The authors argue ‘the most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in a prospects mind’. The most powerful evidence of this is when a product is so totally engrained in our vernacular that it becomes a verb. We ask for a Coke, we Skype, we Hoover the stairs etc (i.e. one product name dominates the entire sector). This begins to explain why technology companies dream up new and exciting ways to explain markets and cook up new acronyms, to try to own the whole concept for themselves.
Perhaps ‘ITSSM’ is a misguided attempt at this new sector definition. I think it is marketing fluff and does little to help the market. Would it really be that dreadful to admit dropping the previous ITSM Quadrant was a mistake? If it is a genuine new market sector they’ve done an awful job of defining it and educating the market.
Only Behemoths May Apply
My other criticism of this report, and Gartner Magic Quadrants in general, is over emphasis on global reach.
Some of the global players have an international network of offices that span the globe, but how many of the people in these hundreds of offices know about your product? I would ague that is probably about the same amount of people as the total team of a smaller niche competitor. i.e. BigMegaCorp operates in 50 countries with 20,000 staff and 35 of these people worldwide know about ITSM, compared to the small niche competitor with 35 staff – all of whom know about ITSM.
Similarly, vendors in this report had to have revenues in excess of $10M. Isn’t this threshold cutting out the most exciting and innovative vendors in the sector? The target audience for this report is typically large enterprises – but are they really that risk adverse?
“Gartner’s 11,000 clients are the largest organizations in the world and Gartner acknowledges that 80 percent of them are late-adaptors. They are much more likely to buy from HP, IBM, or Oracle than from a start-up with the most cutting-edge solution.”
Is that really the case these days? The old adage of ‘You won’t get fired for buying IBM’ is being replaced by users who can search what they are looking for on Google, buy it using a credit card and get the job done in the Cloud without a second thought.
Finally, I believe the fact that there are no vendors in the Leaders quadrant is a good reflection of the industry. Once upon a time ITIL aligned processes were the key market differentiator, and then came the ability to deliver in the Cloud – the market is now looking for new leadership and new differentiators.
The UK has 4.5 million SME companies that account for 58.8% of all private sector employment in the UK and 48.8% of private sector turnover (source).
I have used UK figures here but my bet is that the vast majority of countries have a similar balance – perhaps even more so in developing countries.
Similarly, teams or divisions within larger organizations are breaking free of the shackles of prehistoric software and taking IT support provision into their own hands.
With this is mind I have compiled a short list of companies offering IT helpdesk software offering an entry level for under a grand. All the offerings below are web-based (do start ups and small companies buy servers?).
Conditions of inclusion
Under US$1,000 per year per user
Pricing is readily available on their website
Delivered via the Web
The website is not scary
If I have missed any companies that meet the criteria above please leave a comment below. Thanks in advance for your help.