Considerations When Shopping for ITSM Software

The Key Drivers for Searching for a New IT Service Management (ITSM) Software Platform

So you’re shopping for ITSM software. Typically, if you’re in the market for a new IT Service Management (ITSM) platform, one of two scenarios is usually in place – either you are currently using a very rudimentary ticketing platform that doesn’t truly encompass the full scope of IT Service Management or the opposite – the platform is very cumbersome, overly complex and requires 3-8 full-time resources to administer.

When looking for the right vendor, you should strive to meet somewhere in the middle – in other words, you want to find an ITSM tool that is easy to use, own and operate, yet also offers a full array of functionality. But how do you find a vendor that fits your needs?

Like their colleagues at other organizations, the IT infrastructure team for Legacy Supply Chain Services must wear many hats. Responsible for supporting nearly 1,000 employees across 22 locations in North America with a staff of eleven people, the team is constantly on the go.

It’s a familiar scenario found in companies across industries. IT teams need to work efficiently to support their business. To do that, they need the right tools and processes in place.

“Our previous tool worked great, but it was very limiting when it came to scaling our IT services and growing what we wanted to do,” Keyon Farrier, service desk manager, said. “We really needed an ITSM tool that was an extension of our current IT infrastructure team. We wanted a system that could be self-sufficient and really act like an added member of our team.”

Farrier said they began their search for a better, more structured tool using the services of Info-Tech, a technology consulting and research firm.

“We started our search with Info-Tech looking at just change management tool to add to our existing ITSM tool at the time, then realized we also wanted to find a tool that could help us automate processes,” he said. “Info-Tech provided us with some great options, so we started the vetting process and found that TeamDynamix really fit our needs – not just for change management and automation, but for everything.”

The first step when embarking on an ITSM tech refresh is to truly understand what’s holding you back. By doing this you can better identify ITSM/ESM vendors that offer products with features and functionalities that can solve those pain points – whether that’s the automated routing of tickets, the ability to quickly spin up an easy-to-use self-service portal, dynamic forms or integration and automation capabilities that can help you save time and get rid of redundant, manual processes.

“Talk to your help desk employees,” Farrier advised—the people who are on the front lines of doing the IT work. “Get their input into the challenges they’re facing, and then come up with a plan that can help alleviate those challenges.”

In looking for an IT Service Management (ITSM) platform that would help the team accomplish their goals, Farrier engaged his support staff in the search process, as “they’re the ones who deal with the system daily,” he explained. “They might sometimes be the forgotten folks, the ones who stay behind their laptop handling tickets. Yet, they’re the ones who know what it will take to make the system better.”

For Jay Reymond, Senior Engineer in IT from B&I Contractors, their existing ITSM tool simply could no longer support their business’s growth.

“We had outgrown the IT Service Management platform we were using, and quickly realized we needed to find a new tool that could support us,” he said. So, they put together their list of pain points before starting their ITSM search.

Reymond and his team knew they needed an ITSM tool that could help them streamline their processes and make things more efficient for them in the long run as they continue to scale their business, but they also needed that same platform to support their immediate ITSM needs.

“We had to really dig through the tools that are available and figure out which ITSM software made the most sense for our business needs,” he said. B&I ended up selecting TeamDynamix as the new ITSM tool for the company.

Asset management and contract renewal tracking were two big pain points they were trying to solve in IT with the new software, Reymond said, “Employees really needed to be able to track and report on these things very quickly – this was a huge pain point for us prior to TeamDynamix. Also, making any kind of customization in our old ITSM tool was a project in and of itself – they had poor documentation, and it would take days to complete.”

With TeamDynamix, Reymond can make changes in minutes, “It’s so simple to use, it’s been a huge change in how we function – it’s so quick and easy, we’re making massive strides. We absolutely love it.”

So how can you find success like B&I or Legacy Supply Chain Services? Below are a few questions to consider when evaluating ITSM tools for your organization.

Does It Offer a Self-Service Portal and Knowledge Base?

Having a self-service portal that is branded to your organization will allow you to offer your end-users a central point of entry. For many organizations, this will encompass more than just IT. IT could be a service portal that allows end-users to come and search for help or request service in IT, Human Resources, Facilities or Marketing – in other words, full Enterprise Service Management (ESM). 

These are the four things to look for in an ITSM self-service portal for end-users:

  1. Can I create a portal with my own branding? Can I have multiple client portals – for instance, if the HR team wants its own portal – can that be done? Or if we have multiple sites – can each site or entity have its own portal, yet funnel into a single, centralized service management platform? How easy is it to change colors, add images and arrange the widgets? The portal should allow for branding and design without requiring HTML or technical resources to code the content. It should be easy to manage across multiple departments and entities, allowing for individualized branding.
  2. Does it interface with a knowledge base and offer automation? The self-service portal needs to offer the ability to deploy a knowledge base that can search across articles using natural language and tagging. Finding information and having that information be relevant and accurate is key to success. If your end-users perceive the articles to be erroneous or outdated, then adoption of the self-service platform will be very difficult to promote.
  3. Can you manage the content easily? You should have the ability to manage publication dates and evaluate usage. The knowledge base also needs to accommodate a feedback loop, taking comments, or even net new content, and pushing that through an iterative review process. This is called Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS). The knowledge base must support this framework so that you can stay current. If an end-user cannot resolve their issue from the portal, there needs to be an “easy button” – a quick way to submit a ticket or a request and to have that route directly to the appropriate technician or departmental resource.
  4. Is the portal WCAG 2.0 AA Compliant? Accessibility is a very important topic, and in order to adhere to strict standards, it is best to deploy an end-user portal that is already WCAG 2.0 AA compliant out of the box. This means that you can create new content and present services without the additional worry that your portal is not compliant or usable. WCAG 2.0 AA compliant out-of-the-box is a critical factor, particularly if you are servicing end-users in education or the public sector.

Save Time with Integrated Asset Management

For organizations that are seeking to improve the overall maturity of their ITSM software, it is important to look for additional functionality beyond ticketing and a knowledge base. For instance, does it offer asset management as part of the core platform?

Think about a scenario where a technician asks, “What version of Windows are you using?” or “What is your tag ID?” and the end-user goes blank, with no response. Rather than rely on end-users for critical asset information, it’s recommended that you house it in an asset management system that’s fully integrated with your IT support or ticketing platform. When a ticket comes in for a specific end-user, it will come with all of the asset details.

Does It Include Asset Discovery Services?

Asset Discovery Services uses active scanning and/or Windows-based agents to gather information about the assets in your network, and then relay that information to the core asset management system. The asset manager will then be able to review the results of the scan and approve the discovery process to update assets within the Assets/CIs application.

Asset Discovery provides a simple way to integrate your asset information with ticketing, making it easy to work with assets from other areas of the system. One platform, one view.

Does It Offer Automation and Integration?

By using an ITSM tool that includes integration and automation, you can free up your resources by automating the everyday, mundane tasks they normally have to complete before working on bigger projects – things like system name changes, resetting passwords, or granting certain permissions to software. All of these, and more, can be automated with workflows using iPaaS with your ITSM.

By combining iPaaS (integration platform as a service) with ITSM and PPM on a single platform you can automate both complex and simple tasks, as well as connect disparate systems throughout your organization.

If you choose a codeless platform for this, you get the added benefit of anyone being able to use these tools – not just IT. By allowing lines of business to create their own workflows you can free up your IT resources to work on larger projects and eliminate the logjam when it comes to integrations within your organization.

Here are a few other ways iPaaS with ITSM can help reduce IT drain on an organization:

  • Facilitate enterprise integration by using a single hub with pre-built connectors to systems that you use every day as well as a connector concierge for the creation of specific connectors. (Imagine being able to automatically change a username, add someone to a distribution group or onboard an employee)
  • Expedite creation of automation and workflows with a visual flow builder (codeless) that is easy to use, own and operate; reduce IT backlog of integration and workflow requests.
  • Optimize resources across IT to allow for improved output and a higher level of service delivery to your internal and external customers by removing redundant data entry and manual processing.
  • Reduce API risk with a single connectivity platform that will offer increased oversight and control

For more tips on evaluating ITSM vendors read: ITSM Software – What to Look for When Shopping for a New ITSM Platform

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2020 and has been updated with new information.

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