IT Service Management (ITSM) Software
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IT Service Management (ITSM) Software TrustMap
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What is IT Service Management (ITSM)?
IT Service Management (ITSM) is a process-based practice intended to align the delivery of information technology (IT) services with needs of the enterprise, emphasizing benefits to customers.
The main focus is to deliver satisfactory service to the end user customer. ITSM involves a shift from managing IT as stacks of individual components to focusing on the delivery of end-to-end services using best practice process models.
Enterprise Service Management (ESM)
Enterprise Service Management is, in many ways, the next evolution of ITSM—just outside of the IT department. The main difference between the two is that enterprise service management has evolved to include non-IT business processes, departments, and business goals within its scope.
ESM primarily applies IT service management best practices traditionally used in ITSM and confined to IT departments across enterprise businesses. Other teams and departments have been adopting these best practices to help run non-IT business functions more efficiently and deliver business outcomes faster. Traditional ITSM products have substantial overlap in functionality with ESM products and have been applied to broader enterprises successfully. However, traditional IT-focused service management products may be less optimized or flexible for non-IT users.
Beyond IT and help desk service management, many ESM vendors now offer modules for customer success, field, telecommunication, HR, legal, case management, and financial service management. One of the main benefits ESM provides is the ability to unite service management efforts across the organization under the one platform. This centralization allows for easier scalability and efficiency for IT and business users alike.
IT Service Management Features
Tools in this category will support a variety of managed IT services. The leading ITSM software will include most or all of these capabilities:
Incident and problem management
Standard processes and procedures for change management
Configuration and inventory/asset management, including application access requests
Knowledge management repository documenting common issues / known resolutions
Service catalog ensuring tickets are routed to appropriate subject management expert
Service level agreement process
Managing ticket workflow, occasionally including project management
Reports and dashboards indicating key performance and capacity data
ITSM vs. ITIL
ITSM is often associated or referred to as ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), but these two things are not identical.
ITIL is concerned with an integrated set of best-practice processes for delivering IT services to customers, and aligning IT resources with business needs. But it is a highly specific guidance framework that was developed in the UK and contains very specific process descriptions, success factors, and metrics in a series of documents.
ITSM, on the other hand, is a more generic term describing the broad area of providing IT services to users. ITSM projects often implement the ITIL framework for specific guidelines, but they don't have to. There are alternative frameworks like Cobit, Lean Six Sigma, DevOps, and others.
ITSM Tools vs. Help Desks
From a software product standpoint, ITSM tools focus on the specific area of what most users think of as help-desk. Within the ITSM world, this is often referred to as a service desk. The main difference between help-desk and service desk as part of an ITSM implementation is that help desk or ticketing software products are typically designed for external users of an application.
The focus of service desk products is on streamlining service delivery within the IT domain. ITSM service desk tools also have broader functionality than standard help desk tools. For example, ITSM tools also have capabilities such as incident management, change management and configuration and asset management. They also have some proactive and monitoring capabilities designed to anticipate problems before they occur.
Convergence between these two markets is beginning to occur. For example, some help desk system vendors are repackaging their products to be used in an IT-centric or ITSM context.
IT Service Management Software Comparison
When comparing different IT service management tools, consider these aspects of the products:
IT vs. Enterprise Service Management: Does the business need a service management platform exclusively for IT processes, or should it be applied elsewhere in the business as well? Many vendors have built out more tailored offerings for ESM, but this functionality may be underutilized if the organization only uses it in the IT department. Buyers should adopt a platform with the scope of functionality that meets the scope of their needs.
User-friendliness: How easy is each product to use, learn, and manage? Many ITSM reviewers identify the user-friendliness or usability as a leading pro, or con, for a variety of tools. Consider the ease of use for both routine IT users in your organization, as well as other users in your business and any external customers who will interact with the system.
Customizability: How flexible is the tool to your business’s processes, workflows, and ticketing requirements? ITSM systems can vary in their absolute capacity for customization, how easy they can be customized, and how well customizations will age with new system updates. ITSM systems that can be heavily customized may require more regular reconfigurations when the software vendor pushes an update.
Integrations: Your IT service management tools will likely need to integrate with the rest of your business’s tech stack. ITSM tools frequently integrate software development platforms, IT monitoring tools, and remote access tools. The more prebuilt integrations a tool has with the rest of your software, the more streamlined IT workflows will become.
ITSM solutions are often priced based on the number of agents, or users, with login credentials to the system. Monthly subscription price can be anywhere between about $20 and $100 depending on capabilities. But subscription price is only one component of the overall cost. Customizations, integrations, and consulting can dramatically increase the overall cost.
Some ITSM provide some free tools, or in cases like Spiceworks, provide their entire platform free to users. However, free ITSM software is only a small minority of providers.
TOPdesk is the flagship highly-modular cloud-based or installed ITSM service desk and asset management solution from the Dutch company of the same name, for enterprise companies.
SolarWinds Service Desk (formerly Samanage) is a cloud-based, multi-tenant IT service desk and asset management software for IT and enterprise service management. Samanage is on a single, always new instance of software. The service desk includes a self-service portal, service catalog,…
Spiceworks offers a set of free tools for IT network management and help desk support ticketing. The inventory management system essentially provides comprehensive device information for asset management. The Spiceworks Network Monitor provides information on observed IT for problem…
ServiceNow is a fast-growing service management provider that went public in 2012. Built on the ServiceNow Now Platform, the IT Service Management bundle provides an agent workspace with knowledge management, and modules supporting issue tracking and problem resolution, change, release…
Jira Service Management (formerly Jira Service Desk, now including features from the former Mindville Insight, acquired by Atlassian in June 2020) is a service desk software that is purpose-built for IT, service, and support teams. The software provides everything IT and support…
SysAid is the flagship ITSM and IT help desk software from SysAid Technologies, which offers a rather wide swath of features, supporting asset management (HAM and SAM), remote control, and rich reporting tools.
BMC Helix ITSM replaces Remedy. It is a broad suite of ITSM, tools with strong integrations to other BMC tools and in-built ITAM. The product is used mainly by global brands and is offered in on-premise and SaaS configurations.
Atera offers a comprehensive solution for MSPs and IT Professionals. The platform provides in one integrated solution: full remote monitoring and management (RMM), PSA, remote access, patch management, billing, and reports. Atera’s pricing model also helps managed IT service providers…
Freshservice is a cloud-based service desk and IT service management (ITSM) solution that currently serves more than 10,000 SMB, mid-market, and enterprise customers worldwide.
Cherwell Software was founded by the former CEO of FrontRage Solutions and is a full suite of service management tools competing with BMC Remedy, ServiceNow, and IBM SmartCloud.
Autotask PSA is designed as a complete IT Business Management Platform for MSPs, now from Datto (resulting from the Autotask merger with Datto in 2017).
ServiceDesk Plus is free help desk software from ManageEngine, a division of Zoho Corporation.
BMC's Track-It! (formerly Numara Track-It!) is an IT asset management, IT help desk, and license management solution.
SolarWinds Web Help Desk is ticketing and IT asset management software. It is designed to simplify help desk management. This solution includes built-in ticketing management, asset management, change management, and knowledge base capabilities.
Ivanti offers the Ivanti Service Manager, powered by Heat. Ivanti is the company that resulted from the merger of Heat and LANDESK in January 2017. Heat Software, formerly FrontRange offered a range of ITSM solutions and was a very well-known vendor in this space offering both SaaS…
Agiloft's Flexible Service Desk Suite includes the elements needed to manage a complex service desk: Internal Help Desk, External Customer Support, Change Management, Asset Management, RMA Management, and complete ITIL/ITSM capability. According to the vendor, these fully integrated…
CA Service Management, including CA Desk Manager, is a fully-featured ITSM platform, now from Broadcom. It competes with BMC Remedy, ServiceNow, FrontRange ITSM, Cherwell Service Management etc. It is based on technology acquired by CA in 2010 with Nimsoft, and is now supported by…
Microsoft System Center Service Manager is an integrated platform that is designed for automating and adapting IT Service Management best practices to an organization’s requirements. The platform includes built-in processes for incident and problem resolution, change control and…
Ivanti now offers Ivanti ITSM Service Desk, powered by Heat (formerly LANDESK Service Desk). It is the company's ITSM / ITIL offering.
N-able™ MSP Manager (formerly Solarwinds MSP Manager) is a cloud-based help desk and billing software for IT service providers, which includes a ticketing system, customer portal, technician mobile apps, billing tools, and reporting dashboards. MSP Manager offers a lightweight ticketing…