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Chris Dunn | August 24, 2016

Replacing Your ITSM Tool? Essential Tips & Trends

EasyVista recently launched a custom replacement program for BMC Service Desk Express customers looking for a more viable ITSM solution. And that got us thinking about the trends influencing service management tool replacements, as well as the best practices organizations should use when making the switch. Kent Shiver, Director of IT Service Delivery at Synergy ITSM, is uniquely qualified to answer these questions. As a former BMC Software Premier Level partner and current EasyVista Gold Level Solution partner, Kent is well-versed in helping customers smoothly transition from one ITSM solution to another. Further, he is an experienced IT Service Management consultant with over 19 years of experience, specializing in aligning ITIL processes to business objectives. He’s a pro when it comes to today’s ITSM trends and we appreciate the opportunity to interview him on this topic.

EasyVista: What types of modern challenges are forcing organizations to replace their ITSM tools?

Kent: There are a number of trends I’m seeing from companies looking to replace their ITSM solutions. Many are doing so to better control and reduce the cost of service delivery through improved processes, procedures, and automation. These organizations are challenged to place greater control on changes to applications and infrastructure—which is really Change Management. Change Management is something legacy systems really struggle with. IT organizations are also replacing their ITSM tools to simplify and accelerate the resolution of break-fix issues, which are incidents and the provisioning of services. Furthermore, businesses are looking for the ability to generate effective metrics surrounding ITSM processes. Lastly, one of the main reasons companies are making a switch is to provide a better, high-quality experience for their end-users or clients. That is probably the top reason.

Organizations that don’t replace legacy systems can run into some major problems. The biggest technical issue I see is that older systems are only supported and compatible with other technology for a finite period of time. For example, when Microsoft released IE 10 or 11, or MS Edge with Windows 10, older legacy systems weren’t compatible. The longer you hold on to outdated technology, the less compatible that technology is going to be with other tools you need. Organizations that refrain from updating their ITSM tool don’t just hold themselves back from an ITSM perspective but also from gaining the full advantage of other new technologies in their organization. If their ITSM solution can’t integrate with these newer technologies, the full value of those technologies can never be reached.

EasyVista: What features and capabilities are businesses currently including on their service management wish lists?

Kent: Beyond the standard support of Incident Management, Service Request Fulfillment, Change Management, and Problem Management, IT organizations want a system that’s easy to manage and configure. In other words, they are looking at how difficult or easy it is to configure a replacement system. The overhead costs that it takes to have a dedicated system administrator in-house can be exorbitant. Plus, this admin has to have the necessary skillset to maintain the system after it’s implemented by a consultant. When designing workflows, my customers want a visual, drag-and-drop process. They don’t want to be bogged down in development work to configure business rules to support the company’s processes and workflows. Also on the wish list, is to have chargeback capabilities—a feature that a lot of systems don’t have. So in addition to incident, service requests, and all the standard processes, organizations want to be able to charge back departments for either services or equipment. Finally, a common wish list item that some tools don’t have is the ability to support project management—which is always a plus.

EasyVista: What advice do you have for organizations that are looking to switch ITSM solution vendors?

Kent: I know organizations make a lot of vendor comparisons when looking to switch tools before narrowing their choices to a shortlist of 2-3 vendors. My biggest piece of advice is to be careful during comparison shopping to not only look at the outside appeal or appearance of an application, but to also evaluate the levels of functionality. For instance, some vendors view providing mobility as a checkbox item and provide a very basic, static, app. These apps might even be somewhat attractive and eye-catching, but that doesn’t mean the apps have all the functionality necessary to do the job. Further, these apps are phone and OS version dependent, presenting a nightmare when it comes to making them available for all users with different phones and different OSs—not to mention administering multiple versions of the same app.

EasyVista focuses on providing the ability for an organization to deliver one app that works across all OSs, all phone types, even all device types (tablets, phones, and laptops). Vendors concentrated on simplicity of application management combined with apps that are OS and device type agnostic, such as EasyVista, are really thinking ahead towards meeting future needs.

I would also caution organizations looking to switch ITSM solutions to consider that larger vendors are not always better vendors. For example, BMC is a very large organization that acquires a lot of smaller organizations. They have many products that you often have to piece together with many integrations and it’s somewhat convoluted. Whereas, if you have a vendor that focuses 100% on ITSM and a single product built from the ground-up, chances are the product is going to be much better because that’s all the company focuses on. Larger organizations may work on countless types of software applications, while a smaller vendor may focus on a single application—but that single application has every reason to be better.

EasyVista: You worked with BMC Service Desk Express (SDE) customers for many years and within the past few years decided to switch to working primarily with EasyVista customers. Why the switch?

Kent: When BMC announced the impending end-of-life for Service Desk Express, I looked at BMC’s replacement tool, as well as, a number of other vendors, including EasyVista. I’m a technical person with a technical background. I had considered staying with BMC but I found that EasyVista was a more elevated solution in terms of technology. On the other hand, I found that BMC’s replacement for SDE was really more of a lateral move when looking at the features and functionality.

Additionally, as a long time BMC SDE consultant, I know you have to maintain a lot more skillsets with software that has third party components. For instance, BMC SDE and BMC’s replacement tool requires critical report skills to build reports, the skillsets of another application to do inventory discovery, etc. With EasyVista, everything is native in the product. Nothing is third party so there are not as many skillsets to maintain. Maintaining skillsets is costly and time-consuming because you have to continually renew your certifications and update your training in those areas to support those third party components. Being able to work with a single ITSM solution that’s fully comprehensive in every way was a huge factor in making the move to EasyVista.

Finally, support is a key area to customer satisfaction. BMC tried to save money by outsourcing support which turned a lot of customers away due to the language barrier. Customers’ experience with BMC support was less than positive, but they’ve had a good experience with EasyVista. The majority of customers who have switched to EasyVista are happy and glad they made the move.

Next Steps

Connect with Kent Shiver on LinkedIn and follow Synergy ITSM while you’re there!

Synergy ITSM is a certified EasyVista partner, specializing in transitioning customers from BMC Service Desk Express to EasyVista. They offer cost-effective ITSM consulting services that solidify the value of IT to business leaders, optimize operations, and maximize the value of ITSM investments.

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Chris Dunn

Chris has been working in the IT industry for over 16 years. After spending several years at Gartner he’s worked in the IT Service Management and greater IT Operations Management spaces in product marketing and management capacities. In his spare time, Chris perfects his cursing skills as he works on various home improvement projects.