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How to Find the Right ITSM Tool That Fits Your Needs?

Editor’s Note: Selecting an IT Service Management (ITSM) tool that fits your needs can be difficult. How can you define your search criteria to make this process easier for you? The following guest post comes from Brittany Hall, the researcher and regular contributor to TrustRadius. Brittany is going to share with us her perspectives on this question.

Choosing the right ITSM (IT Service Management) tool that fits your needs is an important, yet difficult decision. Thankfully, there are resources in place, like software review sites, that helps you to decide what software solution will work best for you. During your initial research phase, it’s also important to consider these following factors when analyzing and comparing ITSM solutions:

1. Flexibility 

It’s important that the ITSM tool you choose is flexible, providing the ability to change workflows, fields, forms, and reports. Changes to the software need to be easily done and enforceable, and shouldn’t require any external consultation work. These changes also should not affect any future application updates, which could result in unexpected costs.

While industry best practices for ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) are important, ITSM tools often don’t come with any out-of-the-box best practices. These practices must be designed within the tool itself. What if the best practices need to be modified or they simply aren’t “best” for your company? What if down the road, your new CIO wants to use a more agile framework? A ITSM tool with a good amount of flexibility will allow to make any necessary changes. Flexibility is essential to the speed of your IT work and cost control.

2. Integration

 Several important business processes exist that aren’t detached from ITIL processes, such as contract management and project management. These other processes need to be able to easily communicate with the basics of your ITSM tool, including problem management, change management, and service request management. Often ITSM software doesn’t work well with other tools. The tool you choose should ideally allow you to integrate these other processes into the same application without any additional software development. This integration will prevent any delay that could be cause by unnecessary information gaps.

Look for a ITSM tool that features out-of-the-box integrations or API capabilities with the key software you already use in your IT environment. The importance of the ability of your ITSM tool to easily integrate with other IT management tools should not be undersold, from the submission of monitoring data to the ticketing system to beyond. Both current and future integration needs should be considered when analyzing ITSM tool requirements.

3. Cost of Ownership

 Implementing a ITSM software tool is not a simple task, and it is crucial to remember that the software you choose must be able to support your IT operations for years to come. When analyzing and comparing different ITSM tools, calculate the total cost of ownership for a five-year time period. While it’s important for the tool you choose to be flexible and able to integrate with other existing software, the overall cost of the ITSM software needs to be taken into consideration, including any operating cost such as maintenance, upgrades, and equipment.

You will want to make sure the tool is cost-effective for your business. In an increasingly competitive software market, there are even some free ITSM software tools emerging to compete with more expensive platforms.

4. Vendor Partnership

 While the actual features of the ITSM tool offered by a vendor are crucially important, you should also acquire knowledge about the vendor themselves, and the specific team you may work with as well. Some information you seek from providers includes how long they have been in business, how well the company performs, the importance of the tool to them, their expectations for growth, and if their ITSM software is the company’s main activity. It’s also important to know if you will have any influence over the application’s roadmap, if the vendor will listen to both your current and future needs, and if the right people will be available for you.

Check references and reviews of the vendor to ensure the quality of service they claim to provide. These reviews can give valuable insight into more than just the core software functions, such as how the vendor assists customers and process-based changes associated with the ITSM tool.

Many times, issues may arise that stem from a lack of a real partnership between vendors and their customers. According to research conducted by the Service Desk Institute (SDI), the complaint from ITSM tool customers of a lack of a relationship is only second to support in customer frustrations with vendors. The needs of ITSM can be complicated, and require more than just a single business transaction of paying for the software. It is also more than a one-time project. In a world that features SaaS-delivered ITSM software, where it’s easy to walk away and start with a different vendor, it’s not an unreasonable demand.

5. Basic Software Features

 It’s important to know the customization capabilities of any ITSM tool you consider for your business needs, however, knowing the basic functions of the software is critical. It’s necessary to know that the tool possesses the adequate foundations for the project to start, and that the software is able to support existing processes. With any tool under consideration, be sure to identify what is included in the software and if any integration, modules, or additional fees would be required.

6. User Interface

 Your ITSM tool will be used by on a daily basis by employees, which requires them to be comfortable with and able to use whichever software that is selected. This means the interface of the tool needs to be intuitive, dynamic, and user-friendly. An ideal ITSM software tool will feature the ability to customize both the user operations and the interface. This particularly important due to the fact that no context is identical.

It can also prove useful to have those who will actually be using the software assist in the selection process. If possible, allow real users to test out the ITSM tools you are considering. Many software tools offer a trial period. A focused evaluation by users of the software can provide more insight into the tool’s user-friendliness, intuitiveness, the range of reporting capabilities, and the speed of time-critical activities, and among other criteria.

Finding the right ITSM tool that fits your needs require in-depth comparison of not just the software tool itself, but also the company that provides it. The process requires an analysis of what you need from the software, what features are requirements and which are “nice to have.” Not only will the tool serve to report and manage tickets, but it will also support other processes. Evaluation of such tools is crucial to making a well-thought out choice.

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Brianna Barcena

Brittany Hall is a researcher and regular contributor to TrustRadius, where she shares her knowledge of the latest trends in B2B news and software.

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