BMC Helix ITSM Review

The most valuable feature is the ability to have ITIL Out Of The Box (OOTB) functionality that can be readily customised to fit the specific needs of any given business organisation.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the ability to have ITIL Out Of The Box (OOTB) functionality that can be readily customised to fit the specific needs of any given business organisation. This coupled with the open API that allows for integration with existing and legacy data sets means that you can rapidly implement ITSM in an organic fashion. Another valuable feature has to be the fast prototyping environment with allows an organisation to develop customisations in a reactive, agile manner.

How has it helped my organization?

The use of templates, both Incident and Change templates, has allowed for a more consistent approach to processing these types of tickets. Developing a standardised approach to these has also improved the associated reporting for post-Incident and post-Change reviews. Another important improvement has been with the implementation of the Service Request Module which has improved the end-user experience and is helping move towards a more "Self-Help" environment.

What needs improvement?

The two main areas for improvement are the User Interface and ad-hoc reporting. The User Interface still has the appearance of being clunky and not user friendly. This has changed with the release of Remedy/ITSM V9 and related products such as SmartIT and MyIT. Reporting has always been an issue with the Remedy/ITSM paradigm. It is not user friendly, too limited and clearly not intended for the End User. With Remedy/ITSM V9 comes the SmartReporting module. I look forward to using this in the future.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have involved with Remedy since 1996. Starting with Version 3.2 of Action Request System and v1 of Helpdesk. This was long before ITSM came onto the scene.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Having been involved in migrations from version 3.2 up to and including v8.1.02 I can honestly say that very few of the migrations have induced deployment issues. The Remedy, and latterly BMC, engineers, have successfully maintained backwards compatibility throughout all their versions. As long as the platform and infrastructure requirements are planned and resourced correctly then the deployment process is relatively straightforward.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is very much dependent on the architecture that has been implemented and also on the underlying infrastructure. For example, with the application server and mid-tier being deployed on a Windows Server environment, I had a client who was experiencing issues with some of the Java processes on a weekly, if not daily basis. Moving to a Linux based environment has almost eliminated these issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is very similar to stability in that as long as the underlying infrastructure is correctly sized and resourced then the product can deal with scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer Service does vary. It all depends on your Account Manager. The good ones can be a real asset and and can provide that additional effort that makes for a good relationship between all the actors.

Technical Support:

Technical support can vary according to your location and which team picks up your issue. Over the years the quality of technical support has varied. Providing you have an administrator/developer who can do some of the initial problem discovery and debugging then you will be able, in conjunction with technical support, to more easily track down the underlying issues.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

My existing client used an older version of ITSM from the same supplier. In this case there was no switch from a different solution but the upgrade/migration still needed proper planning to implement correctly. The main reasons for upgrading were to ensure that a currently supported version of the product was being used and that the old infrastructure was replaced by a more performant

How was the initial setup?

For the product itself the initial setup was relatively straightforward. The main complexity arose mainly in the project management aspect of the migration. This was due to the fact the coordination had to be done with both internal and external resources.

What about the implementation team?

The project was undertaken with a vendor team for the installation and migration, internal teams for the architecture and security aspects, as well as the Remedy/ITSM administrators/Process Managers and, of course, the End Users.

What was our ROI?

As I wasn't involved at the beginning of this project I cannot give any information on the ROI. However, it is clear that ROI improves as and when the relationships between the different modules of ITSM are integrated. Related to this is the integration with other applications within the organisation such as ADDM/Discovery to enhance the CMDB. Once this information is available to, for example, the Incident, Change and Problem modules then the true value of ITSM to the organisation can be realised.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

When it comes to pricing and licensing, you have to have a good relationship with your Account Manager. They are the best person to guide you through this important area. You need to analyse your requirements in terms of the ratio of floating/fixed licenses to ensure that you have the correct mix of these licences. Licence and maintenance costs may be relatively high but in terms of upgrades you tend to get a good ROI.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

For this particular project no other options were chosen. A SaaS option was not suitable for this client and the requirements of being able to migrate/access the data from the existing environment did not allow for other solutions to be discussed.

What other advice do I have?

This solution is a complex one which does allow for flexibility and customisations. Clients should therefore be aware that there is a need for in-house administrators/developers. This may be reduced if the SaaS option is selected.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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1 Comment

author avatarJeevan Chaukar

Dear Nyall,

That was a good and useful review! Thanks!
One observation:
You mentioned - Clients should therefore be aware that there is a need for in-house administrators/developers. This may be reduced if the SaaS option is selected.

I believe you refer to Remedy-On-Demand option. However, R-O-D may be convenient only for smaller enterprises which don't need much customization and don't need much integration between Remedy instance which would be in BMC Network and other systems which may be in their own network.

Any small changes to R-O-D application that involves customization (definition changes) have to go through a relatively time consuming Change Approval process with BMC. Which basically goes against the principle that Remedy is a highly flexible and easy to customize platform in its "on-premise" avatar.

Due to this, we don't recommend R-O-D for any larger customers that may need plenty of customizations.