CA Service Desk Manager Review

Helps reduce downtime and mean time to repair but API needs a lot of work


What is our primary use case?

I function inside of CMDB, Chain Configuration Management Data Base. I use it to work with our change management process, or configuration management process. To reduce down time, mean time to repair, audit functionality. Pretty much everything within CMDB, which is a subset of Service Desk.

What is most valuable?

It's a part of of a tool that other people use, and the big part of the problem with CMDB is getting a high rate of adoption. CMDB is not something that people see as a necessity, especially technical people. They don't want to deal with auditing, they don't want to deal with a lot of that stuff. So the fact that it's something they're already familiar with is a big deal. For a lot of companies, it's not built into their service desk, to my understanding. So that's a good thing about it. 

It's fairly easy to use, from a UI standpoint. Those are the main things that I would say are good about it.

How has it helped my organization?

It helps us have a clearer understanding of our environment, that's the big part of it that I use. As far as the ticketing part of that, it integrates within our email. If you're an end user, just a person, you don't need to go the website at all, you can do almost everything through email, so that is nice. 

What needs improvement?

I would like to see the API cleaned up. Right now, because of the way CA works, they combine a lot of applications. That's just the nature of it, they can't fix that probably. But the API is a mess, it's hard to navigate, hard to figure out. The documentation is okay, but from a back-end standpoint it's kind of difficult to work.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

At our company, I think it's pretty stable. We have a good set of people working on it. I don't typically have any problems, with the front-facing part of it. There are not any really issues of stability from what I can see.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I would say we're a small to middle-sized company, and we haven't had any issues with anything like that. I wouldn't say it's a problem for us at all.

How is customer service and technical support?

They've been good. My biggest problems have been working through the API for Service Desk, it's kind of a mess, that would be a nice way to put it.

They've been able to help me to get through, to where I need to go. Without that it's difficult, to say the least.

Which solutions did we use previously?

My company has been using CA for a long time.

What other advice do I have?

I've been a part of PoCs at our company. When looking to invest in a vendor, the criteria include

  • cost -  obviously a big concern
  • functionality - if it's going to work within the tools that we have now. 

We're really big into automation, so integrating with other tools that we have is important. And CA - since we use so many of their products, between the mainframe, Service Desk - we really do use quite a bit of what they have. So they have a leg up as far as that goes.

I've worked with quite a few different products, from ServiceNow to Remedy, a lot of ticketing systems and the like. This is my first CMDB, as my main function. I would rate Service Desk lower than some of those other ones that I've used, because it seems like it's a little bit behind with innovative type of stuff. I like the UI, it's good. I would say, stand-alone, if I wasn't comparing it to anything else, it really does do what I need it to do, so I would give it a seven or an eight out of 10. Comparing it to other things, it would be about a six, because I think other software is better.

In terms of advice to a colleague looking at similar solutions, it would really depend on what they need. If they were looking for CMDB functionality, I think it really does do a good job of that. I think if you have other CA products, it does a good job of integrating with a lot of that. But I would encourage them to look at other products as well. I don't think it's an "industry leader." I think it's right up there with other tools, but depending on what you're doing and your environment, I think it's on-par with everything else.

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