HEAT Service Management Review

Good incident management and escalation but it is difficult to learn and customize

What is our primary use case?

We have a support center where we log in and track user queries. We provide support for web accounting solutions. Whenever they have problems they log them through us, then we use the HEAT system to log in and report accordingly to management.

We use the on-premise version. I just wanted to emphasize that it is on-premise, but it's sitting at our central server, so we can log in from that server.

What is most valuable?

The main feature for us is incident management, as it assists me in knowing my assignments because we have group assignments. When we go to the group assignment they can assign it to me there.

Escalating to a third party is another useful feature. We have outside support for our internet service provider to help us with issues that we can't handle internally.

What needs improvement?

My role is self-service. Sometimes I can't get the reports that I want until I go to the manager. His role allows for more reporting options, whereas mine is rather limited. Sometimes I feel even they need to put more into the new report. The standard reports are great, but they do not communicate as much.

Another thing is to have more ownership, in terms of centralizing my support internally within my team. This solution is also used by our other departments, so it is set up in a way that even other IT officers can access. However, we don't do the same thing with it. We give support to the department. I give support to my sites, which are outside my vicinity.

Things are mostly set by the consultants themselves, but as an institution, we might have our own thresholds, in terms of how we scale up, score, or rate the level of seriousness of an issue. For example, what I term as a high-level query would be when the site server is down. I have to do that within 24 hours. We asked the consultant to put that into the system, but there's nothing that has happened so far. In terms of the severity of the problem, we were still stuck. We need to know how to handle those thresholds. 

I think our problem lies with training or perhaps capacity. The minute we get proper, simplified documentation, because the manual that we were given is not as user-friendly as possible.

We can get our messages via Outlook. I would like to be able to add alerts. For example, when you've been assigned to a particular query it should follow it up with what time the ticket will breach. They need to be looked into this, because sometimes it's just too short, especially when you need to escalate. 

Another thing is when you have to wait, maybe you should ask for more info. You may have to stop the service for some time until you gather all the information and work on it.

I think those are some of the things that we need to address. We have a whole lot of issues.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using this solution for two or three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is not necessarily stable. It is stable for others, but they are times where we can't access it. You'd find it works on a particular browser but not another one. Sometimes I do have a challenge to log in from my desk, but when I go to a colleague's desk I can log in. I don't know if it's my web client or something else.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's quite scalable. In our organization, we have about ten users, but we are actually looking at increasing it to the 38 sites we currently have. We're looking at taking it to all 38 sites. The IT officers can then login and escalate to us because we are the second line of support, where they are the first. We want people to go through them first if they can handle it internally. If not, they escalate to us and if we can't handle it either we take it to an outside third party or whoever we have engaged to carry out that level of support.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support that we're currently getting is just not there. The provider of the system is saying that we need to have a support agreement outside the implementation. It becomes something else, another added cost. We already spent money on the installation, but now we will try to get by on our own, so currently we are not getting any support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very complex. I think the skills transfer from the consultants or service providers is also problematic, as they can't show you everything. They will just give you what you need, so I believe that sometimes they were rather stingy with information. That is why I ended up going online trying to get more info.

What about the implementation team?

We used a consultant called the International Computers Limited Botswana, who deployed for us and we only had access. We don't even know how the implementation was carried out. We only know how to use the system. We had a good experience with them, but we're not entirely happy, because every time we hold another meeting, they never go anywhere. On the contrary, it is actually attracting more costs for us. That is something that we're still fighting about. We don't really know how they want to do business. Is it to get more funds from us or are they working in good faith?

What was our ROI?

There was a big return on investment, provided we got a proper skills transfer and proper training on our part, as well as good reports, the way we want them to be. We would like the reports to be in our own template, for example. We don't even know how to customize a report. That should not mean we have to go back to the consultant and they do it at a cost. It's something that we try to avoid. We want a system where we can handle our things ourselves.

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

If you want to add more users who can handle support there will be additional fees. What we call our extensions, we need to pay more for. They tell us that we need to acquire more licenses or something like that. I think it's very expensive, because in terms of our local currency, it's about 20,000 per license for each user. It is an annual fee.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There was an open-source solution in South Africa that we evaluated. The system allowed us to log in, but the problem was with the government. They don't want their information going outside their networks. That's where the challenge was.

What other advice do I have?

It is a good system, as long as you've got everything you need. Sometimes a customer needs to customize it according to how he or she works. If that could be done prior to being handed over the system and tested to its final configuration, it can actually work.

If there's an improvement in the reports, this would be much easier to recommend. One key aspect where they are still behind is in the reports. The reports that are standard don't actually provide what you require as a customer appropriately.

For now, it is a six out of ten.

That is taking into account my issues with the web client, reports, and their knowledge base. We try to get a knowledge base, but for now, all we've done is put in term resolutions. In terms of accessing them, however, it's difficult to even publish articles or resolutions into their system. The process there is quite lengthy. I would have assumed if I put in a resolution it should take it straight into the knowledge base, but I have to now go back and publish it for me to see it again.

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