What is our primary use case?
We use ManageEngine for our help desk. I believe ManageEngine has the ability to do mobile management, but it is underdeveloped in that area. There is no GUI. We were a bit interested in the potential to go down that path later on. It was cheaper than other solutions and we would already be using ManageEngine for the help desk. It did not end up panning out for use as a mobile management solution.
Configuring the product is a lot of work and we spent a lot of money on training our own people to get it done. Sometimes we would even hire contractors to make it work the way we wanted. We ended up deciding to move away from using the product for mobile management and just went with the Microsoft solution.
We use several different instances of SupportCenter Plus. We are taking steps to automate everything. We were very people-heavy in some of our business processes. Instead of email — which a lot of departments had been using in the past — we moved to ManageEngine to have a ticket system and so that everything is in one place. Before working with this solution, our poor admins had to go through months and months of emails trying to put together a sit-rep (situation-report) on a particular action item. Now they simply search for the ticket number and they are good to go.
So the use case is as a ticketing system. The capabilities are there for using it as a device manager, but the dev and training/education for our own people to get it to be a true enterprise solution would have been exponential.
What is most valuable?
So far, we have only really been using it for a help desk. There are some other things that it can be used for but at this point, we have not deployed additional functionality.
What needs improvement?
The business model for ManageEngine is to rely on low cost as a means to lure customers. Their product does not cost as much as their competitors, but the reason being is they expect you to either pay them or pay somebody who's been educated in their classes to get the job done. It is cheap for a reason, and the reason is their business model. They are appealing to businesses that are bottom dollar businesses.
The problem with that business model is that it can build unrest in the development department because the tech crew will not know how to use the tool. Then a boss will tell them to figure it out. It all happens because it is cheap rather than because it solves a problem. Ultimately you are going to either pay more money for a good product in the end or you are going to have people getting frustrated and leaving the company because they could not get the work done. ManageEngine, in my experience, fosters that type of environment. It doesn't have an "easy button," a graphic user interface, ease-of-use, and ease-of-dev —the product does not have any of that. You get locked into finding an SME (Subject Matter Expert) to develop it out for you. One way or another you end up paying more and taking longer to get it done.
Our head sysadmin guy was the one that really got into the product first. His feedback was that there was no GUI and everything was pretty much done on the command line. The support stunk because they either did not give you the information you needed or they just did not bother to answer. He had a hard time with it.
What I think ManageEngine really needs to add to make the package more valuable are free, automated classes. They will not do it because of the business model. But if they would make it easier to access the training, I think you would see a lot more use of their products.
For how long have I used the solution?
At the company, our main system admin brought ManageEngine SupportCenter Plus into the company at the end of 2019. I do not know the exact date because I was not part of bringing in the solution or developing it. I am just using it. We expanded use to other departments after development reached a certain point. We have only been using it for nine months, tops.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
When using it predominantly for a help desk solution, it seems like an absolutely fine product. We really put it to the test. In eight months, we probably have processed 80,000 tickets. We are killing it with volume. We use it for everything where we require a help desk solution. We have separate instances for a few different things. The IT ops instance spans several departments. So we have IT ops interaction as well as support for end-users. One thing we do not have is an issue with stability.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Really, I think that the thing could be scaled forever and ever. That is one of the beauties of the product. But again, you are limited by the level of education your SME has in developing the solution or the amount of time the person you assigned to take care of it has to build it out for you.
How are customer service and technical support?
Rating the technical support on a scale of one through ten where ten is the best, I would have to give it less than five. The head sysadmin guy had nothing nice to say about the technical support team and made it clear that he thought it was a very, very poor service. Honestly, I would go as far as to rate it a one or two maybe. Two is probably the right rating because rating it as one would mean tech support just does not even make an effort to interact with you. It is a step above that.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
ManageEngine is always going to be the lowest priced product in the categories they compete in. That is their business model. You are never going to find what they can do for you for cheaper because their business model is to price low. That is their whole shtick.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
The reason why the mobile management component of ManageEngine is so cheap compared to its competitors is that you kind of need to have an expert on staff or pay ManageEngine to do it for you. That is where they make up their money. In the end, we are now kind of a mixed bag of different assets because ManageEngine was difficult to work with. Instead of feeling it out, our company has been expanding Microsoft 365 usage since COVID hit. Going toward 365 was one of those "easy button" solutions. It is a little bit extra money, but it gives us everything we need and we know it is enterprise-ready. That coupled with Microsoft's compliance center, or their blueprint center, basically everything is done for you. You just need somebody to walk through the steps depending on the direction you want to go. The Microsoft API has worked with everything. They make it easy for you and we love it.
There is reporting built-in with the compliance center, too. Everything is automated. You just need somebody to develop it once and it just goes out to the right people. It is fantastic. I have been using Microsoft 365 for years before I was in this position. When you are dealing with small businesses, your job is to pretty much work yourself out of business via automation. That is what I did with Microsoft 365. In all the small businesses I serviced, I ended up putting in the Office 365 solution. Then we went from on-prem stuff to where we did not need it anymore and got everything on the cloud. Microsoft does everything for us.
So we evaluated the advantages of ManageEngine and Microsoft for device management and made the decision that made the most sense for us to get up and running without a lot of trouble. We still use ManageEngine, we just do not see the point of using it for everything it is capable of.
What other advice do I have?
On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate ManageEngine on the whole as a seven. You can not really beat the price. Once it is developed, it is reliable and it is scalable. It is everything you need it to be once it is developed. You have just got to develop it correctly and it is not easy to do.
The advice that I would give to others looking into developing ManageEngine for themselves is either to educate yourself before you initiate taking on the solution or give yourself plenty of leeway time if you have to promise deadlines. In our experience, there were lots of surprises, and that is a part of the development you can depend on.