Micro Focus Service Manager Review

A better GUI in place but still not user friendly and quite complex to implement

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for incident management, program management, as well as for change, release and configuration management. 

What is most valuable?

It's quite a complicated solution. The design has been revamped in terms of GUI. The current interface is quite easy to read. However, it's very much dependant on how everything is set up. Many people manage to have it properly set up with a reduced number of steps to create or to change or to close any other ticket. 

However, one of my latest customers decided to implement some items in very specific ways in terms of dealing with change management that is really bureaucratic but the way they implemented it with the tool was actually quite efficient. The modules were very utilitarian and it became like just clicking boxes. To track changes, track approvals or avoid any changes with support could be implemented in the publisher which made it quite efficient.

What needs improvement?

On certain implementations, it can be very difficult to customize and then very difficult to maintain as well. This is because it is quite a complex solution.

Users need to be very conscious of how they set up the solution in terms of how they propose and ultimately set up the end terminals to make it easy to use for end-users. 

The setup on past projects had been quite difficult for two reasons: the first is that it's quite a technical tool so it takes a lot to set it up and customize it. The other issue is that there's a lack of tool experts, which makes it even more difficult to set everything up properly.

The solution does not interface well with other products and is difficult to implement.

The entire system needs to be redesigned to help improve overall usability and design.

When you synchronize or perform a task for event management from external tools, you have issues of performance because synchronization can take four or six hours before there is a solution.

It's very hard for the end-user to customize items, but if they were able to, it would be easier for them to arrange specific views and reports that would be more relevant to them.

For how long have I used the solution?

I started using the solution in 2008, when it was named Service Center. It's been about 20 years since I was first introduced to it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has really gained stability in the last few latest years. When I started working on it, I recall an implementation where there was an issue with stability. The customer had upgraded to Service Center from one version to another and something went wrong. They were unable to go back to the old version and then they were unable to resolve the issue. They were without any IT assistance for six weeks. It was very frustrating.

This was ten or twelve years ago, however, and they've made great gains since then. I've spent two years using the latest version of the product. We have been able to upgrade everything without any issue at all.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is quite scalable. Some of our clients include some utility companies in France and some clients in the nuclear and electricity industry. It's a solution that can scale well for enterprises.

How are customer service and technical support?

Although I don't contact technical support directly, I have clients that have. From a technical point of view, support is pretty skilled. The company makes sure they are generally experienced and competent.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is really complex. Afterwards, it depends on the people that are handling the implementation. Some companies that are implementing the product have some pre-defined templates that happen to help to set it up quite easily and with few negative items for the end customer to deal with. I personally don't have any access to such tools for at least the past five years now so I don't know how easy it actually is if a user does have these predefined templates. The tool doesn't work out of the box. You really have to put effort in to get it working once you have installed it.

Deployment of the most recent version takes about four to six months. How many people needed to deploy the solution depends on the company and the setup. It could be anywhere from two to four people, but a company must ensure they are experts. You'll also need some additional resources for the server and the network, etc. You'll need to take into account also if you need to define the processes, etc. and agree to everything at the beginning of the project. I'd estimate a maximum amount of four people would be needed for a deployment.

What about the implementation team?

We have a team that helps with customizing and onboarding new customers. We also have a subsidiary that is dedicated to implementing the tool for customers. 

What other advice do I have?

I've been consulting with companies about using the solution and largely deal with the on-premises deployment model.

I'd advise others to really take their time and think about the specifications before they embark on implementation. They must be sure that the positions are implemented or not via their ITSM processes that are already in their company. 

To implement some features, it's possible to lose an entire year, so it's best to hire an expert to provide guidance and advice about what is feasible.

I'd rate the solution six out of ten. It's an improved rating since the last version. However, it still needs to be more user-friendly can could continue to improve its stability.

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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