SCSM Review

Good technical support and integration capabilities but it needs to be easier to create custom reports


What is our primary use case?

We primarily implement the solution to clients.

What is most valuable?

Ticketing systems these days rely on ICIL or depend on ICIL as a framework. The solution has incident management, change management, request fulfillment management, release management, problem management, and CMDB also. With integration capabilities with the other system centers like SSDM, for example, we are able to build a CMDB configuration management database.

It has some advantages and some disadvantages like any software, but overall, most customers just prefer the product.

What needs improvement?

One of the disadvantages in this product is that the reporting module is not very easy. It requires SQL development skills, which not all customers or IT professionals have. 

There are very few reports available and to create a custom report requires some special skills. The solution would benefit from making reporting and creating custom reports much easier and user-friendly.

Microsoft is a technology giant so they have the resources to do improvements or enhance the product, but I don't know if they will invest in it. It depends on their policy or their long-term development plans. Other ITSM solutions, for example, have other resources and they have very strong, and very flexible reporting modules that are easy to use. Microsoft should emulate them and do the same to enhance their product.

The customization in the form is not easy. It requires if we want to customize a form (like a change management or incident form) an installation of some tool called Services Manager Altering Tool. This is difficult. In comparison, in Service Now, you can add a custom field, and do some changes right in the form. With Service Manager, yes it is there and we can do it, but it is not easy or straightforward. We require special skills to make it happen. It needs to be easier.

The solution would benefit from offering a web interface and a better Sales Service Portal.

If the solution could add event planning and event management as a feature in the future that would be ideal. Currently, event management is measured within incident management, which is not the best practice according to ITI when we integrate the CSM with Escom. Escom is a monitoring tool, and when Escom triggers an alert and creates a ticket in Service Manager, it goes in as an incident ticket. I believe it's supposed to be an event. However, I suppose it could be either an incident or event, depending on the type, severity, or nature of the issue.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are some issues with the system. For example, sometimes the workflows get stuck. However, overall, it is a stable solution. Any software in the world will have bugs and defects. Still, we cannot say, "No it is unstable." It's stable - just with a few issues. This is typical.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, the good thing in SCSM is that it has a lot of add-ons and third-party tools can be installed on it. There is a wide range of products can be installed, but the problem is while most can be installed, they often cost money in order to install them. We need to either appreciate the license we have or buy the add-on product from the vendor. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We've been in contact with Microsoft technical support mainly. After doing the research ourselves and troubleshooting, etc., if we can't find a permanent solution, we contact Microsoft to help us fix the issue. Sometimes the issue never gets fixed even by Microsoft. It can sometimes require us to reinstall the solution. However, these are very rare instances. 

Overall, they are very good. We'd rate them eight out of ten.

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

I also use Service Now.

Sales Manager is nothing comparable to Service Now. You cannot really compare it to Service Now. The majority of market share is divided between BMC Remedy, Service Now, and Avanti. Now they are all challenging SCSM and trying to get into the market. Although they are doing a good job, I have not experienced using any of them. I do have some knowledge about Avanti Service Manager, however. 

There's a good product that is suitable also for small and medium enterprises which is called Manage Engine Services Plus. I had experienced it more than eight years ago. I had implemented the tool in my environment or in my work back then and it was very good and I loved working with it but I'm not working with it anymore.

Service Manager is not doing very well because, for example, there is no default web application and in order to use Service Manager we have to use the desktop console which is a disadvantage. If we need to have a web console or web application then we need to buy a solution from a third party company. 

Since the other products are already web-based applications, we don't need to buy a third-party solution to have access. It just seems to be the case with Service Manager that there's only the desktop. It is one of the main disadvantages along with the issues surrounding reporting. The reporting is very poor in Service Manager unless you have someone who has good skills and a strong technical background.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not very complex, but it requires some basic knowledge and skills to understand how to install the SQL server. It's not straightforward, either. It's something in the middle. However, it requires some technical know-how. That said, it is easy to learn how to install it. It's not like SCCM for example. System Center Configuration Manager is much more complicated. There are others as well that are not easy to install. This solution is just much simpler to handle in comparison.

In terms of deployment, the basic installation could take one day just to install the servers without any configuration or special customization taken into account. It might take one to two days, or, more likely, one and a half days to install the basic servers and to prepare the infrastructure for the program. 

In order to configure the product and make the customizations based on the customer needs or requirements, it could take as long as three or four months. That's on average. It could also take up to six or eight months for a full deployment, but it depends on the client.

You only need one person to deploy the solution. Any ticketing system, any ITSM tool, doesn't require many human resources in order to complete the project. Products like Service Now might require more people. One for implementation, and one for the development, for example. In Service Manager, we might need one more person who has some SQL reporting skills who can help us create a custom report. For a normal installation, however, one consultant is enough.

You also only need one person to maintain it. Sometimes after doing the project, after completing the project via one consultant, we assign another consultant for the maintenance. However, the maintenance itself is quite minimal.

What about the implementation team?

We are consultants and help clients handle the implementation of the product.

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

The solution does charge for add-ons and third party installations most of the time.

What other advice do I have?

I'm an ITSM consultant. I'm an IT project management consultant and I'm working on Microsoft Service Manager and ServiceNow. I specialize in these two products: Microsoft System Center Manager, known as SCSM, and ServiceNow. Our company is a Microsoft System Center Golden Partner.

SCSM is an on-premise deployment. There is no cloud deploying for SCSM.

We typically deal with small to medium-sized businesses. However, the product is suitable for all business sizes, including enterprise-level organizations.

I'd warn users considering implementing the solution that there are some product limitations that they should be aware of.

Giving the solution a rating is difficult as it depends on the customer's requirements and needs. For example, if we gave an F1 race car driver a very good car, but not a car that fits his needs, it's still a good car, it's just not right for the race car driver because it doesn't fulfill his requirements.

From our experience working with the solution, I'd rate it a seven out of ten.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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