What is our primary use case?
We're an unusual company where we don't have a traditional IT service desk. We do have an IT support team, we have a separate networks team, and we have our general client service desk. So what we wanted from SysAid, is something that was more customizable, more user-friendly, and didn't require huge amounts of consultancy to maintain and develop. We've got 14 directly using it, in various small service desk roles and three different IT-type network teams who do general client service desk.
Most of my environment is in IT. We do have a very large network of organizations that we've built and run data centers for other people. We build them and control areas of them. We build the infrastructure and provide it to the customer. We've got an internal IT team and a network team that manages the commercial networks. We go into each of these data centers and then we have our client services team. We're not using all of SysAid's features because some of those departments have decided to do things outside of SysAid, like monitoring and things like that.
How has it helped my organization?
All of our calls for everything used to route through our customer service team or our customer service desk then they would pass them out. We have many teams who passed IT tickets to IT and network tickets to networks and camera stuff to our camera team. Now, that's all automated. We're going to grow our business quite a lot over the next few years. We want to have that automation in place to allow us to grow and to take on lots of new stuff.
The systems automation capabilities definitely save us time. We've been automating links between different applications. We have a different system that runs a lot of our mechanical-electrical engineering jobs in the background. And we link that to SysAid via the API that they provide to interact. It is like data between systems, rather than it being manually copied and pasted or emailed around.
It saves days of people's time. On a monthly basis, we definitely save a whole day of people's time. I'd say, three to four days a month minimum of someone's time, maybe more. It's a big improvement. Automation didn't save us headcounts. We haven't made anybody redundant or anything because of it. But it will allow us to grow without having to take on additional headcount, which is part of the point of it, so people are able to focus on more important tasks. A lot of service desk tasks can be pretty repetitive and pretty boring and this will take a lot of that away from them.
The automation capabilities have allowed us to free up time to do other things. There's no monetary value associated with it.
What is most valuable?
At the moment we're mainly using it as a ticketing tool. We're using the self-service portal internally. We are using monitoring for our internal infrastructure, internal servers, our internal laptops, and whatnot. We are looking to make use of the remote access tools to replace some legacy ones we have to keep them in one place. There are lots of elements or different applications that can be combined into one tool which is a nice feature.
It's really customizable. It's very user-friendly to change very quickly. We've developed lots of custom forms and things, without any need for thousands of accounting consultants which was one of our main aims of it.
I won't say it has the best user interface in the world, but it's very good. It's very clean and very simple to understand. Even since we've had it, they've made lots of improvements to it. I think that's one thing that attracted us to them. Out-of-the-box there are loads of things that we wanted to do, which a lot of the other solutions we looked at didn't provide. SysAid is constantly developing it, which is good.
One major improvement we've seen is better workflows for tickets. That was really complicated when we started off but since it's been getting much easier with some of the new tools they've put in.
Our workflow used to be easier, you have to set up tabs and behind the scenes bits of code. You had to think about how to make things work and it was very complicated. They developed sort of a drag and drop workflow system.
To start off with, the service desk automation and orchestration were average and I think it's definitely getting easier with some of the visual tools they've put in. Support has been one of the best parts. They've been very helpful. We generally use their chat support or their email-based support and they've always been very quick at replying. They've been very good. I've generally been very impressed by it.
SysAid provides us with multilayered service management and all of our support pieces integrated into one system. We currently have a different tool for merging onto users' laptops to fix problems. That's all built into SysAid which is great. The monitoring is built into SysAid and it also logs tickets based on it. For at least one chunk of our business, we're able to merge three tools into one. It saves us money as well.
It hasn't affected our operations a great deal, because the system worked before. It's just nice to have one tool to use, rather than having to swap tools or to have a ticket open in one system, open over those sessions in another system, do something else somewhere, and then monitoring in something else. It's all in one place, it's all easy to see. It's all easy to report on, which is quite critical for us as well. It's just ease of use and we're getting cost-saving since we don't have to have three applications doing the same job.
We're using the built-in asset management at a very basic level, but I would say it's better than most of the other tools of the same pricing structure I've seen. Having software licensing bills has been quite helpful. The physical asset monitoring hasn't changed. We did have tools there to do it before. It's just pulled into one place, so we can track and get a value-added glance view of the historic issues with anyone's laptops or with servers and things like that. It's not a drastic change, but it's helpful to have it all in one place.
We're still seeing about Automate Joe since we've only been running live with it for three months. We'll probably lookout this year. Especially with the COVID stuff that's happening, we've been a bit more focused on other things. But we'll look at it in the future, probably within the next year.
What needs improvement?
The automation needs improvement. The workflow has some improvements to do. There's some stuff that they are working on like having cascaded fields. For example, we're categorizing tickets by location, by site and by building and then by data room within a data center. At the moment they're all separate fields. If site A only shows you buildings and site B shows you inside the buildings, it's not clever enough for that. It is lacking a little bit of logic behind the scenes for that sort of stuff to work.
But generally speaking, it's a really good product. It's very polished. It could maybe use a bit more flexibility with the layout of the forms. At the moment you can choose your field, but it's just choosing which fields are on top of the other. You can't cancel or move fields around on a page to make it look a bit prettier. I think checkboxes and certain things like that would be handy. I would like to have a checkbox function, a yes/no dropdown list, against a bit of a user-friendly user interface stuff but I'm being quite picky, really.
A bit of a more in-house UI would be great going forward.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability is very good. Ironically, the day after we went live, we had an outage of about three or four hours but that was more down to AWS from what I understand. Apart from that, it's been perfect. So we can't complain at all.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We have 400 hands-on users using the backend interface, we've got 30 active end-users that will use the self-service portal and docking supported by the tool is near 400.
We're certainly not seeing any problems with scalability, so it's fast enough. Because it's cloud-based, we don't see a lot of the background of it. It just works.
There's not really much else we can do with it, apart from adding extra sort of features. All of our users are currently using it. We are going to integrate other tools with it in the future. We have a separate client-facing portal, which we'll integrate with it to enable logging tickets to end-users and have a report on active tickets they have assigned to them and things like that, but it's not going to contribute to usage greatly.
How are customer service and technical support?
Their tech guys are excellent. Compared to people that you pay 10 times that amount of money to and certainly we were in the past, their support is superb.
There's lots of community support out there as well, which is nice. It's not just tech support. You can Google stuff and you can see other people have come up with ideas which is nice to see.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We were using an older version of Remedyforce. We switched because it was horrifically expensive to maintain. The last upgrade that we did with Remedyforce was just before my time. It cost us 100,000 pounds and actually made the product worse. The cost of SysAid is so much cheaper, even from licensing. It's flexible where Remedyforce really wasn't. To make any change to anything in Remedyforce was 10s of 1000s of pounds.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was really simple. There were some bits that were complex like the workflow work was hard but now it's getting better. Generally speaking though, it was great when we had a consultant, where we had a session every week and then I'd go away and make the changes. Now I'm a project manager for Ark and I've been an IT manager in the past, but I did the setup myself. It's not complicated at all.
They provided us with a solution architect who understood what we were trying to achieve and would guide us. They classify us more to knowledge transfer, rather than consultants. They teach me how the system works and how to use it for ourselves. The system that they provided is part of the subscription cost for the first year.
Because of my own issues, it probably took about three months to do properly. I think you could do it in days or weeks if you push hard enough. But we were all doing it as part of other jobs. It's not a difficult deployment.
We pretty much replicated what we had before in a lot of cases. All the categories and types were very similar to the tool we had before, just to keep the sectors going while we added some extra features and bits. We didn't migrate data from our previous tool and it was one variable, but once we had everything, we were happy, and we tested it to a relevant point. We stopped using one tool and we started using the new one the next day.
We had other people involved in the deployment. So we had the head of our service desk, he obviously was quite heavily involved. We had our change team involved, which is all data users involved, the self-service portal testing. But it was only a small team and it was done in chunks. We spent a few hours a week on it, rather than if we sat for a few blocks a day, we would have probably gotten the job done a lot quicker.
No one's doing administration for it full-time. I do bits and pieces of it. One of the sellers stepped in to do bits of it.
What was our ROI?
You could be saving money within the first nine months of using it, over 10 months. Previously we had people who were literally copying and pasting ticket information from one bit to another. They would have had some bits on spreadsheets, they had some bits just in an email. Things got lost and the priorities were not tracked. The fact that we've got automation to save people copying and pasting tickets and sending emails to each other, backward and forwards is ROI.
Some of the functions we've got coming up with improving our change management workflows will help reduce the meetings we do on a weekly basis. We're putting in an automated workflow for our CAB approval system. If I look at how everyone worked previously, we are saving probably an hour or two a day. Including everyone in our company, we've saved around 16,000 pounds. So you'll really quickly get it back, not really a challenge at all on people's salaries.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
SysAid is very cheap compared to what we had before. Price wasn't the driver for going into it. There were other products around that were the same price bracket, but it certainly had the best feature set for the price. It had a really good feature set and a reasonable price. It's certainly not expensive for what you get for your money.
There were no additional costs to standard licensing. All the knowledge transfer sessions they gave us that were part of onboarding were part of the fee. There are no additional costs for that. You can buy extra plugins and bolts from them if you want to. We paid extra for our third-parties to integrate it with our other applications. As a standalone tool, it's an all in one product. It's very cheap.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We looked at Zendesk and Samanage. We gave them quite a detailed analysis of the requirements we have as a business for it and the benefits of the different systems and SysAid came up as the clear winner.
The differences were that a lot of the built-in features just work like the categorization and the routine. SysAid came out highest. A lot of the stuff was, "Well, we can't do that, that'll be coming out in the new release." And it's like, "Well, SysAid does it now. So why would we wait?" It was just the whole feature set that out-of-the-box was better.
Customization was a big one actually. Samanage would allow us to create our own fields, which is the same as SysAid's cascading fields, the text inputs, and things like that. But you couldn't report on any of those custom fields, they kept them in a separate database and it was not integrated with the rest of the system. Whereas SysAid is perfectly integrated, you can then use it for reports. You can do workflow based on development fields.
What other advice do I have?
The service desk and automation orchestration have not yet affected our employee onboarding processes. We are expecting it to be more automated. We'll also have workflow around it for approvals and for new starters. We want it to create tickets for laptop builds and stuff like that. That's all planned for the future, but it's not quite there yet.
My advice would be not to wait long to change. SysAid is so much easier than the previous tools we had. I wouldn't hesitate to use it anywhere else in the future. I'm confident in installing a new version of SysAid and getting it up and running in a matter of weeks, without any support from SysAid. It's that simple the second time around.
You've got to have a clear understanding of what you want and that there are limitations. If you set out your requirements with them when you start and you've got a clear understanding of what you're trying to achieve, then they'll help you achieve it. I think that's critical. If you don't know what you want, then they can't help you. They're not consultants in that way. They know their tool really well, but you need to understand what you're trying to achieve.
I would rate SysAid an eight out of ten. Most of the stuff it does is very good. There is some very simple stuff, the constant improvement is really nice. There are still some bits that are either complex or easy to break. If you're not very good at SQL you can write a query and there are ways to fix and bring it back. But you can break the views and reports quite quickly if you don't know what you're doing.
We are overall, very pleased with the product. I'm happy with it. A few people in the organization were a bit hesitant when we made the decision to go to it and they didn't like it, but they are embracing it now, which is good.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?