What is our primary use case?
We use it for incident management and service request management. We use it for the Knowledge Base and we also use it for equipment inventory, the CMDB. Those were the key pieces that we needed to bring together in our organization and we wanted a tool that would integrate those key points.
We are using the cloud version. We don't have the client onsite version.
How has it helped my organization?
When we have a new member of our IT organization, SysAid has had a good impact for us because we are able to spend minimal time training that person on the system. It's very easy to add somebody on the administration side and to set them up so that they have the access and groups that they need. The amount of work there is very minimal. I don't have to spend a lot of time doing that. And once they are part of our organization and are exposed to the tool, the time needed to pick it up and start working in the tool, in all aspects, is very minimal, which is good. That's a big plus for this tool.
Also, the reporting automation is definitely a time-saver because I can set things to run and then I don't have to worry about them unless I need to change a parameter of a report.
One of the things we're looking at, which I believe will save us time, is the task feature. With it we can generate tasks off one master ticket and that will be automated so it will save time and the effort of having to make sure that all the right areas within our organization are aware of a particular ticket and that they do the tasks they need to do. That automation is definitely a time-saver.
Another feature we use when we're loading our inventory into our CMDB — it's not really automation — is the fact that you can load mass lists of inventory at one time. You don't have to generate single records and that is a time saver.
Within our system we have a series of notifications and email rules which would be considered automation within the system. We're able to keep our master ticket queue, where everything comes in, clean. Depending on certain types that come in, we don't necessarily need to look at them, or we can route them directly to a given area without intervention. We do save time with that as well.
It depends on what we are working on, but overall, SysAid saves us one to two hours a week.
In terms of having to hire extra people, it hasn't saved me there, but it has allowed me to free up my techs' time to be able to focus on other things. So in a roundabout way, it has had some impact on headcount because they're able to concentrate on other activities rather than spending time doing tasks that are not automated.
Another part of the cost savings for us is that I don't have to consume part of a resource, outside of myself, to do the administration of the tool. It is very intuitive. They do provide you Professional Services to teach you and get you up to speed, but once you have all that, the administration is not a big ask on my time. The flexibility to be able to change things and do things, from my end, in a quick manner, is a cost savings. Overall the administrative side does save you costs in terms of resources and time. And the fact that you don't have to buy other tools to supplement what you may want to do — you don't have to buy a new Knowledge Base because that's in there already — is definitely a cost savings from an IT perspective.
What is most valuable?
All the features are valuable. They all play a role in our overall support model.
What was important to us was that we could track incidents and service requests separately, and not in a complicated manner. That definition represents a workflow and a work time for us.
The Knowledge Base was key in our support model because it is a way of sharing information across our organization, Ross IT. It represented not only a centralized point to collect that information, but it was about having that information so you're not constantly doing the same issue or request over and over again; you have that documented.
The CMDB has been just as valuable in its own way because we had an in-house-built, legacy system of inventory, but prior to my arrival at Ross, the information wasn't very accurate. Having the assets tracked within SysAid allows us to not only put a more robust process in place to track our inventory, but the relationship function within SysAid, from CIs (configuration items) to customers to the database, allows you to know what assets or CIs your customers have when providing support for them. We haven't gotten to that point yet because we're in the last phase of putting all our assets in the database. But once we have finished that, we're really going to turn on the relationships and that's going to give us an even clearer path around our support for our customers.
Also, the service desk orchestration, overall, is good. It allows an organization to build that service desk concept into its organizational and support strategy. And it allows an organization to digest that and create a support model very quickly around the tools. The fact that the tools are integrated within the system itself gives the organization a really robust way to integrate everything and have a complete support model.
The other aspect that we use as is the reporting function. It's fairly good. I'd like to see some growth in that area over time. But for an organization just starting out and building that complete service desk model and the components behind it, it's a good start. The reporting lets you complete your circle because it has a lot of ready reports that, in most cases and for most organizations, would hit the main things you would want. You don't have to write them, so that's really nice. If you've had any type of reporting responsibilities in your background, learning how to write reports in this particular tool is fairly easy to pick up. You can be generating those reports very quickly.
There is also a good scheduling feature, which is nice because you can automate a lot of that.
What needs improvement?
The Knowledge Base would be another area where I would look for growth in SysAid. It is very much a text-based article system, or you can do attachments. But I'd like to see it grow so that it is more graphical and has some additional tracking features. The Knowledge Base is a simple text editor. I'd like to have more formatting and be able to use more visual elements within the tool.
One of the features that I'm hoping comes at some point is that currently you can only have one Knowledge Base instance within it. For me, it would be beneficial to have multiple instances for different purposes. I'd like to have a completely separate one for customers and the only way I can achieve that right now, where I can tag articles to only be viewed by customers, would be if I use its portal function. The portal function is not a function, at this time, that my organization would have any need to turn on. Because of that, I'm limited. I can't directly expose articles to customers. I'd like to see a little bit more development in that area where you're able to have segmentation of knowledge.
The other aspect that I'd like to see is that, in the Knowledge Base and in the CMDB, I can't run reports into those entities. I can do it from the incidents and requests — and problem management, but we don't use that. So for the Knowledge Base and CMDB, I have to go into the dashboard for each one of those and use filters to get to the information that I want, and then I can export it. A nice feature and growth opportunity for SysAid would be to develop the reporting tool and link reporting capabilities to all the aspects within the total solution.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using SysAid for about three years now.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
It has a good interface. When I was out looking for possible tools for us to use, what was very important to me, in our organizational organization's case, was having it be simplistic and not complicated. We were able to spin up everything very quickly. Our IT support staff took to it right away so there was very little training needed. Putting the pieces together to turn it on and make it live involved minimal work. What I like about the tool is that you can manage different aspects of your organization from a service-management perspective, but it's not overly complicated and that's a good thing. For us it works very well.
How was the initial setup?
The setup was pretty straightforward. SysAid's professional staff did a really good job of helping us understand how the tool works and what was important to consider as we were setting the tool up. Once we had that knowledge, it was pretty straightforward to do and maintain. It works very well.
For maintenance of SysAid I do the front-end administration and my team of three system admins does the back-end infrastructure stuff because we link to LDAP for users and the like. It's one system admin function and that's a very small part of their overall responsibilities. For us, maintenance is not a big investment.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
One of the factors that, when I was first looking at tools, made SysAid attractive was the initial cost for bringing the system in. I found it to be very reasonable and very appropriate for what you got with the tool. The standard stuff that initially comes with it was a really good base. That meant I didn't have to add a lot of things. It was a good value. That was very important to me in deciding what tool we were going to use.
Overall, the price is good. It's all about what you get for the base amount. From my perspective, you want to look at what you're getting out-of-the-box. SysAid does a good job of putting key stuff in the box for you.
You get X amount of initial administrator's licenses. Each person who has to use the system in some capacity on the tech side needs an administrator's license. You have to take that into consideration in terms of your costs as you grow.
We have also added the TeamViewer integration so we can remote to a customer's desk through SysAid. We've done that because it's integrated within the tool and we can do some tracking of things.
You really have to decide what's important to you: What you're going to do in the immediate scope of your environment and does SysAid bring that as part of the out-of-the-box functionality, and what things you might have to add as a result of that.
What other advice do I have?
If you have a service management strategy and model of support, that integration of key elements that are important to your organization — whether it's incidents or service requests or problem management or asset management or a CMDB database — becomes very important. The fact that they're all in this one tool is a nice thing to have, both in terms of functionality and cost.
We don't use the asset management. We use the CMDB for our inventory and we went to that because the barcode scanner app currently only functions with the CMDB. I made the decision to use the CMDB in the capacity of tracking our inventory because once we get our inventory in, I want my techs to have a quick, easy, and efficient way to scan an asset to make sure it's in the database. If I used the asset management system in that capacity, I would have lost that functionality.
Overall, I would give the product about a nine out of 10. It brings a lot to the table. It is a very simplistic system in a very good way. There are definitely some growth opportunities for it and I'm excited to see how they'll grow the tool. Overall it is a good solution for our purposes as a mid-sized college, the school of business, within the university. It's a good solution for a small or mid-sized organization that wants to create a support model using an integrated tool. It fits the bill really well.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
Which version of this solution are you currently using?