What is most valuable?
It's a governance oriented tool with a very good data model. It supports all the governance, ticketing, service desk, change management, and all the ITIL processes. It supports what we need. In terms of IT governance and IT operation management, it's as good as any centralized management database.
How has it helped my organization?
In terms of data quality and process ticketing, it is helpful. For instance, if you have a number of service desk tickets coming in and you have to refer to a system, a product, or an application interface, it is backed up by information from this database for reference. Everyone references the same thing. It terms of financial management, you can pile up the costs and the value because you have “service trees”. All these configuration items (CIs) are in there and that's the advantage. Everyone is looking at the same platform.
What needs improvement?
I would like to see better reporting and better support of integrations with the other systems. There is an additional tool that they give to you for the end users so that it's easier. It’s called the UCMDB browser, which is like an internet browser so you can browse the data easier. This should be in each and every tool in the suite so that you are referencing the same database. They are doing this step by step, and they are quite far right in the process.
In the reporting, it should be more flexible in terms of data drill downs and dimensional data excerpts, enrichment of data so that you can really use it as a data mart into your service trees.
I would like to see a centralized configuration and administration tool because right now the administration for the tool and the sub-tool, UCMDB browser, is done through different interfaces. For example, on the GUI, you do it on the JMX management interface, and you can sometimes add it from the database directly.
There's always room for improvement in this area. If you want to run a company based on a good referential and integrity, then you want your data to improve all the time.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability is quite good. It has some deficiencies in lower level functionality. In terms of what it should deliver, such as reporting and performance, it's the main feature and it is fine. Where it's a little bit lagging is integration. If you have big masses of data going back and forth, it's going to perform better. They promised this with the next version. We are not on the latest version right now. We are expecting additional improvements to be made.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
I think the scalability is okay. As we are running in a cluster environment and having lots of different "probes" that are collecting data from systems. We have between 50-100 probes.
How is customer service and technical support?
They have three levels of support. The third level is close to R&D. You are lucky to get over the first level, then you are happy with the support. At the first level, they sometimes ask you the same things that you have told them before. It could also be because of the high level way that they are now deploying. They should brush up the skills of the first level.
How was the initial setup?
Years ago, it was very complex setup because there was close to no knowledge in this area. Even professional services were learning by doing. But today, setup is easier. Just this year, they announced that they have a containerized version of all these tools that we're using and you can configure it from the start. This should be easier moving forward.
What other advice do I have?
They have an ear for the customer; they listen to you. I'm personally very active with them, they have conference calls where you can give feedback or ask them for advice, in addition to the normal support. They have lots of knowledgeable guys now moving to Micro Focus which I hope continues. I'm looking forward to that as they are more of a software company. The problem with support is they have a process, or an organizational structure, that is not leaning to software support.
There is a very steep learning curve. Once you are at the summit, you have a very good oversight and the tool is leaning toward workflows you should be adopting. It's hard to learn all of this, in the beginning.
It is good to you have an expert at the site, somebody in the company already, or someone to train you on the job. I don't think that the training courses have much value. We had training for the tools but we learn more from experiencing it on our own, than from the courses themselves.