What is our primary use case?
This solution integrates with the service desk tool to allow for the appropriate notification of support teams. You can set up a queue of people and you can assign their devices, their priorities, and the order in which they are called. It allows for shift work and it can all be automated once it is set up. If somebody has to be contacted then it happens automatically through the interface.
The system works by allowing for support queues, where you can define who is available and who is on-call. Then, based on ticket priority, you can define what kind of notifications take place. For example, if it is an urgent ticket or a priority-one incident, then you need to make a phone call. In contrast, if it is something minor for one individual, then it's typically going to be an email and that's the extent of it.
What is most valuable?
The most valuable feature is the automation because it reduces the demand on resources. It automates the escalation of a ticket if the person doesn't answer within a certain amount of it, and it passes it on to the next person. People are required to respond, for example, by pressing the one key on the phone to acknowledge the call. If it was an email then it would require a reply or similar type of acknowledgment.
Having this level of automation is a great benefit to being able to more quickly contact people. It reduces the amount of oversight required, and consequently, the amount of time to assign and get a response on a ticket.
What needs improvement?
The integration with other systems needs to be more flexible.
The interface is a little bit rigid and can be improved. For example, it tends to operate on the attribute of a record. So, if a group has a name, it tends to want the group names as opposed to, for example, the ID of a record. It creates a problem because if you rename the record then you lose all of the connections.
The data validation and verification need to be enhanced so that when data is changed, it reviews it in an automated manner and catches all of the anomalies. Otherwise, all you're doing is shifting the workload from an operational standpoint to an administrative one.
For how long have I used the solution?
We began using xMatters IT Management in 2014.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
This is a stable solution. This system runs 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and stability is not an issue.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
This solution is fairly scalable. In the organization where I had this running, we were handling up to 150,000 incidents per month. There were 5,000 incidents a day and an IT staff of 1,000 people. I'm not sure if it would even be cost-effective in a smaller organization.
How are customer service and technical support?
I would say that their support is above average, although not exceptional. It depends, in part, on who you were speaking with. However, part of the reason that we sometimes struggle with support is that we are outside of the norm for what is expected.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was complex. The reason for this is that the interface is not as sophisticated as our needs.
The configuration is partly done in the service desk tool, where it gathers the contact information or it reads it dynamically. xMatters stores the method and the parameter for contact. As an example, if the method is to contact via email then the parameter would be the email address. If the method is a phone call then the parameter would be a phone number. You can set up other methods, too, depending on how sophisticated your environment is.
Implementing and deploying the system took six months to complete, including testing to makes sure that it worked.
What was our ROI?
The cost of this solution was less than the cost of staff required for the same job, so it is saving money.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
This is a subscription-based, SaaS solution. There were some additional costs during the implementation because it was well beyond their standard configuration.
What other advice do I have?
At the backend, this service is initiated internally, but the notifications and alerts are sent externally to the vendor through web service calls.
My advice for anybody who is implementing xMatters is to be sure that they have a very clear plan on how they want to process whatever communications they're doing. The tool can do almost anything but you have to come to the table with the process well-defined, before you being implementation.
I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?