Information technology service management (ITSM) is well established in the enterprise, and there are many ITSM tools and software available for managed service providers (MSPs). However, these tools are evolving rapidly. A few years ago they were primarily on-premises systems, but more recently cloud-based systems have begun to dominate. These systems are adding features related to work-from-home and hybrid work environments, artificial intelligence (AI), and FinOps.
What is ITSM Software?
ITSM deals with the design, creation, delivery, support, and management of information technology (IT) services throughout their lifecycle to meet the needs of an organization. That includes services that impact end users as well as the underlying applications, hardware, and infrastructure. ITSM helps in solving IT problems efficiently and in maximizing returns from the IT budget.
Key Features of ITSM
ITSM software provides tools and capabilities that are vital for organizations to manage the consumption of IT services, the infrastructure that supports those IT services, and the IT organization’s responsibility in delivering business value with those services. They are most heavily used by IT service desks and IT service delivery functions to support the tasks and workflows for processes, including incident, request, problem, change, knowledge, and configuration management.
As ITSM tools transition to the cloud and incorporate AI as well as predictive and preventive features, they are also adding functions such as virtual agents and chatbots and embracing tighter integration with knowledge management and IT operations management (ITOM).
Key features of ITSM systems include:
- Incident management: Helps IT identify priorities with automation features that simplify processes
- Problem management: Manages the lifecycle of problems that could happen in an IT service to help resolve incidents rapidly
- Change management: Brings order to the vast number of changes taking place within the IT infrastructure by tracking them and highlighting potential issues
- Service desk: Where users receive help for requests and emergencies
- Analytics: Makes sense of the large amount of data gathered by ITSM systems or makes it available to other systems for business management purposes
- ITIL integration: An IT Infrastructure Library can help enterprises and MSPs enhance service quality and efficiency. It provides a structured framework for tracking configuration items (CIs) and incidents
- Service Asset/Configuration Management: Maintaining an accurate record of all information about the CIs required to deliver an IT service as well as all dependencies and relationships
Best ITSM Tools
Channel Insider evaluated a variety of ITSM tools. Here are the ones that stood out in our review and analysis:
Ivanti Neurons for ITSM provides automated workflows to eliminate manual processes. It can function as an IT help desk and support ticket solution or as a full-featured ITSM and ITIL service management platform. It can scale and operate in the cloud or on-premises. MSPs can sell Ivanti solutions as a subscription service and provide delivery and management of network-based services, applications, and equipment.
- Incident management system for dealing with inbound ticket requests from any channel
- Track assets across their lifecycle, including contracts, warranty, and financial information
- Automatic detection, diagnosing, and healing of endpoint issues
- Voice automation
- Adapt, design, and take control of workflows without any coding
- Pre-defined workflow blocks integrate with external systems and data sources to pull in information and connect to other tools for automated processes
- Automatically pre-populate the configuration management database (CMDB); meet compliance requirements; and gain a centralized view of assets, relationships, and service maps
- AI-powered bots enable users to have a conversation with a bot to obtain answers, submit requests, or ask for help
Also read: The Best Help Desk Tools for MSPs
Servicely is a full-featured ITSM platform that supports ITIL4 and can be modified or extended to meet customized approaches to practices like change management. ITIL is enabled right out of the box. It provides a single system of record and can consolidate spreadsheets, databases, and forms to ensure everything is always up to date. This makes it easy to manage assets, CIs, contracts, and knowledge all in one place.
- Servicely regards a complete ITIL4 implementation within its service desk
- AI is integrated into the platform, which is said to save 30–60% service desk agent time across a wide range of ticket types
- Its workflow platform allows users to create workflows across any business unit to connect people, processes, and data
- Empower employees and customers to resolve support issues, submit forms, find knowledge and log tickets
- Single destination for employee support requests
- Searchable service catalog
- Embedded AI assistant uses natural language understanding (NLU) to understand and resolve user or customer issues as well as user intent
- Get service via email, self-service portal, or Slack
- Asset, CMDB, and contract management
- Integrate with popular sources of asset data
Jira Service Management by Atlassian is a unified platform for ITSM that encompasses development, IT, and business teams. Gartner included Atlassian in the 2021 edition of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for IT Service Management Tools, the sole “Visionary” in that report. Features include scalable request management through service desk, which enables teams to handle large volumes of service requests from internal and external customers through a self-service portal and service catalog.
- Low-code/no-code form building: Expanded low-code workflow capabilities through over 300 pre-built templates
- Flexible asset and configuration management: Discover, track, automate, and report on IT assets and infrastructure to gain visibility, anticipate the downstream impact of changes, and ensure services are functioning
- Integrations and marketplace apps: Improved incident and change management capabilities through connections to Bitbucket, Jira Software, and other development solutions
- Jira Service Management customers report short, easy implementation experiences
- This unified platform empowers IT operations teams to collaborate with software development at scale
- Tight integrations between Jira Software and Jira Service Management means smooth workflows between development (Dev) and IT teams
- Transparent pricing model: Unlike the complex pricing structure of ServiceNow, Jira Service Management pricing is easy to understand and visible to all. No overpaying for unnecessary features.
ServiceNow helps service providers accelerate into new markets and improve customer experiences. It is a cloud-based service management solution built on the Now Platform, which allows organizations to break down silos, share data, deliver engaging user experiences, and drive cross-department workflows. ServiceNow ITSM includes request management, knowledge management, incident management, change management, and workforce and process optimization.
- ServiceNow ITSM is built on the Now Platform, which uses one code base and common data model. Platform capabilities include workflow, integrations, web portal, mobile apps, live chat, virtual agent, machine learning, analytics, and more. The Now Platform runs on an available, secure, and scalable cloud architecture
- Analyst firms such as Gartner and Forrester have named ServiceNow a leader in ITSM evaluations
- DevOps Change Velocity: Reduces risk and minimizes friction between Dev and IT operations by automating change management and governance
- Now Intelligence: Works smarter and makes better business decisions using in-platform analytics, AI, and machine learning to surface information, make predictions, and automate repetitive tasks. Surfaces context-aware recommendations and delivers better self-service with natural language query (NLQ) and virtual agent (VA) conversations
- ServiceNow’s IntegrationHub provides low-code integration and automation embedded in ServiceNow workflows. MSPs can get value quickly by connecting to hundreds of critical business systems in minutes with out-of-the-box spokes containing thousands of pre-built actions
- Domain Separation (also known as ServiceNow Multitenant Platform Architecture) allows MSPs to separate data, processes, and administrative tasks in a single instance into logical domains (or tenants). This model provides the ability to quickly on-board new customers with pre-configured tenants and simplify ongoing administration to get economies of scale
- AI Search uses intelligent queries to find info on the Now Platform and display search results; refine filter options; and answer in Service Portal, Now Mobile, and VA
- Universal Request allows agents to resolve cases across the enterprise and organizations to monitor and improve the end-to-end experience with cross-departmental SLAs and metrics
- Catalog Builder simplifies the process of creating and editing catalog items using a guided experience, along with specified restrictions. Catalog items and VA conversations can perform actions on external systems using IntegrationHub, which is an extension of Flow Designer
SysAid Service Automation uses AI to add automation to ITSM. The company emphasizes an ease of implementation and an improved agent and employee experience by providing good support and tools to enable them to self-solve their own issues and requests. SysAid also helps MSPs deal with multiple support portals and manage them in one place with one-click access to client assets.
- SysAid’s request, change, and problem management capabilities deliver service management across organizations
- Out-of-the-box templates
- Every incoming ticket is automatically categorized, prioritized, and assigned to the most appropriate person or resolution group within IT
- Automated escalation rules, including prioritization
- Notifies the relevant manager on delays and other issues
- SysAid Service Automation also includes Help Desk
Freshservice takes an employee-focused approach to service management. As well as ITSM, it covers ITOM to manage critical incidents and maximize uptime, IT asset management (ITAM) with a CMDB to optimize processes and spending, project and portfolio management (PPM) to deliver projects on time, and enterprise service management (ESM) across business functions. The platform has features for MSPs to manage multiple clients accounts.
- Freshservice can be configured to suit process and workflow needs
- Continuous deployments enable IT teams to provide uninterrupted support without legacy debt beneath a patched-up solution
- Improved operational efficiency through bots, automation, and orchestration
- Right-sized ITSM without the bloat and onboarding requirements of legacy software
- Easy to use: Designed for people who use the product
- Takes a consumer-grade approach for faster and wider employee adoption without any training or certification necessary
- Transparent pricing
Zendesk is an open-source ITSM alternative that brings together all of Zendesk’s service capabilities into one offering. It helps simplify workflows and address employee requests faster. It also offers a single workspace for internal support teams with all employee context in one place as well as features for routing, intelligence, and knowledge management. The Zendesk community offers plenty of help for MSPs.
- A focus on internal support (e.g. IT, HR, etc.) teams and the employee experience
- Frictionless experience for users
- An Answerbot and AI bots for chat, rapid assistance, and personalization
- Integrated hub for systems and tools
- Implement automation for HR (human resources) and IT support to achieve faster resolution times
- Use real time reporting to track core metrics, gain visibility, and reduce costs
- 750+ app integrations including SurveyMonkey, Dropbox, Slack, Jira Software, Okta, Box, and more.
- SaaS (software as a service) eliminates the need for upgrades/patches
- Ability to integrate with agent-facing apps to create better experiences for internal support teams
BMC Helix provides service management along with AI/ML and DevOps enhancements. Its containerized approach can scale to meet future needs. It also includes DevOps support and integration of operations management. Users can utilize it to meet service-level agreements (SLAs), resolve potential issues before they arrive, and deliver enhanced service experiences.
- The BMC Helix platform is an open, scalable, microservices-based architecture that helps deliver actionable insights on all aspects of service delivery and performance
- Provides intermediate and advanced ITSM core capabilities
- Helix is the first solution to receive ITILv4 certification in the industry
- BMC was also identified as a Leader in 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for IT Service Management (ITSM) Tools for the eighth consecutive year
- The platform received the highest score in the Advanced-Maturity Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) Use Case in the 2021 Gartner Critical Capabilities for ITSM Tools
- AI capabilities range from intelligent self-service (including knowledge management and virtual agents) to AI/ML service desk for enhanced agent productivity and advanced analytics for problem resolution as well as identifying areas for service improvements and innovations
- Omni-channel engagements across devices and methods (i.e., SMS, Progressive Web Apps, Slack, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp, etc.)
- Enables multi-cloud service management across different environments/providers to provide a single-pane-of-glass way to manage all services