Software-as-a-service (SaaS) management vendor Service-now.com upgraded its namesake IT service management package this winter. It could replace legacy framework products such as BMC Remedy and HP Service Desk, drastically easing the administrative burden for IT managers.
The Winter release adds support for iPhones and Blackberrys, a global enterprise IT search for configuration management databases (CMDB), My Yahoo-like Service-now.com home page customisation controls, field and attachment encryption for more SaaS security, and cross-application graphical workflow via SaaS.
We looked at the service logging on as three different types of users – an employee, a member of the IT management team and the IT administrator – using demo data supplied by Service-now.com.
The web interface is good, with the main menu items tabbed down the left side of the web page, which at a screen resolution of 1280 x 1024 is easily readable. However, if many tabs are opened simultaneously the web page length soon occupies more than one screen, necessitating paging up and down frequently.
After users log on, they land on a pre-configured homepage. The page can be set to refresh at intervals of five, 15, 30 or 60 minutes or turned off and refreshed manually. Five standard views can be selected: ITIL Homepage, Employee Self Service, Enterprise CMDB, Service-now performance, and Project Portfolio Management (PPM). Users can also opt to change the screen layout if needed and customise the pages specifically for their job roles. For example, administrators could keep open the page where all critical errors relating to the business are logged and updated.
Neat touches are the integration with Google Maps, which can be used to show where the locations of critical outages are, the updated response times of the network browser and the Service-now.com server hosting your SaaS instance.
Browser support includes IE 6 upwards, Firefox 1.5 upwards and Safari 3.0 upwards for Windows. For Mac systems, the above Firefox and Safari versions are supported and for Linux, just Firefox.
Overall, Service-now.com's SaaS package is very comprehensive and has some great features and functionality wired into the platform. Logging on as IT administrator gives some idea of how much responsibility is heaped on their shoulders. Although demo data can provide information about Service-now.com's package, its feature set and operational dependencies, only a trial using live systems would give would-be users the real-world view, and how it compares with their current IT service management package.
Pricing for the service starts at $100 (£70) per month per process user, which Service-now.com defines as an 'IT worker who uses the system'. Volume discounts are available and employee logons to register an incident or access self help features are free.