Information technology service management, or ITSM, centralizes and automates common IT processes for personnel. It also simplifies IT tasks for ordinary users and non-IT employees. IT service management helps businesses that don’t have dedicated IT teams as they manage hardware and software, handle technical incidents, and create reports of their IT data. It provides better automation and tighter management for device, application, and network incidents and tasks.
ITSM tools combine IT service functions into a single digital platform, usually accessed through a web portal or native application. IT personnel manage help desk tickets and their progress through the portal. ITSM tools often have mobile functionality, too.
Also Read: The Future of IT Service Management
- Common Features of ITSM Tools
- Top ITSM Tools
- How to Choose an ITSM Tool
Common Features of ITSM Tools
- The most popular feature of ITSM tools is ticketing—the service desk function of IT management. Users submit tickets, often through both email and a web portal, when technical problems arise. The ability to search old tickets that have been resolved is helpful, too.
- Problem management is a combination of incidents that have escalated beyond just one quick fix.
- Asset management includes handling company devices and maintaining applications and physical network points. Without a central control point, hardware and software are difficult to manage and protect. Asset management provides a unified digital location to view the status of all company assets.
- Customizability, or the ability to configure a service management solution to a company’s needs, is also important. Some businesses want more control than the features they’ll receive out of the box. Others want a simpler solution. Some amount of configuration is important for any enterprise that wants to grow their IT management infrastructure.
- Analytics and reporting not only give companies actionable data, but they also make regulatory compliance and auditing easier. By providing comprehensive reports, ITSM tools allow businesses to showcase their compliance and make audit trails easier to follow.
Top ITSM Tools
The following six tools help enterprises provide employees with automated ticketing and other service desk features.
Best small-business ticketing solution
Freshservice from Freshworks offers customizable ticketing automation for small and medium-sized businesses. Freshservice offers a clean, modern UI and prompt, friendly support agents and engineers to help streamline businesses’ IT services. Customers found Freshservice quick to implement and cheaper than other solutions, although the more affordable plans for small businesses didn’t have as many features as they’d like.
Freshservice integrates with Freshrelease, a project management application: Freshrelease allows users to create projects from tickets and track IT tasks with Kanban boards. It also integrates with Slack, Microsoft Teams, and JIRA, as well as other platforms. Freshservice offers a 21-day free trial.
- ITIL incident management
- Change and release management with CMDB data
- Integration with Freshrelease project management application
- Service request management and catalog of service items for end users to choose from
- Native mobile apps
- Problem management with automation for related incidents
- Integrations with Slack, Teams, and JIRA
- Users encountered limitations in reporting.
- Some Android users had problems with the mobile app.
Jira Service Management
Best solution for very large enterprises with large IT teams
Jira Service Management (SM) is an IT ticket management and service desk platform for enterprises and managed service providers. Jira SM, named Service Desk until 2020, allows business users and users’ customers alike to create service desk tickets. Jira offers a customizable service center, SLAs, configuration management and dependency mapping, and a federated knowledge base.
Jira offers a free plan for companies with three or fewer agents, which includes incident, problem, and change management, as well as SLA management and configurable workflows. Jira offers strong ticketing features, but because it’s complex to implement and customize, it’s a better solution for large businesses that have enough IT personnel to dedicate time to configuring it.
- Configuration management with dependency mapping
- Asset tracking and discovery
- SLA policies and automated escalation rules
- Request management platform and customizable service desk
- Confluence for knowledge management and team collaboration
- Atlassian Marketplace, which offers app integrations for customizing Jira SM
- Integrations with other Atlassian software
- Jira can be challenging to implement and learn.
ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus
Best for medium-sized businesses that need many features and high customizability
ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus is an ITSM solution for both medium-size businesses and large companies. Its ESM solution for enterprises is compatible with the ITIL 4 framework and offers deployment in public clouds, on premises, and as SaaS. ServiceDesk Plus integrates with other ManageEngine products, such as Mobile Device Manager and Desktop Central, and The ServiceDesk Plus MSP application also integrates with Active Directory to import user data from AD into the MSP app.
One ServiceDesk Plus highlight is its IT release management feature: users can configure release templates and view an integrated calendar of changes and releases. Users found ServiceDesk Plus easy to configure and use, though some companies struggled to implement it and found it complex or difficult to teach to non-IT employees.
- Problem management with risk mitigation and future incident identification
- ITIL compatibility
- Service catalog for end users
- Configuration management database (CMDB) for configuration items
- IT release management for cloud environments
- Assigning tickets to different users
- Native mobile apps
- Zoho Cliq for team communication
- Users experienced slow customer support responses and language barriers.
- It’s difficult to search requesters within ManageEngine
- Version updates happen regularly, and users can’t skip versions as upgrades occur.
Best customization solution for large businesses
ServiceNow is a cloud-based SaaS platform that offers an ITIL management framework for large businesses and enterprises. ServiceNow ITSM has customizable dashboards, out-of-the-box functionality, and customer service ticketing options. Users can attach documents and screenshots to tickets, monitor and update incidents, and use Now Mobile, ServiceNow’s native mobile application.
Users have a self-service portal for request management. IT agents receive their own workspace for resolving incidents, as well as AI-assisted suggestions. The agent workspace also integrates with customer-facing communication channels. The mobile agent provides mobile workflows for IT support teams that aren’t connected to the internet or are frequently out of office.
- Framework for ITIL management
- Now Mobile, a native mobile app
- Vendor management services for ITSM Pro plan
- Agent Workspace for IT agents
- Highly customizable interface and dashboards
- Mobile Agent
- Monitoring and updating incidents
- Good out-of-the-box functionality
- Users noticed that the application was slow to respond while performing some tasks.
- The learning curve for customizations is high.
Also Read: ServiceNow vs. Jira
Best for customer service
Service management provider SysAid offers three products for small, medium, or large businesses: Help Desk, ITSM, and ITSM+. SysAid’s highlight is its customizability: it’s extremely flexible and configurable, allowing businesses of all sizes to tweak the software to fit their workflows. The enterprise-focused ITSM+ provides BI & Analytics and an Insights panel, as well as a Business Value dashboard that reveals team performance and impact.
SysAid customers spoke particularly highly of the team’s prompt, supportive customer response team, as well as its customizability and versatility. SysAid integrates with Slack, Office 365, and JIRA, and it also syncs with Zapier for creating thousands of integration pathways.
- Service Level Management with customizable SLAs
- Task automation for enterprise customers
- BI & Analytics and Business Value dashboard for enterprise customers
- Self-service portal
- Active Directory integration
- Helpful and responsive support team
- Patch management feature within Asset Management
- Customers struggled with the steep learning curve that comes with a flexible, configurable solution.
Best service delivery solution
TOPdesk is a SaaS platform that offers ITSM, enterprise service management, and facility management solutions. Users can design their own knowledge base to help customers answer their own basic questions. Organizations using TOPdesk have access to over 90 software integrations, as well as an API that allows them to customize integrations. TOPdesk’s dashboard allows users to view and create reports and set up module dashboards for different processes if they want.
TOPdesk offers contract and service level management for handling customer and supplier contracts and agreements. During call logs, TOPdesk automatically generates SLAs. The change management module allows users to record all organizational changes through workflows and create change templates with dependencies between activities.
- Contract management and service level management
- Automated SLAs
- Change management workflows and change templates
Knowledge base and self-service portal
- Problem management and error database
- Single sign-on
- API for creating custom integrations
- Some users had trouble with report creation, finding it confusing.
How to Choose an ITSM Tool
ITSM tools should have the following features:
- Incident management
- Problem management
- Change management
- Reporting capabilities
If you’re shopping for ITSM software, ensure that your final choices have the above features at minimum. Other useful features include:
- API for creating integrations. If you know your business particularly needs to connect with a variety of other platforms, customizable integrations will make that process easier.
- Analytics. If you’re a large enterprise and you want to derive insights and predictions from your ITSM tool, choose one with more advanced built-in analytics.
- A native mobile application. If your IT personnel will be on the go frequently or will need to make changes without the internet, mobile apps allow them to perform tasks outside an office.
ITSM tools specialize in different areas, such as service level management, ticketing, or high configurability. Choose a tool that best fits what your business needs.