ManageEngine offers an alternative to complex, expensive IT management suites

Small businesses can’t afford the complex solutions from the traditional vendors of IT and systems management suites, but ManageEngine offers an interesting range of management products targeted at the SMB market that can be deployed on-premise or as SaaS applications.

When it comes to IT systems management, large enterprises have traditionally been served well by the vendor community. Small and midsize businesses — not so much.

Large organizations with deep pockets and the appetite for long deployment cycles have had their choice of management suites from vendors like BMC Software, CA, HP and IBM. But those product suites have been too expensive and too complex for smaller businesses that still have a need to manage their IT systems.

ManageEngine offers an alternative for SMBs and enterprise as well. The company (which claims to have a presence in three out of five Fortune 500 companies) offers an enterprise IT management portfolio with more than 20 purpose-built products that fall into four primary areas:

  • Network Management
  • IT Help Desk and Windows Management
  • Server and Application Management
  • Log Analysis and Security Management

Here are just a few of the areas the company says it can address:

  • Desktop and mobile device management for all types of devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones
  • Password management for securing key IT assets, including servers, networking devices and applications
  • User experience management for applications, including web-based apps
  • Event log analysis and reporting using logs from practically any device or application
  • Help desk with integrated asset and project management built on the ITIL framework
  • Active Directory management and reporting
  • Compliance reporting for a range of regulations, including SOX, PCI and HIPAA

There are a couple of things that make ManageEngine different in the systems management space. First, the company devotes lots of resources to product development. Of the company’s 750 employees, about 85% are said to work in a development capacity. ManageEngine has a corporate philosophy that each of its 20+ products is to be highly competitive in its own market space – independent of the company’s other products. For example, in the helpdesk arena, ManageEngine has built its ServiceDesk Plus product to compete directly with the market leader, Remedy from BMC Software, in terms of features and functionality.

Even though each of the products can be considered “point” products because they are purpose-built to address a specific need, all of the ManageEngine products are built on the same code base, sport the same user interface, and share data where appropriate. The company offers an integrated suite called IT360 that is centered around a unified dashboard that provides broad visibility of an organization’s IT systems. IT360 allows customers to assemble a suite from the products they need to run their business. IT360 incorporates Service Management, Application Monitoring and Infrastructure Monitoring.

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Something else that makes ManageEngine different from competitors: the company wants customers to download and try their products before they commit to buying them. Company President Raj Sabhlok told me, “We have always said the customers should kick the tires and make sure we are going to solve the problems that they have before they buy our products.” Sabhlok says the company promotes pricing visibility by posting all prices on the website so that customers know exactly what they are paying.

Given that ManageEngine got its start in the early 2000s, most of the products were built for on-premise use, but all of the major products are now offered as either on-premise or cloud-based. There also are versions for Managed Service Providers who need a multi-tenant solution to manage hundreds of customers within their environment.

With a broad range of products, ManageEngine offers cost effective alternatives to the traditional enterprise-level IT systems management suites.

Linda Musthaler is a Principal Analyst with Essential Solutions Corp., which researches the practical value of information technology and how it can make individual workers and entire organizations more productive.  Essential Solutions offers consulting services to computer industry and corporate clients to help define and fulfill the potential of IT.  

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