SaaS heats up IT service management arena

ServiceNow changes IT management at JMC Steel Group

Software-as-a-service options are popping up all over these days, as discussed in this week's special Enterprise Cloud Services [add link to 10 SaaS companies to watch please] feature package. IT management is no exception. 

Software-as-a-service options are popping up all over these days, as discussed in this week's special Enterprise Cloud Services feature package. IT management is no exception. 

"There are lots of hot things going on with IT management SaaS, with the first wave being IT service management," says Jeff Kaplan, managing director of ThinkStrategies, which compiles the SaaS Showplace of providers. "And the hottest name in that space is ServiceNow," he adds.

ANALYSIS: How to become SaaS savvy

ServiceNow is not a new name to ITSM watchers (although the company used to write its moniker as Service-now.com). This newsletter recognized ServiceNow's interesting new model back in early 2007, and Gartner gave the company visionary status in its late 2008 "Magic Quadrant for the IT Service Desk."

At JMC Steel Group, a nationwide manufacturer of tubular products in Beachwood, Ohio, ServiceNow is proving its weight in heavy metal. "I've been in this business for 35 years now, and I've yet to come across a tool that provides me the flexibility and ability to manage services like ServiceNow does," says Thomas Tabor, the company's director of infrastructure and onetime program manager at CA Technologies, where he worked to help Fortune 100 companies implement IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices.

With that history, Tabor naturally looked to implement ITIL processes and embrace service management concepts when he came to JMC Steel two years ago. One of his first moves was to get key people within his organization ITIL v3 certified and then figure out the best way to track services calls coming into his organization, he says.

Getting up and operational quickly was a chief goal, and Tabor says ServiceNow came to his attention as he evaluated traditional ITSM products from companies such as CA, HP and others. "At first," he admits, "I was apprehensive about doing ITSM as a service."

But once he checked out ServiceNow and realized it had the same product lineup -- incident, problem, change, release, CMDB -- as other ITSM vendors and learned that it only charged one price for everything, Tabor says he realized he needed to look at the company as a serious contender. It worked on its incident management processes, and "within 30 days we were up and operational and taking tickets," he says.

That was about a year ago, and since then JMC Steel added in change management, CMDB, project and time entry and is in the process of rolling out the knowledge base and will shortly get into problem management.

"Pretty much anything that happens in IT is now being measured and managed through ServiceNow," Tabor says. "And that means I have the mechanisms in place to collect information on which I can make good management decisions."

As one of his project managers said and with which Tabor says he agrees, "It's the Holy Grail of IT."

Learn more about this topic

ITSM 'visionary' delivers service, now

Service-now.com: SaaS vendor delivering ITIL process help

10 SaS companies to watch

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Must read: 10 new UI features coming to Windows 10