Service-now.com bolsters ITSM SaaS offering

* IT cost management, runbook automation and software development life-cycle key focuses

Service-now.com, recognized by Gartner as a visionary for delivering IT service management in a software-as-a-service delivery model, continues pushing the market boundaries with its Fall 2010 release, now available.

Service-now.com, recognized by Gartner as a visionary for delivering IT service management in a software-as-a-service  delivery model, continues pushing the market boundaries with its Fall 2010 release, now available. 

To be sure, this latest release includes the typical tweaks and step enhancements. But it also adds three applications aimed at reducing grunt work so IT can zoom in on the projects that will help streamline services delivery and boost business efficiency.

In the former category, for example, come improvements to the IT cost management functionality Service-now.com rolled out earlier this year.

Initially the company focused IT cost management on configuration items (CI) and is now also factoring in labor costs. "We're capturing that data in real time and in an automated fashion as the task occurs, as the CI comes in or as the cost is scheduled to be rolled out," says Matthew French, director of marketing at Service-now.com. For charge or "show" back, the company also allows assignment of costs based on a number of different factors using what it calls "allocation units" rather than on a percentage basis -- since percentages can change so fast, he says.

IT managers looking toward ITSM as a service should find this IT cost management model appealing, says Michael Cote, an analyst with Redmonk.

"The need for cost management features comes up a lot nowadays, with a desire for more precise knowledge of what's being spent in and on in IT," he says. "Service-now.com is gathering more data closer to the metal, if you will, about the processes that you're running and laying the foundation for pulling in all the data you need for a more realistic cost assessment."

As for the new applications available with the Fall 2010 release, Service-now.com now offers runbook automation, including a process pack for VMware instance provisioning; software development life-cycle management; and sales force automation.

"What's interesting with this release is it's becoming clear that instead of just sticking with just the service desk, Service-now.com wants to branch out into other parts of IT management. … It's trying to get toward one hosted service that orchestrates all of the pieces for you," Cote says. With runbook automation, for example, "it's providing the beginning of a tool you would need to draw out processes, such as provisioning a new user. You can model out the process, see where humans get involved and where automation kicks in," he says.

Of course, this is easier said than done, Cote adds. "There are innumerable technical challenges to get over for that and many things that need to be developed, but it's good to see someone trying to attack the problem."

How open are you to the idea of all-in-one ITSM-based SaaS? Drop me a line with your thoughts.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

SD-WAN buyers guide: Key questions to ask vendors (and yourself)