Get full ITIL v3 ITSM functionality over the Web

* Service-Now's IT service management platform helps improve system uptime

Imagine getting the full functionality of recommended ITIL v3 applications like configuration management, service desk, CMDB and so on without installing any software in your data center. Service-now.com has a complete suite of ITIL applications that are all delivered as a service over the web. The company is gaining lots of converts from big monolithic enterprise ITSM applications.

What does it take to rank among the top 50 companies on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in America? Among other things, these days it takes great information technology. Brian Morgan, director of IT at Interbank FX (IBFX) in Salt Lake City concurs.

IBFX is a leading provider of online foreign exchange trading services, serving clients from more than 140 countries. The company handles about $4 billion in transactions a day for its customers. Inc. magazine recently named IBFX as the 46th fastest growing private company in America, and the 5th fastest growing financial services company. Utah Business magazine gives IBFX the title of number one growth company in the state of Utah.

To reach and sustain that level of growth, the IT systems need to be able to grow and adapt rapidly to the company’s needs. This is one of the reasons Morgan and his IT team selected a  software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering from Service-now.com as the company’s IT service management (ITSM) platform. “Service-now.com helps us provide better uptime for our systems than we could do if we hosted an application ourselves,” says Morgan.

Service-now.com is a fully hosted on-demand IT service management application based on ITIL v3. The company was founded in 2005 by Fred Luddy, who previously was CTO at Peregrine Systems and Remedy. When Luddy left Peregrine, he wanted to create a company that offers a far simpler way to do service management. The result is an application that is entirely Web-based using Web 2.0 techniques. Service-now.com competes against the heavy hitters of the ITSM world, including IBM, HP, BMC Software and CA. The difference is, you don’t have to install any software in order to use Service-now.com.

When Brian Morgan took the IT director job at IBFX, the company had a rudimentary open source trouble ticketing system. He introduced his team and the CIO to Service-now.com, which Morgan had used at a previous company. “As soon as we started using Service-now.com [at IBFX], we became 10 times more efficient in our computing services,” says Morgan. His group uses Service-Now for incident management, change management, the service catalog and a range of other activities. They have a CMBD that will be fully loaded with all the configuration information for the entire IT and facilities teams. “We are on plan to use it to track everything,” says Morgan.

Don’t let the fact that Service-now.com is offered over the Web fool you. It’s as full-featured and robust as much more complex products like OpenView and Unicenter. The appeal of the product is in its simplicity, though. “In my previous job, the company tried to use CA’s ITSM product,” says Morgan. “When we needed to make a simple change, like adding a field to our database, we’d have to hire CA consultants for four hours to make the change. With Service-now.com, we tell an engineer what we want and it’s done in five minutes. The cost to configure the software is almost nil.”

Service-now.com upgrades its software three times a year. Everything is automatic for the customers, so there is no new software to install or pay extra for. The software has applications to support ITIL v3 adoption, including incident tracking, license compliance, asset portfolio, configuration management, chargebacks, and more.

The users of Service-now.com get role-based access to the applications they need to do their jobs. Using Web 2.0 techniques, it’s possible to customize the desktop dashboard for each user, just as you can customize My Yahoo.

Service-now.com also has a wiki and online forums that create a dynamic community where people can share knowledge and ideas.

Luddy says that many of the new customers his company is acquiring are converts from more traditional ITSM products. For such customers, Service-now.com provides help with loading all knowledge articles from the previous application into the Service-now.com tool, as well as integration with network systems management. He estimates it takes anywhere from six weeks to six months to get into full production mode with Service-now.com, and most of that time is spent by the customer figuring out their workflow and processes. Service-now.com software is flexible enough for each customer to customize it to meet their own needs.

The product is priced according to the number of process users, like help desk personnel and change management administrators - the people who get the requests on the back end. All of the features of Service-now.com are available to every customer without a need to install extra modules or pay additional fees.

As for Brian Morgan at IBFX, he can’t imagine going back to developing his own applications or even installing a massive enterprise application for ITSM. “Service-now.com is well designed and easy to use. Having it hosted remotely for us really cuts our overhead costs. I like this business model,” says Morgan.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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