Top 5 IT Service Management Tools To Consider in 2021 – Toolbox

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IT Service Management tools enhance business efficiency by automating and simplifying business processes and deliveries. Here’s a look at 5 of the best-known ITSM tools you should consider.

Over the past few decades, ITSM tools have evolved to align with organizational demands in terms of scalability, time-to-market, ease of use, and end-user experiences. Today, several free and commercial ITSM tools are available that seamlessly deliver solutions for catalog management, ticket routing, managing business processes, governance of IT assets and endpoints, and inter-team collaborations. Let’s look at some of the best-known ITSM tools that should be on your radar in 2021 and beyond.
IT service management (ITSM) took shape a few decades ago in response to the growing need for established processes that enhanced efficiency, introduced accountability, and increased the speed of IT services and deliveries. In the 1980s, the fast-paced adoption of computers, the arrival of the Internet, and the proliferation of gadgets at enterprises necessitated the establishment of ITSM to ensure order and accountability in a rapidly-changing organizational setup. 
Similarly, the arrival of cloud platforms in modern times, along with the deployment of high-performance computing systems, SaaS platforms, and the use of AI and ML technologies, has necessitated another evolution from ITSM to ESM (Enterprise Service Management). According to Jade Kahn, the VP of Marketing at SysAid, ESM is about applying ITSM concepts to the rest of the organization to offer measurable, improvable, SLA-based services.
IT Service Management tools are software solutions used by organizations of all sizes to deliver IT services to end-users, be it employees at the same organization or customers. These tools are built either in-house or offered commercially to provide various solutions, such as incident management, catalog management, asset management, logging and reporting, and change management. They are often referred to as help desk tools or service desk tools as they enable users to raise service requests about performance issues.
ITSM tools are configured to enable users to manage service catalogs, troubleshoot problems or incidents, configure inventory management, log performance metrics in reports and dashboards, set up knowledge management repositories, manage ticket workflows, and implement processes for change management.
Learn More: What the Shift from ITSM to ESM Means for IT Pros
This proprietary solution is built around a ticketing system and contains a suite of tools to help organizations enable an omnichannel support system for customers. The Zendesk Support system supports ticket and user management, workflow, and other administrative aspects and handles all tickets and interactions with customers. The suite also features a Zendesk Guide that enables organizations to access a help center that hosts knowledge base articles. 
Zendesk Support Suite is available to organizations through five purchase plans, namely team, growth, professional, enterprise, and enterprise plus. These plans allow customers to choose from a range of additional features to enhance the quality and efficiency of customer support. These features include Zendesk Gather, a community forum where customers can post questions and interact with service providers, Zendesk Chat which enables live chat between organizations and customers at all times, and Zendesk talk which supports voice telephony and also lets service providers monitor reports, call activity, and status of existing tickets.
Additional features also include Zendesk Explore, a tool that offers reporting and analytics to help organizations monitor performance, agent status, and the status of tickets. It also lets you maintain a reporting dashboard for all Support, Chat, Talk, and Guide-related activities and build custom reports and dashboards as well. Another handy add-on feature is Sunshine, a CRM platform that enables users to build custom apps that connect to customer data, extend messaging capabilities through a feature called Sunshine Conversations.
ServiceNow offers ITSM solutions through three distinct packages: the standard ITSM offering, ITSM Professional, and ITSM Enterprise. The company offers ITSM supported by a single cloud platform. All three ITSM offerings feature a rich suite of capabilities such as incident management, change management, request management, agent workspace, walk-up experience, knowledge management, service level management, surveys and assessments, and configuration management.
Aside from these capabilities, ITSM Professional comes with additional tools such as Predictive Intelligence, service owner workspace, vendor manager workspace, dynamic translation services, performance analytics, and continual improvement management. The Enterprise version offers all of these along with unique capabilities such as workforce optimization and process optimization. ServiceNow also offers features to support enterprise onboarding and transitions and an Employee Center to let employees access all the services they need in one place.
According to ServiceNow, using a single cloud platform to run ITSM removes the possibility of information silos and lets all users and customers make requests and access information in a single platform. The ITSM platform can be accessed using personalized mobile apps, and chatbots for customer interactions have been made more accurate with machine learning to ensure customer support is more efficient. One of the most helpful features in ITSM is Now Mobile which lets users and customers make requests and find answers using a native mobile app. Another great tool is Benchmarks which lets users compare their ITSM performance with industry peers and use recommendations to optimize their processes. 
Learn More: 5 Ways Service Providers Can Gauge a Client’s IT Maturity Level
Spiceworks Cloud Help Desk is a cloud-based ITSM offering that, along with its unique tools and features, is offered for free to organizations of all sizes and in multiple sectors. The cloud-based nature of the service ensures that end-users do not have to invest in additional hardware or maintenance costs. End-users can access the ITSM tool at all times using web browsers (except Internet Explorer), and Spiceworks will release an intuitive mobile app with all the ITSM bells and whistles in the coming days.
Sean Dahlberg, the director of product development and community engagement at Spiceworks, says that the Cloud Help Desk sports several features that make it very popular among end-users in the IT community. For instance, the Knowledge Base tool in the Help Desk provides useful information related to service optimizations and change management. It also provides users access to the wider Spiceworks research repository that contains a wealth of industry insights for developers, IT practitioners, and decision-makers.
Spiceworks Cloud Help Desk also integrates with the company’s suite of cloud tools, such as device management software and tools for running and optimizing dashboards and vendor contracts. It will also be integrated with Intel’s Zoho, a SaaS software that offers holistic and integrated software solutions to manage multiple business processes like CRM, human resources, and accounting. Cloud Help Desk is also being updated regularly by developers to introduce new features and make the tool easier to manage and more stable. Dahlberg says that the tool meets all service management and monitoring needs of IT workers without costing anything or requiring It teams to make any infrastructure investments. “It’s not about being the biggest dog, it’s about being the favorite one,” he says.
Cloud Help Desk’s popularity among IT workers is certainly backed by facts. Software Reviews recently ranked the software among the best IT service management products available worldwide, giving it a customer satisfaction score of 8.4 in 10, compared to 8.1 for ServiceNow Service Management and 8.4 for Zendesk. According to G2, the Cloud Help Desk outscores ServiceNow’s ITSM tool in terms of pricing, ease of use, ease of setup, ease of administration, quality of support, ease of doing business with, and product direction. The tool also offers better ticket management, self-service, and active directory support when compared to ServiceNow.
The Service Desk, also known as Solarwinds’s IT service desk software, is a proprietary ITSM tool offered at prices starting from $19 per month. It comes with customized and intuitive tools to support incident management, service cataloging, prioritizing tickets, and enabling end-users and internal teams to plan, review, and implement changes quickly and successfully. Solarwinds says that, unlike a standard help desk, the Service Desk is both end-user-focused and internally focused, acting as a point of contact for service requests, problem management, and configuration changes.
“The service desk is more focused on enabling business processes and providing integrated support for business impact with a focus on more formalized integrated business processes. The service desk also adapts to changing needs in the workplace and helps the help desk adapt, too,” Solarwinds says. Like other competing ITSM solutions, the Service Desk also comes with a knowledge base to help users optimize service management. It also offers an employee service portal to let IT teams communicate seamlessly with end-users, and contains tools for problem management, change management, and IT asset management. The Service Desk is available for a free trial for a maximum of thirty days. 
Learn More: 3 Automation Practices To Follow To Avoid IT ‘Stock Market Crashes
According to IBM, the Control Desk is a proprietary ITSM tool custom-built to help organizations reduce costs, support users and infrastructures, and enhance end-user satisfaction through self-service, automated service management and integrated, best practice-based service desk capabilities. The software offers impact analysis and automated change procedures to help organizations lower business risk and ensure the integrity of existing infrastructure and multi-cloud environments.
IBM says the Control Desk’s Service Catalog and Enterprise App Store enable employees to use services and deploy software to their devices without involving IT teams, thereby ensuring ease of use and saving time. The tool also helps cut costs by letting IT teams utilize its IT asset management solutions to reduce software license waste and optimize storage across on-premise and multi-cloud environments. Its range of capabilities also includes change management, problem management, app store support, and change analysis. 
Like Solarwinds Service Desk, the Control Desk is also available on a free trial for thirty days. However, organizations can choose from a range of subscription plans for long-term use. The subscriptions on offer are IBM Control Desk that caters solely to on-premise environments, IBM Control Desk on Cloud, IBM Control Desk on Cloud Enterprise that is custom-built to support enterprise service management scenarios, and IBM Control Desk for Maximo that helps organizations take control of business systems that span connected enterprise assets, IT assets and IT services on top of IBM Maximo.
(Editors’ note: Spiceworks is owned by j2 Global, the parent company of SWZD, the publisher of Toolbox.com.)
Do you think ITSM tools are equipped to handle complexities associated with multi-cloud environments? Comment below or let us know on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. We’d love to hear from you.

Senior Assistant Editor, Spiceworks Ziff Davis
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