ServiceDesk Plus 9.3 from ManageEngine (which is available in a free version) is among the most mature of all the helpdesk products we reviewed in this roundup. That’s evident in its breadth of features, its focus on Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) as well as advanced capabilities, including change management. At the time we tested ServiceDesk, it was also offered only in an on-premises deployment model, though the company has added a cloud-based option since then, but you’ll need to contact ManageEngine for pricing information. The company also offers a version of ServiceDesk Plus 9.3 specifically for managed service providers (MSPs) and this, too, has its own pricing options.
What keeps ServiceDesk Plus 9.3 out of the Editors’ Choice winners’ circle is its dated and complex user interface (UI) that’s definitely more difficult to use than something such as Freshdesk or Editors’ Choice winners HappyFox and the feature-comparable Vivantio Pro.
ManageEngine IT Help Desk Software
ServiceDesk Plus is a game changer in turning IT teams from daily fire-fighting to delivering awesome customer service. It provides great visibility and central control in dealing with IT issues to ensure that businesses suffer no downtime. For 10 years and running, it has been delivering smiles to millions of IT folks, end users, and stakeholders alike.
ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus Reviews 2018
PROSHas enough features to keep most satisfied. Menu bar provides easy access to important features.CONSOn-premises licensing not as flexible as cloud service pricingBOTTOM LINECombining service desk functionality with asset management, ServiceDeskPlus 9.1 offers a very mature feature set that’s aimed primarily at large organizations desiring on-premises help desk software that conforms to ITIL best practices.
ManageEngine Helpdesk Features
For testing purposes, we stuck with ServiceDesk Plus 9.3’s free Standard version, which encapsulates its core helpdesk functionality. One thing that’s apparent is, while ServiceDesk Plus 9.3 has a clean and modern UI design, the backend of our tested installation was all about client-server. You can enable a web-based, self-service portal of sorts by combining ServiceDesk Plus 9.3’s application programming interface (API) with a web form but that results only in a URL to a data entry form. Users who go this route won’t see the ServiceDesk Plus 9.3 knowledge base (if you’ve opted to set that up) or other self-service tools, unless they choose to further flesh out the web form. (Again, ManageEngine has another product called “SupportCenter Plus” that does provide customer support features, including billing via the web but that’s not part of the package we tested.)
ServiceDesk Plus 9.3 touts multi-site configuration as a feature for its helpdesk module, too. This feature results in multiple views of trouble by location, with automatic accounting for time zones, personnel, language, and similar considerations. The feature becomes more valuable as you progress up ServiceDesk Plus 9.3’s versions, adding location capabilities around asset, identity, and contract management but, at the helpdesk level, it’s fairly basic.
ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus Help Desk Dashboard
Reporting is another ServiceDesk Plus 9.3 strength. The product comes with 150 canned reports that will cover most businesses’ needs. ServiceDesk Plus 9.3 does provide the ability to build custom reports for any module but you’ll be editing down to the table and column level and using specific tools such as Query Editor to do so. That’s more complex than the checkbox customization we saw in some of the lighter-weight products in this roundup, such as HappyFox, but then again, it gives you complete customization flexibility which will be important to some. For those looking for easy custom report creation, however, ServiceDesk Plus 9.3 is not for you.
One thing we would have liked to have seen in the Standard helpdesk module we reviewed was support for remote desktop sharing. Remote control is available as an out-of-the-box feature in both the Professional and Enterprise editions. ManageEngine added limited forms of that for its iOS app in 2016 but it’s still not part of the Standard ServiceDesk Plus 9.3 package. The ability to take over a user’s PC to make fixes should be ubiquitous for helpdesk staffers and, while there are other third-party ways to enable this capability, ManageEngine does not provide it in the Standard version (however, they do provide it in the higher-priced ServiceDesk Plus 9.3 versions). If you’re using the Standard verison, change management, asset management, and project management are all add-ons requiring additional cost or a version upgrade, too, but those are feature categories that make sense to push up the cost ladder. By contrast, remote desktop seems like a noticeable gap.
Still, even without remote desktop, ServiceDesk Plus 9.3’s Standard edition can be considered a full-featured helpdesk platform and the fact that it’s free makes it very attractive indeed. What you’ll need to watch out for are its backend requirements. Client-server means you’ll need to manage a server installation and configuration process as well as client installation for all users. ManageEngine is a very Microsoft-centric company so a network based on Windows Server and Active Directory (AD) is the primary target, but the company also supports Linux.
ServiceDesk Plus Software Summary Dashboard
ManageEngine Pricing And Plans
As stated earlier, the version we reviewed was ServiceDesk Plus 9.3’s Standard edition, which is the free edition. It includes a free trial (as do the Professional and Enterprise editions) but there is also a free tier that gives a business access to basic helpdesk functionality such as incident management, a knowledge base that can be populated by your team, and both canned and custom reports.
You’ll need to do different math to decide whether or not it’s a good fit for your budget. Once you go beyond the free product, ServiceDesk Plus 9.3 will bill on a base price adjusted by the number of IT technicians and agents accessing the app and the number of IT assets managed using the app. For 100-percent ITIL shops, the Enterprise tier is probably the best fit, even with its $995 starting price.ManageEngine Interface And Workflow
Unfortunately, ServiceDesk Plus 9.3’s UI is less than inspiring but it is easy to use. All of the software’s various modes are listed across the top of the screen, which makes for easy navigation. Because of this, users are unlikely to get lost while doing their work. All of the suite’s major points of interest are easily found thanks to their big and clearly labeled buttons at the top of the screen.
Important for busy helpdesks is a one-button solution for creating new tickets that persists as users move around the app. This, along with the ability to choose templates right from that same button, means that creating new incidents doesn’t involve digging through menus. Instead, agents can click one button and start typing. There is also a Search box right on the menu bar at the top of the screen, which lets you search for anything from problems to purchase orders.
This button also makes raising new tickets a breeze and a keyboard shortcut is also available for those who like to avoid using their mouse. Once inside a newly created ticket, just select the relevant drop-down options and complete the freeform Description box with information about the issue at hand. Those drop-down boxes are plentiful and they let you add assets and the department that is requesting the new ticket.
ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus Admin Console
Not all of this is required data, however, so those who need to quickly get a barebones ticket raised can quickly do so without filling in all of this information. But keep in mind that the more data that’s added, the better. Choosing a template at this point will reconfigure just about everything, automatically populating fields and even adding canned text to that freeform field we mentioned earlier. If there’s a ticket type your business will be regularly using, then it would be undoubtedly wise to set up a template.
Once inside an existing ticket, agents can add notes, view the ticket’s status, and of course resolve the ticket once ready. ServiceDesk Plus 9.3 features a handy Task tab that lets agents essentially add To-Dos to a ticket, which can be handy in circumstances that warrant multi-step fixes.
When resolving a ticket, agents can search for existing resolution details, which could cut down on typing and is a feature we like but haven’t seen until now. Again, this would be of real benefit if your helpdesk finds itself repeatedly dealing with similar requests.
Raising problems and changes is a very similar affair to raising a ticket, and can be done either via the Quick Actions button on the menu bar or by drilling down into each view and then clicking New Problem or New Change. We found ourselves gravitating towards the Quick Actions button.
ManageEngine ITIL And Integrations
On a day-to-day basis, we liked the functionality of ServiceDesk Plus 9.3’s UI but its overall design felt clunky and cluttered compared to some of the clean, web-based designs we saw in products such as Freshdesk. The fact that adding optional modules with new functionality will probably clutter that design even more is also problematic.
Another area of weakness that surprised us was in integrations with third-party apps. While ManageEngine does provide some ready-to-download extensibility modules to popular products, including Salesforce, Zoho CRM, and Jira Service Desk, it was surprising that the list was so short (eight other apps in total). Considering that Zoho, ManageEngine’s parent company, has more than 35 different business apps all by itself, we expected a much longer list of available integrations. We eventually found mention of an open API (so your code-capable IT staffers can build their own custom integrations) in the company’s support documentation.
ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus Summary Page
Overall, the key differentiators for ServiceDesk Plus 9.3 are easy: It’s far more mature than most of the other helpdesk offerings we reviewed, and it’s focused on internal, ITIL-centric IT operations rather than as a tool to support customers outside the organization. That means, for organizations with large user pools and significant IT budgets, ServiceDesk Plus 9.3 is definitely worth a look. But for small to midsize businesses (SMBs) that focus on supporting purchased products, you’ll need to keep shopping or opt for one of the other tools in ManageEngine’s portfolio.
ManageEngine Knowledge Base
ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus is a comprehensive help desk and asset management software that provides help desk agents and IT managers an integrated console to monitor and maintain the assets and IT requests generated from the users of the IT resources in an organization. The IT help desk plays an important part in the provision of IT Services. It is very often the first contact the users have in their use of IT Services when something does not work as expected. The IT help desk is a single point of contact for end-users who need help. Without this, an organization could certainly face losses due to inefficiencies.
The two main focuses of the ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus are IT Request Tracking and Asset Management. Using the following modules of ServiceDesk, technicians and system administrators can resolve issues of complex nature in no time and thus reduce the end-user frustration arising due to time-consuming issue resolving process. They can also keep track of the needs of the organization with the help of asset management and proactively allocate resources to the right user/departments, thus increasing the productivity of the organization.
The request module functions as the Help Desk where requests are fetched and necessary solutions provided by assigning technicians to resolve issues reported.
When you log in to ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus , the application displays the ServiceDesk Plus home page that contains information on pending requests, overdue requests, requests assigned to the user who has logged in, approved/unapproved changes by the logged in technician, open and unassigned problems assigned to the logged in technician, individual user’s task list, and depending on the user login, the other dashboard views such as Contract and Purchase Order summary may also be displayed.
Clicking on the Requests tab on the header pane takes you to the request module. This serves as the IT help desk module where the IT requests from individual users are fetched, tracked, technicians are assigned, and a solution is provided.
The objective of Problem Management is to minimize the adverse impact of Incidents and Problems on the business which is caused by errors within the IT infrastructure and to prevent recurrence of Incidents related to these errors. In order to achieve this goal, Problem Management seeks to get to the root cause of Incidents and then initiate actions to improve or correct the situation.
The goal of Change Management is to ensure that standardized methods and procedures are used for efficient and prompt handling of all Changes, in order to minimize the impact of change-related incidents upon service quality and consequently to improve the day-to-day operations of the organization.
This module serves as a knowledge base for your IT help desk team as well as your users. Users can search this for solutions for issues and solve them themselves. Also when technicians resolve issues, they can directly convert these resolutions into knowledge base articles. To view the solutions, click the Solutions tab in the header pane.
Assets tab helps you to track & manage your assets efficiently. It tracks all your newly added assets and has a record of all the assets in the organization. Assets can be categorized as IT, Non-IT Assets & Asset Components in an organization. This includes Workstations, Printers, Routers, Software Licenses, Scanners, Projectors and even your air conditioning systems. Thus it offers a single view to track and manage all your assets in the organization.
Here you can create new purchase orders and track them till the order has been delivered. The same details can also be maintained for future reference. Clicking the Purchase tab takes you to the Purchase module.
This module holds the details regarding the maintenance contracts between your organization and the vendor (s) from whom the assets of your organization have been purchased. Clicking the Contracts tab in the header pane takes you to the contract module.
Configuration Management Database
Configuration Management Database (CMDB) lets you track and manage all your Configuration Items (CIs) in a single repository. Unlike the asset database that comprises of a bunch of CIs, the CMDB in ServiceDesk Plus is designed to support a vast IT structure where the interrelations between the CIs are maintained and supported successfully. It’s the CI relationship that makes the CMDB an effective decision-making tool, impact, and root cause analyzer.
In addition to these, ServiceDesk Plus has GUI-rich reports for Requests and Assets modules. There are predefined sets of reports that help you evaluate the efficiency and productivity of your IT help desk team, the load of requests handled by the team, the assets distribution, and many more. Also, the ServiceDesk administrator can configure various help desk, asset, and enterprise-related settings, such as the working hours of the organization, service-level agreements, user roles, departments and many more.
Based on the permissions provided by the ServiceDesk Plus administrator to each of the users of the application, you will be able to access the above modules. If you do not have the access permission, contact your ServiceDesk Plus administrator.
This module holds the details regarding projects that are configured within ServiceDesk Plus application. Access this module to create, edit, maintain your projects and various other details connected with them. To access this module click on projects tab.