In my quest to find a decent ManageEngine Servicedesk Plus replacement. I looked at many solutions, some free and some very expensive. Let me tell you something, I didn’t find one. Until… Samanage Service Desk? Samanage is a company from Israel. Israel is known to have great IT scene and it looks Samanage is a proof. When I first saw their Service desk I said hey, that’s nothing special. Couple of months have passed and I decided to dive in.
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What makes Samanage different to most of other established vendors is that they provide Cloud edition only. There is no on-premises edition. They claim that one of the benefits is that updates are coming faster to the user. Even though the product is cloud edition only, they provide Single Sign On and Active directory connector. Security is also not a problem since they developed the product with security in mind. Is it any good? Service Desk solutions got really affordable and there are some innovations for example Freshservice invented gamification, Better than ManageEngine SDP? With recent SDP 9 announcement I thought that they won’t have a chance. Surely gripes from my SDP review were fixed and UI was improved…I mean they released version 9…. and announced new version, How was I wrong.
Samanage Service Desk Review
If I had to describe the look of Samanage Service Desk, I don’t know if I could…i think the best way to describe the look is that it’s fresh, airy, spacey and pleasant to the eyes. Information is not crowded and is well presented.
Dashboard is great, the same spacey look, pleasant colors and the most important information available. You will immediately notice how many breach in incidents you have. It’s presented by a big number which is green if none and red if some. You will see customer satisfaction (if enabled) computers by category, unassigned incidents, incidents overdue, expired contracts…. In addition, you can customize widgets to your liking.
New incident form is easy to use, below you enter description and fill information, but on the right side is where the magic happens. Right side of the screen is part where you can add additional information to the ticket like Incidents, Assets, Solutions, Tasks.
New Problem form is almost the same as incident form, only that it features 3 additional forms just below Description: Root cause, Symptoms and Workaround leading you to pinpoint the problem and fill the most important information so that resolution can be faster. Again on the right side you have additional information you can add. You can attach Incidents, Changes, Assets and Tasks.
Changes window features 3 additional forms below Description, Change Plan, Rollback plan and Test plan, on the right side you can attach Problems, Releases, Assets and Tasks.
Releases functionality is missing in many Service Desk applications. Samanage didn’t forget about important part of ITIL. New release has 3 additional forms below Description. Plan, Build and Deploy. Again you can attach Changes, Assets and Tasks to New release.
Solutions and Service Catalog
You can add solutions and create Service Catalog for your customers. Both of this features are greatly done. With Solutions you can tag them as draft, internal or publish, You have an audit for edits so that you can see who changed what. You also have to confirm that it gets published to user portal. One of the features I find missing with so many Service Desk solutions is Workflow functionality in Service request feature. Samanage implementation is really stunning. So simple yet so effective. You can request confirmation that person X really ordered laptop that was requested. You can define department Service belongs to, you can attach picture, price. Just amazing.
End user Portal is well laid out and easy on the eyes. You see service requests and solutions at the same time. You also see your own requests and track progress.
You can manage contracts, feature you can’t live without once you get used to it.
What about inventory? Samanage has an inventory functionality. You have to install agents on your computers and then inventory gets populated. Nothing special unless Samanage has a Joker in it’s sleeve.
Two features stand out from competition. Bar code and QR Codes. Barcodes and QR codes are automatically populated. When your help desk team finds an asset they can scan it with a smart phone and immediately get important information. Amazing. I wonder why nobody else figured this is useful.
I have saved the best part for the end. AI. You see Samanage is unlike other Service desk solutions. They have implemented a bit of smart logic in to their product. Service Desk can alert you on some events. By default, if computer doesn’t have Anti Virus installed, If computer has only 10% of disk space left, if grey listed applications are installed (applications that are not suitable for corporate environment – p2p, poker apps)… Best of all, you don’t have to do a thing. Smart functionality Is already built in. You can change or add your own rules.
My favorite feature is the way it’s showing which applications are installed. When you install MS Office and the rest of your corporate applications, a lot of apps (program libraries) are installed that are needed for a program to work. When you do analysis on Applications in use all sort of libraries show up. What happens is that instead of 5 or 6 applications that you are interested in, you see a list of 300 applications. What a mess.
Below is a screenshot of Manageengine ServiceDesk Plus – installed application view. You can see that a lot of apps are listed like MS Visual C++ 2005 and 2008 libraries. You know that they are part of an application you have installed but you won’t measure how many you have.
Samanage hides those from active view.
You can change a view and see them, but by default they are hidden. That’s amazing. You only see real applications.
Samanage is also the first product that has MAP functionalty built in. You can view where your assets are located on a World map, similar to google maps. Only that your assets are listed.
Is it perfect?
No, but it’s close. Cloud only edition is not for everyone. One of the problems with cloud solution is pricing. You can be charged one price today, but in 3 years price can drastically change. They will tell you it won’t but they won’t issue a statement that price will remain the same for 10 years + – some percentage. That is only one of the issues with cloud solutions. Some will argue about security. Some about limited internet access inside the company. If pricing is the issue, you can always take a look at Open source alternatives.
What about features?
I really miss Purchases module. Feature wise is not a complete ITIL solution. CMDB is missing. I would really like to see CMDB that works and is automated. Including port mapper. Remote assistance is also missing, some competing products have it. Samanage provides integration with Citrix GoToAssist. They also provide integration with various SaaS services via Zappier. For example you can connect Service Desk with GTalk so when new ticket is opened you are notified via GTalk. They provide great API so you can easily integrate your apps.
What about the price? They are positioned in upper middle class. They have promotions from time to time and then is a great opportunity to save some money.
I am really impressed with Samanage, they have a great product with unique features. Usability is supereb and design is pleasant to the eyes. If you are looking for a Service Desk, give Samanage a chance with a 14 days trial, just to see what a great Service Desk looks like.
Hats down guys.
Doron Gordon says
Thanks for the review Erik. It is great you mentioned some of the “smarts” that goes behind the scene with software classification, risk detection and auto-tagging of relevant content from your service desk, to name a few. And as you clearly noted, the UI and experience is where we focus a lot of our attention.
With regards to a CMDB – we’re planning to introduce one later this year.