For readers who are new to Spiceworks, I would like to tell you about great free app.
Spiceworks is like a swiss army knife for IT.
It has couple of the most important tools integrated in to one package all for free.
New version of Spiceworks has been released (v6.2) not too long ago.
Among the best new features are:
SSO – Single Sign on
nCirclePureCloud Risk Center Widget (Security vulenrabilites on your network)
Revamped Tablet interface
I started with Spiceworks when v1 came out in late 2006, any boy it has matured after 7 years.
When you login, you will see dashboard, where health of your environment is nicely presented to you.
One of nice things is page called My tools, where you can add shortcuts to your external “tools”. In my case, I have team viewer, log me in, Veeam and our internal IT Wiki page listed. Why is this so cool is because you don’t have to go out of your working space, one click and you can continue working on your tasks.
Knowledge Base is one of the best features in Spiceworks. Not because it has a proper knowledge base per se, but because it’s so nicely integrated with community. Windows is used on approx. 98% of all desktops, MS Office also has hefty chunk of Market share. On this 98% of desktops well known apps are used like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox + Thunderbird, Opera, All sorts of VPNs…. That means that most of companies are using the same apps and because of that also have the same problems. If you have to write solutions to problems and FAQ’s for all the apps – that is huge amount of work. With community behind you, you car reuse work that has been done by your mates in other companies. You can also publish your work and share the knowledge. A lot of work saved.
It’s easy to write new articles.
It’s hard to get a good Helpdesk application. Spiceworks has really done well here. It is a mature solution. You can manage user request tickets, assign tasks to your team, receive tickets via portal, email, smart phone. You can create end user portal with knowledge base, you can track time, generate reports, automate ticket organization and actions, manage SLAs…..
Another power full feature of Spiceworks community is purchasing module, let’s say you get a request for new monitor or printer cartridges you can send quotation request to vendors who are present in Spiceworks community directly and request can go to several companies at the same time. I have heard stories that a lot of companies saved a lot of money.
Another feature of Spiceworks is Networking, based on SNMP, Spiceworks create a nice network map – of backbone or all of devices. This can come very handy. Usually you have to pay a lot of money for similar products
Software inventory is again another feature that has really matured. For products you have installed, you can get information about vulnerabilities so that you can act on time. Software module has several features – vulnerability assessment, licence tracking and software activity. Again, this type of software was really expensive couple of years ago, and there are still no free products on the market – well there is now – Spiceworks.
Devices module has also matured. Spicworks has all of devices nicely organized based on a device group. PC’s are organized in Workstation group, Servers in Server group, Telephones in Telephone group…. and Unrecognized devices – yes that is correct Spiceworks is scanning your network and based on that info categorizing devices. How cool is that? I will repeat my self again it’s free. Usually this module is sold as an add on to help desk software or even sold as a stand alone product. Usually charge is based on number of devices you have. One example I checked recently is add on module for Helpdesk 500 devices – US$ 1500.00. That is in addition to base Helpdesk system which starts at US$ 1700.00. You get all of that for free. By having this module you get alerts for Disk space, AV presence or lack of it, alerts for old AV definitions, expired warranties, new software installation…. list goes on.
Not long ago, agent support was added mainly for mobile computers but they can be used for accurate scanning of software as well. If you have WAN sites, you can deploy Spiceworks to those sites and reduce time and bandwidth for scanning.
Spiceworks can also import users from AD, not only that, you can also edit users and attach picture.
End user portal is another feature that is used a lot, more so if your company is bigger and in combination with SSO it rocks. You can create really nice looking portal that your users will love.
editing fields in end user portal
once you have articles in Knowledge base you can easily import them to Portal and you can organize topics in the way you want.
If you find Helpdesk lacking you can easily extend functionality with modules, and trust me, there is a looot of modules.
There are a lot of pre configured reports – reports that you will love to use. If you miss some, you can create them your self.
example of report – computers with anti virus.
example report of installed applications.
I have left the best feature of Spiceworks for the end. That feature is called Community. Spiceworks is used by more than 2.000.000 IT professionals. Now imagine the knowledge this people have. If you had a problem in the past, you have used google. Now you can use Spiceworks. In addition, community is alive and responsive, they share problems, solutions and experiances and opionions as well.
What about the bad? Sure, all is not perfect. I would love to have multi language support (in case you are present in many countries), I would love to have ITIL based soltion – CMDB module, Problem management, Change management, Service catalog modules. I could put Contracts module to good use as well. Spiceworks has not change a lot. In a way that is good, but a little bit refinement would not be bad. Ooooh and Some kind of integrated Wiki would be great. And Patch deployment 🙂 (now I got a bit too far)
As you can see, listed bad things are not really bad things, instead just a list for improvement, which I am sure will happen one day.
Hats down to Spiceworks.
You can grab Spiceworks here