Becoming Master of Your (ITSM) Domain
In this webinar, Eric Feldman, CIO at The Riverside Company, shares behind-the-scenes details of how they regained control of their ITSM domain using Samanage.
Why don’t you tell me a little bit about Riverside
The Riverside Company is a private equity firm, based in NY, we’re not a very big company in terms of the number of full time employees, 250 employees, but our global reach is interesting in that we are in 21 different countries. Which is fairly unique for a company of our size, and adds a number of different challenges in terms of how we manage and maintain a smooth running technology operation.
Tell me about your before state, and where you were before you embarked on this project.
There’s actually two before states, when I first started at Riverside I would say that the main system that was used to track incidents, technology incidents or help desk tickets, the team was just using email and that was a disaster. So, I immediately implemented a solution that I was most familiar with over the past 10 years. I had been a customer of BMC, many may be familiar with Remedy, we used the cheaper version of remedy called Magic, which was then rebranded to Service Desk Express. For a while Service Desk Express met our needs, but for many many different reasons it’s not something that the firm could continue to support and grow into. I’m very pleased with our transition to Samanage. And, very happy that we aren’t reliant on third party consultants, which was an absolute requirement for Service Desk Express. It’s such an esoteric system, that you really have to become specialized in terms of making very simple modifications, any kinds of changes, reporting changes, it’s a real bear to manage.
You decided to look at other solutions.
The natural transition so BMC is sunsetting Service Desk Express platform within the next year or so, and i guess a lot of customer will move to their SaaS based footprints platform. But as i was thinking about it and after being pitched by the BMC sales team, i felt the timing was right for us to start over, a clean break. we had been unhappy with just the level of need and level or support that our platform required from us. And it was getting to be expensive. We had a 3rd party consultant held on retainer for when any kinds of modifications were needed. From a functionality perspective the BMC product for us was not very flexible. And again the reliance on somebody else to do the work for us, so if this individual who we worked with exclusively were on vacation we would be stuck or we would have to find another 3rd party to assist. One of the challenges at least again for riverside with Service Desk Express (SDE) is in terms of BMC support Remedy is their key product. Riverside is a mid market firm and there isn’t a whole lot of consultants, at least that we were aware of or had access to, that could provide a professional level of support for when we had to make any kind of modification or change or if there was any kind of bug that we hit. I wanted a clean break and I wanted to move to a platform that just had functionality built in right from the start, I didn’t want to have to rely on third parties, so for us moving away from SDE was a no brainer.
Tell me more about your key buying criteria, must haves.
I mentioned cost a few times and I know its not something that should be top of mind, but it was a strong factor for us. There are a lot of platforms out there, some of them are fantastic, a lot of them are really expensive. Cost was a decision maker in whatever we were going to go with. I wanted to and my team as well that hosting a on-premise solution was just not core competency of my group. What I liked about Samanage, I wanted to transition fully to the cloud. The other area that is of interest to me, over the years I have found that a strong community is essential. Your community has been fantastic. The online portal, think of it as your clearing house for everything you can do with Samanage. So, you don’t necessarily have to rely on the vendor, you have peers from around the world who are Samanage customers that can share best practices or you can bounce ideas off of them. It’s a pretty vibrant community and something that my team turns to often when we have questions. The other area is we didn’t want to be reliant on any third party to build out anything for us, report workflows, again moving to the cloud. But the reportings and workflows killed us with SDE. We were looking for a company that was very lean and agile. I don’t necessarily mean in terms of your software development methodology, but it certainly seems you guys have adapted and do use agile, but it’s tangible. There were a couple of cases where we had some ideas very early on and I was in touch with a customer success rep who brought those ideas to the team and that was implemented within a matter of a couple of weeks. We definitely wanted something like that, we didn’t want to deal with another big monster.
There is a whole bunch of things we were looking for. We wanted to touch and feel the product immediately, we didn’t want to have to go through 2-3 marketing presentations, but what I liked is after we had the discovery calls, I had a full blown demo of the application. This wasn’t a smaller scaled back version, you guys exposed your entire product to us. We were able to work with it for a couple of weeks, we were able to touch and feel, provide feedback, so we could see how practically we could use it in our environment. The asset tracking was critical product must have this, in SDE it was very hard to manage. Your solution with the agent it was great, literally within a matter of 4-5 days we were able to push that agent out to all of our computer. We have employees scattered all over the world, so just by pushing out that agent, I have real tangible access to that data that is meaningful not just to me but to others in my office that have to track assets, such as my CEO and accounting team. We’re not an ITIL shop but we aspire to be, we do follow some ITIL methodologies when we are ready to take the next step, Samanage is there waiting for us. The need to expand it outside of IT.
Where did you start?
It was really through ServiceNow that just exposed me to a different way of handling incidents, problems, and change management. Support communities. From there I went back and did a bunch of searches on the Internet. I narrowed down my search to ServiceNow and ZenDesk. It was really through ZenDesk that I learned about Samanage. When I went to your website I pulled in my Manager of IT operations, “This is exactly what we are looking for.” We were enamoured with ServiceNow, but the cost was prohibitive, what we saw with Samanage was almost identical what ServiceNow was offering. I think it was really through peer networking, traditional Google searching, recommendations from former employees, but ultimately what really happened is I really learned about you guys through ZenDesk, not a competitor I think you guys actually have a complementary relationship with them. Very happy that it worked out that way.
I had a great experience. I never felt harassed. We reached out to Samanage and probably within an hour I had a call back. I felt that they were really honest. They took time to listen. What is your business challenge or even your technology challenge I didn’t feel like we were over marketed. They were mostly interested in understanding how can we help you. Within a week, from the time they reached out to me we had a full blown demo, whenever we had questions they made themselves available immediately. I didn’t feel like I was being oversold anything. They were just approachable. Focus really was on what does Riverside need and can Samanage meet that need. If there was a capability we were looking for the sales team went back and would speak with the product team and figure out if this is in the roadmap and if not, can it be in the roadmap? If the answer was no, then they told me so. I just appreciate them being very forthcoming and upfront.
What they love:
- Full access to the Samanage community. That to me in an invaluable resource. It’s such a helpful resource to get info from people other than the vendor.
- Made a request and within a couple of weeks, we were told it would hit the roadmap and that functionality was added within a few weeks. Timely and professional manner.
- Asset tracking.
- Cost very reasonably priced, met my budget. My boss (COO) was very pleased that we were not transitioning to a solution that was considerably more than what we had been paying.
- Contract and vendor management. We had been managing this through a series of excel spreadsheets, Sharepoint sites, and we just weren’t getting it right. I like the fact that we can be notified when contracts are going to be expiring.