There’s a new breed of IT service management vendor in town

Ovum has observed what might be the start of an interesting trend in IT management (ITM) software. Traditionally, there have been IT service management (ITSM) and infrastructure management vendors, plus mega-vendors with operations in both camps. ITSM vendors have already moved into the infrastructure management space with discovery, event monitoring, software distribution, and automation capabilities, but now the reverse is happening – infrastructure management vendors are entering the crowded ITSM space. It’s an interesting move and one that we believe offers a valuable opportunity for organizations.

Why are infrastructure management vendors making this move?

The ITSM software marketplace’s obsession with, and reliance on, ITIL-alignment has made it easy for new vendors to enter the market. It’s simply a case of delivering the capabilities to support the most often adopted ITIL processes within an envelope of professional services. Newer “pure-play” ITSM vendors (both SaaS and on-premise) have already adequately demonstrated this.

For the infrastructure management software vendors, it’s a lucrative opportunity to cross-sell to existing clients, retain clients by offering greater value and capabilities, or gain customers looking for a more complete ITM solution. It will be interesting to see how many more infrastructure management software vendors explore a move into the ITSM space.

How will IT organizations benefit?

Increased competition can be both a good and bad thing for IT organizations. There is greater product choice and potentially more competitive pricing on offer in order to win deals, but the ITSM market is saturated and already difficult to pick a “winner” from. The entry of infrastructure management vendors also increases the possibility of the long-predicted shake up in the ITSM marketplace, with the unavoidable casualties being vendors and their customers. However, the blurring of the lines between infrastructure management and ITSM is good for IT organizations, not only from a cost perspective but also in terms of ease of use.

A good example is Dell KACE’s K1000 systems management offering. It initially introduced its service desk as an optional, separately priced add-on to the K1000, but it is now rolled into the main product in terms of pricing. From an ease of use perspective, being able to seamlessly start diagnosis or resolution from within the incident ticket (called “one-click to resolution” by Dell KACE) is an obvious advantage. While not a new concept (it is a common feature within mega-vendor ITSM offerings), there is a lack of complexity and potential cost when provided from a single, purpose-built solution, rather than from an amalgam of home-grown and acquired point solutions.

In addition, as IT organizations evolve to reflect the changing IT landscape, particularly the introduction of cloud-delivered services, IT will most likely need to become more dependent on IT generalists rather than specialists. These generalists will be heavily reliant on both infrastructure management and ITSM tools, so the use of a single user interface and a common way of working can only benefit them as they endeavor to “deliver more with less”.

Will this increase or slow down ITSM software churn?

There has long been a level of churn in the ITSM software market, with IT organizations changing their tool of choice every five to six years, and this is even more evident now with newer ITSM vendors stating that they offer better ROI and a smoother upgrade path.

The infrastructure management/ITSM hybrid offering will add to this, but it will also provide customers with the opportunity to increase ITSM activity in line with the vendors adding tool functionality. Unlike pure-play ITSM tool vendors, infrastructure management/ITSM hybrid vendors have no pressure to deliver and to compete with 14 ITIL-compliant processes from day one. Alternatively, they can offer a mandatory core of incident, change, and configuration management, and then add to the processes at a speed that encourages customers to grow with them.

Some organizations would benefit from the adoption of an ITSM tool that “grows” with them, rather than opting for one that exceeds their level of ITSM maturity. Such a tool might even turn out to be one that they can grow old with.

Originally published on


2 thoughts on “There’s a new breed of IT service management vendor in town

  1. Look no further than the 1998 – 2002 CRM merge to ITSM debacles of other leading ITSM orgs, FRS and Numara. If you want a good sandwhich, you visit a baker, a butcher and a farm. McDonalds gives you a single stop but who’s the clown then?

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention There’s a new breed of IT service management vendor in town « Stephen Mann's Non-Blog --

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