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Network World's Network/Systems Management Newsletter, 02/14/07

Service-now.com: SaaS vendor delivering ITIL process help

By Denise Dubie

Half the battle with properly managing IT infrastructure and applications is adhering to best practices. The other half? Putting technology in place to automate, monitor and speed problem resolution.

Service-now.com seems to have based its business on the premise that IT shops needs as much help with processes as they do technology. The start-up's business and technology model proves that the vendor falls clearly in the camp that technology without best practices will ultimately fail. Looking at the vendor's offerings, it seems Service-now.com believes technology and process need to be coupled and balanced to perfect IT service management.

Located in Solana Beach, Calif., the start-up has raised some $7.5 million in two rounds of venture capital funding and intends this year to provide IT buyers with an alternative that costs about one-fifth of what packaged monitoring or help desk software applications might. But make no mistake, Service-now.com does not monitor infrastructure -- it will tap into existing products from BMC, CA, HP and IBM for that -- but rather it helps IT staff locate the right person to fix service problems as reported to a help desk, for instance.

"We are not like network or performance monitors. We don't measure performance in that way," says Fred Luddy, Service-now.com CEO and CTO, formerly CTO of Peregrine Systems (which during his tenure also owned Remedy, now part of BMC). "Our software will find the person that is geographically desirable, has the right skill set and dispatch them to fix a problem, following ITIL recommendations."

The vendor, which delivers its software as a service, (SaaS) couples the processes laid out in the IT Infrastructure Library (or ITIL for short) with its service management and help desk software. According to Service-now.com, its product comprises a set of tightly integrated applications built on ITIL tenets including: incident, problem, change, release, and configuration management. The software performs agent-less network discovery covering Layers 2 through 7, and also includes a knowledgebase and service catalog. It also has contract and financial asset portfolio management capabilities as well as application portfolio management, project management and financial chargeback features.

Service-now.com develops and maintains the code, and customers can either connect to the vendor via a VPN or download the code to their networks. Pricing ranges between $50 and $90 per seat per month, depending on modules and people using the software.

Industry watchers say the vendor and its SaaS business model could help those IT organizations just starting out with best practice frameworks, such as ITIL.

"Not only does maintaining the software impose on IT systems management, but the whole idea of ITIL can be overwhelming for organizations that are contending with day-to-day firefighting," says Jeff Kaplan, founder and managing director of THINKstrategies, a consulting services firm. "What Service-now.com is offering IT shops and help desks is a way to more easily and economically acquire the business process management capabilities that go along with ITIL."

Copyright Network World, Inc., 2007

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Copyright 2008 Art Beckman. All rights reserved.

Last Modified: March 9, 2008