The Trouble with IT Management Software

Michael Vizard

In theory, there is no IT problem that some piece of management software shouldn’t be able to solve. In reality, most IT organizations wind up cobbling together their own scripts rather than taking the time and expense needed to deploy most commercial IT management applications.

The reason for this, says Denny LeCompte, vice president of products and Web platforms at SolarWinds, a provider of IT management software, is that far too many of those IT management applications require too much “mothering” to get them to actually work. Rather than invest in the time to make those applications work, IT organizations often find that the path of least resistance is to create their own scripts, even though many of them know those scripts are undocumented and, when push comes to shove, probably won’t scale.

Changing that IT reality, says LeCompte, is what has been driving SolarWinds to expand its portfolio of IT management software, which he says as a general rule is always going to have at least 80 percent of the functionality of any rival offering for about 10 percent of the price. Most recently, SolarWinds rolled out SolarWinds Web Help Desk, which is a Web-based help desk application based on software created by Web Help Desk.

According to LeCompte, the reason Web Help Desk gained any traction in a crowded help desk market is that it was simple to use. It doesn’t require IT organizations to master any number of nuances to get it to work, while at the same time it provides a framework that allows IT organizations to easily automate routine functions.

LeCompte says that with SolarWinds, which recently also acquired Tek-Tools, TriGeo Network Security and DameWare, it’s easier to exploit readily identifiable weaknesses of established competitors and then undercut their pricing models. But no matter what the cost, LeCompte says no one is going to use software that they perceive to be more trouble than it’s worth to deploy and learn. The opportunity that SolarWinds hopes to exploit, says LeCompte, is that when it comes to IT management there is an awful lot of bad software out there that most IT people at the moment really hate to use.

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