Top ITSM Tools & Software for 2021

    ITSM tools are transitioning to being more predictive and preventive as well as cloud-based. According to Forrester Research, ITSM vendors seek to differentiate themselves with advanced ITSM capabilities to incorporate business workflows, analytics, artificial Intelligence (AI), virtual agents, chatbots, machine learning, and greater ease of use. Another area of intense competition and differentiation is in extending ITSM to other business services. This includes areas such as fleet management, facilities and HR.

    Gartner, too, notes an evolving ITSM landscape. The analyst firm believes that the true value of ITSM lies in aiding IT in the delivery of integrated processes to correlate the broader activities of the IT organization. Tighter integration with knowledge management features and IT Operations Management (ITOM) are additional trends highlighted by Gartner.

    Based on the trends outlined in these reports and interviews with vendors, we have compiled a list of the leading ITSM platforms, with additional guidance for verticals like MSPs and small businesses.

    Here are our picks for top ITSM software:

    Key Features to Consider in ITSM Software

    • Incident Management: Many types of incidents can occur in IT. Some are vitally important, many are not. Incident management should be able to help IT identify priorities with automation features that simplify the process.
    • Problem Management: Problem management assists IT via processes and activities that manage the lifecycle of problems that could happen in an IT service. The purpose is to prevent problems from happening and resolve incidents rapidly.
    • Change Management: The number of changes taking place within the IT infrastructure boggles the mind. If they are not tracked, a great many challenges are likely to result. For example, if a server virtualization project is initiated without detailing all the processes, services, storage connections and dependencies involved, chaos could erupt. The latest change management modules sometimes provide risk analysis to highlight potential issues in advance.
    • Service Asset/Configuration Management: Service asset and configuration management is all about maintaining an accurate record of all information about the many configuration items (CIs) required to deliver an IT service, as well as their dependencies and relationships.
    • Service Desk: A service desk provides a point of contact to ensure users receive help for requests that can vary from the routine to full-blown emergencies.
    • Analytics: These days, data is no longer allowed to be locked inside an ITSM system. It is shared with external systems, and ITSM gains data from a great many sources across the enterprise to aid in achieving its core functions more rapidly and with a greater level of automation. Sharing of information enables advanced analytics related either to ITSM or for broader business management purposes.
    • Extension Beyond IT: There are so many ITSM solutions out there that it takes additional functionality to stand out. Some offer intelligent search, chatbots, improved routing, automation recommendations, various types of analysis, support for complex processes, AI/machine learning, support for containers and serverless computing. But more than that, ITSM capabilities are being extended beyond the traditional technology services (request, incident, problem and change management) to areas of the enterprise such as facilities, fleet management and HR.

    Top ITSM Tools and Vendors

    BMC Helix

    BMC Software has arranged its ITSM suite in alignment with ITIL best practices. The BMC Helix Suite includes modules for chatbot, digital workplace, discovery, ITSM, business workflows and cloud-native microservices. It comes with built-in AI and machine learning capabilities. Users can choose to deploy it on-premise, SaaS, multi-cloud and hybrid. Its ITSM module can run on a choice of public clouds (AWS, Azure, IBM, BMC).

    The company has traditionally been one of the leaders of the market via its Remedy offering. But a change of ownership and the introduction of the broader Helix platform has introduced some uncertainty. As a result, Forrester ranks BMC only as a Strong Performer behind companies like Micro Focus, Cherwell and ServiceNow. Despite that, Forrester noted that BMC’s coverage of the ITSM core (request, incident, problem, change, and configuration management) is among the strongest in the market. Gartner has a higher regard for BMC than Forrester, considering it a Leader in its Magic Quadrant, and only behind ServiceNow overall. Gartner noted that BMC has the largest installed base among the large enterprise market. But the company has lost ground to ServiceNow and is scrambling to catch up.

    • Incident Management: Create and resolve incidents faster with intelligent, context-aware, and proactive incident matching.
    • Problem Management: ITIL 4-compliant best practices for service management processes that embed mature practices into the user experience and the back-end workflow.
    • Change Management: Simplified change request processes with a guided process on mobile and web, drag-and-drop change calendar, and automated and contextual collision detection and impact analysis.
    • Service Asset/Configuration Management: Scalable, service view configuration management for ITOM. Offers class structure, data and service models, federation, reconciliation and normalization, and agentless application and dependency mapping.
    • Service Desk: Support a variety of service request workloads at scale, such as customer service in large banks.
    • Analytics: BMC Helix ITSM has cognitive capabilities that automate classification, assignment, and routing of incidents, as well as provides cognitive email analysis and response.
    • Extension Beyond IT: Ability to track operating level agreements and contracts from external providers. It also extends to HR, facilities and procurement.
    • Market Strength: BMC has the largest enterprise installed base for core ITSM services. Not aimed at the SME market.
    • Cost: Choice of pricing (named and concurrent).

    Ivanti Service Manager

    Ivanti Service Manager evolved from the merger of HEAT and Landesk to offer ITSM, chatbots, telephony support, third-party service integration and contract management functionality. Forrester said users commented on a complex setup requiring skilled administrators but ranked it as a Strong Contender.

    Ivanti service management solutions are user configurable, including a workflow designer and engine that adapts to changes in the market and shifts in the business. Users can either run it as a single product or as one element of a suite.  Ivanti offers both SaaS and on-premises options. Gartner considers Ivanti to be a Challenger and it was very close to being considered a Leader in the latest Gartner MQ. One negative, though, was more focus on and revenue from other products in the Ivanti portfolio such as asset management, endpoint management and security.

    • Incident Management: Ivanti provides fast, flexible incident management including analytics to deal with inbound ticket requests from any channel.
    • Problem Management: Problem management utilizes information from other elements within the enterprise for automated problem resolution processes.
    • Change Management: User configurable support of change workflow and business process, and enough flexibility to modify or create new change workflows.
    • Service Asset/Configuration Management: Service asset and configuration management enable the handling of IT changes quickly and efficiently.
    • Service Desk: Ivanti was the original service desk solution in the 1980s. It includes dashboards, reporting, knowledge management, mobility, self service and more.
    • Analytics: Review events over selected time periods, track mean time between failure (MTBF) for assets and services, and report service availability against service level agreements.
    • Extension Beyond IT: Ivanti tracks external providers’ operating level agreements and the underpinning contracts.
    • Market Strength: Ideal for organizations looking for a single solution to synchronize IP telephony/PBX and ITSM. Strong in health care, higher education, manufacturing, retail and legal. Gartner user surveys showed Ivanti playing well in small, midmarket and large enterprise environments.
    • Cost: Pricing not provided.

    EasyVista Service Manager

    The EasyVista Enterprise Service Management Platform includes ITSM, Enterprise Process Automation (service manager), Advanced Intelligent Knowledge Management (self help), and Micro Apps technology (for building apps, portals, and dashboards). It is available as SaaS and on-premise.

    Forrester scored EasyVista as a Strong Performer and gives it good marks for integrating project management with ITSM, as well as low/no-code and analytics capabilities that include sentiment analysis and intelligent routing. It emphasizes quick setup but Forrester noted that it lacks the breadth of third-party integration of some competitors. Gartner gave it high marks for organization with lower ITSM maturity, though it didn’t score so well in organizations with a high level of ITSM maturity. The company acquired knowledge management capabilities from Knowesia, which are being integrated into the product along with virtual agent functions.

    • Incident Management: Automatic knowledge search locates any related known errors, knowledge articles, news or major incidents. Resolutions from knowledge can be copied to current incidents.
    • Problem Management: Alerts can be received from third-party monitoring tools, analyzed and can trigger events such as a simple recording of the events, a notification or the creation of an incident.
    • Change Management: Changes are categorized based on change catalog records that also define the related workflow. Impact analysis lets you understand the impact of a change based on the CMDB relationship.
    • Service Asset/Configuration Management: Assets/configuration items (CIs) are linked to define the dependency map. Business services are tracked and linked to CIs.
    • Service Desk: Request management starts with the service catalog. Workflows are configured and associated to every service.
    • Analytics: Microsoft Cognitive Services are used to interpret user needs.
    • Extension Beyond IT: EasyVista Service Manager is used to support the offering and delivery of various enterprise services such as IT, HR and facilities.
    • Market Strength: Focused on the small and medium-size enterprise market; many customers in public sector, education, health care and insurance. Strongest in the European market.
    • Cost: Estimated $1,000 per concurrent user (annual SaaS subscription of platform).

    CA Clarity Service Manager

    (Best ITSM for MSPs)

    CA Technologies (now owned by Broadcom) is a veteran of the ITSM market. Its ITSM solution known as Clarity Service Manager offers intelligent search, chatbots, improved routing, automation, sentiment analysis and image analysis. It includes a variety of service workflows. It is particularly strong on analytics, work prioritization, knowledge management, portal development, mobile capabilities and camera support. In addition, machine learning aids in queue awareness, and automatic categorization of incidents and requests.

    This ITSM tool is on-premise only and part of a larger suite, which includes additional products. Its multi-tenancy approach makes it popular among MSPs. The acquisition of CA technologies by Broadcom, though, has introduced some uncertainty. Currently, the ITSM product is buried on the Broadcom site below many other Broadcom products. That’s one of the reasons why Forrester rates it as a Strong Performer rather than a leader.  Gartner characterized CA as only a Niche Player in ITSM, saying it is only really aimed at very mature service management organizations, lack of SaaS features and declining market share for several years. On the plus side, the company has strong global reach, and a broader ITOM and integrated ITOM portfolio.

    • Incident Management: Incident generation can be automated through integrations with email systems, command line interfaces, web services, event monitoring, and CTI tools.
    • Problem Management: You can create a standalone problem, a problem from an incident and attach an incident to a problem. You can also select the impacted CI.
    • Change Management: Includes a robust CMDB and integrations between the service desk and Clarity Configuration Automation, Clarity Service Operations Insight and Clarity Client Automation.
    • Service Asset/Configuration Management: Integration between Clarity APM and Clarity SM enables sharing of business-critical information to form a view of assets and CIs.
    • Service Desk: Mobility and collaborative self-service bring users together to share information and resolve issues on their favorite devices, often without opening a ticket.
    • Analytics: xFlow gives analysts the ability to understand the complete state of the IT environment, a way to prioritize work and the context to make decisions.
    • Extension Beyond IT: Users have begun to leverage it for a variety of use cases, such as HR, procurement and facilities.
    • Market Strength: CA Technologies has traction with managed service providers (MSPs) that use the product to service many hundreds of clients. Overall, it is primarily a large enterprise solution.
    • Cost: Clarity SM is included in the CA Portfolio Licensing Agreement (PLA), which is under is under a non-disclosure agreement.

    Micro Focus Service Management Automation X

    Micro Focus SMAX is the single suite for ITSM, enterprise service management and IT asset management. It incorporates containers and Kubernetes to decrease ticket volumes, as well as automated service support for IT and non-IT processes, workflows and tasks based on machine learning and analytics. It can be run in the cloud (AWS, Azure, Google) or on-premise or consumed as a service. It drives change management by using prescriptive analytics to decrease change failures and reduce service outages.

    SMAX has codeless configuration and can help develop new applications without developer skills. A self-service portal comes with social collaboration as the single point of contact for business and IT users for support and requests. Intelligent search, chatbots and a strong CMDB are included.

    Micro Focus has a complex portfolio due to the merging of product lines with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). According to Forrester, it entails a higher skills requirement than those of other vendors and is graded as a Strong Performer.  Gartner, though, considered it to be only a Niche Player as ITSM is not a product line that is prioritized by the company in terms of revenue generation.

    • Incident Management: Restore normal service operation, access incidents from the landing page, automate reporting and track incidents, and issue alerts or escalate an incident.
    • Problem Management: Identify the underlying reasons for one or more related incidents, enabling IT teams to create workarounds, identify known errors and define solutions.
    • Change Management: Create and manage requests for change to the service assets and configured items registered in the CMDB by providing templates and change models to implement changes.
    • Service Asset/Configuration Management: SMAX helps you organize and track the individual assets that support business services.
    • Service Desk: One centralized location for all employee issues related to IT. Its interface enables users to independently request support, search a self-help knowledge base and browse a service catalog.
    • Analytics: SMAX comes with embedded Micro Focus IDOL Intelligent Data Operating Layer, which allows for the search and processing of text taken from both structured data and unstructured human information.
    • Extension Beyond IT: Micro Focus SMAX includes enterprise service management features to extend ITSM to other business services.
    • Market Strength: Micro Focus SMAX is primarily aimed at large-scale environments with higher process maturity, and strong regulatory compliance reporting and audit requirements.
    • Cost: SMAX flexible licensing includes concurrent and named users, pay-per-use (for MSPs).

    SolarWinds Samanage Service Platform

    Samanage has been acquired by SolarWinds. Its ITSM solution includes release management, service catalog, service portal, knowledge base, IT asset management, CMDB, service level management and risk detection. It is a standalone ITSM that can scale across departments within an organization and offers a selection of native integrations. A REST API enables integration with other systems.

    Samanage is a cloud-based multi-tenant SaaS platform. It doesn’t require third-party configuration or a dedicated administrator to be functional. Users can be up and running rapidly. It utilizes artificial intelligence and machine learning. SolarWinds plans to add the Samanage products to its IT Operations Management portfolio during the course of 2019. Samanage is too new to be graded by Forrester or Gartner. But its new ownership could see it appearing in analyst reports in the near future.

    • Incident Management: Resolve incidents and reduce or eliminate simple tasks. Automated rules are in place for ticket routing and priority.
    • Problem Management: Trending helps uncover problems. View the status of a problem impacting users. Agents can search open problems to see if there is a known issue causing their incidents to be opened.
    • Change Management: ITIL change management processes include clear communication to the people affected while improving service quality and consistency across operations.
    • Service Asset/Configuration Management: The CMDB contains an organization’s users, services, physical assets, hardware and software to build the upstream and downstream relationship of configuration items.
    • Service Desk: The SolarWinds-Samanage service desk gives employees the ability to submit tickets and requests, and gives agents a tool where they can provide services with consistency.
    • Analytics: A reports module has commonly used metrics built in. Integration with Google Analytics measures service portal usage.
    • Extension Beyond IT: Samanage extends to services beyond IT such as procurement.
    • Market Strength: Education, government, retail and health care. Primarily SMEs.
    • Cost: Starting at $29 per month per agent for small teams. The professional version costs $79 per month per agent, $0.60 per month per device.

    InvGate Service Desk

    The InvGate suite is designed to provide full IT management covering service, support, discovery, monitoring and mapping. InvGate Insight allows you to map all of the infrastructure in a single platform, as it brings together asset data and information from across all of the organization’s technology domains. This includes AWS and Azure cloud instances along with IoT devices. Any network monitoring solution can be integrated easily.

    A tasks module allows automization of work to be done in a request or in the execution of a workflow, so that all the necessary efforts to find a solution are divided. A knowledge management system helps you organize relevant information for it to be available at all times. As end users create a new self-service request, InvGate Natural Language Technology employs heuristics to analyze their text to suggest articles in real time. Integration with other InvGate tools allows discovery and monitoring of IT assets and management of changes. InvGate Service Desk can be integrated with third-party asset managers such as FileWave and Microsoft SCCM. It is available as SaaS or on-premise.

    InvGate has not yet gained enough market traction to be included in Forrester or Gartner market evaluations. But it is an up-and-coming product.

    • Incident Management: InvGate PinkVERIFY-certified incident management capabilities ensure IT support can focus on what’s most important across all the tickets in front of them.
    • Problem Management: Reduce the impact of repeat issues, known errors and known problems with workflows and automation, with the aim of speeding up problem identification, logging, investigation and root cause analysis.
    • Change Management: Change models can be created based on the level of risk and impact associated with different change types. Those with minimal risk and impact can be pre-approved as service requests.
    • Service Asset/Configuration Management: One application contains all service modules (including service, incident, problem, and change). There is also a fully integrated CMDB (InvGate Insight) to assist with discovery of assets.
    • Service Desk: Automate, manage and measure all types of requests through a ticketing system that includes self-service capabilities.
    • Analytics: The integrated OLAP approach delivers data in real time with over 150 built-in metrics.
    • Extension Beyond IT: The visual workflow engine allows integration of IT operations with business processes for other business functions or departments beyond IT.
    • Market Strength: Strongest in LATAM (especially Argentina) and U.S. Midmarket, primarily.
    • Cost: For a target mid-size company with 50 service desk agents, with named licenses (one for each), who can solve requests for an unlimited amount of end users (who don’t require any license), pricing would be:
      Annual Licensing: US$ 19,100 (same value for yearly renewal of the same licenses)
      Perpetual Licensing: US$ 48,250 (renewal at 20%)

    SysAid ITSM

    (Best Education ITSM Solution)

    SysAid has built in an all-in-one ITSM solution, driven by automation, analytics and AI to identify and predict issues and problems, and offer up the most likely resolution. It automates manually intensive processes. This integrated ITSM, service desk and help desk package includes easy-to-use tools for analyzing and optimizing IT performance.

    The company boasts over 10,000 customers in over 140 countries. SysAid can be used in the cloud or on-premise, and users can move between the two as circumstances change. As a relatively new entrant into ITSM, SysAid is one of the market upstarts that are yet to be evaluated in the Forrester Wave or Gartner Magic Quadrant.

    • Incident Management: SysAid ITSM’s ITIL-aligned incident management capabilities log, process, manage and report on issues that adversely affect end users, IT services and business services.
    • Problem Management: SysAid’s problem management capabilities allow you to systemize the problem management workflow processes needed for dealing with simple and complex problems.
    • Change Management: Assess the risk of every change in advance, and use an approval process to ensure all changes are in line with policy and business strategies.
    • Service Asset/Configuration Management: Components include: real asset management, network discovery, monitoring, mobile device management and patch management.
    • Service Desk/Help Desk: SysAid Help Desk offers a ticket management tool, IT asset management, self-service, mobile device management, chat, password reset, mobile apps and industry benchmarking.
    • Analytics: Offers analytics tools such as BI Analytics (by Qlik), reporting tools and SysAid IT Benchmark.
    • Extension Beyond IT: Focused on IT services.
    • Market Strength: Very strong in education with features such as: password reset (can be allowed for staff or students or both): a self-service portal to book a room or equipment; Hotkey with SSO to ensure proper logging of the request user who submitted the incident/request along with the correct asset and where it is located; and back-end service desk automation such as routing by campus/school/building; prioritizing by staff/administration vs students.
    • Cost: SysAid starts at $3,000.

    LogMeIn GoToAssist Service Desk

    LogMeIn GoToAssist Service Desk can be custom integrated by API with ITOM systems. It is also closely integrated with the LogMeIn RescueAssist Remote Support product to help agents become more efficient by starting remote support sessions directly from a ticket. It is aligned with ITIL best practices and includes ticketing and incident management, configuration management, problem management, knowledge management, change management, contacts management, release management, a knowledge base, messaging, an online help desk and email integration.

    Service Desk is a SaaS product. It is quick and easy to set up and can be customized to suit a particular environment. It has popularity among MSPs. Yet another of the new breed of primarily cloud-based ITSM products that are not yet covered in Forrester or Gartner reports.

    • Incident Management: GoToAssist Service Desk covers the full spectrum of ITIL with dedicated modules. Incident management is one of the primary components and is structured by queues.
    • Problem Management: Track all related incidents, root cause or temporary workaround of problems in one place.
    • Change Management: Tracking of change plans, builds and test results. It also includes approval flow and scheduling.
    • Service Asset/Configuration Management: GoToAssist Service Desk has a configuration management module where individual CI types can be created: CIs can have their own attributes, categories and relationship types.
    • Service Desk: Service Desk capabilities in the incident module enable admins to create branded customer portals, build escalation flows and set up templates for frequent request types.
    • Analytics: Built-in reporting to track incoming volume, agent performance or customer satisfaction.
    • Extension Beyond IT: Squarely based on IT services, not other services.
    • Market Strength: Popular amongst SMEs, as well as Managed Service Providers.
    • Cost: Monthly price per Agent is $39 (paid yearly) / $49 (paid monthly) with no limit to the number of customers or tickets created. Service Desk offers named or concurrent license types as well.

    Atlassian Jira Service Desk

    (Best ITSM for DevOps)

    Jira Service Desk adjusts to existing workflows and agents to provide service. It emphasizes low touch and comes with stock reports, including created vs resolved, time to resolution, SLA met vs breached, and resolution by component. It offers integration with analytics tool from BI to Google Analytics.

    Jira Service Desk can be used as a standalone ITSM tool or part of the Atlassian suite for DevOps, which includes Jira Software, Bitbucket, Confluence, Opsgenie and Statuspage. Confluence, for example, is a collaborative document management and storage app where you can create a knowledge base of articles that appear in your web portal. It is available as a SaaS, self-managed single server option or by Atlassian’s self-managed enterprise version.

    Forrester graded Atlassian as a Strong Performer, noting strengths in Agile project management. As a relatively new platform, it still lacks some of the features of its more mature competitors. It also requires third-party CMDB and reporting tools. It is not yet on the Gartner ITSM MQ radar.

    • Incident Management: The Atlassian incident management solution is Opsgenie for operating always-on services, empowering DevOps teams to plan for service disruptions and stay in control during incidents.
    • Problem Management: An ITIL problem management workflow investigates, records and prevents infrastructure problems.
    • Change Management: Jira takes a lean approach without compromising compliance or increasing risk to the business. It integrates with several other asset/CMDB management apps.
    • Service Asset/Configuration Management: Jira Service Desk provides asset management via integrations from Oomnitza, Device42 and Riada.
    • Service Desk: Jira Service Desk is a helpdesk request tracker. It lets you receive, track, manage and resolve requests. The app comes with a self-service web portal.
    • Analytics: Real-time reporting so users can see performance metrics and workload trends.
    • Extension Beyond IT: HR, finance, legal, facilities, marketing.
    • Market Strength: Existing Atlassian customers and those heavily committed to DevOps and Agile methodologies.
    • Cost: A basic version for three agents costs $10 per month; a more robust version for 100 agents costs $1,575 per month.

    ServiceNow ITSM

    (Best Overall ITSM)

    ServiceNow’s ITSM product is a part of IT Workflows on the Now Platform. IT Workflows includes modules for ITSM, ITOM, IT Business Management, IT Asset Management, DevOps, Security Operations, Governance, Risk and Compliance, and Build Your Own Apps. ServiceNow’s ITOM integrates with other monitoring tools, cloud platforms, serverless infrastructure and asset management software including AWS, Azure, IBM Cloud, VMWare, App Dynamics and ForeScout.

    ServiceNow’s full suite of ITSM capabilities include discovery, service mapping, operational intelligence, cloud management, orchestration. Users leverage the ServiceNow Platform to automate incident, problem, change, configuration and request management with an out-of-the-box, codeless, pre-configured ITIL-based solution. It is cloud, not on-premise. It boasts a user community of 160,000 online members.

    Forrester graded ServiceNow as a Leader due to deep ITSM capabilities in asset and configuration management, a variety of business service modules, such as HR and facilities; and powerful PaaS. Minuses are the need for skilled developers to achieve success, and concerns over complex licensing and high cost. ServiceNow is also a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for ITSM.

    • Incident Management: Connects users with IT through mobile self-service and virtual agents, leverages machine learning to automatically route incidents, and uses workflows to resolve issues quickly.
    • Problem Management: Minimizes the business impact of service disruptions and reduces future disruptions using ITIL practices.
    • Change Management: With ServiceNow Change and Release Management, companies control IT change processes, from creation, risk‑assessment, conflict detection and approval, to environmental changes.
    • Service Asset/Configuration Management: The ServiceNow CMDB provides a single system of record for IT. When paired with ServiceNow Service Mapping, the CMDB enables applications to be service-aware.
    • Service Desk: ServiceNow’s agent intelligence offering provides machine learning solutions for the automated categorization, routing, and other classification of data on the platform.
    • Analytics: ServiceNow Performance Analytics is an integrated application designed for reporting and analyzing business performance.
    • Extension Beyond IT: Now Platform delivers a digital workplace that brings together IT service management, ITOM, IT business management to create contextual workflows and digitize business processes.
    • Market Strength: ServiceNow focuses on enterprise and commercial accounts with at least 500 employees.
    • Cost: Subscription licensing in a SaaS deployment model hosted in ServiceNow’s private cloud.

    Axios Assyst

    Axios Assyst offers integration to cloud/SaaS services, auto-population of the CMDB and comprehensive coverage of ITIL/ITSM processes. It includes multiple business service modules (HR, finance, and facilities), machine learning, workload allocation, and risk analytics, as well as Amazon cloud integration.

    Service desk tools help front-line staff route and resolve issues. ITSM, ITOM and IT Business Management (ITBM) are provided in one app to give visibility and control over services, support, assets and financials. Forrester graded it only as a Contender behind many other companies. The analyst firm said it needed to expand its knowledge management features and develop a more robust ecosystem of services and third-party integrations. Gartner considers Axios to only be a Niche Player in this market due to small market share and its narrow European/UK focus.

    • Incident Management: Includes self-logging of incidents and requests, direct access to services and status information, and the ability to search and crowd-source knowledge via web and mobile.
    • Problem Management: Automatically detect and resolve endpoint security and performance issues, reducing the flow of incidents to the service desk, making it easy to find the root cause.
    • Change Management: Automated categorization and routing means incidents and requests are pushed to the right team or automated process to fit with rapid changes in business demand.
    • Service Asset/Configuration Management: Offers a service-oriented view of the infrastructure, configuration, status and history as well as a consumer-style service catalog.
    • Service Desk: Smart technology combined with easy integration gives service desk analysts the visibility, insight and control they need to diagnose and resolve issues.
    • Analytics: The InfoZone virtual agent assistant is integrated into the logging form to push relevant information and suggested actions to analysts in real time.
    • Extension Beyond IT: Also used for a variety of non-IT use cases, including fleet management, legal services and marketing.
    • Market Strength: Strong presence in the UK and parts of Europe.
    • Cost: No pricing provided.


    IBM considers ITSM as part of its middleware portfolio, where it isn’t given that much attention. As such, Forrester only graded it as a Contender. A series of home-grown and acquired assets such as Maximo have tasked IBM with combining various ITSM or related applications such as Tivoli Process Automation Engine, Netcool, Maximo and others. These tools provide end-to-end visibility, control, and automation to help IT operations staff manage business applications and services on-premises and in the cloud.

    While IBM has a mighty arsenal of ITSM-related tools, the emphasis is on enterprise asset management and field service. Forrester said IBM Control Desk with Maximo has a configurable low/no-code platform that is scalable, and includes a chatbot and reporting. However, the company gives little emphasis to this product line. As a result, it gets lost within a sprawling software catalog. Gartner graded it the worst out of nine ITSM products evaluated in its last ITSM MQ. It scored poorly on usability among and is primarily sold to existing IBM customers.

    • Incident Management: Consolidates, reduces and prioritizes the events and alarms that impact business services before they affect end users.
    • Problem Management: Lowers the number of generated events into a small subset of actionable problems.
    • Change Management: Automation helps track the status of assets and changes in near real time.
    • Service Asset/Configuration Management: Full visibility and control of all CIs and their dependencies.
    • Service Desk: Automate service requests through end user catalogs, with each request handled without human interaction.
    • Analytics: Integrates with IBM Watson AI for analytics capabilities.
    • Extension Beyond IT: Requires personnel skilled in IBM middleware to extend it to other areas.
    • Market Strength: Existing IBM customers who need ITSM capabilities added.
    • Cost: Not available.

    Freshworks Freshservice

    (Best ITSM for SMEs)

    Freshservice by Freshworks helps to modernize IT and other business functions with an easy-to-use, simple-to-configure IT service desk solution in the cloud. It requires no or minimal training. Freshservice comes with multi-channel support, gamification features and has a mobile service desk app. The company boasts 20,000 customers.

    Gartner Peer Reviews graded Freshservice highly in SME and less mature ITSM environments. However, it scored less well in intermediate and high maturity ITSM settings.

    • Incident Management: Tracks, prioritizes, and assigns tickets, and automates resolution processes to drive efficiency.
    • Problem Management: Automates tasks and provides support for issues raised via email, self-service portal, phone, chat or in person.
    • Change Management: Enables IT to plan out and assess changes before they are rolled out.
    • Service Asset/Configuration Management: Effective asset management can help avoid duplicity of applications, hardware, hosting, and their support.
    • Service Desk: Resolves tickets raised via multiple channels like email, self-service portal, live chat software, phone and in person. Provides visibility into all tickets and tracks their progress via a dashboard.
    • Analytics: Auto-assigns and escalates tickets to the right agents or groups, automatically prioritizes tickets based on impact and urgency, maps relationships to dependencies, and schedules recurring tasks as tickets.
    • Extension Beyond IT: Can be used for IT or non-IT processes.
    • Market Strength: SMEs
    • Cost: $20 per month per agent for small teams and up to $100 per month per agent for the enterprise version.

    Microsoft Provance

    Provance IT Service Management extends the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform into the realm of IT service and IT asset management. Provance ITSM leverages all three of the Microsoft clouds (Dynamics 365, Office 365 and Azure). It is optimized for use with Microsoft management, productivity and analytic tools. Thus, Provance users can easily leverage existing investments in technology.

    Microsoft Provance comes with reporting, a self-service portal with notifications, ticket templates, end-to-end service visibility, automations and business process flows. It is also a Pink Verify-certified solution for 11 ITIL processes so industry best practices are tied in. It is easy to create and modify forms, templates, automations and business process workflows as needed. It can also Leverage PowerApps, Microsoft Flow and Logic Apps to connect Provance ITSM to other applications without resorting to building something from nothing.

    • Incident Management: Automated issue escalation and auto routing of incidents and service requests ensure a faster resolution with minimal end-user effort.
    • Problem Management: Spots trends, analyzes historical information and identifies key issues, such as the root cause of errors and failures.
    • Change Management: You can make changes and modifications without coding and scripting. The result of changes can be viewed and rolled back if necessary.
    • Service Asset/Configuration Management: Cloud Service Management creates a bridge between Provance ITSM and Azure to auto-populate the CMDB, provide a consolidated view of Azure Subscription Schema, deliver real-time online diagnostics and configuration management, and automatically synchronize services.
    • Service Desk: The ITSM Service Desk app is an interactive dashboard focused on tickets, with the ability to filter based on variables (such as ticket type, affected services or priority) and dive deeper into services workload and ticket status information for more effective ticket resolution.
    • Analytics: Power BI is used to instantly collect, correlate and aggregate real-time data, spot trends and analyze historical information.
    • Extension Beyond IT: Quick visualization of the hierarchy between a business service and its technical services.
    • Market Strength: Existing customers of Microsoft Dynamics and Microsoft/Windows technology.
    • Cost: A license for Microsoft Dynamics 365 is also required. The Provance IT Service Management User License is $30 per user per month for SaaS and $652 for the perpetual on-premise license.

    Cherwell Service Management

    (Best Enterprise Service Management Solution)

    Cherwell Software has developed ITSM and Service Management software that can support complex processes and extend beyond IT to other business and enterprise services such as security, facilities and HR. It takes a low/no-code approach to its platform for service and workflow design.

    This standalone ITSM tool can be either on-premise or SaaS. It is a codeless platform that reads in metadata configuration files, which governs what applications then run on the platform. Cherwell Service Management is the combination of ITSM content and the platform. It offers easy customization of new IT services and the extension of digital services beyond IT. Forrester named it as a Leader due to its enterprise service management capabilities. However, Forrester gave it some minus points for a lack of comprehensive analytics and machine learning features, as well as its CMDB, with some preferring to use the third-party Firescope tool to the native Cherwell CMDB for discovery. Gartner placed Cherwell in its Challengers category and considers it is best for intermediate levels of ITSM maturity. It received good marks for third-party integrations.

    • Incident Management: Cherwell Service Management meets PinkVerify 2011 general, core, and integration suitability requirements for 11 processes including Incident Management.
    • Problem Management: Can dig into symptoms, looking for the underlying cause and identifying long-term solutions.
    • Change Management: Cherwell’s ease of configuration and automation advances both the deployment of Change Management process and the execution of the changes.
    • Service Asset/Configuration Management: Cherwell’s CMDB software enables IT teams to visualize how their applications, servers, databases, and networking, and storage devices interact, helping them more effectively manage their infrastructures.
    • Service Desk: Automates repetitive and complex tasks, reducing labor intensity and optimizing costs.
    • Analytics: Analytics are not emphasized on the Cherwell platform.
    • Extension Beyond IT: Cherwell is a leader in extending ITSM to other functions such as HR, fleets and other business workflows.
    • Market Strength: Strong in health care, higher education, financial services and government.
    • Cost: Not provided.

    Best IT Service Management Comparison Chart IT Service Management Tools Comparison Table

    Best ITSM Tools by Industry, Company and Purpose

    Best Overall ITSM Solutions

    ServiceNow offers the best overall solution of the list due its fair pricing, robust offering, and excellent customer service.

    Best Education ITSM Solution

    SysAid ITSM is our recommended vendor for the education market due to it scalability and ease of integration with major BI platforms including Qlik and Tableau.

    Best ITSM for SMEs

    We recommend Freshworks Freshservice for small to medium sized businesses due to the low starting cost structure as well as abundance of available integrations with other Freshworks SMB solutions.

    Best ITSM for DevOps

    Atlassian Jira Service Desk is our pick for devops professionals as it includes functionality for tracking of long and complex projects as well as a simple to understand cost structure.

    Best ITSM for MSPs

    CA Clarity is our pick for managed service providers as it includes an easy to use interface that allows for multiple clients to be managed simultaneously in a remote manner.

    Best Enterprise Service Management Solution

    Cherwell Service Management is the best ITSM option for large enterprises currently.  It’s not the lowest cost option on the list, but it is very scalable and can accommodate organizations of any size.

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