10 Replies Latest reply on Mar 23, 2011 2:52 PM by Chewie

    Some complaints about ServiceDesk for consideration by LANDesk


      Hi folks.


      My company recently implemented ServiceDesk, and while LDMS is by far one heck of a wonderful product all around, ServiceDesk is an absolute atrocity in my opinion.  Overall it has the potential to be a great product but has a long road ahead of it before it gets there.  Allow me to elaborate... the following list are some items that seriously make this a broken product:


      - The 'fat' client is too resource intensive.  A minimum of 4gb of ram recommended...seriously?  What is in this client that would eat up so much of a systems resources that it alone should have 4gb??  Even on a well configured system today, the client should not take up more than 512-1gb of RAM.  Most of the searching, etc should be occuring on the backend...


      - The administrative interface, for designing, updating, tweaking, etc from within the fat client is horrid.  Things are NOT logically catagorized, and it's near impossible to find anything without having to call LANDesk for assistance.  In fact its almost unusable.


      - The help file for ServiceDesk appears to be several versions removed and not updated...if I go into several of the listings for the current build of LANDesk which we had recently upgraded to, there are references that no longer apply, like trying to locate the cat listings for different types of troubleshooting requests.


      - ServiceDesk STILL does not properly grab data from LDMS.  Additionally, when I remove a system from LDMS, and the time has come and gone from where it was supposed to have synced up (and yes the services, etc are all running correctly, no errors, etc...and this was all set up via LANDesk's techs...), we STILL have to manually remove/rename the same machine in ServiceDesk.


      - The web side of things has drastically improved to the point where it looks presentable to the end user, but still seems rather disconnected from the rest of the database/backend.  Clearing tickets from the system does not seem to remove them from the web end.


      - This one is more a kick at tech support...whenever we have opened up troubleshooting tickets with LANDesk, it's usually at least 48 hours if not more before the ticket is even acknowledged...we then end up calling LANDesk, and LANDesk tells me I should log a ticket online instead...but unfortunatley I have to inform them that because of lack of movement, I am taking their time up on the phone.


      I'd like to hear other people's thoughts on the product as well as LANDesk's feedback.  It seems like for the price we paid to implement the product, it should work quite a bit better than it does now.  Granted I never expect anything to work right out of the box sans things like Microsoft Office, but yeesh...

        • 1. Re: Some complaints about ServiceDesk for consideration by LANDesk

          Who implemented your system? - LANDesk, I can provide you with the actual name if you'd like.  As for the fellow from LD who performed the upgrade I would have to check.


          Who defined the processes and what processes you are using? - Our IT team worked with the another department whom will also be using the system for their needs  to develop the workflows, but from what I've seen and understand (this was originally implemented before I arrived at the company), these workflows are effectively from 'out of the box'.


          To what extent is the Service Desk using an ITIL based model for support?- Effectively its a problem reporting and resolution implementation (ticketing system). Users report issues with their systems, or other items we use here, and we resolve them.  We additionally use this for purchase request workflows as well.

          Currently we do not use the knowledgebase but plan to at some time.  Users are currently able to send us tickets via the web interface, where they can view and update their tickets as well.


          Do you actually work on the Service Desk? - Yes.


          What training have you or anyone else received on desiging and implementing the product? - Perhaps this is where some of the issues come in.  We received limited training during the timeframe when this was implemented.  I was at the tail end of the implementation, but did receive the basics as everyone else.  We did not receive much of anything in regards to administration of the product however from what I recall, although I would expect thats where some of the documentation should come into play first and foremost, then followed by training as required.


          When you say it still doesn't properly grab data from LDMS, please ellaborate? The Service Desk should not remove that machine from it's CMDB as it's still relevant to the data contained in the desk.  A) We were provided with the information and understanding that SD does a sync nightly (as per our defined schedule) with LDMS to bring in machine names, and information about them.  It only seems to partially do this, as for some users I am able to log their CI details, and other times, when the information SHOULD be in the SD system, it is not, or sometimes it appears several days or weeks later.  I'm not entirely sure then that we either received the correct information about what the syncing does, that its functioning correctly, or..?  B) If thats the case then I was incorrect in my understanding that SD would change information along with what changes in LDMS, and actually makes sense from the historical record/information standpoint.


          You say you have to manually remove/rename that same machine... Where are you doing this and if it's the same machine then it must have the same name! - By this I mean in some cases we rename a notebook or desktop, say when a user leaves or gets an upgrade.  Right now we are using asset tagging to track the names instead of providing a naming convention of the user's login (finitial last name).  So for instance auser's machine name may become US0000X.  In LDMS, the new name shows up, and the old one is removed after 30 days (default) for not checking in.  However as per your above statement, this may now make sense given the importance of historical data, and given that the workstation shows up as a new entry in LDMS (hence it may not even be able to determine the fact that the newly appearing machine is in fact the same as the previous).


          What do you mean by 'clearing tickets from the system doesn't remove from the web end? All methods of access read from the same database and use queries  - By this I mean the purging of tickets from the system.  For instance, before we began testing with an actual user group we had a # of test tickets in the system.  We purged those test tickets from the system, where upon they appear to no longer exist in the DB or in the fat client.  However, they do still exist for users that created tickets on the web end.  The links to those tickets are broken, so it seems like its cached somewhere in the web end, regardless of system/service restarts.


          The admin and design tools are not simple, but there are many many customers doing very good things with the tool, so I go back to the question about training?  Perhaps then we do need training, however this shouldn't be a replacement for good documentation.  There is no reason that the existing documentation should be so broken.  An admin should be able to pull up the documentation to find something and have it be complete and accurate.

          • 2. Re: Some complaints about ServiceDesk for consideration by LANDesk

            Here are my thoughts from someone who just went through an implementation...


            About two of your complaints are justified, some of what you're complaining about is regarding lack of training.  There is a lot of GREAT information on here, but I think that you'll find as you learn this product more(and you will definitely learn it) you will find that the product is lacking in certain areas.


            The fat client is too resource intensive.  I worked with the DBAs on the sqlb db tuning and most of it was practices they already used.  It did not nearly make the impact we would have liked to see on performance for client users.  Our office in Denver(Im in CT) is at a point where they're unable to use the client, but we knew this would be slow.  Our Data Center where our VMs are stored is about 1000 feet from where I am and the client is performing as it should, but its still not lightning.  The problem is the clients features are incredible and I wish more of it was available through the Service Portal.  I know a lot of these things were addressed in 7.4, but upgrading is not an option at this point in time for us 7.32 users.  not yet anyway...


            The Web Desk problems you are having, I cannot speak to.  Im not sure what you means by the links to old deleted items are still there.


            The administrative interface is well organized in my opinion, although design does not work well.  Many times a window will render itself uneditable and the only way to get it to respond is by closing out of the client, restart IIS, and re-open.  That takes up a lot of time.


            Service Desk updating with Data from LDMS is probably a configuration issue.  You'll have to do some digging on that, but that should not be a huge issue.


            Support for LDSD is probably about 3 guys, who are in my opinion very knowledgeable and even though I've had a mishap with them, these guys know their stuff.  They're also flitering for high severity issues on the phone, so if you have not been through training and not using the community for training type questions you'll want to utilize that for your answers.  The 5 day design and administration course is key and that only wets your appetite because this is a pretty complex software.


            As someone who's been through this before I can offer you my help and certainly my understanding.

            • 3. Re: Some complaints about ServiceDesk for consideration by LANDesk
              kcorkran Apprentice

              I'll get in on this discussion. We only own ServiceDesk.


              I am the unwitting soul who got stuck with this product. I was the guy who said "No, its too much." "We'll never have the resources to support it." --ironic, no?


              I have a great respect for what it can do and the support team that I get support from. Those guys are always on the spot, and for a phone support team of what 3? I don't know, I've only spoken with Craig, Nephi, and John, I cannot begrudge them a couple of days, they are simply amazing. Each of them has a wide and expansive skill set in not just ServiceDesk, but also in SQL, IIS, & general windows OS.


              The online support documentation is not so easy to find what I need, though I know its out there, somwhere.(I want to know).... but honestly I've never tried searching the site from google which might improve results.


              Our implementation simply sucked. That is, IMHO, the worst aspect of bringing ServiceDesk into your environment. They really need to simply the base install so it doesn't take a PHD to get it configured. Our consultant got it shoe-horned in but then left a ton of artifacts lying about the system. Some things didn't work, some were completely wrong. Me and my organization share a 50% portion of this responsibility for the debacle because the people that are being asked to input on it do not understand ITIL, but that really isn't an excuse. We got our wires crossed, that confused the analyst, the rest is history. The fact is the processes didn't work at go-live. At that point in time I would been better off implementing BugTracker (opensource) and customizing the drop-down values. That simple product would have exceeded our current usage of ServiceDesk.


              I have mentioned this to sales and support people alike in the past but I'll throw it out there for all to read. ServiceDesk should be built to suit 'In House' before it goes to the client. Gets specs from the client, take them the engineers, then sit back and fill out the TPS reports.

              Open a VPN, let the client see what the screens are going to look like, how the actions work, etc. When they get it done and it goes through UAT, it should be a simple matter to implement.


              I will end this rant on a happy note.. I think our organization could really benefit from extending the usage of ServiceDesk, I will be pushing for further investment in the process module since having 6 active processes is stupid and limiting. I now have a really decent understanding of the product and what it can do and believe that it can meet the needs of my agency rapidly. I rarely experience any of the problems I see others posting about. I have my own problems but nothing I haven't been able to fix, work-around, or cope with. I anticipate that Avocent will make the integration between products tighter and more reliable. The product has consistently gotten better and I am actually looking forward to the tedious upgrade to 7.4.



              • 4. Re: Some complaints about ServiceDesk for consideration by LANDesk
                Stu McNeill Employee

                Hi Erich,


                I think the other responses you've had here have covered most of your comments but I wanted to respond on a couple of them directly.


                Console system requirements - the recommended memory is 2GB, and general use of the Console application is between 100-500mb depending on the complexity of the system design.


                Help files - The documentation that generates both the help files and the PDF manuals is updated with every release so please report any out of date information either here or via Support so we can get that fixed.  There are thousands of pages to maintain so its not always possible to ensure something doesn't slip through the net occasionally.  With the articles we write for the Community website we have the same issue but try to include the software version the information is relevant to within the content to help avoid confusion.


                Importing device data from LDMS - The model is this:  Using a primary key attribute of your choice existing records will be updated if found.  If the key attribute changes in the source (ie. if you're using the machine name and this is changed) the import will not be able to find the existng record and create a new one.  Records are not automatically removed from Service Desk if they are removed from the source.


                Test data still being visible in Web Access - I would log this with Support for investigation, it depends on how exactly the system was cleaned down and how the queries are designed but if anything was left behind this needs to be looked into and is not going to be Web Access itself at fault here.


                In regards to your comments on the support you've received I spoke to the manager of your region's Service Desk team last week and he will be in contact with you directly to follow this up.  Any issues you have regarding the level of support you receive can be escalated so please don't feel that your comments fall on deaf ears.


                Kind regards,


                • 5. Re: Some complaints about ServiceDesk for consideration by LANDesk
                  karenpeacock SupportEmployee



                  @Keith - I was really sorry to hear that you felt that you had a bad implementation experience and I have passed on your comments regarding the Professional Services / Consultancy that you recieved to the Services management team.  To address one of your points more specifically, I was told that some new remote services offerings are about to be announced.  You should be able to get more information about these from your account manager.


                  Best wishes


                  • 6. Re: Some complaints about ServiceDesk for consideration by LANDesk

                    "What training have you or anyone else received on designing and  implementing the product? - Perhaps this is where some of the issues  come in.  We received limited training during the timeframe when this  was implemented."


                    So no training (typically 5 days) and you didn't help develop the processes and screens.  It's no wonder your lost.  This isn't Microsoft Access and there is no "out of the box", it's all custom.  The training give you enough information for you to know the basics.  You then need the Process training to really learn the nuts and bolts of your processes which is where the real workings go on.


                    We use LDMS 9.0 SP1 and have none of the issues your seeing so it sounds like a setup issue.


                    I have learned where to find some answers (community) and can figure many thing out myself, however I still have to bug support more than I care to.  Could this software be easier to use and friendlier, it sure could.  I think less effort has been put into making the system easy to use and well laid out because the effort has been put into new features, new options, fixes, etc that are based on what we are asking for.  The Enhancement section is littered with ideas users have put in and have been added to the product.  They seem to pay less attention to simplicity so that they can do everything else that we are asking for.  They re-wrote web desk which was horrible by today's standard.  Webaccess is a huge step forward.  It's not perfect but much improved.


                    I would suggest taking the admin and process class and see if things don't make more sense.  You won't learn everything but when you talk to support you will understand them better and will learn much more from them.  With no training, I am not surprised you are having a very difficult time.  I bet you will feel much better once you learn a little bit about the product.  You still may not love it but you will certainly appreciate it a bit more.

                    • 7. Re: Some complaints about ServiceDesk for consideration by LANDesk
                      Julian Wigman ITSMMVPGroup

                      IMHO depends on the region you are using the product in.


                      If you are in the UK:

                      • Lots of Service Desk Support resource.  Also they have access to local Service Desk Developers and Product Management as backup
                      • Not so many LDMS Support resource compared with US


                      If you are in the US:

                      • Lots of LDMS Support resource.  Also they have access to local LDMS/LDSS Developers and Product Management as backup
                      • Not so much Service Desk Support resource compared with UK (fewer people, not necessarily skill). 


                      We find one region needing to escalate to the other region etc and timezones typically get in the way to delay proceedings.

                      • 8. Re: Some complaints about ServiceDesk for consideration by LANDesk



                        Yes we will be attending training, and no we haven't had it yet for ServiceDesk.


                        Training though should not be 100% the be all end all for being able to use a product.  This is supposed to be an enterprise product for a helpdesk, therefore intuitive out of the box, have up to date help, and a good support team.  So far, neither applies.In the end, without training, this product is a nightmare and a headache.


                        LDMS is the complete polar opposite.  With little training one can get right into it.  I learned alot from checking over the interface, reading the help files and visiting the community portal section for it.  I then went to a week of training and while I learned a LOT  I also went in knowing a lot.  Support is a tad bit better as well although not always.


                        ServiceDesk is just terrible in terms of all of this.   The search engine for the forums is also useless, and believe me my 'google-fu' is quite strong, so its hit or miss with a search and usually takes manually going through pages to find decent and related topics on what I'm looking for.


                        Quite frankly, this product needs to be overhauled and fixed before new features and tools are added...especially for what's being charged for it!

                        • 9. Re: Some complaints about ServiceDesk for consideration by LANDesk
                          Julian Wigman ITSMMVPGroup

                          Hi Chewi,


                          Whilst I agree that Service Desk could really do with a few more bugs being fixed (and soon), I do believe it is unfair to form a direct comparison with LDMS;  they are completely different in architecture.


                          With the exception of the LANDesk Process Manager module,  LDMS otherwise offers a very fixed set of functionality that is easier to document in help files and get started with once you logon.  With the exception of LPM then it's really a "fixed process" in how it works IMHO and all customers use in the same way; I'd team the user experience "repeatable".


                          On the other hand Service Desk is totally process driven and can "disappear off in any direction" depending on what customers want.  Yes it comes with some out-of-the-box processes but in the enterprises where it normally seeks sanctuary then most customers want to start their process from a blank sheet of paper.  It is a very powerful tool as a result but as you rightly say you need to undertake (or at least key users) training before you'll get the most out of it.  It does need some up front investment in time/training from customers if you are to develop the processes yourselves but it does pay off in the long term.  The poser is there when you are ready to exploit it.


                          I still seems to me that the region you are in is contributing to some of your experiences.


                          That's my experience with both anyway for what it's worth.





                          • 10. Re: Some complaints about ServiceDesk for consideration by LANDesk

                            Ok, so after working with Craig M, I have to say a huge thank you to him, especially for putting up with me today


                            I now have a much better understanding of our services contract for tech support for one, but also have gotten documentation from him for ServiceDesk which we were missing for one reason or another.


                            That being said, effectively the issues we were having post-upgrade from the original implementation have been resolved, so again a huge thank you to him for that.  I know I got loud here (never seem to hear just how loud I'm getting lol), but he hung in there.  We seemed to be lacking information in some areas which we can now fix on our end.  Now that we are armed with the basics (base documentation) we'll be able to get a much better handle on things and can move forward with training to augment what we know and can grow from there.


                            I will leave this thread off with the following thoughts/suggestions for ServiceDesk:


                            - Eventually the interface will get re-worked, this I know but please make sure to organize the info into something more meaningful from the ground up.  I just don't get why someone would have to go through so many hoops  right now to get some admin items.  For instnace for some user info we had to click Administration -> Administration -> Users -> pull the hidden toolbar up from the bottom....  Just makes it that much more difficult to find things and get there.  Having a good base interface allows admins to customize and grow the product that much better and faster.


                            - Documentation..my # 1 pet peeve with any piece of software.  Since the documentation isn't up to date right now from Help -> Contents in ServiceDesk, and since there are PDF's that are, I would strongly suggest either getting rid of the built in docs (chm files most likely?), and reference the PDF's, or just combine and index the PDF's together and use that instead.  Supplement updated documentation via the portal and publicize it.  Then rehash with the next release and repeat.


                            Othewrise, thread closed.