Time to chuck your ERP-like Service Management System?

More and more IT Ops execs are expressing their dissatisfaction with their on-premise “ERP-like” service management software.  The gripe is that these systems are complex, costly and very difficult to extend and customize.  One IT exec I spoke with called their ERP-like service management solution their  “cul-de-sac” system…a dead end.  IT execs understand having to pay ERP-like prices to manage global-system-of-record processes (I didn’t say they liked it).  But last I checked, service management systems manage lightweight, business and internal IT services.  So the question is why spend $5M+ for an on-premise ERP-like service management system to solve a $500K problem? 

The traditional on-premise ERP service management vendors, like their ERP cousins, subscribe to the tenets of the ERP economic model:  high license and maintenance fees, implementation fees 2x-3x license fees, long and costly upgrades, hard to use and extremely rigid.  These on-premise ERP-like service management systems live by the ERP maxim, “once up and running…don’t touch”!   

So why do companies looking for an on-premise service management solution accept the ERP cost model?   Well for one reason, they don’t have much choice in the matter.  It’s either the classic on-premise ERP approach or the cloud…nothing in between.  While many companies have chucked their costly on-premise ERP service management system and moved to the cloud, still many others are looking for an affordable on-premise alternative.   A second reason is that companies have been buying enterprise software for 30 years and seemingly just accept high prices and complexity as part of the package.  So what to do? 

Serena, a finalist for the Pink Elephant ITSM Innovation Award, provides an affordable on-premise service management solution that is the antithesis of the on-premise ERP approach.  Serena’s on-premise service management solution can be bought and implemented in a 10th of the time at a 10th of the cost compared to traditional on-premise ERP-like service management solutions.  But how can this be? ERP-like systems were built over a 20 year period by many different development teams, using many different development tools and methodologies.  They’ve bolted on so many different technologies that the systems have taken on a Frankensteinian look to them.  This is why these systems, like their ERP cousins, are so costly, complex and hard to customize.      

With Serena’s affordable on-premise approach, we deliver business/IT service packs, all model developed, no programming, fully integrated with our powerful, agile business process platform.  Leveraging our Visio-like service modeling capability, customers can easily customize, add and extend the delivered Serena IT Ops service packs to satisfy their ever-changing requirements.    

When compared against 20-year-old, on-premise ERP like solutions, Serena Service Manager customers can be up and running in a matter of a few months vs. a year, upgrade their Serena solution in a week vs. months, and customize the delivered services functionality in a few days vs. several months.  This is why we can say that Serena’s service management system can be up and running in a 10th of the time at a 10th of the cost compared to on-premise ERP service management solutions.  For those customers who wish to move their business/ IT services to the cloud while still maintaining the ability to customize the delivered services…yup, we have an app for that!


John Nugent is the former President and CEO of Serena Software.



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