A Comparison of Self-service Portals

If you wish to offer your IT end users a self-service solution, you can choose one of the following three approaches:

Comparison of Self-service Portals

Option 1: IT Service Management Suite

Most vendors of ITSM suites now also offer integrated modules for self service. The advantage of that is that an additional self-service tool does not have to be implemented. However, this module can often only be used with the latest version of the ITSM suite. That means any necessary migration of the existing system to the latest version is often very expensive.

Moreover, with many of the integrated self-service modules, users have to decide at the outset whether they wish to search in the knowledge base, report an incident or submit a service request. If they decide to search in the knowledge base, they won’t find a solution in around 80% of cases. Experience from practice shows that IT can document and store a solution in the knowledge base at reasonable cost and effort for only around 20% of possible problems. That means users are almost bound to be disappointed, resulting in lower and lower acceptance of the self-service solution and that users not longer use the knowledge base at all, but instead post a ticket as soon as they have a problem. Consequently, the objective of reducing the number of tickets by using a knowledge base cannot be achieved.

Option 2: Specific Service Catalog Solution

These dedicated solutions (such as Biomni, HP Propel, PMG and others) are used if the existing ITSM suite does not have adequate service catalog functions. Integration in the ITSM suite often entails a lot of time and effort, since the service catalog data, such as services, options, SLAs, etc., has to be integrated technically and logically into the ITSM suite’s ITIL® processes – for example into incident, change, configuration and asset management and into service request fulfillment. Here too, queries by end users are mostly handled and processed separately on the basis of incidents, service requests and searches in a knowledge base, which likewise results in problems as regards acceptance.

Option 3: Smart Link

The self-service application Smart Link does not have a service catalog of its own, but instead accesses the service definitions in the existing ITSM suite by means of a simple interface. That means such an implementation project is “minimally invasive" and involves little effort.

All types of query – whether incidents, service requests or search queries – are pooled in one interface for end users, so they do not have to decide or select in advance what type of query matches their request or problem. The automatic search in the knowledge base means that the solution process is already integrated in the query process, which also results in high user acceptance and frequency of use – and that is vital to the effectiveness of the knowledge base.

Smart Link can be integrated in any ITSM suite, such as BMC Remedy, CA Service Management, HP Service Manager and many others. We also offer Valuemation, an ITSM suite that can be flexibly extended by an additional self-service solution in the shape of Smart Link.

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