In our industry there are always stories of reorganizations, sunsetting plans, and the end of service life for products. Track-it! is one that seems to consistently come up. Track-it! help desk software was once owned by Numara and was ultimately purchased by our friends at BMC, one of the largest legacy IT service desk software vendors. Recently we’ve seen some interesting changes to the Track-it! tune.
Track-it! has updated its messaging to read: “If you are using a homegrown solution or a freeware solution and just need something solid, reliable and affordable to help you get your help desk under control, try Track-It! Help Desk Software today.”
Basically, this is saying it’s better than having nothing at all. And, although Track-it! is a part of the BMC lineup, it lives on its own website domain and is not listed under the “Featured Products” on the BMC website (it actually takes some time to find it on the website).
Track-it! has also become more competitive in pricing according to what we’re hearing in the market. By almost giving away Track-it!, the line is targeted to small and mid-sized businesses that are hoping the large BMC brand behind it will meet their needs and their budgets. What intrigues us is that BMC has never had an SMB strategy. They very much excel as an enterprise-focused organization. With Track-it!, BMC is among the ranks of free solutions, like Spiceworks, while still charging customers. The shift to an almost free solution puts Track-it! on a lonely island where initial costs seem reasonable, but support costs could soar.
Selecting a help desk software is more complicated than just pricing, which brings up even more questions. At Samanage we like to promote vendor transparency, so we challenge you to ask these questions whether you are considering us, Track-it!, or any other ITSM solution.
Is the investment in the solution equivalent to the number of customers?
If a smaller product like Track-it! isn’t receiving the proper ratio of dedicated support employees to the number of customers, you may be in a situation where you submit your inquiry and wait……and wait. If knowledgeable support personnel only make up 2% of the actual support team you have to make the decision if that is in line with what you’re looking for.
What are the plans for ongoing integration with new IT management software products that come on to the market?
Single sign-on, for example, is quickly gaining in popularity as help desk teams realize the benefits and the change in their workload when password resets are no longer consistently required. Understanding if new integrations are coming, when they are coming, and how they will impact the software allows you to better devise a plan for your team’s growth and bandwidth.
Is there any intention of offering a SaaS version of the solution?
As the entire IT service management market is moving to SaaS, remaining as an on-premise solution brings limitations. If there are plans to offer the software as a SaaS solution, it may change how the software operates and require some changes on your end. You need to ensure that you are prepared for this change, should it occur, and that it meets your future goals. (But, honestly, why wouldn’t you want a SaaS solution?)
Are pricing deals a short term tactic or predictable with my business needs?
You’re perhaps getting the ultimate deal with your new software. It’s significantly cheaper than the rest, and basically just a step up in price from being completely free. Will this last and does it include all costs? Will the price change next year? What are the other cost components that must be factored in? Budget is one of the more important factors in seeking a new solution, so if there is any chance that things could quickly change, you want to know.
Is the investment in engineering for building functionality into the product or to just focus on break fixes?
This is critical. The support and engineering of your next service management software should be working to create and enhance a product that will support the ongoing improvement of the way you work. A stagnant product leads to limited scalability and customization opportunities. If they are only fixing what’s broken, and not improving details and growing the product, you will inevitably be stuck with an outdated product.
It would appear that Track-it! and RemedyForce are focused on the same market, how do we decide between the two?
What makes them different other than the price? With RemedyForce living on the SalesForce domain and seemingly supported as a mainstream BMC offering, there appears to be a stronger focus and correlation to the big brand than Track-it!, which lives on its own and had its own separate technical support until recently, but now appears to have been handed off to an offshore Level One general BMC team. The products themselves may not have that many differences when it comes to features, but it’s the backend and support that will truly differentiate them.
May I see the roadmap?
Viewing the product roadmap should be a critical factor in your decision to go with your next help desk software vendor. This will allow you to see the vision the company has for this product, and what new features you can look forward to, including any large updates that will be coming down the road that will require your attention.
While there is a common thread of heavy professional services and ongoing maintenance services, not all BMC products are equal. It’s almost impossible for them to receive the same level of support and investment, meaning some products will always be more favored than others. As you search for a new help desk software, ask these questions and take a moment to look outside of the BMC family.