SaaS for ITSM, On-Premises or Something In-Between?

Last week I visited a Serena Dimensions CM customer who is planning to replace or upgrade their ITSM solution. I had already reached out to them about considering Serena Service Manager. As they reviewed all options, they wanted to learn how they could make a major leap rather than an incremental upgrade. Our discussion included topics that are relevant to any organization that is exploring alternatives to the traditional big (and cumbersome) ITSM vendors.

This customer wants a solution that’s more flexible and adaptable than what they have today, that can be modified on the fly by regular help-desk staff, and that can support their goal of measurably improving service to their users. They also want to be sure they don’t lose ground on key capabilities and are able to offer a better user experience and expanded self-service. And they want to avoid the arduous implementation process and high costs they went through with their legacy solution.

Another key topic they wanted to cover was the pros and cons of SaaS. As one director said, “If SaaS meets my capabilities and cost goals without sacrificing security and adaptability, I’ll go there. But I’m not convinced that I can get that mix.” Since some of the stakeholders were advocating SaaS, this director wanted to resolve this issue before we dove into a discussion of product capabilities.

Here are the main deployment-model topics this director wanted to compare for each deployment model:

  • License cost
  • Implementation cost and time
  • Adaptation cost and time
  • Security and control
  • Service level and responsiveness guarantees
  • Integration with related applications
  • Solution features and product roadmap
  • Visibility, reporting, metrics – and can these be easily customized and adapted?

I’d like to hear from you about these concerns around deployment models. Are yours similar? Got anything to add? What’s your most important issue in weighing options for ITSM deployment? What are you concerned about losing if you go the SaaS route?

In my next post, I’ll write more about Serena’s no-trade-off approach to deployment options, including a flexible deployment model that is a hybrid of SaaS and on-premises. Later I’ll compile your responses and other customer feedback and write a follow-up blog to share what your peers are thinking about IT deployment options.


Colin Teubner is Senior Product Manager for the Serena Service Manager offering. Prior to Serena, Colin was the BPM product manager at Global360. He was also at Forrester Research for five years where he was the Senior Research Analyst covering the Business Process Management segment.



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