???Core Topic
Enterprise Management: IT Service and Support
Key Issues
Which product and service vendors will become leaders in IT service and support?
What strategies and best practices promote effective IT service and support?
Decision Framework, DF-19-8988 Research Note K. Brittain 14 May 2003
Evaluation Criteria for 2003 IT Service Desk Magic Quadrant
IT service desk suites offer a complex array of features and functionality. To use them successfully, enterprises must understand how vendors compare with Gartner’s Magic Quadrant vision and execution criteria.
Eroding economic factors, tightening IT budgets and waning customer confidence have created longer buying cycles in the IT service desk market, which has been stagnant since 2001. Enterprises are paying greater attention on gaining control of their IT service and support environments through process refinement and broader service delivery.
First, let’s define what the IT service and support model requires. Yesterday’s reactive inefficiencies of trouble-ticket tracking with the help desk organization structure and process moved the requirements to support a proactive management method — a consolidated IT service desk. The IT service desk has become the integration point for multiple management disciplines (problem, change, asset and service-level management). Today, it is the single point of contact for providing multiple IS services (such as desktop, IT infrastructure, business applications and telecommunications) to the end-user community and the source of automation for multiple workflow processes.
IT service desk tools capture data to develop a standard methodology for reporting, tracking, analyzing and resolving problems, as well as service requests. Consistent measurement and tracking of incidents produce metrics and feedback for continuous improvement. Capturing consistent profiles and metrics forces the IT service desk to confront the IS organization’s weaknesses and identify gaps in the service coverage, which is the only way to identify and improve service problems. It becomes the focal point of problem tracking and service request logging. To evaluate a vendor’s capability in this market, Gartner focuses on key capability factors. Gartner’s 2003 IT Service Desk Magic Quadrant (see “Magic Quadrant for the IT Service Desk, 2003”) is based on criteria within two axes: the ability to execute (vertical) and the completeness of vision (horizontal).
© 2003 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The reader assumes sole responsibility for the selection of these materials to achieve its intended results. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.
Evaluation Criteria for a Vendor’s Ability to Execute and Vision
The vertical axis assesses a vendor’s ability to execute considering these primary criteria:
• Service and support
• Executive and product management • Technology and functionality
• Financial
• Sales and marketing
• Installed base
• Client references
The horizontal axis assesses a vendor’s vision of success considering these primary criteria:
• Match to customer and market • Product completeness
• Sales and marketing
• Technology and architecture
• Business model
Ability to Execute
The vertical axis assesses senior management’s experience; sales, marketing and distribution capabilities; the depth of research and development; the quality of a vendor’s professional services and support; and the strength of a vendor’s alliances. Assessment of staffing covers senior management talent and the depth of the tenure of product management and the development organization. The ability to execute is underscored by the depth of resources within sales (direct and indirect), marketing, services (the professional service organization and systems integrators) and support. Critical to the analysis is the size and caliber of a vendor’s referenceable customer base. Long-term financial commitments and future sales strategies are also key indicators. Financial needs include a vendor’s financial health and its ability to weather the poor economy.
Vendors in the Leaders and Challengers quadrants:

Deliver products in a timely manner with excellent code quality
Provide strong and broad product support (for example, phone and Web delivery)
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• Offer solid and consistent references, leveraging multiple modules within a suite
• Consistently make enterprise shortlists, showing their marketing credibility
• Have a solid installed base
• Demonstrate a balanced and well-managed sales and channel distribution capability
Vendors in the Visionaries and Niche Players quadrants:
• Perform well in a small segment of the market (niche)
• Experience new growth in the mainstream of the market (visionary)
• Do not show financial strength
• Have not demonstrated broad or deep relationships with key third-party vendors
The horizontal axis assesses the existence of a clear vision, consistency with industry trends, product completeness for the target buyer and creativity in the plan of attack for the defined market. The product and marketing vision demonstrate that there is cogent consolidated service desk product integration with the IT infrastructure and a view toward key business initiatives, such as service management. Product completeness reflects the functionality of problem, change, inventory/configuration and service-level agreement management applications. It also includes integrating knowledge search engines, self-service tools and analytical tools. The product set must offer a scalable solution in terms of the database and operating-system architecture being supported.
Vendors in the Leaders and Challengers quadrants:
• Exhibit a clear, complete and consistent vision
• Support a wide range of platform architecture, from databases to operating systems
• Offer a mature and leading product road map
• Leverage industry best practices and process frameworks
• Innovate by incorporating leading technologies (for example, analytics, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol and wireless)
Vendors in the Visionaries and Niche Players quadrants:
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• Lead in one subset of functionality; however, overall product offerings are limited
• Have references within subsegments of the market
• Lack broad or deep relationships with key third-party vendors
• Have immature sales and marketing capability related to IT service management
• Demonstrate commitment to a product, even if it represents only a small revenue percentage of the business
Bottom Line: The emphasis on functionality and cost containment sharpens enterprises’ focus on making tactical buying decisions. A strategic decision in the IT service desk market places emphasis on the automation of IT processes (for example, problem, change and asset management). Delivering tools that can align well with key IT service and support processes requires a vendor with good vision and a solid execution history. To be successful in the request for proposal process, enterprises should evaluate a vendor’s vision and ability to execute criteria, using a weighting system focused on key enterprise needs.
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