help desk, manageengine servicedesk plus

Excellent (4.0)

Bottom Line

ManageEngine puts out tools used by IT shops all over the world, and it's easy to see why with ServiceDesk Plus. A strong feature set and key integrations with other ManageEngine products make it worth consideration for your help desk. US Street Price$10.00

  • Pros

    • Comprehensive support for ITIL processes at a competitive price
    • Strong integration with other ManageEngine solutions
  • Cons

    • Workflow support limited to the change management process
    • Minimal integration with third-party tools

ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus is a full-featured help desk platform that follows the ITSM standard for IT process and change management. The ITSM factor means it’s focused on being an internal help desk operated by IT professionals. But since the last time we reviewed it, ManageEngine has equipped ServiceDesk Plus with new features around problem and ticket management and third-party app integrations. All of this makes it a competitive product if IT help management is your focus, but some confusing pricing and a few reporting weaknesses keep it just slightly behind our ITSM Editors’ Choice award winners, HaloITSM and Vivantio.

New Features

Since our last go-round, the key new feature in ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus is the addition of problem-handling features for specific company departments. That means the system will now help IT pros handle problems specific to human resources (HR), finance, and a few other company service types. New release and patch management tools also work in tandem with the ServiceDesk offering.

You still have the option to deploy your ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus instance either on-premises or in the cloud, but there are new integrations available for both deployment types. These let you add built-in voice over IP (VoIP) telephony, support for remote sessions and remote control, and integrations to other help desk tools, including TeamViewer and ServiceDesk Plus Cloud.

ManageEngine Pricing and Plans

ManageEngine is owned by Zoho, which makes our low-priced help desk Editors’ Choice award winner Zoho Desk. That product had the lowest, simplest pricing of all of its competitors. ManageEngine’s prices are neither low nor simple, though they are generally competitive.

The entry-level tier for ManageEngine is Standard, and it’ll cost you $10 per agent per month. Next is the Professional tier at $21 per agent per month, while the Enterprise level starts at $50 per agent per month, depending on the number of agents and nodes under management.

Where things get tricky is that you’ll need the Enterprise version to get some of the more advanced features, such as asset management and advanced problem and project management capabilities. Then there are some additional charges based on specific features. For example, adding live chat capabilities costs $65 per agent per month, and extended functions like the service catalog or change and release management also carry additional costs.

ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus also comes in a managed service provider version, with a perpetual license format that’ll run you $1,445 for the first two tiers and $2,545 for the Enterprise tier. Some restrictions apply to those costs based on the number of technicians and nodes under management.

When you stack ManageEngine against its closest competitors in our roundup, namely HaloITSM and Vivantio, Vivantio comes up as slightly pricier and somewhat more complex when it comes to high-end features adding more cost. HaloITSM is a more difficult comparison because it exposes all its features at every tier, with prices solely based on the number of agents you’ve got using the system. The level where all three products match up best is ManageEngine’s bottom Enterprise tier versus Vivation’s Velocity and HaloITSM’s 50-agent tier. Here, ManageEngine and HaloITSM are neck and neck ($50 and $49 per agent per month, respectively), with Vivantio’s Velocity coming in at a much higher $86 per agent per month. But again, you’ll need to price out the number of agents who’ll be using the system and what features they’ll need before settling on a final price.

help desk, manageengine servicedesk plus

Interface and Key Features

ManageEngine is aimed at IT professional agents, so its interface isn’t as user-friendly as some of the other products in our roundup, notably Editors’ Choice winner Freshdesk. However, IT pros should have a low learning curve to finding their way around ServiceDesk Plus.

A new component to the interface is the Microsoft Teams integration. This requires the cloud version of ServiceDesk Plus, but it exposes all of ManageEngine’s help desk tools from inside the Microsoft Teams app. There is no word as of this writing on whether ManageEngine will be offering similar integration for Teams’ archrival Slack.

For organizations that have standardized on Microsoft Teams, however, this can seriously reduce the ease-of-use burden for both users and IT, since problems can now be sorted as channels, multiple forms of communication are only a click away, and even your FAQs and knowledgebase documents can be pinned where they’re most useful. There’s even a ManageEngine chatbot for Teams that’ll make ticket handling faster and decrease user wait times.

ManageEngine’s chat and AI capabilities come from Zia. This is Zoho’s artificial intelligence technology, which ManageEngine shares with its sister app Zoho Desk. Its AI smarts include predictive learning so ManageEngine knows how to direct requests to the most relevant technician. Zia can also predict relevant categories for requests and the most appropriate template to use for a particular type of incident. Just remember that given the iterative nature of machine learning and predictive analytics, these capabilities need time to reach their full potential.

ManageEngine Ticket Management

One area where ManageEngine makes a real effort at ease of use is ticket management. The product arranges icons and buttons in a logical flow, so most IT shops should make the ITSM process as uncomplicated as possible. You always have access to create a new request with one mouse click. A Quick Actions menu provides a comprehensive list of commonly used functions available with one click from the menu as well.

help desk, manageengine servicedesk plus

Building or modifying forms for entering specific types of requests has been enhanced with the ability to use custom scripts. This means you can dynamically change things on a form based on a user entry earlier on the form. Sample scripts show you how it’s done. The self-service portal has also been updated to add advanced options such as panels, buttons, lists, and snippets on top of predefined or custom templates.

help desk, manageengine servicedesk plus

New custom actions for Asset, CMDB, and Release Management functions make it possible to trigger things like notifications or custom scripts when ServiceDesk Plus detects a change. This is especially useful when entering new asset items requiring additional info or action requiring user input. It’s also possible to add assets by scanning QR codes from device vendors.

Reporting and Data Export

Many of the help desk competitors we tested are somewhat weak on reporting using internal features and instead expect you to export, then clean, your data before importing it into a more full-featured analytics tool. The free Spiceworks Cloud Help Desk has a direct plug-in to Microsoft Power BI, but it’s the exception that proves the rule.

(Editors’ Note: Spiceworks is owned by Ziff Davis, PCMag’s parent company.)

For ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus, reporting has been and remains a strength. A total of 380 predefined reports deliver a wide range of information across the entire system. You can also modify these, adding or deleting fields and modifying filter options. You can see your data in any combination of tabular and graphical charts. If you do need to get your data out of ManageEngine, simply generate a report, which you can send via email or export to HTML, PDF, CSV or native Excel formats.

help desk, manageengine servicedesk plus

Dashboards for all the major help desk areas come ready-made, including core functions and the departmental categories mentioned above. Clicking a pencil icon lets you modify any of the stock dashboards to change its look and feel by rearranging or removing widgets. A wide array of widgets gives you various ways to display your data, from charts to gauges or timelines. It’s a snap to copy an existing dashboard and save your changes as a new one. ManageEngine uses a favorites star icon to easily make your most frequent dashboards accessible.

A Well-Rounded IT Help Desk Platform

It’s not the cheapest or easiest tool in our help desk roundup. Still, ManageEngine remains competitive in both those areas and also delivers a lot of added value in the form of channel integration and IT-specific ticket routing features. With improvements to reporting and patch management as well as new AI capabilities inherited from Zoho Desk, this product is definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for an IT-focused service desk.

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