IT Service Desks, Help Desks and NOCs: 24 Options for MSPs

IT Service Desks, Help Desks and NOCs: 24 Options for MSPs

When we prepared this year's MSPmentor 100 survey (open Oct. 15 through Dec. 28), we increased our attention on several areas -- including the IT Service Desk and Help Desk markets, and the closely related Network Operations Center (NOC) market. In those market segments, Managed Services Providers (MSPs) have a range of software, cloud services and outsourcing partners from which to choose.

Many players are covered in a Gartner Magic Quadrant report for IT Service Support Management Tools. According to Gartner, IT Service and Support management tools must offer these nine capabilities.

  1. IT incident management
  2. IT problem management
  3. IT change management
  4. IT release governance
  5. IT user self-service
  6. IT request management
  7. IT knowledge management
  8. IT service support analytics and reporting
  9. IT SLA management with regard to incident and service requests
Some of the vendors below meet those nine criteria. I'm not in a position to recommend which IT service desk, help desk and NOC solutions your MSP business should leverage. But here's at least a list to get you started on your search for solutions.
  1. Axios Systems: Maker of Assyst. The SaaS-based service desk and IT service management software provider  has an MSP partner program. True believers apparently include Northgate and LANIT.
  2. BMC Remedy IT Service Management: Overkill for small MSPs? The "suite" approach looks comprehensive.
  3. CA Service Desk Manager: I've got a true confession; I'm not sure how CA Service Desk Manager is positioned vs. CA Nimsoft Service Desk, which is a SaaS-based solution that many MSPs are embracing.
  4. Cherwell Service Management: Another SaaS-based service desk specialist. The company's website mentions resellers as partners, but I'm not seeing a clear link to the MSP community.
  5. Continuum's NOC (formerly Zenith RMM): One of the first platforms to offer integration between NOC (network operations center) and RMM (remote monitoring and management) software. The company is talking a whole lot more about service desk solutions lately.
  6. EasyVista: Another prime example of a SaaS IT service management company that increasingly reaches out to MSPs.
  7. FrontRange ITSM and Heat: Do a little poking around; I'm not sure if the company also still offers an MSP-oriented product called Discovery.MSP.
  8. Hornbill ITSM: Here again is an example of an IT service management company that wants to work with MSPs.
  9. HP Service Manager: True confession -- I've never understood how HP's former OpenView business failed to evolve for MSPs. HP has plenty of problems these days and I don't know if the company's Service Manager platform will ever push hard into the MSP space. But we're watching.
  10. IBM SmartCloud Control Desk: I think this actually comes out of the Tivoli business unit. And if you look closely enough you'll see some mentions of service provider capabilities.
  11. LANDesk: A classic name that's undergone plenty of changes and evolutions over the past 15 years or so. In particular, check out Service Desk as a Service.
  12. Live Virtual Help Desk: They've got a vocal following in the MSP market. Plenty of MSPs outsource their help desk services to LiveVHD. I've always wondered if the company can scale its services as more and more MSPs climb aboard. Anybody have a feel for how things have scaled this year? Keep me posted.
  13. LPI Level Platforms' NOC: Better known for its RMM software, Level Platforms has also pushed into the outsourced NOC market for MSPs as well.
  14. ManageEngine ServiceDesk: This company may have the largest portfolio of IT management software available for MSPs.
  15. Mojo Helpdesk: This is a hosted support ticketing system. Pay-as-you-go model.
  16. NetEnrich NOC: Some of the world's largest VARs and MSPs outsource their NOC-related monitoring services to NetEnrich.
  17. Nimsoft (CA Nimsoft Service Desk): Check out my CA entry further above.
  18. NTR Cloud for ITSM, Help Desk: Acquired by ASG Software earlier this year. Key relationships include BMC Software, ConnectWise, N-able Technologies, Salesforce.com and Spiceworks.
  19. Parature: I don't hear too much about them in the MSP space... but you can find some information here.
  20. SAManage: Within its partner ecosystem, hosting providers are a key focus.
  21. ServiceNow: The company behind one of the most successful tech IPOs of 2012.
  22. Splunk: They do a whole lot more in numerous markets, but here's the service desk management component.
  23. Tender Support: Blending help desk, knowledge base and support forums into a solution.
  24. ZenDesk: Catchy ads across San Francisco and Silicon Valley are turning heads for this customer service and support ticket system.

Whom did I miss?

I realize I likely overlooked dozens of additional options. Plus, I suspect some of the companies above don't really have an MSP-centric market play. That said we'll be watching the IT service desk, help desk and NOC markets closely.
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