Thursday, January 31, 2013

Symantec ServiceDesk 7.5 Review

My History with ServiceDesk

I’ve been working on the Symantec ServiceDesk product since it’s initial release in 2009.  Like many of you who in the ServiceDesk community I was excited at the prospect of ServiceDesk when it was first released and have been a part of it’s trials and tribulations ever since.  


I think that ServiceDesk 7.5 is the first version of the product that has lived up to the original promise of ServiceDesk.  It is more stable, quicker, easier to install, easier to configure then it has ever been.  Is it perfect, No, but it is good and with the power of Workflow behind it can be made to be great if a company is committed to making it so.

I installed ServiceDesk 7.5 in an afternoon in a VM environment on my laptop.  Anyone who knows ServiceDesk knows it needs tons of ram to really work well and my laptop only has 4gb and it still worked fine.  The installer is easy to use and intuitive.  The documentation for ServiceDesk was completely rewritten for 7.5 and it was exactly what I needed when configuring, I always felt that the original documentation didn’t have enough practical information. Jason Short, the product manager, also recorded videos for common configuration items and you can link to them from the Implementation Guide, the videos are also available from ServiceDesk’s Connect page.  

I did experience a couple of issues, the Report Incident process, didn’t install correctly and was throwing an error when called. I was able to clean out the deploy directory open the package and redeploy and solve the issue, this took 5 minutes.  I also was messing around with the Process Type Actions and I accidentally erased all of the Incident Actions but was able to pull up another ServiceDesk implementation and recreate them in about 15 minutes.  

All in all I had a demo environment, with the most basic configuration possible, set up and running in a couple of days.  Obviously if you were going to be using this in your corporate environment you will probably need a week or two so to get everything configured correctly and to make or recreate any customizations.  


As a partner I get asked one question all the time, is it worth it to upgrade to 7.5? Yes, even to those people who just installed 7.1SP2 and here is why:
  • For the first time Symantec has struck the proper balance between useful configuration and customization.  In 7.5 the most commonly requested Incident configuration items: SLA’s, Priority, and Routing can all be accomplished through the rules engine in the portal and don’t require editing of the Workflow Processes.
  • This is the last version of the product that you will have to do a rip and replace upgrade - it is worth upgrading for that point alone.
  • In the last two versions, 7.1SP2 and 7.5, Incident and Change Management have been completely rebuilt.  They are flatter, quicker, more stable, and better processes.  Since these processes are what most people use it makes sense to make sure you are using the best version of those processes.
  • The documentation has never been better and makes it much easier to administrate the program.
  • We still have a lot of customization ability and therefore if you have invested heavily in customizations in the past, it is worth it to start figuring out how those customizations can be re-imagined in the new framework.  
  • The Workflow Framework has gone through some major improvements to support ServiceDesk development and is more stable and more secure today then it has ever been.

As I said earlier this is the first version of ServiceDesk, in my opinion, that has lived up to the ServiceDesk hype of it’s initial release.  It is a very capable program for the administration of your corporate help desk.  Out of the box you have everything you need to start taking and remediating tickets but ServiceDesk’s real ace in the hole is and always has been the Workflow framework that it was built on.  With Workflow we can automate almost any business case that you have - and therefore we can create the best ServiceDesk solution for your business.

Tommy Yionoulis is a partner at WEVO Group and has been involved in 20 ServiceDesk Implementations since it’s release on 2009.  If you have any questions about ServiceDesk or Workflow please contact him at

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