Our experience working with Service Desk managers tells us that reporting is essential to operating a smooth Service Desk. Yet, many Service Desk vendors, including BMC ITSM, don’t provide robust reporting features. Or, they do, but they’re so complex most users can’t leverage them. That’s why 5000fish created DashboardFox and got involved with Service Desk reporting: to provide the business user with an agile tool they can use to gain insights that improve Service Desk performance.
We’ve coupled our industry experience with knowledge we’ve gained through talking with consumers and compiled this list of top dashboard and reporting options for BMC Remedy ITSM.
Overview of BMC Remedy IT Service Management
A lot has changed over the history of BMC. Not just ownership but also the name of their service desk tool. From ARS, to Remedy, to ITSM, and now to Helix ITSM, one thing has stayed the same, BMC has always been one of the leaders in enterprise help desk solutions.
BMC Remedy Service Management is a service management platform that’s available as an on-premise or a cloud-based solution. From basic change tasking and simple Help Desk control to cloud lifecycle management, BMC can help organizations save money, become more productive, and improve customer service.
The Challenge of BMC Remedy’s Reporting Capabilities
The reporting in Remedy has evolved over the years. From open-source options such as BIRT, to Crystal Report and Business Object integration, BMC Dashboards and Analytics, and most recently, Smart Reporting, a white-label implementation of Yellowfin BI.
While reporting has improved, Remedy’s reporting capabilities are still limited, unless you have a lot of internal expertise and resources to work with the tools they offer. In many cases, reporting comes at an additional cost which many find cost prohibited.
Sadly these days we see a lot of BMC ITSM customers jumping ship and migrating over to ServiceNow or other enterprise options. And when they do that they are faced with a tough decision of what to do with their legacy data. The cost of keeping licenses running doesn’t make sense and in many cases, the cost of migrating the data into the new vendor is expensive and akin to trying to push a square peg into a round circle (jump down to the section on DashboardFox if you want to learn more about how we solve this issue).
The net result, typically generating custom reports and dashboards from BMC ITSM, specifically, ones that may combine data from your other IT systems can be a pain. We’re going to list a couple of options that you can check out to help with this struggle.
Best Dashboard and Reporting Options For BMC Help Desk.
When it comes to choosing the best dashboard and reporting solution for BMC Remedy, it’s not one size fits all. You must determine your organization’s technical and financial resources, outline what you’re trying to accomplish, and research each product.
To help you get started, we’ve provided an overview of a handful of popular tools, including DashboardFox which we feel is one of the most robust not just for BMC but for any data source you need to be integrated with BMC data.
Microsoft Power BI for BMC
This is the tool we most often find businesses attempting to use with BMC ITSM. In many cases, they may already use Power BI in their organization and the top brass gives the technical team an instruction to try to connect it to BMC. It’s not as easy as it seems. BMC ITSM has one of the more complicated and cryptic databases of any service management tool that we have worked with. So unless you are an experienced BMC developer, the average BI person won’t have a clue.
Organizations looking to leverage Power BI are going to struggle and spend a lot of time and effort before realizing they still cannot get the level of flexibility and customization they are looking for. Power BI simply shifts the responsibility from one technical resource to another, it doesn’t open up the data to business users.
Tableau Software for BMC
Tableau is a part of Salesforce these days but many organizations have a Microsoft Power BI-life relationship with Tableau. It’s part of their enterprise BI toolkit and there is heavy pressure to leverage it for anything reporting related (as the top brass spent a lot of money on that enterprise agreement).
Organizations attempting to use Tableau for BMC dashboards and reports will find the same struggle as the ones we discussed above with Power BI. Deciphering those tables and relationships in BMC ITSM is tough. And if you attempt to report via the Remedy API, you’re going to be limited in speed, report size, and also to authorized licensed users.
Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, PureShare is an enterprise software product company that’s focused on metrics management. Its clients include several major organizations, such as Microsoft, Time Warner Cable, and Frito Lay.
PureShare for BMC Remedy automates gathering, consolidation, and publishing of IT performance metrics dashboards and supports real-time connectivity to a variety of systems, including Contact Center ACDs, event management platforms, project/HR management, security management systems and more. PureShare offers user-configurable views for executives, customers, and staff and provides stakeholders a single system to go to for real-time operations performance metrics from all sources.
Landesk acquired Xtraction back in 2015 and they were subsequently acquired by Ivanti. If you’re not familiar, Ivanti used to be FrontRange the maker of the help desk software, Heat. So we’re doubtful that Xtraction is still an option for BMC Remedy.
Xtraction Solutions, Inc. was founded in 2011 and provides out of the box solutions for major service management platforms, including BMC Remedy. Xtraction, its self-service reporting solution, is used by a number of well-known companies including Ace Hardware, McAfee, and GoDaddy.com. The product aims to deliver information quickly and professionally and allows users to access dashboards at any time using an iPad application. With Xtraction, users can drill down into charts to discover details, share reports by scheduling Xtraction content to email or network folders, and more.
Northcraft specializes in providing business intelligence applications for enterprise IT departments. Headquartered in Marietta, Georgia, Northcraft’s customers include ExxonMobile, Lockheed Martin, and General Dynamics. Northcraft for BMC Remedy allows developers to move seamlessly from web-based reports to individual items in BMC Remedy’s system to handle urgent items directly. It also offers executive dashboards and pre-packaged key performance indicators across 10 process areas.
Founded in 1998, Westbury is acknowledged as a veteran provider of operational reporting solutions for IT organizations. Westbury’s SMI BMC Remedy supports all processes in the BMC Remedy ITSM Suite and allows developers to create reports not only looking at individual processes but also at the crossover between related processes, all in one report. It offers more than 30 fully customizable startup reports, and each report can be copied, or customized.
How DashboardFox Integrates with BMC ITSM
OK, we sort of teed you up with the list above. The truth is BMC is a legacy solution these days and while a lot of companies used to integrate and support their product, many if not most of them have been acquired or gone out of business these days.
The good news, as an organization, we’ve had an integration with BMC that dates back to version 6.x of BMC Remedy.
DashboardFox is a new brand, but the underlying technology has been around since 1999 and even more impressively, we’re still developing, supporting, and innovating the solution. No dead software here.
DashboardFox is an agile, user-friendly tool that provides an extensive selection of out of the box report types for BMC Remedy IT Service Desk. They include:
- Configuration Items
- Incident Management
- Change Management
- Problem Management
- Request Management
- Work Order Management
- Knowledge Management
- CI Computer System
- CI Equipment
- CI Document
- CI IPEndpoint
- All Task
- Known Errors.
And you can also add your own custom tables and fields.
In addition to offering a variety of report types, DasboardFox also provides these distinct advantages:
DashboardFox is quite affordable. In fact, DashboardFox provides a one-time fee, no annual subscription, and you can start with a single concurrent user license at $1500.
Codeless and User-Friendly
BMC Remedy has one of the more complex databases in the service desk space. However, DashboardFox maps out all the major components of the BMC Remedy ITSM database for you. As a result, you can implement all the additional service-desk customizations you want; no developer skills or SQL coding required.
Easy to Integrate
DashboardFox allows you to quickly integrate data from BMC, other databases, and spreadsheet sources into one easy to navigate platform. From there you can leverage a wealth of advanced features including dashboards, ad-hoc queries, and scheduled notifications.
DashboardFox is fast because unlike other solutions that access Remedy data through the Remedy API, Yurbi goes right to the Remedy database. DashboardFox also lets you pull any amount of data at once, whereas solutions that use Remedy API limit the amount of data that can be pulled at once to roughly 2,000 rows.
In addition to user-created reports and dashboards, with DashboardFox, users can also create scheduled notifications. Using DashboardFox scheduler, a user can schedule a report to go out at whatever time interval they deem necessary- whether it’s once per quarter, every day, or even every 5 minutes. In essence, this turns the DashboardFox scheduler into a notification engine. So, if a user builds a threshold report, (for example “every 10 minutes, show me all priority two tickets that have been open longer than 24 hours”) a notification will only be emailed to the user once that condition is met. BMC does have a powerful service level notification engine- but it’s complicated and can’t be sent to non-licensed users.
Auditing and Data Governance
With tools like BIRT, Crystal Reports, and Business Objects, the developer builds a report, gives it to the user, and that’s the end of the process. There’s no feedback or any way to know if the report is being used, etc. But with DashboardFox’s built-in auditing and data governance, you can find out a wealth of information about reports, including if they’re being used, how they’re being used, and who is running, exporting, and printing report data.
This DashboardFox feature gives you insights that help you justify your investment and quantify ROI. Whether you choose Yurbi or not, we strongly recommend that the solution you invest in gives you this ability.
Built into DashboardFox is role level security that allows you to not only control who sees what data, but also what portion of the data they can see. This gives you the power to extend Remedy data to a larger audience in your environment, which increases Remedy’s ROI. Best yet, Dashboardfox’s public view reports allow you to let anyone you deem necessary view Remedy data, including those who don’t have BMC users licenses. This unique Yurbi feature can save your organization a substantial amount of money. On the other hand, if you access Remedy via the API, each user has to be a provisioned user and have a user license.
Using DashboardFox, you can make a branded dashboard or website and embed DashboardFox reports. This gives people like customers or outside vendors live, real-time access to Remedy information without having a license or direct access to Remedy. Moreover, DashboardFox’s public view reports let anyone you deem necessary view the data.
DashboardFox User Case: BMC Remedy Migration
We hinted above there was a very common use case we see these days, migration away from BMC to another help desk system.
A Help Desk has a lot of valuable historical information- including information on issues and how they were resolved. If you leave Remedy for another help desk, such as Service Now or Cherwell, you want to take that data with you. Typically, migrating data is a complex, labor-intensive, and expensive process. DashboardFox simplifies the task. That’s because DashboardFox talks directly to the database, so you can turn off Remedy altogether and use DashboardFox to do all data mining and reporting you want off the old Remedy data source, even when you’re using a new Help Desk platform. In short, with DashboardFox, migrating data isn’t necessary.
DashboardFox gives executives a lot of power, including the ability to easily compare performance from their old system to their new system to determine if the change was a positive one. That’s because DashboardFox can pull data from both systems and provide an overview. For example, using DashboardFox an executive can compare system A to system B’s call rates, ticket counts, time to closure, etc.
Bottom Line: Best Dashboard and Reporting Options for BMC Remedy
We feel strongly that DashboardFox is the best option available for BMC but we always caution potential customers to review all options. DashboardFox packs a lot of power but depending on your specific requirements and your end-users’ needs one of the other options listed may be a better fit for your organization. DashboardFox provides the best combination of speed, ease of use, and security, however, for example, if only ease of use and cost are needed for your team then a thorough review of the other listed companies may provide the right solution for you.