REVIEWER: David Fortin, information technology specialist II for the State of Vermonts Department of BGS.
BACKGROUND: Created in July 1996, the State of Vermonts Department of Buildings and General Services (BGS) exists primarily to provide the facilities and services required for all state agencies and departments to accomplish their missions. Building construction, renovation, maintenance and custodial services, as well as the security of state facilities constitute some of the most significant aspects of the BGS mission.
PLATFORMS: Alloy Navigator 5.3 on Windows 2003 Server.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Within the department of BGS lies the information technology division, which provides technical computing services for BGS employees, including help desk support for desktops, printers, Web publishing, and network and email account creation. With nearly 250 calls coming into the help desk per month, we needed to implement a solution that could help us handle all technical issues. In addition, we required a solution that could help us combine all service and support processes into one system.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Alloy Navigator is used for a variety of business processes in our department. We use it for documentation, notification, incident and problem tracking and change management. In addition, we are able to manage network equipment and other assets, track service agreements, maintain vendor contracts and purchase orders. It is truly a comprehensive and easy-to-use system. Our department handles approximately 250 support requests per month, from more than 450 employees. In terms of customization, my team and I added a few fields, a number of business rules, and customized email templates for notifications. All in all, there was not much customization done to the product, but just enough to give it the look and feel we wanted.
STRENGTHS: The biggest strength of Alloy Navigator is its help desk module. We have been able to quickly and efficiently serve our end users with it. Features such as the integrated knowledge base, the self-service Web portal, automated notification emails and the ability to share information have enabled everyone to be more efficient.
WEAKNESSES: The only weakness that I find is that I am unable to track IT budgets against expenditures in an automated fashion. While the product does allow for purchase order creation, and the reporting and tracking of the costs associated with each asset, as well as a budget field in each purchase order, there is no way to manage the budgets of each department right out of the box. For example, we would like to input a specific departments allocated annual budget and have the monies associated with the purchase order subtracted from the budget the purchase order is assigned to. Therefore, the software really doesnt track IT budgets, which would be a huge boon to our operations.
SELECTION CRITERIA: In comparison to other products we evaluated, Alloy Navigator is very user-friendly and easy to configure. Aside from ease of use and management, the main selection criteria were, Does it meet our needs, and will it enhance efficiency, communication and documentation? The answer is yes on all points.
DELIVERABLES: Alloy Navigator offers detailed reports that are generated from the helpdesk. With the reporting functionality, it has allowed us to recognize trends, highlight inefficiencies, and help solve issues more effectively. In addition, the ad-hoc reporting grid allows help desk technicians to easily create views in order for them to quickly see their own work queues the way they need to see them.
VENDOR SUPPORT: In addition to the products ease of use, we acknowledged that Alloy Softwares technical support department was very instrumental in our selection of Alloy Navigator. The Alloy support team is extremely knowledgeable and, during the evaluation process, they were able to assist us in implementing automated workflows into the product and tailoring it to our specific needs. Even post-implementation, they are prompt, knowledgeable and friendly. It is never a hassle to call them, even if we have the simplest support questions.
DOCUMENTATION: The administrator guide is quite self-explanatory, and contains all the information needed to get up and running. I would say, in total, it took us about a week working a couple of hours each day to deploy. Server installation was complete within an hour. The Inventory Analyzer populated computer audit data within minutes, and synchronizing the product with Active Directory information took even less time. The process was extremely simple -- we were up-and-running in no time.
Alloy Software, Inc.
88 Park Avenue, Suite 2B
Nutley, NJ 07110
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