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IBM SmartCloud Control Desk OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

IBM SmartCloud Control Desk is #9 ranked solution in top Help Desk Software. IT Central Station users give IBM SmartCloud Control Desk an average rating of 8 out of 10. IBM SmartCloud Control Desk is most commonly compared to ServiceNow:IBM SmartCloud Control Desk vs ServiceNow. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 29% of all views.
What is IBM SmartCloud Control Desk?
IBM Control Desk on Cloud offer an access to a user friendly self-service, automated service management, and seamlessly-integrated, best-practice based service desk capabilities. IBM Control Desk provides the IT service management (ITSM) needed to simplify support of users and infrastructure. It also offers a unified IT asset and service management software provides a common control center for managing business processes for both digital and physical assets and enables control, governance and compliance to applications, endpoints and assets to protect critical data and prevent outages. Control Desk is IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL)-compliant, accessible through mobile devices and integrates with social media and development tools.

IBM SmartCloud Control Desk is also known as SmartCloud Control Desk.

IBM SmartCloud Control Desk Buyer's Guide

Download the IBM SmartCloud Control Desk Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

IBM SmartCloud Control Desk Customers
St Vincent's Health Australia, Kalibrate Pty. Ltd., Cognizant Technology
IBM SmartCloud Control Desk Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about IBM SmartCloud Control Desk pricing:
  • "It's basically for a big company because of the costs. A small company can't afford the licensing cost. For medium and large companies, it's the best product. The price of the license is on the higher side compared to others."

IBM SmartCloud Control Desk Reviews

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KM
Computer System Engineer at Informatika d.d.
Real User
Top 10
Centralized solution to efficiently take care of customer service calls

Pros and Cons

  • "What I like about the Control Desk is that everything is centralized. You have all the requests in one place, you know which ones are for whom and who is working on them."
  • "Overall the user experience, as opposed to the system and databases, could be improved. It does work as it should and it's good, but they should invest more in the user interfaces to be less data oriented and more appealing for the user."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use is for our customers to submit a service request if there is something wrong with the services that we are providing to them. They report an issue or a change request so we know that they want something more out of our services. We then check what they need and offer solutions. If they accept, we then proceed and upgrade the service. But mainly it is used for requests. If something isn't working as it should then our teams resolve the issue.

The second use is the IT asset management, as we are using all sorts of programs, such as Microsoft Dynamics. We import the IT assets into our Control Desk and the IT guys manage them there. They move to different locations or to different users and all the changes go through the integration and back to Microsoft Dynamics.

What is most valuable?

Previously, there were only emails and phone calls and it was chaotic. You didn't know which issue to resolve - you went as you liked. You chose which mail to resolve and then you forgot about it when a call came through. Now, what I like about the Control Desk is that everything is centralized. You have all the requests in one place, you know which ones are for whom and who is working on them. So you have one big package and nothing is lost. So you know what to do and what's your plan for the future.

What needs improvement?

Because I have been working with SmartCloud Control Desk on a daily basis for eight years, I don't have any issues. I mainly hear our end users who do complain about some things, one of which is the user interface. The 7.611 version, for the users, and even, in my opinion, is not as pretty as it was. They went with simpler colors, but only blue and white. In the previous versions, you had those little icons and you knew what to click and where the configuration and administration are. Now you have to read the menus.

In the software or middleware forms I don't see any complaints, it works as it should. But again, users mainly complain about the user interface, the GUI. It has too much information and it's more complicated than it should be. Maybe it is a different architecture because I know that the self-service center is in Java and it's different from the others, including the applications in Maximo. Other than this, I would not say it needs anything new.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using IBM SmartCloud Control Desk for about eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. I think that we had one problem with the database once, but overall the stability is good because we also have the Maximo asset management installations. What I've found out during these years is that it's mainly not the Maximo, or any particular program's fault if it crashes. It's mainly because of the integrations with other systems. Then, if there is too much overhead or something, the server might dump errors and then it has to be restarted or taken care of it. But overall, the middleware is very stable. I don't have problems. It's good software and also the DB tool which we use is very good. So, I don't think there should be a problem.

We work with a whole package of IBM products.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, it is scalable. We have multiple installations. We use SmartCloud for our company and we also implement it for our customers. In the beginning, we had only one installation and our customers reported issues through our system. We have about 70 employees in our company. Our biggest customer has around a thousand employees, then they go down to 600, 500, 400, and 200. So we're not a big player worldwide, we are a very small fish. But they want their own software so they can manage their own requests in the company. Our next step was to extend the Control Desk so we installed it on our premises. They use it for their own service requests within the company, and the ones that are relevant to us that they want to send us they use the integration with the Control Desk environment. They send the service request from their Control Desk to our Control Desk. We resolve it and then push it back to their system. So, let's say there are around 2,000 end users, max.

How are customer service and technical support?

If we have big problems that we cannot resolve very quickly by ourselves we open a PMR or a case - now it's called "a case" on the IBM support platform, and then we resolve the issue together.

The support is very good.

In the beginning, you have to set parameters and establish which environment you're in and send logs to them to begin the work. Some are resolved very quickly. Some need a little bit of time. There aren't any issues. There are more issues from our side because we are a very small team. Then, when you have a lot of cases to open and you also have the regular things to do, you tend to forget about the PMRs and then the support has to alert you. "Please send us something, we haven't heard from you," which they are very good at.

In short, the support is very good. They are very up to date and if we are late they send you an email that states, "Please send us something. It's been a while." I have nothing bad to say about them.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We are still using SmartCloud Control Desk on a daily basis. This is because we wanted to have a single platform that all the requests come from so that every day is the same. Now, you come to work, open the Control Desk, see what you have to work on and what's open from the previous day's work as well as the new calls coming in.

Previously in the company, they tried to implement one tool but it didn't work. They didn't even go into production. We have the first level support engineers that pick up the phone and were told what is wrong and they tried to resolve it. If they couldn't, they tried to find out who in the company would be the best guy to do it or the customers already knew who was working in a particular environment and called directly. That is how we did it previously.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is rather easy. Maybe, if you go into the more complex installations or if you would like more clustering and more servers, then it's a little bit harder. But overall, it's quite an easy installation. The administration is simple, too.

You can easily do the deployment in one day if you have a simple installation. We have a lot of environments, so if I deploy in the simplest environment, it is already configured and you can do it in one day, no problem. If you start with all the out-of-the-box functionalities, with no customization and just plain Maximo installation, you can start to use it in one day.

What about the implementation team?

We do the implementation ourselves. I don't install on the Linux platforms. But then from the other platform I do the complete installation and configuration. I do the installation of the middleware of the application and also the first configuration and all the similar configurations. I have some colleagues that are specific, who work on the integrations between Maximo and other systems and applications, but the basic deployment is my responsibility.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

When using SmartCloud Control Desk I think you buy a license. We have the concurrent licensing fee in the Control Desk and then you have to renew every year or every four years when you extend the subscription and support. So the expenses are for the platforms, the memory, and all the storage. But from the IBM perspective, there is only concurrent licensing for the Control Desk. There are no additional costs for features.

What other advice do I have?

I often heard when we implemented the Control Desk that people were a little suspicious if it was going to work. We explained to them that it will be good for them because, on the one hand, it keeps tabs on people who claim to be working but are actually not and on the other hand, you have guys who are overwhelmed or overworked and this is a good environment to say, "I cannot do this right now. I have five requests waiting for me. Please wait or raise the emergency level and I will do it." People are scared because they think that someone will look under their fingers and say, "You did only five requests now, what have you been doing with all your hours?" But it's not like this, at least not in our case. It's good to have all the tasks and requests that you have to do in a centralized location. So I can say that it is a good thing that we have the Control Desk.

I would recommend SmartCloud Control Desk. I like working with it. Maybe I am already an old guy working with it, but I would recommend it because it's good for me. I don't see any issues with the product. But people know that there are a lot of products on the market. Yet, for me, it's good.

On a scale from one to ten, one is the worst, ten is the best, I would rate SmartCloud Control Desk an eight. That's because I would like them to work on the user interface. People want more colors and everything to be mobile. I do see that IBM is working more with mobile now, but overall the user experience, as opposed to the system and databases, could be improved. It does work as it should and it's good, but they should invest more in the user interfaces to be less data-oriented and more appealing for the user.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Edwin  Salazar
Software Specialist at GBM (an IBM alliance Company)
Real User
Top 5
Easy to work with, offers good scalability, and has good reporting

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution is very easy to work with."
  • "The reporting in relation to updating could be improved upon."

What is our primary use case?

In my organization, we use the solution internally for internal customers so that we can control incidents, server requests, and handle some application integrations, etc. 

While some clients use the product for other purposes, as well, essentially it is used to manage the client's organizations and the customers.

What is most valuable?

The solution is very easy to work with.

The reporting is very strong. 

The product offers good integrations and very good SLA integrations in particular.

What needs improvement?

The reporting in relation to updating could be improved upon. The need to make it easier to manage timing and time calculations. I found it to be a bit challenging. They could make it easier.

Technical support can be slow in terms of resolving issues.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for about a year at this point. It hasn't been that long just yet. The solution is still fairly new.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Mostly, the stability is very good. That said, we have had clients that struggled with stability. This is likely due to their underlying hardware. If you have good hardware it shouldn't be an issue and it is quite reliable. 

In one instance, I had a client who worked with Windows who was down two times a month every month. Once again, that was likely an issue related to the client's infrastructure and not a reflection on this product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is quite good with this product. If a company needs to scale, it can do so. This is particularly true on the cloud side of things. We have clients that have migrated more than 1,000 users over a week with no issue. We only ran into one issue with a client in relation to migrating over a message service. The solution made some changes on the way they managed the notifications or something to that effect and we just had to make adjustments and try again.

Our company is pretty sizeable and we operate in seven countries. There are likely about 1,000 people in the company that use it internally, and about 10 who work the control desk.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good. When we open a ticket asking for support, they take a little bit of time to take effect. It can occasionally take one or two days sometimes to process a ticket. They could be faster in that regard.

The support is not coming from America, which is likely why there may be a delay. It may come from India or something like that. One of my last tickets, in December, it took a few weeks to get a resolution. It was a report issue and after submitting the ticket, it took two days to a week to request that I run a test which had to be done over and over. Finally, after half a month it was resolved. While a bit slow, at least they followed through until the problem was properly dealt with.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup can be a bit complex if you don't have a good understanding of the product. There's a bit of a learning curve for sure. It gets easier, however. At least, it did for me. I started with only a little bit of information, and I didn't have all the knowledge and that was hard. I got confused by the process. However, then I made another implementation. That one, I had a far better understanding and that made it easy. Experience really matters. If you don't have any, you will struggle. That said, once you do, it's pretty straight forward.  

While my first deployment took two weeks, the last one I did only took two days. Therefore the deployments can vary according to the amount of experience the user has. 

What other advice do I have?

We're an IBM partner.

We use both cloud and on-premises deployment models. Some customers use the cloud, others prefer on-premise. We're able to implement both.

For those considering the solution, I would advise that an organization makes sure they have the right hardware in place and the right versions of each package. This will make implementation easier and keep the solution stable.

Overall, I would rate the solution at an eight out of ten. Overall, the experience has been very positive.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Learn what your peers think about IBM SmartCloud Control Desk. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
552,136 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Edwin  Salazar
Software Specialist at GBM (an IBM alliance Company)
Real User
Top 5
Good integrations, good reports, and good scalability

Pros and Cons

  • "SLA integrations, reports, and integration with other applications are the most valuable."
  • "The time calculations can be improved. While working on reports, it was taking the time only in seconds, which was hard for me to work out. While creating some dialogs in the service portal, you have to use certain data types in some fields. It was very tricky to make them work. I was testing a certain type of input, and it didn't work. It didn't show me the domain that the fields have to show. I had to make the change to the database, and only then it worked. It was a tricky thing to make them work with the dialogs. Their technical support can also be improved in terms of response time."

What is our primary use case?

In my organization, we use it for internal customers for incident control, server requests, and application integration. Our clients use it for different purposes, but essentially, it is used to manage a client's organization and customers. Some of the clients have cloud deployments, and some of the clients have on-premises deployments.

What is most valuable?

SLA integrations, reports, and integration with other applications are the most valuable.

What needs improvement?

The time calculations can be improved. While working on reports, it was taking the time only in seconds, which was hard for me to work out. 

While creating some dialogs in the service portal, you have to use certain data types in some fields. It was very tricky to make them work. I was testing a certain type of input, and it didn't work. It didn't show me the domain that the fields have to show. I had to make the change to the database, and only then it worked. It was a tricky thing to make them work with the dialogs.

Their technical support can also be improved in terms of response time.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for around a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Some of our clients had stability issues because of the hardware. I had one client for whom it was down two times every month. This client had a Windows implementation, but the issue was more because of the client's infrastructure, not because of the implementation of the solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Its scalability is good. Our company is a little bit big. We are in around seven countries. We have around 1,000 people in the company who use this solution to make server requests. In my area, we have around 10 people who work with this solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

When we open a ticket for support, they take a little bit of time. Even if we create a high priority request, they don't respond quickly and take one or two days. This probably is because the support is not coming from America. They are based in India or somewhere else. I had created a ticket for a customer in December, and it took more than half a month for resolution. It was a report issue, and I got the same response from them two days a week asking me to do the same test again and again. It took them more than half a month to resolve the issue.

How was the initial setup?

I had a little bit of information or knowledge when I implemented it, and it was difficult. I got confused, and I had to make another implementation. I have more knowledge and experience now, and it is easy for me. If you have all the information from a knowledge center, you can do it easily. My first deployment took around two weeks, and the last one didn't take more than two days.

Half a year ago, we migrated it from 7.5 to 7.6 for one of the clients, and it was not hard. It was a 2015 implementation. It took around one week to migrate to the cloud. We only had one issue with the message service. We have a custom class to send messages, and when we migrated, the solution made some changes in the way the notifications are managed, and the class didn't work. We had to create the class again to make it work.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise others to make sure to have the right hardware and the right versions of each package. Only then the implementation is going to be good. Make a plan to know what the clients really want to do because if you don't know it, it is going to be very hard.

I would rate IBM SmartCloud Control Desk an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
AS
ITSM Architect at SiBIS
Real User
Helpful tool for support, tickets, and system monitoring

Pros and Cons

  • "The brand name is the most valuable aspect of this solution for me. It's IBM. It's a global company that supports this product, it's not something open source or something like that."
  • "Support has been the biggest problem for us. I understand that because we use the product of a global company, some changes are not quick to deploy."

What is our primary use case?

We use the on-prem deployment model. Our primary use case of this solution is for support, for tickets, and system of monitoring.

How has it helped my organization?

Automation of most IT processes and not only

What is most valuable?

The brand name is the most valuable aspect of this solution for me. It's IBM. It's a global company that supports this product, it's not something open source or something like that.

What needs improvement?

Support has been the biggest problem for us. I understand that because we use the product of a global company, some changes are not quick to deploy. I want things to change quickly in my email, for example, but I don't get this. I understand that they're a big company and they have lots of tickets they have to solve for it but my customers don't and it bothers them. 

New updates can create problems. I worked from version 7.2 to 7.6 and I know some problems that occurred in 7.2 and IBM resolved this problem but in 7.4 and 6 we had this problem again. Now I need to wait to resolve this problem again for the new fix.

The main problem is to get a person from the top line to talk to you. It takes a lot of time to describe my problems to the first line, then for the second line and then to try to repeat this problem in the environment. When we have connected with the top line, it resolves for a few days, for example. The people don't have enough knowledge or experience to solve my problem. 

We cannot send pictures from our system to our email client. Our clients will send a screenshot of their problem but the picture won't appear. We have the same problem when we send emails from the system to email clients, we don't see the screenshot that we can add to the text. I would like this to be improved in the next release. Our clients want their email support to support pictures, margins, rich text and other things. I would for them to resolve this in the next release. 

For how long have I used the solution?

More then 10 years.We started from 7.2 version.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's more stable than not stable for me. I haven't had any major problems with it. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have around 100-500 users. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used ManageEngine, but than we needed more functionality and we changed system.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. It's easy for me now because it appears fresh. It's a modern system but it was not so easy like it is now. We have an easy way to install our system. I think that the installation is easy.

What about the implementation team?

In the start of project we used vendor team, but then we used our own specialists.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

For our country, I think it's expensive but we don't have another way to buy this license. We need to pay once and then pay only for support every year. We pay for support on a yearly basis. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Maybe Omni.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it an eight out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
ITCS user
IT Service Desk Manager at a government with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
Stable but clunky and lacks a user interface

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution has been stable."
  • "The solution lacks a graphical user interface."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for ITSMs - for our ticketing, change management, and problem management.

What is most valuable?

The solution has been stable.

What needs improvement?

The solution lacks a graphical user interface. They should work to implement one in the future.

It's not very easy to make changes. They need to make it easier to adjust items as necessary.

The product is kind of clunky to use.

The scalability could be better. It's only scalable to a moderate extent. There are limitations on the capabilities.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been dealing with the solution for almost two years at this point. It hasn't been too long.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In general, it's been pretty stable. There aren't bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's pretty reliable overall in terms of performance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The level of scalability is average. If a company needs to expand, it should be able to do so, at least to a certain extent.

There are certain things that I know we've got a team that can handle and I know that some things that we ask them to do, they simply can't do. It's a mixed bag.

We probably have a total of maybe 4,000 people that use it. Most of them are our end-users and they'll use it for ticketing. As far as actually using the features, we've got people that use it for our support, we use it for change management, and we've got problem management with it, as well as service requests.

How are customer service and technical support?

I wouldn't be able to speak to the capabilities of technical support. I've never reached out to them in the past. I wouldn't be able to evaluate their level of responsiveness or knowledgeability.

If I ever have any questions, I can always direct them to our internal team as opposed to reaching out to IBM.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

The company changed to IBM happened before I arrived. It is my understanding that the organizations previously used Remedy, and switched to Maximo for asset management for our facilities and maintenance group. They then moved to the IBM Control Desk piece of it.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was handled before I arrived at the company. I can't speak to how easy or hard it was to actually implement the product.

We have about four or five people that handle various aspects of maintenance.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't have any insights on licensing. It's not part of the solution that I handle. I can't comment on the costs or how often we need to pay a licensing fee.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No. It was chosen because our Facilities / Maintenance department moved to Maximo for asset management.

What other advice do I have?

We're not on the latest release of the solution.

We're using just IBM Control Desk. I know that there's an upgraded IBM control desk for Maximo that we're going to look into, however, this is just for the IBM Control Desk itself.

Overall, I would rate the solution at a five out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Shafqat Paracha
General Manager at sPerception IT
Real User
Top 5
An IT service management solution with a useful workflow feature, but the user interface could be more user-friendly

Pros and Cons

  • "The workflow capability is useful. It's not a manual helpdesk operation. It's fully automated, even when an alarm has occurred. It covers the complete cycle of initiation to resolving the events. This is its most strong feature that is easily integrable with a monitoring solution. It creates tickets, and the workflow feature is the most important one."
  • "The user interface is not very interesting. If you look at other products like JIRA and ServiceNow, they have made it much easier for the end-users. Maybe not ServiceNow, but JIRA is quite flexible. From a presentation point of view, IBM should make more user-friendly interfaces."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for our telco-base. We are getting events from their VTS, like different telecommunication sites, and then processing it through another IBM tool called the Impact. This converts them into incident responses or service requests, or tickets. It's then escalated to the respective clients. Once the issue is resolved, and the ticket is closed, it's informed to the client and the user.

What is most valuable?

The workflow capability is useful. It's not a manual helpdesk operation. It's fully automated, even when an alarm has occurred. It covers the complete cycle of initiation to resolving the events. This is its most strong feature that is easily integrable with a monitoring solution. It creates tickets, and the workflow feature is the most important one.

They keep on continuously adding new features. You might have seen the chat option, and the integration is also an API-based product, and everything can be integrated.

What needs improvement?

The user interface is not very interesting. If you look at other products like JIRA and ServiceNow, they have made it much easier for the end-users. Maybe not ServiceNow, but JIRA is quite flexible. From a presentation point of view, IBM should make more user-friendly interfaces.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using IBM SmartCloud Control Desk for the last 13 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's quite a stable product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

To be honest, it's very hard to find an expert the first time. Maybe they initially get assigned to level one. Then after the initial investigation, move to level two and then gradually move on. I don't have any complaints at the moment.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. Basically, for all the solutions like JIRA and cloud desk solutions, you need not go for the installation. You would just need to subscribe. But for the on-prem solution, the initial setup is a normal one.

What about the implementation team?

We provide pre-sales and after-sales services. We implement the solution, and then we provide after implementation services. Now we have a contract for the next five years to provide support services for clients.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It's basically for a big company because of the costs. A small company can't afford the licensing cost. For medium and large companies, it's the best product. The price of the license is on the higher side compared to others.

What other advice do I have?

If anyone is looking to adopt any helpdesk solutions, they must go for this product. If a company is willing to go for any cloud-based applications, this is the best product for them. My recommendation is to go for IBM Control Desk.

On a scale from one to ten, I would give IBM SmartCloud Control Desk a seven.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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