HP offers new low-cost SaaS service desk

Social media collaboration a key part of HP Service Anywhere, which starts at $89 a month

There is no question that vendors that don't offer software-as-a-service (SaaS) products are risking market share. It's been true in almost every market, where disruptive companies such as Salesforce in customer relationship management (CRM) or Workday in HR have clearly succeeded.

This trend holds true in the help desk or service desk area, where cloud-based offerings are now essential. And that is why HP, which has a long history in providing service management tools in the enterprise as on-premise systems, managed services and SaaS offerings, is releasing on Monday an entirely new SaaS product for the service desk, HP Service Anywhere.

HP officials say its SaaS product includes new approaches to service desk management, including social media collaboration tools that are integrated into the problem solving processes. It is promising to shorten, overall, time to resolution of a problem.

Paul Muller, vice of marketing for software at HP, said they have designed the product for "codeless configuration," that strives for simplicity and includes the workflow process in each ticket, something that will also help high-turnover environments.

It will be priced using two main variations: "named," for a dedicated service desk user; and "floating," where the license is shared amongst users. The list price Service Anywhere starts at $89 per named user per month and $178 per floating user per month.

The first iteration of the product is aimed at HP users and is designed to work with its existing management tools. There will be a toolkit to allow third party tool support, but HP also plans for out-the-box integration in time, something it has done with other tools.

HP Service Anywhere won't replace their enterprise product, HP Service Manager, but in describing this new system one can easily get the sense that HP officials would like to see SaaS emerge as the platform of choice.

"I think the feeling is that this is a more of next generation approach," said Dennis Drogseth, vice president of Enterprise Management Associates, a research and analysis firm, of HP's new product. He sees HP's offers as part of a broader trend to more flexible SaaS services.

Competitors in this space include firms with SaaS offerings include BMC Software and ServiceNow, a which was founded in 2004, and reported nearly $57 million in revenue in the second quarter of this year.

Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed. His e-mail address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com.

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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