5 of the Most Effective Questions to Ask When Engaging ITSM Vendors

There is a great deal to consider when engaging with an IT service desk vendor. After you've spent plenty of time analyzing your operational needs and explored what you want in an IT service management solution, you need to settle down with a vendor and start mapping out your various options. When you get to this point in the conversation, you need to have the right questions at your disposal. Asking vendors the right questions can position you to get the right solution for your organization's specific needs. Five of the best questions to ask an ITSM vendor include:

1. What are Your Licensing Options?
There are a variety of licensing configurations that you can take advantage of, including mix-and-match, named and concurrent user licenses. These distinct options allow you to fine tune the licensing to maximize value based on the needs of your organization. You should have a clear understanding of what licensing models the vendor can offer before getting too deep into the decision making process.

2. What is the TCO for a 3-5 Year Deployment?
Total cost of ownership is one of the most important metrics to consider when investing in an ITSM solution. You want your solution to last at least three to five years without making a significant upgrade or new investment, so understanding the projected total cost of ownership for that period can provide vital insight into the value you expect during that time.

3. What Will the Implementation Look Like?
An understanding of licensing options and total cost of ownership is vital, but all of this analysis can fall apart fast if the solution is onerous to implement or creates major process challenges. You need to ask your vendor about the nitty-gritty details of deploying the technology (time to deployment, IT controls, etc.) so you know when to expect when rolling out the software.

4. What is Needed to Run the ITSM Toolset?
Do the managers and administrators using the ITSM system need specialized skills and knowledge to get the job done? Knowing what is necessary prior to establishing the new solution helps you train staff in advance and ensure a smooth transition to the new software.

5. What is Unique About the Vendor?
Every ITSM solution provider is a little different, and good vendors should be able to effectively differentiate themselves from the pack. Once you have the core elements of the solution settled, you should get a clear idea of the vendor's capabilities to ensure you will be able to establish a good partnership.

There's a great deal to think about when purchasing an ITSM solution, but these five questions can give you a foundation for a successful conversation with any vendor.

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