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Help Desk Replacement Cuts Costs By $100,000

Customer service is a key watchword in business today. With a system upgrade looming on the horizon, Optimal Payments decided to look for a more efficient way to service its customers than its existing Remedy help-desk solution from BMC Software. After the payment software and service supplier went out to the marketplace in search of alternatives, it purchased a solution--Zoho’s ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus--that reduced its operating costs by $100,000 annually.

In business since 1996, Optimal, which has 300 employees, provides software and services to businesses and consumers in more than 180 countries. Merchants use the firm’s NetBanx processing service to process card, online and cash payments. Neteller is an online payment system that consumers, merchants and financial institutions rely on.

Optimal receives about 100 to 130 calls per day from customers dealing with various problems. Since 2005, the company used Remedy to process those inquiries. Daily, a couple of full and part-time staff answer the calls, supported by a central data center in London.

The data center runs mainly HP Windows systems with a few Linux servers. To support its operation, Optimal also relies on Microsoft’s SQL Server and Oracle database management systems. It operates two EMC Storage Area Networks, one with 45 Tbytes of data and another with 30 Tbytes.

In the summer of 2010, the time had come for the company to renew its licensing agreement with BMC, but a few issues had emerged with the software. Given the nature of its business, Optimal needed to customize the product periodically.

"We had to hire specialists in order to alter the application," says Optimal's Mike Taylor, incident/problem management, production operations. A change as simple as modifying one field cost the company about $1,000. As a result, the company was paying out $75,000 to contract personnel.

Optimal also found BMC’s technical support to be lackluster. Sometimes, when Optimal requested help on an issue, response was a long time coming.

As a result, the company went looking for alternatives. Taylor started by contacting business associates for recommendations and did some searching on Google. The evaluation process led Optimal to two finalists: BMC's Remedy and Zoho’s ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus.

In the fall of 2010, the payment company conducted pilot tests for both products, and ManageEngine was the clear winner. "We liked ServiceDesk Plus’ layout; it was easy to follow," says Taylor. Cost was another attraction. The ManageEngine solution was priced about 20% less than Remedy. "Because the ManageEngine system was easier to customize, we would not need any contract personnel," he says. In total, the product would reduce IT spending by about $100,000 annually.

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