Navigating the Challenges of Cherwell’s End-of-Life: Finding the Right Alternative

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Finding the right alternative to Cherwell for your business

Having acquired Cherwell in 2021, Ivanti has confirmed that it will discontinue the platform in 2026. As a result, all Cherwell users will need to migrate to an alternative option, whether that’s Ivanti itself or another system.

However, with a bewildering array of ITSM platforms out there, finding the perfect fit that keeps your business running smoothly can be challenging and time-consuming. And if you get it wrong, you could end up with an expensive and headache-inducing problem on your hands.

Here’s our advice for assessing your options and finding the right alternative to ensure a smooth transition.

First, ensure you fully understand your business processes

That’s the only way to be sure of the technology requirements you’ll be looking for. And here, the devil’s in the detail.

If you’ve been using Cherwell for a long time, you’re likely to have highly configured the system to adapt to your own organisation’s needs. You’ll need to have a full and clear picture of what those adaptations are and how your new system can manage that functionality.

You’ll also need to understand your priorities. For example, do you have complex change approvals that need close attention? Or are elements like dashboards and CMDBs are more important for the business?

Having clarity on this can lead you towards an understanding of which of the many alternatives to Cherwell are going to be best suited to your needs.

Next, consider what kind of platform you’ll need

When we recently attended the Service Desk and IT Support Show (SITS) in London, we were struck by the sheer volume of ITSM solution providers offering their services to potential buyers. So knowing where to start can be bewildering and eat up huge chunks of your time.

However, once you have that accurate picture of your business processes, it should be clearer as to what kind of platform you’re looking for. In general, there are two main types:

• Service management platforms

These are what we tend to call ‘turnkey’ solutions—off-the-shelf options, such as Halo and 4me, that offer straightforward ITSM functionality like raising tickets and other service management procedures. They are more suited to organisations with relatively straightforward requirements and/or lower budgets.

• Application platforms

These options – such as Ivanti and ServiceNow – tend to be closer to what Cherwell currently offers. They allow for more sophisticated ITSM functionality, and also enable you to build applications on top of them, which can go beyond ITSM and into other areas such as HR or enterprise service management (ESM). These are more suited to organisations with more sophisticated needs and higher budgets.

Now think about your budget – and the TCO

This, of course, is fundamental. Some of the application platform options can be costly and, while offering great functionality, are only appropriate for organisations with deep pockets. And even if they seem like good value at the start, the ongoing development and maintenance requirements could result in a far higher total cost of ownership (TCO) than you expected.

An important principle to bear in mind here is that, if you want to buy a Rolls-Royce but only have £50,000 to spend, and not £500,000, you’re only going to get the wheels. The same is true when it comes to purchasing an ITSM solution: you need to be realistic about what you can afford now and in the years to come.

There are MSP options out there too

Some organisations that have bought Cherwell in the past may have used it to build managed service provider (MSP) platforms. These days, there are toolsets that cater for that out of the box, but that wasn’t the case previously.

So, if you’re an MSP, you need to consider business requirements such as whether you just want a straightforward ITSM platform, or something more. For example, many MSP platforms now include functions such as invoicing, time recording, field services and so on, which you may not find in a standard ITSM package.

Overall, be pragmatic about what you’re trying to achieve

This particularly applies to areas like data transfer, but also the kind of functionality you’ll require from your new system, as in almost all cases a straightforward ‘lift and shift’ is not going to be possible.

For example, you could easily find that you spend half your implementation budget, and countless workhours, struggling to import information into the new system because the data structures have changed – when, in fact, some or all of that data doesn’t need to be transferred.

You should therefore be crystal clear on what your expectations and goals are when migrating to that new system.

Finally, don’t get sucked into endless vendor sales cycles

As soon as you make a new enquiry to a potential vendor, they’ll enter you immediately into their sales system. That could lead to endless sales calls, meetings, demonstrations and form-filling before you’ve even got as far as a shortlist of potential providers.

And that’s not to mention the fact that many of them will promise all kinds of functionality that matches what Cherwell is currently doing for you, but in reality may not live up to your expectations, or will require a high degree of adaptation.

One way of avoiding this is to work with third-party experts who take an agnostic approach, such as us at CIHS. Our in-depth knowledge of the leading ITSM platforms can fast-track that process for you, and we can help you quickly draw up a shortlist of the most appropriate alternatives to Cherwell for your business.

Our goal will always be to ensure you find the right fit, rather than sell you a specific solution – even if that ultimately means we recommend that you work with another partner who has greater expertise in a specific platform than we do.

What’s more, we can advise you on how to ensure your transition to your new platform is as seamless as possible and support you on every step of that journey.

For help with any of the above or just a no-strings conversation about how we might be able to support you with your Cherwell end-of-life challenges, get in touch now

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