ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus Enterprise Service Management (ESM) Review

This ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus Review explores the Enterprise Service Management (ESM) feature of the IT help desk software ServiceDesk Plus:

Developed by the same minds behind Zoho Desk, ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus is an intuitive IT service management software that helps IT helpdesks improve their services to prevent needlessly drawn-out downtimes. The software can be installed on-premises or deployed via the cloud. However, few are privy to its newly launched Enterprise Service Management capabilities.

ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus

ServiceDesk Plus Enterprise Service Management

As an organization’s IT department assists in the smooth functioning of other business functions like HR and finance, there are many compelling reasons to have a robust ESM tool in place.

Businesses can benefit from improved efficiency, reduced workload, decimating operational costs, and better ROI, which can all be attributed to a competent help desk solution that also extends its services to other core departments of a business.

In Hindsight, ServiceDesk Plus positions itself as comprehensive IT help desk software with features ranging from asset integration to project management built on ITIL framework. It caters to over 100,000 organizations across 186 countries around the world. Moreover, this is a multilingual tool whose services can be availed in 37 languages.

Needless to say, the software has garnered immense popularity and goodwill among businesses globally over the 15 years since its launch. Many experts credit its fully integrated features and simplistic nature for the success ServiceDesk Plus enjoys today. Others brag about its rich automation that effectively eliminates arduous manual processes.

Now, with its recently upgraded version, there is still more to unpack in this tool, especially with regards to its new Enterprise Service Management feature.

So we decided to employ the tool ourselves and experience its new offering to form our own honest opinion. This review seeks to affirm whether ServiceDesk Plus delivers the services one expects from popular ESM tools. As such, we dive deep into its interface, features, support, and pricing to determine if ServiceDesk Plus’ ESM solution is ultimately worth your money and time or not.

Suggested Reading =>> Best Open Source Help Desk Software Solutions 

System Requirements

The below table explains the system requirements:

Inbound Requests Per DayHard Disk TypeRAMProcessorOSBrowser Supported
10x - Less than 100500GB SDD16GB1.7GHz to 2.4GHz
10MB to 12MB Cache
4 cores to 8 cores
or Any entry-level server grade processor
Intel Xeon Scalable - Bronze/Silver
Intel Xeon E Family
•Windows Server OS (2012-2016)
•RHEL 8 or above
•Ubuntu 14.0 or above

•Internet Explorer: IE 11, IE Edge
•Google Chrome
100x - Upto 10002TB - SDD16GB/32GB*2.4GHz to 3.0GHz
12MB to 20MB Cache
6 cores to 8 cores
or equivalent technology
Intel Xeon E Family
1000x- More than 10002TB/3TB - SDD16GB/32GB*3.0GHz to 4.5GHz
12MB to 30 MB Cache
10 cores to 20 cores
or equivalent technology
Intel Xeon Scalable Gold/Platinum

ServiceDesk Plus: Interface & Core Features

ServiceDesk Plus

We firmly believe that business software, no matter how advanced, must feature a user-friendly interface that is easy to understand and navigate.

Fortunately, ServiceDesk Plus greets its users with a clean UI that is also easy on the eyes. You can conveniently navigate from one main section to another with the menu items visibly displayed on the left column of your screen. The software extends its user-friendly interface to the recently introduced ESM portal as well.

user-friendly interface

The transitions between all of its main sections were really smooth. We didn’t experience any lags or long wait times between two concurrent transitions. The pages that present items in a list format also come with a plethora of sorting and filtering controls. You can choose which columns are visible to you and set the preferred setting as a separate view.

Moreover, you can conveniently report an issue, request a service, or look for a solution with the help of large actionable tabs found on the home page.

When it comes to features, the tool delivers in spades. The incident management feature in ServiceDesk Plus primarily exists to automate the ticket resolution process. The software allows you to manage the entire lifecycle of an incident, right from automatic ticket dispatch to preventive maintenance for resolving tickets in a timely manner.

ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus also helps users discover, track and manage their assets (hardware and software) from a single dashboard. Users get to create assets manually, import them into the system from an external source, or have them entered automatically through software probes.

With the help of problem management, you can find the root cause of issues in your IT and prevent them from recurring more often. Moreover, the tool aids helpdesks in proactively identifying problems and rectifying them before their occurrence.

CMDB or Configuration Management Database is perhaps ServiceDesk Plus’ finest feature. An ITIL concept, the CMDB facilitates relationship building between various resources to correctly identify consequences of potential changes and record current configurations.

Another function performed impeccably by ServiceDesk Plus is the tracking and overall management of IT purchases and contracts. The tool essentially automates your IT purchasing and supplier interactions, going so far as to make them completely traceable and transparent.

Needless to say, ServiceDesk Plus shines with respect to the number of ticket and request management features it offers. So when the software launched an enterprise service management solution, we had to check this new addition out for ourselves.

Recommended Reading =>> Review of top IT Service Management Tools

Enterprise Service Management

Enterprise Service Management – Overview

The latest version of ServiceDesk Plus now comes with rapid start service desk capabilities. This basically means that businesses can manage the delivery of their services from a single platform. A relatively new feature, the tool essentially acquaints users with a self-service portal that allows them to raise a ticket for issues pertaining to Travel, IT, Legal, and several other core areas of a business with just a few clicks.

The feature facilitates the creation and deployment of multiple instances or unique service desks for a variety of business functions like HR, Finance, and Legal within 60 seconds.

To put it simply, the ESM solution intends to set up individual service desks across all IT and Non-IT departments. It seeks to accomplish this by offering an end-user experience that stays uniform across different service desks in the organizations.

Suffice to say, ServiceDesk Plus’ ESM tool promises immense value. To find out whether it delivers on this promise, we looked into each of its vital aspects individually, learned how they all come together to form a robust ESM solution, and understood how businesses stand to strongly benefit from it.

Crucial ESM Elements In ServiceDesk Plus

In hindsight, there are three fundamental elements associated with Service Desk Plus’ ESM tool. They are as follows:

#1) ESM Directory

ESM Directory

The very first thing you want to familiarize yourself with when operating this tool is the ESM directory. It is essentially a central repository that features a list of details pertaining to the organization. Details related to users created service desk instances and the relationship between users and instances can all be found here.

The ESM directory can be used to manage users, service desk instances, and application-wide configurations, access to all of which you will find on the left menu of your screen. The directory also allows users to manage configurations on an organizational level such as Regions, Departments, Roles, Sites, Security, and Privacy.

#2) Service Desk Instances

Service Desk Instances

An instance can be defined as a virtual workspace similar to a dedicated service desk, which enables authorized users and technicians to log and manage tickets. You get a fairly simple way of creating instances for a number of business functions relevant to your organization such as HR or Facilities.

You simply have to click on the ‘Create New Instance’ tab. Doing so will open up a form wherein you are required to submit information pertaining to the type of instance you want to create. You can instantly select ‘Type’ from the drop-down menu, specify the owner’s title and mention the associated license if any, and select ‘Create’ when you are finally done.

Each and every instance you create can be customized with the help of templates, automation, categories, workflows, and configured accesses. The customization option can be found on the top left corner of your screen.

Create New Instance

ServiceDesk Plus also ensures the data contained in created instances is always secure and separated from other instances to avoid confusion. A particular user or admin can only view data from other instances if they have proper access to it.

#3) ESM Portal

The ESM portal can be defined as a central console where users can access a variety of services and service desk instances from within the organization.

The ESM portal presents users with an interface that facilitates the creation of tickets and management of instances. You can instantly access a number of created instances, thanks to the comprehensive nature of this portal. You will find the tab for the ESM portal on the top right side of your screen.

ESM Portal

Furthermore, the portal can be customized to make it more ideal for your business. Upon selecting ‘Customize’, an HTML editor will open. Here, you can customize your code by moving between code view, preview, and split view tabs. You can also employ default variables to insert footers and portal cards.


The option for customization can be found on the menu available to you on the left. Once customized, you can preview your changes before setting them as a default look for your portal. If you are still not sure of your custom look, you can opt to save your changes as a draft.

Setting Up Service Desk Instances

Now that we know of the vital aspects associated with ESM, let’s find out how service desk instances are created step by step for different business functions.

#1) Accessing the ESM directory

Accessing the ESM directory

To start creating service desk instances, you need to first log in to your ServiceDesk Plus account and proceed to the ESM directory. Once you have access to the ESM directory, select ‘Service Desk Instances’. If you’ve created instances before, you will find a list of them here.

#2) Create New Instance

Create New Instance

Once you have clicked on ‘Service Desk Instances’, you will find a tab titled ‘New Instances’. Click on this tab to initiate the creation process. You will be greeted with a boxed form that has to be filled in order to create a suitable instance.

#3) Choose an Instance Type

Choose an Instance Type

Give the instance a name and description, and then proceed to specify the type of instance. For example, if you want to create an instance for HR, then choose Human Resources as your instance type from the drop-down menu.

It is important to choose an instance type, as it contains templates and categories specific to the chosen business function. If you don’t need pre-built configurations then opt for the ‘Blank’ option as instance type.

#4) Assign Owner

Assign Owner

Just below the ‘Type’ text box, you will find a text box asking you to assign an owner to the created instance. The assigned owner will be granted with SDadmin privileges on the instance. The names of the owner can be selected from the drop-down menu. However, not all SDadmins configured within the instance will become owners.

#5) Associated license

Associated license

Finally, mention the license purchased for the creation of an instance. Once done, simply set the status to production to create an instance that can be accessed by all users.

If no license was purchased, you can still create a license but it will remain in pre-production status, which means it will be only accessible to the admin unless a license has been purchased. This is all we went through to create an instance with ServiceDesk Plus.

Accessing And Configuring Instance

Once you have created your instance, you can proceed to configure it in the ‘Instance’ section of the tool. The instance page will grant you insight into your created tasks, system announcements, assigned tasks, reminders, and user schedule.

Accessing and Configuring the Instance

You get a comprehensive summary of any overdue and pending requests, approved and unapproved changes, as well as open and unassigned problems. You can find this information on the left side of your screen.

comprehensive summary

Now, if you want to switch to another instance or go to the ESM directory, you can do so easily from the instance page itself. Simply use the drop-down menu on the top left corner of your screen to select the instance you want to access.

End-Users can switch to different instances by accessing the drop-down menu as well. Admins or Technicians are automatically taken to the home tab of an instance anyways. From the home, these admins can access instances that they may have access to.

Moreover, the Org Admins get special access to the Enterprise Directory apart from having regular access to instances.

Enterprise Directory After Instance Creation

You will find three new sections in the Enterprise Directory once you have created new service desks.

#1) All configurations common to service desk instances like Sites, Organization Roles, Users, Departments, etc. can now be found in the ESM directory.

ESM directory

#2) The user management section now allows users to import, manage SSO authentication, and manage user configurations on a global level. You can easily map a user-specific to an instance by going to the admin tab of the instance and selecting a user based on your criteria.

user management section

#3) Finally, you will find a general settings section from where you can configure a setting that will be pervasive across all service desk instances. The settings section can also be used for backup scheduling, as well as establishing privacy, translation, and security configurations.

settings section



ServiceDesk Plus possesses one of the best reporting and data analysis systems in the industry. You get an extensive report library that can satisfy varying business needs.

The tool helps users generate over 180 in-built reports. You have the power to create custom reports, flash reports, and query reports based on a wide variety of service desk modules such as purchase, surveys, contracts, changes, requests, problems, assets, and more.

Created reports can be added to the dashboard for present and future references. You have access to real-time data that gives you accurate insight pertaining to the performance of your service desk. You can devise strategic decisions that work by referring to the current trends.


ServiceDesk Plus facilitates integration with a number of reputable and intuitive third-party applications. It supports document attachment by integrating with several cloud storage solutions such as Zoho Docs, Dropbox, Evernote, OneDrive, and Box.

You can also integrate this tool with other ManageEngine programs like ADManager Plus, OpManager, Application Manager Plus and more.

The software also facilitates Office 365 integration to unify the email experience with the tools and ticket creation capabilities of ServiceDesk Plus. Although we believe ServiceDesk is sort of limited with regards to integrations. Whatever integrations it does allow are competently executed and benefit from the competitive price attached to this software.


There is a decent support system to rely on if you find yourself lost while using this solution. Users can get support instantly via chat, emails, ticket submission, and toll-free numbers that are only available in USA, UK, and Australia.

One can also resort to self-help by referring to the easily accessible FAQs, video guides, forums, and tutorials available on the tool’s main website.

Pricing Plans

Pricing and Plans

The ESM tool can be availed by subscribing to any of the three available ServiceDesk pricing plans. Although competitively priced, ServiceDesk suffers from a complicated pricing structure. The price you pay for the tool will ultimately depend on the edition and the number of technicians and IP-based assets you prefer.

For instance, the standard edition of ServiceDesk Plus starts at $1195 and accommodates a total of 10 technicians. The price for the standard edition can go as high as $11995 to accommodate 200 technicians. You’ll have to pay extra for add-ons like Project Management, Change Management, and Service Catalog.

On the other hand, the annual subscription fee for ServiceDesk Plus’s Professional edition starts from $495 to accommodate 2 technicians with 250 nodes and can go as high as $23995 to accommodate 200 technicians with 1000 nodes. Similar to the Standard edition, users will have to pay extra to get add-ons. Additional nodes can also be added to your packs, starting at $345 for extra 100 nodes.

The enterprise edition can be availed at an annual fee of $1195 to accommodate 2 technicians with 250 nodes. You get additional ITIL features like change management, service catalog, and project management with this license.

The tool demands you buy the technicians and assets needed to create new instances in the ESM portal. You cannot move across multiple instances with your existing license. However, irrespective of your current edition, you can switch to any edition of your preference to create new service desk instances.

Additionally, the software comes with a 30-day free trial. So skeptics can take the tool for a test drive to ultimately decide whether the tool caters to their business or not.

Pros And Cons

The below table enlists the pros and cons:

Clean and Comprehensive UIConfiguration requires basic technical knowledge
Reasonably PricedComplex Pricing Structure
Comprehensive ESM directory
Generate over 150 inbuilt reports
Instantly Create and Manage service desk instances
Advanced Configuration options to customize settings
Set User roles and permissions.


ServiceDesk’s ESM solution is an impressive entry in the perpetually growing number of enterprise management tools being introduced in the market. With a strong emphasis on ITIL tasks, a competitive price structure, and relatively robust functionality, this is a tool geared more towards organizations that possess large IT departments.

This doesn’t mean small and medium-sized businesses will not benefit from this tool. In fact, small businesses with few technicians can opt for a suitable plan if they are willing to compromise on ITIL and asset management features.

Although we had our issues with its complicated pricing structure, ultimately these come off as minor issues when you experience its service desk creation and management abilities first-hand.

In summary, this is a powerful ESM tool with tons of great features and a comprehensive UI. It is reasonably priced, exceptionally secure, and boasts of a responsive support system that elevates the overall user experience.