Magic Broadens Help Desk Portfolio

Readies customer self-service software, unveils migration program for users of competing apps

In the wake of the union of the top two makers of help desk automation software last month, Magic Solutions is shoring up its offerings with new software and a new pricing promotion.

Magic, a division of Network Associates Inc., this week will unveil a customer self-service application called Self Service Desk. This comes on the heels of last weeks announcement of a migration program for users of competing help desk software from Remedy Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., and Tivoli Systems Inc.

The moves follow the announcement last month of a $1.08 billion deal that unites Remedy and San Diego-based Peregrine Systems Inc. Remedys IT Service Management suite is slated to become Peregrines flagship IT help desk application for small to medium-size businesses, the market segment that Magic is targeting.

Magic officials said their browser-based interface is more advanced than Remedys, although Peregrine plans to update Remedys software with its own Extensible Markup Language technologies.

Magics Self Service Desk, which will be generally available at months end, allows users to access purchase order and service requests, track problem and support tickets, and obtain crisis updates—all through a customizable Web portal interface. Designed to reduce support costs—particularly reliance on expensive call centers—Self Service Desk can be used for internal support and external customer management, said Magic officials in Santa Clara, Calif.

Magic customers on maintenance will get Self Service Desk free for internal use. A server-based pricing model will be used if Self Service Desk is used externally, although Magic officials would not state the price.

In addition, Magic is aggressively pursuing Remedy customers that are wary of that companys pending acquisition by Peregrine as well as Tivoli customers with its new SMART (Safe Migration and Rapid Transition) program. Under the terms of SMART, Magic will sell seats for its Total Service Desk solution to existing Remedy and Tivoli customers by selling them two seats for the price of one. Total Service Desk is typically priced at $3,800 per seat.

In addition, customers buying at least 20 seats will get four days of on-site training on Total Service Desk and migration of data from Remedy or Tivoli systems to Magics system.

Kevin Forsyth, lead Remedy administrator/developer at VoiceStream Wireless Corp., in Tampa, Fla., wasnt impressed by the Total Service Desk demonstration he ran from Magics Web site. "Ive been running help desk software for five or six years ... and I thought it was difficult to navigate," Forsyth said. "The interface is kind of nice, but I dont think its any easier to use than Remedy or Peregrine. I dont know how much of an alternative it would be to either system."