He who controls the Spice controls the Works.

I just wanted to take a moment to step out of my sneakers and into my professional shoes (they’re black and shiny and lovely).

A little while ago, my organization started shopping around for a new Asset Management and Help Desk Ticket software solution.  I won’t mention what we used before, but it was lacking in functionality, lacking in support, and rising in price.  So, I set about going elsewhere.

I posted my inquiry to Experts Exchange.  I told them the following requirements:

  • Must be multi-platform.  Web-based is preferable, but cannot be bogged down or sluggish.
  • Must have Asset Management functionality built in that will allow for network scanning of assets
  • Must support at least twenty technicians and a coupla thousand users
  • Must be affordable (i.e. – four figures with no more than a thousand dollars a year in maintenance costs)

I got back a host of replies with various solutions.  I wrote them all down and tried each one.  One of the first ones I started out with was a product called Spiceworks.  It looked promising, but I was skeptical about the pricetag and it had rotating hosted ads on it, which I didn’t care for much… so out it went.  I continued down the list and was met with either disappointing products or hugely inflated price tags; it’s amazing how a $500 product can wind up costing $50,000 when you tack on user quantity upgrades, active directory plugins, self-hosting costs, and everything else you would need to be truly functional.  And so, my list was depleted with no real solutions found.

On a lark and born of despondency, I went back to Spiceworks and dug deeper.  The reason I was skeptical about the pricetag was… well, there really isn’t one.  It’s free.  In my world, “free” equals, “we’ll get you down the road” or “this product doesn’t work”.  Except, I really didn’t see any hidden costs.  I downloaded the product (not a trial, but a full featured download), installed it on our Windows Server 2003 testbed system, and set about using it.  It really did work as advertised and at no point did it ask for any hidden costs.  I was able to add as many users as my heart saw fit, as many technicians as I wanted, as many assets as I wanted, had a lot of power in customization, and it even had a user portal that was AD bound to allow our end users to log in and submit tickets as well as check the status of their existing tickets.  I was thrilled… if only it weren’t for the damned rotating ads.  Waitaminute… did I just see a way to disable ads on their site?  Oh – for a fee!  I get it, this is how they screw you!  Well played, Spiceworks… well played.  Reel ’em in and then drop the ads for… twenty bucks a month?

Yeah, that’s all.  I put this software into production several months ago and we’ve really put the screws to it.  Lots of users, assets, and trouble tickets and it has ticked along with no real issues… all for $20/mo.

I wouldn’t say it’s been entirely incident-free, though.  This last Saturday, I attempted to upgrade to the new 4.0 release and it broke our system.  I posted a help request to the Spiceworks community forum.  Almost immediately, I was in touch with employees of Spiceworks and being given instructions on sending our database, data, and log files to them for evaluation.  After a few hours, I was notified that our database was slightly damaged prior to the upgrade and they are still currently working on sorting it out for us.

In case you missed that, let me rephrase:  The company of a FREE product is VOLUNTARILY providing me with attentive support on a WEEKEND.  Wow.

Kudos to you, Spiceworks.  Keep up the good work and I’ll keep putting up the good word.


8 thoughts on “He who controls the Spice controls the Works.

  1. If you can make it or know someone who can, Spiceworld London ( http://www.spiceworld2009.com/london/ ) will be a great event to learn more about Spiceworks and meet up with some people.

    It will also be the first place to get 4.5 training.

    It will hopefully also been streamed so you maybe able to watch it where ever you are in the world.

    There will be memebers of the Spiceworks team as well as lots of members of the community.

    It will be a great day followed by hopefully a great afterparty.

  2. Pingback: Another happy user… | Spiceworks News

  3. Ive been using Spiceworks for over a year now and it plan rocks :-)

    I also saw your post on the community :-)

    Have you tried the network map yet? Thats pretty cool.

  4. Awesome, b0b! We started using it primarily for our helpdesk solution and we have never really had a unified asset management system. The helpdesk portion has been installed, refined, and used quite a bit and we are now looking to import our spreadsheet of managed systems into the Spiceworks database. We’ve tinkered around with network scanning with great overall success, and I think we’re ready to really go at it full-steam.

    Just an update to the original situation, Spiceworks came through and presented me with a repaired database that works great – we are back up and running!

  5. I’ve been using Spiceworks for quite a few months now, and since introducing it to the company I now work for, we’ve freed up almost $30000 a year on monitoring and inventory software. Next up is replacing our current horrible helpdesk system with this gem. By the way, my upgrade to 4.0 went beautifully/

    Thanks Spiceguys, you’ve made a lifelong fan.

  6. I’m new to spice works and am mainly using it for inventory purposes. Aside from I just need to sit down and devote some time to getting the inventory setup correctly so I can run the scan with minimal errors – its been working great. I keep finding hidden gems in it.

    I recently upgraded to 4.0, and no complaints so far. Kudos to SW.

  7. I’ve been using Spiceworks for quite a while now and love it. No problem with ads as our techs see them not end users.

    Ads are well targeted. Found a rebate that paid us hundreds of dollars. Found a service to receive email in an emergency

    new features all the time. Just got network mapping in 4.0. looks like a knowledge base is next.

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