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Spiceworks 4.0 Interview and Demo

As you know, dear readers, I’ve been following Spiceworks for sometime. So it was nice to get the chance to sit down with Spiceworks’ Tabrez Syed to go over their latest release, Spiceworks 4.0. For the community-oriented of you out there, there’s actually a lot of interesting talk about managing and drawing from the Spiceworks community. Also, as I often to point to, Spiceworks is one of the more innovative companies in the IT Management space, so they’re always worth checking out for new ideas of what’s possible.

The video is in two parts, an interview and a demo:

Interview with Tabrez

In introducing himself, Tabrez speaks to the mixed role he has at Spiceworks, a combination of traditional product management and the newer practices of community management. As we discuss Spiceworks more, it’s interesting to see how these two roles play out. To that end, I ask Tabrez to give us an overview of Spiceworks itself. More than just the asset discovery, monitoring, help-desk, and reporting, Spiceworks also incorporates the thriving community (over 700,000 users) around the product.

Focusing in on the community aspects, I ask Tabrez to characterize the folks in the community: what types of IT shops and organizations are they? Being in the small and medium business category, these folks are often balancing both the technical requirements and small pools of cash and time.

We then go over the new features in Spiceworks 4.0. Starting with help desk improvements., Tabrez goes over the workflow changes to enable better colloboration and covers the email “command line” functionality they’ve added so that users can work with tickets on their phones. He also goes over the user-centric portal that Spiceworks 4.0 offers, giving the start of a knowledge base and a way to encourage self-service IT. Finally, we go over one of the most highly requested features, the network map which shows a visual network topology.

Spiceworks 4.0 Demo

(Be sure to click on the full-screen icon for a larger picture.)

After discussing Spiceworks 4.0 with Tabrez, I have him walk through a demo of the product itself, mostly highlighting the new features.

We start in the dashboard, seeing how the product gives you a general overview of your IT. It also highlights an example of a plugin, the Windows License monitor widget. He also points out an example of the “UI improvements” and rearranging mentioned during the interview. After seeing how these improvements have effected the inventory page, we jump into looking at the new features in the help desk.

Next up, we look at the user portal provided in Spiceworks 4.0 which provides a customizable intranet-centric web site with widgets and help-desk integration. The idea here being to provider employees a landing page for interacting with IT.

Tabrez then shows us the network map functionality shipping in Spiceworks 4.0. He walks through browsing the network topology, drilling down into individual nodes, and using the network map to trouble-shoot. In asking Tabrez how people are using (or are intending to use) the network map day-to-day, he also goes over future enhancements and functionality Spiceworks is thinking of adding to the network map.

We then jump into look at the Spiceworks community and how it directly integrates with the product, and vice-versa. We see methods for sharing customized reports, reporting on Windows event IDs, all in addition to the usual forums and community features you’d expect.

Covering the final item of note, Tabrez tells us how Spiceworks uses ads and other offers in the product. As the platform is free, this is the way users “pay” for the application.

Disclosure: Spiceworks is a client.

Categories: Companies, RedMonkTV, Systems Management.


Comment Feed

3 Responses

  1. A great inteview 🙂

    Thannks for sharing 🙂

  2. really helpful and informative, it was nice to get an in-depth and highly personal insight as to the inner workings of the software.

    vikramOctober 8, 2009 @ 3:21 pm
  3. If you can make it or know someone who can, Spiceworld 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.