Spiceworks offers IT help desk, inventory management and server monitoring tools as an ad-supported software-as-a-service. Since we covered its launch, Spiceworks claims that it has 1.3 million IT professionals using the service. Earlier this week the company launched its iPhone app, bringing its set of IT management tools to mobile workers.

It's certainly an interesting service, and IT professionals are becoming more comfortable with using SaaS tools such as Netuitive and Zendesk. We hear about cloud-based monitoring tools every week. Since many IT pros are frequently away from their desks, mobile management tools make great sense and the features for the Spiceworks iPhone app are compelling:

  • Help Desk - allows IT pros to open, access, edit and manage Spiceworks help
  • desk tickets from the iPhone.
  • Inventory & Monitoring - enables users to view the status of their servers,
  • software applications and cloud services. As a result, IT professionals on the go
  • can stay informed about the health of important network services and devices.
  • People View - allows IT pros to access employee contact information from
  • Spiceworks. In addition, they can easily upload employee photos taken with the
  • iPhone to their Spiceworks user profiles.
  • Community Access - gives users a way to view posts, answer questions, ask
  • for help, and comment on topics that spark their interests from the Spiceworks
  • community of IT pros - all from their iPhone.
  • Low Bandwidth Requirements - because this is a native application, the amount
  • of data sent between the iPhone and Spiceworks is very lean, which means it
  • performs well over a VPN or 3G mobile network.

But I just can't get past the idea of using ad-supported IT management tools. We've covered the role of freemium tools in the enterprise frequently. But using tools for monitoring uptime and responding to help desk requests that have ads just seems, well, tacky. Perhaps I'm just getting old.

That said, small business is the target market and I can understand why startups and smaller companies would want to use something like this.

Here's an interview by RedMonk's Michael Coté with Tabrez Syed of Spiceworks (Spiceworks is a RedMonk client):