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System Center 2012 Service Management Basics

This chapter from System Center 2012 Service Manager Unleashed introduces System Center Service Manager. Service Manager provides user-centric support, enables data center management efficiency, and enables you to align to your organization’s business goals and adapt to ever-changing business requirements.
This chapter is from the book

System Center 2012 Service Manager is an integrated platform for automating and adapting information technology service management (ITSM) best practices, such as those found in the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF), to your organization’s requirements. Service Manager provides built-in processes for Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, Service Request Fulfillment, Release Management, Knowledge Management, and Configuration Management. It includes a service catalog, dashboards, and reporting.

As an ITSM solution, Service Manager uses its configuration management database (CMDB) and process integration to help deliver IT as a service. Service Manager automatically connects knowledge and information from System Center Orchestrator, System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM), System Center Operations Manager, System Center Configuration Manager, and Active Directory (AD) Domain Services. Service Manager provides the following capabilities to deliver integration, efficiency, and business alignment for your Information Technology (IT) services:

  • Integrating process and knowledge across System Center: Through its integration capabilities with other System Center components, Service Manager provides an integrated service management platform. This helps reduce downtime and improve the quality of services in the data center.
  • Providing an accurate and relevant knowledge base: Knowledge base information resides in the CMDB; this contains product and user knowledge that enables IT analysts to quickly identify and resolve incidents. The knowledge base also assists end users, who can use the self-service portal (SSP) to search for information to help solve issues. Organizations can create and manage their own knowledge base articles and make this information accessible to IT analysts and end users.
  • Lowering costs and improving responsiveness: As IT organizations increasingly must become more efficient and do more with less, Service Manager’s capabilities can help improve end user satisfaction. Service Manager improves end user satisfaction in two ways:

    • By enabling self-service for end users
    • By implementing ITIL process and standards such as Incident Management, Problem Management, and Knowledge Management

    These increase the service team’s responsiveness to end users and lower costs by facilitating better standards within IT.

  • Improving business alignment: Service Manager helps your organization align with its business goals and adapt to new requirements through its configuration management, compliance, risk management, reporting, and analysis capabilities.
  • Delivering immediate value with built-in process management packs: Included with Service Manager are core process management packs for Incident Management, Problem Management, Service Request Fulfillment, Change Management, Release Management, Configuration Management, and Knowledge Management.
  • Automating processes: Service Manager helps automate repetitive, simple, and manual processes through integration with System Center Orchestrator. Examples of automation with Orchestrator include creating user accounts, resetting passwords, creating databases, provisioning virtual machines, and more.
  • Offering IT as a Service (ITaaS): Through its service catalog, Service Manager can meet ITIL Service Request Fulfillment functionality. This enables IT departments to offer an effective and efficient means for handling service requests from end users. The service catalog consists of service offerings and request offerings published via the SSP.

This chapter introduces System Center Service Manager. Various abbreviations include SCSM, SM, and Service Manager; this book uses the nomenclature of Service Manager. Service Manager provides user-centric support, enables data center management efficiency, and enables you to align to your organization’s business goals and adapt to ever-changing business requirements.

Ten Reasons to Use Service Manager

Why should you use Service Manager 2012 in the first place? How does this make your daily life easier? Although this book covers the features and benefits of Service Manager in detail, it definitely helps to have some quick ideas to illustrate why Service Manager is worth a look!

Consider ten compelling reasons why you might want to use Service Manager:

  1. Your support desk is overwhelmed with manually entering user requests...24/7 while end users are demanding self-service and cloud services.
  2. You realize service desk management would be much simpler if you had visibility and information for all your systems on a single console.
  3. You discover email is down when upper management calls the service desk. Although this mechanism is effective in getting your attention, it is stress inducing and not particularly proactive.
  4. You would be more productive if you weren’t dealing with user issues all day...and night. And during lunch and vacation.
  5. The bulk of your department’s budget pays for teams of contractors to manage user support and the service desk when self-service and automation could cut down on this and relieve IT to focus on more strategic tasks.
  6. You’re tired of going through each of your servers looking for reports you need on your client, server, physical, and virtual environments.
  7. Your system admins are patching and updating production systems during business hours, often bringing down servers in the process.
  8. By the time you update your user documentation, everything has changed and you have to start all over again!
  9. You can’t stay on top of adapting to your organization’s business needs when you’re not sure of your current capabilities.
  10. You don’t have the time to write down all the troubleshooting information that is in your brain, and your boss is concerned you might be hit by a truck (or want to take that vacation). This probably is not the best way to support end users.

While somewhat tongue-in-cheek, these topics represent real problems for many IT managers and support staff. If you are one of these individuals, you owe to it yourself to explore how you can leverage Service Manager to solve many of these common issues. These pain points are common to almost all users of Microsoft technologies to some degree, and Service Manager holds solutions for all of them.

However, perhaps the most important reason for using Service Manager is the peace of mind it can bring, knowing that you have complete visibility and control of your IT systems. The productivity this can bring to your organization is a tremendous benefit as well.

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