How do I “learn” System Center Service Manager 2012?

Posted: December 14, 2012 in Service Manager
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So, I recently made a very simple comment on Facebook. This lead to some interesting comment and questions being raised about Service Manager about “Training for Service Desk” staff” in particular. At this moment in time, there is no “Service Desk Staff” training that I am aware of. So I decided to try and address this as best I could.

I have decided to consolidate some of the more important components and concepts of Service Manager and place them in one spot. I will be looking at all facets of Service Manager and trying to give ideas and concepts aimed at Administrators, Analysts and End-Users and provide some tools that I think are invaluable to modifying and making Service Manager more focused around your business.

For a complete glossary of terms used in Service Manager, click here

Training

For Service Desk Staff, I would start with the Operations Guide, this contains all aspects of Incident, Problem, Change and Service Requests as well as some other aspects including reporting which should be used by an Analyst. Here are some nice videos

Tweaking for your business

So now, onto the more “nitty-gritty” of making Service Manger yours and making it suit your business and understanding the concepts of Service Manager. I would highly recommend the Microsoft Virtual Academy for all studying requirements. This System Center 2012: Orchestrator & Service Manager course is aimed specifically at Service Manager, however this Introduction to Systems Management & Service Delivery would also be worth a look.

Now that we should be a little more comfortable with the concepts of Service Manager, the single best resource for Service Manager that I can think of, and it is run by Microsoft Staff is the System Center: Service Manager Engineering Blog. You will notice that a lot of the entries I reference will be from the blog above. I have listed these below.

System Center 2012 – Service Manager 101: Focus on Incident Management – Very nice blog post

Implementing Sample Helpdesk Scenario in Incident Management – 1

Implementing Sample Helpdesk Scenario in Incident Management – 2

Routing Incidents Submitted by Email

Configuration Items

Another really nice and often overlooked component of Service Manager is the CMDB, which allows all your Configuration Items to be stored in a Central Location. There are also a lot of built-in connectors which allow Service Manager to “talk”/gather information from a lot of Microsoft sources. These are listed below.

Connectors to Import Data – includes

Active Directory – Used to create your users within your Domains as Configuration Items, used primarily for “Affected User” and “Assigned To” users

Configuration Manager – Used to import configuration Items from SCCM relating to Computers and Software Inventory and other data you have configured within your SCCM environment

Operations Manager – this has two connectors.  1 for Configuration Items and 1 for Alerts.

 Orchestrator – Used to connect to the Runbook Service to allow for Runbooks to be referenced within Service Manager for the automation of tasks.

Virtual Machine Manager – Used to import Configuration Items from Virtual Machine Manager including Virtual Machine information including Service Templates, Location, host nodes and the like….

CSV File – Can be used to import information from a CSV file and creating Configuration Items.

Some links below about creating Custom CI’s

Creating Custom Configuration Item Classes Using the Service Manager Authoring Tool

Creating custom classes in System Center Service Manager 2010

How to create a new CI class and a new form

Creating a New Configuration Item Class in System Center Service Manager – YouTube

Tools and “Essential” Management Packs

So, now I move onto a section very dear to my heart. This is where you can modify the Console and/or workflows to meet your requirements. I will suggest some “add-on’s” that I use in all environments, whether they are Customer Facing, Internal or Test/Lab environments. I will supply a link to the Management Pack/Tool/Workflow and a short description of what they do and why I insist on using them and some potential “gotchas”

Lots of additional tools and/or management packs can be found on Technet Gallery, I have narrowed down the link to be Service Manager specific

Cireson Auto Close App – This is a great which allows for the easy closing of Work Items. I have blogged about this previously.

Advanced View Editor – great for modifying views within Service Manager, also allows you to edit XML for Management Packs (specifically “criteria”) on the fly. Also allows you to change the generic Display for Affected User and Assigned To user to a more descriptive value. More of his tools can be found here. Follow him on twitter here.

Notification workflow on Work Item assignments – This is great to automate the notification of the assigned to User with Incidents and Changes, this is great. I have also modified this to work with Service Requests and I have uploaded it to Technet Gallery.

Notify Analyst When End User updates Incident – This is actually a subscription that is setup. It can also be easily modified to work the other way round and notify the End User when the Analyst updates the incidents.

Mail Notification: Remind Reviewers – This is particularly helpful when it comes to Change Management, as a lot of Review Activities can be sent out and most times the e-mails are ignored. So this Management Pack automates this task of sending out reminders. AndersAsp blog can be found here

Exchange Connector – This is a great for Analysts to use to update calls and use your Exchange Environment to your advantage for updating work items, I have blogged about this previously. Please note: Any comment added via the Exchange Connector is treated as an “Analyst Comment”and marks the comment as “Private”. Please keep this is mind for workflows.

Another great source of information is the System Center – Service Manager – Technet Forums

I have also setup an new e-mail address to help with Service Manger queries. you can e-mail me at systemcenterguyza ”at” live ”dot” com  (systemcenterguyza@live.com) and I will assist as much as I can.

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Comments
  1. Rob Castaneda says:

    Awesome.

    Thanks,

    Rob Castaneda

  2. Jacqueline says:

    Great guide! It is amazing how little end-user training there is for Service Manager. The notification work flows will be helpful too.

  3. Cina says:

    Finally someone presenting How the stuff should be used not only installing and configuring setup

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