Insufficient data from Andrew Fryer

The place where I page to when my brain is full up of stuff about the Microsoft platform

Spare a thought for your hard working helpdesk

It’s certainly no fun being on the helpdesk, and I can’t see this job getting any easier as a result of any kind of cloud implementation. If anything it will initially be a bit harder to support across all the moving parts, as identifying the cause of a problem will be hard and some of the infrastructure will be beyond the control of the help desk.

All helpdesks are under huge pressure as the economy wobbles again and the only certainty is the increasing pressure on any overheads. Ignoring the obvious question of why anyone would want to do this thankless task, how do you keep on top of the issues? Processes need to be tracked, you need to demonstrate you are doing a great job without  burning extra time filling out extra forms on what you have been doing.

The answer is integration. The business have this with SharePoint, CRM, Outlook etc. and so they only have to use one experience to get their work done.  In the world of the help desk, there is System Center in all it’s guises for the IT Pro to spot faults and control patching and fixing. However what’s been missing until recently is an integrated help desk solution.   Enter Service Manager 2010(SCSM) ,  a cunning piece of CRM style software that integrates with other bits of System Center Operations Manager(SCOM), Configuration Manager (SCCM)and Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM).

As you can see this is a familiar world for anyone who has used windows server or Outlook. There is a lot going of great stuff hidden in here:

Processes are designed around best practice to support the latest current standards of IT management,

  • SCCM will automatically create incidents where PC are out of compliance
  • A knowledge base where expertise can be shared between the IT Team
  • A self service portal for users to see what’s going on (such as services being down) and help themselves with the simpler problems

As a BI buff I also noticed the options at the bottom for reporting and Data Warehouse.  This Data Warehouse is going to round up all of those statistics you need to report on. To present this raw data to good effect there is an additional  (& free) solution accelerator here.

This allows you to quickly create web parts for SharePoint Services (WSS 3) from the data warehouse..


As with the rest of the System Center line up there is also a healthy ecosystem of third party add-ons so that specific hardware and other platforms can be supported centrally. For example there’s an add-in for Intel vPro technology here to enable better remote access of desktops and this add-in from Provance Technologies delivers IT asset life cycle management by providing a new process management pack to SCSM.

There’s a trial edition here and you’ll also find the System Center Product team’s blogs on SCSM useful should you decide that this is something your helpdesk would benefit from.