System Center Service Manage can be fundamentally broken down into two parts:
- The platform.
- The solutions.
The platform includes all the infrastructure services such as the workflow engine, the model-based database, the data warehouse, the data access service, and many other services that make Service Manager easy to extend and customize.
The solutions includes those management packs that we ship out of the box for incident, change, problem, configuration, knowledge, and compliance/risk management.
The platform’s purpose is to enable IT process automation. Customers and partners can automate virtually any kind of IT process on top of the Service Manager platform. Some examples of IT processes that can be automated: new employee provisioning, self-service software deployment, VM migration, backup/recovery, SharePoint site provisioning…. the list goes on and on. Automating IT processes with software reduces costs, reduces errors, reduces time to value, and ultimately frees up the IT staff to work on strategic initiatives instead of fulfilling mundane requests over and over.
Where do the solutions come in here? The solutions provide the ITIL/MOF process framework for automating IT processes. Sure you could write a workflow for Service Manager that automates some process and have that run every day automatically. But, the real value of Service Manager comes when you use the platform and the out of box solutions together. For example, when you automate that process to provision a new user, that really is a change to the environment which should be tracked by a change request. The change request might require approval. The whole process might require one or two manual steps in the middle which simply can’t be automated. And in the end, the change request record is proof to the bosses that the work was done – and not only that, but it was done automatically for practically zero cost! This is how you become an IT Hero!
So, to get people going on this, I’ve put together a couple of demos which demonstrate what kinds of things are possible to automate using Service Manager without writing a single line of code. I chose ‘Provision and New User’ (this post) and ‘Manage Virtualization’ (previous post) as the first couple of examples. I’ve also provided the MPs for these solutions as attachments so you can check them out. Keep in mind that these are just demo/examples – there are hard coded things in these MPs so they won’t work (unless you happen to be a Microsoft employee with access to our contoso.com demo VM environment). They aren’t meant for production use; just to show you how to do things.
For this particular example, I’ve also included a step-by-step guide (attached) detailing each step I took along the way to automate this using the Service Manager platform and authoring tools. There are lots more great things to come in the authoring tool so some of the things you see me do in the doc will become even easier when the next version of the authoring tool ships.
Without further ado, please enjoy this demo of automating the process of provisioning a new user using Service Manager!