How to do Self-Service Software Provisioning with System Center 2012

We’ve recently been making some announcements about the Application Approval Workflow (AAW) Solution Accelerator.  Demo.

One of the first conclusions people come to regarding this solution accelerator is: “This solution accelerator requires the user to go to the SCCM software portal to make the request.  I want to train my users to always go to the SCSM service catalog for any kind of request.”  I couldn’t agree more.  I wish the SCCM software catalog was more integrated into the SCSM service catalog than it is now but it’s not yet unfortunately.  It is only a click away though.  We recommend using this super secret technique to create a request offering on the SCSM service catalog that will direct users to the SCCM software catalog.  That way users always start in the SCSM service catalog but they may be redirected to other interfaces as needed.  I realize this is not ideal and we’ll continue working on erasing the seems between System Center components.

I do want to raise some attention to an alternative approach I have been working on with one of our new MVPs – Marcel Zehner.  We’ll – he’s been doing the work.  I’ve just been encouraging him.  🙂  His approach leverages the power and flexibility of the System Center platform to create a more customized approach to self-service software provisioning.

Take a time out from this blog post to go read his and then come back and read on.

Marcel’s approach has some advantages over what we provide with the AAW:

1) Displays cost information so the user can make more informed choices.  You could extend it to show other information too.

2) User never leaves the service catalog UI

3) Opportunity to build in more logic if needed in the runbooks

4) More flexibility as far as what you present to and capture from the user since you are using the service catalog.


The advantages of the AAW are:

1) Easier to set up

2) Supported by Microsoft

3) Has the capability to use different service request templates depending on what application is being requested and which user is requesting it.  You could do that with Marcel’s but it would be a significant amount of work if you had a lot of different processes.

4) Has a nice feature that allows you to override reviewers depending on the app being requested or who the requestor is


I’m sure there are other various pros/cons we could think about re: these two approaches.  The ultimate solution is probably some combination of the two so we’ll keep giving that some thought.


So – personally, I think both approaches are great.  It really comes down to what you need and how much effort you are willing to put into a custom solution.


Thanks for sharing your high level design Marcel!  It really shows the power and flexibility of bringing together multiple components of the System Center suite to solve a problem.