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Jun 21, 2007

MS SC Service Manager Beta 1 is Here

Is Microsoft a serious new player in Service Management field?

I had the pleasure of downloading and installing Beta 1 Microsoft System Center Service Manager last week. I am not the fan of MS, or any other tools vendor, so this post is not an add. Since I have some experience in ITSM and have seen, implemented and developed some tools, I have something to say here.

Service Manager is slow and forms are ugly. It is slow because it is in Beta 1 and running on sub-optimal code. Forms are ugly because it is in Beta 1, they are very simple unpolished InfoPath forms.

Other then that, I look forward to this product, because it seems to me that it is based on firm theory (ITIL/MOF/DSI), relies on mature Microsoft technologies (SQL Server, SharePoint, .Net, Office) and it will give a high level of integration with other System Center products, like Ops Manager and Configuration Manager.

Console resembles the Operations Manager 2007 Outlook-like console, so short learning curve and quick adoption is expected.

Functionality is kept mostly in Solution Packs, similar to Management Packs in Ops manager. So everything, from forms, workflows, repots, data models etc is in a solution pack. For now, Incident Management and Change Management solution packs are available, and a part of a future Asset Management solution pack. Reporting is performed on MS SQL Server Reporting Services. Most of the forms in all processes can be customized, fields added, data model extended.

Incident Management is planned to be ITIL compliant out of the box, so there are lot of customizing parameters available. Queues, drop-down values, locations, org. structure etc.

Change Management is also ITIL based, and seems decently engineered. As I said, forms are a bit slow, but in Beta 1 that should be expected.

Asset Management module is implemented for now as a simple inventory, a container for the connected SMS sync data.

Reporting is rudimental for now.

In Beta 1 there are only two connectors: AD and SMS. So one can import users from AD and assets from SMS.

Customer Portal is on SharePoint 2007 and it looks very sexy and promissing. Sincerely, one of the best-looking customer portals I have seen.

Beta 2 is planned for the 3Q2007. It will have improved Incident and Change Management solution packs and a functional Asset Management. Additional connectors for Ops Manager and Configuration Manager will be available. Also, larger set of reports.

This version satisfied my expectations, and I look forward to Beta 2. Seems to me that Service Manager has potential to be a very serious competition to HP Open View Service Desk. As I said earlier, good for us ;-)


Anonymous said...

Why does not MS System Service Manager have a problemm module, they probably have a reason for I guess....

doctor said...

Well, dear friend, if you look at the architecture diagram in my previous
post on SM
, you will notice that the Problem Management solution pack is planned. Just to remind you, functional modules will be deployed via Solution Packs, something like Management Packs in Ops Manager.
Due to some major architectural changes, the whole timeline is moved forward by a few months.
This Beta 1 went out as planned, with Incident and Change Mngmt modules, and Beta 2 was announced with additional Problem and Asset Mngmt Solution Packs. Also, Self-service Portal will be available, along with connectors to other System Center tools and AD.

Hope that this answer helps?