Archive for June, 2012

How to implement Change Management process using System Center 2012 – Service Manager (part 1)

This is the first in a series of articles that will cover Change Management process implementation using System Center 2012 – Service Manager.

To deliver reliable and effective IT service, organizations need to ensure that changes are planned and purposeful. That is why change management is very important.

Change in any form carries risk—risk of failure, disruption of operations, technical challenges, resource constraints, and unanticipated consequences. But many IT organizations fail at change management, either because they find it so big and onerous that they don’t try it at all, or because they make it so complicated that no one will use it.

System Center 2012 – Service Manager (SCSM 2012) helps IT manage changes through repeatable, predictable, and measured processes. But first of all it is recommended to go through some popular frameworks such as Microsoft Operations Framework 4.0 (MOF 4.0, ) or Information Technology Infrastructure Library v3 (ITIL v3, to get understanding about Change Management goals, process flow and interoperability with other management processes. If an organization mostly use solutions based on Microsoft platform it is recommended to adopt MOF 4.0 framework. But it should be clear that most organizations will require further adjustments of processes described in MOF 4.0 or ITIL 3.0 frameworks.

This article will show you an example how to implement Change Management process (based on MOF 4.0) using System Center 2012 – Service Manager.

In MOF 4.0 Change Management process implementation is described in “Change and Configuration Service Management Function” document (40 pages). Main process is divided into 7 subprocesses:

  1. Baseline the configuration.
  2. Initiate the change.
  3. Classify the change.
  4. Approve the change.
  5. Develop and test the change.
  6. Release the change.
  7. Validate and review the change.

Baseline the configuration

The first step is “Define and collect the configuration data to track” – importing / creating configuration items (CIs) into configuration management system (CMS). In our case the configuration management system (CMS) is System Center 2012 – Service Manager (SCSM 2012). As you know SCSM 2012 out of the box provides several sources to import configuration items (CIs) from:

  • Active Directory connector: add users, groups, printers, and computers (and only these object types) as configuration items into the Service Manager database.
  • Configuration Manager connector: creates and populates configuration items for the hardware, software, software updates, DCM configuration baselines, Mobile Device Data (SCCM 2012).
  • Operations Manager CI connector: imports objects that are discovered by Operations Manager (SQL DB Engines, Web sites, Active Directory domain controllers, etc.). You must import System Center Operations Manager management packs into Service Manager (Service Manager requires a list of class definitions for these objects).
  • Virtual Machine Manager connector: imports objects, such as clouds, templates, and virtual machines.
  • CSV file.

Another step recommended to do – create service maps. A service map is a representation of a service from the perspective of the business and user that shows critical dependencies, settings, and areas of responsibility (for more information about service maps, see the Business/IT Alignment Service Management Function from MOF 4.0).

The second step in the “Baseline configuration” subprocess is “Audit the CMS content”.

If you used SCSM 2012 connectors to import information into CMS, all CIs data will be updated automatically according to defined schedule. But you should regularly review and update service maps.

I will continue to discuss Changes Management process implementation using SCSM 2012 and start with review of the second subprocess “Initiate the change” in the next article.