After attending the Service Desk’s “preview” last Microsoft TechDays at Lisbon I do have some notes on this promising product.
They got it right regarding usability and already existing Microsoft technology. The strong points I see:
SMS – Inventory, CMDB related activities support
MOM – Automatic Incident creation, knowledge base
SharePoint – Knowledge base
InfoPath – Customized forms (really flexible this part)
Outlook – Approval and notification tool
Powershell – Scripting
Workflow Foundation .NET – Workflow
For the first two an umbrella called System Center gathers tools for Service Management. Service Desk closes neatly the basic Service Support underlying technology.
A traditionally strong point for Microsoft is the Self-service Wizard for registering Incidents, Service Requests and Knowledge base. All with search and RSS feed notification.
Like Management Packs for MOM, these Solution Packs extend the Service Desk and are an excellent way of opening up services on top of the product.
An impressive demo showed how a Configuration Baseline discrepancy my be “automagically” dwelt with. SMS (well, the new product’s name: System Center Configuration Manager 2007) knows what desired configurations one wants and matches them against the current configuration. Any delta found will initiate a Change that will go through Service Desk, get approved via Outlook and finally deflagrates an advertisement for SMS to apply the needed patch.
The most intriguing (and promising) part for me was the SML (Service Modelling Language) which was presented like a meta-language for the CMDB. On top of this, a Common Modelling Library gateways CIs representation to other Service Management frameworks.
The big four of ITSM (BMC, CA, HP and IBM) will have to make room for Microsoft… in a year or so.