Incident management: Creating an incident

Since a while I’ve been working with a new Microsoft product from the System Center family called Service Manager 2010. I’ve been putting a lot of time and effort in using it and I wanted to share this with you. So from now on I’m gonna write some blogposts about it. I’m gonna try to do this in a persona-scenario kind of way. But one step back, what the heck is Service Manager 2010 anyway? I can write a whole definition about it but Microsoft also has a clear one:

System Center Service Manager 2010
Microsoft System Center Service Manager is an integrated platform for automating and adapting your organization’s IT service management best practices, such as those found in Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). It provides built-in processes for incident and problem resolution, change control, and asset lifecycle management. Through its configuration management database (CMDB) and process integration, Service Manager automatically connects knowledge and information from System Center Operations Manager, System Center Configuration Manager and Active Directory.

Source: Microsoft

First of all what I want to do is show you part of SCSM 2010 and what it does out of the box. My first focus will be on working with incidents in SCSM 2010. In SCSM 2010 they have delivered an incident management pack based on best practices like MOF and ITIL. A high level overview about incident management is written by Ketan Ghelani overhere.

I’m using the following personas and scenario for this. I have used the Microsoft Dynamics Customer model for this.

Lisa – Customer Service Representative
Charlie – Customer

Scenario #001 – Lisa creates an incident
Lisa gets a call from Charlie at the Helpdesk number. Charlie tells Lisa that he isn’t able to use his e-mail. This is already the second time this happened. Last time a colleague from Lisa helped him with that incident. Charlie also tells Lisa that he is away for the next few days and that he is only available via landline number +1 123 456 789

Like you see above, this is not the most interesting scenario. But it does give you a first idea of what kind of interface we are dealing with. So this is the main reason why I’m posting this, showing you the User experience of SCSM 2010.

Lisa executes the following steps in this scenario:
1. Log on to the SCSM 2010 console
2. Create an incident & fill in the details
3. Relate an older incident
4. Activate the incident & watch it in the incident overview

1. Log on to the SCSM 2010 console
This is of course the most basic step. I added this one to still give you an idea what you will experience when first opening the console.
Connect to Service Manager ServerLisa connects with her credentialsThis is the landing page after you log on. First look on the interface, very similar to other products in the System Center family like SCOM or SCCM

2. Create an incident & fill in the details
Most important part of this step is to view the interface. There are a few important parts in the interface of creating a work item, in this case an incident. You have a status part on top of your screen, tabs with information about your work item and a tasks pane on the right to do something with the work item.
Lisa is gonna add a new incident. This is a work item, click the work item menu bar, or wunderbar as they like to call itLisa selects the Incident Management folder. You see on the right a create incident option in the task paneIt is also possible to create an incident from within the folder, via a right mouse actionA form opens in which Lisa can fill in the incident details. This is the template for a standard incident delivered out of the box in the SCSM 2010 incident management pack. Notice a few areas like the status bar on top, task pane on right & the tabs
Lisa can fill in the affected user, this can be someone from an Active Directory imported with a connector or CSV or just created manuallyLisa can also use dropdown lists in a template, out of the box it is user for fields like category, source, etc.Lisa can also add the affected service, in this case probably an exchange accountAfter Lisa filled in all the information of the incident notice how the top bar is filled with information Incident number, Status, Affected user, Main contact info, Created on, Resolved by & Time worked

3. Relate an older incident
One of the features in this management pack and the product itself is that you can relate a lot of stuff to a work item. In this scenario I’m showing you how to relate another incident to this current incident.
The second tab is the activities tab, you can add activities which are related to this incident. This can be a custom one, or base on pre-defined templated. We are not gonna use this in this scenarioLisa adds a related work item, in this case Lisa adds the previous incident with user e-mail which was created for CharlieResolution tab, is primarily used by the persona who is gonna solve this case, so Lisa doesn't use this tab in this scenarioHistory tab, nice overview of what has happened with this work item. In this scenario we also not using it.

4. Activate the incident & watch it in the incident overview
Like I stated in one the previous screenshots SCSM 2010 is working with folders and views to show work items. I wanted to show the end result to also give you an overview of this interface.
If you now go to all incidents view you will see the new created incident by LisaThe my incidents view, which shows all the incidents of the current logged on user, in this case Lisa

So this is a quick overview of how to register a incident and in general a work item in System Center Service Manager 2010. If you have some questions or feedback feel free to comment in the section below. I will post some new scenarios soon.

Microsoft Service Manager product page
High level overview incident management written by Ketan Ghelani on the Microsoft Service Manager 2010 team blog
Microsoft Dynamics Customer model poster
Microsoft Opeations Framework

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