Service Requests, Service Catalog, Service Offerings, Request Offerings… how it all fit together in SCSM 2012.

10:12 am in Service Manager by kurtvh


System Center Service Manager 2012 supports Service Request Management and fulfillment. We have several complete procedures in blog posts (here and here) to create all the components to enable this functionality for your environment. With this blog post I want to provide a more high level overview on how it all fits together.

First let me give you an overview of the terminology (like explained on TechNet):

  • Service Catalog: The Service Catalog is a collection of items, assistance, action, or groupings of them that is provided by your IT staff and infrastructure and made available to end users in the Self-Service Portal.
  • Request Offerings: The Request Offerings are catalog items that describes an item, assistance, or action that is made available available to end users. It also defines information that you want to prompt the users for and any knowledge articles that are associated with the offering.
  • Service Offerings: Service offerings are logical groups of request offerings.
  • Service Offering Categories: Are categories to help organize service offerings that are provided to end-users through the service catalog.
  • Service Request work item: SCSM work item that holds all information around the request that is submitted.

A refection of these components to the end result in the self-service portal is illustrated below.

Self-service portal Home page:


Example Service Offering overview page:


Example Request Offering questions:


Now if we look at all of these items that we need to configure, there are a lot of steps to take before you have it all configured for your environment. Everything together is the Service Catalog for your environment and the interface is the self-service portal. It is important to build-up this functionality for the end-user in logical way.

First item to think about is “what are you going to offer to the end-user”. Maybe you have your Service Catalog already defined,  in other scenarios you have to look to your environment and start defining your Service Catalog.  (Service Catalog management information from TechNet blogs can be found here and here – or MOF Online Content: Service Level Management ) This information will provide input for the configuration of the Service Offerings and the Service Offerings Categories list items that need to be created in SCSM 2012.

Next item to think about for each Service Offering is “What are the requests the self-service portal user can make for the defined Services”. This is very specific for every environment. This can start from something basic to a full automated process with Orchestrator RunBooks for example. The input that is needed from the requestor to complete the request are the question that need to be configured in the Request Offering in SCSM. The input of the requestor can be mapped to activities in the service request work item. For example, One of the questions on the Request Offering is to ask for a motivation for the request and this motivation can be mapped to the description field of the Review Activity from the request. Another example is to use this information as input for the Automated RunBook Activity. Little overview of Request Offerings:

  • The Request Offerings definition will define what the self-service portal can request. Keep in mind that the Request Offerings can be targeted to a subset of users. These offerings need to be added to the corresponding Service Offering.
  • Service Request Templates can help defining the activities that are required to fulfill the request. Can be a complete process with Manual, Review, Automated RunBook…all kind of Activities in SCSM.
  • Spending time to automate certain processes is not only free-up time for support desk, it is mainly standardization where we need to look for. Take the example of example of an AD user creation request, automating the process is always applying the naming conventions and making sure that every is created in the same way, with the same set of properties specified on the AD object. In SCSM 2012 this is just a matter of formulating the proper questions in the request Offering and use this information as input for the automation like Orchestrator Runbooks. In this way it easy to delegate the certain tasks out-site the IT support…

The whole process is illustrated below:



This is a very nice functionality in SCSM 2012. Hopefully the above information makes it a bit more clear. Together with the referenced procedure to configure the items in SCSM 2012 you have a complete set of information to start implementing self-service for your environment.

The pizza service delivery

For fun, below I have provided an overview of the process elements mentioned in this blog post, but applied to a pizza service delivery. The process components are defined with the things that living in a pizza restaurant Service delivery Process. We all know the pizza stuff, in this process illustration you can see the Service Management on this…

service requests


Have fun,

Kurt Van Hoecke