Enabling System Center Service Manager for Asset Management
Microsoft Service Manager offers rich support for many of the key scenarios in your Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), but missing from this list is IT Asset Management (ITAM). In this post I will introduce one of the best value methods to add this important role to your ITIL solution by leveraging the cost-effective Asset Management extensions from Cireson.
There are two primary reasons I have chosen to use this solution.
- The solution is licensed as a single application cost, with no relationship to the number of assets that might be managed, regardless of your organization’s size.
- The team is led by the the ex-Microsoft program manager who managed the Service Manager product from its inception through to the 2012 release, and is supported by a number of Microsoft MVPs focused on Service Manager.
Getting the Management Pack
Start by visiting Cireson and requesting a download of their Asset Management Application and a free evaluation license key. The application will be delivered in a simple ZIP file, which we can then copy to our Service Manager server and unpack for installation.
Say Goodbye to Traditional PC Lifecycle Management
Traditional IT tools, including Microsoft SCCM, Ghost Solution Suite, and KACE, often require considerable custom configurations by T3 technicians (an expensive and often elusive IT resource) to enable management of a hybrid onsite + remote workforce. In many cases, even with the best resources, organizations are finding that these on-premise tools simply cannot support remote endpoints consistently and reliably due to infrastructure limitations.
- From the Service Manager Console, we will set focus to the Administration view. Select the Management Packs branch on the tree.
- From the Action pane, we will then select Import, which will launch the Select Management Pack to Import browser dialog.
- Navigate to the folder where we unpacked the Management Pack, and select the pack titled CiresonAssetManagement.mpb. Click Open.
- In the Import Management Pack wizard, we can now click on the Import button, and once imported click OK to complete the procedure.
There are two additional management packs that we need to import. Each of these should be imported following the same procedure we just completed.
In the root folder of the unpacked zip, you will also have a file named Cireson.AssetManagement.Workflows.dll – this will need to be copied to each workflow server in your environment and placed in the folder called %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft System Center 2012 R2\Service Manager
Configuring Asset Management
With the management packs now installed, we can proceed to configure the new feature for our environment. Before you proceed, it is a good idea to just close out of the SCSM console and relaunch it to ensure the DLL we just copied over is correctly referenced.
Still working in Administration view, we will now select the Settings branch on the tree. From there we can locate and launch the Cireson – Asset Management Settings dialog.
Hardware Asset Sync Workflow
In my environment I am syncing in computer information from Configuration Manager at 2 a.m. every day; therefore, I will set the Hardware Assets to Sync Daily at 4 a.m. This will allow two hours for the configuration manager workflow to be completed and all the latest relevant information to be present in service manager.
- Set the Workflow Enabled flag.
- As new computers are detected, we will Enable the option to Associate new computers to existing Hardware Assets if the Serial Numbers match.
- Similarly, Enable the option to Create a new Hardware Asset for new devices if one is not already related. Additionally, Enable the option to check the existing renamed Windows Computer.
- The Unique Key I will use is the hardware’s serial number.
- When this key is unavailable, I have also enabled the option to create the Hardware Asset and use the associated Device GUID as the Hardware Asset ID to ensure we remain unique.
- I do not wish to treat my Virtual Machines as assets, so I enable the option to Ignore Virtual Systems when creating new Hardware Assets.
- Finally, I will allow Configuration Manager to update the Model, Manufacturer, Asset Tag and Serial Number of the hardware asset.
Hardware Asset Catalog Item Workflow
- I will set this workflow as Enabled and configured to run daily at 5:00 a.m., allowing one hour for the Hardware Asset Catalog workflow to complete.
- The only property I wish to be updated when associating a catalog Item manually will be the Hardware Asset Type.
- I also want to ensure that during synchronization from Configuration Manager that any hardware asset properties I configured are not removed or cleared. Enable the option Don’t remove existing Hardware Asset Properties.
- License Status Update Workflow
- The default settings on the workflow work well, ensuring our licenses are checked daily at 00:15am, and ensuring that we will flag licenses as expiring when only seven days remain. Note that this might be much too short for your environment depending on how long it may take a raise a new purchase order and renew the expiring license.
- Contract Status Update Workflow
- The default settings on the workflow also work quite well, ensuring our contracts are checked daily at 00:00am. This workflow will then alert us when our contracts status is within 10 percent of of the remaining contract time.
- In the section we have the ability to provide the License Key which was issued to us from the team at Cireson, which is required for the Asset Management features to function.
- We will also define the maximum size, and number of attachments which we will permit the users to associate with the assets, for example scans of purchases orders, contract agreements, repair notices, etc. In my environment I am limiting this to 10 attachments of 2Mb in size per asset.
With the configuration now complete, you can begin leveraging Service Manager for your Asset Management. Navigating to the Configuration Items view, you can see the new Asset Management node, ready for you to begin configuring many of the important settings you would consider as part of Asset Management, including:
- Catalog items
- Cost centers
- Purchase orders