Populate Change Approvals Automatically in Service Manager with Business Services

Author by Nathan Lasnoski

I've recently been writing a bit on the topics of Business Services, as they provide a starting point for many implementations of Service Manager.  The Business Services are used for informing our processes, as well as providing visibility into configuration and work assignments.  In this post I'll be discussing how to use Business Services in Change Management approvals.   First, here is a brief overview of Business Services: http://www.concurrency.com/blog/business-services-in-service-manager/   Here are some of the reasons why you would start your deployment with Business Services: http://www.concurrency.com/blog/5-reasons-to-start-with-business-services-in-system-center-service-manager/   In using Business Services as our starting point we are now armed with a list of what we deliver to the business, the people responsible for those services, their criticality, and potentially their configuration. We will use that information in informing our Change Process with approvers.   Here you can see that my Business Service, "E-Mail" has an owner of Andrew, who is the lead on delivery of that service.  You can also see other assigned individuals, such as Matt and Michael, who may be also supporting the "E-Mail" service.  These individuals can be used later in our change process, but also provides instant visibility to the persons who understand and support a business service.  You can also use groups here should the situation warrant.


In reviewing the change process you can see that I have a variety of activity steps, starting with the drafting of the change (initialization), then following with Primary Owner approval, then moving into the Change Advisory Board (CAB) meeting.   The Primary Owner approval is a process to ensure the quality of changes and appropriateness of changes before they move to the CAB.

In the Primary Owner approval stage you can see that Andrew has been added as the approver before it moves on to the CAB.  I've found this stage to be very helpful at (1) limiting the individuals in the CAB review and (2) ensuring that only valid changes make it to the CAB review.

The way Andrew was populated was through the relationship between the Change and the Business Service.  You can see here that the "E-Mail" Business Service is related to the Change Request and is used to inform the process about who should be the approver.  Since we've already documented the Primary Owner there is no need to manually specify this or include some sort of intelligent step, as we can automatically add the approver through Orchestrator.

The Orchestrator process is triggered upon the completion of the "Initialization" step or "Drafting".  In the runbook we find the associated change request and locate the associated Business Service, which in this case is "E-Mail".  We then find the related Primary Owner of the Business Service and assign that user to the pre-CAB approval activity.


Here is a similar process where we used Business Services in implementing Change Controls vs. Change Approvers. http://www.concurrency.com/blog/scsm-change-management-controls-for-business-impact-analysis/   I hope this helps everyone out.   Nathan Lasnoski


Nathan Lasnoski

Chief Technology Officer