Microsoft Systems Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) provides application delivery, patching, imaging, inventory and other services to over 11,000 Windows computers in the WolfTech Active Directory domain. SCCM is a community-supported service, with staff members in multiple colleges/departments and OIT providing effort. Members of the Active Directory community at NC State articulated a desire for more formal support processes and dedicated support resources, while also valuing community/peer support.
Members of the community directly involved with supporting SCCM have worked together to plan a model for support of the SCCM service that integrates dedicated/central support and community support.
- Service teams will be formed around the four major SCCM service components: application delivery, patching, imaging and core services.
- Service team members need 3 to 5 hours per week of time to work on activities related to SCCM support, including answering questions from campus technical staff, and service design, planning and maintenance.
- It is recommended that these expectations be incorporated into the service team member’s work plan.
- Campus community members who use the service should contribute to service support. Our recommendation is that units allocate an hour per week for staff members to assist with testing, documentation, or related tasks, when needed by the service team.
- Training investments are needed, including release time for service team members to pursue reading, free training, and group R&D, as well as formal training and conferences.
- If a service team member leaves or changes positions, campus units are not expected to backfill service team members’ positions with staff of an identical skill set, unless doing so benefits the campus unit. The position on the service team is not allocated to the campus unit per say.
Structure and Responsibilities
Service teams will consist of members of the campus technical community with expertise in the service area. Each team will have a team lead, selected by the team members. There is a ServiceNow workgroup associated with each major service area.
Service Owner responsibilities
OIT is the SCCM service owner, and is responsible for ensuring that the service has the resources it needs. This includes funding hardware, licensing, maintenance and technical support as well as ensuring adequate staffing is available to support the service. The service owner is responsible for providing a service coordinator, whose selection will be recommended by the Active Directory Policy Working Group. The service owner has final responsibility for ensuring that the service meets the needs and expectations of the campus.
Service Coordinator responsibilities
The OIT/WMS manager is service coordinator, and is responsible for ensuring that the overall service is operating smoothly. The service coordinator acts as a point of contact for the service, and can direct inquiries to the appropriate service team. The coordinator ensures that service teams are meeting as needed, and that the service teams are coordinating with each other as needed. The service coordinator works with the service team leads to ensure that ServiceNow calls are handled appropriately. The service coordinator ensures that decisions about the service are made by the appropriate governance body. The service coordinator will assist the functional managers of the service team members with the identification of specific responsibilities to be included in a work plan.
The service coordinator will serve as a liaison with the unit management and service team leads, and will assist with any workload issues if they arise. The service coordinator will notify the unit management of all service team members if changes to this document are proposed or approved.
Service team responsibilities
The team provides a vision for the service area. Service team members identify and prioritize features and enhancements to the service. They use the service and understand best practices. They are able to provide in-depth technical help, and are responsible for monitoring and responding to items in the associated ServiceNow queue. The team performs maintenance tasks, and communicate changes to the service. In addition, the service team is responsible for developing training and documentation needed by other team members as well as other IT staff who use the service.
The service team is NOT on call for the service – these are not 24×7 responsibilities. OIT/WMS is responsible for providing on call support.
Service team membership
The service teams consist of staff who are technical experts in the service area, who will carry out the service team responsibilities. Service teams are not representative bodies. They are working groups that carry out the responsibilities of the service team.
Staff may volunteer for service team membership with the approval of their management. Service teams will assess the team’s need for additional help, and will consider the staff member’s technical skills for a best fit. Upon a recommendation from the service team lead, the service coordinator will coordinate with the staff member’s unit management to obtain formal approval.
Each service team will have a team lead, selected by the team members. The team lead is not a manager – they are one of the top technical experts in the service area. They act as workflow coordinators, ensuring that ServiceNow calls are answered and helping to ensure that prioritized items get the team’s attention. They are able to delegate these tasks to other team members. The team lead takes an active role in coordinating communication, but is not solely responsible for scheduling meetings or initiating all discussions – team members are expected to actively participate as well. The service team lead attends governance committee meetings as needed.
Team members answer ServiceNow calls, perform maintenance and upgrade tasks, participate in service planning, create documentation and training resources. They are expected to keep current with the technology. Team members are empowered to call meetings and attend governance committee meetings.
Team members are expected to commit a specific number of hours a week to their service, coordinating with their management to manage their schedules. Should local issues prevent their participation for a period of time, this should be communicated to the Team Lead.
The service team leads will report to the Active Directory Service Manager. The AD Service Owner & AD Service Manager determines/approves the policies that define the SCCM service, including decisions on items such as settings that impact all campus users, prioritization of features/enhancements, and timing for major upgrades.
Service team leads will bring matters requiring technical decisions that impact the campus Active Directory environment to the Active Directory Technical Working Group (AD Technical). Operational technical decision-making resides within the service team.
AD Technical may form service teams as needed to support the SCCM service.
Campus IT staff (users of the service)
Campus IT staff follow established support request processes. They make a best effort at self-support, including attending or viewing training, and reading available documentation. They use the mailing list and chat rooms for knowledge development. Campus IT staff contribute to the service through activities such as testing at the request of the service team, or documenting what they’ve learned.
OIT Windows & Middleware Services (OIT/WMS) is responsible for maintaining the SCCM infrastructure. This includes installation, configuration and maintenance of the operating system, the application software and its database; as well as monitoring the servers and providing 24×7 on-call support.
Operational responsibilities do not necessarily include the responsibilities in areas supported by the service teams, such as patching, imaging, and application packaging. The maintenance of the servers is distinct from the customization and use of the SCCM application by campus IT staff.