There are several methods you can use to customize Service Manager. While all three methods result in changes to a management pack file, they differ in scope and in the complexity of the customization that they provide.

The three methods for customizing and extending Service Manager are:

In general, we recommend that you use the Service Manager console or the Authoring Tool for simple customizations and that you directly work with the management pack files only for customizations that the Authoring Tool and the Service Manager console do not support.

Using the Service Manager Console

In System Center Service Manager 2010, the Administration pane and the Authoring pane in the Service Manager console provide for limited ad-hoc customization of Service Manager features. When you customize Service Manager features in the Service Manager console, the customizations are stored in new or existing unsealed management packs and in the Service Manager database.

The Service Manager console provides for customizations such as:

  • In the Administration pane, you can customize settings for activities, change management, incident management, and notifications. This allows you to configure the list notification recipients when an incident changes status.

  • In the Authoring pane, you can make simple customizations to objects such as queues, lists, and views.

For more information about customizations you can make from the Service Manager console, see the Service Manager Administrator’s Guide (

Using the Authoring Tool

The Authoring Tool provides an environment in which you can open, view, customize, extend, and author Service Manager management packs. The Authoring Tool lets you modify some class properties, customize forms in a graphical form designer, and it lets you modify and create Service Manager workflows.

The Authoring Tool allows for advanced customizations that require testing and verification before implementation. The Authoring Tool does not require advanced user skills or advanced knowledge of the internal architecture of Service Manager.

Directly Modifying and Authoring Management Pack Files

For extensive or complex customization and for customizations that require coding (such as extending the data in the Service Manager database, customizing forms, or modifying the default behavior of a feature’s workflow), you need to directly edit the .xml file of the corresponding management pack. Working directly with management pack files requires in-depth knowledge in several areas, such as the System Center Common Schema and the structure of management packs. Also, manual editing is prone to errors.