A: System Center 2012 Configuration Manager features a great web-based software catalog for enterprises that lets users request software by using a web-browser.

Microsoft has released a solution accelerator called the Microsoft Application Approval Workflow (AAW), which works with System Center Configuration Manager, System Center Service Manager, and System Center Orchestrator to provide a rich workflow, including authorization for user application requests. The accelerator is available for download at Microsoft's website for Application Approval Workflow, and includes detailed deployment documentation. Its key features include the following:

  • Ability to synchronize Configuration Manager applications data into the Service Manager database.
  • Ability to monitor and transport Configuration Manager Application Catalog requests requiring approval to Service Manager and open a service request.
  • Ability to return the completed approval workflow status to Configuration Manager for handling.
  • Allows administrators to define and maintain application selection criteria for specific applications or application groups and specific users or user groups.
  • Tracks application approval service requests and allows viewing of application catalog contents in Service Manager.

Essentially, users continue to use the Configuration Manager web portal for application requests; however, those requests are then converted to Service Manager requests, which can then be approved and processed before ultimately being acted upon by Configuration Manager. Behind the scenes, Orchestrator performs monitoring and acts on the requests.