The Software Center experience is getting better and better

Throughout my blog posts I always think its important to mention the end-user experience. This blog post will be mainly focused on the end-user experience in Software Center. Software Center went, from an end-user experience, through a complete revamp. The best thing is, it’s only getting better and better. Except for a few items, related to the devices of the end-user, Software Center is becoming the one place for the end-user to be. In this post I want to go through the latest changes to Software Center and show the related end-user experience.

Changes

Now let’s start with the latest changes to Software Center. It all started with a new modern look for Software Center and it quickly evolved to a easy customizable app. Especially in combination with a Microsoft Intune subscription. With the latest update to the Company Portal app, with a little bit imagination, one might say that both apps are starting to look like each other.

Look-and-feel

A lot has changed for the look-and-feel of Software Center. Starting with the, at this moment, latest build of Configuration Manager, the branding of Software Center and the Software Center dialogs can be applied according to the following rules:

  • If the Application Catalog website point site server is not installed, then Software Center and Software Center dialogs will only display the organization name as specified in the Client Settings;
  • If the Application Catalog website point site server is installed, then Software Center and Software Center dialogs will display the organization and name and color as specified in the Application Catalog website point site server properties;
  • If a Microsoft Intune subscription is configuration and connected to the Configuration Manager environment, then Software Center and Software Center dialogs will display the organization name, color and company logo as specified in the Microsoft Intune subscription properties.

Another nice addition to  the look-and-feel of Software Center is the improvement help end-users understand what software is new. The new apps will show with a clear notification.

Nowadays the look-and-feel of Software Center also provides a better separation between Applications, Updates and Operating Systems. All with their own section. Updates can be installed all together and Operating Systems provide an additional company branded Software Center dialog. Another new section is about Device compliance. This provides the end-user with a clear insight about the device compliancy and the possible access to resources.

Functional

Besides only look-and-feel adjustments, Software Center also received many functional adjustments. It started by the great addition to add user-targeted apps to the Application section. The latest and greatest functional adjustment builds on that addition and is the addition of the application approval process to Software Center. The end-user can now use Software Center to request applications that require administrator approval.

Another nice addition to the functional adjustments, is more on the background. Starting with the, at this moment, latest build of Configuration Manager, the administrator can now also deny a previously approved application.

End-user experience

Now let’s end this post with a scenario that will cover as many as possible great additions to Software Center as possible. I thought that using an application request scenario would cover as many as possible of these great additions. The only thing not shown in this scenario is the company branded Software Center dialogs, but, believe me, it looks great!

During the following scenario the end-user and the administrator will touch the complete application approval process by using, request, cancel, approve and deny.

1 SC_AppsOverviewThe end-user opens Software Center and enjoys the beautiful icons and notifications about new apps.
2 SC_AppRequestThe end-user would like to install Notepad++ 7.3.5 and notices that the app requires approval. The end-user provides optional information and clicks Request.
3 SC_AppRequestSubmittedThe end-user immediately receives the message that the request was submitted successfully.
4 The administrator approves the app request.
5 Toast_AppApprovedThe end-user receives a toast message that a requested app is approved.
6 SC_AppRequestApprovedThe end-user opens Software Center and now has the option to install Notepad++ 7.3.5. The end-user installs the app, by clicking Install and is happy.
7 The end-user no longer needs the app and the app is uninstalled.
8

The administrator denies the existing app request.

Note: When an administrator denies an already approved app the app is not automatically uninstalled from the end-user device.

9

SC_AppRequestDeniedThe end-user opens Software Center again and notices that Notepad++ 7.3.5 can no longer be installed.

Note: At this moment it looks like information about approved apps is stored locally on the device.

10 SC_AppRequestAgainThe end-user gets a new assignment and requests Notepad++ 7.3.5 again by providing optional information and clicking Requests.
11 SC_AppRequestAgainSubmittedThe end-user immediately receives the message again that the request was submitted successfully.
12 SC_AppRequestAgainCancelledThe end-user changes its mind and cancels the request for Notepad++ 7.3.5 by clicking Cancel request.

More information

More information about what’s new in the different current branch versions, please refer to this article about What’s new in System Center Configuration Manager incremental versions.

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