So, your organization has decided to implement an IT service catalog and you’re the lucky person they selected to be in charge of it. Now what?
Your first task is ensuring that there is broad agreement about what a service catalog means in your specific organization and what is expected of it. Typically the service catalog provides a list of IT services available and is categorized and searchable so that end users can easily find what they’re looking for. The service catalog concept comes from the work of ITIL and is designed to improve delivery of IT services. As manager of the service catalog project, you will be charged with getting it produced and promoting it, and should be given the resources to make it work. Once the catalog is in place, both end users and IT workers should see real benefits.
Here are 5 tools you may find useful during and immediately after deployment of the service catalog.
1. Tools for Getting the Word Out
Everyone needs to know about the catalog so they can use it. There are numerous ways of making sure they do. If people access your IT service desk via phone, the recorded message they hear while waiting could talk up the benefits of the soon-to-be-released (or just-released) service catalog. When employees are trained on new software, the training could include references to the catalog and how they can use it. If end users submit help tickets via email, automated replies could remind them about the deployment date of the service catalog. The service catalog should also be prominently mentioned on the IT service desk website, perhaps with a countdown clock to its deployment date.
2. Templates for Service Catalog Entries
Once it has been determined what services will be included in the service catalog, it’s smart to create a general template for entries about each service. Templates vary from one organization to another, but in general you’ll want the following entry fields:
- Name of Service
- Point of Contact
- Base Level Services
- Services Explicitly Excluded
- Service Availability Times (whether 24/7, during business hours, etc.)
- Charges (if applicable)
3. Change Management Tools
No, not that kind of change management tool.
The change management tools that your IT service desk already uses can be very useful during the creation and implementation of the service catalog. It can be treated like a change in production or process. Using change management tools helps ensure that IT leadership and team members are kept up to date about changes occurring related to the service catalog.
4. End-User Satisfaction Measures
Creation of the service catalog should be done from the mindset of the end user. When the catalog is being written, use the input of a handful of non-IT end users to make sure that things are written in language that the typical employee can understand. Consult with selected end users during the process to find out if they understand what you’re trying to accomplish and if they believe they will be comfortable using the catalog. You may have to make adjustments along the way. And once the service catalog is in place, end-user satisfaction polls in the service catalog can give you valuable feedback about how useful they find the catalog.
5. Metric and Reporting Tools
While metric and reporting tools are important concerning the service catalog itself, you should also carefully watch metrics for the IT service desk in general. The IT service catalog should save time and cut down on submission of tickets that are unclear or unnecessary. Ideally, you should see quicker resolution times as end users get used to using the service catalog to request IT services. Metric and reporting tools will help you take subjective feelings about how well it is doing and quantify them so you’ll know where the catalog is succeeding and where it is falling short.
About Nathan Riley
Nathan Riley is a Sales Director, ITSM at SolarWinds. He has nine years experience in the industry, and has had a front row seat for the evolution of service management as a platform for the entire organization. He helps organizations ranging from SMB to Fortune 500 bring customized service to employees. Nathan proudly served the United States Armed Forces in the United States Marine Corps.
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