As defined by ITIL, a service catalog is a comprehensive list of IT services provided by the IT service desk or IT department. The service catalog is published to end users to inform them of IT services and how they’re delivered.
Typical information in a service catalog listing includes the following:
- Service description
- Categorization of service type
- Supporting services
- Time frames for fulfillment of the service
- Who is eligible to request the service
- How to request the service
- When escalation is appropriate
- Hours of service availability
The service catalog is an important reference for end users, and prevents misunderstandings about provision of IT services. It should be kept current, or it will rapidly become less useful.
Advantages of a Service Catalog
Having a comprehensive, regularly-updated service catalog helps optimize IT service delivery, hold down support-related costs, and improve communications between the IT service desk and end-users. Whenever an end user makes a request through the service catalog, established fulfillment processes begin immediately — often by the automatic creation of a help desk ticket. The service catalog should be designed with the end user in mind, with a minimum of IT jargon, and it should be easy to navigate, whether it’s organized by department, service area, cost, or type of device. Updating the service catalog regularly is one key to reaping its benefits.
The Periodic Service Catalog Update
As a general rule of thumb, your service catalog should be updated quarterly. Whomever is tasked with updating the service catalog should evaluate service offerings in light of the actual services provided over the previous quarter. Updates should take into account notes or call records on which parts of the service catalog are misunderstood or poorly understood, and they should also take into account changes in the company that might affect IT services, such as a switch from one hardware or software vendor to another.
The Ad Hoc Service Catalog Update
Sometimes, the service catalog should be updated without waiting for the next regular update. For example, if multiple requests come in for a service that is not listed in the service catalog, and if the IT department anticipates more requests for that service, it should be added immediately to help streamline this service in the future. As another example, if your company implements a major policy change, such as a new BYOD policy, the service catalog should be updated to reflect this, stating which services end users can expect in relation to personal devices they use at work.
How a Well-Maintained Service Catalog Helps IT and End Users
A well-designed, well-maintained service catalog helps break the IT department out of the “IT silo” and brings it into better communication with the rest of the company. A great service catalog is a strong backbone for your service management program, helping end users know what to expect, and helping the IT service desk organize and prioritize their time more efficiently. Consider including at least one non-IT end user in the service catalog design and development process, to ensure that it will be useful to and understandable for end users. Non-IT end users involved in design and development can also help promote use of the service catalog throughout the workforce.
Samanage offers service catalog capability that lets you define service processes and have service requests appear as new service desk items so that your help desk can easily manage them from one place. End users find the service catalog interface to be intuitive and time-saving, and your IT service desk will find that it helps bridge the gap between IT and the rest of the workforce, improving communication and helping IT interactions with end users go more smoothly.