The service catalog details the currently active IT products and services and may include information on those that will be deployed soon. It also includes what the service is, what its objectives are, how it will be performed, how long it will take to complete, and what it will cost (if applicable).
An IT service catalog actually provides tremendous value for organizations that create and maintain them; helping map expectations against capabilities, as well as streamline how services can be deployed.
There are a lot of benefits that service catalogs provide, if implemented correctly. So to help with implementation, it’s important to understand these 3 service catalog mistakes to avoid:
1. Follow the mantra “service- and people-centric” instead of “IT-centric.” It’s important that services are not defined in technology terms, with service levels based on metrics that IT finds pertinent. A successful service catalog begins and ends with the user in mind because it’s an outward facing document, as opposed to internal only like a service portfolio. It’s essential that IT asks the users and business stakeholders what they want and what is important to them. With that information, a successful service catalog is built.
A key aspect to keep in mind is that it takes time to define your content within a service catalog. Defining the service catalog is not about listing every activity the IT does and lumping them as services. It’s about understanding how IT combines internal and external customers, processes, and technology to drive business and innovation forward.
2. Don’t confuse services with service requests. Remember that the service catalog details currently active IT products and services, and does not detail or discuss service requests. It’s important to understand the difference between the two.
- A service is a business outcome from a variety of processes, activities, or roles that are streamlined together to meet specific business purposes.
- A service request is a formal request submitted by a user for some type of service, software, or hardware. You can automate these service requests through a service catalog. The service catalog will not deliver the benefits if you confuse services with service requests.
3. There’s nothing static about a service catalog. It’s not a static reference document, just listing services. It’s a dynamic, living and breathing document, accessible right at the onset of a user thinking about IT or a service need. Over time, the offered services will mature or new services will need to be added, and the catalog needs to continuously annotate these changes, to prevent stagnation.
To enable its dynamism, the service catalog should be able to personalize a user’s view based on their job function and provide end users with the ability to view an organization’s service levels and a user’s request status. A dynamic service catalog allows departments to see their level of success as a service organization.