Creating an ITIL service catalog is good business for almost any IT department. It lets end users know what the IT department does, and what to do when they need IT services.
When created with forethought and skill, the IT service catalog is a terrific communication device that gets everyone on the same page and prevents misunderstandings.
An IT service catalog is surprisingly similar to a restaurant menu in that it lets people know what their options are, and what they cost, whether in terms of time, or how much will be charged to their particular department or project. In fact, you can pick up a few tips from restaurant menus when creating your ITIL service catalog, like these five menu guidelines.
1. Know Your Clientele and Speak Their Language
The menu for a rowdy sports pub should look radically different from the menu for a prim bistro catering to ladies who lunch. Your organization’s IT service catalog should reflect the culture and values of the organization. Is your company staffed by older, less tech-savvy workers, or millennials who don’t remember what the world was like before the internet? Your IT service catalog should be written in the language your end users understand.
2. Arrange Offerings So They Make Sense
Sometimes restaurant menus are unintentionally comical, like one with the categories “Steak,” “Seafood,” “Sandwiches,” and “Children Under 12.” Organize your IT service catalog so that it makes sense for your company. You could classify services according to hardware, software, and mobile devices, for example, or you could classify them by system or department. Service offerings should be classified so that end users in any department can easily find what they need and order it.
3. Update the Catalog Regularly
There will be some service items that remain the same over long periods of time, like the staples on a restaurant menu. Other services, however, evolve rapidly in the IT world. It’s a good idea to review your service catalog quarterly and determine if changes should be made. You should also review the catalog if a new initiative changes end-user behavior significantly. For example, if your company institutes a BYOD policy, you should update your service catalog with information on what services you offer to end-users who bring in their own devices.
But heaven help you if your company implements a “bring your own cat” policy.
4. Don’t Overwhelm End Users With Information
Service descriptions should be brief. Most end users don’t care that their version of Windows 8 is a 64-bit operating system, or the exact specs of the graphics card they need. A sentence or two is sufficient for describing services. In restaurants, customers generally spend two to four minutes reviewing the menu, and your service catalog should likewise make it easy for end users to find what they want in a short amount of time.
5. Consider Platter vs. A La Carte Selections
How you offer IT services depends heavily on the type of organization you’re involved with. If, for example, you have entire departments full of people using identical machines running identical software, you could offer services that correspond to that, like a service upgrading all the desktops in the accounting department at once. On the other hand, if your organization employs many people who do specialized work, you may want to offer IT services on a more “à la carte” basis. That way, Gretchen in engineering can update her design software, and Bill in sales can request a replacement for his old travel laptop with equal ease.
Your IT service catalog is an investment in the IT department’s relevance and value to the entire organization. It should be designed with care and updated regularly. A service catalog can streamline IT service operations and build rapport between IT and the rest of the organization. Samanage is leading IT service management software that provides service catalog creation that’s intuitive, responsive, and easy to update. It’s a great way to ensure you build an IT service catalog that meets your organization’s needs and streamlines delivery of IT services.
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.
Read more articles by Nathan