If you have never created an ITIL service catalog, you may run up against unfamiliar terminology in your research and planning phase. Here are some terms common to the service catalog creation process that you should familiarize yourself with.
Don’t worry about taking notes. There’s no quiz at the end.
Actionable – If your service catalog is “actionable,” it provides a way for end users to interact through the catalog to request services. An actionable catalog is also a catalog that’s easy to update and keep current.
Back office – Back office functions are the “sausage making” functions. They’re critical, but don’t interact with end users. In your organization, IT, human resources, and accounting may be examples of back office functions. An ITIL service catalog presents back office services to end users in a friendly, easily-understood interface.
Business relationship management – These are the processes responsible for maintaining a positive relationship with end users. Business relationship management identifies end-user needs and ensures that the service catalog meets the needs with appropriate services.
Business service management – Business service management consists of software management tools that help IT prioritize services based on business objectives to help avoid over-commitment of resources to low-priority processes while ensuring critical processes have minimal downtime.
Compliance – This is a broad term, but it means that IT services meet all regulations, including subscription and license terms, or any government-imposed regulations that apply to an organization, such as Sarbanes-Oxley regulations for accounting firms. Service catalogs can help provide an audit trail for compliance purposes.
Configuration item – Abbreviated as CI, a configuration item is any part of IT infrastructure that is under configuration management control. CIs are seen as self-contained units for identification and change management purposes. CIs may comprise an entire service, or an individual device. Services in the service catalog are considered CIs.
Configuration management database – A service catalog can be part of an overall configuration management database, which is a repository of all CIs in an organization, including IT assets, configurations, and services. It is a “source of record” for your organization’s IT infrastructure.
Continuous service improvement program – A continuous service improvement program (CSIP) is an ongoing commitment to improvement in efficiency of IT service delivery. The ITIL service catalog is part of a continuous service improvement program.
Creating a service catalog is not a once-and-you’re-done project.
Customer agreement portfolio – This document spells out service relationships between IT and end users. Each IT service that’s provided to a customer should have an agreement or description listed in the service catalog. That way everyone knows what a service entails, its schedule, and its cost to a department or project (if applicable).
Customer portfolio – Similar to the service portfolio, the customer portfolio is a database of customers using IT services. This allows the business relationship manager to see who is receiving such services. It can be used for metrics purposes when evaluating the effectiveness of the service catalog.
Customer-facing service – These are services visible to the customer or end user; services that support his or her business processes. Customer-facing services are spelled out in the service catalog, along with information on point of contact, cost to a project or department (if applicable), and the request process.
Front office – Front office services are another term for customer-facing services. The ITIL service catalog bridges IT’s back office and front office by presenting back office services to end users in clear, easy-to-understand terms.
IT service management – Your service catalog is part of overall IT service management. ITSM is the framework for continual IT service delivery improvement. Good ITSM integrates people and technology, and the service catalog is a prime example of good ITSM when done well.
Service catalog – This is the directory of IT services provided to end users. It allows end users to submit requests to IT for fulfillment. Within the catalog, each service is listed; including a description of the service, estimated delivery time, costs, fulfillment instructions, necessary approval processes, and delivery tracking guidance.
Service charter – A service charter describes new or significantly-changed services. Service catalogs have to be regularly reviewed to ensure that the services offered are the services needed by end users.
Service delivery management – Service delivery management is the coordination of processes involved in providing services that meet the organization’s standards for quality and timeliness. SDM includes establishment of quality control, status reporting, service delivery processes, and feedback. A service catalog is critical to effective SDM.
Service lifecycle management – Service lifecycle management is the process of continuous improvement in service delivery and includes service identification, development, and publishing (via service catalog). It also includes process improvement and processing of end-user feedback.
End-user feedback helps you learn where your service catalog could perform better.
Service portfolio – An organization’s IT service portfolio is the complete set of services managed by ITSM. It includes services that are currently live or available for deployment (the service catalog), as well as retired services, and services in the pipeline.
Service portfolio management – This is the process of managing an organization’s service portfolio and keeping it up to date. A well-maintained service portfolio helps ensure the best mix of services to meet end-user needs. The service portfolio is managed with an eye toward the business value that IT services provide.
Service request management – Service request management is the workflow that enables IT services to be reliably delivered and is a key component of the actionable ITIL service catalog. Competent service request management helps IT fulfill end-user service requests across all departments.
Supporting service – A supporting service is not end-user-facing, but is used by IT to deliver services. If these services are listed in the service catalog, information is included about how they relate to customer-facing IT services.
Creating an effective, actionable service catalog is not a matter of playing buzzword bingo, but it is important to understand the terminology surrounding ITIL service catalogs. When your IT service management program is undergirded by great ITSM software like Samanage, building a service catalog is quicker and more thoroughly integrated into your organization’s entire ITSM program.
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