For many companies in the early phases of their IT service management (ITSM) strategies, the difference between an IT service catalog and an IT service portfolio can be quite confusing. Are they the same? Or do they each serve a different purpose?
In this post, we will explain the differences between the two, and highlight the benefits of each.
IT Service Catalog
The IT service catalog provides a detailed description of all the IT service desk services that are currently available to end users. This 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).
There are many substantial benefits that can be achieved by documenting and publishing an IT service catalog. For example, IT service catalogs:
- Optimize service delivery by specifying the way certain services should be executed
- Reduce support costs by ensuring that funds are allocated to those services that offer the greatest value
- Improve communication with end users, and set more realistic support-related expectations by providing them with an in-depth understanding of what is available to them
- Boost IT efficiency by uncovering waste and redundancy, and facilitating economies of scale
IT Service Portfolio
IT service catalogs are a key component of the IT service portfolio, which provides a broader, more historical view of service-related activities within the IT service desk. For example, while the IT service catalog describes only those services that are currently available to end users, the IT service portfolio also includes services that are presently in the planning and development phases, as well as those services that used to be offered, but have since been retired.
Why keep track of services that haven’t yet been deployed, or maintain records of those that were deemed to be of little value and rendered obsolete? The advantages that can be derived through the comprehensive management of the IT service portfolio are great. For example, it can ensure that there is seamless synchronization between IT services and key corporate goals. Service portfolios also allow IT to more precisely evaluate the impact that services have on the business, and prioritize them accordingly. And, IT service portfolios enable more intelligent decision-making regarding service creation, enhancement, and retirement.