The IT service portfolio is a living document that is used to define the entire life cycle of all IT services in your organization. It includes everything from retired services to currently “live” services to services in the pipeline.
The IT service catalog, by contrast, is a more limited document listing specific services that are currently live or available for deployment. The IT service portfolio is a strategic document for long-term guidance and learning, while the IT service catalog is a tactical document for current day-to-day operations. When you’re creating your organization’s IT service portfolio, avoid these 5 common mistakes.
1: Not Answering Overarching Questions the Service Portfolio Should Answer
Your IT service portfolio describes services in business rather than IT terms, and it should answer the following fundamental questions:
- Why should we use these services?
- How much should the company budget for IT services?
- Why should our company get these services internally rather than using an external service provider?
Answering these questions sets up the IT department as a strategic partner in the overall organization’s success, showing how IT services help the organization reach its goals.
2. Not Working With the Business Side of the House When Creating the Portfolio
Since the IT service portfolio is written in business terms as a business document, you should work with the business side of the house when creating it. This will help you avoid writing everything in “IT speak” and create a document that transcends time better than one that simply lists IT services tied to a specific date range and time. Save the specifics for the IT service catalog and internal IT documents.
3. Copying Someone Else’s IT Service Portfolio
No copying! Your organization’s IT service portfolio is unique and should be created from whole cloth. There’s nothing wrong with reading other IT service portfolios, but don’t think that just because another organization created their portfolio a certain way that yours has to be patterned after it. Starting from scratch lets you create a document that fits your organization’s particular culture. Besides, yours will probably turn out way better than theirs anyway.
4. Asking the Business Side to Define IT Services the Company Needs
Handing the business side of the organization a blank slate and asking them to define IT services the organization wants is a recipe for disaster. They won’t know where to begin, or they’ll think of it as an “IT wish list,” which is not what you want. They need to understand what goes in the document, and you certainly need their input. But hand them blank paper and crayons and the job goes from “creating the IT service portfolio” to “herding cats.”
5. Shutting Out the Business Side Once the Portfolio Is Created
Once the service portfolio is created, you’re not supposed to toss it in a drawer and forget about it. The IT service portfolio is a living document, and you should get feedback from the business side once it’s done. This will help you when you update the portfolio, and will help you keep it relevant to your organization and its needs.
The IT service portfolio is an important document for both the IT department and other departments. While you don’t need input from every non-IT employee, other department heads need to be approached for their input. Some will respond more enthusiastically than others. Build your IT service portfolio on a firm foundation and it will serve you well through many updates and changes in technology, helping you offer the IT services that make your organization run optimally.
Samanage, a leading ITSM software provider, comes with a range of features that help your IT service portfolio serve your organization for years, including capabilities for developing your service catalog — an integral component of your IT service portfolio. Your service portfolio positions the IT department as a strategic partner in your overall organization and helps you work with non-IT departments to ensure the organization has a thoughtful, long-term approach to IT service management.