A recent article in CIOupdate.com addresses a conundrum that many organizations considering the creation of an IT service catalog are facing – should we build one from scratch, or should we leverage a software package that can help us get started?
While there are pros and cons to both approaches, the majority of industry experts agree that – especially for companies embarking on an IT service catalog project for the first time – a packaged commercial solution is definitely the way to go.
The “Cons” of A Homegrown IT Service Catalog
Of course, building an IT service catalog from the ground up will be a labor-intensive and cumbersome process. It will likely require the use of spreadsheets, something that will be inconvenient for both IT service desk staff (because creating them is time-consuming), and end users (because they are difficult to navigate and read).
But perhaps the biggest drawback is the fact that these kinds of custom IT service catalogs are rarely “actionable”. According to CIOupdate.com, these self-made solutions are unable to automate the requesting or the fulfillment of services. As a result, companies are often forced to build those solutions themselves too, or to try to integrate a third-party IT service desk tool with their homegrown IT service catalog – a task that is rarely successful.
Why You Need an IT Service Catalog Solution
Automated IT service catalog solutions offer a wide array of benefits. Perhaps the most prominent is their ability to enable a more comprehensive approach to IT service management (ITSM). Many IT service catalog software packages are part of broader ITSM applications. Therefore, they help ensure that the IT service catalog is aligned with the broader-reaching ITSM goals of the organization.
Another advantage is the fact that, even if the IT service catalog solution is “standalone”, it will still be easier to integrate with other ITSM systems (i.e. service portfolio management, financial planning, etc.) than a homegrown catalog. This will help ensure seamless coordination across all ITSM teams and activities.
Then, there are the issues of quality and cost. According to the CIOupdate.com article, “commercial products receive millions of dollars in R&D investment and offer scale and reliability far surpassing most internal efforts.” And naturally, an automated IT service catalog solution will be a far more economical investment in the long term, when you consider the amount of time and resources that would need to be devoted to the creation and maintenance of a homegrown catalog.