IT Service Catalog: 4 Steps to an Effective Service Catalog (Part 1)

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IT Service Management Professionals

IT Service Catalog: 4 Steps to an Effective Service Catalog (Part 1)

Posted by Scott Davis

Wed, Feb 08, 2012

Are you experiencing problems with your service catalog? Does your service catalog fall short of your customers’ expectations? Or are you planning a re-deployment or ground-up service catalog capability and are unsure exactly where to start?

Customers experience common challenges in either developing or maintaining a service catalog. These challenges often manifest themselves in a couple of distinct outcomes:

  • The catalog is a cluttered mess: IT provides a catalog in which customers are unable to find exactly what they need, when they need it

  • IT is unable to meet the delivery promise of what is in the service catalog

The basics for developing and maintaining an effective service catalog are simple. And a simple approach can help you overcome many of the challenges required to manage the complexity and deliver effectively. While simple in concept, this approach will require an initial and ongoing level of diligence to ensure effective performance.

The basics include these 4 steps:

  1. Define and separate internal services from customer-facing services

  2. Keep your service catalog clean and accurate

  3. Focus on your fulfillment design and workflow

  4. Ensure the integration of your solution and workflow with your ITSM portfolio

Step #1: Define and Separate Internal versus External Services
The first step is to create your inventory of all internal and external services. Many IT organizations struggle with basic service definition – “What is a service?” – and thereby create confusion by design. They begin defining their services based upon the “internal view” of IT services – sometimes confusing what goes into the catalog. As a result the catalog begins with an array of external and internal services, which the customer may not care about.

It is perfectly valid to consider both the internal view and the external view, yet you should clearly delineate between the external and internal views. A good rule of thumb is, if the user doesn’t directly see the value as supporting their business or process, it’s probably an internal IT service and doesn’t belong in your user-facing service catalog.

Simplification and clarity begins with thinking like an end user. Think of your service catalog like the menu at a restaurant. The customer-facing catalog is the menu – that belongs in the customer-facing catalog. The internal view of the catalog is the assembly list of items required to cook the order.

Check back next week when I will discuss Step #2: “Keep your service catalog clean and accurate.” In the meantime, download our free service catalog white paper: How to Develop a Service Catalog.

About the Author:

Scott Davis, Principal Consultant - Evergreen Systems.

Scott possesses more than 30 years of experience in IT Services, Support and Software Development. He has worked with numerous Fortune 500 clients in a variety of industries including Oil, Healthcare, Automotive, High Tech, Process, Consumer Packaged Goods, Retail, and Financial Services. Scott earned a BA from The University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, and holds ITIL V2 Service Manager, and ITIL V3 Expert Certifications.

Topics: Service Catalog, Service Catalog Management, IT Service Catalog

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