IT Service Catalog: 4 Steps to an Effective Service Catalog (Part 3)

Thought Leadership for
IT Service Management Professionals

IT Service Catalog: 4 Steps to an Effective Service Catalog (Part 3)

Posted by Scott Davis

Wed, Feb 22, 2012

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.

Sevice catalog 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

Today I will discuss Step #3: Focus on Service Design and Workflow

This area of focus is often the most challenging aspect of developing, managing and delivering what is in the customer-facing service catalog. Once the order is placed and approved, “then the magic happens.” That magic lives in the defined workflow and supporting tools that enable the workflow. Often IT is focused on the catalog tool they just purchased – rather than the complexity involved in design and workflow enablement for each service.

The promises defined in your service offering should be developed with a consistent methodology for designing and fulfilling the service – and measuring your performance. It is difficult to design quality into your fulfillment workflow once implemented. While success doesn’t solely rest upon definition of the service delivery workflow, a poorly defined or lack of definition can lead to failure – even an automated failure.

If you are beginning to design your service at the same time you model your process, you must:

  • Fully understand the agreed-to service levels so that you can set the right timing and measurable objectives within your workflow

  • Know the cost of providing the service at each step

  • Document the workflow and interdependencies and lead times within each step of the workflow

  • Fully know each underlying component that comprises the service

  • Define your performance measurements for the fulfillment so that you fully understand your ability to execute

  • Build a RACI – focus not only on who needs to execute each step, but who also needs key notifications to execute

  • Understand supply chain lead times, which may require additional negotiation with your supply chain or your customers

Good practice also suggests you look to common process and workflow models that can help here. Rather than creating a unique workflow model for each and every service, take a step back and look to aggregate where possible. As you determine the target workflow, you can look to automation within your ITSM, automation and notification tools to reduce execution timeframes.

If your current situation is one where you are challenged to deliver to meet expectations (most often the case), all of the above still apply, but you may want to consider additional investigation. A good workflow to investigate (that all companies perform) is the employee new-hire workflow. Using the criteria above to understand how well you get a new employee the IT hardware and services needed to be productive may give you keen insight into what is or isn’t working within fulfillment operations.

Check back next week when I will discuss Step #4: “Ensure the integration of your solution and workflow with your ITSM portfolio.” And if you didn't already download a copy, grab our free service catalog white paper: How to Develop a Service Catalog now!

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

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