Service Catalogs – Four Reasons They Fail

Thought Leadership for
IT Service Management Professionals

Service Catalogs – Four Reasons They Fail

Posted by Steph Velte

Thu, Apr 19, 2012

Many Service Catalog initiatives fail to prove business value or gain large-scale adoption after apparent initial success. Why is this? Read on...(and be sure to check out our free Service Catalog design tools at the end of this post).

Here are four primary reasons:

1 - Failure to engage the enterprise. A Service Catalog is an enterprise portal but is often "designed" quickly by a small group in ITSM, to keep cost low and "go live" timeframe short. But this approach nearly always fails because the design doesn't understand or address the customer's true needs.

2 - No clear business value. Creating a common service should have a business outcome – improved quality, consistency, speed or cost reduction – otherwise why do it? Most organizations fail to identify why they are creating the services in the catalog and what the current baseline state of those services is at the beginning – so later it's impossible to measure actual business benefits

3 - Defining policy and processes for a Service Catalog. A Service Catalog is a business system and must be designed and built using an appropriate Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC). This includes policies for vetting potential services, maintaining and modifying existing services, controlling services "sprawl" and defining services end-of-life services, with a convoluted development and maintenance approach, and eventually users abandon it.

4 - "Go live" is only halfway there. Services in a Service Catalog represent a change in how work is done at an enterprise level. Many organizations naively see system "go live" as the end point, while it is truly only halfway there. Actual success can require many months of support and active promotion to achieve a high degree of user adoption. Beyond that, maintenance of the library of services built AND continuing development of services addressing evolving user needs are required for durable success.

Recognizing the magnitude of any challenge is half the key to success. Enterprise systems that are highly successful are understood to be significant endeavors from the beginning, even if they begin on a limited scale. 

Regardless of technology, designing the right services correctly is critical for Service Catalog success. We invite our blog readers to access some of our basic Service Catalog tools - -  free of charge - -  including a sample catalog structure, sample services including review / approvals, a sample data load template, and a basic Service Levels Objectives (SLO) matrix.  Enjoy! Download your free Service Catalog Design Tools and Templates here.


About the Author:
Don Casson
CEO and Co-Founder

Don has more than 20 years of experience in leading, building, managing and operating technology companies.  He has led market development and shaped the technical direction of business units focused on internal and external support center solutions, network management systems, complex networks and workflow/document management solutions.

Before co-founding Evergreen, Don was Executive Vice President and the third employee of Global Management Systems, Inc. (GMSI), recognized by Inc. Magazine as in the top 100 on their list of the 500 fastest growing, privately held firms in the U.S.  Don is a graduate of the College of William and Mary.

Topics: Service Catalog, Service Catalog Design, Service Catalog Tools, Service Catalogs, ITSM


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