Overview

IT service catalog represents a directory of services and shows a clear view of what can be done for existing users, develops a common understanding of the services available accompanied by their characteristics, shared services, and components necessary for supporting provision of business services. A service catalog helps the IT team to engage with customers, establish boundaries, set expectations, and contribute to the bottom line of the business. This helps in delivering a unique experience and branding to the IT departments. From the customer or user perspective, the catalog will make it easy to search for service available, their descriptions, and how to inquire about them. On the hand, the IT leader in charge of the company's IT services benefits from the catalog through publishing the appointed services to the end users after determining the requirements needed to fulfill the service requests.

Service Catalog

Understanding

Basically, an IT service catalog helps the IT department demonstrate the values and innovations they offer to the business and assist the enterprise users to access the right services in order to stay productive. The IT service catalog is a structured document or database containing information about all live IT services including the ones available for deployment. It provides the ability to accommodate the vital information in a central repository available to both the IT department and the business. The service catalog is universal and can be deployed across all platforms and environments of the organization.

Components

Service Name:  There should be a clear distinction on terms as referred to both the business and IT community. Documenting a service name eliminates any confusion which may exist around the service names and ensures efficient management of any request posed to the IT department.

Service Description:  The service should be in an easy to understand, a simple and non-technical business language which can be understood by any person within the organization.

Service Level:  Every service should precisely and simply explain the agreed service level to avoid misunderstandings. Service conditions- There should be set standard expectations for any specific terms of usage, change periods and operational maintenance.

Service Cost:  The associated costs for the services should be established and set to specify whether the financial model is to charge the client or inform him/her of service delivery cost.

Perspectives

The service catalog has two viewpoints where one view faces the customer and the other accessed exclusively by organizational internal IT department.

Customer/Business catalog View:  This involves all IT services which are delivered to customers together with its associations to the business units and processes that depend on IT services. The services presented here are simple to understand and enable business end-users to visit the catalog when they need to request a service and access all user-facing services that business community requires.

Technical Service Catalog View:  This contains details of all supporting IT services delivered to clients together with their association with shared services, components, configuration items, and other supporting services to the business. The technical viewpoint is only accessible to the IT department and includes the documentation of the required steps for delivering each service to the customer. In contrast with the customer view, the technical service catalog view contains services infrastructure-facing such as backups, security, infrastructure maintenance, and security management.

Implementation

To establish and create effective IT service catalog, the following steps are appropriate:

  1. Identify the stakeholders:  The stakeholders are the people that use the business services and want to know the available services to them. You need to build a catalog that meets stakeholders’ needs, therefore, you should take time to understand them and their perspectives. Defining the stakeholders helps the developing team create a responsible, accountable, consulted and informed model.
  2. Identify the services to offer in the catalog:  Find out exactly what kind of services the business needs. Take customers' perspectives into account as well as incorporating feedback from leaders, managers and all levels of support staff. Ultimately, the services you come up with may not be the ones you display when the catalog goes live but you can begin with the most critical and extend over time.
  3. Create a service catalog template:  This will help the team define the services and the service level agreements to establish the services which should be customer-facing and the ones which should be IT-facing in accordance with the business and customer requirements. Identify the IT service owner for each service category, and levels of support in the business.
  4. Decide and define the usage parameters:  Decide who will have access to which services, who can authorize and make changes to the services. IT administrators need to set permissions so that specific service requests can only be approved by managers.
  5. Build and publish the catalog to staff and customers:  Since the services are already organized, now is the time to develop a tool which allows users to access the catalog. This helps customers understand the services, sets expectations and enhance the value of IT in the customers' view because they can finally access all services they are in need of.
  6. Integrate the process and test system functionality:  Develop a policy which outlines the elements such as when to add new services, how often should the catalog be reviewed etc. The service catalog should be integrated with company’s IT service management platform so as to facilitate automation of the catalog through a self-service portal. Ensure the system is effective and functioning correctly by performing early testing.
The Essential Guide to Creating an IT Service Catalog

Benefits

Cost Reduction:  Effective IT service catalog reduces the time required by the user to process applications and services. Companies minimize expenses by ensuring that funds are properly allocated to the services and also letting support focus on the valuable tasks to the organization thus reducing total operating cost.

Service Delivery Optimization:  The IT service catalogs help organizations allocate their IT resources and enable provision of service in a rapid and effective fashion.

Boost IT Productivity:  IT service catalogs can improve productivity by helping IT team to clear inefficiencies and redundancies in the key support services offered. Additionally, the catalogs describe each service by objectives thus helping align IT services with the business strategy which contributes to the success of cooperative goals.

Better Control:  IT departments are supposed to have maximum control over the entire business operation. Use of IT service catalogs allows trace ability of the entire process from application to delivery recording of all intermediate steps.

Increased User Satisfaction:  User is given an opportunity of viewing all services offered by the IT department and can send service requests and receive them without worrying about service provision procedure. This increases user satisfaction.

Other Info About Service Catalog

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