Service Catalogs – in 3 minutes

Can you provide and deliver services to your customers without knowing what services you provide? Amazingly in the real world the answer is “yes”.   Many service providers cannot actually describe their services in a clear and understandable way to themselves and their customers.

Service catalogs mean many different things to many different people. However, most would agree that a catalog that helps customers and users to quickly identify the services they require clearly adds value. In turn this helps organisations identify key services that support business processes and understand the contribution they provide.

The failure of IT to show its value to the organization and its role in the achievement of business outcomes may leave IT vulnerable in the sense that it is seen as not being as strategically important to the organisation as other business processes and functions.  If IT fails to provide quality services that are required by the organization, or even fails to cope with changing demands, IT may be viewed as a less important strategic asset in the organization. Possibly this could lead to areas within IT, or IT itself, being downsized or even outsourced.

Show the value of IT

For IT to be fully successful, IT needs to be strategically aligned to the business and positioned as a key enabler in achieving successful outcomes. These outcomes should be aligned to supporting the organizations strategies. It is not enough for IT alone to consider itself successful at what it does. IT needs to provide real value to the organization that directly achieves the business outcomes. IT should be able to deal with the ever changing needs and demands of the organization and their customers. IT should also be capable of demonstrating how it provides business value to the organization which ensures that IT is positioned within the organization as a core strategic asset.

How does IT achieve this?

  • First of all, IT should provide services that are required.
  • Secondly, IT should deliver services that are perceived by users and customers as providing value.
  • Thirdly, IT should actively retire services that have not, or no longer, provide value.
Also it is important that IT is able to show the organization the services that are provided in a way that is understood by the organization.
Services form the basis of the ITIL® 2011 lifecycle; however ITIL does not provide enough guidance on how to design, develop and managed  service catalogs. So how can organisations get to grips with understanding the true value to be derived from service catalogs if they cannot truly understand what a service catalog is?
In the book ‘The Service Catalog’ eight distinct types of service catalog are represented within ‘The Service Catalog Pyramid©’ which is unique to this book.
A clear distinction is made between the traditional informational based service catalog and the request based or ‘actionable’ service catalog with guidance on how to design, develop, implement and maintain both.
A service catalog is the only part of the overall service portfolio that can recover costs or earn profits. The relative cost of services can be identified easier if services can be broken down into reusable components. IT services that can be shared by multiple customers can be identified and economies of scale can lead to potential savings for the organization and lower costs to customers.

In addition, service catalogs provide the platform for IT to charge the organization (and customers) for their use of the services provided by IT in a fair and equitable manner.By Mark O’Loughlin

Want to know more?

Service Catalogs
Title: The Service Catalog – A Practitioner Guide
Author: Mark O’Loughlin
ISBN: 9789087535711
Price: € 39,95