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In my previous post on Service Catalogs, I outlined why having one is important and what elements should feature in a good one.  In this post, I will outline some of the common challenges associated with implementing a Service Catalog and outline 5 tips for overcoming them for an efficient and effective execution.

First, for many, setting up a Service Catalog requires IT to think differently – services need to be more about the business than about the underpinning technological components. IT must talk and listen to the enterprise user to understand their needs from both a services and user experience perspective and see the services from a non-technical standpoint. This is a monumental mind shift, but one that must be overcome to get a meaningful Service Catalog in place.

Second, there are many technologies that can help with Service Catalog management, but none of these tools can replace the intimate knowledge of the enterprise user. This is only acquired through ongoing relationship building. However, tools are critical to automate, present and collate information; but without the investment of customer knowledge, feedback and a sense of commitment to proper Service Catalog management, such tools will not provide the innovation and differentiation necessary for success.

Finally, a Service Catalog has to live up to the enterprise users’ expectations. Too often, a lack of understanding or acceptance that a Service Catalog represents the definitive available services, or worse the lack of awareness by the IT organization that this is what the enterprise user pays for, no more no less, invites users to expect more and for IT organizations to try to deliver. One of the most expensive parts of IT cost of ownership is managing the unscheduled, undocumented and unplanned support activities.

So, now that we know the common challenges associated with a Service Catalog, how do we avoid them?

  1. Carry out a Service Catalog workshop – ask the right questions, involve the enterprise users, agree on the definition of a service and organize the information you already have
  2. List the dependencies each service has – third-party suppliers, service levels, business criticality, customers, processes and IT components
  3. Decide usage parameters – who will have access to the Service Catalog and by what means? Who can authorize changes, how and how often?
  4. Start with a responsible number of services first – focus on some of the more critical business processes first to test your structure and usability
  5. Make sure you know your requirements before investing in automation tools – think about linking indirect IT services to the Service Catalog, compelling enterprise users to rely on it for all of their needs

Developing a Service Catalog is a massive undertaking, but doesn’t have to be done all at once. Whether you choose to build a Service Catalog incrementally or go all-in, the above are critical steps that you would be wise to include. I advise following ITIL® Service Design best practices to ensure that all requirements are understood and a formal process is used in a Service Catalog design.  Planning is the first and most important step toward success. If you have questions or would like to learn more about Service Catalogs, you can read our whitepapers :


About Axios Systems

Since 1988, Axios Systems has been committed to innovation by providing rapid deployment of IT Service Management (ITSM) software. With teams in 22 locations globally and over 1,000 successful customer SaaS and on-premise deployments, Axios is a worldwide leader in ITSM solutions, with an exclusive focus on ITSM. Axios’s enterprise ITSM software, assyst, is purpose-built, designed to transform IT departments from technology-focused cost centers into profitable business-focused customer service teams. assyst adds tangible value to each client’s organization by building on the ITIL®  framework to help solve their business challenges. Axios is headquartered in the UK, with offices across Europe, the Americas, Middle East and Asia Pacific. For more information about Axios Systems, please visit our website, Twitter or YouTube channel.  

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