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What Is a Service Catalog? – A Quick Reference Guide

IT departments are facing pressures to align their IT services with business needs, develop standardized processes and improve the IT customer experience and IT customer satisfaction, all while keeping costs low.  Arguably one of the best ways to achieve this is through a Service Catalog.

A Service Catalog is the store front (or directory) of services available to the enterprise user. This includes setting expectations (what you get, when, how, at what cost) and proper measurement of those expectations to determine if they have been met or exceeded. Although a simple concept, many organizations get it wrong over and over again. Why does this happen? Because some very simple principals are often omitted.

A Service Catalog defines a clear view of what IT can do for employees–the value IT delivers. It enables a common understanding of what a service is, who they are available to, and what characteristics (and costs) they have. Service Catalog design templates deliver unique experience and branding; each enabling IT departments to choose the best option to meet their business and user needs.

In essence, a Service Catalog helps IT departments demonstrate the value and innovation they deliver to the business and help enterprise users to access the right services at the right time, to be more productive and do their job more effectively. Leading Service Catalog software comes with comprehensive analytic tools to better understand enterprise user behaviors.

What should go into a Service Catalog?

The following is a quick list of best practice attributes that should be considered when populating services in a service catalog:

  • Service Description – what the service is/does in easy-to-understand business language.
  • Service Levels – to avoid misunderstandings, every service should clearly & simply describe the agreed service levels. What are the attributes of the service?
  • Support – every service should describe how the user should report problems or make requests relating to the service.
  • Service Conditions – set the expectations for any specific terms of usage and operational maintenance and change periods.
  • Cost – every service must have an established cost, whether the organization’s financial model is to charge the customer (chargeback) or inform the customer of its cost to deliver (showback), so that IT can record and report on the quantified value delivered to the business.
  • Functions and Benefits – a brief description of the functionality and benefit of the service; why the employee would want it.
  • Related Services – links to other areas of a Service Catalog that provides complimentary services that a customer might find useful or that form part of a core service package
  • News or Alerts – this can help customers be aware of pending changes, maintenance activities or enhancements to or new services that are planned

Once the parameters of a Service Catalog are established, they must be implemented effectively and efficiently. Stay tuned for my next post which will outline the 5 tips for implementing a Service Catalog and the potential challenges that can arise.  In the meantime, read more on the Service Catalog topic in our whitepapers, or view one of multiple videos:



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