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The First Step in Creating Your Service Catalog

Aug 13, 2007

Jay Long,Mike Tainter

To create your baseline service catalog, nothing works better than collaborating with your customers to agree on the services that will be contained in the catalog. Quite often, the best approach is for IT to create the first draft of the catalog by documenting the services they believe they provide. Once this step is complete, the catalog can then be validated with the customers.

This approach gives you a springboard for discussion and an opportunity to obtain buy-in from your customer base. In contrast, attempting to start collaboratively from a blank whiteboard tends to give the customer the (mistaken) impression that you do not know what services you provide.

Go Children Slow

As discussed earlier, exercise caution to ensure that your initial catalog items and descriptions are in a language your customer understands. Using technology and application terms in this first run of the service catalog might discourage the customer from providing input because they simply do not understand the terms. They often do not feel qualified to dispute what IT puts in the catalog because it is being presented by the "techie people."

Remember, simplicity! If you take this first step of cataloguing your services, you are on a path to success. Once your catalog is agreed upon between IT and the business, the rest of your service management program can begin to take shape.

When taking this first step, don’t add to the complexity by trying to identify the requirements or the related components at the same time. That step can come later. A well-defined process enables success, and focusing on your customers’ point of view garners their support in your effort to align IT with the business.

Mike Tainter, Forsythe's ITSM practice manager, has been managing technology and large scale projects for more than 20 years. His expertise encompasses IT service management, ITIL, operations management, process design, IT operations support system development, and IT logistical requirements for a wide variety of organizations including highly-mobile global organizations.

Jay Long, managing consultant for Forsythe’s IT service management practice, is responsible for delivering ITSM/ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) planning and implementation projects to a wide range of clients.