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Ready To Create Your IT Service Catalog?

By Kevin LeBlanc Many experts agree that one of the first steps in running IT like a service-oriented business is to implement a usable service catalog.
Jul 25, 2005

ITSM Watch Staff

By Kevin LeBlanc

Adopting an IT catalog of services in alignment with an ITIL based Service Level Management process can optimize service provision to the business while reducing the overall costs of IT service support and delivery. Although many IT organizations have yet to formally publish their service offerings (let alone charge IT services back to the business), industry analysts now see IT service catalog adoption increasing. But how is a service catalog is created? Which services should be included? And who should be involved in the process?

There are many benefits to the service catalog, but perhaps the most important driver is promoting continued relationship building between IT organizations and customers. Overall benefits of deploying a formal service catalog will differ depending on the organization, but should potentially include:
  • Significant improvement in internal and external communications
  • Foster a better understanding of business requirements and challenges
  • Ability to allocate and match costs to specific business departments / units
  • Allow competitive benchmarking against third party service providers
  • Positively (and significantly) alter end-user consumption and behavior
  • Increase demand awareness and visibility into IT service provision
  • Reduce IT service and process inefficiencies redundancies
  • Reallocation of IT resources to critical business systems
  • Lower service provision error rates
  • IT operational cost reductions
Creating the IT Service Catalog
The actual analysis, development and deployment of an IT service catalog can be daunting if approached with the intent of documenting attributes of all services pertaining to every customer. But a tactical and useful IT service catalog should not require a tremendous amount of effort-- in many situations, it may prove valuable to first pilot the catalog in order to determine which services and attributes need to be added or revised prior to the more comprehensive rollout.

Publishing the initial service catalog without chargeback, targeting a specific business unit or covering only a few primary IT services may allow for refinement and iterative maturity over time. But regardless of the scope of services included in the initial rollout, the catalog should be clearly written and focus on business value.

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