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Service Catalogs Work - Most of the Time

A new survey shows many companies are realizing cost savings, business/IT alignment from service catalog deployments, but roadblocks remain.
Oct 14, 2008

ITSM Watch Staff


In new research released Monday, 10 Best Practices: How Real-World IT Organizations are Succeeding with service catalog, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) found that while many companies are seeing almost immediate payback from their service catalog initiatives, some are not and almost all are having communication and push back problems with the business.


Based on a survey of more than 100 corporations, the report examines recent trends in service catalog deployments and provides guidance based on real-world implementations to organizations embarking on a service catalog project. In conjunction with this study, EMA is providing a variety of services to help companies reap the benefits of the service catalog, including a new, 4-hour online workshop to be held Oct. 30, 2008.


"The service catalog has become an essential part of many IT departments," said EMA study leader Stewart Cole, in a statement. "Results from multiple EMA surveys indicate that IT budgets are flat. When properly implemented, the service catalog can help organizations make the most of their limited budget by allowing them to better manage resources, cut costs and eliminate redundancies."


According to EMA research, the top three IT goals are: aligning IT with the business; improving IT service quality; and reducing IT costs. The desire to meet these goals increases the motivation for enterprises to implement ITIL best practices, especially the service catalog. According to Cole, EMA’s new service catalog study indicated a few distinct trends. They include:


-- Service catalog management has come into its own. While 50% of the respondents came from financial, banking, insurance, healthcare, medical or pharmaceutical areas, the benefits of the service catalog are being realized regardless of industry and company size.


-- Success rates of service catalog implementation efforts have been a mixed bag. Of companies that had initiated the service catalog, 57% said their implementations were successful. However, 12% found their projects to be either somewhat unsuccessful or completely unsuccessful.


-- The service catalog offers a variety of benefits to the enterprise. The most significant benefits from service catalog implementations include reducing the number of access points to IT and achieving transparency of costs.


Best Practices


While the service catalog offers much promise, companies embarking on a project must understand the service catalog itself, as well as learn from the experiences of those who have successfully deployed it. During this study, EMA explored best-practice suggestions from companies that had successfully implemented a service catalog.


Key findings include:


-- Sponsorship is widely recognized as crucial to project success. Ninety six percent (96%) of survey respondents identified solid executive sponsorship as either very important or somewhat important to a successful service catalog implementation.


-- Effective communication also is critical to service catalog success, with 100% of respondents identifying good communication across IT as very important or somewhat important when implementing a service catalog.


-- The effective definition of IT services is causing problems for nearly every service catalog implementation. EMA found that more than 30% of ITSM projects are unable to move forward because of this roadblock. "Overall Service Definition" came in second only to "Business Resistance to Change" when respondents were queried on the biggest challenges to service catalog success.


Companies with service catalog deployments can testify to its tangible benefits as the service catalog is one of the few Service Management projects to deliver immediate value to the business. With the emphasis for alignment of IT to the business and pressure to provide more transparency of costs, EMA predicts that companies with no plans to implement a service catalog will be left behind.


Based on the study findings, EMA is providing a series of services to assist companies embarking on a service catalog project. These services include:

service catalog Online Workshop on Oct. 30, 2008: This 4-hour online workshop uses a combination of interactive lectures, real-world case studies and exercises to help enterprise IT organizations effectively kick-off, revitalize, and accelerate their organization's service catalog initiatives.


Attendees will learn how to secure and maintain sponsorship; develop a comprehensive communications plan; and define their IT services. Cost - $295 per person.