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  • Writer's pictureJean-Marie Van Cutsem

Creating your Service Catalog

What is the purpose of a Service Catalog ?

The purpose of a Service Catalog is to provide and maintain a single source of consistent information on all operational services and to ensure that they are widely available to those who are authorised to access.

What information is contained in a Service Catalog ?

A Service Catalog contains information on services directly consumed by the users as well as relationships to user roles and processes.

The Service Portfolio not only include the active Services but also the retired and the new Services being developed and ready for activation. . When defining a Service Catalog and while defining the Services, the following sections should be addressed and written in a language that every end-user, client, consumer, user can understand :

  • Service name. ...

  • Service description. ...

  • Service scope (In & Out)

  • Service type/category. ...

  • Service levels. ...

  • Service costs. ...

  • Service hours. ...

  • Service support.

What is then the difference between a Product Catalog and Service Catalog ?

The Service Catalog is a strategic vehicle designed as an aggregation of IT components and innovative capabilities giving the business customer the power to solve problems.

The Product Catalog (or Request Portal) is a simplified, tactical and transactional tool that support the immediate business needs.

What should the Service Catalog be for your organization ?

The Service Catalog is the face of the organisation to their customers ! It must be complete, simple and beautiful.

Can my current ITSM system support a Service Catalog ?

Many ITSM tool providers claim they have a Service Catalog build into their product. When diving deeper into what they claim it usually turns out that they are actually talking about a Product Catalog and not a Service Catalog.

What if my current ITSM tooling is not easily supporting a Service Catalog ?

There is no need for panic or quickly replacing your current ITSM tooling !

In many cases creating your Service Catalog into a different tooling is the easiest and cheapest solution available in the short time.

During my work as a consultant working with many (legacy) ITSM tools I have to be creative and often start the creation process of the Service Catalog on paper anyway, then gradually putting the information into a spreadsheet.

Many organisations have already a platform that is capable of publishing information to their internal/external users/clients. Most likely they call it the intranet or extranet when externally facing and these tools can be very well used as a starting point.

For many clients, the easiest solution was to simply start with the creation of the Service Catalog in Microsoft Sharepoint (or any other tool capable of publishing content)

As this is maybe not the end-goal it is a really good way to get started, experiment, and fine-tune the content. In a later stage you might start to create something in your existing ITSM tooling (usually by heavily customising - which I do not recommend) or by considering to move to a Next Generation ITSM/ESM Service Management Platform (which will turn out to be the best solution in the long run and where I can really help you with).

Have a look a the short presentation on what I have been setting up for multiple clients that want to start the implementation of their Service Catalog but do not have the ITSM tooling that support them or need too much customisation and decided to go another route.

The Service Catalog is build in Microsoft Sharepoint using nothing but the out of the box web parts. It took me around 1/2 day to setup the framework including the sample content that is used to go into discussion with the different Service Owners who then need to provide the detailed contact of each and every Service Description.

Click HERE for the presentation

Do not hesitate to reach out if you're in the same situation and need an alternative or are looking into moving into the Next Generation of Service Management Platforms that start from The Service Catalog and not the assets and configuration items that then eventually if you're lucky and the information is complete and up to date make up the CMDB.

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