It became difficult for organizations to satisfy their service requesters in modern technological periods. There are many different hurdles before them. For example, less knowledge of service seekers, your own untrained or less trained service team and most importantly, long processes to get multiple services. These all things and other factors like that make it difficult for organizations to satisfy their service seekers or service requesters.
Modern technology not only produces these problems but also gives solutions, so there are also many solutions to these problems. For example, suppose your service seekers do not have enough knowledge. In that case, you could provide them with knowledge by different methods like FAQs, modern Q and A solutions or other tutorial-type videos. To tackle the challenge of untrained staff, you could provide training courses to your staff or a knowledge base could also be helpful. The service catalog is the best way to provide a one-stop shop for your service seekers. You can provide complete details of services and ways to get these services through the service catalog.
Due to the increasing criteria of IT services, it became necessary for organizations to provide a service catalog. A service catalog could enhance the end-user experience. But in some cases, organizations could not get the required results despite formulating a service catalog. It is because they did not make it ideally. An ideal service catalog could take your end-user experience to new heights. So, it’s also critical for organizations to make their service catalog according to their needs. It’s not easy to determine what we should take care of while formulating a service catalog. Realizing this difficulty of organizations, in this article, we have not only given a basic concept of an IT service catalog but also given a complete guide on How to Build an IT Service Catalog. We hope this guide will help you build an ideal service catalog for your organization. Before going to the mechanism to create an IT service catalog, we should first take oversight of its main concept.
An IT service catalog is a detailed documentation of services and technological resources available within an organization. Different experts define it according to their way, so let’s look over some definitions of IT service catalog by experts. According to Mary K. Pratt;
“An IT service catalog is a list of technology resources and offerings available from the IT service provider within an organization. This catalog is intended to help the IT service provider efficiently and effectively manage and meet end-user expectations.”
In this definition, Pratt elaborates that an IT service catalog is a perfect combination of resources and offerings from a service provider. She also mentioned that it could enhance the end-user experience. Now, let’s take another idea from another expert. According to Mike Roper;
“As all 24×7 organizations know, on-demand access to resources is critical and the focal point for those services is the service catalog. It is the one-stop shop to fulfill your users’ needs.”
Roper simply said it is a one-stop-shop to fulfill consumer’s needs, and it is really it is, as he said. It provides nearly all on-demand services to end-users. Here is another problem, the IT service catalog and IT service portfolio are two similar concepts, so it became difficult to differentiate them. Following are some differences between the IT service catalog and the IT service catalog.
IT service catalog and IT service portfolio seem like two similar concepts in a far sight but when we give an in-depth view at them, we learn that they are two completely different concepts. Before giving our own idea, it would be best if we look up an idea from some expert. So, according to Joe Hertvik;
“A service catalog is a listing of all the products and services your IT department currently offers its users. Whereas, A service portfolio is a complete listing of all of IT’s products and services.”
From these statements by Joe Hertvik, we came to know that the IT service catalog and IT service portfolio both have the same working field, but their scope is different. We said it because the IT service catalog only covers the details of present products and services. In contrast, the service portfolio not only covers the present products and services but also deals with past and even future products and services. So we can say that the service portfolio has a wider range than the IT service catalog. In fact, the IT service catalog is one of its sub-concepts. Service portfolio also has many other sub-concepts like service pipeline and the retired service catalog. Now, we will learn that’s why an IT service catalog is so important for organizations.
When we talk about enhanced self-service productivity through the IT service catalog, it raises confusion about the two concepts, IT service catalog and self-service portal. Due to this confusion, sometimes the IT service catalog has been mistaken as a self-service portal, and the self-service portal is often mistaken as an IT service catalog. It’s wrong to mix up the two concepts because they are two different concepts that can work in collaboration with one another. IT service catalog works as a database portal where a complete detail of available products, resources and services from which the requester can choose on his own. On the other hand, in the self-service portal, a practical form of self-service has been provided through different methods like a knowledge base, FAQs or modern Q and A solutions. So, These are two different concepts that can work in collaboration with each other.
As we stated above, managing IT services and products for organizations without an ideal IT service catalog is difficult. A Structured IT service catalog could bring your organization’s service management to new heights of success. So, organizations need to formulate an IT service catalog that matches the requirements of their organizations. It not only helps organizations unify their products and services but it is also important for organizations to use IT service catalogs to enhance their end-user experience. Without using an IT service catalog, your organization could not compete with your rivals. So, you must adopt an IT service catalog to bring your organization to the next levels of success and glory.
After realizing the importance of an IT service catalog, the question came to mind; okay, we believe it is important to use it, but how could it benefit my organization practically? To answer your question, we have given some common benefits of an IT service catalog that every organization could get by using it. There are also many other benefits, but we have just given some common benefits. The following are some benefits of the IT service catalog;
As we mentioned above, that IT service catalog provides complete detail to the service seekers about what services are offered by an organization, how they could be implemented and how long the process would be. All these details caused the standardization of service delivery operations of an organization. So, the most important and main benefit of the IT service catalog is that it standardizes the service operations of an organization better.
We can simply say IT service catalog is a menu card. This menu card contains the services and resources available to employees. Through the service catalog, employees can get complete detail of the options they have and can select their own choice. For example, if an employee wants software for a specific purpose in the service catalog, he can get all software available, and he can choose on his own. It caused an improved self-service capability of the employee.
Through IT service catalog service delivery operation costs of an organization could be reduced. We said it because the service catalog automates the service delivery operation. Through it, requesters could request a specific product, service or resource on their own. Moreover, it reduces the need for excessive hiring and the need to work all hours of the service team. In this way, it caused a reduction in service delivery operation costs.
IT service catalog helps in establishing trust between service seekers, management and the service team. It is important for organizations to establish that trust because, during a service operation, a trust deficit between any one of these three could harm the whole process.
The IT service catalog provides a simple view to the user through its unified services. This simple and unified system not only causes enhancement of user satisfaction but also saves time for the service team as well as service seekers. So, organizations must use an IT service catalog to simplify their service management.
Through all the above-mentioned factors, the IT service catalog causes an enhancement in the productivity of not only IT-related operations but also business-oriented operations and processes. Now, the question came to mind; it is understandable that an IT service catalog could enhance the productivity of IT-related operations because it is directly related to IT, but how could it affect the business-oriented processes and operations because it has nothing to do with business-related fields? The answer is it’s true that the IT service catalog has no direct connection with the business-oriented fields, but it could affect it through some indirect ways. For example, it causes more satisfaction to employees and customers through its unified services, due to which employees could perform better in their concerned departments, and customers remain in a long-term relationship with your organization.
From all the above discussion, we learned that it’s important to use an IT service catalog, and it could benefit organizations greatly. But in some cases, we witnessed that organizations could not get better results despite using an IT service catalog. It is because of their incompetence to formulate the catalog according to their needs and the market’s requirements. They also failed to add some necessary things to their catalog, so an organization needs to formulate an ideal IT service catalog. Following are some things that organizations should keep in mind while building their IT service catalog.
The first step is determining what should be included in the IT service catalog. You should include all your services, products and resources available to consumers. Keep one thing in mind, don’t include the products, resources and services that were available in the past and also avoid including things that are not developed yet. It is because adding the things in the service catalog that are unavailable at that time could decrease your standard before consumers. So, it would be best to add only these things available to consumers.
Once you have determined the things you should include in your service catalog, the next question comes up about what details of these things should be added. There are some common details that must be added. You can add some additional details on your own but adding this basic detail is necessary to build an ideal IT service catalog. The following detail should be necessarily added to your IT service catalog.
How could a service catalog become an IT service catalog without adding names of the products, services and resources? So, it’s necessary to add the name in detail for something.
After adding the name, the next step is to add a category for the concerned thing. For example, you add a product to the service catalog, then keep it in the products category and also define its sub-categories like software or hardware. It’s important to make the catalog simpler.
It is necessary to add a description that could further define the thing you added to the catalog. It is necessary because how could a consumer understand the purpose of a specific product or service without a description?
After the description, the next thing is to determine who is the product’s owner or who is responsible for that service in the service team. Despite being individual, you can also keep the name of some of your departments here. It is necessary because consumers should know who is responsible for dealing with them.
Organizations must add availability schedules in the catalog. If a product, service or resource is unavailable temporarily or permanently, it would be best if you remove it from the catalog, but if you do not want to remove it, you must mention that this thing is not available yet. In case of scheduled availability, you must add the availability hours.
It would be best if you add a predefined expected SLA that is based on previous calculations and experiences while adding a service in the IT service catalog. It would be helpful to provide the consumer with an expected time frame.
Cost Or Price
The cost of service or resource and the price of the product are necessary to add to the service catalog. We said it is essential because getting the costs and prices of all things on one platform could cause an enhancement in the end-user experience.
The most important thing is to determine for whom your IT service catalog is being designed. How could your service catalog be ideal without determining that? Here we meant that firstly you should evaluate whether your catalog is designed for employees, customers or for both. After determining that, the next thing is to determine if the concerned people are highly educated expert people or normally educated people. It is important because this determines how should be the interface of your service catalog should be.
It would be best if you designed your IT service catalog according to the needs of your consumers or service seekers, regardless of whether they are your customers or employees. For this purpose, you should think of yourself as a consumer. In other words, you should think with a consumer’s mind while designing your IT service catalog. It is important because a consumer-centric catalog could be more successful than others. Simply we can say that you add whatever your consumers want. For example, if I were a customer, I would prefer a simple catalog with given more details, so I should design my catalog simpler and more detailed. A consumer-centric service catalog could benefit you more.
How to build an IT service catalog? There are many tools that can answer that question. So, it would be best if you choose some tool to build your ideal IT service catalog. Through a perfect tool, you can build your catalog more easily. There is much software that can not only build a service catalog but also implement it. Another benefit of using IT service catalog software is through it, you can easily and rapidly add catalogs and can add new services and products in your catalog without any hurdle.
Once an IT service catalog is formulated and deployed, then It is important to give importance to your consumer’s feedback. It is because only through this feedback can you update your catalog in the right way. The consumer is the person who is using this catalog’s pros and cons better than the experts, so you should try to make your catalog according to the consumer feedback.
Regular updates can make an average catalog perfect, and a lack of regular updates can make an IT service catalog worse. Another important thing is initiating the right updates at the right time. How could regular updating work if it is not in the right way? So, regular updates can make your catalog better. The absence or lack of regular updates could prove disastrous in some cases. For example, if some of your product or service is retired or disabled, but you did not update it on your catalog, then what if some of your consumers ordered it? This could cause not only a decrease in the standard of your service delivery operations but also cause a decrease in end-user experience.
When you have determined the right update and the right time to deploy that update, now the next question is how it should be deployed. It is the most important thing to determine how an update should be deployed. It is because an unplanned or poorly planned update could affect the whole catalog. That’s why we recommend you choose some service catalog software to deploy new updates. It is because perfect software always offers effective, smooth, and rapid deployments of updates.
Through all the above discussion, we came to know that it is essential for organizations to use an ideal IT service catalog in their ITSM. It is because it’s important for organizations to lay out a menu for consumers and employees so that they can easily access the services, products and resources offered by an organization. Despite its importance, there are many hurdles also in implementing or even formulating.
In this article, we have not only discussed the main concept but also discussed many other things regarding the IT service catalog. We have discussed its definitions by different experts, its importance, benefits, the difference between an IT service portfolio and a self-service portal and most importantly, we have to give a guide on how to build an IT service catalog.
It’s important to discuss that question because this is a common problem of organizations that cannot get desired results despite using an IT service catalog. They could not achieve their desired goals because they could not make an IT service catalog according to their organization’s requirements. Realizing that problem we have decided to give a guide on it. We hope that it could be really helpful for organizations that are trying to build an IT service catalog.