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Who remembers the old Sears or Toys R Us catalogs? You might recall searching the catalog to find what you need so that you can order it, or maybe you just enjoyed perusing. Either way, the catalog told you exactly what to expect both by mail and in the store. The IT service catalog is not unlike these catalogs of yesteryear. Having an IT service catalog tells customers what to expect from your IT service desk, which is especially helpful in a remote work landscape. But, before you begin crafting your IT service catalog, there are some important considerations and examples to review.
To start, let’s take a look at how the Axelos dictionary defines the IT and ITIL service catalog:
“A database or structured document with information about all live IT services, including those available for deployment. The service catalogue is part of the service portfolio and contains information about two types of IT service: customer-facing services that are visible to the business; and supporting services required by the service provider to deliver customer-facing services.”
The service catalog is one of the components in the Service Portfolio that is communicated publicly to employees. It lists all configuration items (CIs) with Service type that are operational and released.
To put it simply: The IT service catalog should be the go-to document to find IT services, hardware, software, and support. It is the vehicle for defining, prioritizing, and marketing IT services to individuals.
Often the most important question to answer when considering changing the way you do things is “What’s in it for me? What’s the benefit?”
In IT (as in life) sometimes perception can make or break you. The perception of IT until recent years is that it is a necessary evil, or a cost center vs. a value center. IT and its connection to the greater business goals has been shrouded in mystery until the creation of an IT service catalog. After all, how many of us have had a problem with PowerPoint, needed support with a tablet, or needed help accessing ERP or other software and “Does IT help with this?” before trying to embark on our own search for answers?
An IT services catalog gives visibility into the services that the IT department delivers, which can change the perception of IT and its impact on the company.
Other benefits of utilizing an IT service catalog include:
We’ve talked about the very basics of what an IT service catalog is and how it can benefit your business, but the real question lies in the “what”.
What should be included can be broken down into the following categories: IT services, IT equipment, IT software, and internal/external services.
Let’s dive into each of these categories:
When considering these categories, you may need to include sub-categories including:
Now that you’ve identified the services, equipment, and software to include in your IT service catalog, you can begin to build the service catalog.
You may want to consider using ITIL Service Catalog Management, defined by AXELOS as: “The process responsible for providing and maintaining the service catalogue and for ensuring that it is available to those who are authorized to access it.”
You’ll need to work with stakeholders including members of the IT department, key players in the business, and others who will have relevant knowledge and experience with the provision of IT services. With this group, you will work on the following aspects:
Although we already discussed what goes into the IT services catalog, it’s important to note that you must identify the services specifically that the IT department will offer. This will cut down on confusion if someone contacts the service desk looking for assistance only to be told that the service is not offered, while telling the customers the outcomes that they can expect from the IT department.
For example, identify if your IT service desk will offer technical support for devices used for work but not in the catalog, or if they will provide assistance setting up VPNs or other remote work setup help.
This is a crucial step in creating a positive and memorable customer experience because it eliminates confusion for both the agent and the customer.
The next step is to identify who the catalog will serve and define the lines of business that use each service, hardware, or software. By defining the customer journey and who will use the catalog for what reasons, you will be able to better address their needs.
This is especially helpful for remote workers, who may have a more difficult time understanding or knowing which IT services are available to them. Additionally, this step helps create more clear distinctions in IT services for all members of management who may be unclear on the expectations of IT.
When designing your IT service catalog, the user interface is central to its success. Elements such as shopping carts will drive user-acceptance and a simple design environment will enable new IT process realization that goes beyond ITIL, to fulfill a truly consumerized service culture.
Part of this is realized through an IT self-service portal or app that functions similarly to the knowledge management database. When accessible anywhere, customers are more empowered to use the catalog to find what they need.
To see an example of an IT service catalog and how to build it, check out our video from EV Connect 2020 here:
Creating your IT service catalog is just one important piece of the service delivery and service management puzzle. Careful marketing and coordination will increase adoption, but when used with a self-service portal that empowers employees you’ll see even greater benefits.
Nancy Louisnord is the Chief Marketing Officer of EasyVista, responsible for the company’s global and regional marketing programs and product marketing strategy. She has more than 14 years of global leadership experience in the ITSM software industry, bringing numerous software companies into new markets. She is a sought-after presenter at conferences and contributor to several leading industry publications. Before joining EasyVista, Louisnord served in leadership roles with TOPdesk and Daffodil Consulting. In addition to her expansive experience in the B2B software industry, she has a proven record of creating and executing digital marketing strategies and improving the customer service experience.
September 09, 2021