Keep demanding customers happy with the power of service asset management

If you belong to any standard, average IT organization then you have probably noticed how your users have changed. We have been busy embracing cloud delivery and virtualization and are still trying to catch up the step with BYOD phenomenon. During this we haven’t stopped to notice that our users have been making too many requests.


Service and request catalogs are not enough—our users want experience. When ordering their tablets or software, when requesting changes in subscriptions or when requesting on what machine their cloud service should be installed, users nowadays demand that it is easy and interesting. They want a “guarantee” they will receive their goods quickly, without having to answer additional questions and that the purchase makes them feel happy. And I am not even simply talking about Millenials. The shopping experience of Apple and iTunes, Amazon and Ebay has left consequences on everything and shopping has changed forever, even for IT departments.

 Let’s have a look what is required to give IT users that positive consumer experience they are demanding. To meet this need, IT has to become fully service oriented and accept the new bar of how the users want to engage with their suppliers (yes, IT is a supplier for business users). In order to perform this action, it is necessary to connect the IT front-end and the back-end of the service ecosystem. Does this concept sound familiar to you? It should, it has been said a million times before but so few IT organizations have really finished the job.

Request and approval

Until recently, users sent emails or filled out an online form to request new hardware or software. They waited for approval via email—and sometimes they could really wait. Even in organizations which implemented a service catalog, “extra” service catalogs tended to evolve. In these situations, users have to search and view multiple catalogs.  This annoys them as much as when they have to provide more information with email—after they thought they placed their request.

 We know that the consumption experience is as important in business as it is in life. Therefore, IT users need one portal and a central service offer catalog, which overarches all other catalogs from internal or external providers.

A single offer catalog is the single point of access for:

  • Self-service support
  • Buying and managing all their assets
  • Knowledge management
  • Deployment and subscription management (for example: ordering a cloud service)
  • Change management
  • Even chargeback

Capturing any request through a single service offer catalog is not enough if the approval and fulfillment process are not fully automated. Standardized services need to be followed by standardized and automated fulfillment.




Procurement and licensing

Procurement and licensing was until recently centralized and based on contract. This arrangement made a lot of sense: 

  • Enterprise software had high initial costs
  • Licenses were based on contracts
  • IT managed procurement centrally
  • IT decided what software and hardware would be purchased

Now we are experiencing a phenomenon where licensing is increasingly subscription-based making initial costs low.  This causes many users to purchase software and services with their credit card. Users decide what they want, when and where. Does this sound like shadow IT 2.0 to you? No, this is more serious.  This time it will be an IT survival battle.

Service offer catalog can help here:

  • To know who bought what and when
  • Whether the software license is already available in the pool
  • To ensure license compliance
  • To ensure to get the best price point

IT can stay in control while the business is on a shopping spree.



We all remember very well (because it was not long ago) when users had access only to the instances IT provisioned.  Software was installed on a user’s PC and applications were hosted and owned by IT. Users had to request IT to provision software. IT could equate a user and a license. And then virtualization and Cloud destroyed this ideal world and users started provisioning the software they wanted, when they wanted.

BYOD and mobility eventually decoupled the user from license. The solution that comes from the service offer catalog is that users will be able to provision private and hybrid cloud services based on what is available in the catalog – what they want, when and as many times as they want it. Once again the service offer catalog can help:

  • To track who is using what and when
  • To prevent “license runaway”
  • To manage subscriptions
  • To facilitate chargeback and show back

The service offer catalog can help you get a holistic view across service consumption, usage and chargeback.

You may still be able to give your users a consumer’s positive experience in IT; but IT still has to stay in control of procurement and licensing.


In my next post I will look into several use cases for linking the service offer catalog and IT asset management. We will also discuss this topic at the free “Power to Change” virtual event in the session: Cost-effectively link self-service requests and asset management. The event includes a game with prizes, so register for the event here for your chance to win.


 Vesna Soraic

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About the Author
Vesna is the senior product marketing manager at HP Software. She has been with HP for 13 years in R&D, product management and product marke...

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