IT Service Catalog – more than a list of goods and services?

For a whitepaper I am writing I did some research on the service catalog and request management state of the market. I was wondering where the service catalog theme will go within the next couple of years, and what a service catalog and request management solution should look like.

 

One thing appears to be obvious – a catalog is already today more than a list of goods and services, and automation (again!) as well as the leverage of social media technologies and communication behavior, will play a significant role in this. But what does this mean? Let me paint this picture in a small series of blog posts over the next couple of weeks and months.

 

By the way, when I use the term catalog here, I refer to the whole solution from request through support to disposal. For now I exclude the whole strategy and design parts, which deal with subjects like managing a portfolio of services and managing service levels. These are not less important, but I wanted to start somewhere. So, today I want to share my thoughts on basic catalog needs. If there were just 3 things to think about, what are they?

 

  • Increase the total user experience
    A service and consumer centered solution, simple, easy-to-use, and talking in customer/business language makes it fun to work with. Together with visibility into status to understand availability timelines and to make delivery more predictable, it is a jumpstart for better user satisfaction.
      
  • Improve efficiency for the whole service request cycle for users and IT
    This can be achieved by providing a single point of access for all IT service related requests. It includes a personalized service portal, which goes far beyond just being the front-end to the list of goods and services (aka shopping cart). It will become more and more important that all service related interactions and communications, such as accessing knowledge and getting support in context of a service, are facilitated through the same portal.
      
  • Gain IT productivity and reduce cost
    I discussed this already for other ITSM areas like change management in previous blog posts. Many service catalog offerings are point solutions, but integration with all key IT processes and automation along the service lifecycle help gaining IT productivity and lowering cost, not to talk about the elimination of errors as a result from a lot of manual work. Obviously, I see the integration with request fulfillment and configuration & asset management, but equally important with incident & problem, change and knowledge management as being vital to reach this goal.

This all sounds like a great deal of work but you can pragmatically go on your service catalog journey by defining your goals and needs and then follow a stepwise approach.

 

What do you think? Is this in line with your requirements? What are your 3 key high-level needs?

 

Michael Pott

 

Comments
Honored Contributor | ‎09-27-2010 01:06 AM

Hello,

Nice blog post Michael.

I think that while taking into account that catalog solves some general problems which have all companies it in most cases serves to cover some more specific particular problems of exact IT in the company. For some it might be an official price-list level thing by which they get benefit from business. For others this may be document which explains that IT is not only the guy which comes and does something to Financial director 's PC to make it to display information on display but some strategically important department in company structure. And for some it is just a popular thing (thing which is already implemented in their concurrent company) which must be in their company as well to follow the progress.

From my own point of view

Your point 1 (100% right)

Increase the total user experience - or maybe said in a bit other words - Increase total user understanding of what IT gives to them.

Your point 2 (Negotiable)

Improve efficiency for the whole service request cycle for users and IT

from my point of view it can be replaced with introduction of service in bundles and complicated services which makes service receiving much more easier to understand. Like business customer request the whole Financial department account working place and not separated services like PC; Software installation; Internet . . .  and he has not to think did he missed something from the list he needs, he just receives  standard working place fully equipped with everything required.

Your point 3 (100% right + comment)

Gain IT productivity and reduce cost

One more important thing - service catalog will help IT to count how much it costs for them to produceservice to customer, and how much should pay customer to them for using this service.

 

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About the Author
Michael Pott is a Product Marketing Manager for HP ITSM Solutions. Responsibilities include out-bound marketing and sales enablement. Mic...
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