Most of the service catalogues I’ve seen are technical focused. Even the clear defined offer of Salesforce.com is more or less technical and feature focused. Of course, they have a very clear structure and transparent pricing. These are two very important facts to get a service catalogue customers will like. To make them love your service catalogue – make it RELEVANT. Make it relevant to the work of each single people in your company:

  • Focus on the business processes of your company.
  • Use the language of your users.
  • Provide metrics which are relevant to them.

The key success factor is to connect the business processes and the underlying IT-Services. Create business focused IT services – also called Business Services. Take a look at the following image:

“Invoice printing” is a business service. It is really relevant to the business. It is in the language of the users and has a direct connection to the daily work of some of them. It is simple example on creating business services. But be careful: CRM is an application – not a Business Service.

Business Services are more than an item in the service catalogue. They are the foundation of a new way to communicate, design, operate and change. Because they are in the native language, you are able to:

  • Tell the people in their words what exactly is affected by an outage, incident or change
  • Discuss service levels with the C-Level on the same base – they know how long the company can survive without invoice printing

If someone calling the service desk and tells: “I’m not able to print”, the agent could ask: “What do you try to print?”, “An Invoice” – the agent will have an idea what the cause cold be. This is because the business services have direct connections to the IT services and assets. The service tree enables simple analysis of root cause and impact.

How to get there

The first step is to understand the process world of the service consumers. How does the functional department create a value for the company? Which process flows are critical? Understanding the processes, work operations and language of the functional departments is an important step. This lays the basis for smooth communication between the IT experts and service consumers.

In the second step a connection must be established between the business processes and the IT components. The ways in which people think, the so-called intellectual worlds, have to be connected. What is required so that invoices can be printed?

This enables the dependencies to be modeled in a service tree. However, this step proves to be very complex when approached initially. The gap between the processes and IT service is simply too large. Further breakdown of the processes into meaningful work operations / subprocesses is necessary. If this is omitted, the situation quickly occurs that a process is dependent on the entire IT – and doesn‘t help anybody!

Splitting processes into sub-processes or even work operations or steps is necessary in order to obtain meaningful, informative statements about the IT support of a process. Within this 3rd step it will quickly become evident whether the depth of detail is sufficient or not.

Breaking down the processes reduces the gap between them and the IT. However, meaningful assignment is still not possible. An appropriate link is needed. This is when the so-called business services have to be deduced. This is a virtual object, which has a value not only for the IT but also for the functional department.

Service Catalogues based in so called Business Services will be really loved by the service consumers, the company and of yours IT. They enable a straight forward model of driving it in line with business. They enable better communication, realistic SLAs and will save operational costs.

What is your best tip for building the Service Catalog?

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Author: Robert Sieber (All Rights Reserved by the author).
Source: Original text (based upon first hand knowledge).
Image: © systemmonitoring.de
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Robert Sieber is a Division Manager of ITSM Products and Consulting at SHD System-Haus-Dresden GmbH. His specialties are Business and IT Service Management (e.g. ITIL, ISO 20k), Monitoring, CMDB / CMS and Configuration Management. Under the motto: "So much ITIL as necessary, as much common sense as possible," he emphasize the real benefits to the companie.With a 15+ years IT background he worked in different positions within the IT Service Lifecycle. He knows nearly each part of the lifecycle from his own experience.He can be reached on www.linkedin.com/in/robertsieber and http://www.different-thinking.de.