IT Transformation Service Catalog

 Why you need to worry about Service Catalog?

Few weeks back when visiting a CIO (Mr. Ciao for reference) to understand the requirements of his organization, I suddenly realized this feeling of déjà-vu. Found myself being explained the stress his team undergoes when facing management during budgeting times. The management wants to know what they do with their money. Where it is being utilized and how are they (IT) adding value?

Well this is not the first time that IT management team is in an inconvenient position on how to respond, let alone justify the investments. The point to note is, it becomes even more difficult when IT is not directly responsible for inflow of revenue like Banking and Finance, Telecom, Online Gambling, Stock brokering and other sectors.

What the business, most of the time, really wants to ask is “Do you know what you are doing?”. From the business point of view, it is just about value realization. While value is actually about perception management, about expectation versus delivery and realized satisfaction; IT bosses haven’t managed to build a prospect of IT products for their customers. They have either failed to create one or are projecting one being built on legacy services or unrelated to business requirements.

Back, Mr. Ciao goes on to explain his other worries. He believes his team is inadequately staffed. His users are asking for faster resolution of services and his team has to deal with innumerable requests. After patiently hearing him out, I had to ask him “What do you want to do?”

Majority of times the answer lies in simplest of things. In this case and in other cases too, building a Service catalog would be a good start. Service Catalog allows the organization set a perspective of its available capabilities. It offers a single source of right information on services that are usable. It makes the customer aware of the services that are in operation or will be available for use with details of key factors such as delivery timings, mode, and support contact to name a few. Internally, the Service Provider team relies on it to improve focus on outcomes by understanding the relationship between customer facing services, their sub-services, service components and CIs.

From a customer standpoint, for example; a multi-specialty hospital offering different streams of health services while listing details of Out Patient Department (OPD) and attending doctors allows easy subscription to the services. It also highly improves the experience level. Similarly, a dentist deals only in areas related to odontology and an ophthalmologist treats eye sight related issues. Their service offerings are directly proportionate to the skills, resources and tools owned. The customer then knows exactly where to go for their requirements

That is what a service catalog supposed to do; it sets expectations, brings clarity, creates awareness, allows users of service to channelize their feedback and brings about internalization of services. On the other hand, it showcases capabilities and can be used to sell services

When offerings are not fully defined, it indicates lack of controls and governance issues. A lot of time is spent in communication between users, user managers, IT Managers and implementers for request fulfillment. Your organization is forced to address requests beyond capabilities and before you know your team is in shambles, struggling to self-motivate. Licenses will be extremely troublesome to manage. And because there is no catalog to restrict users’ requests, there will be dissatisfaction on non-fulfillment

If you are building the catalog for the first time, be ready to be surprised at the dilemma your team will come across especially when your whole IT team is involved. Involving a third party provides coordination and facilitation in settlement of differences. The first step would be to brainstorm and write down all services. Next, categorize them and relate them. And if you already posses some measure of catalog, you can start with verifying, validating and updating the details. Lastly, forget not to create a schedule for reviewing the catalog for its correctness on an ongoing basis.My next article would be around the steps involved in building a Service Catalog.

What is your best tip for building the Service Catalog?

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Author: Francis D’Souza (All Rights Reserved by the author).
Source: Original text (based upon first hand knowledge).
Image: © Yuri Arcus – photodune.net
Help us to improve it: how-to, discussion.

Francis D'Souza is a Service Management and Governance Trainer, Mentor & Counselor. His specialties are: Strategic Change, Operational efficiencies & Compliance Management backed by extensive experience in varied domains and industries. He is focussed on Transitioning, Compliance, Improvements and setting up competencies. He is Certified Prince2, ITIL V3 Expert, CoBIT and ISO Auditor. He can be reached on LinkedIn.