How to Create and Organize an IT Service Catalog

A service catalog initiative can be deceptive. At first glance, it seems like a simple process of simply listing all the services your organization offers to customers and then use the document to display those services as a menu. However, building a service catalog is sometimes a little more complicated than that.
Balancing the needs of stakeholders, determining the proper language (technical vs. customer-facing) in which the catalog will be written, and where the catalog will be displayed are just a few things to consider. Some would say that a service catalog is an internal document that is merely a list of services, whether those services are current, retired, or currently being planned for release. A more contemporary understanding of the service catalog is a customer-facing document that lists all of the services that are available from you. We can see how these differences can substantially change the layout, construction, and distribution of the service catalog.
Let’s assume that we are going to build a service catalog that will act as a stakeholder-facing document to some degree. In this case, the first step is to define your categories of service. Think of a clothing store and how it is split up into different departments for menswear, women’s wear, and shoes, among others. Such a layout makes it easy for customers to navigate the store and find what they need. A similar structure can be applied when it comes to choosing service catalog categories. It is helpful to start with a list of services you currently offer, group them thematically, then create categories based on those groupings. The categories you create will allow you to refine and define your services and where they belong within your service catalog.
Once you have used categories to group your services, you can use them to identify more services that you want to offer as an organization. The exercise will invariably add to and fill out your list of service offerings creating a more complete, customer-centric range of services.
After defining your services, it is important that each one has supporting information that explains its purpose. This helps users understand what the service is meant to accomplish, who it is offered to, and any other vital details such as associated costs or required approvals. It is also essential to determine which services might be available to which audiences in your organization. Understanding which services can be requested by each of your audiences will lead you to decisions about where and how to publish your service catalog, allowing you to start thinking about integrating continuous service improvement models within your overarching service model. At this point, you will most likely want to assign ownership of services to people in your organization who are then responsible for ensuring their services, as displayed, are up to date and correct.
Even if your organization already has a service catalog as part of your IT Service Management structure, it might be worth revisiting. There are always ways to improve the user experience. Here are examples of TeamDynamix customers who have built stellar self-service portals with well-organized, user-friendly service catalogs.
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Thursday January 01, 1970