5 Tips for your Service Catalogue
In recent years, the use of IT and technology has increased significantly in companies. This applies regardless of whether it is organizations' own IT infrastructure or solutions that are purchased and delivered cloud-based. Either way, it is a challenge to create an overview of the services that IT provides (or does not provide, but for which IT is still held accountable).
If the IT supporter has the task of helping an employee fix a service that does not work and does not know how the specific service is pieced together by different components, then it will give a bad user experience and wasted time, which is inefficient. It will cause problems for end users or customers if they have difficulty ordering a service or getting the right help. This will create a high degree of uncertainty around which services are offered and can be expected if this is not clear to the person who is to receive the service.
The good overview can help make the delivery of services more uniform and controlled. It is important to emphasize that the good overview can be created in several ways, but if it is supported digitally in a Service Management solution, then it is possible to use in practice. Specifically, you will use the service catalogue to make visible which services you offer and thus give more transparency and a uniform delivery of services.
What is a Service Catalogue?
A service catalogue is where you can find information, status and details of the services offered. The easiest way to understand a service catalogue is to compare it with the menu of a restaurant. Menu cards help the guest form an overview of what is available and without it the guest will not know what to order or what to expect.
A menu card helps the restaurant know what ingredients are needed to cook for the guests. As well as a restaurant needs to know what is being offered, IT organizations and IT Service Providers need to know what services they provide to their end users and customers.
The purpose of the service catalogue is to create transparency and a reconciliation of expectations about which services an IT team offers its customers and end users. It is important in this context to mention that a service catalogue is more than just an overview of the various IT services . A service catalogue usually also includes relevant information on the various IT services, such as the expected duration of the delivery of the service, operating costs, service availability, possible SLAs and approvals. This means that there are things that are included in a service catalogue that are not necessarily visible to the users, but which must be included in order for the right service to be delivered.
Creating a service catalogue can be an extensive process, as it can seem difficult to map out what a given service consists of and which parts are included. To help you along the way, in this post we have collected 5 tips for you for when you need to start making a service catalogue.
Five Tips for your Service Catalogue
#1 Do You Need more than One Service Catalogue?
It is important as an IT department or a Service Provider that you investigate how many service catalogues you need. It is a good idea to research who the recipient of the service catalogue is and what the content should be before you start preparing the service catalog itself.
Within the best practice area ITIL, it is important to separate the service catalogue into two different categorizations:
• The Business Service Catalogue
The business service catalogue specializes in giving customers and end users the full overview of which IT services are provided. This service catalogue is business-oriented, as it shows which services support the various business processes.
• The Technical Service Catalogue
The purpose of the technical service catalogue is to have a structured overview of the technical IT services targeted more internally in the IT department and at the Service Provider. The recipient of the technical service catalogue is IT, and here the service catalogue must be described in a way that is understood and used by IT employees.
The technical service catalogue is closely linked to the CMDB (Configuration Management Database) because it is relevant to understand the relationships and dependencies between the organization's systems and IT services. At the same time, there are specific CIs (Configuration Items), where it may be necessary to define and understand which IT units are connected. It is essential that the IT employee knows how everything is connected, in order to deliver and support the specific IT service and thus perform their work.
The main difference between the different service catalogues is the recipient. With a business service catalogue, it is the customers and the end users who are the recipients. More and more organizations choose to exhibit the business service catalogue via a self-service portal for the recipients, as it is the customers and end users who have to navigate around the catalogue and order the specific services. The technical service catalogue has the IT employees in the organization as the recipient and can be accessed in internal ways in an ITSM system.
#2 Define What a Service Is
It is important that you have a common understanding within the organization of what a certain service is. For many organizations, having a fixed definition of what a service is can be difficult. If you do not have a concrete definition of what a service is in the organization, it can affect the delivery of IT services because an overall and common understanding has not been created between those who are to provide a service and those who are to receive it.
#3 Involve the Business / End Users
Another good piece of advice in connection with the creation of the service catalogue is that it is important to include the business when IT services are to be defined in the business service catalogue. The business, the end user or the customer all have a good understanding of how they use the various IT services and how these IT services fit into the other processes in the business.
#4 Test, Test, Test
It can be an advantage to plan a couple of test rounds, where you gather a representative group of your customers or end users. With these test rounds, you get the opportunity to get the end users' attitudes and experiences with the use of the service catalogue. The business service catalogue is intended for end users and customers, and therefore it is important to investigate whether this is an optimal and user-friendly solution for the recipient before it is finished.
#5 Remember: Update the Service Catalogue Continuously
It can be a long process to prepare the service catalogue, and unfortunately it will never be finalized. It is necessary to update the service catalogue if, for example, there are major changes to the organization's systems, CI's (Configurations Items) or in the customers´ organizations. Therefore, it can be an advantage to have a dedicated employee in the organization who is responsible for maintaining the service catalogue.
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