Understanding the IT service catalog

The service catalog is a part of ITIL’s Service Knowledge Management System framework. According to ITIL 4, a service catalog is a well-curated, single source of information for all the IT and business services available within an organization. Users are empowered with consumer-like experience with a user-friendly shopping-cart like portal and are presented with defined IT service offerings. An ITIL-based Service Catalog allows your customers to know: what is delivered, when it is delivered, what the cost is, and the expected service level.

Why you need an IT Service Catalog

IT environments are getting more complex every day. Your IT department needs an effective mechanism for controlling what comes into the environment; users need to know what IT services are available to them and your finance team needs to be able to effectively manage technology costs (through things like consistent procurement processes). The IT service catalog addresses these issues by providing a complete listing of what services are currently available for use.

The IT service catalog and provisioning records that are created when someone requests something out of the catalog provide an important linkage between your business operations and the IT services that your company operates (either directly or through 3rd parties). Your CMDB contains data about what assets you have, the IT service catalog provides a view into the asset’s intended use and the provisioning records (or service installed-base) shows how services are actually used. The combined information provides valuable insight for operations teams assessing the impact of an incident or problem and for leaders making decisions about future service offerings.

Benefits of using the IT Service Catalog

In today’s hyperconnected world, service delivery is crucial. It doesn’t matter whether IT services delivery is for your customers or your internal users; they all want smooth and timely delivery. The benefits of using the IT service catalog include increased efficiency through clear service offerings, provisioning automation, and better transparency of the value IT provides.

Here are some additional benefits:

1. Standardization of Service Delivery

A well-defined service catalog informs users of exactly what services are offered, how they will be implemented, and how long it will take. This enables the user and the IT department to know the precise steps to be followed to come to appropriate solutions. Resources within the IT team are then allocated efficiently and swiftly to solve the problem, resulting in higher user satisfaction.

2. Cost Minimization

The service catalog brings in automation and processes that lead to faster service request handling, which frees up the IT team to concentrate on tasks that add value to the business. By allowing users to make and track requests on their own, a service catalog and its web portal will result in significant cost savings and improve the user’s satisfaction. For the increasing number of remote workers in today’s workforce, a service catalog allows access to support resources no matter the time or the place, cutting down on the cost of running the support desk at all hours.

3. Enhanced Self-service capabilities

The super-connected workforce of today who work from anywhere and at any time expect available, accessible, and reliable IT support. Self-service is the most preferred mode by the millennial workforce to avoid breaks, and interruption and service catalog can elevate an IT self-service experience from basic to excellent. The service catalog is like a menu card. Employees can look into it and order their choice of software, hardware, and IT services to streamline their work. It facilitates easy interactions with the IT team and simplifies processes and workflows to request IT services. IT service catalog facilitates access to the services that the employees require to remain productive.

4. Business Continuity and Quality 

A well-verbalized service catalog ensures that all three stakeholders - the management, the user, and the IT department - are on the same page, with consistent expectations. To contribute to the business, the IT department must deliver their services efficiently and within a stipulated time frame, or business owners will begin to look somewhere else for relevant help. A lack of trust between the IT team and its users or customers only results in more issues. A well-laid-out service catalog will go a long way to establishing trust and accountability again.

5. IT & Business Productivity

The service catalog greatly benefits the business overall, providing customer and employee satisfaction while allowing the IT department to complete their tasks in a priority-based and efficient manner. By reducing service costs, establishing trust, providing transparency, and enabling both employees and the IT team to boost their productivity, the IT service catalog enables a business to be run with a higher efficiency level.