Skip to main content

#SMFlashbook – Best Tip(s) for Building a Service Catalog

This blog is being posted today as part of a larger community effort to publish common topic blogs on the same day. I encourage you to review the other blogs on this subject by searching the hashtag #SMFlashbook.

I was simultaneously confused and disappointed by the recent itSMF/Forrester survey results that indicated a large number of organizations had not built a Service Catalog due to lack of funding.    I am also always confused when organizations move forward with their Service Management initiatives without first defining their services. 
So I challenge you with a question:  How can you manage services if you do not have a clear understanding of the services that you provide? 

Here are some very simple and virtually free tips for creating an initial and meaningful Service Catalog:
  • Step away from your tool.   The first steps can be captured on paper, whiteboards or in documents.  The tool part will come later.
  • Gather stakeholders and collectively define and agree on your business services. If you do not know where to start, take a look at your company website or intranet.  In actuality, all businesses or business units only do five things:
o   Acquire or develop a product
o   Market and sell the product
o   Deliver the product (logistics)
o   Support the product
o   Have a corporate infrastructure – HR, IT, Finance, etc.
  • Map the IT Service (s) that underpin each of your business services.  Remember, an app is not a service – one service is likely comprised of multiple applications and infrastructure.  Try to use the same terminology for the business and IT service (e.g., the “Fullfillment Service”)
  • Describe the purpose and use of the service in concise,  business-speak
  • Identify and document the stakeholders for each service
  • Try to define some very generic service levels or service hours for each service
  • Review, agree and publish 
  • If you have a Configuration Management System, you can then replicate this information in a “service CI” record.  The Service CI can then be joined with all of the other  technical and non-technical CIs that contribute to the service.  This allows you to compose or decompose the service  for processes such as Incident, Problem and Change.
It’s too bad that the concept of a Service Catalog (or Service Portfolio) has gained a reputation for being complex and difficult to attain.  In truth, if you follow the above guidelines for defining services, you should not have hundreds of services – some very large organizations only have less than 25.  The difficult part is getting your stakeholders to focus on business services and outcomes, not technical applications and output.  Start simple, stay simple!         



John Wells said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Popular posts from this blog

The Four Ps of Service Design - It’s not all about Technology

People ask me why I think that many designs and projects often fail. The most common answer is from a lack of preparation and management. Many IT organizations just think about the technology (product) implementation and fail to understand the risks of not planning for the effective and efficient use of the four Ps: People, Process, Products (services, technology and tools) and Partners (suppliers, manufacturers and vendors). A holistic approach should be adopted for all Service Design aspects and areas to ensure consistency and integration within all activities and processes across the entire IT environment, providing end to end business-related functionality and quality. (SD 2.4.2) People:   Have to have proper skills and possess the necessary competencies in order to get involved in the provision of IT services. The right skills, the right knowledge, the right level of experience must be kept current and aligned to the business needs. Products:   These are the technology managem

What Is A Service Offering?

The ITIL4 Best Practice Guidance defines a “Service Offering” as a description of one or more services designed to address the needs of a target customer or group .   As a service provider, we can’t stop there!   We must know what the contracts of our service offering are and be able to put them into context as required by the customer.     Let’s explore the three elements that comprise a Service Offering. A “Service Offering” may include:     Goods, Access to Resources, and Service Actions Goods – When we think of “Goods” within a service offering these are the items where ownership is transferred to the consumer and the consumer takes responsibility for the future use of these goods.   Example of goods that are being provided in the offering – If this is a hotel service than toiletries or chocolates are yours to take with you.   You the consumer own these and they are yours to take with you.               Note: Goods may not always be provided for every Service

What is the difference between Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner?

I was recently asked to clarify the roles of the Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner and wanted to share this with you. Roles and Responsibilities: Process Owner – this individual is “Accountable” for the process. They are the goto person and represent this process across the entire organization. They will ensure that the process is clearly defined, designed and documented. They will ensure that the process has a set of Policies for governance. Example: The process owner for Incident management will ensure that all of the activities to Identify, Record, Categorize, Investigate, … all the way to closing the incident are defined and documented with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, handoffs, and deliverables.  An example of a policy in could be… “All Incidents must be logged”. Policies are rules that govern the process. Process Owner ensures that all Process activities, (what to do), Procedures (details on how to perform the activity) and th