Firstly let's look at what ITIL defines as a service: 'A means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks'.
In context a Service Catalogue provides much the same experience as dinning out at a restaurant: When you walk into a restaurant and sit down, a waiter will provide you with a menu; this is a list of the predefined meals and food options offered to you as a customer. You browse the menu options and make your selections based on your appetite at that time. Once your order is taken it makes it way to the chefs in the kitchen. The chefs will then use a 'recipe' and predefined method of preparing the specific option you have chosen from the menu.
Your selection will include a pre-defined set of ingredients and a predefined method to preparing your meal. In context a Service Catalogue is no different. You will choose your specific IT Service from the Service Catalogue, the specific components included within the Service are combined together and delivered to you via a predefined set of methods and processes. The customer experience is determined on how well an organisation (or a restaurant for that fact) is prepared prior to the offering being made available.
5 Key Considerations When Preparing to Establish your Services Catalogue
Use the following key considerations to help you frame up your scope and uncover some of the key requirements to establishing a new or enhancing your existing Services Catalogue.
1. Consider the Scope and Scale - If you have a large Enterprise IT Infrastructure and you are starting at ground zero, my suggestion is not to attempt this all at once in one go, it's important to start at the very top, the highest level of what your services are about. eg: Network Services, Application Services, Professional Services, Desktop Services. Once you have established the high level services, take some time to work through the next levels of detail.
2. Ask your customers 'What services do they believe they are receiving from IT?' do they understand the services IT is providing? By doing this you will get an understanding of any common terminology your customers are using and help to understand any key issues your customers may have with the current inventory of services and help to clarify any points to make it more simple to understand? You can do this by using a simple online survey.
3. Understand how are you currently managing your Service Requests? Is there currently a predefined list of Service Requests available to your customers? There is normally a linkage between the Service Requests you offer to your customers and the overall Services you provide to your customers, spending time to understand the linkages between services and a predefined inventory of service requests will help you to understand your overall scope and levels of inter-dependencies.
4. Understand how you currently implement new IT components/new service/s into the IT infrastructure in detail? Do you have a predefined method and consistent approach to on-boarding new services? Are there existing processes in place? And more importantly are they being followed? Or is each new service implemented in a bespoke nature? If there is a predefined process to implement new services into the IT infrastructure make sure it includes an activity to update the Services Catalogue. If there is no predefine method or process to implement new services, as part of your new Service Catalogue initiative ensure you include an 'Update the Services Catalogue' activity within your scope.
5. Understand the current reporting capabilities with regard to your services - What is currently being measured around Fulfillment of services? How do you measure Customer Satisfaction? Are there SLA's in place to measure this? How are they performing?
Take your time to work through answering these questions, the answers will provide you an understanding of 'Where you are now' with regards to your services Catalogue Maturity and provide you with an understanding of the amount of effort required to effectively enhance your Services Catalogue and give your customers and greater level of service.
Good Luck, Until Next Time,
About The Author:
Kirk is the Founder and Principal Advisory Consultant at Service Management Specialists, he helps people and organisations to improve the way they plan, design and operate Information Technology specifically within the IT Service Management & IT Process Improvement domains for the modern workplace. Kirk has provided guidance to hundreds of people around the world, helping to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and real world experience.