Cherwell IT Service Management Blog
Resources, Best Practices, and Solutions for ITSM Pros

Is the Service Catalog the Foundation of Service Management?

Posted by Service Catalog is key to everything. If you don’t know the services your customers receive from you, you cannot be doing service management.

This is what I heard the other day while participating in a webinar hosted by Pink Elephant and Virgin Media. This webinar’s key take away, and the thought/message hammered home repeatedly: a disconnect still exists between IT and the business, and this disconnect comes from IT persisting in talking about technology rather than business.

As we all know, a service catalog is a menu of offerings. This is what I can buy from you. This is what you can do for me. “If you don’t have a service catalog, how on earth do you plan to do service management,” exclaimed Peter Hubbard, senior IT service management consultant, Pink Elephant.

Peter also described a service catalog in the following ways:

  • A control point
  • A way to show relevant people relevant information
  • A sales and marketing tool
  • A starting point for service introductions
  • A ‘go to’ tool
  • A shop window for IT
  • A critical source of service information

Here are the top three things that resonated with me from this webinar:

  1. The service catalog needs to be written in business terms. Avoid technology terms and techy babble. Here’s a quote I love from Barclay Rae, “Customers see servers as waiters and architecture as buildings. Make sure your service catalog talks about capabilities. Show outcomes. Explain how the services you offer make life easier. Tell your customers what you can do for them now and what you can do for them in the near future.”
  2. It needs to be an organic document. The information you need to show will vary as a service catalog must grow. Be prepared to move it across the life cycle. The business will come to you saying, “We’re going to launch X. How can you help us?” You need to show what’s next. Speak with the business about what we can do for them in the future. If you want something that’s not in the service catalog, let’s talk. As Peter Hubbard says, “Move IT from a cost centre to a value centre. Here’s what we do at the moment, what else would you like?”
  3. Your service catalog needs a great design, look and feel. Turn your service catalog into a nice-looking glossy brochure. Don’t just have it online. Also, make sure you have different variations for different customers. Use the expertise of your marketing department and invest some money into creating a document people want to use and do use.

If you’d like some help with getting started with a service catalog, access our recent webinar, Top Tips for a Winning Sevice Catalog. Or, download our new infographic, 7 Steps to Creating an Effective Service Catalog.