Service Catalogue What is it and Why Do You Need It

A Service Catalogue is a “list” of services providing an overview, in business terms, of business and infrastructure services offered by the organisation. Better yet, think of it as a shopping cart where you go to the Service Management shelf and “purchase” a service pertaining to your current needs.

Service Catalogue – What Is It

In Service Management terms, the Service Catalogue is a fundamental part of any ITIL implementation. The Service Catalogue contains a list of the ‘end-to-end’ services provided by the organisation to their employees / customers.

Properly integrated with Request fulfilment, the service catalogue becomes actionable, meaning users can order some things directly from the integrated interface.

The Service Catalogue is considered strategic and allows customers an outside-in view of IT in a language they can understand. On the other hand, Request Fulfilment is tactical in that it allows users to engage IT directly to meet daily needs.

A well designed Service Catalogue includes services offered by all departments within the organisation. Departments that often make use of a Service Catalogue are IT, Finance, HR and Facilities.

Business Benefits of the Service Catalogue

There are many benefits to the service catalogue, but the most important one is an honest, two-way relationship developing between the IT organization and customers. Monitoring of business services is essential to management and to the IT department because without this information the IT department cannot guarantee or demonstrate that it has a service focus.

The Service Catalogue facilitates multi-level management and monitoring of differentiated services, enabling the IT department to focus on delivering and demonstrating value from their services.

So what are some of the benefits that a Service Catalogue adds?

  • Services can be monitored, managed and delivered at different levels
  • Incident management resolution is faster and cheaper
  • Change management can be more business and risk aware
  • Change and transition can be more agile and support critical business functions – i.e. time to market and time to value.

Reporting can be delivered at multiple levels including ‘service’ levels, where this applies to business services, not just IT services and components

Making a Service Catalogue Work

Getting a Service Catalogue to work in the organisation requires buy-in by all the current service managers in the organisation. Without their commitment the project will not succeed. Some of the key points to consider during planning phase are:

  • Get all the stake-holders involved – staff, management customers, starting with a business ‘top down’ focus.
  • Ensure that everyone understands what a Service Catalogue is and what it will deliver.
  • Identify clear criteria for your service catalogue and then define your IT Services.
  • Build a list of services with clearly defined owners, IT components, service models, configuration Items, SLAs, customers.
  • Ensure that you can logically link between services and configuration Items (CIs) – this provides the intelligent link via tools to fully unlock the value of ITIL processes.
  • Implement management reporting according to ‘service’ delivery requirements, based on the service catalogue.

BMC Track-It! Self Service Web and BMC FootPrints Service Catalogue

Let’s take a quick look at how the Service Catalogue has been incorporated into BMC FootPrints and BMC Track-It! The software vendor adopted a very different approach for these two service desk solutions.

In the case of BMC Track-It! a Self Service Web is included were users can request a service via a drop down list of available items. In the case of BMC FootPrints a fully featured Service Catalogue linked to the CMDB is included.

BMC Track-It! Self Service Web

BMC Track-It! does not have a true Service Catalogue. Instead, BMC included a customisable Self Service Web interface allowing customers to select services from a drop down text menu of items. A selection of fields can be exposed to the customer enabling the administrator to cater for a selection of departmental items.

Features included in the Self Service Web interface include the ability to:

  • Search the solutions database.
  • Add, Edit and close work orders.
  • Audit your computer.
  • Change a password.
  • Request a service.
  • Manage requests for change.

For IT departments running BMC Track-It! who do not require a complex Service Catalogue, the Self Service Web module will be flexible enough.

BMC FootPrints Service Catalogue

The BMC FootPrints Service Catalogue allows you to create, publish and offer customised menus of services for end-to-end request management. It is a graphical interface as opposed to the text based offering from BMC Track-It!

Some of the main features offered by the Service Catalogue are:

  • Configurable and Flexible – Easily and quickly deploy pre-packaged service catalogue templates.
  • Manage Services – Easily categorize and describe services, configure service attributes and associate related documentation.
  • Enable Automation and Service Packages with defined business rules and workflows.
  • Support Service Level Agreements by linking services to the appropriate service level agreement.
  • Reporting – Automatically provide management with the data trends and performance metrics they need to make critical decisions

Conclusion

It is the service catalogue that defines and communicates standardised offerings, to ensure that every request is not a once-off project. Therefore, a standardised service will enable the entity to deliver that service; to structure it as a process and potentially automate the service in question. Delivering a faster response and/or resolution to the customer is then possible.

BMC FootPrints and Track-It! have the functionality to give organizations what they need: fewer tickets, fewer support staff, and better customer care.

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