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Written by Graham Furnis
This article continues from “Now on Centre Stage: the Service Catalog”. In this writing I want to discuss the Service Catalog and how to make it more actionable as opposed to static. To be of use and value, the Service Catalog must be available, referenced, and used by the business. A Service Catalog that doesn’t achieve this will result in failure of many of the ITIL objectives in the first place.
The first step to an actionable Service Catalog is to ensure the Business View is written in “meaningful customer-based” language. This requires knowing your customers! This requires input from your customers! This requires fostering and maintaining a good relationship with your customers! I could go on… We need to create the Service Catalog for the business so that it will be used by the business. What I most often see are Service Catalogs created by IT and presented to the business with general business indifference. I’ve found many ways to get around these and other issues, but I find each situation is unique and requires a well thought out approach. I could take this section into a discussion of organizational change management and acceptance, but that is a whole other topic!
The second step to an actionable Service Catalog is to publish it. Make available far and wide throughout the organization. AND MAKE IT EASY! You can’t use the Service Catalog if you can’t find it or if it takes too long or is too complicated to find. Here’s where I usually find many failed Service Catalog initiatives. The most commonly accepted way of distributing the catalog is through a company web interface, where the catalog is published using an online application or even a simple document. I’ve been in environments where companies have achieved actionable and successful Service Catalogs simply using a Word document. The key is back in step 1: to involve the customer to determine what and how the delivery method works best for them. And again, discussion of organizational change management and acceptance can lead us into a full and separate topic.
The third step to an actionable Service Catalog is to link it to the Request Fulfilment process and even the Incident Management process. The Service Catalog should be used by the business when researching, requesting, and following up request status. In turn, IT must manage all issues and requests through standard records management. And the added benefit to records management is that operational efficiencies will emerge that can be optimized through repeatable and defined process and procedures.
As mentioned in my previous article, IT operations of many local and global organizations face continual cost pressures in combination with demands for new services and improved service levels. Having an actionable Service Catalog is not the entire answer, but is certainly a big part of the answer.
Graham Furnis is fully immersed and passionate in providing ITSM solutions. He is a business-driven IT professional with 20+ years of technology and management experience. He is certified as an ITIL Manager and Expert as well as an accredited instructor.