IT Service Catalogue: Why You Need It & How to Implement an Effective One
With all the benefits of the IT service catalogue, we face some challenges when the company grows. One of them is how the company handles the communication process itself. Big tasks might become time-consuming, and the communication might be non-productive.
Sooner or later, employees will expect to have all valuable data in one place. And, someone can even start their own implementation; they can collect relevant information for the particular team only and use it as a reference locally.
But, we need a central and essential tool to improve the process and provide value to the entire company and let’s agree that this new tool should not be another headache.
- New employees need one, central and up-to-date information to which they can trust
- Everyone expects to spend less time on trivial tasks and useless communication
- Clients need to have clear and precise information which they care
The IT service catalogue contains all vital information about services the company produces, the relation between each other, references to involved parties, etc. In general, it tries to create value for both the company and for clients.
As usual, the service catalog contains at least two types of information:
- Products produced by the company
- Services provided to clients
There are many ways to improve communication and increase team efficiency. In combination, they provide an employee-friendly environment at the company.
One of them is an IT service catalogue.
Other information is mainly used as a complementary and for better visualization:
- Information about people
- Information about clients
- Information about the infrastructure
- Information about third-party products, which are used directly or indirectly in products or services
- Auxiliary lists for better classification and filtering main object types
Visually it can be represented like this:
This representation is quite general, and each company should and will come up with its own object schema.
First steps and how to start
Top management commitment is essential. Without it, stop thinking about the IT service catalogue. After receiving the support, everything becomes much more manageable. As usual, you can find many scattered files across shared sources, in the corporate messaging platform and, of course, ask experienced people to help you.
It is a foundation to achieve granularity of the data. Even if this information might look shallow, it’s better to start on something than from a blank page. In the end, you should have described all products your company produces, the relationship with clients and the list of actual services which you are providing to your customers.
Keeping it up to date
Creating the first version is, of course, important. But keeping it up to date is even more critical. The service catalogue proves its value from the first days, and many people will find it helpful. So, mistakes or obsolete information will decrease authority, and the service catalogue will be forgotten faster than you think.
To keep it valuable and relevant, stick with these rules:
- Use proper role and permission management structure
- Promote the service catalog using any available channel
- Remove old and alternative ways of getting the same information
- Treat managing the service catalog as a separate service
Use proper role and permission management structure
It is important to distinguish persons who will be responsible for adding new products and services and also who will approve such requests. A simple RACI matrix will be enough for the first time.
Promote the service catalog using any available channel
The audience should see your masterpiece, and it should be easily discoverable. Use any available sources to promote it:
- Internal communication platform
- Email newsletters
- Mention the service catalogue as often as possible
Remove old and alternative ways of getting the same information
People tend to stick with old habits, even if you think that you have made a great tool, it is hard to convince everyone. Removing or making it harder to find old data, making them read-only, and using the previous suggestion highly increases chances to succeed.
Treat managing the service catalog as a separate service
This small but obvious step is yet another way to keep the service catalogue clean and relevant. Treat updating the service catalog as any other service or change request. You can create a workflow and use the previously defined RACI matrix.
In an ideal world, updating the IT service catalogue should be automated. It needs time and effort to achieve this, and it is absolutely not necessary to automate everything at once. Let’s keep it as a goal and write in OKR with Capital Letters.
In a technology era, it’s crucial to use proper tools. The IT service catalogue can become quite complex, and finding the necessary information can become harder. Modern tools help you understand your data, structure and visualize it as needed, link objects between each other, and provide views to your audience.
The best service catalogue software is based on the Graph Database. It allows you to create fully customized object schemas, define attributes for each of them, and make relationships as complex as you like.
The IT service catalogue is one of the most essential practices, and its implementation shows its value really soon. People will find that as the information is centralized, they spend less time searching and are more concentrated on actual work. After that, it is easier to build other practices on top of it.
Huge thanks to Dimitri for joining our #BeTechReady initiative! We’re so glad to have our team members share their tech knowledge with us and our audience. Learning more about the importance of an IT service catalogue & how to implement it properly was such a great read, and we hope you will find it just as much as useful & interesting as well.
We’re always on the lookout for team players with a go-getter attitude and if you happen to be searching for a new job opportunity, check out our Career page. Maybe you will be the next person to join our #SingularTeam. 😉