IT Governance

5 Proven Practical Tips for Starting Your Service Catalogue

Maybe your organization has never had a service catalogue, or maybe the existing catalogue is just so lousy that people deserve a better one. Whatever the reason, if you need tips, Joe the IT Guy is here to help. In a post at his blog, he shares five tips to get going on a worthwhile product:

  1. Find out what data you already have.
  2. Define what you’re creating.
  3. Ensure everyone knows who is responsible for what.
  4. Get real buy-in.
  5. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

The AAA Service Experience

Even if a formal service catalogue does not exist currently, there is a big chance that someone—for some random reason—has collected similar information before. Scan the organization for if collections of services have been created before to save yourself some needless labor. Even more generally, scan for any applicable data that can be quickly incorporated into your catalogue.

Next, decide what type of service catalogue you are creating, namely, who the audience shall be. If it is strictly facing IT, it can have jargon out the wazoo, but any other audience will require more palatable language to understand service offerings. If the catalogue cannot be read by its intended audience, it is useless.

Of course, just as service exists in a lifecycle, so too does the service catalogue. It must be maintained over time, especially with regard to (1) who is in charge of various services and (2) if offered services are maintaining their relevancy. Develop a plan for regular maintenance. On that same note, develop metrics with which to measure the service catalogue’s effectiveness over time. It is the only way to prove long-term to executives that the effort in having built the thing has been worthwhile.

Lastly, about getting “real” buy-in for the catalogue, Joe says this:

… if people see that the executives aren’t using [the catalogue], they will assume that something is wrong with it or that it’s okay to ignore it too.

Real buy-in will make or break a service catalog. If executives don’t think they’ll use it, then find out why. Fix the barriers to uptake and ensure that the service catalog fits with, and is understood by, your business colleagues. Ultimately, this should be the business’ service catalog; it should be designed to make their lives easier. If people understand this, then you’re more likely to get their input.

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