IT Service Catalogs: The Biggest Mistakes

Your IT service catalog is a vital anchor in the relationship between your IT services and the customer. If you’re going to bother going to the effort to put a service catalog in place, you may as well do it right. Here is the biggest mistake to avoid with your IT service catalog.

The biggest mistake we see in service catalogs is that organizations often define services at the component or activity level instead of at the business level. These technical services are important to your IT shop, but no offense, the business doesn’t give a donut.

Your service catalog needs to START with the business in mind. Talk to the business, determine what business processes you’re supporting and then work to define the few (less than 15 probably) business services you offer. You’ll find that most of the items you are considering for your catalog are technical services that support those business services.

“We’re flying people, not planes.”

Pierre Beaudoin, CEO, Bombardier Aerospace

Your service catalog should list the services, as your business needs to know and understand what you do, but not burden the business with having to view the systems, components or work instructions associated with offering those services.  Those items are for your IT teams.  The following graphic displays how the various service definitions snap together.

Benefits of a well-constructed  service catalog:

  1. Shows the business that IT understands what the business does and how IT integrates with the business
  2. Can provide an essential medium for communication and coordination among IT and its customers
  3. Allows you to determine costs by business service
  4. Puts the business in a position of making IT investment decisions, based on impact to business services.
  5. Reduction of overspending on the operational costs of delivering IT services
  6. Faster cycle time for the fulfillment of services
  7. Better allocation of resources to effectively meet business demand
  8. Most importantly, significant improvements in internal customer satisfaction

Services that IT provides are too complex and too important to the core business processes to just leave it up to the customer to try and figure out how IT can best enable the outcomes the business is seeking.  IT needs to clearly define its offerings and products in terms that customers will understand and value and, more importantly, demonstrate that IT understands the business and what it values.

If a Service Catalog is not designed with the customer in mind it will distort the business view of IT and only aggravate the disconnect the Service Catalog is supposed to bridge. Business and IT are one…Talk business.

Get a sample of IT Service Catalog by Julie Montgomery 


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