April 13, 2015

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Service Catalog - A User's Perspective

Introduction

When companies operate through large delivery models, there are many areas that are worked on with multiple services and stakeholders involved at various levels. In such a multi-tier system, stakeholders wishing to consume outsourcing services are often at a loss in terms of knowing what services, skillsets and solutions a vendor can provide. They may also have new asks - short-term projects with quick turnaround that are not large enough to float RFP/bids for, and generally involve their existing systems.

The challenge they face is in terms of clarity with regard to whom to approach, how to ask, what skillsets a particular team might have, available bandwidth, past stakeholders who can be contacted for feedback, etc. Several such questions usually remain unanswered making it difficult to take a quick and effective decision.

What Is Service Catalog?

The Service Catalogue can serve as a framework to help define, publish, and improve service offerings by bringing all the offered services to one place and then redefining them in the context of a dynamic business environment.

It substantiates, in detail, the types of services that are being catered for and on-going or planned/forecasted service requests containing accurate information on all operational services within the next one to two Quarters. Users wishing to consume services could use a Service Catalog to view what services are available, their description, type of service requests catered to in the past, and also know the technologies used to provide the services.

Service Catalog - A User's Perspective

Let’s take a tour of what the Service Catalogue can potentially contain from a user’s perspective.

A user goes to a website to search for a specific service, say for example - requesting a new laptop, requesting a change in benefits, or adding a new employee to a department. The Service Catalog groups the services by category and allows for searching (especially when several services are available).

The user selects a desired service and sees the description and details. The user enters any pertinent information (contact information, service-specific questions, etc.) and submits the request for service. The request requires approval and goes through routing, service-level management, and other processes necessary to fulfill the request. The user may return to the site later to check on the status of the request or to view the overall metrics on how well the organization is performing the services it provides.

Key Objectives of the Service Catalogue includes (but is not limited to):

  • Document and publish a range of available services by a Service Provider
  • Reduce overall service request time lines by quickly helping identify right partners for various services
  • Standardize service deliverables
  • Establish service level expectations (SLAs/timelines as applicable)
  • Establish standards to promote consistency
  • Track effective resource utilization (in the long run)