Can we have a copy of your Service Catalogue and we will be done

By ITIL® from Experience©

When starting to prepare a Service Catalogue it is common to ask others for theirs as a model to copy or for inspiration.

This makes sense since services offered by the I.T. department of one organization are similar to services offered by another. Typically, both may offer a Service Desk, desktop computers, networking and application development services. However, someone else’s catalogue has less value than first imagined. Hard work still needs to be done. Most of the time the work ends up being a lot more than anticipated as everyone’s services are unique.

It is like a restaurant. No two Chinese restaurants are the same. They each have a specialty or unique offering due to their capabilities (e.g. cook, recipe). Their offering is also shaped by the clientele it serves (e.g. suburbia, near a college). Their menu format is also different. Some list ingredients while others add a symbol to indicate the level of spice of their items (e.g. hot pepper icon). Organizations are no different.

Each I.T. department’s services are as unique as the organization it serves and no two organizations are identical. No two hospitals, universities, government departments or private sector businesses are identical. Each selects a strategy to meet their mission and uses their capabilities, resources and select methods to reach their goals. This helps shape I.T. decisions and services offered. As a result, even though two I.T. departments may be offering a similar service (i.e. networking), the attributes of the service makes it unique.

Thus, there is no one-size-fits-all or template for a service and a catalogue. For one thing, terms used need to convey the right intent in your organization. For example, in one organization, the service of providing personal computers (laptops and desktops) is called Workplace Provisioning while at another it is called Managed Desktop.

Terminology aside, other elements helps to make the description of services in the catalogue unique to the organization. For example:

  • Procurement process (e.g. centralized, BYOD)
  • Cost and/or charge-back policies
  • Internal controls and authorizations
  • Choice of suppliers and products as they provide different capabilities and service attributes
  • Decisions to offer features for the service
  • Choice of offering: one-size-fits-all or in tiers (e.g. Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond…)
  • Business Hours (24x7x365)
  • Points of contacts (Service Desk, Office Administrator, Customer Relationship Manager)
  • Structure of the Service Level Agreements (e.g. Corporate, Service or Customer Based)
  • Audience for the Catalogue

As can be seen from the list above, each organization need to spend effort to gather the information to properly describe the service it offers. The effort spent gathering the content, discussing terminology and developing a common understanding so that everyone share the same vision of the services offered and the catalogue is time well spent and will ensure buy-in.

One can borrow a Service Catalogue from another organization as a starting point. However, it is only a starting point. Ultimately hard work needs to be done to prepare a catalogue since every catalogue is as unique as a restaurant’s menu.


ITIL Process > Service Catalogue Management


Copyright 2014 - ITIL® from Experience - D.Matte