The IT service catalog isn’t new, and request automation for business users to interact with IT services has been available for a while – but as the web continues its trend of revolutionizing the way IT does business, web portals providing automated IT services expanded. David Chernicoff explains in this article how service management’s increased importance has made the service catalog an important piece of the self-service IT process. Instead of simply being a convenience, the service catalog has become essential for business users: Business users don’t care about the IT issues in deploying services and capabilities; from their perspective it’s already a black box into which they enter their request and expect an appropriate response. With the cloud having the potential to greatly expand the services available from IT, an easy to use service catalog that integrates with cloud services and automation tools will become the front end for almost all interaction with IT in the future for the average business IT services user. Preparing for cloud service backends that support the future of IT business is a key element to being prepared for how users expect to be interacted with, so paying close attention to these developments can mean a big difference in how well a CIO can adjust their offerings to fit with new best practices.