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A New Kind of Service Catalogue?

The service catalogue is flat, and by flat I don’t simply mean it occupies a two-dimensional space. Robin Goldsbro, writing for Service Desk 360, wants to puff-up the ITIL service catalogue to make it represent more accurately the complex relationship between the business and IT with the goal of communicating value.

Flaws of / Alternatives to the Current Catalogue

As it stands, says Goldsbro, the ITIL catalogue situates IT and the business as a two-tiered structure that presents technologies outside of the macro-level business context. An improved version of the service catalogue would account for key activities of interest to the business, as well as alternative models of resource delivery considered for technologies. Persons who are ‘Service Offering Owners’ would stand at a middle ground between the two tiers, discerning what factors might contribute to the company’s competitive advantage.

An Example of IT Service Offerings

As an example, Goldsbro cites a legal services business. He borrows from the idea of the ‘Value Chain’ and converts each business activity in the chain into a business process that must be solved by IT. The subsequent IT solutions he calls ‘Service Offerings.’ A Service Offering for commercial development might involve marketing, which would in turn involve technologies like Adobe InDesign software. Goldbro summarizes the approach well:

This new service catalogue creates a business to technology map; it’s a reusable model from the structure of the ticket system to any knowledge bases and beyond.  It facilitates reports that show insight with context of the business…Adopting a pragmatic position it’s possible to evaluate each Service Offering to appreciate its criticality to the wider business, perhaps giving it a ‘utility’ value.  It’s also possible to give it a rating of automation opportunities and other values that indicate if this is something that IT should focus on.

The IT Service Liaison

Underpinning this revised model is the notion of a Service Offering ‘owner,’ ideally some IT person who is looking out for the business and acts as a liaison of IT/business efficiency. The central idea is to get the right technologies to the right business units to maximize ROI. If IT can act as a services consultant for the business, it is reasoned, it will give IT the structure and resources through which to deliver maximum value for minimum cost.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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