IT Governance

Service Catalogue: Collaborating to Define IT Value

The service catalogue has many versions and is a “multi-functional” and “multi-level” unit. There is no single approach! Yet according to Barclay Rae in a guest post for Joe the IT Guy, it is the service catalogue that has the potential to unify the whole of IT service – if one turns to collaboration first.

Business and IT Views

In most tool sets you’ll find the user portal and the business service map. The former provides request management, provisioning, and automated self-service to IT users. The latter is an inner-facing tool that gives structure to formal processes and acts to inform those processes and their accompanying documentation.

In reality, the service catalogue need not be so dichotomous, argues Rae, and can actually be a source of empowerment for many IT organizations who feel a growing pressure to “define” what they do. One would like to think they already know what services are being delivered, but Rae is quick to point out the fallacy of this assumption:

I have worked in many organisations where this discussion has been met with rolling eyes and defensive responses like “we know what we deliver, we’ve been doing that for 30 years.” In those instances, I ask groups of people across the organisation to write down what they do and deliver – and of course they all write down something different.

Collaborating the Catalogue

The key, says Rae, is to discover where IT and the business come to a consensus around what services can and should be offered. The solution, somewhat obviously, is for IT people to actually work with users in real time to develop a definition of service.

This can be accomplished in many ways. Of course, team interaction is essential, with different views converging around the definition of service and the service catalogue. It involves sharing a common “language” of IT service and common goals. Documentation then pulls it all together, and in that way collaboration becomes the service catalogue, which in turn defines the value of IT.

Read the original post at:

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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