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Implementing a Service Catalog is a critical factor when attempting to run IT like a business. Members discussed the key steps to Service Catalog implementation with the help of an industry consultant during a recent WebForum.

8 Steps to IT Service Catalog Implementation

Moderator:  I found these eight steps to service catalog implementation on the web. Let’s talk about them.

1. Define Your Services
Decide what services you'll offer and present them in terms that users understand.

2. Pick A Manager
Select someone who's able to manage all aspects of service definition and catalog execution.

3. Communicate
Make sure your customers know where to find the catalog and what your guidelines are for its use.

4. Put it on paper
A paper-based service catalog will help you define all elements required for an automated on

5. Action Items 
Define actionable elements and actions to be taken.

6. Choose A Vendor
Evaluate as many candidates as possible to find the best one for your enterprise.

7. Implement, Integrate
Plan, test, and roll out your service catalog.

8. Make It Better
There's always room for improvement. Seek out user and IT staff feedback, and act on it.

Moderator: The first one is define your services. Decide what you will offer and present them in term that users understand.

George Spalding: (Pink Elephant consultant) I wish it was as easy as that bullet. Yes, that is exactly the first thing. That would be ideal, but boy it takes a while.

Moderator: The next step is to pick a manager. Select someone who is able to manage all aspects of the service definition catalog. You are actually saying that should be just right under the CIO.

George S.: An owner; there needs to be an owner. The manager, in our world we have two different things. The owner can have other tasks meaning they could be an executive. They could be other things. The manager is responsible for actually executing this and making it work.

Moderator:   Then step three; communicate, make sure the customers know where to find the catalog and what your guidelines are for its use.

George S.: Agreed.

Moderator:   Number four; put it on paper. A paper based service catalog will help you define all elements required for an automated one. How do you feel about that?

George S.: Well, you are developing basically an app so if you put your system requirements on paper OK fine but basically you are doing system requirements for an app.

Moderator:  Number five is; action items. Define actionable elements and actions to be taken.

George S.: Yes, sure.

Moderator:   Six; choose a vendor. Evaluate as many candidates as possible to find the best one for your enterprise. Now when they say vendor is that a tool?

George S.: Yes, you are talking about a tool that have service catalog built within it. The idea behind that paper based requirement sheet was basically it should allow you to shop better. So we are now going to a vendor. The one thing that I would say is I would look for a vendor tool, and this is a big decision because you are going to make this decision once in five years at the most.  You need it to be more integrated than you fancy and special. So it really needs to be integrated with the rest of the organization in terms of the rest of the processes; incident, change and things like that.

Moderator:  You said that you don’t really endorse tools. I understand that but are there a lot of them out there?

George S.: Yes, I would say there are at least two dozen different vendors.

Moderator:   Any thoughts, you have talked about how important it is, what are some keys to choosing the right one?

George S.: If you go to our website you can just start seeing them. If you can go to any kind of a show or whatnot you can shop in person. If you are a big enough organization they will come to you. What you really need to do is get down to a short list of three or four and then have them in and create use cases.

In other words say; I want to define a service. How would I do it on your tool? I want to create a catalog. How would I do it? I am now an end user and I want to go and buy something. How do I do it? Use cases and make them do it in front of you. Don’t let them prepare too much for the demo. Make them do it. You are going to have to do it when they leave so make them do it in front of you so that you can understand. There is a lot of variety and there is quite a variety of quality and completeness in this area.

Moderator:  Last couple of bullets are implement and integrate, plan test and roll out your service catalog and make it better.

George S.: You find people, when they do that, and I like this way because it makes sense to everybody is they roll out a few services. Not everyone,  just a few and they kind of get their feet wet. They tell everybody, the ones that are going to take the biggest workload off of them, take the number of calls off the service desk and requests.

So they roll out what is in essence a request portal and kind of get that going. Then if that works and hopefully it does, then they start to move to the next layer. There is always room for improvement. I couldn’t agree more. I wrote the book on improvement.

Moderator:  Arlene suggests via chat that we add a ninth step and that is governance.

George S.: Well. I think as you develop the catalog itself and as you develop services you can’t develop a good definition of services without an element of governance in the actual services.

Moderator:  When you are talking about vendors in addition to their capabilities there is a very big spread in pricing those vendors.

George S.: Oh yes, you are talking $25-50 grand to $250-500 grand.

Dennis:  Does the owner need to be someone involved in the daily operations?

George S.: The owner does not need to be involved in the daily operation but they need to have enough juice within the organization to impact or if need be stop a change. If they believe that a change is going to harm their service and harm the performance then they need to have enough juice to stop it. That is usually somebody relatively high up.

NOREX members may download the complete transcript of this WebForum at anytime. Non-members should contact us for more information.