Ensuring the service catalogue gets used

The question was asked on a LinkedIn forum: after the initial launch and training for a service catalogue, how to ensure it gets used? My view:

Who is the catalogue for? Who are the target audiences? make a list of places (meetings, reports, documents, procedures...) where you would expect the catalogue to be mentioned or used. Audit if it is. If not, do comms and training to increase awareness

What is it for? Make sure it is fit for purpose: that it works, that it is easier and/or more valuable than the alternatives. Find the alternatives: if they don't use the catalogue what do they use and why?

What keeps it alive? Does the catalogue have a support system, with owner, custodian, trainer/promoter/champion, procedures, integration into processes, measurement and reporting, regular audit of content and usage...? or is it just a lonely bit of software or web content, or a sad little word doc in a directory somewhere? If so it's dead.

What next? So much hangs off a catalogue: I bet it is not finished. keep growing the value (so long as there is ROI for the effort). Use it to drive SM improvements. integrate it into other areas; asset, finance, continuity, availability, operations etc etc

More ideas please....


How to get Service Catalog used by the business... It's simple

A colleauge of mine actually figured this out.. The AMAZING thing is that he did it without ITIL Training, ITIL Tools, or ITIL Consulting. He figured it out because he was a business person first, CIO second. Proof that ITSM can be acheived and that ITIL can contribute to getting their quicker, but is definitely not a requirement.

The following are excerpts from a whitepaper on Transparency and service management;

His comment to the business was basically this; "“If you use it, you pay for it. If you don’t use it, you don’t.”

He goes on further...
“As an IT leader, it’s difficult for me to hold conversations about the business value of IT and achieve true IT alignment without getting the money question out of the way first. Once we achieve cost transparency, we can focus on the thornier issues of alignment around value creation and risk. Transparency isn’t a panacea and the end-all of IT alignment, but it is a pre-requisite before any serious conversations can take place. IT alignment is never done, it just gets better, and we’re definitely not done.”

This CIO basically gave his entire budget to the business and told his IT staff; "starting today we have no budget, we’re allowed to bill for services, and our business units can bid other companies competitively against us on those services. We have to deliver 100% of what we’re delivering today, at the cost we’re delivering it today.”

Expensive tools were not available to assist their efforts. General Ledger information was critical to their success with identifying costs incurred in the previous years and for tracking costs in the current year. Their helpdesk evolved from Outlook tasks to an off-the-shelf Helpdesk Tool taking 7500 calls/yr with a knowledgebase built over 10 years. The Audit Bill is currently done manually and takes 6 hrs per month, but they have a goal to automate and get it down to 6 minutes per month. Their cost modeling is done in a complex spreadsheet.

Today, the this IT department has to take on the role of consultant, R&D, and sales. To do more for the company with IT, they need to research potential improvements, put together “marketing materials”, and sell the technology as new services the business wants to buy.

It's really that simple... :)


No it isn't!

It certainly isn't as simple as you suggest.

Implied but not stated in your message is that your colleague has balls. Big brass ones.

He has the confidence and courage to let go of his budget (ie: actually take control of it).
He has mandated a cultural shift from tech fixation to common sense business principles, but more importantly put his own livelihood on the line by giving their business the choice to buy elsewhere.
The "If you use it, you pay for it. If you don’t use it, you don’t" mantra is massive, absolutely massive. It forces cost/benefit justification (sure the benefits can be perceived, not realised but that's OK).
Whether he can wind down his IT shop if the business buys from elsewhere and make good on the "threat" remains to be seen.

If I do some math, 7,500 calls per annum at 0.7 calls per user per month spits out a company with circa 900 user FTEs (sure a manufacturing company could have '000s of staff).
Let's round it up to 1000 end users and assume an IT shop of 20-30 people doing bog-standard IT (apps dev could be anything). That's small enough for the CIO to be right on top of the cultural issues and messages, and probably from time-to-time (maybe often), directly intervene and remove obstacles.

I just wonder whether this absolutely excellent set of business principles and the brass balls to put them into action can scale up to a bigger organisation, whether passive-defensive peers, middle managers, dead-wood staff etc.. are often adept at diluting the momentum, passive/active resistance and leave such a strong business person hanging out to dry. Let alone unionised workforces, big slow dinosaur companies, lazy public sector cultures.

I agree with the sentiment, in fact am inspired by it.

Not sure it is "really that simple" in practice.

A way that I have found

A way that I have found effective is to integrate the Service Request process with the Service Catalogue. This only works on those Catalogues that are online internet pages, or tools. It does not work for the word document approach.
By including Service Requests as a selectable option from within the Catalogue (so that each Service entry within the Catalogue has a number of Service Requests attached to it) you can promote a constant flow of users looking at the catalogue.
This only works if a) The target audience of your catalogue is the ‘average user’ b) The Service requests are simple to make and relevant to the average need of a user looking in the catalogue and c) The Catalogue is available with a decent search tool so that people do not spend ages looking for the request and become frustrated.

The benefit from adding Service Requests into a Service Catalogue is that there is continual drip drip drip of constant reinforcement of the services gained as each time a user access the catalogue to request something they are reminded what services are (and just as importantly are NOT) available to them.

Its not a 100% panacea and comes with its own plethora of issues (Keeping it up to date, making sure that its easy to request and utilise, ensuring the Service Desk know to point users at the catalogue and so on) and its not appropriate for some Catalogues but where it works it’s a useful reinforcer.

It is not easy to define the service

There are several reasons. One reason is that it seems to be hard to define the services. I have written about this in an article at http://www.itsmportal.com/columns/it-not-so-easy-define-services (Rob, you will find your robot-picture there (Ok, service model but it looks like a robot to me;-)).

Another reason could be that IT people do not understand sales. There needs to be sales between service provicer and the customer and if you ignore sales in defining the service catalogue, you're in trouble. A service lifecycle model without sales and customer relationship management is something I just don't get. Even if you do not charge for the service you need to sell it.


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