A service catalogue is an organised and curated collection of any and all business and information technology related services that can be performed by, for, or within an enterprise.
Service catalogues act as knowledge management tools for the employees and consultants of an enterprise, allowing them to route their requests for and about services and service related topics to the subject matter experts who own, are accountable for, and operate them. Each service within such service catalogues is usually very repeatable and has controlled inputs, processes, and outputs.
What is a Service? A service is defined as:
‘One or more technical or professional IT capability working together which enable a business process, and is perceived by the customer to be a coherent whole.’
When defining IT Services it is necessary to understand is that there are two basic types of services that IT provides. These two types can be loosely classified as either “Technical” or “Professional” services.
A “Technical Service” is defined as a technology based capability that the customer consumes or uses in order to facilitate a business process or function. Technical services can be further understood as either application services or infrastructure services.
Examples of Technical Services are:
General Infrastructure services such as:
- Messaging / Email
- File / Print
- Network or Internet access
- Office or desktop productivity
- Voice Communications
- Application Hosting
- Storage Management
Application based services such as:
- Financial Management Systems
- HR Support
- Power Generation Applications
- Refining and Control Systems
Many of the IT Services will be defined and named after the business process or function the IT Service facilitates. A benefit of aligning the IT Service names with Business Processes is that it improves understanding for both the customer and IT staff on how technology is aligned to meet business objectives.
Service catalogues also allow leadership and management, for example the Chief Operations Officer (COO), to compartmentalise the enterprise into highly structured and more efficient operational units, hence the descriptive phrase: “a service-oriented enterprise.”
A user can go to a catalogue be it a website or intranet to search for a specific service, such as requesting a new laptop, requesting a change in benefits, or adding a new employee to a department. The service catalogue site groups services by category and allows for searching (especially when hundreds or thousands of services are available). The user selects a desired service and sees the description and details. They then enter any pertinent information (contact information, service-specific questions) and submits the request for service. The request requires approval, and goes through routing, service-level management, and other processes necessary to fulfil the request. The user may return to the site later to check on the status of a request, or to view overall metrics on how well the organisation is performing the services it provides.