11 April 2024
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How to create IT Service Catalogue (Image by Freepik @billionphotos)

An IT services catalog is part of a strategy for how MSPs make money. In the catalog, clients see what your MSP company offers. But with all this IT flexibility, how do you create an IT service catalog?

Why bother? Can’t people just ask IT when they need something? All these questions are valid.

However, beyond validation, an IT company should use customer orientation or a customer point of view in its business strategy.

Providing a well-structured catalog enables customers to quickly identify and request the services they need, reducing confusion and off-target requests.

This efficiency can translate into quicker resolutions, better allocation of IT resources, and ultimately, higher customer confidence in IT’s ability to resolve their issues.

Moreover, having a dynamic service catalog that reflects current offerings and is aligned with the organization’s strategic IT goals aids in decision-making and future planning.

It can offer insights into which services are most utilized or demand more resources, guiding IT management in prioritizing and adjusting their service offerings effectively.

Ready to build your own IT service masterpiece? Let’s dive in deeper!

Key Components of an IT Service Catalog

The IT catalog aims to make IT services as accessible and understandable as possible. So, we focus on crafting a clear, comprehensive guide that users and IT teams can rely on. So, here’s what to include:

1. Service Name & Description

Keep it simple and straightforward. Avoid techy lingo that would confuse your average user. Think “Laptop Setup” instead of “Endpoint Provisioning.”

Your service catalog should outline each service with enough detail to eliminate confusion but not so much that it overwhelms. 

Services should include names, categories (like hardware, software, or support), descriptions, and ownership details.

This clarity helps users understand exactly what’s available and who to contact for each service​​​​.

2. Personalization and Relevance

Is this service for everyone, or the marketing department? Specify the target audience for each service. And yes, ITIL 4 emphasizes tailoring services to meet individual customer needs. 

Not all services apply to everyone. Identify if a service is exclusive to a department like marketing or available organization-wide.

By offering various service options and enabling customization, you enhance user satisfaction and ensure services are closely aligned with business requirements.

This approach not only boosts efficiency but also enhances the customer experience​​. You help users quickly identify the services relevant to them​​​​.

3. Streamlined Processes

A well-structured service catalog simplifies request and fulfillment processes. It means faster service delivery, reduced lead times, and a smoother customer experience.

Make the ordering process crystal clear. Whether through an online form, a direct email, or a self-service portal, users should know exactly how to request a service.

This efficiency is a core benefit of adopting ITIL 4 Service Catalogs, leading to improved operational efficiency and minimized delays​​.

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IT Service Catalogue (Image by Freepik @frolopiaton-palm)

4. Continuous Improvement

Your service catalog isn’t a static document; it’s a living one that requires regular updates and improvements.

By monitoring performance against SLAs and SLTs, you can identify areas for enhancement, ensuring the catalog remains relevant and valuable​​.

5. Availability and SLAs

Detailed details of when services are available, and the expected service levels (SLAs) set clear expectations. This includes resolution times, update frequencies, and any other service standards.

Transparent SLAs build trust and set clear expectations for service quality and delivery​​​​. This prevents unrealistic expectations and fosters trust between IT and its users.​​​​

Steps to Create IT Service Catalog

Developing an IT service catalog focuses on figuring out what we’re selling, how to display it, and how to let customers know we’re open for business. Moreover, the development will positively affect your MSP pricing strategy.

It’s about aligning IT services with business goals, offering clear and accessible information, and ensuring efficient service delivery and continuous improvement.

1. Understand Business Objectives and Stakeholders

Start by defining your business goals and identifying stakeholders and their requirements. Understanding what your business aims to achieve with the IT service catalog sets a clear direction for the project​​​​.

Start by listing every single service your IT team offers. Be thorough!

This includes apparent things, like fixing printers, and not-so-obvious things, like training sessions. Get IT people across different teams involved – they’ll know all the services hiding in the shadows.

2. Define and Categorize Service Offerings

Inventory all IT services, understanding their workflows and turnaround times.

Correctly categorizing services ensures they are easily found and utilized by end users, enhancing the user experience and service efficiency​​​​.

Think like a customer – would they understand the descriptions you’re using? Avoid internal tech terms. Instead, focus on what the service does for the user.

3. Establish Service-Specific SLAs and Workflows

SLAs (Service Level Agreements) are your promises to users. How quickly will tickets be resolved?  Can people get 24/7 emergency help?  Be realistic and communicate these SLAs clearly in the catalog.

Develop clear SLAs and define fulfillment workflows for each service. This step ensures that service delivery expectations are set and met, contributing to user satisfaction and operational efficiency​​​​.

4. Organize Service Fulfillment Strategy

Determine how services will be requested, who will fulfill them, and the necessary approval processes.

Organizing your service fulfillment strategically minimizes delays and enhances service delivery​​.

5. Design an Intuitive Service Catalog

Focus on user experience when designing your catalog. It should be visually appealing, easy to navigate, and provide all necessary service details upfront, enabling users to make informed service requests​​.

Therefore, don’t get bogged down by tech – the key is making it easy to resolve what users want.

6. Integrate and Publish the Catalog

Ensure your service catalog is integrated with self-service portals and accessible across various platforms.

Initial implementation in a controlled environment allows for gathering feedback and making necessary adjustments before a broader rollout​​.

7. Keep It Fresh

A service catalog isn’t a one-and-done deal. As your offerings change, so should the catalog.  Set up a regular review process.

Monitor key performance indicators to gauge the catalog’s effectiveness and identify areas for enhancement.

Continuous improvement ensures the service catalog remains relevant, efficient, and user-centric​​​​.

Conclusion

Always view your IT service catalog through the lens of the users. Remember, it’s about making their interactions with IT as smooth and productive as possible.

This perspective ensures your catalog is more than a list; it’s a vital tool in your service delivery arsenal.

Please remember that your IT service catalog is more than a document or a webpage; it’s a testament to your MSP’s dedication to clarity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction.

Keep it user-focused, up-to-date, and integral to your service strategy, and it will serve you well in the ever-evolving landscape of IT service management.

Your IT service is a tool and a beacon guiding your customers to the solutions they need, ensuring your MSP remains a trusted, responsive partner in their success.

With these reflections and strategies, we encourage you to embrace the ongoing evolution of how to create an IT service catalog.