Getting A Service Catalog: So Much More Than Buying A Tool!

I’ve been meaning to write about service catalog for a year now but I’ve just not had the bandwidth. It’s a common subject for Forrester client inquiries, mainly for my colleague Eveline Oehrlich who has several formal service catalog management outputs scheduled for 2012. Undertaking a recent service catalog webinar with ServiceNow, however, made me realize that I had already created the content for a quick service catalog blog. Hopefully it’s a blog that will help many learn from the service catalog mistakes of others.

What’s the big issue with service catalogs?

Service catalogs (or more importantly service catalog management) really hit the mainstream with ITIL v3 (introduced in June 2007) based on real world use of early service catalogs. So they are nothing new. However, many organizations struggle to start (and finish) service catalog initiatives AND to realize the anticipated benefits. The answer for many lies in that last sentence – they need more than “service catalog initiatives.”

As an aside, I often ask attendees of my presentations: “who has a service catalog?”, “who is planning a service catalog?”, and “who feels they have realized the anticipated benefits from deploying a service catalog?” While the answers to the first two questions can vary, the answer to the third is pretty consistent – organizations are consistently failing to realize the expected benefits from their service catalog initiatives.

So what goes wrong?

In my experience there are four key issues

  1. It’s often seen as a technology project … “let’s buy a service catalog tool” rather than introducing service catalog management and enabling technology.
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