Many internal and external IT service providers ask themselves: do I deliver the right IT services? And how can I present my services to my (internal or external) customers? These questions match the questions of many IT customers: what can I expect from my IT provider? In a world with many web shops and glossy product catalogues, the solution seems to be very simple: let’s build a service catalogue to make clear what we can deliver and how this service is provided. The practice is more harsh: What is the service we deliver? Can we guarantee delivery moments? Who is the real customer who will use this catalogue? Is everything possible or do we have to standardize first? IT services are much harder to define, sell and deliver by catalogue than products. This is the main explanation why even a catalogue champion like IKEA did not yet use an internal IT catalogue as recently as 2009.
The services which support a business process or activity must be defined in a way that the client (the business) and the supplier (e.g. IT) understand. The service catalogue aims to describe all services, their importance to the client, how they are offered, the relations and who the owners are both from a client and an suppliers perspective. This description enables the client to decide which service is needed and in what amounts, and enables the supplier to manage and support the deliverables.
There are different requirements to the content of the service depending on the user of catalogue. This makes that in the same client/ supplier arena glossy catalogues are needed and also complete technical catalogues. Finally, the Service Catalogue is often the cornerstone in a Service Agreement because it defines the services that can be delivered with which service levels according this agreement. To cope with these requirements, it advisable to use a repository catalogue which defines all attributes of each service and this catalogue can be the source for all user oriented catalogues.