11 min read

How to Design and Implement a Robust IT Service Catalog

December 6, 2023

IT organizations need to bridge the gap between their highly trained teams and end-users that are not well-versed in technical language. While 67% of leaders understand the need for better employee experience, there is a disconnect between techs and end-users.  

An IT service catalog makes life easier for both end-users and IT teams. But how do you know what to include in a service catalog? And how can you deploy one? 

What is a Service Catalog?  

Let’s start with the basics. A service catalog offers a clear overview of the services your IT department offers. This would normally include: 

  • The name of each service 
  • Which category of service it falls under 
  • The level of availability and expected wait time 
  • A brief description of the service itself 

What are the Benefits of a Service Catalog? 

1. Expectation Management

IT is often a black box to end-users, which means expectations are often set too high - leading to frustration and disappointment. This also negatively affects techs, as they are faced with the extra task of explaining the service to employees. In fact, 11% of leaders cite “changing expectations” as a key challenge for ITSM. 

A service catalog provides clarity for both parties, ensuring expectations are set appropriately and communication is effective. 

2. Accelerating Service

Most end-users don’t know what IT service they require, which results in an often-lengthy consultation process with the help desk. This extends the service process and means whatever issue they face takes longer to resolve.  

With a service catalog, end-users can make sense of their situation and select the appropriate service without a consultation, ultimately accelerating the entire process. 

3. Improved Employee Experience

With clearer expectations, more control and faster IT service, end-users have a far more positive experience with a service catalog. Equally, techs are able to deal with a higher volume of issues more quickly and are less likely to face large backlogs, making their daily experience more pleasant too. 

But how do you build a service catalog that delivers these benefits? 

3 Principles for an Effective Service Catalog  

1. Limit Options

Having too many service options creates confusion for end-users, especially if there are multiple services that appear similar. It is an IT service catalog best practice to simplify your offering down to at most 4-5 clearly differentiated services per audience. 

2. standarize services

End-users need to feel confident in what they are getting when they request an item from your service catalog, which means each item should be delivered in the same way by every tech. Make this a reality by embedding SOPs in your tickets to ensure the process is consistent. 

3. focus on user experience (UX) 

Your catalog should be designed to create a positive user experience. This includes everything from making your forms simple and intuitive to fill in, to sending automated “thank you” notes when they use the service catalog. 

3 Steps to Develop a Robust Service Catalog 

1. collect and analyze data

You need to understand what problems your end-users face and how your IT services can help them. This requires a large volume of data, rather than basing your strategy on intuition or guesswork. 

Data should come from multiple sources to ensure you are getting a wide range of perspectives and avoiding blind spots. At a minimum, you should:  

  • Talk to clients / internal end-users 
  • Look at historical support requests 
  • Pool insights from your techs and department heads 

2. outline your services

Use your research to create a hero document that describes your service offerings for each audience. This may start as a long list of services, but you’ll need to reduce the number of services down to a minimum by integrating similar services or expanding them to encompass multiple facets. 

Think of each item in your service catalog as a file you are compressing: while much technical detail will be lost, the goal is to retain the more essential information that provides a lay audience with a basic overview of the services you offer. 

3. standarize fulfillment

Once you have decided which service to include in your catalog, you need to build a clear plan for how each service request will be fulfilled. Map your workflows to find the most efficient way of delivering each service, then assign responsibilities and, if necessary, create new KPIs to hold the appropriate parties accountable. 

4 Steps to Deploy Your Robust Service Catalog in DeskDirector  

1. develop request types and forms

Each service in your catalog will need to be built in the DeskDirector system as a Request Type. This will enable end-users to select “Create a New Ticket” and see your full list of services. However, this approach to your service catalog limits the volume of information included in each request, unless you attach custom forms to the tickets. 

With custom forms in DeskDirector, end-users can include more information in their service request and help properly contextualize the request for techs. 

2. automate approvals and workflows

Use DeskDirector’s powerful automation features to accelerate the service process. You can configure specific request types to trigger an approvals workflow that ensures the ticket is resolved more quickly. 

3. send reminders

Configure your DeskDirector system to send automated messages to end-users that have submitted a request. This could simply be reassurance that their request has been received, a confirmation of the expected resolution time or a note to thank them for using the service catalog. 

4. test, analyze and optimize  

Continue to assess your content and usage rates to find ways to improve the catalog. New services can easily be added if necessary, and the catalog descriptions can be altered to provide greater clarity. 

Build a Robust Service Catalog with DeskDirector 

From intuitive configuration and advanced automation to a user-friendly interface and integrations with your Microsoft environment, DeskDirector provides everything you need to build, deploy and optimize the perfect IT service catalog.  

Want to see it in action? 

Book a demo 

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