What is a Service Catalog and Why You Need One Now More Than Ever…
by Accelare Blogs, on Jan 17, 2023 3:54:41 PM
As the months have stretched into years, COVID-19 has become part of the daily work environment. This has led to rethinking many aspects of working life, and no industry is exempt. As companies navigate the complicated COVID-19 landscape, business leaders continue to ask themselves many of the same questions:
- Are we being efficient in our response to COVID?
- Are our employees productive, supported, and enabled?
- Are we still in tune with our customers?
- Are we operating in a way that will keep our business stable?
- Is there any hope for growth in this environment?
The many questions, and their impact on business strategy, continue from there, but again…and again…and again…as things evolve around us, these questions play on repeat. So, what can be done to break the cycle? Or at least lend an initial anchor to start moving forward?
Service Catalog: Your Tool to Break the Cycle
Perhaps one of the most overlooked tools available is the service catalog. Building a service catalog requires careful thought, clear and concise communication, and attention to detail. Nevertheless, it is an accessible and unifying device businesses can use for both self-evaluation and better delivery of services and resources to stakeholders.
What is a Service Catalog Exactly?
A service catalog is a central collection or listing of all services an organization offers, whether that means a business as a whole or its smaller divisions, departments, units, or functional groups. Service catalogs can be customer-facing or used internally for employees, contractors, vendors, etc. Whatever the context of the catalog, each service listed will be vividly described using a series of attributes, including:
- The service’s name
- A general description of its purpose or value to users
- It’s business owners
- Contact information
- Service-level agreements (SLAs)
The example below shows an internally facing service catalog with the attributes: Service Name, Interaction Location, and Service Detail. The depth of detail is at your discretion, but the more significant the capture of information, the more your service catalog can do for you.
Let’s say an HR department is tasked with answering, “Is our response to COVID efficient?” Establishing a business service catalog would be the perfect first step in reviewing this issue. A catalog can be compiled to outline all pandemic-specific services and resources currently offered to support employees and business operations. Gathering this information in a central place will make it easier to distribute to your workforce. It will allow a complete view of running programs for your operations team to analyze and build from.
The Service Catalog: A Key Resource for Your Employees
Many businesses, at this point in the ongoing pandemic, have taken significant measures to support their employees' safety, well-being, and productivity. Still, these efforts often need to be organized, documented, or appropriately communicated to achieve the full benefits. This results in individual workforce members needing to learn the full scope of services available to them or understand how to access and utilize these services. An HR service catalog will be a crucial resource for your workforce to revisit over time as conditions change should they need access to virus testing or behavioral health resources. Whether your employees need to reserve space when returning to the office or request technical support while still working remotely, the catalog can be the master directory for whatever motions your company has laid out. Particularly for HR leaders, this complete listing will also aid in identifying service gaps and will even guide the development and implementation of OKRs or other methods of performance measurement. For another (much more colorful) service catalog example, check out “If Jimi Hendrix Visited the RMV…”
Taking the time to develop a holistic understanding of services offered was a common oversight for many businesses well before the pandemic. Still, our need for clarity and organization is now greater than ever. As we adapt, it will only become more challenging to monitor and account for the growing number of services, processes, and tools we employ.
The beauty of these catalogs is that they can be custom designed to suit their makers' unique needs. They are also living documents that can be revised and expanded over time – a direct mirror of the organization itself. As for the tactical elements of building a service catalog, there is a wealth of workshopping and software solutions to support teams who are new to the concept or need to pick the service catalog baton back up and run with it. It could even be suggested that the only question you need to worry about right now is whether your business stakeholders truly understand what you have to offer?
With minimal investment, a service catalog can answer that question wholeheartedly and become an anchor point for your organization as they navigate the turbulent waters of an ongoing pandemic. If your organization needs any support in creating this document or in crafting other business strategies, please reach out to us here at Accelare.