What is a Service Catalog and Why You Need One Now More Than Ever…

by Sarah Hall Weaver, on Nov 11, 2020 4:18:17 PM

Even eight months into the global pandemic – eight months that at any moment may feel like eight minutes or eight years – so much and so little has changed. As companies navigate the complicated COVID-19 landscape, business leaders continue to ask themselves many of the same questions from week to week.

Are we being efficient in our response to COVID? Are our employees productive, supported, 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? They 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 really 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 communication and concise 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 offered by an organization, 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 name, general descriptions of its purpose or value to users, its business owners, contact information, costs, and service-level agreements (SLAs). In the example below, we show 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 greater the capture of information, the more your service catalog can do for you.

Service Catalog Example

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. By gathering this information in a central place, it will be easier to distribute to your workforce and 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 2020, have taken significant measures to support the safety, well-being and productivity of their employees, but these efforts are often not organized, documented or communicated properly to achieve the full benefits. This results in individual members of the workforce not knowing the full scope of services available to them or not understanding how to access and utilize these services. An HR service catalog will be a key 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, but our need for clarity and organization is now greater than ever. As we adapt, it will only become more difficult to monitor and account for the growing number of services, processes and tools we employ.

The beauty of these catalogs is they can be custom designed to suit the unique needs of their makers, but are also living documents that can be revised and expanded on over time – a direct mirror to the organization itself. As for the tactical elements of how to build a service catalog, there are 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. I would even suggest that the only question you really need to worry about right now is do your business stakeholders truly understand what you have to offer?

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Topics:Digital TransformationCOVID-19SAFE Return to WorkService Catalog


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