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Top Five Don'ts 

Did you know that up to 90% of first-time Service Catalog attempts are considered failures? Why? Well, the #1 leading cause is a misunderstanding of what a true Service Catalog is and the value it should provide. Those that fail often make the #1 mistake and create a "Service Description Document," typically a long document, portal pages, or spreadsheet with service templates containing long textual descriptions of the service and its attributes. Why is this a recipe for failure? Let's answer this question with a few questions:

  • What business value does this provide?
  • Who will read the document
  • What savings are produced
  • What goals are met?

In other words, a documentation approach will fail to deliver practical business benefits and should be avoided. In today's challenging economic environment, management will support only those projects that cut costs, automate, improve efficiences, or greatly improve customer service and quality. Projects likely to take longer than a few months or require extensive software development, consulting, or training are also likely targets for elimination.

Why do so many organizations make this mistake? At first glance, it seems to make perfect sense. You must first define your services before you can attempt to automate them. Defining services and publishing them will help users and customers better understand what you do and therefore appreciate the efforts. Seems logical, but unfortunately will not work out as intended. In the rush to define services, organizations often fail to properly identify how they would connect their service desriptions to existing service management processes. Again, they fail to set goals for automating and improving existing processes, they are simply adding several new ones to the mix without a clear road map for success.


Below are the Top Five Don'ts for Service Catalog Projects:

5.  Don't create a “Service Description Document." If you are planning a Service Catalog using a word processor, spreadsheet, or static portal pages you are already at risk.
4.  Don't attempt to negotiate or define Service Level Agreements (SLA) unless you have an automated way to measure and report on them.
3.  Don't attempt to define a service unless it will specifically benefit users (like automating the ordering process, like Add To Cart functionality). If a user wouldn't know what it is or order it, it probably isn't worth defining (yet).
2.  Don't attempt a Service Catalog for the sake of being "compliant." To be truly compliant means your Service Catalog will connect with your existing processes, such as ITIL's change, incident, and release management).
1.  Don't combine technical services and business services, at least not in your first pass.


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