5 Key Considerations When Designing an Effective Service Request Catalog Framework

Service Request Catalog

The business benefits of having an up-to-date service catalog are widely known within the IT service management (ITSM) community and ITIL content. Why wouldn’t any enterprise organization want a single repository that describes all of the IT services offered for delivery by their IT service provider – from what’s available to whom, through to the associated support promises. And ITIL 4 provides guidance on both service catalogs and service request catalogs.

What about the next level down though? Each of these services may well have a subset of service offerings. In old money we used to call them IMACs – installations, additions, moves and changes, but it can include much more than this. These service requests are usually repeatable and understood in both their complexity and cost, however they could trigger a “normal change” or instigate a quotation for a more detailed piece of work.

This article provides an overview of why a Service Request Catalog Framework is an important addition to an enterprise’s overall service strategy – and offers up five tips for you to get started in creating one. #ITSM Click To Tweet

These types of requests will have a wide range of attributes associated with them that when understood and documented ensure effective repeatability and the ultimate goal of delivering value to the consumer. But how should your organization approach this?

The answer is a Service Request Catalog Framework

So, what does the framework offer?

Well yes, it’s a single source of the truth but, more importantly, it offers a standard way of presenting the detailed information about each service request that will benefit the whole organization from sales through to operations, from product development to the bid team, and of course to the end user and customer.

5 things to consider when developing a framework

  1. Create a detailed service request categorization matrix. This will allow each service request to be prioritized correctly and ensure the correct agency (including suppliers outside the enterprise) can be engaged for its delivery. A simple example is shown below, this should be supported by a more in-depth description of each category.
  2. Create a catalog of standard service request information that can be applied to any service request type. This could include the description of the actual service request, i.e. what it intends to deliver, the working hours it’ll be delivered within, the agreed service targets, and any standard costs. Plus, the processes and value streams intended to deliver it. This information is particularly important for product development because it ensures that all new services are developed with a standard set of service request information.
  3. Version control each service request. This might seem a bit over-the-top but if changes are made to the attributes of a particular service request, then there needs to be a mechanism of governance and an audit trail to manage them. If for example the cost to deliver a service request was to increase, or a service target was to change, having good version control will ensure that the business and the customer will have an up-to-date view of what’s being delivered.
  4. Align the framework to your ITSM tooling solution. Having a standard set of service request information and data means it can be fed into the ITSM tool a lot easier whenever a new service and/or changed service is transitioned. Most ITSM tools offer an online portal for the end user, so the service request data can be federated into the portal to help the customer choose the most appropriate service.
  5. Appoint an overall owner for the Service Request Catalog Framework and create a set of cross-functionally agreed policies that underpin it. This will help to ensure a consistent approach and the on-going development of the framework going forward.
Yes a Service Request Catalog is a single source of the truth but, more importantly, it offers a standard way of presenting the detailed information about each service request. #ITSM Click To Tweet

So, that’s a brief overview of why a Service Request Catalog Framework is an important addition to an enterprise’s overall service strategy and how to design one. Any organization can adapt the framework to suit its specific requirements, but whatever is developed needs to be standardized across the whole IT organization.

If you have any thoughts, questions, or tips related to what I’ve written about service request catalogs, then please let me know in the comments section below.

Want more? Here are informative ITIL 4 service value system and ITIL 4 service value chain articles.

Graham Heard
Service Architect at Capita

Graham is an experienced IT Service Management practitioner, ITIL v3 Expert and ITIL4 Managing Professional. He has over 30 years’ experience in roles ranging from IT Operations, ITIL training, Pre Sales and more recently Service Design. This knowledge has enabled him to understand the challenges IT Professionals face on the ground and to apply both ITSM best practice and Operational experience to understand customer and strategic requirements in the real world.

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