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Service Catalog

The best way to avoid running into quality issues is to insist that your ITSP will provide you a service catalog. This is an articulation of what services offer and the terms and conditions that they are offered under. Your role is to help the ITSP define what should be in your catalog. The first rule of service catalog design that all good ITSPs know is to talk to the business customer.

Without a service catalog, it's difficult to know what services are available to you from the ITSP, and very difficult to discuss, measure, judge or even complain about them!

The following section takes the ITSM industry best practices guidance for the basic information that should be in the service catalog. Table 3-1 further explains what each of these mean and the effect this has on your business bottom line. Caution: The side effect of studying the list will be learning some basic terms in the ITSP's vocabulary. That could prove to be extremely helpful in negotiating the best service!

Table 3-1. Example of Basic Service Catalog Information

Service Catalog

What It Means

Who Provides It

How It Impacts the Bottom Line

Service Name

A uniformly understood descriptor to identify the service.


Establishes the understanding between the business and the ITSP about what a service is considered to be.

Service Description

Describes (in business terms) what the purpose of the service is.

Developed jointly using the outcome statements provided by the business

Accurately sets out what the service must do. Saves time and money if done at the design stage. Some experts say it can cost 100 times more if left until after the service is implemented.

Service Category

This defines whether the service is part of a shared service, a core service, or a specialty service.


Helps to exploit use of service assets in the most advantageous way and drives possibh service models to be considered.

Standard Service Features

Describes features and functions of the service available to any employee who receives the service.

ITSP—This is derived from the outcome statements and service design package. Clarifies the costs associated with the generic service functions.

Clarifies the costs associated with the standard service.

Optional Service Features

Describes features and functions of the service available on special reguest and often with additional cost. This can also be optional features for specific business units.

ITSP—This is derived from the outcome statements and service design package and further improvement activities.

Clarifies and segregates costs for additiona options and is useful as a planning tool for what is necessary and for whom.

Business Owner

Accountable business individual with whom the decisions rest for managing the service.


Reguires accountability to be documented and ownership managed.

Business Unit

The business customers who can use this service.


Establishes access rights and ensures confidentiality of access to the data generated and used by the service.

Service Manager

Accountable ITSP individual with whom the decision rests for ensuring the service delivers value. This individual will meet with the business owner on a regular basis as part of the service level agreement terms.


Enforces accountability from the ITSP for the management point of contact for the service.

Service Hours

When the service operates and can be used by the business.

Jointly agreed by the business and ITSP

Directly impacts service costs and service availability.

Business Criticality

The dependence level the business has on this service to carry on business.


Defines the cost to support, the level of support, and support response levels needed.

Business Priority

Defines any specific times during a business cycle when the business criticality changes.


Drives support costs and ITSP windows of maintenance and change activities.

Business Contacts

Defines who the accountable contacts are for queries.


Enforces accountable roles and responsibilities and the costs involved.

Escalation Contacts

Defines the contacts along the escalation path for the business and the ITSP in the event of serious service issues response.

Business and ITSP

Establishes reporting hierarchy in the ever of service issues or failures and identifies accountability within both organizations.

Service Reports

Defines the type, freguency, and distribution of reports.

ITSP as agreed with the business

Contributes to the monitoring and measurement against expected norms anc quality criteria. Identifies deviations and potential costs or savings.

Service Reviews

Defines the structure for joint service reviews—details will be part of the service level agreement.

ITSP and the business

Post mortem of previous service cycle performance against agreed criterion. Can identify opportunities for further cost savings, improvements, and risk mitigation for the business.

Service Costs

Indicates unit costs for standard and optional features.


Enables investment planning and costs analysis.

Service Targets

Defines the basic targets for availability, issue management, special requests, changes, and recovery from disruptions.


Direct relationship to service cost, efforts, quality, and performance expectations. This is reflected in overall cost of service ownership.

The details within the service catalog are an extremely good snapshot of the areas for which the business must be able to negotiate the terms with the ITSP. A good practice for the business is to draft the terms of a service for itself in preparation for negotiation with ITSPs to help cover all relevant areas.

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