BeyI’d like to welcome back guest blogger, Blaine Bey, to the Canadian IT Managers blog. Blaine is a senior consultant with Sierra Systems in Victoria, British Columbia. He has 29 years of experience (wow!) in the analysis, design, development and implementation of financial systems including most major ERP applications.

Blaine has been featured on this blog by Stephen Ibaraki on the IT Manager Connection series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals, and has also been a panellist on the Microsoft Ignite Your Career webcast series. He has experience at the senior level in: JAD facilitation; Software estimation; Leadership of development teams; Global application development; Quality assurance/testing management; IT Service Management (ITSM); and, Data centre operations management. He is President of the Canadian Information Processing Society of BC (CIPS BC) and was recognized as CIPS 2007 Volunteer of the Year.

Enjoy Blaine’s post below on the Service Catalogue and its impact on delivering IT services.

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Serviceplease

Some decades ago, the Help Desk (which extended to the Service Desk) was recognized as a notable innovation in IT Service Management (ITSM).  We improved our effectiveness in our ‘break / fix’ activities. 

In recent years the Service Catalogue has become a notable innovation in ITSM.  We are now handling requests for IT services (with some organizations becoming proficient in managing self-service requests.)  A number of ITSM toolsets have begun to include Service Catalogue capabilities.

Consider how you would answer the following questions which indicate the maturity of your organization in managing IT services:

  • How well do your IT business customers understand the IT services your organization offers (and by extension those offered by your external service providers)?
  • How effective are your processes related to requests for IT services by new employees?
  • Related to this, how effective is your organization when a new IT service is rolled out or retired?

In October I was on the road speaking on the topic of “Service Catalogue: Real World Case Studies” at the itSMF Canada Professional Development Days tour in Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa.

The following is an extract of a few key points from real world case studies from this presentation.

Objectives for Implementation of a Business Service Catalogue:

  • Streamlining delivery of support services & improving client service (Canadian federal government departments).
  • Consolidating multiple service request methods involving a number of internal & external service providers; recovering costs (provincial government).
  • Improve handling service requests from business users in a number of countries interacting with a number of service desks (private industry).

Key Points:

  1. Our focus in IT is the provision of IT Services, not products.  For example, when we deploy a Blackberry (i.e. mobile communications device) to a user, although there is a physical device involved, more importantly there is a ‘service’ deployed and supported over time (and there are a number of technical services involved, such as an e-mail account). 
  2. It is important to define IT services in terms business customers can understand (i.e. NOT technical definitions).
  3. There are two Service Catalogues (I will expand this in a subsequent blog post):
    • A Business Service Catalogue: for business customers; contains the business customer’s view of IT  services.
    • A Technical Service Catalogue: for IT service providers; contains the internal view of IT services.
  4. Each Service Definition in the business Service Catalogue should identify:
    • What business customers need to do to request a service.
    • How long does it typically take for the service to be ‘installed.’
    • What information do business customers need to provide in the service request for a service.
    • (Optionally) one-time ‘installation’ costs, ongoing costs, consumption costs,  cancellation fees.
    • What is the cancellation policy for the service.
  5. Defining Services and implementing a Service Catalogue is a project like any other and thus requires typical project management governance practices.
  6. Publishing a Business Service Catalogue not a one-time event.  It is important to have an ITSM tool which can support management of the Service Catalogue and handle Service Requests for those services.

What You Can Do:

This would be a good point to consider at a strategic level where your organization is at with regard to your IT business service catalogue.  And, consider how effective your processes are in handling IT service requests.  Many have found this to be time well spent. 

Until next time… Blaine