I came across a very good article here at ITSMWatch.com on creating a service catalog.  Some of the advantages mentioned of developing a service catalog include:

  • Significant improvement in internal and external communications
  • Positively (and significantly) alter end-user consumption and behavior
  • Increase demand awareness and visibility into IT service provision
  • Reduce IT service and process inefficiencies redundancies
  • IT operational cost reductions

MOF breaks down the Service Catalog in the Service Level Management SMF.  To define it:  "A service catalog, written in business—rather than technical—language, is a definitive guide to the services available to the business. It provides end-to-end descriptions of the service components used to deliver the services and the IT functionality used by the business. This information is then used to create and define SLAs within each area, as SLAs are developed according to the priority and business requirements of the service."

The process of Service Catalog formation is very basic.

  1. Define the Service Catalog (get a baseline, also mentioned in the ITSM article)
  2. Formalize the Service Catalog (making it official in the organization)
  3. Maintain the Service Catalog (regular audits, links to change management

The following list summarizes the important points of the Service Catalog as outlined in the Service Level Management SMF guide:

  • The service catalog is essential for the success of Service Level Management within an organization. It allows the Service Level Management processes to be built on the knowledge of the services and their importance and usage in the business organization.
  • The service catalog should contain all of the services provided and be accessible in language and location to both the organization and IT.
  • The details recorded against services in the catalog should include the business term for the service, the service components used in delivering it, the priority for the business, the number of users, the supplier (if required), key consumers, and any maintenance agreements or supporting contracts.
  • Keep the service catalog simple and record information in detail only if keeping it up to date for that service can be justified.
  • Get to know the services delivered to the business by evaluating IT workshops, service desk records, change records, and development and project teams.
  • Define a service in terms the business understands, but be sure to understand the service components—that is, the IT technology used to deliver the service to the end users.
  • Formalize the catalog using a simple and easy-to-understand application—for example, Microsoft Excel or a CMDB—and ensure that it can be accessed and kept up to date with the change management process.
  • Adding services, changing services, and retiring services should be simple if kept up to date with the change management process.
     

If you haven't started formulating your Service Catalog, the SLM SMF provides good guidance on getting started.