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IT service catalog planning stage tips

A large publishing company in the U.K. is introducing a new IT service catalog as part of its plan to turn the current IT chargeback model on its head.

Until this year, the company charged for IT services based on the head count in a given department. With the new IT service catalog, built on ITIL V2 and using a CMDB, a department will be charged for only what it uses.

The impetus behind the catalog is a sweeping decision made in 2010 to cut costs. The catalog will allow users to see just how much a service costs, and what it costs to use it.

According to Paul Hardy, who’s in charge of service and support at the company, the goal is to cut costs companywide by giving the business a true sense of what is actually being spent on IT. If a business unit isn’t using a service, it’s cut.

The IT service catalog being built at Hardy’s company is set to roll out this month, with basic services and equipment available at first, but it will one day include enterprise business services. The company is choosing a staggered approach to test acceptance, and make sure that the IT services in the catalog best represent the needs of the business.

As Hardy is finding out, the planning stage is a critical step when building an IT service catalog — a number of stakeholders are involved in the process from IT and the business.

Forrester analyst Eveline Oehrlich shares a few steps for getting an IT service catalog off the ground:

  • Understand what is the goal of a service catalog (efficiency, reputation, reduce complexity, cost reduction …).
  • Once that is understood, then involve the correct team members. (You need one service catalog manager who has the ability to see the big picture, can coordinate, correlate and communicate).
  • Invite key constituencies who are either business relationship managers or service-level management owners.
  • Evaluate potential or already existing service offerings — review the current state of existing services (IT services and business services).
  • Model them in service families with definitions (if none exist, then this is a workshop with customers to collect data to form service families).

We will be writing about the IT service catalog planning, building and governance stages in an upcoming series of articles on For now, we’d like to hear about your IT service catalog experiences — email me at

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