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INTRODUCTION TO SERVICE REQUEST CATALOGSBefore discussing Service Request Catalogs, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. As it turns out,many people confuse Service Request Catalogs with Service Catalogs. The two are admittedlysimilar, but still distinct in purpose. And frequently someone will say they want a Service Catalogwhen in reality what they’re looking for is a Service Request Catalog
A Service Catalog essentially just lists and describes the services available at a company. Forexample, if the list is online, then there’s no button to click that takes you to a payment screen forany particular service you want. No interaction. The Service Catalog could even be written on anapkin as a budding small business owner comes up with ideas
The Service Request Catalog, on the other hand, allows the customers to select services andproducts that they desire for themselves. They can browse not only the descriptions, but alsorequest to receive the item listed. It’s more of an IT shopping experience that typically works inconjunction with and as a fundamental extension to a Service Catalog. Some companies only haveone or the other, some have both, and some have neither. All organizations should work towardsobtaining both at some point, but it ultimately depends on their particular situation
The Spectrum of Service Request CatalogsService Request Catalogs come in many shapes and sizes. The medium and complexity of any givencatalog typically depends on the current standing of the organization. A new company without anonline presence may have a simple booklet where customers can read the list of available services and then write in their request. Other companies might have a localized system on their businesscomputer that holds the information digitally but does not connect to the internet. Apps onnotebook devices and phones provide another versatile option
Some businesses may only need a base Service Catalog for the time being. Others might want tojump straight to a Service Request Catalog despite lacking a Service Catalog. Such a leap ispossible, but should include the creation of the Service Catalog to accompany it
If creating a Service Request Catalog for a business, it’s important to consider which of the aboveoptions works best given the circumstances of the organization. As a company grows, so does itsneed for a high-caliber Service Request Catalog built by a skilled IT team. A quality catalog grantsgreater capabilities for scaling up while also providing familiarity and functionality for a positivecustomer experience
Essential Qualities of Successful Request CatalogsContrary to the ideas that many IT professionals have in Service Request Catalog creation, customerexperience is key. Making the catalog easier for customers to use increases sales, solidifiescustomer satisfaction, and facilitates the IT team’s job in the long run
Some IT teams take the opposite approach of focusing on tailoring the catalog to their needs. Thiscan lead to messy, complicated interfaces that discourage customers from using it to buy theservices they need. Investing a bit more effort into the design process can result in the best of bothworlds such that customers are comfortable and IT is content
Familiarity and Functionality for the CustomerMost of the people using a Service Request Catalog will already have experience shopping online
So much so that they typically have certain expectations of what the online shopping experienceshould be, no matter the product. They likely expect a shopping-cart type of experience with logicalorganization, and giving them that familiarity boosts the efficiency of the catalog. An IT team can andshould take pointers from stores and websites on how to design the interface and selection processof the Service Request Catalog
For example, department stores lay out their products in sections that consider the thought processand needs of their customers. Online retail websites also create sections as well as helpful guides toencourage customers to move between them. These sections are based on needs and mentalconnections between objects, rather than the objects themselves. While hairdryers and TVs are bothelectronics, they won’t typically go in the same department because they have very different uses
The opposite is also true as some items are relevant to a variety of uses and places, thus making itsensible to place them in multiple departments
Similarly, the layout of the Service Request Catalog should not group services based on theirindividual characteristics or their relationship to the IT team. It must consider the thought processand needs of the customer from their point of view as the user. If employees use the catalog,include a section for employee needs. If managers use it, a section with relevant services andperhaps even access restrictions might be in order. When the employees and managers have someoverlapping needs, repeat those services for each appropriate section. With various services tochoose from, the catalog can also provide guidance to help each user make informed decisionsthroughout the process
Agility and Scale for ITAlthough the customer experience is important, it must still effectively translate into instructions forthe IT department on the receiving end. In part, this means keeping up with changes to thecompany, services, and customer needs over time. Staying agile with periodic updates can help theService Request Catalog grow and improve with each release
It’s also a good idea to consider scaling up and adopting additional services over time. Within acompany there may be other service branches such as human resources, finance, or legal. If theyreach a point where a Service Request Catalog would be useful, there’s little point in them creatingtheir own from scratch
Regardless of how many service branches get involved, be sure to ditch the technical IT jargonwhere it’s not necessary. Too much of it can lead to confusion for uninitiated customers which leadsto unintentional or incorrect requests. It also might scare away potential customers or createdistance between employees or other service departments using the Service Request Catalog
Service Request Catalog CreationWith the above expectations in mind, it should be pretty smooth sailing to create a Service RequestCatalog. The catalog itself will typically have a simple tree structure that narrows down from broadcategories to specific services. If there are multiple catalogs involved, combining them into a singleportal increases functionality
Consult potential users during the process to evaluate how they interact with the interface. Thesame goes for the IT end where incoming requests should be tested. Consider different scenariosthat experiment with varying levels of priority, urgency, and impact of requests. There might beinfrequent but tricky situations requiring special access, restrictions, perimeters, or overrides
Creating a workflow and setting contractual deadlines for the catalog at hand helps layout theprimary goals of the project. It also makes it easier to identify if and when things run awry along theway. Online workflow management systems resources can help smooth out the workflow processwith automation and organization
The investment of a little extra time and money into the process goes a long way in improving theService Request Catalog experience for all parties. The final result often serves as a reflection ofhow mature a company is, so don’t underestimate the power it holds
Many people confuse Service Request Catalogs with Service Catalogs. The two are admittedly similar, but still distinct in purpose. And frequently someone will say they want a …
The Service Request Catalog, on the other hand, allows the customers to select services and products that they desire for themselves. They can browse not only the descriptions, but also request to receive the item listed.
Integrating a service catalog with this type of portal greatly expands the scope of self-service and provides end users with a single gateway for IT-related requests, whether it is a request for service or an incident ticket. An integrated self-service portal.
The request is routed to the right support team. These processes in the workflow are part of the technical service view of the service catalog, which guides technicians in delivering services efficiently. Approval mechanisms kick into action. The support rep may ask for more info from the requester.
The scope of the service catalog management process is to provide and maintain accurate information on all services that are being transitioned or have been transitioned to the live environment.