IT Service Catalog: Definition, Advantages and Structure

An IT service catalog maps all the services provided by the IT department, relates them to other departments and assigns them to specific IT services. This helps to determine the value of IT, improves services, promotes innovation in the company and contributes to better business capability. In the following article, you will find out exactly what must characterize an IT service catalog.

What is an IT Service Catalog?

An IT service catalog (also called service catalogue or simply service catalog) is a structured list of IT services offered by an organization (company, service provider, etc.). The service catalog typically includes a description of the services offered, their functions, availability, associated costs, and required resources.

These resources include available hardware and software equipment as well as all related services that can be provided internally or by means of external support. The service offering is usually aimed at the company’s own employees, but can also include partners or customers.

The service catalog is therefore an optimal platform for developing and bundling services and offering them to the defined target group in a focused manner. Under this premise, the service catalog is the optimal condensation point for IT and Business departments, where everyone meets and speaks a common language.


What is the Need for IT Service Catalogs?

From a business perspective, we live in a world where more and more operations are being cast into processes that are automated in order to operate as efficiently as possible. Services are always at the end of those processes. They form the interface, so to speak, between man and system or between man and process.

An IT service catalog acts as such an interface and not only maps the processes, it also ensures that all process steps or follow-up actions run smoothly and that the processing status can be identified at any time. Companies usually decide to implement a service catalog, …

  • to create transparency,
  • to reduce costs
  • and to consolidate.

A service catalog is therefore a tool that helps to disclose, structure and optimally organize processes and workflows. Basically, you can think of it as a mail-order catalog: In it, all the products you can order are displayed in categories and with pictures and other information (e.g. price). The catalog thus represents the interface between the company, its products and its customers.

Or you can think of the service catalog as a restaurant menu: As a visitor, it tells you which dishes the restaurant offers and at what price. I can then pass this information on to the waiter, depending on my wishes, and end up getting exactly what I ordered.

In contrast to a product catalog or a menu, an IT service catalog offers less products and more abstract services. And it is precisely here that the service catalog must provide clarity: reduce the complexity of the various services and make the processes and offers comprehensible to the service user. In short, an IT service catalog translates the needs of different departments with different needs into a common service language.

Requirements for a Service Catalog Software

Services are only accepted and used if they simplify everyday work. They must be user-oriented and understandable to meet the daily needs of process participants. The following requirements must be met for this:

1. Services and processes must be developed together with the customers (internal or external), as the group of people who use them.

2. Services must be organized, assessable and transportable in order to offer added value for service recipients and companies.

3. Services preferably also map (partially) automatable workflows. Consequently, mechanisms that can technically support automation must also be available for the creation of services (for example, a workflow system that can link individual steps conditionally on an object basis must be available).

4. A high degree of standardization in certain workflows supports the creation of services.


Create an account for a new user in a central enterprise software:

The steps to create an account are clearly defined. The administrator calls certain functions within the addressed software environment, which create a user and provide him with certain “rights”. Most of the time, this runs in a role-based manner. By defining a role for the new user, rights and capabilities within the software environment are automatically assigned. The creation process can be fully automated and included as a service in the catalog. The process flow can be created via the workflow system.

5. It should be possible to build more complex (extensive) services by means of different sub-services. The service for creating a user account described in point 4 can, for example, be included as a sub-service in an on-boarding service for a new employee.

IT Service Catalog

What are the Benefits of a Service Catalog?

IT and enterprise services open the way to digitization for companies. An essential prerequisite for this is a catalog that bundles all services. This gives administrators and users an overview of all services and their costs, which in turn forms the basis for expanding and automating services.

This makes life easier for the departments and divisions that provide services internally and externally. The catalog provides a central overview of all services, the services included and all associated costs.

It is not only the service recipients who benefit from a simple catalog overview and clearly defined results or services they receive when they place a service order or service booking. IT departments and those responsible in corporate management (CIO, COO) are also given a set of tools to evaluate and manage user expectations in a targeted manner.

Furthermore, such a structured catalog is also essential for efficient communication between IT and other departments. In summary, an IT service catalog offers the following benefits for companies:

  • Service catalogs are the image of IT to the outside world - that is, they give IT a face.
  • The value proposition and relevance of IT become visible through the catalog.
  • Other business units can also benefit from IT's ability to offer services digitally. For example, an HR department could also make processes such as salary statements, job references, etc. available to the entire company via digital IT Service Management.
  • By means of a service catalog, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and the Chief Operation Officer (COO) can standardize industrialize the service portfolio of the IT and Business departments.

With all these benefits the service catalog brings, each department can decide what the requirements are for a certain service and whether that service is worthwhile in terms of workflow and efficiency. IT can in turn improve their value within the company through good service delivery and position themselves more positively.

Structure of an IT Service Catalog with Examples

But how does a service catalog need to be structured to take advantage of the above? There are four guidelines for this, four basic rules, so to speak, which govern the structure of an IT service catalog:

1. An IT service catalog contains services that directly support the customer’s processes (internal and external).

2. A service catalog contains menus in a form that the customer understands and which is comprehensible.

3. A service catalog, in order to fully exploit its benefits, must be developed together with the service recipient.

4. A service catalog must follow the motto “structured as simply as possible so that the processes and relations in it are comprehensible.

An IT service catalog represents a specific selection of services that affect either only certain departments or the entire company. In addition, the services are divided into technical services and business services, which are all in some relation to each other. In order to depict these sometimes complex interrelationships clearly and comprehensibly, it is essential that all the links are documented and mapped correctly.

The structure of a service catalog should be done in a top-down process. Business services are defined in order of relevance, followed by the assignment of the corresponding technical service. The number of individual services must remain manageable and level off to a maintainable number. Otherwise, the purpose of increasing efficiency is no longer maintained.

A service can consist of several sub-services. The clear division into smaller services enables targeted control of processes and creates a better understanding of the service. This enables specialist departments to better perform the tasks defined in the service and increase overall service quality.

To complete technical services, IT teams use additional utilities or tools. These tools allow, for example, the automatic recording of the entire IT infrastructure.

During Auto-Discovery, all hardware and software elements connected in the company are found and entered into a database (the so-called CMDB, Configuration Management Database) with their technical parameters, the relationships between them and the responsible employees. When a technical service is created, it can in turn include the components found in this way and notify the responsible employees.

Professionalize Service Requests with REALTECH

The service catalog is the interface between service provider and user and should therefore be efficient and fit your company. As part of our IT Service Management solution SmartITSM, you have the appropriate service catalog included right away.

REALTECH dot4 includes a ready-to-use service catalog in which common IT services are already preconfigured. In addition, you can easily integrate services from other departments.

But not only that: we also offer easy integration with MS Teams. Users get easy access to the service catalog and can order available services directly in MS Teams.

Service Integration in MS Teams

Booking services is now as easy as sending a message in Teams. With our integration, you can offer the service catalog directly in MS Teams.

Just say goodbye to the traditional Service Desk and give your employees a simple alternative. Less effort, less time wasted, and more efficiency!

Increase Business Capability by means of an IT Service Catalog

Do you want to prepare your company for the change from ITSM to ESM and both optimize and correctly map your IT processes as well as ensure a positive service experience? If so, an IT service catalog is an investment worth making – together with a smart ITSM solution, you can foster the emergence of innovation and boost your company’s business capabilities today.

FAQs: IT Service Catalog

An IT service catalog acts as an interface between people and systems, or between people and processes, by mapping and relating all processes. This structured overview of all IT services enables a company to position itself efficiently.

IT services in a company can include everything from lost access data to ordering a new company car. That’s because IT services offer specialized, technology-oriented solutions by combining the functions and processes of networks, telecommunications, software, hardware and electronics.

There are four basic rules for creating an IT service catalog:

  1. An IT service catalog contains services that directly support processes of the service recipient.
  2. A service catalog includes menus in a form that the customer understands and can follow.
  3. To fully realize its benefits, a service catalog must be developed together with the service recipient.
  4. A service catalog must follow the motto of being structured as simply as possible so that the processes and relations in it are comprehensible.