1 Service Catalog: Dramatically Improving the IT/Business Relationship An ENTERPRISE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES (EMA ) White Paper Prepared for Numara Software February 2009 IT MANAGEMENT RESEARCH,
2 Table of Contents Abstract...1 Introduction...1 ITIL and the Service Catalog...1 Service Catalog in Practice...2 Service Catalog 101 Understanding the Service Catalog...3 Service Catalog Benefits...3 Elements of a Successful Service Catalog...4 Best Practices for Service Catalog Success...5 Definition of Services...5 Executive Sponsorship...5 Understand Integration Requirements...5 Numara FootPrints 9 Service Catalog...6 EMA Perspective...7 About Numara FootPrints Solutions...8 About Numara Software...8
3 Abstract For too many IT users, interacting with IT is regarded with the same apprehension as going to the dentist. Users and IT departments alike experience considerable frustration and often failure in trying to request and deliver what is needed. This chasm between IT and the business has been an ongoing issue and continues to grow as businesses become more dependent on IT services. At the same time, IT organizations are under more pressure than ever to reduce operational costs and streamline processes while improving service delivery. Fortunately, the Service Catalog provides answers to many of the issues and challenges befuddling the business/it relationship. Whether your IT organization is most focused on the tactical activities of keeping the IT lights on or working on a broad adoption of ITIL for organizational transformation, the Service Catalog will help. This ENTERPRISE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES (EMA ) white paper introduces the Service Catalog as a component of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). It also introduces the Service Catalog as a critical tool for pragmatic IT and customer support organizations to reduce costs, improve quality and better align IT activities with business needs. Whether your IT organization is most focused on the tactical activities of keeping the IT lights on or working on a broad adoption of ITIL for organizational transformation, the Service Catalog will help. The Service Catalog is typically integrated with Request Fulfillment, a combination that provides higher quality IT services at lower cost. In addition, EMA has completed research that identifies other IT management processes and tools that are often integrated with Service Catalogs. The research also found the top Service Catalog benefits, some key best practices, as well as the most important features of a successful Service Catalog. This white paper leverages the research, confirmed by real-world adopters, to point those considering a Service Catalog in the right direction. It also provides a glimpse at some of the distinct capabilities of the Numara FootPrints Service Catalog solution from Numara Software. Read on to learn about the most important benefits, best practices, and features of a Service Catalog solution so your organization can achieve the best results. Introduction With its broad potential and with so many different types of organizations implementing the Service Catalog, it is helpful to look at it from different perspectives starting with the ITIL perspective and then considering it from the practical perspective. ITIL and the Service Catalog The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL ) is an IT management framework that, among many benefits, enables IT organizations to deliver higher quality services at lower cost. EMA research has shown that as much as 70% of IT organizations are using ITIL to some degree. At the same time, many pragmatic IT organizations choose to use only the portions of ITIL most beneficial to them. This is a sound approach, and even ITIL goes on to suggest that individual IT organizations should adapt its recommendations to their unique needs.
4 ITIL v3 is the most current ITIL version and provides an emphasis on aligning with and supporting the needs of the business. The ITIL v3 Service Catalog Management process is particularly helpful in this regard. ITIL v3 also introduces the notion of a Service Knowledge Management System (SKMS). The SKMS includes the shared data repositories which support the various ITIL processes, including Service Catalog Management and Request Fulfillment, used to manage services. One particularly well known repository, the Configuration Management Database (CMDB), contains the relevant components, or Configuration Items (CIs), that comprise the IT infrastructure and higher level services. Another key repository in the SKMS is the Service Portfolio which serves as a central source of information on all of the services provided by the IT organization including those services in the concept, design and transition pipeline. An important subset of the Service Portfolio is the Service Catalog. Like the Service Portfolio, it is a central source of information on IT services, but only for that subset of services which are currently offered. Service Catalog in Practice EMA completed several research projects in 2008 specifically directed at companies that either had already completed a Service Catalog implementation or were in the process. As a repository of service information, the Service Catalog supports a number of different processes and scenarios. However, the research showed that Service Catalogs are most often used together with automated request fulfillment. Without a Service Catalog, the typical IT user has to find someone they know to explain the current process. Then they have to hunt around for the proper request form (whether , Web or paper based) for the given type of request, seek out any required management approvals, submit the form to IT, and hope that the request doesn t immediately bounce back due to missing or incomplete information. The typical IT organization has related challenges. It probably supports multiple request processes, fulfills even simple repetitive requests manually, faces a high rate of rework due to mistakes and confusion in the request process, and has to deal with too many unhappy users. The alternative is a Service Catalog which provides users with visibility and access to the services they need in order to do their jobs. This means a single location for initiating and gaining approval for all service requests. A well-designed Service Catalog also provides individualized user views containing only those services for which the user is eligible. It can then automate the request approval process by identifying required approvers and notifying them of pending approvals. A Service Catalog provides a friendlier and easier-to-use interface to IT and hides many of the complexities to which they were previously exposed. A Service Catalog provides a friendlier and easier-to-use interface to IT and hides many of the complexities to which they were previously exposed. Service offerings and service requests in the Service Catalog are described in user terms and business language rather than technology speak. Organizations adopting the Service Catalog finally have something tangible to help align business and IT. EMA research has also found that other business functions beyond IT are increasingly making use of the Service Catalog. With groups like the customer service center, human resources, facilities, legal and others providing services to employees and to other business groups, they have a natural need 2
5 for the capabilities of a Service Catalog. One powerful usage scenario is on-boarding new employees. In addition to a PC, personal productivity applications and other IT services, new employees need to have office space allocated and be added to payroll and benefits systems. A Service Catalog can help automate each of these processes as well as orchestrate the overall sequence. With value clearly extending beyond IT, service catalog is becoming a critical business application. Service Catalog 101 Understanding the Service Catalog While automated request fulfillment is the classic usage scenario for the Service Catalog, understanding all of what the Service Catalog can do for your organization requires a broader look at benefits, features, and best practices. Service Catalog Benefits EMA research into real-world implementations provides insight to the top benefits offered by the Service Catalog. The research showed that Service Catalog provides the basis for discussion between IT and the business about how IT can best support the business; this is fundamental business/it alignment. Since IT largely delivers its value through services, business and IT leaders can use the Service Catalog to communicate and negotiate the desired mix of services, along with their cost and quality dimensions. As shown in Figure 1, Align IT and business was the favorite with 40% of respondents selecting it as a primary benefit and another 22% identifying it as a secondary benefit. Align IT and business Standardize IT services 18 9 Improve service quality Reduce access points into IT 7 14 Consolidate IT services 4 10 Reduce costs 10 4 Optimize IT workflow 1 13 Better manage IT portfolio 8 5 Achieve transparency of costs 8 2 Automate request management 4 5 Speed service delivery 3 5 Improve user productivity Primary Benefit Secondary Benefit Figure 1: Key Benefits of a Service Catalog Initiative Figure 1 also shows how the remaining Service Catalog benefits stack up. The ability to standardize IT services helps IT organizations reduce or eliminate the ad hoc requests that require special handling. The Service Catalog helps improve service quality through automation as well as by focusing on a single consistent set of services. Both users and the IT organization benefit from a
6 reduction in the number of access points to IT. As discussed earlier, users no longer have to search for the appropriate request process for each given request type. The IT organization no longer has to worry about accepting paper or based forms or possibly losing track of them. Elements of a Successful Service Catalog EMA research has identified the primary elements or features of a Service Catalog that are associated with a successful implementation. This information should be considered when evaluating potential products for your implementation. The graph in Figure 2 illustrates the most important elements. As shown, Ease of Use was selected by the greatest number of respondents as Very Important. This should not be surprising for a technology that is meant to better align business and IT by hiding technical complexities and communicating in user language. Integration with CMDB Other Service Management Integration Multiple Views (User, Portfolio, Business) Reporting / Dashboard Automation of Workflow Ease of Use Very Important Important Figure 2: Primary Elements of a Successful Service Catalog A well-designed Service Catalog can also improve some of the IT operations activities that it hides from users. Figure 2 shows Automation of Workflow as the next most important Service Catalog feature based on the number of respondents indicating Very Important. This capability is fundamental to automating request approvals and fulfillment. The Reporting/dashboard and Multiple views items indicate the informational value of the Service Catalog. The next two capabilities are both related to product integration. As a critical information repository, the Service Catalog has the potential to support and enhance a variety of IT Service Management (ITSM) processes that is, if properly integrated with other tools. By connecting the Service Catalog to the incident and problem management processes through the Service Desk, an understanding of user impact can be gained. The services in the Service Catalog should correspond directly with those in the CMDB. With proper integration, issues can be prioritized according to business need. Further discussion on the topic of integration is included further below.
7 Best Practices for Service Catalog Success Best practices center on the approaches that can be taken to improve the quality of outcomes or improve the chances for overall success. The ability to implement some best practices depends on good tool selection. Defining IT services is a key element of ITSM in general, not just for the Service Catalog. Yet EMA research shows that over 30% of ITSM projects view service definition as a significant roadblock. Definition of Services Defining IT services is a key element of ITSM in general, not just for the Service Catalog. Yet EMA research shows that over 30% of ITSM projects view service definition as a significant roadblock. Getting service definition right in your Service Catalog helps ensure the right mix of services is provided. It can also offer benefits to other ITSM initiatives including Service Level Management (SLM), CMDB and the Service Desk. Some Service Catalog products provide templates or easy-to-use wizards for defining services. This can greatly reduce the amount of time required to define services. Executive Sponsorship Sponsorship is widely recognized as key to successful IT projects in general and is one of the best predictors of project success. The Service Catalog is no exception. The importance of sponsorship cannot be overstated since 96% of respondents to the most recent EMA Service Catalog survey identified solid executive sponsorship as either Very Important or Somewhat Important to the success of their Service Catalog project. Consider selecting the Service Catalog sponsor from senior management outside of the IT organization to ensure the involvement and support of the business groups. Remember, one of the primary reasons for deploying a Service Catalog is better alignment between IT and the business. This goal can t be accomplished by IT alone. Understand Integration Requirements The Service Catalog and other ITSM tools complement one another. As a stand-alone solution, the Service Catalog will provide important benefits. But it can do considerably more as part of an integrated solution. EMA research has uncovered current and planned integrations for existing Service Catalog implementations. The high rates listed as Plan to Integrate suggest that many Service Catalog products do not come pre-integrated with many of the desired tools and processes.
8 Request Management 41% 50% 9% Incident Management 35% 54% 11% Change Management 26% 63% 11% CMDB 13% 74% 13% Asset Management 18% 64% 18% Problem Management 24% 54% 22% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Currently Integrated Plan to Integrate No Plans to Integrate Figure 3: Integration with Other ITSM Processes and Tools Figure 3 shows that 41% of respondents have already integrated their Service Catalog with Request Management and that another 50% plan to do so. This is with good reason, as integrated Request Management is the primary method for making the Service Catalog actionable. Incident and Problem Management are both important for integration. Associating incidents and problems with services helps determine which users could be impacted. Once you have identified a service that is affected by an incident or problem, the Service Catalog can indicate which customers are impacted. Change Management and the CMDB are also important integration points. This can further improve troubleshooting and impact analysis. Integration with the CMDB is typically considered the pinnacle of a full-featured system that knows all relationships between the services and their components. However, only 13% of respondents have accomplished this task, largely since most Service Catalogs do not come pre-integrated with a CMDB. Numara FootPrints 9 Service Catalog While organizations of all sizes and types can benefit from the Service Catalog, mid-size organizations and departments within large enterprises have some unique requirements. These groups pay particular attention to affordability, rapid time to value, ease of use, and low ongoing management requirements. Numara Software has introduced an affordably priced, Plug and Play Service Catalog tuned to meet these requirements and more. The product, Numara FootPrints Service Catalog, is pre-integrated with the Numara Software CMDB. It also offers out-of-the-box integration with the Numara Software Service Desk solution for improved incident and problem management, as well as extensive workflow for automated request fulfillment. All of this is installed in a single process to reduce installation overhead, and individual licenses are used to activate desired modules. With advanced reporting capability, Numara FootPrints Service Catalog tracks requests and can be configured to provide automatic status updates to users.
9 Recognizing the need to provide a solution that can truly help close the gap between business and IT, the Numara FootPrints Service Catalog was designed to be the Friendly face of IT. It provides a single entry point to IT for service requests, along with visible documentation of services in business terms, all within a logical hierarchy that can be customized to meet individual needs. By providing role-based views, this Service Catalog presents service information that is most appropriate to each unique user. These IT customers gain an actionable view of services through a browser-based interface. For IT, the Numara FootPrints Service Catalog removes ambiguity, ensures consistency, and ultimately reduces costs of providing services. The total cost of ownership is further reduced through the extensive use of wizards, which minimizes the cost of engaging professional services. Instead, administrators are able to easily administer, maintain and implement changes to the system without the need to learn complex interfaces or engage in programming. The wizards also cut implementation times resulting in much quicker time to value. EMA Perspective Built around a leading Service Desk, Numara FootPrints 9 provides a robust framework for IT service management based on best practices including ITIL. With this release, Numara Software has also delivered a powerful Service Catalog solution tailored to the needs of mid-size organizations and departments within large enterprises. This means enterprise class capabilities but with faster time to value, greater ease-of-use, lower ongoing management requirements and affordable pricing. Numara FootPrints has long been used to centralize and automate internal and external support processes and extend business process automation throughout the organization. With the introduction of the Numara FootPrints Service Catalog module, Numara FootPrints 9 becomes an even stronger solution for automating the services and processes throughout the broader organization. In fact, EMA research has also found that 42% of IT organizations include non-it services (for example, human resources, facilities, legal, etc.) in their Service Catalogs. Pre-integration with other IT service management tools and processes sets the Numara FootPrints Service Catalog apart from other Service Catalog solutions. Pre-integration with other IT service management tools and processes sets the Numara FootPrints Service Catalog apart from other Service Catalog solutions. By combining the Service Catalog with a tightly integrated CMDB using the Numara FootPrints Configuration Management module, IT organizations are presented with a solution that understands and leverages the relationships between services, infrastructure, processes and automated workflow. Note that Figure 3 shows CMDB as having the highest percentage of respondents who Plan to Integrate. While CMDB integration holds great potential, most Service Catalog vendors do not provide that capability out of the box, and a relatively low 13% of respondents currently have this. Any organization seeking better alignment between business and IT should seriously consider deploying a Service Catalog. Additional benefits include clear service definition, improved service quality, cost reduction, standardized services, visibility to service consumption, enhanced productivity, and better responsiveness. Simply put, the face of IT becomes friendlier with the Numara FootPrints Service Catalog.
10 About Numara FootPrints Solutions Actively used at mid-to-large sized organizations throughout the world for more than 10 years, Numara FootPrints is a leading, 100% Web-based service desk solution that helps IT and support managers run support as a business. This award winning service management solution empowers support professionals to effectively manage service delivery, provide customer problem resolution 24/7, improve service quality and delivery, and report on productivity in real-time. Numara FootPrints software supports numerous industry best-practices, including ITIL service lifecycle management. Numara FootPrints helps organizations quickly automate numerous ITIL v3 processes, including incident, problem, change, service asset and configuration, service catalog, service level, and knowledge management along with numerous additional processes. With many members of our highly experienced staff ITIL-certified, Numara FootPrints solutions have been ITIL-compatible and verified for years. About Numara Software Serving over 50,000 customer sites worldwide, Numara Software is a global leader in providing practical software solutions for service management to IT professionals. IT organizations of all sizes trust our award-winning solutions. Rather than complex, difficult-to-implement, and costly products, we offer robust, affordable and easy-to-use solutions that can be quickly deployed without disruption to your business. Our flexible solutions can be implemented right out of the box or configured to match your unique IT environment and business processes. They can also be leveraged to support non-it operations, such as human resources and facilities, allowing you to optimize your investments in licensing, maintenance, training, and support. The Numara FootPrints line of service management solutions offers the best value in the service desk market - unparalleled flexibility and ease-of-use with enterprise-level functionality at a mid-market cost of ownership. By design, Numara FootPrints solutions offer confirmed ease-ofuse, a rapid implementation process to quickly reach productivity, an extremely compelling and low cost of ownership, and effective integrations to leverage existing investments. These highly configurable and scalable solutions reduce cost and complexity by not requiring any programming, deep technical expertise, or long consulting engagements. We re passionate about helping people successfully manage their IT environments. Find out how we can help you by visiting: or contact us at
11 About Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. Founded in 1996, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) is a leading industry analyst and consulting firm dedicated to the IT management market. The firm provides IT vendors and enterprise IT professionals with objective insight into the real-world business value of long-established and emerging technologies, ranging from security, storage and IT Service Management (ITSM) to the Configuration Management Database (CMDB), virtualization and service-oriented architecture (SOA). Even with its rapid growth, EMA has never lost sight of the client, and continues to offer personalized support and convenient access to its analysts. For more information on the firm s extensive library of IT management research, free online IT Management Solutions Center and IT consulting offerings, visit This report in whole or in part may not be duplicated, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or retransmitted without prior written permission of Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All opinions and estimates herein constitute our judgement as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Product names mentioned herein may be trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies. EMA and Enterprise Management Associates are trademarks of Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. in the United States and other countries. EMA, ENTERPRISE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES, and the mobius symbol are registered trademarks or common-law trademarks of Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. Corporate Headquarters: 5777 Central Avenue, Suite 105 Boulder, CO Phone: Fax:
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