The Now platform boasts a robust service catalog tool for IT Service Management that offers user-friendly features like approval and status notifications, multi-catalog support for different business areas, and a centralized user request portal. Connecting users to IT services through the service catalog allows them to find information, submit request tickets, and more.

Your service catalog is more than a user-facing tool; it should be useful to both IT and non-IT staff and should reflect careful service portfolio management. Your catalog represents the services you offer, meaning your product or service delivery depends on it being intuitive and useful. Organizing this catalog and managing your service portfolio can seem overwhelming, but following these best practices can help.

Taking a Strategic Approach to Service Catalog Management

ServiceNow is an incredibly versatile platform with many applications, service configurations, plugins, and more. With so many options, businesses need to make sure not to fall into the trap of investing in services or products they do not need. The two questions to consider are:

  • Do you know what your users/customers want?
  • What are your business goals with the service catalog?

The answers to these questions can inform the services you offer to users and the way in which users interact with your services.

Building a strategy for your service catalog is essential to its success. This includes setting business objectives, reviewing current service offerings, communicating with end users, creating intuitive interfaces, and careful feature roll out planning. If you put minimal effort into your service catalog management, it will fail and further frustrate your users. You can simplify this step by partnering with a ServiceNow professional who understands the platform and can help build and maintain a catalog that reflects your business’ goals.

Understand Your End Users and Request Feedback

As an organization grows, demand for IT often surpasses the department’s abilities. For this reason, improving user self-service through scalable technology can completely transform a company’s services. Your service portfolio will grow with your organization as you find new tools and applications that help staff perform their jobs.

Why is this important when thinking about a service catalog? Knowing how your end users interact with your services and products will help shape your service catalog and its offerings. Design is also important. If your service catalog is too difficult to navigate, people will not use it. Seeking feedback from those who use the service catalog will help you understand what works and what does not. Additionally, this could lead to cost savings since you can better identify unused features and remove them from your services.

Consider Offering New Services Based on User Feedback

Consider your service catalog as an extension of your service portfolio – a portal for users to access IT services. Even though the service catalog reflects IT services, you should involve the entire business in its management. Remember that your service catalog should improve efficiencies, speed up processes, and reduce waiting times. With this in mind, consider what issues exist for your users and how the service catalog can resolve them.  

Updating product inventories, for example, can be a time-consuming process that may frustrate users looking to place an order. Adding a CMDB or Product & Service Catalog Updater application to your service portfolio and including it to your service catalog will resolve both problems. Easily accessible applications within the service catalog help users find what they need and alleviate the workload. Managing your service portfolio and updating your service catalog go hand-in-hand, and focusing on user needs will make each process more efficient.

Seek Help from a ServiceNow Professional

There is no “right” way to set up a service catalog, which is perhaps why it can seem like such a daunting task. Taking a short-sighted approach to your service catalog can end in disaster for your end users. Companies without IT service catalog experience may struggle with this, and since no businesses operate in the same way, there are no set templates for a perfect catalog. In fact, ServiceNow Users frequently reach out to the Community for help with this task and setup advice.

The good news is that there are ServiceNow professionals who can help. InfoCenter, a certified technology partner, works to build a plan for your service catalog along with managing your service portfolio. Since your service catalog reflects your service portfolio, it makes sense to partner with a professional who understands both. With a strategic roadmap in place, your company can create an intuitive service catalog that reflects your end users’ needs, making it easier to deliver IT services.

Maintain Positive Communication about Changes

Continuous and accessible communication to your end users is possibly the most critical aspect of successfully managing your service catalog. Be sure to notify your end users when significant changes will occur, since sudden interface disturbances can cause confusion and frustration. When a service is phased out or retired, your users should be ready for the change and understand why it is happening. This open line of communication will further improve efficiencies and help you test new features.

Confidently Manage Your Service Catalog

Following these best practices will help your company set up and maintain a useful service catalog that serves an important function: efficiently assisting users in performing tasks and improving workflows throughout the organization. By keeping a line of communication to your users open, you can adapt the catalog to fit your user needs and eliminate unused or redundant services. Additionally, you can use this information to understand more about how people interact with your services to improve objectives going forward.

Maintaining a service catalog is a lot of work, especially for companies rapidly growing and looking to further their digital transformation through service expansion. Reaching out to a professional ServiceNow partner can alleviate some of the headaches involved with updating a service catalog, particularly its design and organization. Many of the items described in this article can be handled by certified ServiceNow tech partner InfoCenter, who has the expertise and skills needed to quickly identify your unique business needs. Consider contacting them for more information about their services and ways to optimize your service catalog management.

As a ServiceNow Technology Partner, InfoCenter can help. Contact us today to learn more.

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