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A Service Catalogue is your first step on the journey to DevOps

Service Management, DevOps

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11 Feb 2016

Start your DevOps journey with a Service Catalogue

Looking back at last year it is encouraging to see the New Zealand IT community starting to understand and appreciate the value proposition of DevOps. As such, we are now seeing organisations taking the next steps and grappling with what DevOps means, not only to their internal teams, but also more importantly to their end users.

The nirvana of DevOps offers organisations the ability to keep pace with changing technologies and customer demands. This is achieved by driving efficiencies and is largely about cultural change that is strongly supported by process improvement and automation. As organisations are evolving towards this new approach they are looking for ways to easily provide end users access to the products and services.

Where do you begin?

Putting the cultural shift aside, it is hard to determine where to start with regards to architecting technology, people capability and processes. A number of organisations are now looking at the Service Catalogue as the starting point to this exciting journey.

But to understand how we first need to understand what. The Service Catalogue architecture can be broken into three layers - first is the service request layer which provides end user access to products and services via an easily accessible portal. The second level is the workflow/orchestration layer which creates the logical process steps needed to automate each request. The third level is the execution/provisioning layer, which integrates the technologies required to execute the request.

As always, the concept is to follow the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle by designing your service catalogue architecture and processes as simple as possible.

Service Catalogue - Request and Fulfulment Architecture

Start with your Service Catalogue

When looking for Service Catalogues organisations are typically looking for off-the-self tools that not only provide easy access for end users to request services, but can also be easily configured for workflow and approval functionality.

Once a tool has been selected the key implementation factors are then to define the services to be delivered, to design the front-end of the portal, and to automate as many processes as possible by integrating into other back-end tools.

Service Offerings

A common mistake we often see is organisations wanting to do too much too soon. Trying to include too many products and services up front generally means an overly complex portal is released that becomes too overpowering for the end users to appreciate. Our recommendation is to start small and incrementally increase the number of services over time.

Portal Design

Poor portal design is another common issue we often see. Streamlined design that follows standard usability principles is a skill and every portal design needs due attention. This means the need to move away from developers creating front end designs in dark rooms, towards employing skilled UI designers. The better the design, the more usable the tool will become, and the more engagement you will get from your user community.

Integration

The third important component of Service Catalogue design is the configuration and integration of the front-end tool into the back-end systems. Don’t make your solution overly complex as it quickly becomes very difficult to support. Configuration and set up must to be easy to implement and even easier to maintain. Service Catalogue technologies are moving away from bespoke customisation code to simple drag and drop configuration. When looking for a tool ensure you investigate codeless solutions which will reduce overall support costs for your solution.

As organisations drive towards agile delivery models the service catalogue is becoming an increasingly important tool in achieving efficiencies and reducing costs. Therefore, before starting your service catalogue journey think about what services your customer actually needs, and select a service catalogue tool that can easily be designed and integrated with other tools allowing the seamless delivery of services to your user community.

Check out our codeless ITSM softwar for a comprehensive service catalogue offering. If you have any questions please contact us to discuss how a service catalogue can significantly improve the services you are providing to your end users.

Philip Venables

Author: Philip Venables

Phil is the General Manager of the ViFX Service Management team, championing Enterprise Service Management solutions and services.

11 February 2016 / 0 Comments