EMA: 10 ‘Real World’ Best Practices for Service Catalogs

The Enterprise Management Association (EMA) is offering 10 Best Practices for using a Service Catalog as part of ITIL projects, especially those based on architectures using web services and SOA.

Tags: Service Catalog, Management, EMA, Practices, ITIL, Report, Design,


The Enterprise Management Association (EMA) is offering 10 Best Practices for using a Service Catalog as part of ITIL projects, especially those based on architectures using web services and SOA.

The report, "10 Best Practices: How Real-World IT Organizations Are Succeeding with Service Catalogs," is based on real-world surveys of Fortune 500 firms.

An abstract of the EMA report is available. The full 7-page report 10 Best Practices for using a Service Catalog as part of ITIL efforts costs $99.

"Because of the increased socialization of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)v3, EMA found more companies are paying close attention how they design and use their 'Service Catalog,' EMA said in releasing its report.

As defined by ITIL, a 'Service Catalog' is a list of services that an organization provides, often to its employees or customers. Each service within the catalog typically includes:
  • A description of the service
  • Timeframes or service level agreements (SLAs) for fulfilling the service
  • Who is entitled to request/view the service
  • Costs (if any)
  • Details on how to fulfill the service.


  • "Most large U.S.-based corporations recognize the potential benefits of the Service Catalog and are in various stages of implementation," EMA said, "However, not all have met with the success or the benefits promised." So, the group embarked on a project to get real-world implementation information about Service catalogs, and how that data could help other ITIL users.

    EMA: Benefits of Service Catalogues,
    And 10 Best Practices for Getting There

    "In July and August of 2008, EMA conducted a study to explore Service Catalog trends, challenges, and best practices," EMA said, and surveyed over 100 major corporations - most with more than $1 billion in annual revenues and over 10,000 employees. Respondent title included system integrators, system architects, senior IT managers, and directors. All respondents were either in the throes of planning a Service Catalog initiative, had an active project underway, or have already implemented a Service Catalog.

    EMA has combined its survey responses with Enterprise Management Associates' experience on real-world Service Catalog projects to provide 10 best-practice tips to help make your Service Catalog implementation a glowing success.

    EMA identified 3 areas where Service Catalogs will reduce stresses on IT:
    (1) IT groups continue to need to do more with fewer resources,
    (2) Service management software is more complex; and
    (3) Business managers want more accountability for IT investments.

    To achieve results, EMA's survey suggests users implement these 10 best practices for their Service Catalog project:

      #1: Identify Your Drivers and Detailed Requirements
      #2: Solicit and Nurture Your Sponsor
      #3: Define Your Metrics and ROI
      #4: Prepare Yourself for Common Risks
      #5: Understand Integration Requirements
      #6: Communicate!
      #7: Secure Adequate Project Funding
      #8: Take Your Time When Defining Services
      #9: Manage Your Organization with ITIL Awareness
      #10: Don't Hesitate to Seek Training and Outside Help

    Inside the ITILv3 Libraries
    ITILv3, updated in mid 2007, new core libraries now include:

  • Service Strategy focuses on the identification of market opportunities for which services could be developed in order to meet a requirement on the part of internal or external customers. The output is a strategy for the design, implementation, maintenance and continual improvement of the service as an organizational capability and a strategic asset. Key areas of this volume are Service Portfolio Management and Financial Management..

  • Service Design focuses on the activities that take place in order to develop the strategy into a design document which addresses all aspects of the proposed service, as well as the processes intended to support it. Key areas of this volume are Availability Management, Capacity Management, Continuity Management and Security Management.

  • Service Transition focuses on the implementation of the output of the service design activities and the creation of a production service or modification of an existing service. There is an area of overlap between Service Transition and Service Operation. Key areas of this volume are Change Management, Release Management, Configuration Management and Service Knowledge Management.

  • Service Operation focuses on the activities required to operate the services and maintain their functionality as defined in the Service Level Agreements with the customers. These include Informational Events, Warning Events and Critical Events.Key areas of this volume are Incident Management, Problem Management and Request Fulfillment.

  • Continual Service Improvement focuses on the ability to deliver continual improvement to the quality of the services that the IT organization delivers to the business. Key areas of this volume are Service Reporting, Service Measurement and Service Level Management.




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