A good service catalog can be the lifeblood of an organization. It can gather the various apps and services users can access, create a virtual storefront where they can pick and choose what they need at any time and help IT retain control of what solutions users access while still supporting a broad move toward consumerization. IT industry advances put considerable pressure on the service catalog, and organizations that want to be able to keep up with end-user requirements need to be prepared to keep up with those demands. A few challenges that will likely dominate the service catalog landscape in 2015 include:
1. The Consumerization of IT
IT consumerization is nothing new, but the trend continues to evolve and morph into a movement that is transforming IT and service desk operations. For the past few years, consumerization has been a popular discussion point, but its actual impact on businesses was isolated around the bring-your-own-device movement. Now with new trends on the horizon like the Internet of Things, IT consumerization is being kept at the forefront of the IT enterprise trends conversation.
As business users start to want consumer functionality from their IT department, support teams will need to be able to engage in customer-centric operations or risk ceding control as employees turn to widely available consumer apps and services to get the job done. This can be disastrous from a data security standpoint, but creating a service catalog to create an internal app storefront and provide users with forums and other tools to get help can give employees the freedom they want without sacrificing control.
2. Device Diversity
This ties back to the consumerization issue, but it offers enough nuances that it is worth its own point. As organizations embrace the bring-your-own-device movement and similar trends, companies need to deal with a wide range of devices and operating systems on the network. This device diversity breaks traditional models of app and service deployment. You can't expect IT workers to get out and install software on end-user machines when people are working from multiple devices. As such, organizations increasingly need to transition their service delivery models to service-oriented architectures, something that is epitomized in the move to support cloud apps when possible.
However, if IT isn't going to be deploying apps on user machines, it needs a way to give employees access to services, and a well-run service catalog is an ideal option.
3. License Management
Deploying a large number of apps and services on a wide range of devices leaves IT and support teams with a potentially overwhelming number of licenses to manage. Companies that fail to effectively track how many iterations of an app or service have been deployed by different users can quickly end up with a budget that gets too large to manage. What's more, cloud sprawl can become a huge problem as business users subscribe to apps without governance from IT. Avoiding these problems are key, and the service catalog sets the boundaries that business users work within.
Cloud sprawl happens as companies give business unit managers the freedom to subscribe to apps and services to meet the needs of their subordinates. This can cause shadow IT departments to emerge as business units spend heavily on technology. Organizing apps into a service catalog that tracks licenses and other key usage metrics can help organizations avoid cloud sprawl and keep costs under control.
A service catalog is a critical element of any ITSM plan, and organizations that implement such a solution can give IT what it needs to control user access to technology while still giving employees a sense of freedom.