ITSM: Developing an Effective Service Catalogue

One of the ways to improve communication and alignment between an organization and its IT service delivery unit is to develop an effective service catalogue.

A service catalogue in its basic form is a document that gives the customers a list of all live services offered by IT.  An effective service catalogue can be so much more!

  • A marketing tool to describe what we do in IT and how we add value to the business
  • Manages customer expectations by clearly stating how each service is delivered
  • Categorizes services according to business criticality and lets the business know that IT understands this
  • Adjusts the IT thinking from just the technology to focus more on the end to end service to the business

To create an effective service catalogue we need to first understand the meaning of a Service. The ITIL® definition of a service is:

A means of enabling value co-creation by facilitating outcomes that customers want to achieve, without the customer having to manage specific costs and risks.

There is a key message in this – “facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve”.  We in IT often think we know what the business should have but without engaging with or listening to our customers to really understand.  We need a clear mandate for the services that we offer in order to demonstrate the value that IT contributes to our customer’s outcomes.

When considering how to build a service catalogue it is difficult to know where to start!  It is important to realize that you don’t have to do the whole thing in one go; start simply, with the most visible services, but remember to start with the customer outcome and work from the top down.

The following example shows one approach we might take:

  • One business goal could be to achieve sales target. 
  • What services are required from IT to enable this and enhance the chances of it happening?
  • Once we have identified the main services, these represent the customer view of the service catalogue entries
  • Then identify the supporting services needed for each of the main services.  The customer just needs to know information about the main services and be happy that they are available when and where they need; the supporting services are generally of no interest to the customer so can be much more technical in nature. 

Every service catalogue is different and needs to fit the organisation but some sample headings which we recommend for each main service would be:

This list is by no means exhaustive, unlimited other areas can be added relevant to your organization.

Remember, start simple, you don’t have to do it all at once and always start from the organizational goal and work from the top down. 


ITIL® is a best-practice methodology for managing IT as a service, and it is the most widely used approach for IT Service Management in the world, adopted by corporations including Disney, NASA, HSBC, and HP.

ITIL 4 is the updated globally recognized best practice for effective ITSM in any organization. ITIL ensures that IT services are aligned to the needs of the business.

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ITIL® 4 Foundation Online Training Course

  • delivers key facts on ITIL v4 terminology, structure and concepts
  • provides essential preparation for the included PeopleCert exam

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