While service catalogs are not new, they are becoming increasingly critical to enterprises seeking to optimize IT efficiencies, service delivery and business outcomes. They are also a way of supporting both enterprise and IT services, as well as optimizing IT for cost and value with critical metrics and insights. In this blog, we'll look at how and why service catalogs are becoming ever more important both to IT organizations and to the businesses and organizations they serve.
What's Cooking in General with Service Catalog Deployments?
Potentially, service catalogs can span everything from supporting internal IT professional needs to end-user needs for IT support, to end-user access to internally delivered software and applications, to support for third-party cloud services across the board, to actual support for enterprise (non-IT) services as managed through an integrated service desk.
Of course the game is changing, with added pressures to support cloud, mobile and enterprise (non-IT) services. But data and dialogs from last year show clear trends that reflect pushing the bar forward in all these areas from past years — with a striking diversity of options. Indeed, enhanced automation for self-service was and remains at the very top of the list for IT service management priorities going forward.
Interestingly enough, internal IT-to-IT provisioning (new servers, deployment requests, etc.) and support for IT professional services (as in project management capabilities) remain among the highest priorities for enterprise service catalogs. But close behind, are:
■ Support for cloud and non-cloud delivered applications
■ End-user access to production services/ applications
■ End-user device (PC, laptop and mobile) provisioning
■ End-user support (help and incident management)
Perhaps not surprisingly, true "appstore" type access for end-user self-service provisioning was far behind these priorities in mid-year 2015. But current EMA dialogs show a growing interest in providing a more complete and self-sufficient storefront approach.
A Few Critical Service Catalog Dimensions
The dimensions of how this is done can range drastically in scope, but ideally enterprise service catalogs will provide metrics for cost and usage, selective service level (service quality) guarantees as appropriate, strong support for secure and appropriate access based on end-user or IT professional roles, and integrated levels of automation to make service provisioning more dynamic, accessible and efficient. Oh, and yes, in the more advanced IT environments, service catalog integrations can handshake as well with service modeling and configuration management databases (CMDBs) to enable yet more advanced levels of automation This can be especially helpful when catalog services are tied to development and DevOps initiatives.
And finally, service catalog access should span not only desktop and laptop access, but increasingly mobile access as appropriate. For instance, nearly two-thirds of our respondents in last year's research were seeking to provide mobile access to corporate application services, and that percentage is steadily climbing higher, as mobile continues to redefine IT and consumer priorities.
Growing areas of interest for service catalog inclusions: cloud and enterprise services
Even last year support for cloud services in service catalogs was striking — at nearly 90%. And cloud priorities in type reflect a growing and rich diversity. These include:
■ Internal software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications
■ Internal infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) services
■ Software-as-a-service from public cloud
■ Infrastructure as a service from public cloud
■ Internal platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings
■ Platform-as-a-service from public cloud
The above list is in ranked order based on mid-year 2015, and subsequent dialog and research in 2016 would indicate a fair amount of consistency, but with a modestly growing preference for public cloud.
Just as striking as cloud in its impact on IT is the growth of including enterprise service support through integrated service desk and IT service management options. Indeed, a separate commentary on the coming together of business process automation (BPA) and IT process automation (ITPA) — (it isn't really quite there yet) — would probably warrant at least a blog, and maybe a book. But this coming together is reflective of the striking number of IT organizations that are making the leap. Indeed, even a year ago, only 11% had no plans to consolidate IT and non-IT customer service.
In terms of service catalog specifics, the following enterprise groups were shown to depend on service catalogs to support their services:
■ Vendor and contract management
■ Facilities management
■ Enterprise operations
■ Human Resources
■ External customer facing catalog options
■ Corporate finance
What Makes for Success When It Comes to Service Catalog Adoption?
As many of my readers know by now, in most of my research I like to contrast those who view themselves as ‘extremely successful' with those who were only marginally so (the two extremes), which almost always produces meaningful patterns of difference. In this case, the following patterns arose:
Those ITSM teams who viewed themselves as extremely successful were:
■ 2X more likely to have a service catalog
■ 2X more likely to offer users access to corporate applications through mobile
■ Dramatically more likely to support cloud-related services in their catalogs. In fact they were 5X more likely to support SaaS from public cloud and 6X more likely to support PaaS from public cloud.
■ Considerably more likely to support enterprise services, including:
- 2X more likely to support human resources
- 3X more likely to support facilities management
- 2X more likely to support legal
- More than 4X more likely to support purchasing
- 5X more likely to support marketing
- Nearly 3X more likely to support enterprise operations
Given this rather heady show of data, it becomes harder and harder to argue against the impression that we're not only living in the midst of the "digital age" in which "digital transformation" is key, but that service catalogs are increasingly becoming a critical cornerstone in making digital transformation yet more of a reality. Current EMA research, underway now, will explore the role of service catalogs in optimizing IT for cost and value. I'll be sharing these highlights with you in another blog later in Q3.
Everyone wants to talk about how analytics is the future of network engineering and operations. The phrase "network analytics" is used by vendors of various stripes to imply that a particular technology is smarter and better than the average solution. But what is it? What does the term network analytics mean to the enterprise network infrastructure professionals? ...
Three out of four (76%) of organizations think IT complexity could soon make it impossible to manage digital performance efficiently, according to the Top Challenges Facing CIOs in a Cloud-Native World report from Dynatrace ...
The Global CIO Point of View report compiled by ServiceNow notes that 89 percent of organizations are either in the planning stages or are already taking advantage of machine learning. Nearly 90 percent of the CIOs surveyed anticipate that increasing automation will increase the speed and accuracy of decisions, and more than two-thirds believe that decisions made by machines will be more accurate than human-made decisions ...
The enterprise WAN is unable to keep up with digital transformation demands, according to Foundation for Digital Transformation, a new research report, authored by Ensemble IQ and supported by InfoVista. This challenge was universal across all three vertical industries surveyed — retail, manufacturing, and banking/financial services ...
Achieving optimum Java Virtual Machine (JVM) performance is key to ensuring proper memory management and fast application processing. According to a Cornell University study, a 1-millisecond improvement in the performance of a trading application can be worth $100 million a year to a major brokerage firm. Because of this potential for loss, IT teams owning banking, financial, trading and other Java-based applications place a high value on having a proper JVM monitoring strategy in place ...
APM had to evolve to keep pace with development velocity and maintain the service quality for the modern applications born out of digital transformation. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are critical to the next step in APM evolution, helping to address speed, scalability and intelligence demands ...
A worldwide survey by Gartner, Inc. showed that 91 percent of organizations have not yet reached a "transformational" level of maturity in data and analytics, despite this area being a number one investment priority for CIOs in recent years ...
Mobile app performance is still a significant issue. In a new report from PacketZoom, The Effect of Mobile Network Performance on Mobile App Users, 66% of consumers said reliable mobile app performance is "very important" — second only to mobile app security ...
IT departments that shift from reactionary fire fighters to becoming proactive business partners find their ticket counts reduced from 20 to 50 percent or more. The strategies outlined in Part 1 of this blog may all sound like a great way to turn IT into a strategic, proactive business-enabler, but how can companies turn strategy into reality? The following are three best practices ...