ITIL V3 Business and Technical Service Catalogs

One of many areas of change and development in ITIL V3 has been the Service Catalogue, something that I'm going to blog about today. This post is targeted at those new to Service Catalogues, and I hope I'll make the standard text somewhat less abstract.

First a recap on what the Service Catalogue is. It's a portfolio of services that is offered by the IT Service Management function to the business. It defines the business functions that use these services and how important they are, it defines the costs of these services, who uses them (which can be individual users, departments or companies), and ideally attempts to define some measures about the quality of service that can be expected.

Some of advantages for companies taking up IT Service Management for the 1st time listed below, but I'd single out the change in focus from being a reactive service desk to one whose culture is geared towards service provision.

There are two parts to a Service Catalogue: The Business Service Catalogue, and the Technical Service Catalogue.

Business Service Catalogue (BSC)

Think of this as the strategic view - 'the what'. It describes the service, the business functions that it supports, and the user groups that use it. This is the part of the Service Catalogue you are most likely to show to customers. You might include in the BSC:

  • Cost of the service (to users), and how paid for
  • Service Level Agreement Information
  • User groups using the service
  • Quality measures or KPIs

Technical Service Catalogue

This is the implementation view - 'the how'. This is where we describe, for each Service listed in the Business Service Catalogue, how the Service is put-together or delivered. Your Technical Service Catalogue might include:

  • Links and references to other services which are essential for delivery of this service
  • Configuration Items which will be pieces of equipment, software, servers and so on.
  • Startup and Shutdown procedures
  • Recovery and fallback information
  • Key support contracts and contact points

Example Business Service Catalogue Entry

What follows is a simple, cut-down example of a single entry in the BSC, in the hope of making things less abstract.

In the sales-order system shown below there would be a web component, taking orders directly from customers. In many cases these Services (which really are subsystems) are actually shown as Services in their own right, with their own SLA and BSC entry. One of your jobs in developing the Service Catalogue is to define these boundaries intelligently.

Service Name: Sales Order Processing System (informally known as TOPS).

Description (Overview): Provides functionality to take a small-value order from a customer, typically less than £250, either via telephone or the on-line shopping website, process payment, allow the product to be picked and packed at the warehouse, and sent to the customer.

Special Notes: Outbound calls are not part of this service.

User groups:

Sales Order processing Agents (20 approx).

These Agents handle customer sales enquiries, complaints. Business function: Processing of high volume, low value orders. Main user contact: {show name and contact details}

{List the rest of the user groups}

Third Party Support Details:

{ Record details of any 3rd-party supplier contracts, including terms of service and contact telephone numbers}

Service Level Requirements:

  • Minimum transaction time, selection of single widget item into sale: 0.5 seconds
  • Minimum credit card authority: 5 seconds
  • Minimum pick/pack process selection: 10 seconds
  • Minimum order commit and confirm: 3 seconds
  • Availability requirement: 08:30 to 17:30 Mon-Fri, availability target 99.5%
  • { Other elements of your SLA might be included, as you've negotiated with the customer}

Cost of Service

{ Describe how the service is funded, either centrally from overheads, directly from the user group, per transaction and so on}


{ If you have established automated or manual monitoring of the Service, then describe them here.}

Reporting Cycle

{ Describe how often reports will be produced, who they will be created for, and what the reports will show. You might want to define Key Performance Indicators for the Service here. }

Benefits of Having a Service Catalogue

  • Focuses IT Service Management teams onto deliverable Services for Customers
  • Provides a central resource for everyone in the organisation regarding the services delivered, how they are used, their importance for customers and levels of quality expected
  • Documents minimum quality and service levels for both the benefit of customers and IT service delivery staff

Hopefully, I'll follow this with a post on where this information would be stored in Serio.