ITSM Open Forum Questions and Answers


1) Why did we pick Service Catalog first? How does this relate to the other processes? What issues or problems with the current service catalog are being addressed with this project? (Kevin)

The Service Catalog Management (SCM) Process really lays the foundation for all future ITSM processes.  This process will help us to better define and understand the services provided by OIT.  Additionally, the SCM Process will help OIT to organize resources by assigning the proper roles and responsibilities required to support our services offerings.    

The SCM process will integrate with a number of other processes.  A user might report a problem directly from the service catalog which feeds into Incident Management.  Service Level Agreements may be integrated with the Service Catalog.  From the Service Catalog, a customer may acquire configuration information from Knowledge Management.  It is likely that as we implement additional process they will tie back to the SCM process.

Current problems or issues pertaining to the current catalog may be subjective.  The focus of this project are the processes relating to the Service Catalog.  As opportunities for improvement present themselves, improvements will be made.  The service catalog may retain its general look and feel.  This is because the project is not focused on appearance but rather organization, content, processes and continuous improvement.  

2) What are the actual deliverables? (Toni)           

1) Define what a service is for OIT and for UA and how this will be managed within the Service Catalog.

2) Document and execute a plan for implementing CSF (Critical Success Factors) and associated KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

3) Establish the process for reviewing and updating all services no less than on an annual basis.

4) Record weekly, monthly, annual and periodic procedures to maintain the catalog process.

5) Develop and implement a RACI matrix for ongoing management of the service catalog.

6) Reconfigure HP Service Manager to link tickets to services.

7) Include customers in testing new features to obtain feedback and comment.

8) Complete and analyze a survey for customers and end users.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

2A) What is the goal, and how do the deliverables align with the goal(s)? (Toni)        

The goal of SCPIP (Service Catalog Process Improvement Project) is to define a process using documented procedures, for reviewing the Service Catalog on a weekly, monthly and annual basis. After thorough research, review and evaluation from all team members, Critical Success Factors (CSFs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be identified to be included in the continual process for improvement of the Service Catalog. Once metrics for tracking the improvement of the Service Catalog have been established, KPIs will be worked into weekly, monthly and annual processes. A Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed (RACI) matrix will also be created in conjunction with procedures for managing all aspects of the Service Catalog process such as: the creation of a new service, a change to a current service or how to retire an inactive service. The deliverables line up very closely with the goals of this project.

There are two overarching goals however, not stated as a deliverables that should be mentioned. The first is that we aim for the the Service Catalog to be the starting point for all users/customers at UAF or State Wide. Improving each service index to allow a user/customer the ability to find the most accurate and up to date information along with instructions for use or configuration, will alleviate some of the phone calls or visits to the Support Center. The Service Catalog process will then track the data required to ensure we are reaching this goal. The other overarching goal is to revise each Service Catalog index so that the description of the service includes the university business goal for each service. In doing this the Service Catalog will demonstrate the services that IT provides for the university and how our work supports necessary business functions on a daily basis. In essence, we want to prove our value and worth to the university.


3) What should we expect the new Service Catalog be or look like? 3A) What kinds of changes are we proposing and why?(Toni)

As the service catalog process emerges and is more clearly established, changes will be made to the interface of the service catalog. Service indexes may have a revised set of attributes, based upon the feedback from the SCPIP team and the Service Owners. Attributes may also contain new information based upon gathered feedback making each service more informative for the customer and user. This is necessary to make each service index as clear and complete as possible ensuring all students/staff/faculty are able to get necessary and usable  information from each service index. We aim to create a new standard for naming conventions focusing on what the service is instead of what the tool is named. Services that offer similar functionality may be merged into a single index. The service category names may also be changed, with the end goal of choosing names that are understandable to a broad range of users, regardless of their technical knowledge, where possible. There are two reasons for this: 1) To link HPSM to tickets coming into the Support Center and 2) To revise the categories making them understandable to non-technical customers and users. 

3B) What will differentiate the new Service Catalog from the current one? (Toni)

OIT services need to be divided into customer-facing (external) and/or supporting (internal) services. Currently both customer-facing and supporting services are viewable to anyone. When this division takes place the number of customer-facing services will be reduced, thus eliminating the need for customers and end users having to sort through categories and information that is not pertinent to them. Customer-facing services will be viewable by anyone visiting the OIT website. However, viewing supporting service indexes will require authentication. Technical details will be included in both the customer-facing and supporting services indexes and will also require authentication. Technical details will include the suggestions gathered during the SCPIP service index reviews to include additional technical attributes to each index.

3C) What is the desired outcome that we are striving for? (Toni)

Ultimately, the desired outcome is better service to our customers and users, including services that more fully meet our customer and user needs. One way this will occur is to improve the process for managing the service catalog, allowing it to be continuously improved upon for years to come. During this process we will identify content changes and technical changes able to be made to assist in identifying this process, as well as any design changes we are able to make now. An example of changes to the process will be to increase the number of actionable services within the service catalog to 100%. Beginning with taking a baseline of those services that are currently actionable, working with the Service Owners to determine the services that have the potential to be actionable and then implementing this, actionable services will eventually reach 100%.

4) What are some of the technical components of the SC project? In other words, what programming efforts and/or other work products will OIT personnel be asked to contribute to this project? How does this relate to rank & file OIT team members? (Kenny)

A. Syncing service categories

The Service Catalog is currently housed in a database that feeds into OIT's Roxen-based website. The main technical challenge at the moment is configuring the service management tool (HP Service Manager) so that the service categories within HPSM are the same as the categories listed in the Service Catalog database, alongside the categories listed on the service index pages of the OIT web site, which in some cases have been customized outside of the Service Catalog database. Rosen Kehayov and Kenny Coon have been working on the details of aligning the categorization among the three systems, especially within HPSM.

The SCPIP team is also in the process of reviewing the current service catalog categories. After they finish this review, service owners will be asked to review the categorization. Additionally, HPSM may be upgraded or changed in the next few months. When changes to the categorization are complete the categorization can be changed so that it is the same between the three systems. Aligning this technical detail is a key factor in beginning to track the KPIs (key performance indicators) that support the CSFs (critical success factors) for this process.

B. Separating public services from supporting services

Another technical detail is dividing the services within the catalog into public-facing services (unauthenticated) and supporting services (authenticated and internal to OIT) and adding a technical information to each set of services. This will likely involve Alex Taylor, Rosen Kehayov, Kenneth Coon and others, as making this change involves knowledge of ITIL best practices, interface design, and systems administration.

C. Updating the service catalog interface

Finally, as the service catalog process emerges and is more clearly established, changes will undoubtedly be made to the interface of the service catalog. Depending on the extent of those changes, the talents of various people within and outside of OIT will be needed to make the changes a reality. The interface design will be completed like frosting a cake, after all of the backend system work has been completed and the "cake" is ready to decorate, so to speak. Tweaks to the service indexes will take place. How the service catalog information is presented to users will be analyzed and revamped.

5) What about the SC project required the formation of a team? what was the rationale for the selection of the team? This will help to understand...especially as new teams are formed for  additional ITIL projects, how team members are chosen. What if people want to volunteer, or to volunteer a worthy coworker, is this possible? (Toni)

The design and deployment of the SCM process is a significant undertaking.  It is so much more than redesigning the web interface.  It will include establishing roles and responsibilities, defining performance/success criteria, and implementing a continuous improvement process to ensure long term success.  All of this should not be done in a vacuum and the progress should be as transparent as possible.

The makeup of each team will vary in membership.  It is important to the SCM process that the result be very customer focused.  For this reason, about one third of the membership includes people from outside OIT.  Within OIT, the team should be equally diverse and multiple departments are represented.  Going forward, each team will be assembled from a diverse background with each member bringing something of value to the team.  Most importantly, the team members must want to be there.  If anyone wants to be on a process team, please let one of the core team members know.  Team sizes will be kept to a manageable size.  Another way to stay involved, is to attend the open forum and ask questions and provide input.

(6) What challenges are being faced in this project, and how are they being addressed? (Toni)

With five ITSM core project team members, six ITIL processes to implement, eight Service Catalog Process Improvement Project deliverables, nine members of the SCPIP team, 65 services, 18 service owners, a variety of stakeholders and regular weekly project meetings, suggestions for improvements are coming in at a rapid pace. An extensive "to do" list has emerged. For the Service Catalog Management process these tasks are documented in the SCPIP action item register. The SCPIP charter with eight deliverables was also established early on to maintain the project's focus. Fortunately the SCPIP project manager, Toni Abbey, does an exceptional job of noting every detail, however completing the action items takes more time as this list grows. This is what happens when more than just a few people are included in the project. Ideally the input is extensive and creates more work that takes place slowly, methodically and thoroughly, with the idea that this end product will be more representative of the organization as a whole.

Another challenge that is just beginning to emerge is how to communicate the details of the project without having anything concrete to show for the work and time that has been put into the project thus far. Parts and pieces of content exist, and it is from these that the process is beginning to take form. Until that happens those who are not involved in the day to day progress may think that nothing is changing. That being said, developing this first process has also taken longer than expected, notably because of the involvement of a variety of stakeholders and because it’s the first of several processes to follow. We anticipate that subsequent processes will be less time consuming because a preliminary formula for establishing a process within our organization will have been established.

In an effort to learn from others mistakes, we’ve also connected with those outside of our university who have already established ITSM processes within their organization and can see the value. Notably, Ohio State University’s IT group has an award-winning track record within the ITIL higher education community related to their ITSM process implementation and have graciously served as a sounding board. They are also willing to share stories and advice related to their experience of implementing six processes in one year. One example of a pitfall we avoided is implementing incident management before service catalog management. They were very glad to hear that we are instead focusing on the service catalog management process first, before delving into the other processes, as ITIL best practices suggest that the service catalog management process be established first because it is an excellent foundation from which to build other processes.