Service catalogs: the new face of the datacenter

Making services available to business users on an as needed basis makes IT more effective
Written by David Chernicoff, Contributor

The concept of an IT service catalogue isn’t a new one. Back in the last century IT departments were proving mechanisms to allow business users to automate their requests for IT services. Most often, this was some sort of interface to the help desk. It might even have been a IVR application that allowed users to call and work their way through a series of menus in order to place a simple request for new equipment, repairs, or other IT services.

As the web and its concepts became more prevalent, the idea of a web portal, where business users could select different IT services came about. And It realized that some of these services could even become automated, so that when a user with sufficient access right requested something like the creation of a new employee account, the process could be doe completely through web forms and without requiring IT to actually assign someone to sit down and create the new user profile.

As service management has become a major component of how IT does business the IT service catalog has become a little heralded, but important piece of the process of delivering a ‘self-service” IT environment to business users. But the changing IT environment means that the service catalog no longer holds the place it once held; for the modern cloud-driven service environment, the service catalog has gone from ‘nice to have to “absolutely essential.”

Business users don’t care about the IT issues in deploying services and capabilities; from their perspective it’s already a black box into which they enter their request and expect an appropriate response. With the cloud having the potential to greatly expand the services available from IT, an easy to use service catalog that integrates with cloud services and automation tools will become the front end for almost all interaction with IT in the future for the average business IT services user.

Service catalog vendors are realizing the importance of their applications to the future of how IT does business. The most agile of these vendors are already providing a range of connectivity options to integrate with the cloud service back ends that have already appeared, from Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and others.

Editorial standards