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IT Service Catalog: Benefits and Service Catalog Categories

An IT Service Catalog is a centralized repository of IT services provided by an organization to its end users. An effective request management system begins with clearly categorized and structured service catalogs.

In fact, well-defined IT service catalogs serve IT teams with all the relevant request information to ease the request fulfillment process.

So what does an IT catalog look like? What are service catalog categories? And, what are its other benefits? Join us as we delve into the ins and outs of the IT service catalog and answer the many questions raised above. 

What is an IT service catalog?

The IT service catalog is a comprehensive list of all the IT services offered by an organization. The primary intent of a service catalog is to showcase all the services available to users–detailing the type of service provided, their descriptions, associated costs (if applicable), and any prerequisites or dependencies. 

A good IT service catalog provides all essential information related to your organization’s IT assets in one place–be it IT support services, hardware, or software requests.

Three-pronged benefits of service catalogs

There are numerous advantages to implementing an IT service catalog. Here's a look at how it benefits different stakeholders. 

  1. For end-users (employees)
  • Users gain a clear understanding of all available IT services, their descriptions, request processes, and costs (if any). This eliminates confusion and empowers users to find the solutions they need independently.
  • By providing a user-friendly and self-service experience, the catalog can significantly improve user satisfaction with IT services.
  • By enabling self-service options, the service catalog can significantly decrease the burden on the IT service desk, leading to faster resolution times for more complex issues. This enhances user experience and reduces downtime. 
  • Increased transparency fosters a better understanding of available IT resources.
  1. For IT department
  • Reduced support tickets by empowering users with self-service options.  This frees up IT staff’s time to focus on more complex issues.
  • Well-defined service request management to accelerate service delivery, making it more efficient and predictable.
  • Clear visibility into service requests and resource allocation helps in better resource management within the IT team.
  • Clear communication between IT and other departments is fostered through a centralized repository of service information.
  1. For the management
  • The catalog can specify any associated costs with each service, providing management with a better understanding of IT expenses and enabling informed decision-making.
  • By tracking service usage data, organizations can gain insights into IT resource allocation and identify areas for cost optimization.
  • Standardized service delivery ensures consistent service availability, contributing to business continuity and resilience.

Elements of an IT service catalog

A well-structured IT service catalog typically comprises the following essential elements:

  1. Service Descriptions: Clear and comprehensive descriptions outlining the scope, features, and benefits of each IT service offered.
  1. Service Levels and SLAs: Clear definitions of service levels, response times, availability, and escalation procedures to manage user expectations.
  1. Service Dependencies: Identification of any prerequisites, dependencies, or associated services required for the successful provisioning of a service.
  1. Cost Information: Transparent disclosure of any costs associated with the service, such as one-time fees, recurring charges, or usage-based billing.
  1. Service Request Processes: Step-by-step instructions on how users can request or access each service, including any necessary forms, approvals, or workflows.

5 common service catalog categories

Before we dive into the common categories of service catalogs in an enterprise, let’s understand what service items and service categories are.

A ‘service item’ refers to a distinct IT service or offering provided by the organization that users can request through the catalog. Service items contain detailed descriptions, specifications, and associated service levels to inform users about their features and functionalities.

A ‘service category’ is a grouping of related service items within the service catalog. Service categories help organize the various IT services offered by an organization into logical groups based on their type, function, or purpose. This categorization makes it easier for users to navigate the service catalog and find relevant services based on their needs or preferences.

For example, in an IT service catalog, a service category might be ‘software applications’ and service items could be the list of software apps like Salesforce, Hubspot, or Figma that teams could request access for.

The service catalog categories could vary by teams like HR, Payroll or finance who’ll provide a different set of services.

Pro tip: Atomicwork allows you to set up individual workspaces for these different teams in your organization and own individual service catalogs for each function.

Here are a few common catalog categories and sample service items and form fields that can be added under every category.

Service catalog category #1: Hardware provisioning

A list of service items to provide employees with all the necessary hardware to perform their job duties.

Service item
Service description
Service form fields
Ideal for tasks requiring advanced processing
Type, size, purpose, peripherals needed
Mobile device
For testing mobile applications
Type, make, and models
Ergonomically designed for precision and comfort in extended use
Model, additional features
Enhance productivity with superior display quality for detailed work
Model, additional requests, purpose
Reliable for all typing tasks, designed for ergonomic comfort and efficiency.
Model, additional requests

Service catalog category #2: Software installation and support

The software installation and support category helps end-users install software applications and request for assistance in resetting forgotten passwords or unlocking accounts.

Service item
Service description
Service form fields
Request access to Salesforce CRM, Service or other modules
Access type, who is it for
Request a Figma license or access to a specific workspace
Access type
Account recovery
Locked out of your account? Regain access with our help
Software name

Service catalog category #3: Security and network access

An IT service catalog category that provides security and network-related services such as antivirus protection, vulnerability scanning, or troubleshooting network performance issues.

Service item
Service description
Service form fields
Device locking and unlocking
Secure your devices with robust locking mechanisms and receive swift assistance for unlocking, ensuring data protection without hindering accessibility.
Reason for lock/unlock, previous authentication methods
Anti-virus and anti-malware
Protect your systems from threats with our comprehensive anti-virus and anti-malware services, offering real-time defense and periodic system scans.
Recent security incidents, preferred schedule
VPN setup
Enable secure remote access through VPN setup, ensuring safe and private connections for your work, wherever you are
Current network access, purpose, preferred VPN features
Data backup and recovery
Safeguard your critical data with our robust backup solutions and benefit from reliable recovery services in the event of data loss
Current data backup status, recovery point objective

Service catalog category #4: Workplace access

A catalog category for workplace administration to permit employees within a physical space.

Service item
Service description
Service form fields
Visitor pass
Facilitate secure and hassle-free access for your visitors with our visitor pass service, ensuring a smooth and professional experience for your guests.
Visitor’s full name, visitor’s company/affiliation, purpose of visit, date and time of visit
Physical ID card
Obtain high-quality physical ID cards for employees, essential for secure access to facilities and for identification within the workplace
Department/division, previous ID Card status, delivery method, urgency

Service catalog category #5: Employee benefits

A service catalog category that can be hosted by HR teams to exhibit services related to different plans that’ll be of benefit to employees.

Service item
Service description
Service form fields
Health insurance enrolment
Enroll in our comprehensive health insurance plans to ensure you and your family's health and well-being are protected
Dependent information, effective date, previous coverage
Retirement plan contributions
Secure your future with our retirement plan options, allowing for both employee and employer contributions to support your long-term financial goals.
Contribution amount, plan type, beneficiary designation
Maternity leave request
Apply for maternity leave to get the necessary time off for childbirth and childcare, with support and benefits ensuring your peace of mind.
Requested leave start date, planned return date, contact Information during leave
Training and development
Explore opportunities for professional growth with our training and development programs, designed to enhance your skills and career prospects.
Certification name, provider/institution, relevance to role

IT service catalog vs self-service portal

While both an IT service catalog and a self-service portal have detailed listings of IT services, they differ in their purpose and function.

A service catalog enables users to understand what services they can access and how to request them. A self-service portal is more of an interface that allows end users to connect with the services offered by an IT support team.

The IT service catalog can be integrated with a self-service portal for users to browse and find the catalog to request services. A self-service portal serves as an interface for other ITSM elements like accessing the knowledge base or viewing status of tickets raised by end users.

Building an IT service catalog 

In general, the following steps are involved while creating an IT service catalog.

1. Planning and stakeholder engagement

  • Identify your stakeholders including IT personnel, department heads, and end-users.
  • Define goals and objectives i.e., what you want to achieve with the service catalog, such as improved user experience, cost reduction, or streamlined service delivery.
  • Conduct surveys or interviews to understand user expectations and pain points regarding IT services.

2. Define and categorize services

  • Create a comprehensive list of all IT services currently offered.
  • Categorize services logically based on type, function, or target audience.
  • Provide clear and concise descriptions of each service, including its purpose, benefits, and target users.

3. Create service-specific SLAs and workflows

  • Define Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to establish clear expectations for service delivery, including response times, resolution times, and service availability.
  • Design service workflows i.e., outline the steps involved in fulfilling each service request, including approvals, resource allocation, and delivery procedures.

4. Organize service fulfillment strategy

  • Assign ownership for each service to specific IT teams or individuals.
  • Define approval processes or determine who needs to approve service requests based on service type or cost.
  • Ensure smooth integration with IT service management (ITSM) tools for request tracking and fulfillment.

5. Design and implement the catalog

  • Choose a user-friendly format that is easily accessible and navigable for end-users.
  • Make it easy for users to find relevant services through clear descriptions, search options, and categorization.
  • Include self-service capabilities to let users request services directly through the catalog, whenever possible.
  • Develop knowledge base articles such as troubleshooting guides for common service requests.

6. Publish and improve

  • Publish the catalog on a central platform accessible to all users.
  • Encourage user adoption through training sessions and communication campaigns.
  • Continuously collect user feedback and use it to improve the catalog's content, functionality, and user experience.

Common challenges in IT service catalog management

While IT service catalogs offer a multitude of benefits, building and maintaining them can present some hurdles. Here's a look at some common challenges and how to address them:

Challenge 1: Keeping information up-to-date

IT services and offerings are constantly evolving. A stagnant catalog quickly becomes irrelevant and misleading.

Establish a clear ownership and update process. Assign responsible parties within IT departments to update service details whenever changes occur. Regular reviews and audits can also help identify outdated information.

Challenge 2: Encouraging user adoption

If users (employees) are not aware of the service catalog or find it cumbersome to use, they might continue with old habits like emailing IT Team directly.

Emphasize the significance of employee self-service in reducing the strain on IT support teams.

Promote the service catalog through various channels like company intranets, training sessions, and internal communication platforms. Make sure the catalog is easy to understand and user-friendly with a clear interface for easy navigation.

Challenge 3: Integrating with existing systems

The service catalog might not integrate seamlessly with existing IT service management (ITSM) tools, creating data silos and redundancy.

Choose a service catalog solution that integrates with your existing ITSM tools. This ensures data consistency and avoids the need for manual data entry across different systems.

By addressing these challenges beforehand and implementing relevant solutions, organizations can build and maintain effective IT service catalogs. Catalogs that will be valuable for each party involved – the IT team, employees, and the management. 

Discover Atomicwork service request management solutions

At Atomicwork, we understand the importance of efficient IT service management. Our modern service catalog capabilities help organizations streamline service delivery, enhance user experience, and drive business success. With Atomicwork, you can build a robust service catalogs tailored to your unique needs, ensuring faster service delivery and user satisfaction.

Want to build your own service catalog? Get in touch with us and we will be happy to help you out.


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Frequently asked questions

What is a service catalog in IT?
What is the difference between CMDB and service catalog?
What is the difference between a service catalog and a service portfolio?
Can Atomicwork help create detailed service catalogs?

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