How Service Catalogs Improve Employee Productivity

Well-implemented Service Catalogs can improve support efficiency and reduce IT costs. But when considering the value of a Service Catalog to a business, the support team also needs to take an “It’s not about me, it’s all about you” perspective.

In a previous post, we showed you how a well-implemented Service Catalog improves IT efficiency and can help reduce support costs. Today we will focus on how the Service Catalog can be used to drive employee productivity to new levels by looking at how the service catalog is consumed.

The onboarding challenge: How to get new employees productive quickly?

Most businesses today leverage a dizzying number of systems and technologies. The list of services an employee will interact with tends to grow and change over time. And the mix of tools and services individual employees will use will be dependent on their particular job function and preferences.  Many organizations I talk with use the Service Catalog pretty effectively to handle delivering the “standard” services – like network accounts and email access. However, the teams that really shine are those that also built their Service Catalog to consider the position-specific differences in services and/or equipment needed by different job functions. By bundling together the services that a particular job function needs, it gets those employees on their way to productivity much faster and reduces the setup time needed for each individual.

The “I don’t know what I don’t know” challenge: Getting the right tools into the right hands

Whether you are on the job for your first day today or you have been in place for years, the technology landscape in your company is constantly evolving and there are new tools and services becoming available all the time. The Service Catalog is a great mechanism for helping employees discover what tools they may have access to help them be productive.

As an example: A number of years back at one of my previous employers, we needed to rapidly create some “recorded” product demonstrations to be used by industry analysts. I would need a tool to handle the recording effort. So, I checked with IT, my management team and some of my peers to see if we had a standard tool. No one knew of one. I dutifully dropped everything and researched the currently available options and recommended the purchase of the necessary licenses.  By the time the purchase went through we were rushed to complete the recordings in time, but we managed to get it completed.

Although we accomplished the task, I later found out that a different department routinely used the tool that I had selected and had several “floating” licenses to be used on one-off projects like mine. We had wasted the time to research the tools, the money for the new licenses, and the time and energy it took to push my request through procurement. We were not effectively using a Service Catalog at that time, otherwise I would have had visibility into the fact that a tool had already been selected and that licenses were available immediately. If only I had known, I could have been drastically more productive. Instead, my opinion of our IT team dropped several notches.

Service Catalogs are a key element to any modern support team’s arsenal and can be key to providing visibility into available (and recommended) services. By paying attention to the tools, services, and equipment specific employee groups are using, you can make a big difference in the productivity of your business’s employees in addition to reducing the impact on the support organization.

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