For most IT teams, service management investments will focus on improving technology functionality with users in mind. Business users are considered the customer, but operations often focus on the IT side of operations, not the end user. If you are starting to take a customer-centric approach to IT service management, it may be time to start looking at operations from an end-user point of view. With that in mind, let's take a look at service catalogs and how they can create new opportunities for user satisfaction.
Three ways that a service catalog can improve the customer experience include:
1. Faster Response to Application Requests
Traditionally, a user that feels like he/she needs a better application must talk to managers about the problem, discuss the issue with IT, identify any potential upgrades, submit a formal request for the new solution, get approval from IT and then wait while the technology team deploys the solution and establishes authorizations. The complexity and time-consuming nature of these processes is a major contributor to issues like shadow IT departments.
A service catalog creates a portfolio of applications that the IT team is willing and able to support, making it much easier for users that want a better solution to quickly find what they need. Furthermore, business process automation can be used to streamline the way that IT reviews customer requests made through the service catalog. In many cases, automated provisioning allows the new application instance to be pushed live once the deployment is approved by IT. The result is a much more responsive application environment that creates an excellent customer experience.
2. Provide Consumer-Like Functionality
Generating excitement about IT is not easy. If you want to get business users interested in the technologies they can access, you can create consumer-like portals that let customers "shop" for different applications that help them get the job done more effectively. Empowering business users to pick and choose the applications and services they want to use is becoming a necessary reality in IT departments across many industries.
The problem with enabling consumer-like functionality is that IT teams are still responsible to protect data, ensure regulatory practices are followed and provide governance over the entire configuration. The IT department cannot afford to let standards slip in any of these areas, so they can't just let users freely choose whatever applications they want. A service catalog lets IT function as a gatekeeper that identifies which solutions will be made accessible to end users, but still lets customers make their own decisions.
3. Create Transparency
IT professionals are not always perceived in the best light by business users. In many cases, you would find people that look at IT workers like super villains that sit in dim rooms, surrounded by computers, trying to control everybody in the organization. This may be far from the truth, but IT leaders that want to take a customer-centric approach to operations need to create transparency to negate this image.
A service catalog is a key component in generating visibility into what IT can offer and starting a conversation about the various options business users can, or cannot access. This sense of openness can empower users to take ownership of the technologies they use and become invested in the way they get the job done. Empowered customers are often more productive users. As such, the transparency created by a service catalog can deliver a considerable return on investment for businesses.
IT leaders who want to create a customer-centric technology setup are often well served using service catalogs and other advanced management tools to empower users and generate new opportunities for revenue.