The consumerization of IT, a movement led by cloud, mobile and social technologies, has taken hold in many businesses. Essentially, a consumerized IT setup is one in which the IT department attempts to mimic consumer functionality when it establishes applications and services. The reality of the movement is much different, in many cases, as some employees will push for consumer technology use whether it is sanctioned by IT or not. However, the result often ends up being the same - IT departments are tasked with adjusting based on user demands.
This represents a sea change in IT, as historic operating models put the IT department in a support role in which business leaders illustrated what they wanted and IT worked to make it happen in a highly-controlled way. There is a growing need for more mature service management and delivery methods with consumer technology models taking hold and IT teams being asked to respond more efficiently to user demand. Building an effective service catalog is often a key first step in the process of establishing a consumerized IT department that gives IT leaders the control they need while meeting end-user demands.
Understanding the importance of the service catalog
Self-service is becoming a key function of tech-savvy consumers. The simple reality is that cloud, mobile and social technologies have changed how people access technology. Gartner calls the three emerging IT movements the Nexus of Forces to highlight how each of these important, industry-changing forces has unified into a cohesive model affecting the enterprise. With such a powerful nexus in place, IT teams are often left with users who are more willing to find their own solutions if the IT department cannot meet operational demands. This creates incredible risk as employees can leverage their own cloud, social and mobile tools to get the job done without corporate consent or oversight.
The alternative is for IT departments to mirror consumer functionality and create an internal application store that employees can access to subscribe to solutions as they need them. This service catalog can be an invaluable resource for IT teams trying to keep pace with consumerization. However, delivering those services can be problematic, as a robust internal IT configuration that delivers consumer-like functionality is often more difficult to manage than a traditional data center. IT service management principles can help IT teams streamline operations and create the framework necessary to introduce a robust service catalog and protect their company from the rise of shadow IT departments.