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this page is part of the Educause wiki: IT Communications: Virtual Coffee Shop

Service Catalogs and Marketing IT services to the campus

Service Catalogs - examples


Service Level Agreements - see Moody's SLAs

Melanie Thomas of UT-El Paso and Kristen Kolenz, Jennifer Loudiana of Case Western presenting in today's coffee shop, see notes below and their slides are attached at the bottom.

Also, discuss how we make the campus more aware of all the utility work done by our IT staff, new and existing services, etc. 

Melanie Thomas, University of Texas at El Paso

Why are we even doing Service Catalogs? This is my third go at Service Catalogs at UTEP, so I am an expert in what NOT to do!

What goes into a service catalog?  Any technology you

  • manage
  • support
  • get questions about


Why do you need a service catalog?

  • Supplement current support
  • reduce calls about major services
  • Provide self-help


Does anyone even use the pages?

  • use Google Analytics to find out clicks, count the downloads
  • are you getting less calls?
  • are you getting less calls on specific services?
  • compare calls you do get  after publishing catalog (phone vs web, business hours vs nights/weekends)

What should be on each page?

  • explain the service
  • benefits and features
  • how to get, use, access service
  • how to get support and training
  • cost, if any
  • policies related to service


How much is too much?

  • too much text is SCARY
  • link to FAQs (stored separately)
  • user expandable modules (short phrase or summary, click on it to expand if you want to know more)
  • ONLY what relates to your users

How technical should I get?

  • identify users (who needs, uses)
  • split the help into sections
  • split up the instructions into easily-consumed bits


What should it look like?

  • simple design (for users not for us in IT)
  • one graphic
  • two colors
  • no clicking around (don't present options on tabs, put everythign one one page in front of the reader)
  • show everything they need on 1-2 screens


What NOT to do?

  • don't creat the page for IT to use
  • you are doing this for your customers, not for the techies



  • Q: how long does it take to create a service catalog?
  • A: Content takes longer than actually creating the published catalog. First time, 2.5 day retreat all managers and directors to discuss and hash out, second time, hired a consultant for 3-4 months, third time, Melanie is the only one working on it and started in March - by December had only 17 of 70 pages done since there are so many things that aren't included.
  • Q: is this a product?
  • A: worked with Web Services first time, but that was when it was pretty and didn't work for our customers very well.  Second time, the consultant was knowledgeable about our content management system and there were no graphics, just tabs.  Third time, we talked to support staff and decided to just design it ourselves, very simple but has what we need.  We'll see if the customers can actually use this one.
  • Q: how do you keep it current?
  • A: should be static.  Really, how often do your services change?  We changed content when we went to a new Office version. The biggest area of change is the FAQ and that is what the Help Desk keeps updated - remember the FAQ is not in the Service Catalog, not cluttering up the info about the actual service.  Remember, think of it as a PAPER document to get your head around how often a service catalog changes.
  • Q: talk about not using "tabs," are you using links instead?
  • A: links - yes! one to the Help/Service Desk, one to the FAQ.  On the FAQs, I change the actual question/title to the way the customers would ask it.
  • Q: do you link on words inside the document?
  • A: No, I take the links to the FAQ, which the service desk keeps current.


Case Western

  • Genesis
  • 60,000 pages in our original ITS website
  • Service page wasn't helpful



  • no funding
  • human resources limited



  • web database
  • categories, services defined
  • technical language converted to customer-speak
  • users given access to work on the web form
  • web database allows addition of documents, PDFs, links
  • 60,000 down to about 1,000


Talk through elements on screen prints from sample pages (see PPT SLIDES); using CSS style sheets to control look and feel


  • end users love it!  good will!
  • currently accessible from dept web site
  • using service catalog as basis for new service page
  • See for web pages


Aspirations - our ultimate service catalog will include

  • usage metrics
  • ordering information
  • billing info
  • more info in general



  • Q: you have services that are more specific like email versus email alias, so easy to read it and see it, so no wonder your users are so satisfied!
  • A: we were lucky enough to have a free-lance designer on this. Also Kirsten Nagle, her career was built around design, so when she came on board our entire management of content just got so much better.  Bring in non-IT people to work on your communications so your customers will "get it"
  • A: also, we changed the language from technical from more customer friendly - asking our customers - what do you call this?
  • Q: how do you start the process - what do you determine what to do differently on your web site, catalog, etc?
  • A: at Case, we constantly think about this now where we didn't before
  • A: at UTEP, we didn't feel our other two attmempts were working any more, ask customers what they want/need

Chat notes

  • ITCOMM CG Leader 1: Carlyn logging out as leader 1, will come back in as participant.
  • Melanie Thomas - UTEP: In case anyone wants to Service Catalog can be found at
  • Jennifer Loudiana - Case Western Reserve University: Hello, CWRU Service catalog is at
  • Chuck - Indiana: Is this being recorded?
  • Kristen Kolenz - Case Western Reserve: i dont see a recording indicator so i think not
  • Alison Cruess - Univ of North Fla: University of North Florida's service catalog:
  • Lisa-UAlbany: Not t worry; Carlyn takes excellent notes!
  • Carlyn - Rice: not recorded, but I am scribing for the Educause wiki
  • Chuck - Indiana: awesome - this is my first coffee shop
  • Chuck - Indiana: Indiana Univeristy service directory, but working on a new one -
  • Debbie - Moody: Moody's
  • Debbie - Moody: Actually, the ETS Core Services Catalog based on ITIL is at -- then go to "
  • Debbie - Moody: "ETS Services"
  • Carlyn - Rice: PLEASE MUTE if you are not talking
  • Carlyn - Rice: Case, paste the list of links in the chat, I didn't get them copied quickly enough for wiki
  • Melanie Thomas - UTEP: (current) (going live soon)
  • Elizabeth Carbin: Hello,   I have another meeting to attend.
  • Elizabeth Carbin: How can I replay later
  • Carlyn - Rice: We don't have an audio recording, but slides and notes will be available in the Educause wiki:
  • Elizabeth Carbin: Thank You! Have a Great weekend!
  • Carlyn - Rice: got it! thanks!
  • Kumar - UCLA: Thank you - this was very helpful.
  • Lisa Stephens: Thank you ladies!  Well done...
  • Chuck - Indiana: Thanks for sharing! We're wokring on a similar project, and we've had two different student groups do research and reocmmendatiosn for us. Next semester we'll have a student intern develop a prototype. Our goal is an open source solution to provide colletction, workflow, publication , subscription feed to help maintian the data. I'll share more as it develops.
  • Stephanie - Brown: This was so helpful!
  • Kim Chmielewicz - ITEC: Great job - thanks for the information!
  • Kerrin, Stony Brook: Ideas for starting focus groups for upcoming Coffee Shop  
CASEeducauseservicecatalog.ppt1.24 MB
UTEP-ServiceCatalogs.ppt560 KB

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