The Higher Education IT Service Catalog: A Working Model for Comparison and Collaboration, Second Edition

The Higher Education IT Service Catalog Model

The model provided here is a three-tiered approach, with a fourth section defining key attributes for services and service offerings (see figure 4). The intent is to foster understanding of the catalog contents by presenting them in a way that makes sense in the higher education environment, starting most broadly and moving to more detailed information as one traverses the structure.

  • Service Category: A logical grouping of services that benefit from being managed together. These high-level groupings should be meaningful to the IT service provider to facilitate budgeting and governance of services. Some institutions might choose to make these groupings visible to end users, whereas some might not and might even have different groupings (see the discussion of "views" earlier in this document). These categories should reflect the strategic goals of the institution and align with the overall governance model. Governance of IT services, including deciding on major projects, developing strategy, and managing funding, is generally conducted by groups aligned with the service categories. Most service catalogs will consist of six to ten service categories. Examples of service categories might include communication and collaboration, infrastructure, and teaching and learning.
  • Service: An end-to-end IT service that delivers value to customers, typically not identified by specific product or application names. The service combines people, processes, and technology to provide outputs or results that enable business capabilities or an end user's work activities and desired outcomes. Multiple related services are grouped in a service category. Examples of services appearing in the Infrastructure service category, for example, might include database management and network and connectivity management.
  • Service Offering: The specific technology-focused activity or product used to deliver a service. These can be software bundles, custom application solutions, or other technology that enables a service offering. Multiple service offerings might exist for a single service. Examples of service offerings for an email and collaboration service might include Microsoft Exchange, Gmail, email distribution lists, and university and college event calendars.
  • Service Attributes: Key information about individual services or service offerings. Different views of a catalog might contain different attributes focused on the catalog's audience. Some examples include service name, service description, audience, benefits, service charges, and requirements.
Schematic illustrating the IT service catalog model
Figure 4. The IT service catalog model

Services live in a single category; however, some services might be cross-referenced in other categories via the related services attribute.

How to Use This Model

Start building your service catalog by reviewing and using the model categories and taxonomy provided below. The model is expected to generally align to any institution’s service catalog needs. We recommend you start with this template and, working with the stakeholders at your institution, tailor it and adjust any categories or services to meet your local requirements.

In building your service catalog, it is essential that you involve and work with your constituents to discover what services they want, the language they would use to denote those services, and what requirements they have regarding the delivery of those services. This collaboration will help align expectations with service provisioning, improve communication, and result in a collection of services that bring value to your intended audiences. It will further aid in defining service-level agreements that address availability, reliability, and recoverability in a business continuity model. Using this constituent-led operational model, your level of success in providing services can be evaluated objectively. In addition, monitoring and reporting agreed-upon service metrics provides a basis for discussion between service provider and customer and enhances mutual satisfaction in the delivered services. Continuing to involve the customer in the ongoing development and maintenance of the service catalog helps ensure its success.

Some aspects you might want to consider when building your service catalog include the following:

  • You might have different views of your catalog. Typically, you will have a single catalog but might have multiple views for different audiences. See the above section, Service Catalog Views and Audiences, for more on this.
  • The model is not intended to be prescriptive. You might find that some services at your institution are better aligned in a way that differs from this model. For instance, your institution might prefer to situate "Polling and Surveys" (currently in the "Teaching and Learning" category) in the "Communication and Collaboration" category, or you might discover that it makes sense to shift "Media and A/V" systems (now under "Communication and Collaboration") to the "Teaching and Learning" category.
  • The model groups services together by function and does not attempt to align them to user groupings. For instance, a personal computer user might consume services from the Communication and Collaboration, Desktop and Mobile Computing, and Infrastructure categories. A different view can be used to group these together for the user, if desired.
  • It is a best practice to avoid structuring your catalog to match your IT organizational structure. The model does not align services by how or where they operate or how the IT organization supports them. For example, an IT organization might manage cloud-based collaborative storage and on-premises disc-based storage in different departments, but both services would appear in the catalog as service offerings under "Server and Storage Management."
  • Some platforms might provide multiple services and be listed in multiple locations. For example, PeopleSoft, Workday, G Suite, Amazon Web Services, Azure, and others might be listed in more than one category or service area as appropriate.
  • If a service has a consulting component, it should be included with the service it supports. Some common examples include educational technology consulting, user experience design, and data integration.
  • IT services that are consumed only by central IT are not within the scope of this model. Services consumed by central IT as well as other audiences are included, however. If you want to include internal-only services, they might not align seamlessly to this model.

Service Categories

Listed below are suggested service categories that we believe cover the strategic areas for most institutions. With appropriate local modification, these categories should assist in facilitating activities such as budgeting and governance. Most institutions will have 6–10 service categories:

Service Category Category Description
Administrative and Business Services that support the administrative and business functions of an institution. Includes business capability and process automation, financial and procurement systems, human resource systems, library systems, and student information systems.
Communication and Collaboration Services that facilitate institutional communication and collaboration needs. Includes conferencing and telephones, email and collaboration services, media and audio/visual, and web services.
Desktop and Mobile Computing Services that support access and use of community members' devices and related peripherals. Includes desktop and mobile device support, printing and related services, and software and applications distribution.
Infrastructure Foundational services that support the operation and management of the enterprise IT environment. Includes data center services, database management, network and connectivity management, and server and storage management.
IT Professional Services People-based services that support the management of IT for the institution. Comprises consulting services not related to specific services identified in other categories. Includes enterprise architecture, continuous improvement and innovation, digital accessibility, IT communication and documentation, IT service delivery and support, portfolio and project management, and training and outreach.
Research Services supporting the institution's research activities, including advanced or specialized storage and applications, research data services and software, and lab management systems.
Information Security Services that provide security, data integrity, and compliance for institutional activities. Includes identity and access management, security consulting and educations, incident response and investigation, and security policy and compliance.
Teaching and Learning Services providing instructional technology and resources directly supporting teaching and learning. Includes learning management systems, instructional technology and design, assessment and learning analytics, lecture capture, and polling and surveys.


Under each service category, we have listed common IT services (end-to-end IT services delivering outcomes to customers) offered in higher education. This list should be broadly representative but might not be comprehensive for all institutions. Your institution might not offer all of these or might have additional services. For each of these services, there might be a number of individual service offerings representing specific technology-focused activities or products that are used to deliver the service.

An analysis of the 2017 EDUCAUSE Core Data Survey found that, on average, 37 of the 52 services in this catalog are supported by an institution's central IT department.1  The analysis also showed that the specific services supported varies substantially—only a small number of services, mostly related to infrastructure, are centrally supported at more than 90% of universities.

Service Service Description
Alumni and Advancement Alumni portals and offerings that support university and college advancement and development.
Athletics Athletics administration, recruiting, procurement, and ticketing systems.
Auxiliary Systems Support for auxiliary or ancillary campus systems, activities, and operation. Might include legal management, childcare, mail services, recreation services, art collections, etc.
Business Capability and Process Automation Practices, frameworks, and technologies that automate, improve efficiencies, and measure the effectiveness of business processes. Includes IT service management; ticket management; operations, business, sales, and marketing management platforms; document and signature management services; customer relationship management; job scheduling; and workflow management.
Facilities Management Support of room and facility systems, including event management (room management, hotel, concierge, seating, conference registration, etc.), mapping, building security, safety and risk management, dining systems, point of sale, transportation, laundry, and parking systems.
Faculty Information Systems Administration and maintenance of faculty administration, review, and promotion and tenure systems.
Financial and Procurement Systems Administration and management of financial services, procurement, travel, budget, vendor relations, and equipment purchasing systems.
Human Resource Systems Administration and management of core human resource systems, including recruiting, position management, performance review, workforce development, and time and attendance. Might also include payroll and benefits administration systems.
Library Systems Administration and management of systems that provide access to local and remote information in support of teaching, learning, and research. Includes acquisitions, catalog, circulation, serials, a public user interface, interlibrary loan, discovery tools, and infrastructure services specific to library systems.
Medical and Health Systems Systems and technologies in support of clinical processes, including health record management, pharmaceutical data, medical appointment scheduling, and residency placements.
Data, Reporting, and Analytics Business intelligence platforms, data warehouses, dashboards, analytics tools, transactional reporting, operational data stores, and data governance when offered as a service.
Student Information Systems Admissions, enrollment, registration, orientation, financial aid, student accounts and collections, advising, and career services systems.
Service Service Description
Conferencing and Telephones Telephony, including voice/VoIP, teleconferencing, and web conferencing hosted either in cloud or on-premises.
Email and Collaboration Services Electronic message, information sharing, productivity, and integrated collaboration suites used to facilitate interactions between individuals and work groups as they create, share, and exchange information. Includes services such as email, calendaring, productivity suites, file sharing, instant messaging tools, and web-based collaborative platforms used strictly for collaboration.
Mass Communications and Emergency Notifications One-way communications and emergency communications to the entire campus or other defined groups. Includes campus alert systems, broadcast email and text messaging, electronic newsletter distribution, enterprise mailing list management, and digital signage.
Media and A/V Broadcasting, live streaming, video recording and media production. This area includes audiovisual-related event support.
Web Services Content management systems, portals, web hosting, web analytics, user experience design, and URL management. Also includes website and mobile application development.
Service Service Description
Desktop and Mobile Device Support Support for all types of end-point devices, including laptops, desktops, mobile devices, and related peripherals that are not in the printing service. These devices might be personally or institutionally owned (including loaner equipment) and might be part of a shared pool or a computer lab. Includes support for the associated operating system, hardware, and systems that provide enterprise management of computing devices.
Hardware Lifecycle Services Purchasing consultation, hardware procurement, device refresh, leasing, and technology recycling.
Printing and Related Services Technology associated with printers and copiers, such as copy, scan, fax, and print. Includes supporting technologies such as copy centers, print quota systems, 3D printing, and other replicating technologies.
Software and Applications Distribution Distribution, installation, and troubleshooting of software and licenses via media, online methods, and license servers. Includes both cloud-based and desktop software.
Service Service Description
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Business continuity consulting and planning, as well as disaster recovery planning, including disaster recovery exercises and execution.
Data Center Services Strategy, planning, architecture, and operation of physical and virtual data centers, including on-premises, remote, and cloud-based data centers.
Database Management Hosting and administration of databases, physical and virtual.
Integration Services Consultation and integration services, when offered as a consolidated service.
Monitoring and Alert Management Monitoring of IT services, including the underpinning technologies.
Network and Connectivity Management The architecture, installation, and operation of infrastructure items required to offer network connectivity, such as network cabling, routers, and firewalls. Includes connecting devices (including Internet of Things devices) to the network, network access management, securing access to networks, and appropriate authentication (e.g., network registration systems, VPN, and NAC).
Server and Storage Management Provisioning, hosting, and administration of physical and virtual servers and related storage. Includes the maintenance and provisioning of core storage capabilities such as server storage and database backups.
Service Service Description
Continuous Improvement and Innovation Consulting unrelated to a specific technology service, such as business process streamlining, business relationship management, and business analysis.
Digital Accessibility Assessing or enabling accessibility of academic software, enterprise applications, or electronic/digital resources. Might include accessibility reviews, defining standards, analysis, or end-user training/awareness.
IT Communications and Documentation Development and delivery of IT communications related to delivery of IT services. Might include communications related to system changes, service offerings, or service outages (planned or unplanned). Functionally, might include maintenance of support documentation and/or the service catalog.
IT Service Delivery and Support Includes design and maintenance of the capabilities, tools, and service points needed to deliver IT services or provide end-user support. Includes service desks, call centers, and online support delivery. Might include concierge support or special event service delivery.
IT Strategy, Governance, and Enterprise Architecture Enterprise-level strategy and planning.
Portfolio and Project Management Project portfolio management and related project management services.
Training and Outreach Developing, delivering, or coordinating end-user technology training for applications and systems. Functionally, might include organizational change management and/or development and delivery of digital literacy campaigns.
Service Service Description
Lab Management Systems Recording and tracking lab experiments, equipment, and specimens.
Research Administration Systems Systems used to secure and facilitate research funding and compliance.
Research-Specific Computing and Applications Computing and storage resources that support research that uses specialized or highly intensive computation, storage, bandwidth, or graphics. Includes advanced or specialized applications, such as plotting, visualization, modeling, rendering, animation, graphics programming, and image manipulation.
Research Data Services Support of the data life cycle, including data creation; discovery and collection; analysis and visualization; storage, backup, and transfer; and research data policy compliance.
Research Software Software package management, research software development, research software optimization or troubleshooting, workflow engineering, containers and cloud computing, securing access to software, and software associated with physical specimens.2 
Service Service Description
Identity and Access Management Identity and access management, including accounts, authentication, access, and role-based provisioning at the enterprise level.
Secure Computing Offerings that provide a secure computing environment for end users. Includes network security, system security, application security, and threat monitoring and management.
Security Consulting and Education Security assessment, education, and awareness of campus security requirements, policies, and guidelines. Includes contract reviews and risk assessments.
Security Incident Response and Investigation Offerings that respond to, remediate, and seek to prevent security incidents and vulnerabilities.
Security Policy and Compliance Offerings relating to institutional policy or compliance guidelines and requirements. Includes support for audit processes.
Service Service Description
Assessment Systems and Learning Analytics Support for assessing learning outcomes and learning analytics.
Academic Technology and Support Ensuring that physical classrooms, specialized learning environments, and virtual learning environments (e.g., immersive learning, augmented reality) are suitably equipped and functional to meet the needs of the education experience.
E-Portfolio Management Creating and managing e-portfolios, including the consumption or use of e-textbooks and other online self-curation.
Instructional Technology and Design Ensuring that faculty and other course creators have the knowledge and assistance they need to optimize their effectiveness in using teaching and learning technologies, including e-text development and online course development.
Learning Management Offerings that relate to the management of academic course materials (e.g., videos, documents, spreadsheets) and that facilitate teaching and learning using online portals. Includes learning management systems and other learning platforms, as well as services that provide on-demand, usually modular skills-based learning to employees and/or students.
Lecture Capture Recording, storing, editing, and publishing lectures.
Polling and Surveys Polling and survey offerings used to solicit feedback from a group of individuals for academic or business purposes. Includes application-based, online, and device-specific polling or survey systems.

Service Attributes

Service attributes help define and describe both services and service offerings. They provide information related to managing, providing, and accessing each service or service offering. One can think of attributes as a set of characteristics of each service or service offering.

The particular attributes that are presented to the person reading the service catalog might change depending on that person's role within the institution. For example, the "service cost" attribute, in contrast to the "service charges" attribute, might be hidden from faculty, staff, and students but visible to IT staff and governance members.

Depending on the maturity of the institution's service catalog and service management program, some attributes might be required and others just suggestions. For instance, the service owner role might be mandatory in institutions where the role has been formally established for all services, whereas it could be optional in institutions where the role has not been fully established.

Attribute Description
Service Category The category to which the service belongs.
Service Name The name by which the catalog users know the service. See also Aliases.
Aliases (Meta Tag for Search) Aliases might exist for the service name so that it can be found by other names (e.g., the institution's branded name, product name, or other commonly used names).
Service Description A full description of the service, including its purpose, benefits, features, and options. The description should be written for the end user to understand.
Audience The constituents for whom the service is available (e.g., students, faculty, staff).
Service Levels Basic information about service availability, maintenance windows, levels of support available, what users can expect from this service, etc.
Requirements Any prerequisites for using the service (e.g., approvals, training, compliance requirements, and other services).
Service Charges The cost to the end user or department to use the service. This can be expressed on a per-user basis, by department, volume of consumption, or however charges are assessed.
Requesting the Service Instructions for requesting the service (e.g., a link to a request form or contact information).
Support Contact Instructions for requesting support (e.g., help with using the service or reporting a service issue).
Support Availability Support hours.
Feedback Mechanism Instructions or mechanism for reporting feedback on a service.
Documentation Pointers to service documentation, service policies, FAQs, training materials, etc.
Status/Phase Current status or phase of the service (e.g., planning, production, or retired). Note: when a service is retired, it is removed from the catalog but remains in the portfolio.
Service Cost The actual costs to deliver a service—including, hardware, software, licensing, maintenance, and staff resources—which are necessary for an organization to understand financial management on a service level.
Service Owner The person who is accountable for the delivery of the end-to-end service. This accountability crosses functional areas.
Related Services Links to other services in the service catalog that users might be interested in, based on their interest with this service.


  1. See the EDUCAUSE Core Data Service.

  2. This description pulls from draft work from CaRCC, Internet2, and EDUCAUSE on a research computing and data maturity model. For more information, see "Research Computing and Data Capabilities Model."