Book Review – The Service Catalog – A Practitioner Guide


The Service Catalog – A Practitioner Guide


Mark O’Loughlin


This book is squarely focused on the Service Catalogue practitioner – including both those that are looking to develop service catalogues for the first time and those looking to improve their current offering.


This book provides comprehensive coverage of the subject matter from understanding concepts; discussing service catalogue types; creating a framework; design and development; ongoing management and technology considerations


Intermediate – advanced.

Karen’s Comment:

One of the testimonials on the back of this book says “At last a practical, independent, hands on guide to design, develop, maintain an almost universal service catalog!”

That about sums it up. I love this book. Anyone who is working in (or about to work in) the area of service portfolio management and service catalogue management should have this book on their desk. This is one of those books that you will see dog- eared, well worn and notated throughout by the owner.

The book provides a full understanding of key concepts and definitions including assistance with the burning question “What is a service?”

In addition to the knowledge and experience of the author that is included in the book, Mark has undertaken extensive research and referenced many frameworks including MOF, USMBOK, ISM, COBIT as well as ITIL and the ISO/IEC 20000 standard.

Whereas ITIL tends to talk about the service catalogue on the singular and therefore lead people to believe that they must develop a single catalogue, this book describes how there are a number of service catalogue types that can exist within one organisation. Eight service catalogue types are described in detail and the service portfolio pyramid shows how all the pieces of the service portfolio / service catalogue puzzle fit together.

A framework for creating a service catalogue is provided including the elusive business case to justify the investment. The activities for designing and developing the catalogue are explained in detail.

The inclusion of comprehensive guidance for the on-going management of the catalogue is one aspect that sets this book apart from some of the other publications

on this topic. The service catalogue process and the service level management process along with the interdependencies and interfaces between them are explained in detail to ensure the reader has all the information required to ensure the service catalogue and the services contained within it are maintained and managed.

The chapter on technology includes discussion on SaaS and cloud computing. All the repository types, from spreadsheet to specialist software are compared and contrasted allowing the reader to assess the advantages and disadvantages of each.

The book includes practical examples throughout and has a real down-to-earth approach to the subject.

In the Epilogue of the book, Mark writes “As a final thought, to quote the maxim “You cannot manage what you do not measure. It is better to look at this a different way “You cannot affect what you do not manage”. Manage the service catalogue (and the service portfolio) well to ensure that the services used by the organisation and its customers are providing the best possible value at the best possible cost achieving the best possible results”.

This book will help you achieve that goal. It has prime place on my bookshelf. Add to all that, the 8 White Papers offered for free by the author at Van Haren.

That earned the review an extra 1⁄2 star! Rating 4.5 stars out of 5.

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