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HP Propel and a vision for a next-generation service catalog


felix fernandez.jpgBy Félix Fernández


Félix Fernández is a CTO with HP Software Professional Services covering ITSM, PPM and SIAM.


Traditional IT often gets criticized because it has a hard time describing the services it offers to the business—let alone how much those services cost. To see an example of the problem, all you need to do is look at the typical IT service catalog. These online portals are often windows onto IT’s past–they break down IT services delivery into unconnected components, and force customers to put the puzzle pieces together.


In my work with HP Software Professional Services, I meet frequently with IT leaders who see a robust next-gen service catalog as an imperative to staying competitive. And in fact, HP recently announced HP Propel, which makes it possible to have a portal into IT services, complete with mobile access, RSS feeds and a user-friendly interface that allows Google-like search.


In my view, the service catalog makes it possible for IT to have a conversation with the business around services. But how do you get there? Conceptually, IT’s approach to the service catalog needs to change. You can have a great service catalog … and HP Propel certainly makes that possible. But you also need a vision for how you’re going to use it. Here are my recommendations.


The business conversation you’re aiming for

Basically the service catalog should be a single point of access for both information and requests. But more than that, it should be the menu of services IT is providing to the business. When I work with organizations I recommend they broaden their conception of the service catalog and what it can do. It’s more than a place to request laptops or phone service. Instead, it should enable IT to have that conversation with the business around service delivery. To do that, you need to be able to:


  • Measure the service levels for the different services
  • Manage changes for those services
  • Understand the costs of those services
  • Represent the scope of offerings by publishing those services into the portal


When you have these elements in place, then you’re able to have a conversation with the business that goes something like this: “This is the set of services that we have. We have agreed on these service levels. This is the cost. So, if you want to reduce cost, what do we do? Do we reduce services? Or do we reduce service levels?”


This is the kind of conversation the business wants to have with IT—it’s the conversation it’s already able to have with third-party cloud service providers. And it’s imperative that traditional IT organizations get to this place.


Can your catalog connect suppliers to services?

Many of the organizations I work with have been used to thinking of the service catalog from a pure discovery perspective. That’s a very technological approach where they’re looking to discover the different assets and relationships on an application level.


And yet services for the business are not applications. A business service may include multiple applications. And often they are delivered by other suppliers. Your service catalog should enable you to map the services you’re getting from suppliers to the services you’re delivering to the business. And it should provide a way for you to understand and manage the SLAs you need to ask your suppliers for. From that perspective the service catalog is a key source of information for our supplier performance scorecard, and essential to our strategy for multi-supplier integration and management.


Because it has an integration layer with suppliers, HP Propel helps you manage a multi-sourced IT environment and becomes part of your overall service integration and management strategy. In my work with Professional Services, I’m focused on helping IT organizations evolve into service brokers—the service catalog is a key step in getting there. I invite you to find out more at



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About the Author


This account is for guest bloggers. The blog post will identify the blogger.


BTW - if you want to hear Felix co-present on these topics including HP SIAM and a tiny bit on Propel, please attend a webinar this Thursday, Dec 5 on ITSM in a hybrid, multi-sourced world. Serendipity at its finest!


Thanks for the info on the webinar, Chuck. I would also add it's available as an on-demand replay. I just checked it out - really good stuff!

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