SharePoint as a Service Catalog
June 27, 2011 3 Comments
I.T. has traditionally worried about backlogged projects, now the tide has shifted in that I.T. must prove value. It is no longer enough to say I put up an application or a server it’s someone else’s problem now.
One of the concepts that is hard to grasp for many I.T. staff when switching to a service orientation is the recognition that in order for these services to be consumed these must be known.
For service to be known some form of marketing and advertising is needed. The business community does not have time to visit multiple sites and explore technologies like the I.T. staff. They need a simple location to find potential information solutions already fielded, a service catalog if you will. That catalog like product catalogs should be searchable, provide a description of the service, define its benefits, costs and specify how to order the service.
SharePoint can be used as a repository for these definitions of services as well as the bill of materials required for the service to be provisioned. This same repository can be published to potential and existing customers to enable them to understand services available to them, how to order, service to be expected, know which services they’ve purchased as well as introduce new services that are to become available.
While SharePoint is not a Relational Database, which is needed to manage the configuration of applications, hardware and processes needed to support service catalog functions, Business Connectivity Services and PerformancePoint provide the means to integrate and augment current CMDB functions in System Center Operations Manager and System Center Configuration Manager.
With each Service defined as a configuration of these components, a Bill of Material can be generated from a request for validation and provisioning in a more efficient manner. An “onestop” shop for both End User and Service Operations Manager. Instead of having to discover an End User doesn’t have a prerequisite component the Bill of Material acts as a checklist of accounts and permissions needed to be in place.
Additionally as Businesses move towards a Service Orientation billing for these services accurately become critical. The Bill of Materials for services provides an accurate categorization of billable items the end user can understand.