Imagine opening your restaurant. What type of food would your restaurant serve? Expensive entrees?
Do you prefer to buy your desserts at local bakeries or make them yourself? The types of food and the way it is prepared (in-house or outsourced) can be compared to an IT service portfolio. It contains all IT services provided by an institution. Imagine a customer dining in your restaurant. What if the menu contained a detailed recipe for a complicated dish rather than just the name? The list of ingredients does not tell you the end product nor what the customer will get from this culinary treat. A menu should include a concise description of the dish and an explanation of how it enhances the customer’s culinary experience. IT service catalogues can be viewed as a “menu.” We can think of IT service catalogues as a “menu.”
This article presents results from the 2017 EDUCAUSE Core Data Service (CDS) survey, which asked institutions to report the services for which their central IT department had primary responsibility. We hope that this information can offer institutions a guide for benchmarking central IT service portfolios–identifying which IT services they should be providing while also identifying a service catalogue “starter pack” that can guide IT departments in the development and implementation of service catalogs.
Service catalogues can help increase efficiency, duplicate services, and identify potential users’ needs based on their login credentials. They can also communicate annual IT service changes to students, faculty, researchers, staff, and other stakeholders. Service catalogues can be used to improve IT response to institutional users (e.g. students, faculty, and customers) and plan IT activities and investments that better match institutional needs.
On the other hand, Central IT typically offers fewer services in the areas of administration, business, teaching and learning, research, and teaching. This could be because some of these services are provided at the university but not by central IT. Research computing may be the responsibility of IT within a particular academic department. These items can be found in your neighbourhood, but not at the main IT restaurant.
Figure 2 shows the frequency of services for central IT has primary responsibility for at least 80% of institutions. No services from the research category have reached this threshold. To compare their offerings with those of other institutions, institutions can use each category’s most commonly reported services as a benchmark. This is useful for highlighting which services are most popular to institutions and providing a roadmap to institutions looking to create a service catalogue.
Business and Administrative
The most frequently reported service is student information systems (87%), followed closely by finance, human resource, and procurement systems. Only 20% of institutions reported that IT central was responsible for managing medical and healthcare systems.
Communication & Collaboration
More than 90% of institutions stated that email and telephony are under the primary control of central IT. Despite reporting that central IT has primary responsibility for websites, 64% of institutions are less likely to do so.
All services were at least 85%: network access, distribution of software, support for desktops and mobile devices (desktops and laptops), etc. Printing The highest network access rate was 98%.
All services were at least 85%: network, service infrastructure and storage, database (i.e. hosting and administration of databanks), monitoring and middleware.
IT Professional Services
All the following services were at least 80%: IT service management and enterprise licensing, application development, consulting and advising, and business continuity and disaster relief. The training was, however, slightly lower than 70%.
This service category had the lowest proportion of institutions reporting that the centre is responsible for services. All institutions reported 32% that central IT is responsible for research computing.8 This is even though IT departments may often turn to vendors to implement cloud storage for research data or have department-specific research computing departments. However, this low number of services available reflects a need for higher education institutions.
Identity management and access management accounted for the largest percentage of institutions that reported central IT was responsible for primary responsibility (93%). At 73%, security consulting was the lowest.
Teaching & Learning
Only one service was reported by more than 80% of institutions as having major IT responsibility: support and classroom technology. A little less than 80% of institutions indicated that the central. IT was responsible for technology-enhanced spaces (79%) and learning management systems (73%).
These findings have led us to offer these suggestions:
- Suppose institutions are looking to manage their IT services strategically. In that case, they should think about centralizing core IT services in categories like infrastructure, IT professionals, and security while sharing responsibility for services such as teaching, learning, and research.
- The best way for institutions to create a service catalogue is to start with well-defined, centrally centralized service categories such as infrastructure, endpoint computing, security, communication, collaboration, and IT professional services. These categories will allow institutions to identify the most relevant services for campus stakeholders and rank them according to institutional goals.
- IT departments should find a way to show shared or distributed IT services in an online service catalogue. This would give a better picture of all the services available on campus. This could include more information about which services are available for research, teaching, and learning.
It can be not easy to size an IT service portfolio correctly and then present that portfolio in a concise service catalogue. This requires effective governance and communication throughout the institution. However, the tangible rewards for institutional stakeholders ensure that the effort is worthwhile. It should feel like you are reading the menu at your favourite restaurant while discussing an IT department’s service catalogue. While the menu may not be something you notice or make a comment about, it can be an important part of your dining experience. You might not feel satisfied if the menu doesn’t include all the options you want, is confusing, or is poorly organized. Make sure you think about your customers. Offer them delicious meals that they will love. Good luck!
Thank you to Kate Roesch and Gregory Dobbin for their critical contributions to data visualization. This staff ensures that our work is clear, accessible, and visually appealing to our readers.