Documentation forSolarWinds Service Desk

Service Catalog

What is a Service Catalog?

Similar to any sales catalog that displays all the items offered in the store, your Service Catalog should be a complete, up-to-date list of services performed within your organization.  When an individual wants to request a product and/or service, this should be their one-stop-shop.

As the administrator, you will build the Service Catalog to meet the specific needs of your organization, therefore, keep in mind the following objectives:

  • Provide your end-users with a single source of consistent information for communicating available services including all associated details, interfaces and dependencies.
  • Ensure that it is easily accessible (while implementing permissions to allow only relevant users to access specific templates) - the templates, or Service Requests are pre-defined, and provide clarity on services offered, how, and expected time frames for delivery.
  • In addition IT teams benefit from having defined workflows when providing services, and based on previous cases, builds a consistent collection of information.

    Service Catalog access:

    With the goal of always maintaining ease and comfort to your agents and end users, we have provided the ability to access your Service Catalog via the platform and end users can initiate a change directly from the Service Portal.

What is a Service Request?

A Service Request is any request submitted by an end user to the IT service desk with the goal of initiating a service process. When a Service requests is received, the agent assigned is not starting from zero, the solution to standard requests are based on predefined workflows that vary in complexity. Whether simple or complex, workflows need to be standardized with a proven history to deliver services within predefined SLAs.

Objectives to consider:

  • As an administrator (and anyone else creating Service Catalog Items) it is important to be pro-active and consider all the needs of the organization, across the teams utilizing the SWSD. The Service Request is a standard service that includes pre-defined approvals and qualification processes, and clearly provides the requestor with the detailed procedure needed to follow.
    • Of course some service requests may require additional and unexpected steps that we couldn’t account for when creating their original template. For example: someone who is part of the approval process being away (change approver status to “out of office”), or just a new situation that requires an ad-hoc solution.
    • For this reason we provide the ability to add Ad-Hoc Tasks to open service requests.

    Found in the Task tab on the Service Request page

  • All end-users, internal and external, benefit from a comprehensive Service Catalog that serves as a medium for communication. For example:
    • Request for information - such as information on cloud storage limits
    • Request for access - access to a document or network
    • Request a resource - such as new phone, laptop, software, etc.

Benefits of your Service Catalog

  • Saves valuable time
  • Streamline workflows
  • Increases control
  • Reduces operational costs
  • Reduces mistakes
  • Simplification of processes for end users
  • Improved customer satisfaction

Prerequisites

Before you begin, make sure you can answer the following questions:

  • Which important services would I like to automate?
  • Who needs to be involved in this process?
  • What will be the stages of deployment?
  • Process - what information do I need to obtain from the end user?
  • Workflow - Which approvals are needed for the completion of this process? Are custom fields beneficial to enure obtaining all relevant details?

As a final thought before you begin, consider who will utilize your Service Catalog:

  • New users
    • Administrators - Need detailed guidelines of how to build a service catalog
    • Users - Directions to navigate the service catalog to locate the relevant service request
  • Seasoned User - Are familiar with the process and want quick and convenient navigation to the specific service they are after

Building your Service Catalog Item

Considerations:

  1. Take a moment to consider all service requests (break fix incidents and/or service desk requests) your users may need regularly.
  2. Now think outside-the-box and consider any additional requests that may come up due to an unexpected incident or change.
  3. Notice the ability to add images and include as many custom fields and forms as necessary to quickly and accurately obtain the relevant details. We want to limit any back and forth, time consuming correspondence to obtain details that could have been predefined in the template.
  4. Include Dependent Dropdowns in your template to aid in data collection.

Dependent Dropdowns

This functionality can lead to a variety of variable types. Increase flexibility via the use of a dropdown that can lead to another dropdown, a free text box, a checkbox, or whichever variable best fit your needs.

Example 1: New Device Request

Based upon the devices you offer, build a variable allowing the requester to choose between a laptop, desktop, or tablet. If the user chooses a laptop, a new dropdown variable will appear presenting the laptop options provided by your organization (Dell, MAC etc), This ensures a fast request workflow process.

Prerequisites for enabling the use of dependent dropdowns:

To ensure smooth continuity of services we suggest:

  1. Clone all existing catalog item you wish to add dependent dropdowns to the template
  2. Create changes in the copy
  3. Update and test
  4. If successful you should delete the original template to avoid future use

Example 2: New Device Request (Editing an existing template)

  1. Select the New Device Request catalog item
  2. Select the Actions button and click Clone
  3. A window appears titled New Service Catalog Item with the details prepopulated from the original template
  4. Make the desired changes
  5. Rename
  6. Click Create

Building Dependent Dropdowns

Example 3: New Device Request (Including Dependent Dropdowns in template)

  1. Navigate to the Service Desk and select Service Catalog
  2. Create (if not yet offered in the index page) or select (from the index page) New Device Request
  3. In the Process Fields tab click to + Add Field
  4. Notice all fields are mandatory. You will first define your dependent variables
    • Name
    • Field Type
    • Values
    • Click Save

  1. Next you will create a new field to include the dependent variables created

Important to select the values from the dropdown menu

Click Save

Now, when a request is made for a New Device, they will be asked to include all details.

Visualize your Service Catalog

Before you begin, let's visualize the process.

Now you are ready to begin!

Navigate to Service Desk. Then select Service Catalog

You are taken to the Catalog Items index page. Select the icon to create a New Service Catalog Item. Review the example below:

As shown above, each request form is divided into 2 areas, general details fields and tabs.

General Details Fields

  • All details should be requested within the form provided. We do not want to waste your valuable time with back and forth correspondence between requester and agent, therefore the Service Request form should include all relevant data needed to complete the request.
    • For example: If the site is not included, this will delay the delivery of the new computer to the correct site. Valuable time would be wasted in the time it takes to reach out to the requester to determine the site and waiting for a reply.

    If all details are entered, and all processes are predefined this leads to a seamless request process.

Tabs

  • Below the general details fields there are several tabs:
    • Details tab - Should provide clear visibility on items such as:
      • Site and Department to be included for reporting purposes
      • Price - for easy analysis of budget
      • Duration - to provide visibility of process times and delivery

      In this tab, notice the ability to drag and drop the fields in the variable columns, in addition to the ability to set default values.

      The image above reflects the ability to easily arrange the order of the Process Fields by dragging and dropping them as needed, as well as set default values.

    • Process tab - Includes all tasks and approvals required from time of request to approval. This can also include alternative steps needed if not approved. Directly from this tab you can make many updates to the process such as:

    • Task - Update/Add a task to the process, including the name, description and person assigned to complete task.
    • Group - Update/Add a group to act as a container for multiple steps to occur in a concurrent fashion.
    • Approval - Update/Add an approval steps to capture the needed authorization for this Change.
    • Condition Sets - Apply a condition to any record field (including custom fields) in a workflow. By applying a condition you enhance customization of your workflows and increase automation of processes to ensure overall efficiency.

      When you have multiple conditions you are able to streamline processes by selecting the specific condition type needed for this process. For example: By selecting to customize the Operator between conditions you can select, 1 and (2 or 3) or any version necessary.

    • Process Integration - Used to integrate with external systems.
    • Update Record - you can alter any workflow process to customize and ensure smooth automation of business processes as well as streamlining your workflows.

      For example: You can update any record field in the workflow. This includes system fields such as name and/or CC, you can select from previously cached entries.

    • Send Notifications - (Available in Professional and Enterprise Plans) this is your automation tool to provide status updates of all processes to relevant stakeholders.

      For example: Once a new laptop is requested, you can set up an automatic notification to be sent when:

      • The new laptop request has been denied - the notification can state denial with reasons why or steps how to follow up for more information.
      • The notification can also inform that the laptop request has been approved and the ship date is XX.XX.XXXX.

      For more information on how to set up email templates for notifications, click here.

    • Notice:
      Once a field is updated, it is not available for additional updates within the same action. Exit and re-enter Update Record to make additional changes. Lastly, Update Record does not include variables (also known as process fields).

    • Audit tab - Predefined process within the organization. May vary across departments.

As you expand your Service Catalog and create additional CI's you can view the repository on your Service Catalog index page. As with most of your SWSD pages, this page if fully customizable to meet your needs. The default view includes a list of All Items, and for more information on filtering, editing and customizing your view, click here.

Once you have customized your view, there are additional options found on the top right of your screen:

  • The icon - Allows you to enter key words into the search bar
  • The icon - Allows you to create to a new Service Catalog Item. As described above, it is imperative to include as much detail as possible in this
  • The icon - Reveals additional information related to the current index page.

The role you are assigned in your SWSD influences your visibility of tickets:

  • As an Administrator or Service Agent User:
    • You are able to see the states of all tickets
  • As a Service Task User or Requester:
    • You are only able to see the tasks that have been approved
  • An agent user can create a CI (Catalog Item) and determine the state of the ticket:
    • Draft

    • Internal

    • Approved

By selecting any CI in your view, you can open the details window. 

Once you have made the relevant adjustments, click Add Update Record to save your changes.

Now that you have finalized your workflow, it is important to understand how the process unfolds. You can select between:

  • Pre-processing: When a change or service request is submitted, the entire workflow is processed, with each step in the workflow evaluated based on the value of conditions and fields before the workflow begins.
  • Just-in-Time processing: Evaluates each step of the workflow based on the value of conditions and fields when these steps are reached. This allows you to base workflow decisions on current value rather than the values of these conditions and fields prior to workflow beginning. As a result, you can build more dynamic and realistic workflows that replicate your IT and business processes.

The audit tab provides an account of all activities related to this CI.