Developing a Service Catalog for Higher Education ITS

Lyons (2009) Developing a Service Catalog for Higher Education Information Technology Services

This article is a great example of improving an IT system successfully. Often, IT systems can be ‘upgraded’ only to have negative impacts upon the end users, as they weren’t consulted or worked with alongside the project development.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges customers for ITS were faced with a hard to use online system with services grouped according to their IT functions (database, network etc) rather than their desired end service result they were expecting to achieve. This creates a steep learning curve for the customers as they need to understand IT industry jargon, in order to use the services available.

The developers came up with a few good approaches to rebuilding the existing system with the following thoughts:

  • “First, our customers need to be able to easily and quickly access information when they want it”.
  • “Second, once people find the information they want, they need to be able to take action to request the service or find out how to perform the steps necessary to do it themselves”.

This gave them a good basis to begin with. Additionally it was established that:

  • “Appropriate expectations for service level, cost, and time should be set at the beginning of any interaction so that assumptions and surprises can be minimized.”

To meet the project goals they structured their surveying specifically to a core group of known customers with varying technical expertise and previous use of the online ITS system.

The end result is great. A simple UX design with headings related to services such as “Fix A Problem”, which customers can predict the outcome and know they will get the service they require. Success was measured by a higher site visit count, improved customer satisfaction, and reduced customer call helpline among other things.

A good example of a successful IT project to meet the customers needs.


About the author: nlittle

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.