Unified Product Catalog


Unified Product Catalog (UPC): A complete centralized platform for digital services and products

Unified Product Catalog (UPC): A complete centralized platform for digital services and products

Unified Product Catalog

The coming of the service catalog and the value of IT are seemingly becoming essential. The delivery of services is becoming critical to the daily operation of the business in terms of web-related access, software solutions, and email, thus presenting a good case for businesses.

With 73% of consumers likely to switch brands if a company provides inconsistent service across departments, you can’t afford inaccuracies across channels. By using a powerful common product catalog, accessed by all sales channels, you gain visibility and control across your inventory. This ensures consistent pricing and product details, with changes reflected across channels as and when you need them to be.

The catalog consists of one or more metadata objects stored in an orderly way. The data objects are held at least in parts as a user node included in the data management system. When a request associated with accessing a metadata object is received, there will be a response to the request, and access to the requested metadata object is granted.

The service catalog is designed with the end customer in mind. The information necessary to request a service needs to be clearly defined by providing easy instructions. A unified service catalog considers all historic service catalogs into a single fold and combines all the different departments’ needs into a unified platform. 

At present, more and more organizations are looking to transform their service request management processes and implement a service catalog as part of this transformation. Be it for any department, and there will be a single port of call for specific people to access and get the required information they need.

Some of the vital service information that gets included:

  • Name of the service
  • Description of each service
  • Service category like Infrastructure, Software, Hardware, Video, Support
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) contract between the service provider and end-customer defining the expected level of service
  • Who can make the service request
  • Service owner
  • Costs associated with the service
  • Delivery expectations

Need for UPC

Having a single standard and single language as policy to serve the purpose of decoupling and unifying policy will help.  With decoupled policy it will be easy to monitor and maintain rules will serve the needs of UPC

The service catalog is presented as an IT self-service portal, through which business users can request IT services defined within the service catalog. Services are predefined and bundled as and when necessary and get aligned with the automated workflow processes, which in turn notifies approvers and staff of the tasks. A user can then monitor and track the status of their service request within the complete approval and delivery process. 

There are also cost benefits:

  1. Organizations will be able to map out each service and then plan if it’s more cost-effective to outsource service elements, automate parts or all of the delivery, or combine delivery elements.
  2. Understand the demand patterns and analyze service delivery to ensure service efficiency and save costs.
  3.  With all the service catalogs integrated into a single unified platform, users will be updated and can log in to check the status of their requests as and when required.
  4. Organizations can identify each service pain point and ensure it is taken care of and integrated into the process as a unified piece.

Developing a Service Catalog

While developing a service catalog, consider the following.

  1. Map the services your business needs to operate
  2. Define security and access permissions
  3. Optimize customer user experience
  4. Roll out in phases and invest in automation

Key Service Catalog Metrics

Consider metrics such as:

  • Consider the number of users accessing the catalog
  • Study the least and most accessed services
  • The number of requests concerning each service
  • Costs associated with a specific service
  • Service level metrics in terms of meeting expectations
  • Problem and incident resolution time
  • Average time to resolve a service

Choosing the correct service catalog software

The service catalog software provides simple access to services, enables the creation of a user-friendly experience, and automates the service delivery process. The service catalog is more like a self-service portal with web and mobile accessibility, with the ability to automate approvals and communicate through email.

Challenges will coexist unless mitigated, in form of inter-dependencies and in the cataloging process.   During the digital journey, such challenges will be larger and complex, the need for the right vendor who has the expertise and selecting the right one is a challenge in itself.

End Note

With customer demands on IT continuing to grow, IT service delivery practices are becoming important. Automating delivery of IT services is considered the future, with business and technology interlinked firmly. Implementing agile, mobile, adaptable, and user-friendly capabilities in the service catalog will become an integral part of the organization’s needs.

STL Unified Product Catalog is an omnichannel platform that powers you to design, rollout, promote and manage all your products from one place, with never before speed and scale. Read about how STL can provide the best answer with STL UPC solutions providing a complete ecosystem bundling and cataloging digital services and products.

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Unified Product Catalog (UPC): A complete centralized platform for digital services and products

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