“ServiceNow™ Service Catalog enables organizations to charge forward with their digital transformation and deliver a wide range of products and services through a modern and user-friendly storefront. Users enjoy greater self-service satisfaction and faster request fulfillment just as they do on their favorite consumer sites.” – excerpt provided by (ServiceNow, 2021)

“The Service Catalog automates workflows and approvals to enable organizations to improve the customer experience, accelerate service delivery and reduce operational costs. The Service Catalog’s APIs make using internal portals easy – no heavy scripting or customization required” – excerpt provided by (ServiceNow, 2021)

INSIGHT: Before you start planning your service catalog journey, I’d recommend watching this “Getting Started with ServiceNow™ Service Catalog” Video.


Action items in this checklist are intended for the implementation owner (s), who can be a primary business stakeholder, project manager, or another stakeholder who manages the project and decision-making processes.


It is a starting point to provide a workable and reference able framework that enables you to build and deliver value faster. The benefits of using a readiness checklist are:

  • You’ll implement and see faster time to value
  • You’ll be aware of crucial implementation risks and receive guidance to avoid them.
  • You’ll have a superior, more efficient design, so you get the most value from your Service Catalog implementation; and assurance that you will get access to the greatest in each new release without rebuilding.

The use of this checklist depends on the status of your implementation project plan, desired timelines, objectives, and defined success criteria. The effectiveness of this checklist is dependent on the level of commitment demonstrated by all involved.

Who this document is for:

  • Customers without an implementation plan yet and are interested in what they need to prepare.
  1. This checklist highlights the standard steps to prepare for your implementation, outlines the design phase homework, and provides insight into some of the significant decisions you’ll make during implementation design.
  2. This checklist doesn’t provide design, configuration, or testing activities and is for readiness ONLY.
  3. Work with your selected Implementation experts to plan a series of focused implementation workshop(s) for planning and assistance with execution.
Key Readiness Steps

The following steps are provided as guidance for preparation purposes ONLY.

  1. Confirm prerequisites
  2. Define vision, objectives, and success criteria
  3. Assess team readiness
  4. Create governance structure
  5. Plan for Organizational Change Management (OCM) activities.
  6. Plan for implementation design
    1. Understanding Current Requests and Processes
    1. Document Integrations and OOTB Options
  7. What’s Next
Upon Completion

After completing all the readiness steps, you will have a better understanding of the ServiceNow service catalog, concepts, design, features, and capabilities and feel confident in answering the following questions:

  • What steps you’ll need to take when planning service catalog design
  • How to create a customer-focused catalog structure
  • What to consider when configuring the Service Catalog
  • How to simplify and standardize fulfillment workflows
  • How to create a world-class Service Catalog that continuously optimizes customer experiences.
  • How to define the catalog design, governance, and maintenance process

Step 1: Confirm Prerequisites


Take the time to understand Service Catalog capabilities and features to confirm underlying platform functionality required for your intended use cases of Service Catalog.

  • Service Catalog overview on ServiceNow™ website. Take note of the application’s features, functionality, and benefits.
  • Review any presentation materials provided to you; Service catalog demo – If applicable
  • Service Catalog product documentation. These resources are more technical and provide additional functionality detail.
Expected LOE: Basic – Foundational
Key Takeaways & Action Items
  • You should now have a deeper understanding of Service Catalog capabilities and functionality.
  • A better understanding of how applications interact with Service Catalog depends on your use cases.
  • You may need to add applications to your current environment, and these should be considered during the design phase.
  • INSIGHTS: Understand your audience, keep it simple, and deliver a delightful experience
    • Use the language of your customers; NOT all users understand IT speak or jargon.
    • Automate whenever possible, i.e., auto-populating names, titles, or Contact Info.
    • Let the requester know when and by whom approvals are needed.

Step 2: Define Vision, Objectives, and Success


A strong transformation vision should address four questions:

  • Vision – What’s the ideal future state for our customers and team?
  • Expected business outcomes – What business value will we realize?
  • Desired business capabilities – What execution strategies are necessary to achieve this vision?
  • Key measures of success – How will we know when we’ve realized our targeted value?
Expected LOE: Medium – Advanced
Key Takeaways & Action Items

Setting Objectives:

  • Effective measures of success set objective targets for each business capability you want to enable. They also help you track progress on accomplishing the expected business outcomes associated with the vision and flag the need for timely corrective measures.

Suggested Service Catalog outcomes:

Reduce a user’s time to complete a request by automating routine requests. 

Ease of use by enabling ServiceNow iOS and Android mobile apps to approve requests.

Suggested Success Metrics:

  • Customer usage: Time to fulfillment, Frequency of request per item, Number & % of service requests completed within agreed target times.
  • User Experience: Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Cost to Serve, Customer health Index (CHI).
  • INSIGHT: Use data to shape a pleasant experience and support your business goals
    • When creating your implementation vision, link it to your organizationally established strategic drivers, such as operational excellence, cost reduction, or return on experience (ROX).
    • Shape the transformation vision to ensure it translates into measurable outcomes for your team and effectively communicates it across the organization to support roadmap planning, budget allocation, and prioritization decisions.

Step 3: Assess Your Team Readiness


There are typically multiple teams involved and specific skills required to implement Service Catalog. Make sure you have the right team in place or begin with a plan to engage them. Don’t finalize your resourcing and project plans until you’ve assessed your team’s readiness.

Expected LOE: Basic – Medium
Key Takeaways & Action Items
  • Define the responsibilities necessary to oversee the strategic roadmap and ensure it aligns with measurable business outcomes.
  • Confirm your executive sponsor(s) are committed and fully engaged.
  • Confirm your business-side platform owner(s) are committed and fully engaged.
  • Identify the business process owners who will provide input for the process design (service desk process owner and any process owner with a team supporting Service Catalog). 
    • Include process owners who know where employees go to request services or support (if there are multiple options) and how employees communicate.
    • Go out and talk to your users. Include a wide range of employees, i.e., business relationship managers, service-level supervisors, project managers, senior executives, and leadership team members.

Step 4: Create a Structure for Governance


Governance is a set of policies, processes, and organizational capabilities that define how decisions will be made and who is responsible for the outcomes.

Governance for your Service Catalog journey should include implementation governance and post-implementation governance. Implementation governance supports successful implementation, and post-implementation governance supports the long-term success of Service Catalog in your environment.

What’s Needed?

You need to establish three areas of governance:

  • Strategy governance, define how strategy roadmap decisions will be made to align ServiceNow functionality to business outcomes
  • Technical governance, which governs the management and stability of the ServiceNow support model
  • Portfolio governance, which articulates how ServiceNow portfolio decisions are made and captured in the policy.
Expected LOE: Medium – Advanced
Key Takeaways & Action Items
  • Who to Involve: ServiceNow platform owner, business process owners (ITSM, HRSD, CSM depending on Service Catalog conversations and processes, IT service desk lead, project manager, and other business stakeholders as required.
  • Define a meeting cadence, standard schedule, and decision process. In addition to traditional project tracking, sessions should include:
    • Project objectives (e.g., improvements to process performance, technical usability) identified and prioritized.
    • A review of organizational change management activities.
  • Develop a responsibility assignment matrix (RACI) to establish a standard, documented understanding of decision rights for the migration project.
  • Confirm that your governance team is prepared to define measures of success for enterprise, IT, and operational objectives. These measures of success should come from the goals and metrics discovered in Step 2.
  • INSIGHT: The governance structure you establish for implementation should set an initial baseline for the governance you’ll need for post-go-live maintenance, especially to manage demand.

Step 5: Planning for OCM Activities


Consider organizational change management (OCM) activities throughout planning and implementation for successful adoption and long-term success.

Expected LOE: Advanced
Key Takeaways & Action Items
  • Build an OCM Plan: Confirm that you have leadership and executive sponsor support for OCM, including the budget for an OCM program lead and ServiceNow™ expert support. This should also include an explicit definition from the leadership team about what good OCM should look like for your organization.
  • Conduct an OCM readiness assessment to measure how ready your stakeholders are for the organizational change needed to support Service Catalog.
    • I recommend scheduling before design discussions.
    • Based on your readiness assessment, use this Success Checklist to create an OCM plan and develop an OCM impact analysis and risk assessment.  
  • Plan for a Pilot: Initiate a limited scope pilot after the design phase and before the larger-scale Service Catalog implementation.
    • It is vital to show quick wins for effective OCM—and pilot feedback will enhance the larger scale Service Catalog implementation quality.
  • A few recommendations for conducting a Service Catalog pilot: 
    • Start discussions with two to four small teams that would highly benefit from Service Catalog are interested in Service Catalog and can commit to a pilot.
    • Confirm the chosen team is willing to share feedback and the value they gained from the pilot.
    • Put a structure in place to document the lessons learned from the pilot.
    • Confirm the scope and dates for the pilot during the design phase. Most pilot scopes start small, enabling three to five Service Catalog conversation intents.
  • INSIGHTS: If you complete a readiness assessment with a series of interviews, focus group meetings, or workshops (in addition to, or instead of, a survey), use open-ended, “what if” scenario questions to collect responses from people or groups in person, such as:
    • What are some good reasons for not getting involved in the proposed project (no time, no motivation, etc.)?
    • What are some good reasons for getting involved in the proposed project?

Step 6: Plan for implementation design

Your catalog structure can create your service catalog’s success or failure. Make sure your design sets you up for success.

Step 6A: Understanding Current Requests and Processes


The Items in this section should be provided to the implementation team to enhance project planning conversations. If preferred, complete this section with the implementation team.

The implementation design process involves multiple teams, collaborative decision-making, and a thorough understanding of your current processes and technical environment. Due to this, it can often take weeks or longer to collect necessary information, coordinate the right people, and solidify decisions during the design phase

Expected LOE: Basic – Medium
Key Takeaways & Action Items
  • Document where you see the most value gained from the deflection of users away from processes that involve other human interactions.
  • Agree on the early road-mapping stages from where you’re going to grow the volumes of people using Service Catalog.
  • List any concerns or roadblocks you foresee for implementing or adopting Service Catalog.
  • List details for self-service options in your current environment.

Confirm existing functionality

Document all ServiceNow™ applications currently in use that may interact with Service Catalog. Here’s a list of the most common ServiceNow™ applications used with Service Catalog. Confirm any that apply to your environment based on your use cases.

This information will be used to assist with architecture and process design.

  • Service Portal
  • Service Catalog
  • Knowledge Base
  • Mobile.
  • Performance Analytics & Report – Id sources, normalize data, determine the frequency
  • List any additional ServiceNow™ applications that may interact with Service Catalog
  • List any 3rd party systems that may interact with Service Catalog.
    • Model services within service families and definitions. E.g., what the service entails, how it should be requested, and how and when it will be delivered must be clearly outlined.
    • Services must be grouped logically within the IT service catalog so end users can quickly locate and review them whenever needed.
    • Start with a responsible number of services first – focus on some of the more critical business processes first to test your structure and usability.

Step 6B: Document Integrations


Review and confirm which Integrations provided by ServiceNow™ will need to be prioritized. Document required OOTB or 3rd party integrations you would like to add or discuss.

Estimated LOE: Basic
Key Takeaways & Action Items

ServiceNow™ allows multiple integration points for the Service Catalog. Confirm which, if any, will be used in your implementation. 

  • Any additional integrations that may be needed (Additional Integration Questionnaire Required)
  • Related integration diagrams or technical details for planning from your architecture team

These ServiceNow™  Service Catalog docs have additional information. This information is helpful for design planning and estimating implementation efforts. 

  • INSIGHTS: Design an engaging self-service employee and customer experience.
    • Create a vision that represents your organization’s ideal experience.
    • Engage with users to identify and understand needs.
    • Review the current state experience with the design team and identify the most critical design attributes to end-user personas.
    • Create incentives that improve the end-user experience
    • Elevate end-user personas each year, every year to tailor them based on changing needs.

Step 7: What’s Next?


Now that you’ve completed all preparedness items, your next steps are based on your status when you began this checklist.

Topics covered
  1. Confirm prerequisites
  2. Define vision, objectives, and success criteria
  3. Assess team readiness
  4. Create governance structure
  5. Plan for Organizational Change Management (OCM) activities.
  6. Plan for implementation design
    1. Understanding Current Requests and Processes
    1. Document Integrations and OOTB Options
Ready for More? I recommend these ServiceNow™ resources:
Still, Have Questions?
  • Contact your Implementation team
  • Contact ServiceNow HI Support
  • Contact ME