Sudden changes in the market, innovations in digital processes, and business agility requirements. Those are factors that make it increasingly important to take action on the software development cycle, in order to make it more efficient and faster. In this context, it becomes essential to be able to quickly find ready‑to‑use service components that may allow developers to assemble the most effective applications. For this reason, are spreading across more and more organizations tools known as service catalogs, which order and make more accessible services and software components already available in the company.
A company service catalog gives developers quick access to the resources they need, allowing them to focus more on developing unique and original features and services. In this way, they gain the ability to release new products and services more quickly. This is a key factor that helps the company expand its customer base.
In increasingly digitized business environments, where software development is crucial for competitiveness and market differentiation, building a service catalog plays a strategic role for companies, and its importance is bound to grow more and more in the coming years.
What is the Service Catalog and what is it for?
According to Gartner's definition, “a service catalog contains templates with specifications that define parameters and features of a service (such as bandwidth and speed). Compared to the product catalog, the service catalog describes product features in technical terms”.
All services available within a service catalog are designed and built in a modular way, so as to be easily reusable within other projects. In the catalog you can find simple components, such as APIs and Docker images, as well as more structured ones, such as microservices, up to complete applications built, for instance, as a bundle of microservices. The more stocked the service catalog will be with components of all levels, the more it will be possible to accelerate all development stages.
Benefits of a company Service Catalog
With the service catalog, development teams are able to quickly and self‑serve access to the resources already available and validated by the company. Resources that may not include only in‑house developed artifacts, but also third‑party and open source software.
It is important for all teams to collaborate on the expansion of the service catalog, pointing out components on which they have already invested time in their projects not only in selection, but also in experimentation, testing and certification as well, and which could also be useful in other areas. In this way, these components are ready to use and can help the teams to work in a faster way. Otherwise, the lack of a service catalog could lead to an expensive proliferation of similar functions or, even worse, a duplication of internally made developments.
The service catalog offers the advantage of both helping develop products that meet company standards, and providing a control center for the software and service components that are used by developers. These aspects are very useful for cost governance, but also, for example, for security.
Here is an overview of the benefits provided by a service catalog:
- Speeding up the development of new features and services, by providing ready‑to‑use ones;
- Avoiding duplication and redundancy of existing components;
- Standardizing enterprise software products, through the reuse of centrally maintained services;
- Enhancing IT governance, ensuring compliance with corporate standards;
- Improving the overall Developer Experience, by fostering autonomy and self‑service provisioning of available technology;
- Decreasing development costs and increasing cost predictability.
Leveraging the Service Catalog to create new business opportunities
Thanks to the digital transformation, many companies are discovering the market value of their internally created data and software services, and leveraging it to start new businesses.
Think, for example, of open banking: fintechs, insurance companies and trading companies can develop innovative products for customers, thanks to the value created by the availability via API of financial services. Through digital interfaces, logistic services are now available, as well as geo‑localized marketing, and sales services based on platforms that large companies have developed on their own and that they can offer as a service to any other company.
In these cases, the service catalog becomes a tangible way for showcasing services to prospects. It also enables reliability and integration testing, and it helps create a diverse digital portfolio of services with third‑party collaboration. In the long run, the Service Catalog can become a real marketplace for services, and generate new revenues. Mia‑Platform’s Marketplace is an example of a constantly expanding service catalog that provides both industry‑specific and cross‑industry solutions.
In conclusion, the service catalog is the key to provide ready‑to‑use and tested services. This accelerates the release of new digital services related to the company's core business, helping development teams to focus on valuable projects. Thanks to this tool, it is possible to find ready‑made non‑strategic components and use them as they are in new projects, according to a low‑code approach. In fact, it will not be necessary to develop these components from scratch, but it will only be required to write the code necessary for the configuration.
The creation of a Service Catalog within an Internal Developer Portal, combined with the adoption of a modern cloud infrastructure based on microservices, is one of the key factors that allows to accelerate the companies’ evolution into the modern paradigm of the Composable Enterprise. According to Gartner, that is the organization of the company and the IT infrastructure following a modular approach that ensures the rapid adaptation to market needs driven changes.
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