What is an Enterprise Service Catalog (ESC)?
An ESC lists all the services an enterprise offers to employees or clients. In the case of higher ed and state or local government, the enterprise service catalog is essentially a database of everything the public service offers to stakeholders. It is a single source of accurate information about higher ed or government offerings.
From the ESC, stakeholders and clients can see what is on offer and make requests. For example, a higher ed enterprise service catalog might allow parents, students, vendors or faculty to access and complete forms for room bookings or financial services. On the government side, an ESC lets citizens, officials, staff and vendors make similar requests.
You can consider an ESC to be like a menu or online shopping website for your organization. It truly is a catalog in the literal sense of the word, giving people their options as to what they can access and order. An ESC makes collaboration and communication easier while empowering users to ask for what they need.
The Benefits of an ESC
By providing an ESC, K-12 districts and governments can be more efficient with eWorkflow for self-service requests and incident reporting. The workflows allow the automatic routing of requests for accountability, delegation and resolution with the right people. Dropdown categories and options allow for quick submission, and because all of the information goes through one central database, organizations can pick out statistics with historical accuracy.
Enterprise service catalogs allow for rapid resolution of issues and requests, and the associated metrics ensure that staff-side responders are incentivized to resolve concerns quickly. Managers can use the information for audits and analytical tracking, seeking out trends and anticipating problems.
ESCs make requesting services or information very user-friendly, with easy-to-create forms that are also easy to fill out.
The Unique Needs of a Higher Education ESC
Higher education enterprise service catalogs must meet specific unique challenges, as this Educause paper outlines. A diverse population is serviced by higher education, so the enterprise service catalog needs to meet various users. That includes students, faculty and staff, parents, alums and donors, governance committees, administrative departments, academic departments, legislatures and more.
As the Educause paper notes, these populations are constantly changing, bringing in new students, new staff, and new researchers. Similarly, some people leave annually at graduation, so getting buy-in for an enterprise service catalog can be more challenging as more targeted communication is required.
Finally, higher education services can be widely distributed across campuses, schools, and departments. People need access to these central and distributed services within a centralized database, but the services can be just as varied as the population they serve.
Service Categories for Higher Ed
Higher education institutions are tasked with representing their services in a format accessible to their communities. An enterprise service catalog gives people the information they need in a logical, manageable framework, gathering the vast amount of data that needs to be shared with a highly varied user base.
Service categories for higher education may be more specific than state and local government, though some overlap exists. For example, all are likely concerned with administrative and business services, including financial and procurement systems and human resources. However, higher ed also has to contend with library systems and student information systems as part of their administration.
Communication and collaboration cover conferencing, telephones, email, media, web services, and other services that meet institutional needs, both government and education.
IT services can cover two areas — computing services and professional services. Computing covers the hardware and software, including devices and peripherals, printing, and software and application distribution. Professional services are people-based, supporting IT management. Infrastructure, both IT and facilities, are also important.
There are also areas that higher ed ESCs touch that government does not. Those are research — covering storage, applications, data services, software, and lab management systems — and teaching and learning. Learning management systems, instructional technology, assessment, and so on must be part of a higher ed enterprise service catalog. Alumni portals are key aspects of an enterprise service catalog, as are athletics.
Examples of Higher Education Enterprise Service Catalogs
To understand exactly how ESCs work, it can be helpful to look at some in action. Explore these examples of ESCs and consider how you would feel using them as a student, alumni, or another stakeholder in higher ed.
At Rutgers, enterprise application services (EAS) is a division within the office of information technology. EAS supports enterprise application software for all Rutgers schools and campuses. The EAS service catalog is part of the knowledgebase, giving staff and students access to forms and services they need.
When you scroll through the ESC you will see options like self-serve address record updates, class rosters and grade submission, course schedule planning, emergency notification system, and more.
Only authorized users can access certain aspects of the EAS, such as class rosters. This shows that user needs are considered and segmented within the EAS. At the same time, the list of self-service options is very long, highlighting how much time Rutgers staff are saving by accessing this ESC. Instead of having to reach out to the financial department individually, for example, current students can view financial holds and even pay charges online through the ESC.
All the information in the ESC is easily explained and navigable, sorted in alphabetical order with a full description of each A-Z service.
The University of Oklahoma
The IT department at the University of Oklahoma has another great example of an ESC. This one is split into nine categories — account and identity management, communication and collaboration, device management and support, infrastructure and enterprise applications, IT professional services, research, information security, academic technology, and software catalog. There is also a section for general IT help.
By clicking on each category, users find further services. For example, academic technology provides specialized in-room support and training services to help the OU community with technical aspects of classrooms, meetings, and other collaborative settings. By clicking into that category users can further delve into instructional technology, audio visual, computer labs, and professional development.
The information is even further segmented from there. For instance, clicking into computer labs gives two services; computer lab assistance request and computer lab reservation request. Each individual service is outlined in great detail including cost and availability, ensuring every user has every piece of information they need.
The University of Oklahoma’s ESC shows how granular a catalog can be, giving users great control over self-service without being confusing.
Florida State University
For one more look at an ESC in a different format, explore Florida State University’s service catalog. It contains essentially the same information as the ESCs above, but set up in a somehow different manner. The ESC focuses on IT services, available in just a few clicks to any FSU stakeholder with the right permissions.
FSU’s catalog covers accounts and access, administrative and business, communication and collaboration, desktop and mobile computing, IT and professional services, research technologies, security and safety, teaching and learning support, and Wi-Fi and connectivity. Like the University of Oklahoma catalog, FSU’s catalog allows users to follow drop-down menus within each catalog.
The website also has quick help links, allowing users to contact the ITS service desk via phone, chat or webform if they cannot find what they need. This way, users are directed to explore the service catalog but, if they still feel lost, do not have to scramble to get help.
There is also a search bar, helpful for any user who knows hat service they need help with but is unsure how to find it.
Again, as with the University of Oklahoma setup, every individual service is deeply detailed with a description, related links, and costs clearly outlined. The FSU website adds a support and guide section, allowing users to access knowledgebase articles and FAQs for even more self-service before reaching out for individual help.
Putting the Benefits of an ESC Into Action
As you can see from the ESCs illustrated above — which are just a few examples of the many enterprise service catalogs for higher education institutions — these catalogs are extremely valuable for users and for organization administrators.
For users, much of the information they need already exists in a guide, FAQ, or form. The ESC creates a self-service system so users can find information, submit documents and requests, and otherwise get what they require from the system on their own time. They can save valuable time asking for live help when the documentation is available at their fingertips in an organized manner.
For organizational stakeholders, having those opal route their concerns through a self-service platform saves time and effort. Those who need live help can still access it but have likely already gone through seeking information on their own. Only people who need further assistance will ask for it, so worker and institutional time is better spent.
Working with GroupLink to Build Your ESC
At GroupLink, we offer cloud-based e-workflow and work-from-home solutions that benefit organizations of many kinds. Our solutions each allow for creating Enterprise Service Catalog (ESC) components, including SafestSchools, Workflow Process and Incident Tracking and GroupLink everything HelpDesk. With these platforms, you can increase Student Safety and operational efficiency, collaboration, and accountability – while significantly reducing the District’s liability and risk associated with safety issues.
Connect with us online or call us at 801-335-0700. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.