According to ITIL a service portfolio shows the complete set of services offered by a service provider. A service portfolio includes three components:
- Service pipeline
- Service catalog
- Retired services
All three of these provide a complete overview of the services offered by a service provider. While the service catalog is the only part of the service portfolio that’s visible to customers, understanding what’s in the service pipeline and what services are required is critical to effective service management.
The service pipeline shows services that are under development. Services in the pipeline exist at various states indicating the stage of development or the amount of consideration that has gone into the service at that point. Service pipelines are a good way for service provider organizations to understand all of the services under development in the organization.
The service catalog shows services that are operational and can include services that are nearing readiness for live operation. Service catalogs are an excellent way for service providers to set boundaries that indicate which services they offer and under what conditions they are offered.
The final piece of the service portfolio includes retired services. Retired services represent those services that were once in live operation but have become unprofitable or obsolete and hence have been retired. Knowing an organization’s retired services is useful because conditions can change, and a retired service that was unprofitable might become profitable again.
In foundation classes I give students a really easy way to think about the service catalog. I tell them:
- Service pipeline is the Future
- Service catalog is the Present
- Retired services are the Past
The service portfolio is an important concept that ITIL recommends. Students attending various ITIL classes will need to not only understand what a service catalog is, but how the different pieces relate to each other.