NewScale has extended its IT service catalog offering to make ordering, provisioning and tracking of buying IT services as sexy as using Apple's AppStore, Dell.com or Amazon.com.
NewScale on Wednesday released newScale 9, which enables IT organizations to provide to their customers with self-service ordering and lifecycle management for both desktop and data center services, across cloud, virtual and physical compute environments.
Part of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a service catalog allows IT organizations to publish their service offerings so that users can choose from a set of services that best meet their needs. The catalog enables both partners to track processing and costs, and to automate service request management and fulfillment.
Making Catalogs Compelling
"NewScale 9 allows data center managers to provide IT service catalogs with the same look-and-feel as an AppStore or Amazon.com," says Scott Hammond, president and CEO of newScale. "We've added templates that enables a shopping experience that looks like a Web 2.0 consumer shopping experience. That's important to IT guys who can build a catalog that looks neat but isn't compelling to users."
NewScale 9 features a LifecycleCenter component that manages the entire lifecycle of any requested service, starting with the definition of standard service options, to the ordering and delivery of associated service items. The services could be virtual machines, cloud images, desktops, PDAs, and so on. LifecycleCenter tracks processes such as subscriptions and chargebacks, and ultimately the recovery of service items at the end of their lifecycle.
Tracking Cloud Billing
Hammond said the service could be particularly useful in enabling cloud customers to keep track of when cloud services should be switched off. "We use Amazon cloud services internally and when we get the bill, we don't know what's assigned to what department," he said. "Unless you turn off the service, you will keep paying for it."
NewScale 9 also features a Service Wizard Library, a library of templates that guides buyers through the purchasing and configuration process, much the same way as Dell.com's guided shopping questionnaire helps customers to select and configure the right system for them.
Hammond says in a typical data center service purchasing scenario, the selection and buying process could take several months as internal customers participate in dozens of meetings. NewScale says the wizard library shortens this lifecycle to a few hours for simple configurations. Hammond acknowledges that there will still be complex purchases that would require a longer evaluation process.
More Colorful Catalogs
In an attempt to bring sexy into the buying process, newScale has updated its Service Catalog Marketing Library to include more images, colors, themes and stylesheets that data center managers can include in their catalogs.
Analysts say service catalogs enable IT to better serve the business by laying out what IT can offer in easy to understand terms, but the "majority of catalog implementations are larger cultural, political and technical undertakings," according to market research company Enterprise Management Associates. "Enterprise IT professionals tasked with implementing a real-world Service Catalog face a host of challenges such as defining and documenting services and constituent views, managing expectations across the organization, and developing processes to maintain the Service Catalog," says EMA.