Pros and cons of ServiceNow Catalog Item Designer

There have been various discussions concerning the usage of Catalog Item Designer. Some companies have found it quite a useful tool for their operations whereas others are witnessing an inability by the public to embrace the concept which results in the development of Service Catalog still remaining very much part of the developers’ already heavy workload.

Let’s try to explain the essence of the issue and recognize what can be done to help those overcome certain obstacles with Catalog Item Designer adoption.

First, let’s consider Catalog Item Designer’s benefits, its main limitations, and understand where the main issues appear in its adoption.

Catalog Item Designer’s main benefit is how it can offload and speed up the development process by delegating duties to the Manager and Editor roles.

Catalog Managers and Catalog Editors can use the Catalog Item Designer to:

It seems to be an easy and straightforward concept. However, on closer inspection, the following limitations were noted:

To conclude, Item Designer cannot be used to create sophisticated forms with complex approval processes, complicated UI performance, or forms that require additional actions on the back-end from fulfillers.

Nevertheless, it can be easily used for streamlined, repeatable, and simple processes, such as training management or hardware offering.

For example, let’s imagine Lisa is a course coordinator in company ABC. She is responsible for recruiting internal employees for language and software courses that will benefit the company financially by increasing revenue and operationally by growing employees’ productivity. In order to ascertain the number of employees that are interested, manage costs and prepare the overall courses, Lisa needs specific information about each participant as well as his/her manager’s approval in order to calculate the cost of the project. After organizational analysis, it appears that Lisa needs to have two forms within the Service Catalog to manage language and software courses intakes.

There are two approaches she can take:

To sum up, the concept of Catalog Item Designer, regardless of its limitations, can be beneficial for medium and large size organizations where development cycles can take up to a month.
Nevertheless, it is crucial to appoint a responsible Service Catalog Process Owner who can effectively guide and supervise the growth of Service Catalog as well as have a separate guide for Service Catalog names and tiles, procedures, and policies. The growth of Service Catalog should be a carefully monitored and controlled process so that it doesn’t outgrow itself and loses its underlying purpose and functionality.

Natalia Kyzyurava, ServiceNow Solution Consultant, May 05, 2021

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