Torrey Jones, Principal Consultant
For those not familiar, an entitlement group in terms of a service catalog is basically a logical grouping of people that should be allowed to request a specific offering or set of offerings. For instance, everyone who is a VP level in the organization should be able to order an executive laptop. Whereas an individual contributor in the sales department probably should not be allowed to order the executive laptop.
These entitlement groups can also overlap, as in a 3-way Venn diagram. An individual contributor in the sales department should be able to request a laptop and have that request go through an (automated) approval process. Everyone who is a VP should also be able to request a laptop, and most likely bypass the approval process.
Others in the organization - the mail delivery intern, for instance - shouldn’t even have the ability to request a laptop.
In reality, most organizations will have quite a few entitlement groups. How many is “quite a few”, you might ask? In my 15-20 years of working in enterprise service management spaces, I have seen deployments with zero, and I’ve also seen the opposite end of that spectrum. There is no right answer because the number of catalog entitlement groups is related to how large the catalog offering set is. Is it just an IT-based catalog? Or is it a true ESM catalog with HR, Facilities, IT, Finance, Legal, and other offerings?
Regardless of the number of entitlement groups, the important thing to do is make sure that the entitlement groups are created and maintained by an automated process.
Many organizations leverage Active Directory or LDAP groups to auto-populate the entitlement groups in the Service Management system. And ideally, the population of the data source (i.e., the Active Directory group) is either a) maintained already for other reasons, or b) the population of the active directory group is managed automatically via a service catalog offering that is auto-fulfilled (probably after an approval process of some sorts). This is a helpful practice for effective enterprise service management.
Interested in other Enterprise Service Catalog topics? I recently wrote an article on Tech Beacon that has a number of insights. It’s available at: https://techbeacon.com/enterprise-it/dont-blame-tech-why-ux-matters-your-esm-catalog