Information Technology Services (ITS)
UniversITy Service Catalogue: The one-stop (directory) shop
Published on: April 19, 2021
When it comes to the countless applications and services available at the University of Toronto (U of T), do you ever wonder who to contact with service questions or how to sign up?
If so, you’re not alone. In fact, the need for community awareness of information technology (IT) services increased dramatically following the sudden shift to pandemic-inspired remote working.
The good news is that a directory of all these services now exists: it’s called the UniversITy Service Catalogue (USC).
This is an online location where U of T staff, faculty, students and alumni can find a descriptive collection of all the programs and services provided by Information Technology Services (ITS).
Started in August 2020, this project was launched recently to help fill some timely gaps.
“Customers of information technology services may not be concerned about where a service is provided, they just want the service,” said Marden Paul, U of T’s Director of Planning Governance & Assessment (PGA), Office of the Chief Information Officer, who led the project. “Having a catalogue help[s] reduce duplications and searching for apps and services that might have already been running. Also, IT services truly enabled that very rapid shift from on-campus to remote work and we wanted the community to know what was being done to support their needs.”
Currently, the USC is a prototype that the team is gathering feedback on. “By building a prototype, stakeholders can have access to the service catalogue in a timely manner while the team can provide continuous improvements to the application based on their feedback,” said Jacqueline Tong, web developer, Education, Awareness and Culture, who created the application the project was built on.
The project was a truly collaborative initiative made up of team members from five different ITS units: Education, Awareness and Culture, Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration, Online Learning Strategies, Academic & Collaborative Technologies and PGA.
According to Tong, the group was agile and open-minded. “We were able to discuss our progress and concerns during our weekly meeting and the team was eager to pull in other useful contacts when needed.”
Inspired by EDUCAUSE
The USC is based on a higher-education catalogue model that was described and promoted by EDUCAUSE, said Paul. “We made some tweaks to the model to make it U of T-centric and our model is designed to facilitate distributed management of content and multiple ways to filter the data.”
Future of USC
The USC will continue to be updated with shared services across the ITS division, said Paul.
“Ideally, every IT across the divisions and faculties could include their services and applications in the catalogue. It’s also important to be able to filter services to the specific areas who may use a service or to point consumers to apps and services available just to their departments. That way, there’s still one place to look even if some services have limited access.”