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The Service Portfolio in ITIL: What is it, And What’s the Difference With The Service Catalog

Service Portfolio in ITIL

Most companies and businesses now adopt the ITIL framework in their IT service management. ITIL provides the best practices for delivering, supporting, and improving TI services.

The Service Portfolio is a key component of ITIL. It is a comprehensive list of all of the IT services that an organization offers. The Service Portfolio includes information about each service, such as its purpose, target audience, and key features.

The Service Catalog is a subset of the Service Portfolio. It is a list of the IT services that are available to customers. The Service Catalog typically includes more detailed information about each service, such as pricing, ordering instructions, and support contact information.

ITIL Service Portfolio Definition

The ITIL Service Portfolio is a management tool that consists of three parts: the Service Pipeline, Service Catalog, and Retired Services. It helps organizations strategically plan and oversee their IT services. The Service Pipeline includes services in development, the Service Catalog lists available services, and Retired Services documents discontinued ones. This portfolio aids in aligning services with business objectives and ensuring effective service management from inception to retirement.

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Service portfolio vs. service catalog

A service portfolio encompasses all of an organization's services, covering those under development, currently offered, or retired. It serves as a strategic resource, aiding in comprehending existing services, pinpointing opportunities for new ones, and deciding which services to maintain or discontinue.

In contrast, a service catalog is a subset of the service portfolio, focusing solely on the services currently accessible to customers. It acts as a marketing tool, furnishing customers with details about available services, including pricing, advantages, and features, facilitating their informed choices.


Service Portfolio

Service Catalog


Includes all IT services throughout their entire lifecycle, from idea to end of life.

Includes all IT services that are currently available.


Managed by the Service Portfolio Management process or the Portfolio Management practice.

Supported by the Service Catalog Management process.


Decision-makers and planners, such as IT executives, business leaders, and service managers.

People who use the services, such as the service desk and end users.


To help organizations make decisions about their service offerings.

To help organizations deliver services to their customers.


A high-level overview of services, including business cases for services that are being planned.

More detailed information about services, such as what they do, when they are available, how to get support, and links to tools and resources.

Benefits of Service Portfolio Management

  1. Service Transparency Service transparency involves ensuring that customers, users, and stakeholders have clear and convenient access to information regarding the IT services at their disposal, including their up-to-date status. The service portfolio serves as an organized means to record and convey this information, thereby enhancing awareness of the services provided and their accessibility. A company's service portfolio encompasses descriptions, availability, costs, and support options for its IT services, along with alignment with business goals. Sharing this portfolio fosters service transparency, aiding understanding of how IT supports the organization.

  2. Lifecycle Management The service portfolio facilitates the complete journey of IT services, starting with the initial idea and continuing through development, deployment, and eventual retirement. This holistic approach guarantees the structured management of services throughout their entire lifecycle. A company creates a new IT service for its sales team, documented in the service portfolio from development to retirement. It communicates service details, tracks operations, and adapts to changing needs. The portfolio ensures efficient service alignment with business goals and supports its entire lifecycle.

  3. Enhancing decision-making Organizing services into "planned," "active," and "retired" categories enables organizations to allocate resources and make decisions more effectively in response to business requirements. For example, consider a software development company. They use this categorization approach to determine which projects are currently underway ("active"), which ones are in the planning phase ("planned"), and which have been completed and retired ("retired"). This allows them to allocate resources and prioritize new project proposals based on the company's current needs and the status of ongoing projects.

  4. Risk Management The service portfolio helps organizations understand the service ecosystem, including any dependencies, enabling them to identify gaps, plan for potential disruptions, and develop the appropriate contingency plans. A company offers a cloud-based CRM platform and uses its service portfolio for risk assessments. Recently, they identified a new risk, a potential denial-of-service attack, and developed a mitigation plan. The portfolio aids in ongoing risk monitoring and protection of customers.

  5. Customer-focused strategy The service portfolio places a strong emphasis on meeting the needs of customers and stakeholders, ensuring services are in sync with their requirements. This approach enhances customer results, the overall experience, and levels of satisfaction. For example, a telecommunications company adopts a customer-focused approach by using its service portfolio to prioritize service improvements based on customer feedback and demands. This leads to better service quality, more satisfied customers, and increased loyalty.

  6. Uniform service encounter Employing the service portfolio promotes the establishment of uniform service definitions, processes, and documentation, resulting in a more consistent and cohesive overall experience. For instance, a fast-food chain uses its service portfolio to define standard procedures for preparing and serving its signature burger. This ensures that customers receive the same delicious burger with consistent quality and taste every time they visit any branch of the chain, regardless of location.

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The three elements of the service portfolio

The service portfolio comprises three components:

Service Portfolio

  1. Service Pipeline: This category encompasses services that are either in the process of being developed or are under consideration for future development. As an illustration, the company might currently be in the developmental stages of a new cloud computing service, which is not yet accessible to customers.

  2. Service Catalog: The service catalog provides a comprehensive listing of the company's presently available services, offering in-depth information that includes their names, descriptions, features, benefits, pricing structures, and available support options. Within this catalog, you will find a diverse range of IT services, including managed IT services, network security services, and disaster recovery services, each meticulously detailed to aid customers in making informed decisions.

  3. Retired Services: Within this section, the service portfolio diligently records services that have been discontinued, ensuring that support remains accessible and that the possibility of reinstatement in the future is considered. For instance, as an illustration, a recent decision by a company to discontinue its on-premises email service has resulted in its inclusion within the retired services section of the portfolio.

How does Service Portfolio Management relate to other ITIL practices?

The service portfolio can facilitate the implementation of various ITIL practices, such as:

Problem Management: The service pipeline simplifies the identification of service-related issues while having a ranked list of services aids support teams in prioritizing critical services during the resolution process.

Change Enablement/Management: The pipeline streamlines the assessment of change impacts by enhancing visibility into the broader ecosystem for support and transition teams.

Service Level Management: The service portfolio can enhance awareness of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) throughout the organization, making them more accessible to other business units.


In conclusion, ITIL, with practices like Service Portfolio Management, is crucial for businesses. It enhances transparency, streamlines service management, and improves decision-making. It also integrates with other ITIL practices, strengthening problem-solving, change management, and service levels. Embracing ITIL is essential in the digital age for efficient IT service management and business success.


Why is ITIL training important for organizations?

ITIL training is vital for organizations as it helps them align IT services with business objectives, improve service quality, and enhance customer satisfaction. It provides a structured framework for efficient service management.

What are the key components of ITIL training?

Why is the Service Portfolio important in ITIL training?


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