Illinois IT Service Catalog, Definitions of Service Characteristics

A list of service characteristics and their definitions for use in the Campus Service Catalog

* Please note that examples may use services that are no longer provided or terms that are no longer applicable

Service Offering Name

This is the “official” name for the service.  It will be the name that will appear in the Illinois IT Service Catalog.   Therefore, it is important that this characteristic not be taken lightly as it will become the unique identifier for the offering.   If your offering is not unique across campus, consider adding a group qualifier to distinguish yours from others (e.g. ATLAS Virtual Machine Service).


The entirety of the characteristics gathering process is basically one big description, so when composing the description characteristic you don’t need to go into great detail about any of the individual characteristics.  Instead, the description should tell the reader what the offering is, what it does, and/or give high level view of how the offering works.  The description need not be lengthy.  

Examples include:
  • Bluestem is a legacy web sign-on service used to authenticate to many web-based applications on campus using your NetID and NetID/AD password.
  • RightFax is server-based fax solution for creating, sending, receiving, and managing faxes directly from a user’s desktop computer.
  • The University of Illinois data network (UIUCnet) is a foundational service that is available campus wide and allows for Ethernet based data network communications by either wired or wireless devices.  All campus network based services and applications utilize UIUCnet.

Other Names for the Service

Whereas the Offering Name serves as the official name that is to be used when referencing the offering, it is understood that the offering may go by any number of other names.  If your offering is known by other names, aliases, or colloquialisms, either internal or external, they should be listed.  Service offerings that use acronyms should be spelled out and service offerings that are spelled out, but referred to by acronyms should also be noted.   Other names are collected in order to facilitate better searching and cross-referencing in the portfolio.

Service Documentation

Where can users find documentation about the service offerings?  In most cases, these will be webpages that will be hosted on websites, campus Knowledgebase, the Illinois Wiki, U of I Box, or other campus resources.  Please include the specific URL for at least the “main” page of documentation.   Be sure that the resources that you provide are able to be accessed by all customers.

Value Propositions

Value propositions are statements to the customer that convey how this particular offering would be beneficial in solving their academic or business challenges.   These questions may help form a value proposition:
  • How does the service solve a problem or make life easier for a user? 
  • What are the quantifiable benefits of the service?  (e.g. 99% of spam eliminated, resolution within 4 hours)
  • Why is this service better or more preferable than those offered outside of the campus environment? (e.g. why should a faculty member choose U of I Box over a personal Dropbox account?)
Examples include:
  • A small number of large disk arrays generally provides better performance and value than a larger number of smaller arrays. By consolidating storage into a few locations, Technology Services can offer better reliability, higher performance, and cost savings over what a customer could build for themselves at a smaller scale.
  • Walkup computing provides an alternative connectivity option for locations that do not have campus wireless service or for devices that cannot access the campus wireless network.  Walkup jacks provide a stable and secure connection for areas such as conference rooms, common areas and classrooms.
  • Digital distribution provides a mechanism to keep student textbook costs in check while maintaining high quality authored content and creating a source of revenue for the campus. Having eText within the campus IT infrastructure enables linkage to class rosters and other class analytics to provide a streamlined service that responds to the needs students, instructors and the support of learning.


A feature may be perceived by a user as stand-alone service offering, but cannot stand alone in our environment; it is always connected to another service offering.   A service feature may have its own value propositions and description or it may go by other names, but will likely share most of the characteristics of the “main” offering.

An attribute of a service is not a feature.  Examples of not-features would be quotas, costs, backend technologies, descriptive words (“easy to use”), and types of user interfaces.   It should be noted that these attributes are likely captured as their own characteristics in the portfolio process (and in the case of user interfaces, in this round).

Examples of features:
  • Illinois Compass 2G has two service features, SafeAssign and the Grade Center, that fulfill very specific needs for users.   SafeAssign detects plagiarism in submitted papers while the Grade Center can be used to track grades and other scores both in and out of Compass.   If an instructor only has need to scan for plagiarized text, they would still need to request a full-fledged Compass course to do so, even though they may not use any other parts of the system.  SafeAssign does not stand on its own.
  • Spam Control, likely classified as its own service offering by most, is a service feature of the email relays.   In our environment (most likely all environments), mail cannot be scanned without an email relay system in place.   However, Spam Control could easily be characterized as its own service offering.
Features may also be functionalities in common among two or more offerings.  For example, features of Google Apps @ Illinois include a personal email account, calendar, file storage, and others.    Exchange shares features of personal email and calendar while U of I Box shares files storage.   In all these examples the customer may perceive the personal email functionality of Exchange or Google Apps to be the “only” thing the offering provides.

More information about service features can be found at

Who Can Use this Service (Eligibility)

Eligibility better captures the expectations of customers by specifying the types of customers who can acquire the offering.   

Many services are available to all customers who have an active Urbana NetID (e.g. Shibboleth, wireless).   For all offerings that require customers have accounts, there is a good chance that certain types cannot possess an account (e.g. retirees cannot have a U of I Box account, undergrads cannot have a Lync account for their own NetID, no one but undergrads can have a Google Apps @ Illinois account).  In these cases, select the appropriate types.

If you select the Faculty/Staff account type, take special care in considering if this includes customers employed by auxiliaries, allied agencies, and University Administration (UA).  If these subgroups of staff are NOT eligible that must be noted in the Usage Restrictions section.

Use “Departments” if the offering is not intended for use for a specific person, even if a specific person is making the request.  For example, Digital Signage is requested by a staff members, but its use is not limited to a single person.  

The choices for eligibility align with an Identity and Access Management focus.  If your offering has eligibility beyond IAM, it should be noted in the Usage Constraints field (e.g.  this offering is only available to faculty in the College of Engineering).

How to Get This Service

This is a description of the method a customer would use to initially request a service.  There are several common methods used:
  • A service request submitted via the Pinnacle Portal 
  • By the requester via a web application (e.g. Wiki space requests, Compass space request application, Box sign-up application, etc.).  Please include the URL if applicable.
  • Request through the unit’s Help Desk or through direct contact to the service administrator
  • The offering is provisioned by nature of you having a NetID (i.e. “You just have it”).  If there are any extra steps that may be needed to gain access to the service, please include them.


A customer may not incur a cost for using or acquiring an offering as many of our services are University subsidized.  However, if the user or customer does incur a cost it may be:
  • Incurred directly in a cost recovery model
  • Incurred indirectly through the Rate & Funding model
Please indicate which of these models is used and include dollar amounts and the purchasable units, if applicable (e.g. $40/hour, $.55/GB/year)

Should there be no costs incurred by the customer (i.e. the offering is free or subsidized), the appropriate term to use is “No charge.”

How to Use this Service

What are the different ways a user can interact with the offering?   An access option is an attribute similar to a feature.   The web interface for Exchange Email is considered an access option and not a feature because it is a user interface.   Other access options for Exchange could be through a desktop client (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc), or mobile client.  U of I Box can be accessed via a web interface, via a desktop folder a Box Sync, or via a WebDAV connection.  Other types of access options may be through a specific piece of software or via the operating system itself.  This is not an exhaustive list.

Quota(s) and Usage Constraints

What are the usage restrictions for the service offering?  Is there a finite amount of space allotted per account?  Is there a size limit for files being uploaded, downloaded, or shared?   Is the number of license seats restricted?  A usage constraint may be numerical, technical, or organizational.  

Numeric Examples:
  • The maximum size of an email passing to or from the relays is 65 MB.
  • For computer connected to URHnet, connections will be limited when they reach a total of 4GB of traffic in the past 24 hours
  • Personal U of I Box accounts have a quota of 50 MB.
  • A Lync phone conference can host up to 250 connections. 
Technical Examples:
  • Only accessible on a campus IP address
  • Only compatible with Internet Explorer
Organizational Examples:
  • Only available to faculty in the College of Engineering
  • Only available to students enrolled in ECON 101

Sensitive Data Considerations

Does the service offering support the storage, sharing, or transmission of protected information?  Is access to the service offering contingent on FERPA/HIPAA or other sensitive information training or certification?

Standard and Staffed Support Hours

Support hours are a combination of two time frames.  Staffed Support Hours are the days and times when routine, non-emergency request or incident tickets are handled.   For the most part, you will likely report business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 AM – 5 PM), but some offerings may have extended support hours.  Standard Support are the days and times when a service disruption would be addressed.   Many services will have 24x7x365 support for outages and degradations, but some services many only address these issues during business or other hours.   

When defining your offering’s support hours it is important that you are submitting the times that manage customer expectations.  For example, you may occasionally respond to or resolve routine tickets on a Sunday evening so your queue is empty on Monday.   Unless you wish to set the expectation that tickets will be handled on Sunday evenings, do not report those as support hours.   If you manage a service with outage resolution during business hours only, that does not preclude you from restoring the service outside business hours.  The key is to set the customer expectation appropriately.

Scheduled Maintenance Hours

Most of the technical service offerings provided by campus will have specific and documented times when regular maintenance is performed on the underlying application or infrastructure.  These time periods should be submitted here and should appropriately manage customer expectations.  Illinois Compass 2G has a good example of this on the login page:

System Maintenance Period - Every Wednesday from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Please expect that Illinois Compass 2g may be unavailable from 5AM - 9AM on Wednesday mornings for routine maintenance and downtime.

How to report issues

How should users report issues they are having with the offering?  Be sure to include specific email addresses, contact form address, phone numbers, or in-person support locations if appropriate.  For the purposes of this characteristic, assume this is an average campus user with an issue during business hours.  

Related tools

  • Do not have user-perceived stand-alone functionality
  • Generally allow extra interactivity between a user and an offering
  • Are functionally inseparable from a service offering
  • Can be characterized like a service offering
Tools are similar to features in that they cannot stand alone, but they differ in that they have no functionality of their own.   They are used to add automation or interactivity to processes used by the service offering, and without a connected service offering, would have no purpose.
  • General examples include:
  • Customized sign-up applications
  • Request forms or applications
  • Self-service password setting or retrieval 
  • Interfaces that allow the manipulations of user data
  • Informational displays
More information about tools can be found at

Related professional services

Professional services, by our definition, are person-led activities that go above and beyond the basic necessities of running the service.  Providing Tier 3 support, maintaining servers, updating documentation are all intrinsic to running a service and are not considered professional services.  Generally, professional services cover the activities of consulting, training, or outreach.

Keywords:service catalog characteristics define   Doc ID:87121
Owner:IT Service C.Group:University of Illinois Technology Services
Created:2018-10-24 12:12 CDTUpdated:2020-03-16 16:17 CDT
Sites:University of Illinois Technology Services
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