Building a Self-Service Portal

This is the second in a five-part series on Service Portals in educational settings. The third post will be published Wednesday, April 20, 2022. Read the previous posts:

Post 1: Improve Self-Service to Increase Student and Faculty Satisfaction

The commonly used approaches and their critical components

Building a self-service portalThe online self-service portal acts as gateway for end users, providing access to various services. These portals should establish the role of IT in the educational institution while offering a summary of the services they provide. Based on the environment and the process requirements, IT service teams can build three types of portals:

  1. the focused approach, is the conventional one—hosting multiple unique self-service portals, for example, a separate portal for IT, academics, HR, facilities, etc.
  2. the unified approach, is an enterprise service management approach that extends proven IT service management practices, including service request management and incident management, to the other departments in the institution.
  3. the hybrid approach, and as its name implies, uses a combination of the focused and unified approaches.


Regardless of the approach, every self-service portal must contain a few critical components, including:

  1. Introduction to the service desk team — names, services provided, working hours, contact details, and other need to know information.
  2. Summary of services – offered including setting up university IDs and email accounts and what end users are entitled.
  3. Executive dashboard – it is vital to keep the stakeholders informed of key performance indicators in order to establish the value delivered by the service desk team.
  4.  Service status – including a brief list of all your services and their availability. This list can also include any planned maintenance activities that could hinder service availability. All service statuses with information on their historic availability, current statuses, service degradation, outages, and planned maintenance.
  5. Knowledge base – is extremely beneficial to invest the time to build and plays a critical role aiding the self-service aspects of the portal.
  6. Service catalog – including a list of all the services that each end user is entitled to. The service catalog is a key component of any self-service portal, and we will discuss it at length in our next post.

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