Users can browse the service catalog for catalog items they are entitled to request. For some catalog items, a request results in the provisioning of an item that the user can manage. For example, the user can request a virtual machine with Windows 2012 preinstalled, and then manage that virtual machine after it has been provisioned.

Tenant administrators define new catalog items and publish them to the service catalog. The tenant administrator can then manage the presentation of catalog items to the consumer and entitle new items to consumers. To make the catalog item available to users, a tenant administrator must entitle the item to the users and groups who should have access to it. For example, some catalog items may be available only to a specific business group, while other catalog items may be shared between business groups using the same tenant. The administrator determines what catalog items are available to different users based on their job functions, departments, or location.

Typically, a catalog item is defined in a blueprint, which provides a complete specification of the resource to be provisioned and the process to initiate when the item is requested. It also defines the options available to a requester of the item, such as virtual machine specifications or lease duration, or any additional information that the requester is prompted to provide when submitting the request.