Service Level Management
The Service Level Managementprocess improves business aligned IT service quality and instigate actions to eliminatepoor service.
Purpose and Objectives
Service Level Management is responsible forensuring that goals and objectivesof the Service Strategy,Service Design and Service Operation meet internal as well as external targets.
The purpose of the SLM processis to ensure that all current and planned IT services are delivered to agreed achievable targets. This is accomplished through a constant cycle of negotiating, agreeing, monitoring, reporting on and reviewing IT service targets and achievements, and through instigation of actions to correct or improve the level of service delivered.
The objectives of ServiceLevel Managementare to:
• Define, document, agree, monitor,measure, report and review the level of IT
• Provide and improve the relationship and communication with the business and customers
• Ensure that specific and measurable targets are developed for all IT services
• Monitor and improve customer satisfaction with the quality of service delivered
• Ensure that IT and the customers have a clear and unambiguous expectation of the level of serviceto be delivered
• Ensure that proactive measures to improve the levels of service delivered are implemented wherever it is cost justifiable to do so
The significance of ServiceLevel Management liesin its ability to manage Service
Level Agreements, internally or externally.
There are several types of agreements that play important roles in the Service lifecycle.
• Service Level Requirements (SLR): Targets and responsibilities documented and agreed for proposed new or changed service.
• Service Level Agreement (SLA): A writtenagreement between the IT service provider and the customer regarding the service targets and responsibilities of both parties.
• Operational Level Agreement (OLA): An agreement between an IT service provider and another division within the same organization that assists with delivering the services.
• Underpinning Contract(UC): A contract between an IT service provider and an external supplier.
Service Level Management (SLM) should provide a point of regular contact and communication to the customers and business managers of an organization in relation to service levels. In this context, it should represent the IT service provider to the business, span>and the business to the IT serviceprovider.
The SLM process shouldinclude:
• Cooperation with the business relationship management process:this includes development of relationships with the business as needed to achieve the SLM process objectives
• Negotiation and agreement of future service level requirements and targets, and the documentation and management of SLRs for all proposed new or changed services
• Negotiation and agreement of current servicelevel requirements and targets, andthe documentation and management of SLAs for all operational services
• Development and management of appropriate OLAs to ensure that targets are aligned with SLA targets
• Review of all supplier agreements and underpinning contracts with supplier management to ensure that targets are aligned with SLA targets
• Proactive prevention of service failures, reduction of service risks and improvement in the quality of service, in conjunction with all other processes
• Reporting and management of all servicelevel achievements and review of all
• Periodic review, renewal and/orrevision of SLAs, servicescope and OLAs as appropriate
• Identifying improvement opportunities for inclusion in the CSI register
• Reviewingand prioritizing improvements in the CSI register
• Instigating and coordinating SIPs for the management, planning and implementation of serviceand process improvements.
Designing SLA Frameworks
Service Level Management must design the most appropriate SLA structure to ensure that all services and customers are covered in a manner best suited to the organization’s needs.
There are a number of potential agreement options, such as the following:
• Service-based SLA
SLA covers one service, for all the customersof that service.
Difficulties may arise if the specific requirements of different customers vary for the same service.
Difficulties may also arise in determining who should be the signatories to such an agreement.
Multiple classes of service may also be used to increase the effectiveness of service-based SLAs.
• Customer-based SLA
SLA is an agreement with an individual customer group, covering all services they use.
Customers oftenprefer such an agreement, as all of their requirements are covered in a single document.
Only one signatory is normally required, which simplifies the issue.
• Multi-based SLA
Multi–level SLAs usually constitutes three layers:
¾ Corporate level:Covers all the generic SLM issues appropriate to every customerthroughout the organization
¾ Customer level:Covers all SLM issues relevant to the particular customer group or business unit, regardless of the service being used
¾ Service level:Covers all SLM issues relevant to the specific service, inrelation to a specific customer group
A draft ofthe SLR is one of the earliest activities within the Service Design stage. It is advisable to involve customers from the outset.
To produce the draft, start with a first outline draft of the performance targets and the management and operational requirements. Consult other processes for realistic targets. Use this draft for in-depth discussion with business, which may require several iterations.
Provisional targets should also be includedwithin a pilot SLA. It is also important to establish procedures for agreements of SLRs for new services being developed or procured.
The SLR will gradually be refined as the service progresses through the stages of its lifecycle. This pilot or draft SLA should be developed alongsidethe service itself, and should be signed and formalized before the serviceis introduced into live use.
Activities performedwithin Service Level Management are:
• Determine, negotiate, document and agree on requirements for new or changedservices in SLRs.
• Monitor and measureservice performance achievements.
• Compile, measure and improve customer satisfaction.
• Produce servicereports.
• Conduct service reviews and initiate improvements within a Service
Improvement Program/Plan (SIP).
• Review and revise SLAs, OLAs, contracts and underpinning
• Develop and document contracts and relationships within business market.
• Develop, maintain and operate procedures relating to complaints and compliments.
• Log and manage all complaints and compliments.
• Provide appropriate management information to assist in performance management.
• Make available and maintain up-to–date SLM document template and standards.
Periodic review meetings must be held with customers to review the service achievement, preferably on a monthlyor quarterly basis.
Actions must be placed upon the customer and provider as appropriate to improve weak areas where targets are not being met.
Particular attention should be focused on each branch of service level to determine exactly what caused the loss of service and what can be done to prevent any recurrence.
Depending on the cause of loss of service, it may be necessary to review, renegotiate or review-agree different service targetsor agreements.
A Service Level Agreement Monitoring Chart (SLAM) is used to help monitor and report achievements against Service Level Targets. A SLAM Chart is typically colour coded to show whether each agreed Service Level Target has been met, missed, or nearly missed during each of the previous 12 months.
Service Improvement Program (SIP)
Where an underlying difficulty has been identified that is adversely impacting on servicequality, SLM, along with Problem Management and Availability Management, instigate an SIP to identify and implement whatever actions are necessary to overcome the difficulties and restore servicequality.
SIP initiatives may also focus on such issues as user trainingservice and system testing and documentation.
The SIP needs to be owned and managed, with all improvement actions being assessed for risk and impact on services, customers and the business.
Key Process Indicators
Key Performance Indicators(KPIs) and metrics are used to judge the efficiency and effectiveness of the SLA activities andSIP (Service Improvement Plan) progress. These metrics cover both the subjective and objective measurements:
• Subjective measurements:
Improvements in customer satisfaction
• Objective measurements:
Number/percentageof service targets being met
Number and severity of service breaches
Number of services with updatedSLAs
Number of services with timely reports and active service reviews
There are cases where challenges will be encountered. These challenges need to be proactively, as well as reactively dealt with. Challenges < span style="letter-spacing: .35pt;"> that are not properly dealt with may adversely affect the strategy, designs, plans and desired outcomes of the process.
Some of the challenges in Service Level Management are:
• To identify the suitable customer representative within the IT organization
• To designate appropriate representatives within the IT organization
• To acquire commitment from the Service Desk
• To formalize and communicate the agreements
The main responsibilities of the Service Level Manger are:
• < span style="letter-spacing: 2.15pt;"> Achievement of goals for SLM process
• Awareness of changing business needs
• Considering Service Requirements of customers
• Negotiation and agreements that support the SLAs with the customers of the service
• Ensuring that targets within Underpinning Contracts are aligned with SLA’s and
• Measuring, recording, analysis and improvement of customer satisfaction
• Reviewingservice scope, SLAs, OLAs and other agreementson a regular basis
• Ensuring that all changes are assessed for their impact on service levels
• Developing relationships and communication withstakeholders, customerand key users
• Measurement, recording, analysis and improvement of customer satisfaction
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