What is Service Level Management?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Service Level Management : One Thread

According to Sturm, Morris and Jander in Foundations of Service Level Management, service level management (SLM) is "the disciplined, proactive methodology and procedures used to ensure that adequate levels of service are delivered to all IT users in accordance with business priorities and at acceptable cost." Effective SLM depends on IT or the service provider providing the particular service that the customer needs.

Let the discussion begin!

Before anyone gets too carried away, here's the legal disclaimer for the site!

-- Christian Sarkar (christian_sarkar@bmc.com), September 13, 2000



Customer expectations are very important, it's these expectations that can make or break an IT organization. IT's ambasador function is to define and communicate and justify the current levels of support based upon available resources and technology. These expectations have to be carefully managed by means of open and honest communications with the IT community at large.

So I would like to propose to change...

"the disciplined, proactive methodology and procedures used to ensure that adequate levels of service are delivered to all IT users in accordance with business priorities and at acceptable cost."

Add in line with customer expectations...

"the disciplined, proactive methodology and procedures used to ensure that adequate levels of service are delivered to all IT users in accordance with business priorities, at acceptable cost and in line with customer expectations."

Bob Douglas

-- Bob Douglas (bob.douglas@sun.com), November 06, 2000.

I don't think that Bob is right, because if user expectations aren't reasonable (a user normally expects that he gets his problems fixed __immediately__) it doesn't make sense to define service-levels based on these expectations. I think "buisness needs and acceptable costs" (or economic service-levels) are OK as requirements.

-- Thomas Berger (thomas.berger@itelligence.de), December 04, 2000.


Regarding Bob's response re: the SLA as a tool for managing customer expectations, I would add: -Expectation management is a two-way street. The process of establishing the SLA is an opportunity for the IT department to educate its internal customers. The same is true in the analogous case of an external service provider such as an ASP working with a corporate customer. -The SLA can be a valuable mechanism not only for setting expectations up front, but also for managing relationships over time. A new class of service level management (SLM) products is now emerging that let both internal and external service providers (a) map technical events, including those monitored by tools such as BMC Patrol and HP Open View, into business impacts (service level objectives); (b) roll up SLOs into SLAs; and (c) track and analyze service provider performance versus SLOs in near real-time.

For more information about SLM and related products, please e-mail info@digifuel.com.

--Karen Spinner

-- Karen Spinner (info@digifuel.com), December 26, 2000.

To all: Service Level Agreement is to meet client's NEEDS, to set expectations. As a provider of this service, whether it is an ASP or any other IT firm, it is important to IDENTIFY their needs to then define what SLAs they need to expect. For example; if it is a mission critical part of a business, then the need of availability should be higher than others. If it is not set to meet its needs, the provider may end up spending more money on compensation for downtime than anything else.

Regards, Linh linh.ho@proxima-tech.com

-- Linh Ho (linh.ho@proxima-tech.com), January 08, 2001.

Another source for input is the IT Infrastructure Library. This is a set of books on managing IT for best results for your organisation.

The issues range from daily operational ones such as help desk and incident managment,problem management, change management, software management, management of information about your infrastructure, through to planning and longer term issues such as SLM, availability and capacity management, contingency planning within the organisational context and cost management. IT security management, with links to BS7799.

The emphasis is on aligning IT with the organisation's goals, not only dealing with specific users who make the most noise. Both subjective and objective metrics for measurring services provided are used, not only user satisfaction.

-- Melanie Askeland (msa@ismsa.co.za), January 10, 2001.

Service-level management (SLM) is a business issue with technical implications specially when you are dealing with IT, but not a technical issue (as some would look at it) with business implications. All real-life activities involve some service in one form or another from a providing entity to a consuming entity, there are expectations (or agreements to be better) to differentiate what is adequate service worth the payback or not. The payback can be money, award, promotion, apperciation letter, or a simple word of thanks.

Ideally, you would expect SLAs to be an integral element within SLM, but unfortunately, this is not always the case, we see there are situations where there is SLA but no management process for it, and we see (in other situations) SLM in place but with no SLA in place.

Conceptually, the SLA would be like the reference contractual obligation between the service provider and the service consumer. SLAs would be expected to point out the negotiated and agreed Service Level Objectives (SLOs) which constitute the reference point for the SLM measurement and reporting process. The SLA could also include service level guarantees (SLG's), penalties, liabilities, roles and responsibilities, ....etc

Obviously SLM requires good understanding of the business needs and excellent negotiation skills to reach a compromise point between ideal thinking, and practical issues like cost, time and complexity. In large organizations with complex supply-chain business models with external dependencies, you could also expect a team led by SLM officer to navigate through business needs, IT issues, internal politics, and external public relations to do a good job.

-- Mohammed Thiab (thiab@hotmail.com), September 25, 2001.

An instrument that can be used to define and report about the QoS is the QoS / SLM Balanced Scorecard (BSC). It looks at the QoS from three different perspectives; the customer satisfaction, the service provider's responsiveness and end-to-end service. Each perspective has its own set of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and targets. By the end of the reporting period, one can see which perspective needs more focus (absolute report) and whether there's progress or not (relative report).

Take a look at www.bam.nu section "SLM with BAM for SD" and slide 5 "BAM by Infopractica".


Ivo Beckers Founder Infopractica

-- Ivo Beckers (ivo.beckers@infopractica.nl), June 27, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ