Service level agreements are a hugely important part of an IT service. While in a perfect world a handshake would be all that you’d need in order for both parties to hold up their end of an agreement, there are more than a few reasons why producing a legally binding document can benefit those on both sides of the service equation.
Successful service level agreements are founded on a clear comprehension of the outcomes the business wants from IT service management. Identifying these relies on service managers discussing outcomes with customers and tailoring the associated services to fit around them. But no SLA can be set up without the tacit understanding, commitment and agreement of the business.
Some of the areas where service levels need to be stipulated might involve looking at capacity and demand management, when the critical/peak and off-peak times are in the business cycle and creating a Service Management Process (SMP) for what’s needed in those situations. The most effective SMP – and best practice framework that supports it – is not just a series of processes and policies: it feeds into the culture and driving factors of a business or organisation. It seeks to appreciate, for example, the “pinch points” of the enterprise and why it’s a problem if, say, the email service goes down.
Our clients who are currently on SLAs find the following benefits are well worth the commitment: