Service Level Management

This is an excerpt, you will find more detailed descriptions in the book.

In order to ascertain whether the delivery of IT services to the business is satisfactory or unsatisfactory, the agreed levels must be defined and measured. Without defined levels, the business does not know what can be expected and the IT supplier does not know the level at which it should deliver. The result can then be that the business expects miracles, which leads to disappointment and a general perception that the IT department is not doing what it should. The IT department then risks ending up in the situation that the person who shouts loudest is prioritized first, instead of having defined priorities based on the business’s actual requirements.

Service Level Management is the process that defines, documents and follows up the delivery of IT services to the business.

Purpose

The purpose of the process is to ensure that there is a clear, common starting point for which service levels can be expected for the IT services and what should be delivered.

This is achieved through:

  • Identifying, defining, documenting, monitoring and reporting the service levels
  • Ensuring that the customers have the right expectations for the service levels delivered
  • Ensuring that service levels are measured and that proposals for improvement are initiated

Scope

Service Level Management comprises the entire delivery of IT services to the business.

This includes:

  • Administering the agreements that are drawn up with the business. All deliveries should be measured and followed up together with customers and purchasers
  • Coordinating the delivery of supporting services concerned and ensuring that they are produced at least the service levels that are set in the agreements with the business
  • Initiating and driving proposals for improvement based on the agreements that are drawn up with the business
  • Representing and taking responsibility for the entire delivery of IT services in relation to customers and purchasers

Agreements

Service Level Management must formulate a structure for agreements that suits the customers and in line with the structure within the organization. This is only done once, and then applies for all agreements.

There are three different variants of agreements:

  • Service-based agreement – An agreement based on a specific service and that applies for all customers
  • Customer-based agreement – An agreement based on a specific operation and which contains all services that the customer uses
  • Overall agreement – A combination of levels in the business. For example, an agreement that applies for the customer’s entire organization can be drawn up, combined with specific agreements with each purchaser that regulate the unique delivery to the part of the business

An agreement should contain all information that is necessary so that it is clear which IT services are delivered and at which service levels. An example of content is:

  • Introduction
  • Purpose
  • Contacts
  • Forms of cooperation
  • IT services included
  • Service levels
  • Service window
  • Continuity planning
  • User support
  • Escalation procedures in the business

Activities

The activities in the process are divided into those which manage new agreements and that are performed for each new delivery, and those which manage recurrent assignments.

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