Overview of Service Level Management
Often, one group's service provider is another group's customer. It is critical to understand that service delivery is often, in fact, a chain of such relationships. As Figure 2-1 shows, some entities, such as an IT
Figure 2-1. Roles of Customers and Service Providers
The Internal Role of the IT Group
An IT group serves the entire organization by aggregating demands of individual business units and using them as leverage to reduce overall costs from service providers.
Today, such IT groups are making the necessary adjustments as managed services become a mandatory requirement. IT managers are constantly reassessing the business and strategic trade-offs of developing internal competence and expertise as opposed to outsourcing more of the traditional IT work to external providers. The goal is to save money, protect strategic assets, and maintain the necessary flexibility to meet new challenges.
The External Role of the IT Group
IT groups are increasingly being required to provide specific levels of service, and they are also more frequently involved in helping business units negotiate agreements with external service providers. Business units often choose to deal directly with service providers when they have specialized needs or when they determine that the IT group cannot offer services with competitive costs and benefits.
IT groups must therefore manage their own service levels as well as those of service providers, and they must track compliance with negotiated SLAs.
The Components of Service Level Management
The process of monitoring service quality, detecting potential or actual problems, taking actions necessary to maintain or restore the necessary service quality, and reporting on achieved service levels is the
Acceptable quality from a customer perspective means an ability to use the managed services effectively. For example, acceptable quality may mean that an external customer or business partner can
Acceptable costs must also be
The Participants in a Service Level Agreement
The SLA is the basic tool used to define acceptable quality and any relationships between quality and price. Because the SLA has value for both providers and customers, it's a
Metrics Within a Service Level Agreement
Measurement is a key part of an SLA, and most SLAs have two different classes of metrics, as shown in Figure 2-2, which may be divided into technical metrics and business process metrics.
include both high-level technical metrics, such as the success rate of an entire transaction as seen by an end
Figure 2-2. Contents of a Service Level Agreement
Service providers may package the metrics into specific profiles that suit common customer requirements while simplifying the process of selecting and specifying the parameters. Service profiles help the service provider by simplifying their planning and resource allocation operations.