Setting Up a Service Level Management Process

By: Tim Mcintosh

A process for managing service levels ensures that all IT services delivered to customers meet agreed-upon standards of quality. It is about making sure that Service Level Agreements are in place and are being observed, measuring and reporting on service levels, and continuously working to improve service levels over time.

To do all of this, it is essential to have the appropriate tools in place. Oft the processes and systems used to define the service levels are subcontracted out to third party. It is essential to understand how to manage them within your own SLM process.

The first step in setting up an SLM process is identifying the services that are essential to the business and establishing a reasonable set of metrics for success. This usually involves taking into consideration aspects like efficiency, user base, and design aspects. It is also important to choose technology expertise carefully – for example an organization that specializes in a particular platform might be able to commit to higher levels of performance than a more generalised service provider.

Once the SLA goals are established, teams must create an action plan to meet them. This usually means implementing systems that monitor progress and alert the team automatically when there are problems in meeting the goals.

A robust SLM process also incorporates continuous improvement processes. These will enable teams to learn from the metrics they collect, and then find ways of improving the processes that are causing them issues. If, for instance a NOC service is consistently failing to meet its SLA of answering telephone calls within 30 seconds, then it is possible to pinpoint the reason and fix it.


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