Value to the business. SLM provides a consistent interface to the business for all service-related issues
SLM provides a consistent interface to the business for all service-related issues. It provides the business with the agreed service targets and the required management information to ensure that those targets have been met. Where targets are breached, SLM should provide feedback on the cause of the breach and details of the actions taken to prevent the breach from recurring. Thus SLM provides a reliable communication channel and a trusted relationship with the appropriate customers and business representatives.
4.2.4 Policies/principles/basic concepts
SLM is the name given to the processes of planning, coordinating, drafting, agreeing, monitoring and reporting of SLAs, and the ongoing review of service achievements to ensure that the required and cost-justifiable service quality is maintained and gradually improved. However, SLM is not only concerned with ensuring that current services and SLAs are managed, but it is also involved in ensuring that new requirements are captured and that new or changed services and SLAs are developed to match the business needs and expectations. SLAs provide the basis for managing the relationship between the service provider and the customer, and SLM provides that central point of focus for a group of customers, business units or lines of business.
An SLA is a written agreement between an IT service provider and the IT customer(s), defining the key service targets and responsibilities of both parties. The emphasis must be on agreement, and SLAs should not be used as a way of holding one side or the other to ransom. A true partnership should be developed between the IT service provider and the customer, so that a mutually beneficial agreement is reached – otherwise the SLA could quickly fall into disrepute and a ‘blame culture’ could develop that would prevent any true service quality improvements from taking place.
SLM is also responsible for ensuring that all targets and measures agreed in SLAs with the business are supported by appropriate underpinning OLAs or contracts, with internal support units and external partners and suppliers. This is illustrated in Figure 4.5.
Figure 4.5 Service Level Management
Figure 4.5 shows the relationship between the business and its processes and the services, and the associated technology, supporting services, teams and suppliers required to meet their needs. It demonstrates how important the SLAs, OLAs and contracts are in defining and achieving the level of service required by the business.
An OLA is an agreement between an IT service provider and another part of the same organization that assists with the provision of services – for instance, a facilities department that maintains the air conditioning, or network support team that supports the network service. An OLA should contain targets that underpin those within an SLA to ensure that targets will not be breached by failure of the supporting activity.