Why do you need to actively manage Service Levels?
Products are becoming increasingly homogenous which means that the services that support these products are now the differentiator for the service provider that sources your business and their end customers. Just think of the iPhone vs. Blackberry war. Blackberry had a similar product offering but had no chance against the power of iTunes and the App Store services. In order to be a boss in this area requires you to be increasing your service levels BEFORE your customers ask for it.
What factors are contributing to the Growth of SLA Complexity?
SLAs are still a commitment and that has never changed. The only thing that has changed is the technological infrastructure available that enables you to measure compliance. The tools are great but this has increasingly led to the paradox of choice for CIOs when choosing management tools: public/private cloud, local servicedesk, enterprise ITSM etc. Unfortunately, this disparity has led to many instances of fragmented service delivery but this also means that there is opportunity for you to differentiate yourself when you manage SLAs by considering of all the stakeholders involved.
Who is your customer in this case?
This is a more difficult question than it seems. It would seem clear that the service provider that has hired you to resolve the incident is your customer since their Service Level Agreement (SLA) timer is ticking but then you would only be looking at half of the picture. As a provider you should always consider the end user that benefits from recovery. The end customer’s experience determines whether or not the entire service was satisfactory, not just your part. If your speed of service enables the provider to retain their business then you’ll be winning too.
What points of the delivery process are necessary to optimize to deliver on SLA promises?
- Investigation Time – Before the incident is received
- Resolution Time – Your internal time for solving and communicating resolution
- Feedback Time – Feedback delivery to the end user
At each stage of the process you need to clearly define workflow process before, during and after. If you’re faxing, making multiple phone calls, and sending a dozen emails back and forth, you’re wasting time and greatly reducing your chances of hitting your SLA targets. Plan and implement automation of these processes. You will eliminate errors, save money, and reduce your Mean-Time-To-Repair (MTTR). You might even become Provider A.
By migrating your services to the cloud you gain flexibility and as the service evolves, you’ll be gaining even greater control over your data than if you were hosting it locally. If you’re a true boss over your systems IT, you’ll automate what you can and govern the human factor with SLAs. If you don’t, Provider A will.
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