Service management methodologies encompass a wide variety of processes and desired service outcomes, however, here we will focus on one very critical element of service management, the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The SLA is the glue that holds together the relationship between the IT service provider and the business customer. Ultimately all other service processes and outcomes support the customer SLA.
IT organizations provide a wide variety of support services to the business from infrastructure (networks and Help Desk) to business application software support.
As service providers IT organizations must demonstrate “value” to business customers. In this case, demonstrating value means delivering support services that meet or exceed the needs of the business at a cost that represents value. Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) help demonstrate value by clearly identifying the service responsibilities of the IT organization and performance expectations of the business customer.
Fundamentally the SLA is a contract between the IT service provider and the business customer receiving the service.
In order to demonstrate “value” the IT service provider must develop an SLA that clearly defines what support services are being delivered and the level of performance required by the business customer.