At some point in the delivery of service to
your customers the formalization of a service agreement has either been implemented
or in other cases may have only been discussed. In either case identifying what
makes the service function is going to be paramount in order to identify and
eliminate gaps in the ability to deliver a consistent customer experience.
The customer you support operates through
processes which in one way or another are reliant on IT services. Effectively the
SLA is the clarity for the customer deliverables. Think of this in these terms,
your service is supported by something. Take this diagram for example, even if
you remove one or two columns you still might be able to support the service
but inevitably at some point there won’t be enough support to keep the thing
from falling over. From an IT perspective we need to know what all the ‘columns’
As an IT unit we now understand what is
making this service work, for the most part. The next question we have to ask ourselves is how well
is the service operating?
Think about the level of reporting your IT organization
currently leverages. Does it report on the service as a whole or the underlying components
of the service. Before I get too far ahead of myself while thinking about the output as a service is important we
must not forget to remember that there are pieces which make it operate. This also includes understanding how our OLA’s and any underpinning
contracts (UC) work to support them as well where they exist. We should be able to report on our
ability to provide this service weekly. This way should there be something
which might impact the delivery of service we are in a position to respond
quickly to address any concerns. If these don't exist in a formal way they are likely being done via best effort and should be documented to review for improvements from a consistency perspective down the line.
Customer satisfaction can be a tricky thing
to gage, so the next part will require good dialog with your customer.
Some might say that satisfaction is in the
mind of the beholder. A potential gap may exist when we (IT) report against
what we think services are doing and what the customers experience truly is. In some cases the gap is larger than we originally
thought. For example we showed that there was no outage at site x last month
but in reality there were several outages that were never reported. This is where good discussion with the customers allows your Service
Level Manager, or someone accountable to that role to ensure that we are
reviewing the way we provide this service. While our customer may not need to know how we provide service we need to be able to better understand the challenges that face our customers so we can address them and work towards providing a consistent customer experience.
Labels: ITIL, ITSM, Service Delivery, Service Level Agreements