If you think about it, developing and maintaining SLAs is a lot of IT overhead; one could even argue that it is non-valued added work.   Developing and publishing reports, conducting service reviews, and maintaining the SLA takes time and costs money. Perhaps IT should ask if the business would like SLAs, and explain what it is and how it works. If customers willing to pay for IT to develop and maintain SLAs, then IT must work with the business to develop and maintain SLAs—keep in mind that this is also overhead from the business perspective as well!

So are having SLAs “bad”? No, SLAs aren’t “bad” — when defined, enabled, and used appropriately.

  • Properly defined SLAs will describe “what is success” for both the provider and the customer. SLAs will clearly establish shared expectations for services. Most importantly, the SLAs will capture and document what the customer values, and how IT is going to enable or deliver that value.
  • To enable the SLA requires that services (not just products) are defined and documented, with each service having a named service owner who is accountable for delivering on that value as defined in the SLA.   SLAs also must be enabled as part of a larger, integrated ITSM program. Effective ITSM processes must in place to ensure that an IT organization can deliver services consistently, measurably, efficiently, and effectively.
  • The appropriate use of the SLA is as a basis for frequent, regular, relevant, and meaningful discussions between IT and the business it serves. The SLA should not be thought of as an “enforcement mechanism”, but rather as the means by which to objectively discuss successes, value outcomes, and improvement opportunities. The SLA is a great way for IT to demonstrate its commitment to excellence and business success, and for the business to explore how it can exploit its use of IT as a strategic asset and competitive advantage. Used appropriately, an IT organization and the business it serves develop a productive, mutually-beneficial partnership.
Know more about the SLA engineering.

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