A short time ago, I was charged with managing a small support desk for an internally developed software application. We were a small team, and charged with all aspects of software development, including the often neglected support phase of the SDLC. As a small team, while we each played roles on the Service Desk, we also had a number of other duties - support being, on many occasions, the "least fun."
Adding to the general lack of fun that support provided my team, we often found ourselves in front of management doing our best to explain why a particular issue was taking longer than another issue. Providing even more complexity, the business relocated a large population of users we supported to a time zone far different from our own. Needless to say this strained both physical and mental resources to a point that couldn't be sustained.
Suggested along the way was the idea of providing a Service Level Agreement, or SLA, to our customers - something of which I was not immediately on board. Ignorance is bliss as they say, and to those of you already enjoying the benefits a collaborative and informative SLA can provide, I hear your sighs. And, to those of you (like I was) that aren't quite sold on the idea, we've put together a list of five benefits offering your customers an SLA can have.
Offering an SLA...
- Establishes a more open sense of communication with customers and a better understanding of their business.
- Allows service / help desk teams to understand the level of service needed for various incident levels / priorities.
- Demonstrates, both on paper and within your ITSM tool (e.g. ChangeGear), to all parties involved, that not all incidents are created equally.
- Enables ITSM managers to evaluate and leverage resources more quickly, efficiently, and effectively.
- Provides the critical framework and guidelines necessary when creating or updating Information Technology aspects of business continuity and/or disaster recovery plans.
The important piece to remember here is that in order to really capture the value an SLA can provide, you also need to integrate it with your ITSM solution. ChangeGear has some recent improvements associated with tracking your SLA criteria. If you want to learn more, check out the SunView Software resources database.
Finally, if an SLA is a completely new idea, and you have no idea where to start, check out this great article from Tech Republic: Build Your SLA with these Five Points in Mind. It is a few years old, but still just as applicable.