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Service Level Management: More quality and high-value IT services

Digitization continues apace, and every company depends on its IT and communications technology functioning smoothly. The tasks for IT service providers are thus becoming more and more extensive. But how are these defined in concrete terms so that the level of service both satisfies the customer and remains calculable for the service provider? Service level management defines standards, prepares corresponding agreements and monitors compliance.

The demands of IT customers vary according to size and industry. That's why they are defined individually in Service Level Agreements (SLA). Formulating these is the main task of service level management. It is in the nature of things that customers want maximum performance with as few failures as possible and immediate remedial action if something does occur. This makes it all the more important to define exactly how far the service provider's obligations go. The basis for agreements in the area of IT services today is ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library).

What is included in service level management?

Service level management includes the following tasks:

  • Determining the requirements of internal and external customers (service recipients)
  • Draw up a catalog of the IT services offered
  • Defining target specifications (quality plans) for IT services
  • Draw up specific service level agreements (SLA) for customers
  • Monitor quality targets
  • Establish and maintain a reporting system
  • If the service level is not achieved Initiate improvement measures
  • Continuous review and further development of the IT service catalog
  • Regular review and adjustment of the SLA
  • Service level management as the basis for customer satisfaction

Concrete, precisely defined SLAs are the basis for a successful business relationship and for customer satisfaction. The service recipient knows to what extent he can expect services for his money and where the limit is. The IT company is aware of the demands, but also has the certainty that its obligations are defined and do not extend beyond this. If the agreed service level is no longer enough for the customer, the conditions can be renegotiated.

Possible parameters in SLA

How these limits are set depends on the customer's business area. In the case of an online store, for example, it can be specified how many purchases can be processed at the same time or how many inquiries the hotline can take at the same time. A cloud should always be operational if possible, but what percentage of downtime is just acceptable? The level of cyber security can also be defined, for example by the time a system has to withstand hacker attacks.

Precisely defined service levels not only create clear relationships in existing agreements. An IT service provider that always complies with its contractually guaranteed service levels and can prove this with meaningful key figures can also use this for its marketing. This makes it easier to acquire new customers.

Better resource allocation through service level management

Good service level management has a positive impact on the IT service provider's overall business activities:

  • Personnel and technical resources can be better managed based on identified needs
  • Costs can be better determined and risks minimized
  • Over-demand and under-resourcing at the expense of the customer are avoided, as is under-utilization at the expense of the service provider.
  • High customer satisfaction ensures long-term customer loyalty
  • Service level management must constantly readjust

Technology itself is constantly evolving, and so service level management must also be constantly adapted to new conditions. New opportunities create new demands. Customers develop new areas of business. Only companies that can always provide their customers with state-of-the-art service and respond quickly to needs have a long-term chance of surviving in the competitive arena.

Beitragsfoto: Shutterstock, WOTAN Monitoring, GH-Informatik GmbH