The review and negotiation process in Service Level Management

The review and negotiation process in Service Level Management (for upstarts)
Covering some of the finer points to consider when starting up a new SLM program

Logical processes that make excellent use of available resources are much more apt to produce results than those that lack a certain fundamental organization.  Forming a beneficial relationship between business components and IT assets is a clear example of this concept in action.  With a clear channel of communication open between technological assets and business ideas, new worlds of possibilities suddenly become feasible. 

But how does an organization establish this kind of agreement / relationship?  Service level management, or SLM for short, is a series of processes and protocols which are “just what the doctor ordered” for aligning the interests of business with the infrastructures of IT.  The concept of creating a conduit between the decision making elements of a business and its technical assets is no longer out of reach.

Service level management can’t be formally established however, without the help of an intuitive and comprehensive SLA (or, service level agreement).  So, what does a service level agreement consist of, exactly?  Arguably, a service level agreement is the most important facet of Service Level Management in general.

Establishing a service level agreement involves not only reviewing the parent organization’s assets, personnel, methodology, as well as their goals (both short and long-term).  Under normal circumstances, a complete inventory of a company’s assets is taken so that a realistic picture of what they are capable of can be better understood.   This is also beneficial because it allows business ideas and concepts a home to take form in.

Accounting departments also like the idea of creating a control element like Service Level Management, because it forces IT to become accountable for what they are justified in spending.   So, not only does service level management try to establish a common language among those sharing business interests, but it also helps to save investment capital and profits (or curb unnecessary spending).

Things really get interesting once the Service Level Agreement development process reaches the negotiation stage.  During negotiations, anyone involved in either IT; business, accounting, or other critical processes can add their thoughts and concerns to the fray.  Participation is necessary for a more comprehensive SLA to actually be established.

This is another reason why the person who will eventually become the IT department’s service level manager is encouraged to actively participate in the design of a SLA.  Likewise, a suitable service level manager is also an extremely experienced, dependable, intuitive, and inclusive individual which is known for thinking ahead.  It will be the eventual duty of the service level manager to not only put the concepts handed down by business leaders into effect, but also to establish and maintain a system for monitoring all connected IT assets.  In other words, service level manager is a very serious job which only a dedicated few can truly say they are truly qualified to perform.

Many of those that have participated in reviews and negotiations for establishing a service level management program often remark about how intense it can be.  Many IT workers may even fear the review processes for Service Level Management, as it may either bring their job or duties into question.

The reality is that a properly installed service level management program can only improve operations around any IT installation.  If employees aren’t doing their jobs, they’re putting the entire organization at risk.   This is especially true when you look at the needs of the modern business, which are pushing toward utilizing a large variety of web services which may be directed at either employees or customers.

The ultimate premise behind service level management is simply to better utilize the tools that are available to any business.  It may very well be (as is often the case) that many of the current methods and personnel duties already in practice will fall perfectly in line with the expectations and plans laid out during the transition over to a system of service level management.

Service Level Management trainingThe Art of Service has a comprehensive offering of education solutions including Service Level Management training geared toward the busy IT professional. AOS instructors are experienced in classroom-style delivery, boardroom-style executive coaching, on-the-job training and online virtual support for remote students.