Examples of CSF (critical success factors) in service level management

In order to claim progress in any endeavor (from a scientific perspective) one has to be able to present evidence clearly showing that positive effects are being produced.   This is often done in many situations by demonstrating some particular action’s beneficial residual effect on adjacent, related or connected components.  In service level management CSF (critical success factors) are among the most obvious watermarks one can use to gauge overall effectiveness of the practice itself. 

But just what are critical success factors, and do they pertain to?     Critical success factors (in SLM) are basically benchmarks in several categories that must be met in order to ensure that IT is not only fulfilling its duties to its constituency, but also working toward realizing the larger business goals of the parent organization.   Service level management itself is a bit of a departure from established IT duties, but it is a necessary process.   This is largely due to the fact that modern businesses are increasingly relying upon the services of their IT departments to not only run their organization internally, but to also generate additional profits and/or interface with the public at large.  All of this adds up to the fact that we have already entered into an era in which a new form of business is emerging, one in which web services are becoming vital components in profit generation / retention.  What critical success factors actually seek to do is essentially make sure that the needs of clientele are being met and that the system itself is being constantly monitored for stability.

What are some specific instances of Critical Success Factors in SLM?
There are a number of critical success factors for service level management which are fairly obvious and must be taken into consideration if long term success is to be achieved.  Arguably, the biggest CSF with regards to SLM is probably ability to meet the demands of an established service level agreement.  (For those that might be unaware; a service level agreement, or SLA, is a set of pre-agreed upon boundaries and logistics that are negotiated and set up by an IT division.  The desires outlined in any SLA are meant to reinforce the business concepts and aspirations of the parent organization and provide an organized, detailed and reasonable plan for achieving them.)  At its heart, the SLA is meant to simply align the goals of any business with the processes and resources of its IT department.

It is also important that an IT department and service manager be able to present their services in a way that is both cost effective to their entire company/organization as well as the customers they might be interfacing with.  For many businesses the web services provided by IT are meant to assist in profit generation, this should always be taken into consideration. 

The most obvious CSF for service level management is probably the ability of IT to actually provide services that are meeting the needs of their parent organization’s customer base.  Through judicial application of SLM, many organizations are beginning to interface with their IT managers on business grounds, not just technical ones.  For many individuals in upper management, service level management is a way of assigning complex and crucial tasks to those in their IT departments who have the tools and experience to complete them.
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Having a solid strategy in place that also allows an IT division to keep their entire system under constant surveillance is also a well recognized critical success factor.  This also goes hand in hand with the concept of cost effectiveness; after all, how can you generate profit if the system isn’t operational?  This is also true of the level(s) of IT standards and compliance present at any given time.  As a general rule, those IT organizations that are more in line with established standards for IT quality are much more likely to keep their system fully operational (for a longer duration of time with no mishaps), thereby assisting in profit generation.

It is also important that an IT organization engaging service level management practices attempt to foster an IT service society.  This not only engenders employees to participate more fully in their duties and engage in creative decision making, but also to maintain long term stability.

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