Service Level Management
The planning phase must conclude with the preparation and acceptance of the agreements necessary for service delivery.
These agreements include Service Level Agreements, Levels of Operation and Underpinning Contracts.
Service level agreements
SLAs must include a detailed description of the service, taking in everything from the more general aspects to the most specific details of the service.
It is a good idea to subdivide more complex SLAs into several documents so that each group involved receives only information relevant to its level, whether on the customer's or the service provider's side.
Preparing an SLA requires certain non-technology-related aspects to be taken into account, such as:
- The nature of the customer's business.
- Organisational aspects of the service provider and customer.
- Local cultural aspects.
Operation Level Agreements
The OLAs are documents internal to the IT organisation that determine the processes and procedures necessary to offer the levels of service agreed with customers.
The nature of the OLA is such that it includes details about the delivery of the service that are opaque to the customer but essential to the IT organisation in order to organise itself internally.
Underpinning contracts (UCs) define the responsibilities of external service providers in the process of service delivery.
Whereas OLAs are internal documents that may tend to vary, underpinning contracts represent clearly defined and well delimited commitments. Despite this crucial difference, UCs may be considered an "external" extension of OLAs in that the goal they pursue is the same: organising the processes and procedures necessary for the correct delivery of the service.