Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which are part of the ITIL framework, are the contracts between an IT service provider provider and its customer. These service level targets set service quality standards to ensure that the IT service provider will provide the best service. SLA management is crucial to ensure that these SLAs remain current and that the agreed performance standards are met. This is the role and responsibilities of SLA management in ITIL, as described in ITIL foundation training or other online ITIL courses. SLA management is part of the larger theme of service level management.
Service level targets reviewed
SLA management should closely monitor services provided in a live environment to ensure that they meet the service level targets. SLAs are formulated to clearly define the service level targets that must be met by the IT service provider. SLA management ensures that SLAs are kept current. To do this, it is important to review service achievements and hold periodic review meetings with customers. These SLA management meetings analyze the performance of each service provided to customers and check if they have met the service level targets as set out in the SLAs.
Sometimes it is impossible to achieve the service level targets due to market changes or capacity constraints. A service level review can establish that service level targets were not met. However, it is not possible to immediately pinpoint the cause. Only proper root cause analysis can pinpoint the source of pain. Although it may seem like there is a problem with the breach, root cause analysis can help identify the real problem. This could be something that no one on the team had considered initially. SLA management must identify the root cause of problems in order to achieve service level targets.
Root Cause Analysis
If it is determined that a service cannot meet its service level targets through SLA management, appropriate action must been taken by the customer and/or the IT service provider. These actions must be documented. If a service fails to meet its 98% availability target, it is important to determine the cause and find the root cause. Root cause analysis of breaches of services is an important part of SLA management.
Each breach of service level should be addressed in SLA management. This will allow you to pinpoint the cause and prevent future incidents. If the supplier is responsible for the breach of the service availability target, then the SLA management phase must include actions on either the supplier or partner. If the root cause of the breach was a failure of the servers that provide this service, then strengthening these servers should be taken to prevent future breaches.
Both the IT service provider as well as the customer are responsible for SLA management. Each breach of the service levels targets must be analyzed to determine the root cause. Then, the appropriate actions must taken to prevent future breaches and ensure that customers receive the service they expect.
It is crucial that corrective actions are based on a thorough root cause analysis, not just what the team thinks has gone wrong. A proper root cause analysis will ensure that the problem is fixed. It is not possible to solve a problem by ignoring the root cause. This can lead to financial loss and indirect sales losses.