Deciding What SLAs You Need (Part 2)

In my last post (see below), I began looking at the question of what and how many Service Level Agreements (SLAs) you need with a recap of what an SLA is.

Today, I’ll introduce a real world example, which I will use in the next post to illustrate the sort of decisions involved in designing your own SLAs.

Example: XYZABCD PLC provide services to the public seven days a week between the hours of 8am and 8pm. This operation is supported by an internal IT Service Desk.

There is no formal SLA between the Service Desk and the business, and the Service Delivery Manager is being pressed to provide one. Internally, however, the Service Desk do operate an informal SLA, and hope to put this on a formal basis.

Staff at the company can log support Incidents with Service Desk by telephone during working hours (8am-8pm Monday to Sunday) and by email or web outside these hours.

In fact, however, the engineers capable of resolving any faults are only at work between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Outside those hours, the Service Desk staff manning the phones are able to resolve certain straightforward types of Incident, such as password resets, and can offer simple workarounds, but must wait until an engineer is in the office to deal with more complex problems.

Service Desk staff prioritise Incidents based on Impact. Non urgent requests or queries are given a low priority and may be dealt with within a couple of days. Faults that are causing inconvenience to user, but not preventing them working, are given a medium priority and must be dealt with the same day if possible. If the user cannot work, this is treated as a high priority and must be dealt with immediately.

Additionally, there are always a duty engineers who may be called in after 5pm when there is a critical fault affecting the company’s ability to provide service to the public (for example the failure a key network component). The Serio Command Center detects and raises alerts about such faults and sends text messages to the duty engineers. Should such an event occur the duty engineers must attend as quickly as possible, day or night. The Service Desk wants to ensure that key services are always available during opening hours.