I wanted to share a couple of notes I have made while reading Foundations of Service Level Management by Sturm, Morris, and Jander.

The book, written in the ’00s, deals with all the aspects of Service Level Management. More specifically, it covers topics such as measurement, how the SLA are defined, human challenges, best practices, etc.

The book is not technical at all and is overall an easy read. The first part of the book is generic to be relevant in years to come. Chapter 9 is worth a read as it covers what the customer could do before contacting a service center that delivers managed services.

Chapter 1: Theory and principle

  • View hard to reconcile between the technical measure and the reality from the point of view of the users.
  • Multiple application layers could be up 99.99% of the time, but overall, the overall availability could only be of 99% (due to the overlap of the measures
  • SLM: « disciplined, proactive methodology and procedures used to ensure that adequate levels of service are delivered to all IT users in accordance with business priorities and at acceptable cost »
  • SLM and SLA
  • 6 reasons to implement SLM
    • client satisfaction
    • managing expectations
    • resource regulations
    • internal marketing of IT services
    • cost control
    • defensive strategy

Chapter 2: Perception and Management of Service Levels

  • SLM: continuous process of measuring, reporting, and improving the quality of services
  • SLM: perspective that matches the business goals of the IT organisation
  • True availability must be measured end-to-end from the end user through all the technology layer and components to the desired business application and data
  • An important consideration is the consistency of the interactive response times experienced by the end users

Chapter 3: Service Level Reporting

  • “Various audience types should be identified and categorized along with their interest areas”
  • “Reports aimed at the executive management team must be highly summarized and outline the quality of service experienced by the company’s personnel, customers, and business partners”
  • Types of reports
    • executive summary
    • SLA reporting
    • performance reporting
    • workload volumes
    • security intrusion
    • recoveries
    • cost allocation
  • Report Card Summary
    • (IMO, excellent concept similar to scorecards)
    • Grading from C to A++ on various perimeters

Chapter 4: SLA

  • 6 benefits for SLA
    • provide permanence
    • provides clarity
    • serves as communications vehicle
    • guards against expectation creep
    • sets mutual standards for service
    • defines how level of service will be measured
  • Types of SLA:
    • In-House SLA
    • External SLA
    • Internal SLA
  • Service level management is a process. While the SLA itself is a document, it is the product of a process.
  • In the process of SLA definition, there should be equal representation on the team from both the user group and the service provider. Too great a disparity in numbers will give an unfair psychological advantage to the larger team
  • Basic components of a SLA:
    • parties to agreement
    • term
    • scope
    • limitations
    • SLA
    • SL indicators
    • non-performance
    • optional services
    • exclusions
    • reporting
    • administration
    • reviews
    • revisions
    • approvals
  • The SLA are the agreed upon levels of service that are to be provided
  • “What is the right number of objectives?”
    • Advice: Limit the number of SLOs to 5-10 critical objectives
  • The criteria that they use to measure the level of service must be:
    • attainable
    • measurable
    • understandable
    • mutually acceptable
    • meaningful
    • controllable
    • affordable
  • Remember that the user’s perspective is the one that counts
  • Information to include in the reports:
    • report name
    • frequency
    • service level indicator(s)
    • content
    • data sources
    • responsibility
    • distribution
  • In a typical agreement, with a term of 24 months, three reviews should be scheduled

Chapter 5: Standard Efforts

  • Cover the state of play in ’00s
    • ITIL
    • SLA Working Group
    • Application Response Measurement

Chapter 6: Service Level management Practices

  • Good chapter with comments and methods used in various consulting groups
  • Nice example of a SLA process with the Hurwitz Group:
    • Define the SLA
    • Assign the SLA owner
    • Monitor SLA compliance
    • Collect & analyze data
    • Improve the service provided
    • Refine the SLA
    • Start again at the first step…
  • Service Value Agreements (SVAs): concept from the META Group

Chapter 7: SLM products

  • Can be grouped in categories:
    • Monitoring
    • Reporting
    • Analysis
    • Administration
  • SLM domains: Network -> Services & Workstations -> Databases Applications Transactions
  • ARM: Application Response Measurement
  • The FCAPS Approach. SLM can be approached not only by domain, but also by function: Fault management, Configuration, Accounting, Performance management, Security management

Chapter 8: Business Case for SLM

  • Review of the key benefits for SLM

Chapter 9: Implementing SLM (Must Read)

  • Good story about issues implementing SLM illustrating trouble when SLM is not introduced well to constituents
  • Good brief regarding the choice of the first stakeholder (area critical for business, where most improvement is needed, most disgruntled group, most politically affluent group, area of highest/lowest visibility)
  • All SLM projects require continuous care and feeding to stay successful
  • Part of a winning strategy is a follow-up program of continual improvement

Chapter 10: Capturing Data for SLAs

  • Broad parameters: Availability, Performance, Reliability, Recoverability

Chapter 11/12

  • Nothing to report