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By Colin Bartram, Director of Technology, Vector Networks (Page 3 of 4)

ITIL, the Service Catalog and Service Level Agreements

A Problem could easily affect a key service provided to the organization by IT. Email is the classic example of a service for which reliability must be very high. The concept of a Service Catalog and associated Service Level Agreements helps provide structure for providing and monitoring the performance of such key services. The Service Desk in turn is responsible for ensuring the agreements are met.

Defining a Service Level Agreement

For any particular Service in the catalog, Vector enables customers to define a hierarchy of sevice level standards, such as Gold, Silver and Bronze. Each standard specifies targets for service aspects such as time to response and time to resolution or workaround. Service Level Agreements are then defined that apply a particular standard of service, for a particular service, to a particular group of users – which might even be an individual user. So, the Bronze performance level may be defined in the SLA for the provision of backup facilities to the HR department. Gold standard is provided for email service to the Sales department. While most organizations define a standard set such as Gold, Silver and Bronze, variants can be created, such as “Gold – Mission Critical” for special situations.

Reporting against Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Because SLAs are set in order to police the performance of the services in the service catalog, reports tend to lean toward highlighting exceptions. Any aggressively defined SLA will make it tough for the service desk to succeed 100%, and failure to meet an SLA is usually defined as occurring when more than X% of issues are not resolved within the thresholds set in the agreement. Vector also support a threshold defined as a fixed number – for example if more than five issues are not resolved within agreement parameters in a one month period. These overall measures of performance enable a large number of SLAs to be monitored at a high level.

For a more granular understanding or service level performance, we provide reports which list all the ‘failed’ incidents under a given SLA, including detail of target and actual response and resolution times, and current status. This data will often provide the starting point for identifying more difficult problems.

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