Service Level Agreements
Efficient. Effective. Efficacious.
SCHOLDERER SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENTS
We are the leaders in Service Level Management: We hold a SLA patent, are the authors of the IT bestseller "IT Service Catalogue" and "Management of SLAs" which is a standard in IT, won an innovation price, engaged at TU Ilmenau and authors of international SLA standard SOUSIS. Our CECAR model serves as the basis for IT service catalogues for more than 2000 IT companies. The proven expert model HUSSKI for IT self services is the new defacto standard for competitive service providers.
Working with the Best Strategies
The competence and engagement of our SLA consultants will leave you impressed. Our Service Level Agreement trainings are based on inputs from our day-to-day operations. Thus ensuring the clients, that they have the latest information during the trainings. Come and be a part of our SLA trainings!
We provide world-class education to train SLA consultants. SLA I, II and III cover all important SLM topics. Whether you are a beginner, experienced or engaged in international SLA business, our Service Level Agreement trainings are tailored to your professional needs in IT.
IT SERVICE CATALOGUE
The service catalogue management is a new ITIL discipline. Become one of the first service catalogue managers. Our experts have developed their own approach from more than 80 different IT service catalogue projects, with which you can successfully create your own IT service catalogue.
IT SERVICE CATALOGUE
What our Clients have to say!
"Our employees are trained regularly by Dr. Robert Scholderer. Our SLAs are based on this expert know-how"
Head of Service Center AX
terna GmbH, Austria
"It was a great privilieg to attend the seminars, in-house training courses and workshops on "IT service catalogues" offered by Scholderer."
Head of Operation
Manor AG Basel, Switzerland
Since 2009, we have been training SLA consultants in the German-speaking countries. Our references span from Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Northern Italy to Switzerland. If you would like to know more about companies whose employees have been trained by us, please click here
Who are associated with us
SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENTS
Value Addition for Mid-Sized Companies
SLA: CONNECTING THE IT MID SIZED COMPANIES TO CORPORATIONS
Which role does a language play in a Service Level Agreement?
Mid-sized IT service providers are often analyzed on the basis of supplier evaluations, categorized and rejected by corporations. In order to prepare for this concern, the mid-sized IT companies must "speak SLA", or the language of service level agreements so to say. If they are unable to do so, they fail to convince the management and do not reach the decision-making authorities in the desired manner.
SLA: STATE OF THE ART IN THE IT
Where do the difficulties arise in Service Level Agreements?
If you offer IT services, you must also describe this in conformity with the state of art. This is usually the problem. The IT mid-sized companies must equip themselves with ITIL and SLA, since this is coupled with service allocation. They have to formulate the operational procedures in data centers in the same way as the management of the group does and expects. To do this in the form of a contract is the way to the service level agreement.
CLASSIFICATION OF IT MID SIZED COMPANIES VIA SLA
What do corporations focus on, when they read a Service Level Agreement?
Corporations have a big repository of services to structure. If the mid-sized IT companies miss the big picture and do not take ITIL into consideration, it often results in very abstract formulations. This sends out a clear message to the management of a corporation, that this service provider does not have the right skillset and resources to provide the service sought in the language of the service level agreements. It can lead to a direct disqualification at this point. The content, form and consistency of service level agreements provide a direct indication of the performance and operational organization of a provider.
SLA - ESTABLISHING IT MID-SIZED COMPANIES IN A GOOD LIGHT
How do you achieve value addition through Service Level Agreements?
Transferring the ITIL understanding to existing SLA contracts raises the value of the service offered to a new level. It establishes the provider in a upper service segment and makes it a potential partner for management. Coordinating the content of service level agreements, such as services and costs, shapes the future of business relationship. It creates a constructive atmosphere and at the same time shows effectively which contracting party contributed what to the overall economic performance. This approach at the material level creates an open space for negotiation and a stable foundation in both technical and legal terms.
From our Day-to-Day Business
Why Service Level Agreements don't pay off, if the…
services are sorted according to service provider and service receiver. In a comprehensive SLA, the services and dependencies are separated into these two categories. This is particularly difficult towards the end of the contract as we need to go through each point with the new service provider. The conversion of this SLA to an SLA, which is sorted according to services and clarifies responsibilities of involved parties for the performance, makes it possible to act in a service-oriented manner in the long term. In particular, when certain services are outsourced. The previous approach, in which activities were segregated as per provider and recipient, it was impossible to change service provider due to the large scope of services and would have led to permanent gaps in performance or replication of tasks.
The Service Catalogue which does not serve the purpose
We had an IT service catalogue in review. It included a large number of limitations on services. In this catalog, many IT services were constrained from others. The tricky part was that every IT service was differentiated from ALL other IT services. This resulted in a unclear structure. It was not possible to develop this IT service catalogue further even after 5 IT services. The service restrictions were reduced to a minimum. In doing so, we realized that most of the service restrictions were overheads and had hardly any benefit.
Paying extra for IT Self Service because…
only the cost of self-service was considered. We were presented with several IT self services for investigation/analysis. These were obviously very well worked out and worked great. The detailed analysis showed that the same IT self services, also existed in a manual form which made the entire service very expensive. One had considered the personnel cost in the manual form the same and thus overpriced the entire service. It was important to adjust the personnel costs accordingly. Thus, maximum benefits were reached with the IT self service.
90% of the KPIs in Service Level Agreements are…
not described clearly. In almost every SLA, it has been observed, that the KPIs are described superficially. Terms such as reaction time, availability, etc. are assumed to be clear for both parties and used without further definition. In a recent SLA, the terms restart time and recovery time were used synonymously, but interpreted differently by the parties involved. For all KPIs, formulas and exceptions must be taken into account comprehensively.
Penalties are not helpful to ...
reduce the bill for service providers consistently. A while ago, we had an experience with a client where, the penalties were applied continuously. It became a daily routine that a penalty was demanded. It showed that the penalty was more and more misappropriated and became a permanent price reduction and thus an indirect price renegotiation. There was a change in approach on both sides. The penalties should be used to improve the IT service,which led to a constructive cooperation.
SLA negotiations which went out of hands since…
the ownership was not clear at the beginning. Which licenses will be provided by whom was discussed very intensively, for the clarity of associated costs and liabilities. The issue was escalated by both parties. During the following negotiations, which required a deep technical knowledge, both parties agreed to make concessions. This led to a satisfactory result for the customer after the contract expired.
Some SLA descriptions can be misleading
In many contracts, we have come across many descriptions that were not clear or were apt for the purpose. Some examples: "The costs are borne by the application" but they meant buyer. "The maintenance window does not affects the availability" but they meant that the downtime within the maintenance window should not be counted towards availability. Another interesting example was: "The provision of DB-services does not represent an exchange of services." What it really meant, could not be clarified until today.
Is the outsourcing relationship at risk? An SLA takes care of the confusion
In a company, a core service was outsourced. Since it provided many services, they were only vaguely outlined and priced with a three-digit contingent of man-days. As time passed by and man-days were used up, the discussions began on which services are in the scope and which services are to be calculated on man-days basis. Services went on hold, as both parties were unclear. Both sides resumed the contract and agreed to define the service. This process lasted over two years and consumed several man-days. This could have been, had the services been defined clearly in the beginning of the contract.
The most unfavourable handover point ever defined..
For the measurement of the availability, one of the contracting party defined the service handover point as: "Service handover point is the data centre at office location". Since only one address was mentioned and no technical handover point was defined, it was open for any interpretation. Just before the signatures, intervention was required as the penalty scheme was linked to the availability KPI. An interpretable service handover point would have annulled the penalty regulation.
SLA terms in practice
The term "Service time" is explicitly required in SLAs whenever an IT service is offered 24/7 but the operating personnel is not always on site.
Service time determines the time during which the operating personnel of the contractor is available during the regulated working time.
In SAP-systems and large ERP systems, so called batches run at night. These batches block the system for data evaluations. These times are included in the service level agreements as service levels.
Batch runtime is defined as the time, in which SAP batches are processed.
Support time is not always congruent with the service time. Often it is longer than service time. The distinction between support time and service time is necessary, if you want to reduce the costs of SLA negotiation by keeping the support time as low as possible.
Support time is the time during which the support personnel of the contractor must be available.
Many IT services agreed in the service level agreements require backup. Since a backup is also a very data and CPU-intensive process and can block IT services, the backup times are also included in the service levels.
The backup time defines the time during which all agreed data is backed up.
Maintenance window notice
It is advisable to warn users about any maintenance that the contractor wishes to carry out. However, this warning is not issued shortly before maintenance, but announced or reminded one or two days in advance via e-mail. Service Level Agreements defines this lead time, to warn users about the maintenance window so that they are not performing any critical tasks in that time.
Maintenance window notice defines the time before the actual maintenance takes place in service level agreements.
The actual maintenance window can be defined in SLA or fixed time can be agreed upon. These maintenance windows are then reserved periods during which the contractor can carry out maintenance. If there is no maintenance, the maintenance window expires.
Maintenance work can be carried out within the maintenance window. Many internal processes and workflows are coordinated with the maintenance window. All maintenances are handled as changes.
Service meeting cycle
In the service level agreement, the participants agree on a regular appointment (e.g. quarterly) . In agreement between the contractor and the client, the service call can also be in the form of a telephone conference. The agenda of the service meeting is announced in advance.
The purpose of service meetings is to coordinate operations cyclically.
Number of release dates
If the SLA specifies the operation of applications by a manufacturer, it is recommended to limit the number of release dates. Frequent and permanent patching, which disrupts or stops operation should be prevented.
The number of release dates defines the frequency of releases within a specified time.
In international context, it is important to define the support language in such a way that in the event of support, the agreement in the Service level agreements makes clear what you expect from each other.
The client expects the support language agreed upon.
SLA report delivery
The SLA reports are generated after one month . Until when the report is handed over by the contractor to the client, should be described in the service level agreement. The client should not have to wait too long, because he may also have to report further.
The contractor shall prepare reports and submit them cyclically within the agreed time.
In the case of tenders, it happens time and again that the operating manual is not maintained. After the SLA has expired, a document of inferior quality is quickly compiled. To prevent this, the operating Manual should be updated every 30 days.
The contractor shall keep an operating manual. The contents contained in the operating manual should be checked and updated cyclically.
Emergency exercise cycle
The emergency exercise shall be carried out once a year. For this purpose, a corresponding service level should be created in the service level agreement, which is usually called the "emergency exercise cycle".
The emergency exercise ensures that the client is protected in an emergency by the security mechanisms provided by the contractor.
System service time
When many IT services are offered that it makes more sense to go to the systems, the system service time is always used in the service level agreements The system service time becomes relevant even if the contractor only operates the IT systems independently of the IT services.
The system service time determines the time during which the IT systems are ready for multiple IT services.
In the implementation phase, precise points are defined in the SLA in the form of acceptance criteria in order to define the most important fulfilment criteria. This is usually done in done in the form of an annexure. In the case of longer-term contracts, one has to give special consideration to important points than the permanent services agreed in the SLAs.
The criterias that must be fulfilled in order for a service to be considered successfully delivered.
The acceptance requirements are defined for the service provider and the service recipient. Both must work to ensure that all aspects are prepared to provide the IT services agreed in the service level agreement effectively and efficiently. The service level manager can model the prerequisites in a responsibility matrix and assign responsibility to the respective contractual parties.
The aspects that must be fulfilled before the acceptance of the IT service can begin.
As a service level manager, you can use the application portfolio to summarize information in the SLAs. It copies a list of applications, which are usually assigned to the workstation PC, extracts them from the service level agreements and provides them as an attachment. The application portfolio can contain several application groups that are displayed as user profiles. In the SLA, only the term application group is used, without a further list of applications.
Application software offering the service provider makes available to the service recipient.
SLA Service Desk
In the service level agreements, the service desk is a central service that must be modeled for almost all IT services. The term "service desk" often extends to other areas such as incident management or orders from the IT service catalogue. The service level manager should pay close attention to the definition of tasks during modeling to avoid misunderstandings in the SLAs.
The service desk (hotline) is the central point of contact for all service requests within an organizational structure and thus the defined interface between the requirements of the service recipient and the business process to be implemented.
IT Service Catalogue
An IT service catalogue is attached to some service level agreements. This signals to the customer that in addition to the agreed IT services, he can also book other services at guaranteed quality. Then SLAs serve more to regulate certain individual aspects that go beyond the IT service catalogue.
An IT service catalogue is an ordered collection of services from a service provider. It contains all IT services that the service recipients and users of a service provider can commission.
Service Level Agreements
The definition of service level agreements should not be left out of the glossary of SLAs. Although it is often obvious what an SLA is, a closer look reveals a different understanding behind this term. The weightage of the contents according to legal or technical aspects remains an internal company decision.
The term service level agreement describes a contract or the interface between service provider and service recipient for recurring services.
Higher Service Levels
The higher service levels applies to all IT services in the service catalog. All other required service levels are specifically defined for the individual IT services. The aim of the higher service levels is to define an operational standard and to simplify the creation and management of SLAs.
A higher service level represents a measurable quantity of several IT services in terms of their quality.
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