ITIL Service Level Management | ITIL Foundation | ITSM

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In this tutorial, we will discuss the ITIL Service Level Management Process. In this chapter, you will learn the Definition, Objective, Activities, Scope, Roles, and Sub-Process of Service Level Management - ITIL V3 Process. 

Aside from that, you would also get some idea about Service Level Requirement (SLR), Service Level Agreement (SLA), Operation Level Agreement (OLA), and Underpinning Contracts (UC).

What is ITIL Service Level Management Process? 

Service Level Management (SLM) is one of the well-defined main processes under Service Design process group of the ITIL best practice framework.

According to ITIL V3 definition, it is the process responsible for the continual identification, monitoring, and review of the IT Service benchmarks specified in the service-level agreements (SLAs).

ITIL Service Level Management Process (ITIL SLM) helps to achieve the target service level by ensuring that proper agreements are in place with internal IT support providers and external suppliers in the form of Operational Level Agreements (OLAs) and Underpinning Contracts (UCs), respectively.

Scope of ITIL Service Level Management Process: 

Below are the scope of activities that are done under the ITIL V3 Service Level Management Process.

As described in ITIL V3, Service Level Management Process works closely with Availability Management and Capacity management for the purpose of doing the estimation and planning for the resource requirement.

The ITIL Service Level Management also has direct corelation with Incident Management and Problem management to ensure that the required quality and levels of service are achieved by using the resources agreed with Financial Management.

This process also ensures that appropriate Service Continuity Plan is implemented and agreed level of service can be provided to the customers in all circumstances.

SLM is the primary interface with the customer and works together with Business Relationship Management process to ensure that the agreed IT services are delivered in a cost-effective, secure and efficient approach.

ITIL Service Level Management Objective: 

The primary objective of ITIL Service Level Management process is to negotiate Service Level Agreements (SLA) with the customers and to design services in accordance with the agreed service level targets.

This ITIL SLM process is also responsible for monitoring & reporting the present service levels and also ensures that all Operational Level Agreements and Underpinning Contracts are appropriate for achieving the SLA targets.

ITIL V3 Service Level Management Activities: 

Below lists those key-activities performed under Service Level Management (ITIL V3 Process):

  • Determining, negotiating, documenting, and agreeing on requirements for new or changed services.
  • Managing and reviewing all services to match SLAs for operational services.
  • Monitoring and measuring service performance of all operational services against the SLA targets.
  • Review, Report & Identify improvement opportunities for improvement planning & inclusion in the CSI register.
  • Collating, measuring and improving customer satisfaction, in cooperation with business relationship management.
  • Reviewing, revising, and documenting: Scope of Service, SLAs, OLAs, and underpinning contracts.
  • Providing appropriate Management Information to support performance management and signify service achievements.

Below diagram illustrates and categorize the activities performed under the ITIL SLM Process.

ITIL Service Level Management Activities and Scope

ITIL Service Level Management Sub-Process: 

As defined in ITIL V3, Service Level Management process has Four Sub-Processes operating under it.

Below are the description and objective of those sub-processes, followed by a diagram illustrating the ITIL Service Level Management Process Flow:

1) Maintenance of the SLM Framework:

Maintainance of SLM Framework sub-process is responsible for maintaining the underlying Service Level Management Framework.

More specifically, it has the responsibility to design and maintain the underlying structure of the Customer Agreement Portfolio and also to provide templates for the various SLM documents.

2) Identification of Service Requirements:

Used to document the desired outcomes, or requirements from the customer viewpoint, for any new services or major service modifications.

This sub-process identifies the much-needed service requirements that are required to be documented and submitted for an initial evaluation, to check if the requirements are technically and/or economically viable, and to find alternatives if possible.

3) Agreements Sign-Off and Service Activation:

Makes sure to have all relevant contracts signed off after completion of Service Transition and to check if Service Acceptance Criteria are fulfilled. This includes but not limited to sign-off SLAs, OLAs, underpinning contracts by both the Service Owners and the customers.

4) Service Level Monitoring and Reporting:

Used to monitor the achieved service levels and compare them with agreed service level targets for preparing Service Level Reports. Those reports are then circulated to customers and other stakeholders to highlight the service quality.

ITIL Service Level Management Process Flow

Important Terminologies & Definitions: 

Customer Agreement Portfolio:

  • It is the database which contains information about all Service Agreements done with customers to provide the framework for delivering services.

Outline of Service Requirements:

  • This is the desired outcome of a service, stated in terms of required service functionality (utility) and service levels (warranty).

Service Acceptance Criteria (SAC):

  • A set of criteria or benchmark used for service acceptance testing to ensure that an IT service meets its functionality and quality requirements as per the customer requirement.

Service Level Agreement (SLA):

  • SLA (A.K.A Service Level Agreement) is an agreement or contract between an IT service provider and a customer.
  • In ITIL, SLA specifically describes the IT service, the responsibilities of the IT service provider and the customer, and documents the service level targets.

Service Level Report:

  • The Service Level Report is the document of assessment of service provider's ability to deliver the agreed service quality.
  • It compares the agreed SLA with the actually achieved service levels and also includes other information, such as usage statistics of services, ongoing measures for service improvement, and any exceptional events.
  • A Service Level Report is issued by the service provider for its customers, IT management and other Service Management processes.

Service Level Requirements (SLR):

  • The Service Level Requirements (SLR) are documents containing the requirements for a service from the client viewpoint.
  • In ITIL, SLR defines detailed service level targets, mutual responsibilities, and other requirements specific to a group of similar customers.
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a derived form of SLR, created whenever any service enters a new stage of its life-cycle.

Operational Level Agreement (OLA):

  • In ITIL, OLA (A.K.A. Operation Level Agreement) is an internal agreement between an IT Service Provider and other units of the same organization.
  • An OLA supports the IT service provider in the delivery of services to customers.
  • The OLA defines the goods or services to be provided and the responsibilities of both parties within the same organization.
  • Operation Level Agreement (OLS) is not visible or communicated to customers.
  • Few examples of OLA: There could be an agreement between the IT service provider and the procurement department to purchase hardware in agreed times, or it may be between the Service Desk and an IT Infra support team to provide Incident resolution in agreed time.

Underpinning Contracts (UC):

  • In ITIL, Underpinning Contract is an agreement or contract between a Service Provider and a Third Party Provider for receiving some specialized services.
  • The third party provides supporting services, which enables the service provider to deliver a service to a customer.
  • An Underpinning Contract must be aligned with the customer-facing Service Level Agreements. For Example, A Service Provider may make an agreement with a third party supplier for servicing computer hardware in time of critical hardware failure.  

SLM Document Templates: 

  • It broadly points to all the templates used for various documentation purposes under service level management process.
  • A few examples are Service Level Requirements template, Service Level Agreement document, Operational Level Agreement document, Underpinning Contracts, Service Acceptance Criteria etc.

ITIL Service Level Management Roles & Responsibilities: 

Service Level Manager:

  • This role is the Process Owner for ITIL Service Level Management Process.
  • The Service Level Manager is responsible for negotiating Service Level Agreements and ensuring that these are met.
  • This role is also responsible for ensuring that all ITIL Service Management processes, Operational Level Agreements and Underpinning Contracts are appropriate, and aligned for meeting the agreed service level targets.
  • The Service Level Manager also monitors and reports the achieved service levels to all stakeholders.

Service Owner:

  • The Service Owner has the responsibility to deliver a particular service within the agreed service levels.
  • Typically, this role acts as the counterpart of the Service Level Manager at time of negotiating Operational Level Agreements (OLAs).
  • Often, the Service Owners are observed as the leader of a team of technical specialists or an internal support unit.

We hope that you have enjoyed the above article describing the ITIL Service Level Management Process, along with SML, SLA, OLA, and Underpinning Contract. Be with us to explore free training on Leading Technologies and Certifications.

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