A service level agreement is the tool which ensures delivery of consistent, appropriate and timely service quality to meet the business need at the right price.
Frequently new technologies demand new, creative, methods of management. Occasionally these new management models have the potential to enhance the effectiveness of business areas never envisaged when the management method was originally devised: they are transferable.
One of the classic cases is the transfer of engineering management disciplines, for instance quality assurance and quality control (and more recently total quality management – TQM). Quality disciplines have permeated from the factory floor into virtually every area of corporate operations and been universally embraced by world class organizations.
Those first to seize such opportunities gain efficiency, effectiveness and, frequently, competitive edge. But all too often, organizations simply react when they see more alert competitors gaining advantage and the new techniques are implemented merely out of defence. They are used as a band-aid when the cure is a transplant.
The opportunity is rare – to identify and adopt such new concepts for competitive edge. The dynamic world of information services, combining explosive growth with corporate dependence, has had to create new methodologies to contain costs and manage service. One of the key methods employed by the leaders in information services management is the use of service level agreements.
While a contract will govern the legal and commercial aspects of service provision it cannot effectively govern the day-to-day delivery of the service quality — and contracts are irrelevant to in-house service providers.
Many corporate services are overheads — not profit earners, but profit dissipators. How can their cost be controlled — or better, reduced — while preserving acceptable quality?
Using case studies and examples, this book explains how service level agreements, born to meet the challenges of a new industry, can be translated as a practical management tool in any service environment, and provides a blueprint for their implementation.
A Rothstein Publishing Classic Backlist title. 2000, 316 pages.