Service Level Policy

Version: 1.00Issue Date: 1/18/2015

This Service Level Policy defines requirements for service level agreements.

1.0 Overview

This Service Level Policy will help ensure service level agreements are adequate to protect the organization and require quality service that meets business requirements.

2.0 Purpose

This Service Level Policy specifies the Service Level Agreement (SLA) framework and the roles to be involved.

3.0 Scope

This Service Level Policy applies to all instances where service levels are used whether externally or the service level of one group to another. This policy is effective as of the issue date and does not expire unless superceded by another policy.

4.0 Service Level Agreement Framework

  • Senior IT and business management must create a Service Level Agreement (SLA) framework. Business management must include all major business functions.
  • The SLA framework must identify IT objectives.
  • The SLA framework must provide for measurement of IT performance so it can be compared to its objectives.
  • The SLA must be continually realigned to fit the business requirements and to increase effectiveness. Objectives and performance measurements must be modified to best fit the needs of the business and provide effectiveness.
  • The SLA framework must identify and define the roles and responsibilities of the business units, internal information technology resources, and third party providers.
  • The ability to measure quality and quantity of services must be built into the SLA and the objectives must be achievable, measurable, and easy to understand.
  • Service level agreements must be compared with industry standards and reviewed by experts before being approved.
  • Service level agreement objectives must support the business objectives.
  • The SLA framework must establish the content and format of the SLA.
  • The SLA must include or consider work scope, objectives, controls (who authorizes tasks), metrics, capacity, reliability, product/user support, security, and business continuity planning.
  • The SLA framework must be annually reviewed and improved using past experience and results to improve the process.
  • Objectives of the SLA must be identified and be measurable. The objectives must be listed in the SLA and means of measurement must be included.
  • The SLA must be approved by all appropriate stakeholders.
  • A process must be created to annually re-evaluate SLA performance and the SLA framework performance.
  • A process must be created so the use of services can be measured.
  • Service level agreements must consider the performance requirements of information technology resources and their impact on the business. System availability requirements is an example of IT performance requirements that impact the business.

5.0 Service Level Agreement Creation and Review

  • A process for changing SLA objectives and metrics must be created.
  • The SLA change process must assess the contract terms, contract scope, and business requirements to ensure that the objectives and metrics support the business needs.
  • Business management must be involved in the creation of the SLA and agree with it.
  • The SLA must be understandable by those who do not have technical knowledge or experience.
  • The SLA must formally quantify performance requirements of information technology resources. The entity providing the service and the business departments must agree to the service levels.
  • SLAs and associated contracts must be periodically reviewed (annually) to be sure they are still meeting the business need and be sure they comply with policies and procedures.

6.0 Service Level Agreement Requirements

  • The service level agreement must define and describe agreed performance measures and their associated objectives.
  • The service level agreement must specify responsibility for delivery of performance measures.
  • The service level agreement must specify the procedures required to escalate issues.
  • Services provided must be linked to value.
  • Services must be measurable.
  • Performance measures must be effective such that when users consider systems to be unusable, the measures also consider the system to be unusable.
  • If performance measures do not reflect statistics when users consider systems to be unusable, a means of reconciling the performance measures with the user perspective must be provided. Differences must be tracked using tools such as trouble ticket systems.
  • Charges for services must be clearly defined and accepted by all stakeholders.
  • When services do not meet defined measures the service level agreement should provide a penalty for failure.
  • Provision must be made in the SLA to deal with situations when costs vary more than expected due to an increased need for service or a decrease.
  • The way to handle changes in cost must be agreed by all stakeholders and handled in a timely manner.

7.0 Service Level Agreement Changes

  • When new systems are added or systems are updated, the effect on SLA requirements must be considered. The SLA should be written to support these changes or should be able to be ammended.

8.0 Skill Levels, Roles, and Resources

  • A service quality manager should be created to help create and monitor compliance with SLAs.
  • The service quality manager job role and required skills must be clearly defined.
  • The service quality manager must possess the required skills and experience for the job.
  • The service quality manager must be given the proper authority to perform their job roles
  • Someone must be given the responsibility for assessing service levels, analyzing their effectiveness, and reporting findings to management.

10.0 Enforcement

Since following the Service Level Policy is important for the welfare of the organization, employees that purposely violate this policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including denial of access, legal penalties, and/or dismissal. Any employee aware of any violation of this policy is required to report it to their supervisor or other authorized representative.

11.0 Other Policies

12.0 Additional Requirements

  • Create a process to annually re-evaluate SLA performance and the SLA framework performance.
  • A process for changing SLA objectives and metrics must be created.
  • A process must be created so the use of services can be measured.
  • Business user requirements regarding service levels must be considered when infrastructure planning is done.

Approval

Approved by:__________________________ Signature:_____________________ Date:_______________