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Internal IT SLAs Do Not Matter! Part 2 of 2


July 7, 2010 12:15 pm





After the fact “reporting” is merely just reporting the score of the game!

Bold statement, I know. Let me explain. When asked about where BSM or IT to business alignment projects begin, I can generally categorize in 3 buckets:

  • Fixing “Boo Boo’s” – Availability & Performance – ROI tangible, tied to revenue impacted by outages
  • Process Efficiency – Automation, Change, Control – ROI is tougher and more “cost management”
  • Service Alignment – Service to Business Impact – ROI tangible, tied to manual cost reduction
    • Service alignment driven projects tend to be the final stage of maturity, however, this does not need to be the case as defining these service objectives defines the objectives and behavior of the previous 2 project categories and has the potential to drive bigger bang for the buck by driving top line revenue versus bottom line costs.

      When discussing internally reported IT SLAs I always start with “they just don’t matter”. After the fact reporting has no real value as they are generally IT “metrics”/data and are not put into business context. Sure they can be used for trends and as input for the next reporting cycle to issue process improvements, but will continue to be hit or miss out of context and after the fact.

      These reports are also costly to generate, usually 2 people a full week (10 days) to compile, aggregate and derive the numbers. The mere fact that the numbers are derived and not automatically generated in terms of services tells me they are subjective, massaged and inaccurate and not given much regard in most organizations. I call these merely “Hero Metrics” and like baseball stats for IT and again no value out of context to the business you are in.

      How could Internal IT SLAs Matter and Have Value?

      This is simple, at least in my mind, concentrate on the Service Strategy aspect and let the corporate objectives drive IT service delivery.

        1. Define Services – identify service offerings as consumed by the business
        2. Categorize Services – group services – Revenue Driving – Service Quality – Service Efficiency – Cost Driven
        3. Service Delivery – based upon their key drivers based upon their simple categories
        4. Manage Services – proactively in real-time with an service impact aversionstrategy – not a service outage responsiveness strategy – marry business KPIs with IT metrics and manage service impact

        Manage Costs

        Defining services and applying management appropriately is the first step to reducing costs and using resources more efficiently. All services are not created equal and some services do not require the same responsiveness and disaster recovery (thus costs) as do revenue driving services.


        Use aggregating technology to deliver the service monitoring and reporting every day and in real-time, not after the fact score keeping. Monitor “services”, not technologies, in context of the business proactively. The strategy must be to provide the ability to take action real-time and avert business impacting outages, not after the fact score keeping or how fast can I respond to an outage.


        Now the after the fact trending can be leveraged to analyze how to drive revenue. How could you apply technology to improve service quality, develop a new service, or change how the industry transacts business. This is a value add conversation versus what I suspect most service delivery managers dread and face at the end of reporting periods to justify and respond to beatings about service delivery/quality and credibility of the information/reports.

        It is important to note I am speaking of INTERNAL SLAs and NOT SLAs with external service providers. External SLAs are absolutely required and often an afterthought when the business becomes frustrated and turns to external service providers to create change within the organization, like the as-a-Service adoption and shift to Cloud providers without IT involvement. Discussed in previous post on SLAs (

        Yes, shifting to a service driven or “Business driven Technology” organization is a change. It is a change that has the biggest bang for the buck for the organization and the biggest win for an IT organization in reducing cost, driving revenue and mitigating risk. Current service definition and SLAs can be applied to technology to make this investment and value driven shift.

        Are your SLA Strategy service driven, impact averting and driving service innovation?

        Read more about Business Service Management at:

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