Service level agreements thrive on simplicity. IT groups that pare down services into the clearest, fewest number have the best shot at successfully launching and maintaining an SLA program. Offering choices within SLAs is also important so that the business can “buy” only what it needs and so that IT can apply the appropriate level of resources to those choices. That means packaging products and services into good, better and best categories, for example.
Stamford, Conn.-based consultancy Meta Group Inc. divides IT services into the following four major segments, each of which can serve as the foundation for an SLA.
Not just the PCs on users’ desks, this service includes all the components necessary to serve a typical PC user, such as LAN access, e-mail administration and service and support.
Create a short-list of applications that support the company’s most important business processes and charge for them. The price should include perceived value, the cost of providing access to the applications, and the original purchase and installation costs of the application (spread out over the estimated useful life of the application, of course).
When project teams are formed to install new applications, services or infrastructure upgrades, team members’ time should be priced on a time-and-materials basis and charged back to the business through an SLA agreement.
Some IT tasks do not fit into SLA product or service categories. Roughly 20 percent to 30 percent of the IT budget should be set aside to cover the costs of products or services that serve the general health and well-being of IT, such as strategic planning, security, disaster recovery, accounting, legal and human resources. Money also needs to be set aside for infrastructure upgrades, such as campus network upgrades or IP deployment.