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Developing and Maintaining Successful SLAs Is Not So Simple, Says IDC

  • 09 January, 2006 15:53

<p>NORTH SYDNEY, January 9th, 2006 - As IT organisations are increasingly called upon to deliver services that are user friendly and business appropriate, the ability of the CIO to develop and maintain successful strong service-level agreements (SLAs) is becoming an essential part of the management toolkit. SLAs are agreements that make it easier for two or more parties to work together productively.</p>
<p>IDC's latest IT Management Programme "ITEyewitness" report examines how SLA development and management capabilities can help organisations derive business value from IT. The report is not so much about SLAs themselves, but about the methods of developing them.</p>
<p>"Aligning IT to business and meeting user expectations have been one of the top 5 challenges for CIOs across Australia and New Zealand for the last five years. Flexible and aligned SLAs can help CIOs kill these two birds with one stone," said Vipul Bhargava, Analyst, IT Management Program, IDC Australia and New Zealand.</p>
<p>The real journey is about enabling the organisation to develop not one, but many SLAs. This is not a trivial task. SLA development is not a perfect science, and there is no single body of knowledge that can act as a guide. Many factors, both technical and human, feed into SLAs, and the resource requirements to address them are considerable. Some of the essential facts to consider are as follows:
* A SLA is not a contract, but an agreement between two parties that have chosen to work together towards a mutually positive result. A commitment to work this way is required on both sides.
* SLAs have to be defined in business terms, not technical terms. Often the work of simplifying and productising possible services results in the creation of a service catalogue, a highly productive tool.</p>
<p>IDC concludes that in its simplest form, the SLA appears as just another contract: a document with defined metrics that businesses can use as an enforcement tool to keep internal or external IT suppliers in line. The tacit assumption in this superficial view is that a more stringent SLA benefits the customer at the expense of the supplier, while a more lenient SLA will benefit the supplier at the expense of the customer.</p>
<p>This simplistic paradigm does not play out well in IT. While a certain adversarial element may be unavoidable, the complex relationship between supplier and client in IT is not a zero-sum game; when one side loses, generally the other side will fare poorly as well.</p>
<p>To purchase this study, please contact Max Shaday on phone 02-9925-2244 or email mshaday@idc.com.</p>
<p>For press enquiries please contact:
Vipul Bhargava
IT Analyst, IT Management Programme
Email: vbhargava@idc.com
Phone: 61 2 9925 2254</p>
<p>Click here to view the press release online:
http://www.idc.com.au/press/detail.asp?releaseid=206</p>
<p>Click here to subscribe to IDC press releases and newsletters online:
http://www.idc.com.au/newsletters/register/</p>

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