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The Service Level Agreement - The Glass is Never (Completely) Full


By Hans Bool

Positive or negative thinking is sometimes visualized by a person expression his or her vision about the level of a glass; being either half FULL or half EMPTY.

Try to remember a situation in which you thought you had a deal with someone, but in the end, there wasn’t such a deal, only an intention. For example:

  • You had stored 900 Mb at one of your free internet mail providers. You stored important documents and the next time you logged in it appears that they were no longer there. There was however 1Gb of free space on your account.
  • You are offering an internet service to your clients, they login to your tool environment, they pass the credit card payments and all of a sudden your server is down. You received the payment, but they didn't find their service...

A service is –- in difference with a product -– a facility that is provided by someone, or a company which support the other (Company) in achieving its process. This (primary) process could be selling or to producing a product.

A special feature of a service is that –- again in difference with a product –- it is maximized; whatever effort you put ‘behind’ the service, there is one LEVEL that cannot be succeeded (and that is the level of a 100 percent). This is sometimes regarded as a frustrating feature and therefore called a dis-satisfier. If you provide the right level, you have just done what you should have done. Are you underperforming this level, than you could be in a mayor problems.

Unless you have thought about setting up a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This SLA describes the level of the glass under different circumstances and the consequences when the level is below the accepted criteria.

This provides both parties a clear definition when the glass is half full or half empty. The next step is to manage this agreement by means of service level management. And that is just another step to take.

© 2006 Hans Bool

Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management advice. Astor Online solves issues in hours what normally would take days. You can apply for a free demo account

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