Network Application Service Level Management
Service-level management is the monitoring and management of the (QoS) quality of service of an entity's (KPIs) key performance indicators. The key performance indicators range from coarse-grained availability and usage statistics to fine-grained entity-contained per-interaction indicators. Service level management involves comparing actual performance with pre-defined expectations, determining appropriate actions, and producing meaningful reports.
A service-level agreement enables an organization to be assured of a defined amount of stability, reliability, and performance for the provided IT infrastructure. A service-level agreement may complement or be part of policy-based service-level management. Service-level management means that potential problems can be identified (such as gradual performance degradation) and alerts can be created, thereby minimizing the risk of downtime.
Service-level Management as Strategic Process
Service-level management (SLM) is a strategic process within the domain of information technology service management (ITSM) that seeks to maintain and improve the quality of service (QoS) corresponding to predefined key performance indicators (KPIs) of an entity. These indicators provide measurable values that can demonstrate how effectively an organization is achieving its operational and strategic goals. They can vary significantly across organizations and sectors, reflecting the priorities and performance criteria of a specific entity.
SLM operates on the basis of service-level agreements (SLAs), contracts that define the standard of service expected by a customer from a supplier, laying out the metrics by which that service is measured, as well as any remedies or penalties should agreed-on service levels not be achieved. It is through these SLAs that the quality of service is formally defined.
The process of service-level management involves several interconnected steps. First, there is the definition of services, which entails identifying and describing services in terms relevant to customers. The next step involves establishing performance targets, wherein the service provider and the customer agree on KPIs, reflecting the desired quality of service. Once this is done, monitoring and reviewing the performance against these targets is carried out on a continuous basis.
SLM not only aims to monitor but also to manage these established service levels. Through the process of continual service improvement, service providers can use data and insights gathered from performance tracking to optimize and enhance their service delivery. This is a cyclical process, often relying on feedback mechanisms, such as customer surveys and performance reports, to ensure the service meets the evolving needs of the customer and maintains the agreed upon QoS.
In summary, service-level management is indeed the monitoring and management of the "quality of service" of an entity's "key performance indicators." This is carried out with the objective of maintaining the expected service quality, enhancing the service where possible, and ensuring alignment between service delivery and customer expectations, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction and trust in the service provider.