Service Level Management: Back to Basics

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

Service Level Management (SLM) is still working its way into small to mid-sized IT organizations. In conversations with the IT leadership of these companies, I have found their reasons for not embracing the concept--let alone the best practices of SLM--vary widely. Still, there are two common themes that seem most prevalent.  The first: SLM is seen as too involved, too complex and too expensive to implement.  The second: IT leadership is not educated in the body of knowledge that comprises SLM best practices.

To be sure, implementing SLM is no trivial undertaking, and done poorly, it can cause more damage to the relationship between IT and the organization than it is worth.  But it doesn’t need to be that way.  Clearly, smaller IT organizations aren’t going to implement an SLM scheme like that of the Fortune 1000.  However, doing nothing comes with plenty of its own risks to the CIO and the organization at large.

The process begins with understanding the basic components and concept of SLM and then developing a prudent roadmap for implementing those elements that are appropriate for the organization.

SLM covers virtually every aspect of what Information Technology (IT) organizations do.  The components that make up the SLM suite can be thought of in various ways.  ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) …

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