Service Level Management: A Paradigm Shift

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.

When talking with IT professionals about Service Level Management (SLM), many focus the discussion on the use of Service Level Agreements (SLA), Operational Level Agreements (OLA), Service Catalogs, Help Desks and Incident Management. Few reflect on the more dynamic issues in play when planning for and implementing a SLM model within an organization. While most know of ITIL, few can elaborate on its components or the implications of its deployment or other frameworks. Most of all, especially in small- to mid-sized IT organizations, the notion that SLM changes IT from a provider of technology and software to a deliverer of value that is aligned with the needs of the organization never seems to cross their minds.

In their defense, most of the information available on SLM focuses more on the technical and logistics side of implementing SLAs, OLAs, Service Catalogs, etc. and on the relationship management side of the equation. While the technical and logistics aspects of SLM are very important, there seems to be an abhorrent vacuum around the intrapersonal side of making SLMs truly flourish. As a former CIO, I can promise you this: You can flawlessly implement the technical and logistics side of SLM and back it with service level improvement statistics that extol ITs wonderfulness--but if you fail to connect with management and users (and fail to create relationships that …

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