9 January 2018
5 minute of reading
In today's technology-driven market, the offering offerssenior IT service managementrepresents a requirement. Therefore, companies must monitor the key performance indicators of the company infrastructure and services, all of which are defined in:
- Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
- Operational Level Agreements (OLAs)
- Support Contracts (UCs)
However, you must do this in a way that maximizes IT productivity and keeps costs down. Let's take a look at these three and then dive deeper into the OLAs in particular.
SLA x OLA x UC
- Service Level Agreementsare external agreements between aservice providerand a customer Enable your organization to track performance and progress against customer commitments as defined in SLAs. The contract can consist of one or more performance targets. Service goals can define penalties for breaking an agreement or rewards for meeting and exceeding specific goals.
- Company level agreements(aka Operational Level Agreements) are internal agreements that a service provider puts in place for internal users to meet SLAs. OLAs can also contain one or more service goals or objectives. The OLAs would be used to track internal service commitments such as B. the following service objectives:
- Response time to incidents or problems assigned to IT groups
- Availability of servers supporting multiple applications
- underlying contractsThey are agreements used to track performance between a third party and a vendor.
The graphic below shows how the three obligations interact:
The main difference between OLA and SLA is that they represent different obligations:
- The SLA underscores a commitment to the customer/consumer.
- The OLA emphasizes engagement with the organization's internal groups.
Also, compared to an SLA, OLA typically has a smaller audience, with more detail on the technical aspects of the issue or service.
OLA and ITIL and ITSM
noITILmiITSM-Frameworksan OLA represents the relationship between an IT service provider and another part of the IT organization. Describes operational-level relationships, including those between:
- table service
- self-help groups)
- resolution of incidents
- network administration
All of these relationships are captured in a document, typically owned by the service management team.
Components of a WAVE
At the most basic level, the OLA acts as a document that serves as a record between the parties:
The overview does three important things:
- Reaffirms the purpose of the agreement between the parties
- Describe the purpose of the agreement.
- Mark the goals of the document.
This section lists all stakeholders involved and includes their names, titles, and roles.
Service and Fees
This part of the document contains:
- The agreed scope of work (SOW)
- Client requirements
- General Terms of Service
- Office hours and opening hours
Roles and responsibilities of the service provider
This identifies all the internal or external service providers involved and describes their responsibilities in detail.
Coverage times, response times and escalations
Uptime and scaling policies are discussed in detail here. This section covers a few main topics:
- service requests
- event management
- maintenance service/change management
- Service Exceptions
Reports, Review and Audit
This section relates to the term of the SLO and provides a schedule or schedule for audits, reviews and reports.
SLA mandates for OLA
Assembling an OLA is time consuming as it requires precision, attention to detail and knowledge of how an OLA maps to an SLA.
The SLA body requires a few things regarding an OLA:
- Rules for changes to the OLA
- How OLA change requests are submitted
- Rules for closing a WAVE
It is important to note that these mandates do not cover how SLAs themselves are structured. See our previous post onBest practices for creating SLAsfor more details on this aspect.
Best practices for writing an OLA
When writing or creating an OLA, consider the following best practices:
- Describe the purpose of the document in 1-2 paragraphs.
- List all parties (individuals and companies) involved in service management and SLA compliance.
- A contract must contain a compliance objective and at least one service objective. Optionally, a contract can contain one or more milestones, with each milestone having one or more actions associated with it.
- Add detailed information about current challenges and how OLA will address them.
- Describe the communication methods that the parties must adhere to during the life of the SLO.
- Describe the service operation in full, including operating and service times.
- Includes terms and conditions.
- Indicate the authority of each signer of the document.
- If necessary, add attachments with additional information.
OLAs and multisourcing
Structuring of OLA withina multi-source environmentit is inherently more complex than creating them within a single organization. However, you can avoid the common pitfalls of multi-source OLAs by implementing the following strategies:
- Create an internal OLA.This should be a top priority in a multi-source environment to ensure a culture of accountability is established within the internal IT organization.
- define expectations.Understand that every relationship is different and comes with its own set of challenges.
- Control the process.The OLA should chart the path to achieving the organization's service delivery requirements without the possibility of interference from service providers who may have their own goals.
- Discuss OLAs early and often with service providers.Don't wait until the RFP process to mention it.
- take possession.Make sure you are accountable to your customers at all times.
- If necessary.Include specific interactions in the OLA language.
- Evaluate performance routinely.Use OLA reports and metrics to shape best practices.
How do you know if your organization is ready to use OLA to maximize collaboration between internal and external teams? The short answer is that if you're working with clients, it's time to improve your OLA experience using the tips above.
There are also considerations to be made when deciding whether to use OLA for internal pools or multi-source providers:
- Do you need the cooperation of several operating groups when looking after customers?
- If you provide services to customers, does this require vendor involvement or administrative procedures?
- Do you have SLAs with customers to improve your business model and service delivery?
OLAs: Keys for business organizations
Operational Level Agreements are sometimes confused with Service Level Agreements because of their interconnectedness. However, it is important to understand the difference between the two as it ensures that all internal and external resources are on the same page when it comes to delivering services to the end user.
In general, OLAs serve as excellent tools for business organizations that have opted for themdigital Transformationvon:
- Ensure a consistent level of quality in a multi-vendor environment
- Provide transparency for all levels of the organization and for the customer.
- Set accountability standards for all stakeholders
- SLA vs OLA: What's the difference?
- What are XLAs? Experience level agreements explained
- An introduction to Service Level Indicator (SLI) metrics
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About the author
Stephen Watts (Birmingham, Alabama)Contributes to a variety of publications, includingDiary of the Seeker,ITSM.Tools,IT Chronicles,Zone D, miCompTIA.
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OLA vs SLA
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OLAs in ITIL & ITSM
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