XLAS vs SLAs

For years, Service Managers have agonised over the definition and development of Service Level Agreements, Operational Level Agreements and Key Performance Indicators as ways of measuring the quality of the IT service delivered to end users. Outsourcing put more on measurement as a part of supplier performance management.

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Service Review Boards focussed on SLA attainment and whether to apply Service Credits with little reference back to the mood of the business users. I have myself sat in many such supplier forums where we look at a sea of green reporting and kid our selves that service is great when the business think IT is underperforming and holding them back.

Experience Level Agreements are the next evolution of how we measure IT performance, based on how the user feels and the customer outcomes delivered. SLAs tend to be focussed on measuring the output of IT and how processes are performing. XLAs in comparison are focussed on measuring the outcome of the process in terms of business outcomes such as  productivity and user satisfaction. It plays well into the ITIL V4 concept of co-creation of value   and concentrating on valuable outcomes and customer experience.

Isn’t XLA just CSAT?

We already measure Customer Satisfaction through and annual survey or with a questionnaire closing tickets, so we are covered right? Well no, not really. Incident questionnaires measure the transaction that has just occurred between the Service Desk and the User and will be influenced a lot by how quickly the ticket was fixed. Annual questionnaires tend to be too generic in nature and whilst they might capture the mood, they rarely provide actionable intelligence for improvement planning.

Instead you will need to break down your service offering and develop a set of more targeted measurement across  all aspects of IT, this means topics like EUC devices, bespoke or out of the box  applications, remote connectivity, office infrastructure, support services and so on.

How Can I Measure Happiness?

You will need to work with the business to understand how to measure happiness and productivity. Be sure not to just capture the negative. XLAs should be used to Motivate the Service Desk, not just another stick with which to beat hardworking first and second liners.

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