Customer-Oriented Specification and Evaluation of IT Service Level Agreements

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Abstract

Service Level Agreements (SLA) are used to determine required and actual performance of IT departments. According to current research and practice, SLA definitions are based on technical performance criteria that may be captured easily such as ‘system availability’; the specific needs of the IT system are not considered explicitly. Hence, high system performance does not lead to high customer satisfaction in practice. A methodology based on Quality Function Deployment (QFD) for the customer-oriented specification of SLAs for IT Services is presented and validated in a case study. At first, elementary service requirements of the customers must be separated from service functions and technical performance criteria. Then performance requirements are correlated with performance criteria and evaluated with regard to effectiveness. A case study employing the method is presented and finally, strategic options for the improvement and positioning of IT Services in an organisation are discussed.