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The evolution of IT services within an organization is influenced by business requirements. It is important to understand how business needs are translated into service level agreements. Online ITIL training explains that business requirements are generated based upon the organization’s vision and objectives. These business requirements are the foundation of the IT strategy for the organization. ITIL training teaches that the ITIL service lifecycle is made up of five stages: Service Strategy and Service Design, ITIL Service Transition and ITIL Service Operation. These stages allow the organization to evolve from its business requirements to concrete service level agreements.
What is a service-level agreement?
This document outlines the exact responsibilities of the IT service provider to its customer when it comes to delivering a service. As a minimum requirement for the quality of service, performance metrics are defined. These performance metrics are based upon business requirements. Sometimes, it is necessary to compromise between business requirements and the IT service provider’s ability to meet the performance metrics.
Service level agreement throughout the ITIL service cycle
The ITIL service strategy is the first step in drafting a service level agreement. Based on the organization’s service strategy, new services and changes to existing services are created during the Service Design stage. This is the ITIL service cycle. The ITIL Service Design stage already identifies performance metrics that will eventually be part of the service agreement. These services are then implemented, tested, and deployed during the Service Transition stage. All business requirements are documented, and all parties agree on them from the Service Strategy stage to Service Transition. These business requirements will form the basis for the eventual service level agreement.
Changes in business requirements have an impact on service level agreements
The development of services throughout the service lifecycle can lead to new or changing business requirements. During the Service Strategy, Service Design, and Service Transition stages, the business requirements are documented and managed to meet the business’s service level requirements. These stages should be monitored for any changes to the business requirements. This will impact the service level agreement between IT service provider and business. Any changes in business requirements must be reflected in the agreement. This will ensure that service providers are only responsible for services that are relevant at that moment in time. Inadequate service level agreements can lead to non-compliance with business requirements, which can ultimately lead to loss of sales and/or value for the business.
Pilot service level agreements
After successful testing, implementation, and deployment, the Service Operation stage begins. The Service Operation stage is when the service’s end user can use it in a live environment. To ensure the delivery of the required service quality, the IT service provider must agree to service levels. To document the service levels that must be met, a service level agreement is required. A pilot service level agreement is required to verify that the service levels are feasible in a live environment. Pilot service level agreements should be conducted with a user group that is small enough to not cause widespread damage in the event of a problem, but large enough to allow for enobling.