About Service Level Agreements

Information

You can set, manage and monitor service expectations for your clients through the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) configuration option. SLAs help improve accountability and quality of service, especially when used in conjunction with any ITIL Service Level Management (SLM) best practices.


Terminology and Functionality

In a basic SLA scenario, an issue needs an initial response and complete resolution within a certain set of time frames. Exactly which time frames apply and when is automatically determined by a series of values, including its Severity and the Service Level defined within the Service Level Agreement for that particular Organization, Group or Asset. Throughout the life cycle of this issue, Compliance with the relevant Service Terms is also closely tracked through a number of reporting functions and—as needed—-progressively reinforced with automatic email reminders and alerts.

Prior to Issuetrak 11.0, this feature relied on two SQL Server Jobs to function properly: Service Level Agreements and Outgoing Email. These jobs were generally created during installation and set to run at default intervals of every 15 minutes and every 5 minutes, respectively. Premises customers may update those intervals at any time, or re-create either job using the steps provided in KB Article #1552: How do I set up the SQL Server Jobs? If you are in the cloud environment, this is managed for you by Issuetrak.

Severities
Severities organize (SLA and optionally non-SLA) issues into categories based on their impact on the user or overall user base. These categories can have generic (e.g. Severity 1, Severity 2, Severity 3 ) or fairly descriptive (e.g. Major, Moderate, Minor, Minimal ) names. Either way, any users permitted to select Severity can access detailed definitions through the Descriptions you create. For example:

severitiesanddescriptions_1.png

All users can view Severity-related data within issues and reports, but only users with Can select Severity when submitting or maintaining issues permissions can select or update an issue’s Severity.

While the Severity field is included on all issues, a value is required only for SLA-related issues. In addition, only SLA issues are automatically updated with a default Severity when users cannot or do not specifically select one. (This default is controlled within the Service Level Agreement applied.)

Service Levels and Terms
Service Levels establish quality of service categories (e.g. Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze ) available through an SLA. Each Level contains its own distinct Service Terms for each Severity, including a maximum Time to Response (i.e. first non-Private Note added by a user other than Submitter) and Time to Resolution (i.e. solution provided and issue closed), as well as a Coverage schedule (e.g. Monday-Friday/9am-5pm, 24 hours ) for when those times accrue. They may also have Exempt Days (e.g. holidays) excluded from their Coverage schedule. For example (Exempt Days not shown):

severitiesanddescriptions_2.png

Compliance with your Terms is calculated (and re-calculated if relevant Terms change) from the date and time an SLA issue is submitted and only during appropriate Coverage times. However, any Total Time Open or Escalations will still accrue according to Hours of Operation. This means your Hours of Operation are not affected by your Terms, nor do they have any effect on your Terms.

For example:

IF…a “Major” issue with a “Platinum” SLA is submitted on Saturday at 10pm

AND…Terms (from image above) = Response “1 hr,” Resolution “4 hrs,” Coverage “24 hrs”

AND…Hours of Operation = “Monday-Friday/9am-5pm”

THEN…compliance requires a Response by 11pm and a Resolution by Sunday at 2am

UNLESS…that particular Saturday or Sunday is an Exempt Day

OR…any Substatus Rules pause the system clock within that time frame

OR…this issue’s Severity is updated at any point (e.g. On Saturday at 12am—a Response has not been added and the issue is “Out of Compliance.” However, at 12:30am—its Severity is updated to “Moderate” and the issue is now “In Compliance” since the relevant Terms have changed. Response is no longer required until Sunday at 1am, “3 hrs” from time submitted.

BUT…“Total Time Open” and Escalation will not begin to accrue until Monday at 9am

UNLESS…this issue is already closed by then

OR…that particular Monday is a Date Closed

OR…a Substatus Rule is currently pausing the system clock

Service Level Agreements
Service Level Agreements define the quality of service specific Organizations, Groups and/or Assets are to receive. Each Agreement includes its own Default Severity, as well as a Start and End Date. It may also have an Email Distribution List that notifies additional users (or groups) of the following:

Notification

  • Response Reminder – 1st Response time halfway over
  • Response Alert – 1st Response time exceeded (Out of Compliance)
  • Resolution Reminder – Resolution time halfway over
  • Resolution Alert – Resolution time exceeded (Out of Compliance)

These Notifications are automatically sent to an issue’s current Assignee and Next Action.

From an SLA’s Start to End Date, the Service Level in effect is displayed in that Organization, Group or Asset’s record. All users can view the Terms by clicking on the Service Level name.

Regardless of its Start Date, an SLA is automatically applied only to new issues submitted after the date and time it was saved to your system. However, it can be manually applied to existing issues submitted on or after its Start Date by updating their Severity (or any other value). More importantly, if an issue simultaneously qualifies for multiple SLAs, only one can be applied. This will be the Asset’s SLA—or if there is no Asset SLA—the Group or Organization SLA with the strictest Terms.

Once applied to an issue, the Service Level in effect is also displayed in that issue record (with Terms popup included), along with two additional fields. 1st Response Time is automatically populated with the date and time an initial response is added. 1st Call Resolution appears only on the Close Issue screen. This checkbox is automatically selected when the Submit and Close button is used from the Submit Issue screen—or can be manually selected from the Close Issue screen.

All users can view 1st Response and 1st Call Resolution data within issues and reports. If necessary, only users with Can edit Issues and Can modify the First Response Time entered in Issues permissions can change an issue’s 1st Response Time values.

Setting Up SLAs

The initial setup required for implementing SLAs involves five tasks. These tasks must be completed in this order—but do not have to be completed all at one time:

  • Activating SLAs
  • Adding Severities
  • Adding Service Levels
  • Adding Service Terms
  • Adding Service Agreements

Only users with Sys Admin permissions can activate SLAs within your system. Only users with Sys Admin or Can access and maintain Administration functions permissions can add, edit or delete Severities, Service Levels, Terms and Service Agreements within your system.


Applies To:

Issuetrak 9.9+