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Implementing and negotiating agreements

Creating an agreement takes careful planning, implementing effective agreements and service targets that guarantee a specific level of service for every department, every person, every IT asset, and every circumstance can be an enormous task. Establishing such a high-level of customer support requires preparation.

Agreements are planned by a service level manager and customer. The first thing you need to do while creating agreements is negotiation. The groups involved in the negotiations prepare information to clearly communicate their needs and responsibilities. Negotiations determine business rules and actions, such as prioritization, response and fixed times, performance targets, escalations, and notifications. Some of the considerations that might affect negotiations, while planning an agreement are as follows:

  • Who or what is being supported?
  • When is the service in effect?
  • What will the service include?
  • How are request urgencies defined?
  • Is a 24-hour clock being used or are business hours defined? If business hours are used, what about holiday hours and business entities?
  • Are all factors making up the agreement attainable? For example, what is the location of the customer in relation to the support technician? Are they located in the same building? If not, is travel time included? Are traffic and seasonal weather conditions addressed? Are there seasonal workload adjustments that need to be considered?
  • Can you measure the expected level of service? Does the measure of service provide an accurate gauge of effectiveness? Are the SLAs renegotiable based on experience defined by metrics?

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