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ITIL Service Level Management

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Note: This article applies to Fuji and earlier releases. For more current information, see ITIL at

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In any IT process, it is imperative to guarantee a certain level of service to customers. In order to do so, the IT desk must also receive guarantees of certain levels of service from both internal and external providers. These guarantees are Service Level Agreements, Underpinning Contracts, and Operational Level Agreements.

The ServiceNow platform allows these guarantees to be codified within the system, and dynamically tailored to specific contexts.

Service Level Management Process

Defining Service Guarantees

Out-of-box, the platform only supports SLAs. However, by installing the Service Level Agreements (SLA) Plugin, it is possible to also define Underpinning Contracts and OLAs as well.

The SLA engine, out-of-box, is a timer defined by:

  • Start conditions - when the timer should start counting.
  • Stop conditions - when the timer stops counting.
  • Pause conditions - when the timer should pause. So long as this condition is true, the timer will pause, but as soon as it becomes false the timer will resume counting.
  • Duration - how long the SLA should continue counting before it is marked Breached.
  • Escalation - At what intervals should the escalation of the task be promoted, from Moderate to High to Overdue.

SLAs have color coding on their duration and escalation fields, so that wherever they are displayed, it is easy to see what progress has or has not been made. Breached SLAs and Overdue escalations display red, signaling the need for their attention.

With the SLA Plugin, SLAs no longer use escalations, but rather a more refined workflow system. To learn how to define SLAs with the plugin, see Defining an SLA with Plugin.

There is also a Service Level Contracts plugin available, which allows multiple SLAs to be bundled in a Service Level Contract. To find out more, see Defining a Service Contract.

Monitoring Service Guarantees

The SLA engine, with or without the plugin, monitors its own progress using the timers. To be informed of the progress of a guarantees, it is possible to configure email notifications or other event processes. These automatically generate the metrics necessary to monitor achievement of the guarantees.

Measuring Customer Satisfaction

In addition to the quantified measure that SLAs provide, it is also possible to use the survey application to collect information from customers as to their satisfaction with their service experience. Once a survey is created, it can be accessed by users in their self-service application. It is possible to generate customer satisfaction surveys randomly after closing tickets or sent in a scheduled email.

Continual Service Improvements to Incident Management

The service level management process can be improved by the service desk, using information gathered within the platform. Much of the data is already stored within the agreement record. To find out how to report on Service Levels, see Reporting on SLAs.

More information can be gathered by enabling auditing, which allows for an accurate review of the history of the problem. With the Metric Definition Plugin, it is possible to define the Key Performance Indicators to monitor within the system. With these metrics, and the information within the database, it is possible to generate reports, which can then be added to homepages or automatically generated and distributed. With the Database Views Plugin it is possible to join tables for reporting purposes.

Using this information, it is possible to refine the SLAs, Underpinning Contracts, and OLAs to better suit the service level team's unique environment.