How Today’s Modern Businesses are rewriting Service Level Management Rulebook with Aternity

Lionel Johnstone


Recently, while in a meeting with an executive responsible for manufacturing at a global FMCG company, I had a ‘eureka’ moment. It actually made me realize where we have all been going wrong these past few years with Service Level Management. Over the last 15 years of working in and on the periphery of IT Service Management, I have seen Service Level Management evolve from simple Service Level Agreements (SLAs) focused on uptime and availability of the infrastructure that underpins IT, to being more focused on the availability of the business service.

In my tenure of working with one or two well-known names in the industry, I have seen huge amounts of money, time, and effort being invested by IT departments on tools, processes, and reporting to help get to the point where a business service level agreement can be entered into. However, in speaking to this executive, I realized that no one from IT had actually put themselves in his shoes and really understood what he actually wants or needs from IT in terms of service.

The limitations of Service Level Agreement KPIs

IT rightly cares about the performance of the infrastructure. Indeed, it is that infrastructure that powers everything that the business relies upon for success. Therefore, it follows that it is very important to understand how that is performing and plan for outages and component failures. But focusing on these aspects alone means that the resulting service levels are very technology focused.

Does the executive whose job is on the line care that the MRP system is available 99.99% of the time 24/7? A little bit, yes. But what they really care about is whether that system is hampering their ability to do their job. For example, when they log- into the system to run a scheduling report, the desire is that log-in is fast and that the report is produced without delay.

Does the VP of Call Center Operations in a telecommunications company think about or obsess on whether the CRM system has an availability and uptime guarantee? No. What they really care about is that their Call Center Agents can hit their Average Call Handling Time targets and have no delay in working through the account details for their customers.

You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure…

Fundamentally, this disconnect between what IT measures and the business desires has arisen because IT has not asked the right questions. Or maybe it is because most IT professionals do not realize what is possible and are trying to make tools and techniques fit the expectations of the modern workforce end user.

And You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure…

If I turn to my own company’s customer base, I realize that some companies have gotten it right. In a recent meeting with the CIO of a global logistics company based in Northern Europe, he told me that he had completely re-written his Service Levels by focusing on what the end user needs. So, as well as measuring up-time and availability of services, he was tracking the performance of the business activities undertaken by each user in each business unit. So, as an example, his Operations team could see if a user in their office in Beijing was taking longer than normal to produce a shipping manifest. He told me that this had changed his relationship with his business, and that by being able to ‘see’ what the business sees, he had been able to rewrite his commitments and improve his relationship with the business. This resulted in an increase in customer satisfaction and their Net Promoter Score.

Full disclosure here…I work for a company that provides the tools that can deliver the level of visibility that can help IT departments rewrite the rule book of Service or Business Level Management.

So clearly, I have a vested interest. But if anything I’ve written sparks thoughts, I’d be only too happy to discuss it further.


When you’re charged with making sure applications support the business, you can’t rely only on metrics based on infrastructure availability or network latency. If the server is up, and network latency is sub-second, but the application is slow to render on the end user’s device, then that user is being hampered in their ability to do their job. Aternity End User Experience Monitoring is used by a variety of customers for application performance SLAs for the entire range of apps, whether or not they are run in-house. Whether you’re an application owner or an IT Operations technician, your ability to improve app performance and business processes depends on having visibility into the end user’s experience of ALL of the applications on which they depend.

Establish SLAs Based On Business Processes | Short Product Demo

Business Activity Analytics empowers you to monitor the performance of users’ interactions with apps in the context of a business workflow. Watch the short product demo video below to learn more.





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