SLA in ServiceNow – a curse or blessing?

SLA in ServiceNow, and in general, introduces contractual responsibility for providing your service within a specified time – it’s definitely a binding element of the contract with the customer. From the Support Team’s perspective, the SLA (Service Level Agreement) configuration mainly applies to the Incident Management or Service Request Fulfillment. It allows the customer to measure response time and resolution time.

ServiceNow SLA definitions

SLA values stored in the contract can be simply transferred to ServiceNow, where they’re defined in an intuitive way. The configuration of relevant records enables easy monitoring of SLA status from the record level. SLA definitions in ServiceNow depend on the terms of the contract signed with the customer. The negotiations of this part are crucial to finding the values satisfying for both parties to the contract.

Every definition is built mainly per ticket priority or type. ServiceNow offers great SLA configuration options that include i.e.:

  • Naming,
  • Building comprehensive start, stop, pause, reset conditions and workflow,
  • Determining duration values in the chosen schedule.

SLA definitions in the system are fully reflected and adapted to the needs of customers, both those less and more demanding.

The response time may start from the ticket’s creation and stop at the start of the initial analysis. This means status change and new comment addition. The resolution time may start from the ticket’s creation (and include response time) or from the moment when the response time stops. Resolution time stops when the ticket is closed.

SLA in ServiceNow projects - condition start and stop

SLA for Change Management

Due to the specifics of the Change Management process, there are difficulties in measuring and keeping SLA times for normal changes. It makes more sense for the standard changes that have their own clear definitions and their implementation time is similar. The complexity of normal changes can be quite different. It can affect their implementation and testing time. Every normal change needs a separate analysis and estimate.

SLA reporting

To measure SLA effectively, it’s also worth implementing appropriate reports for team leaders on the supplier side, supporters, and the customer. Each of the report observers may have different needs but the goal is always the same – the provision of a high-quality solution, in a timely manner. The SLA reports need to be based on the task_sla table that stores all SLA records generated for individual tickets.

In the beginning, it’s worth considering which reports will allow every observer to identify inconsistencies and problems. They should be intuitive and user friendly. Regular tracking of SLA:

  • Helps to avoid breaches,
  • Prevents payment of contractual penalties,
  • Nurtures customer satisfaction.

SLA advantages by role

Depending on your role, the use of SLA brings a number of advantages.

For customer:

  1. Control of response time that helps update the tickets and informing end-users about the work progress on a regular basis,
  2. Control of resolution time that helps provide critical solutions quickly enough,
  3. Assurance of work continuity within important areas,
  4. Awareness of the process and working on tickets in a specific order, in accordance with the priority.

For team leader on the supplier side:

  1. Identification of the problematic areas in teamwork (e.g. overloaded people, the need for internal knowledge transfers, communication issues) and providing improvements,
  2. Identification of the problematic areas in the used tools (e.g. illegible reports) and providing improvements,
  3. Building a transparent relationship with the customer,
  4. Quick response to problems in providing solutions for the tickets or updating them.

For supporters:

  1. Work prioritization for better time management,
  2. An easy indication of tickets that require quick response and are critical for the customer.

Work on SLA is more and more often a standard in our ServiceNow support services delivery. If you decide on this cooperation model, we always properly cater for it in the contract to the benefit of both your organization and SPOC.