In March 2007, EMA conducted a web survey of vendors and users about their experiences and perspectives regarding service level agreements (SLAs) and service level management (SLM) initiatives, which include the adoption of IT Service Management (ITSM), Business Service Management (BSM), and IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices. We compare the 2007 results to previous EMA surveys, conducted in 2003, 2004, and 2005 and provide added insight in new areas that were probed. SLM continues to be important, with 90% of end users perceiving it as critical or important to their executives. The 2007 web-based survey had the largest number of respondents thus far, with 84 participants, compared with 25, 48, and 26 participants in 2003, 2004, and 2005, respectively. SLM may be tied to business survival as one user observes, “SLM is about preventing lost business opportunities caused by IT failure".
As with our previous surveys, IT companies had the greatest representation, at 34%. Financial/accounting has the most representation among users, with the second largest group overall (15%), perhaps reflecting that industry’s propensity for early adoption of high tech initiatives.
This year, 82% of respondents report they’ve implemented SLAs, either internally or externally, or both—reinforcing the high penetration we saw in our 2005 study, where 72% reported SLA adoption. It appears that companies are making inroads with the adoption and documentation of best practices—85% report using an industry-recognized methodology to deliver and support IT services. As a best practice initiative, ITIL continues to far exceed any other methodology, with 79% of the respondents citing adoption. Nineteen percent (19%) report that IT processes are almost completely documented, up from 9% in 2005, and another 33% indicate processes are “mostly” documented. Embracing best practices is a key factor in achieving SLM success, so this upward trend is encouraging. However, there is still a large percentage (38%) that indicates their defined processes are only “somewhat” documented, and for 8%, “not much”. We expect these percentages to continue to trend downward as companies realize the positive correlation between enforcing standards and achieving better results.
And according to our survey, companies continue to see positive results of their SLM initiatives, with 69% reporting increased operational efficiency (compared with 63% in 2005) and 67% noting increased customer satisfaction (61% in 2005). These results are similar to those seen in previous surveys. In 2007, we observe a trend towards using chargeback to recover IT services costs, with 49% deploying some method of chargeback. A benefit of chargeback is clearly better accountability and control of service-related costs. In 2007, fewer people (37%) report reduced downtime and better business alignment as a result of SLM initiatives, compared with 48% in 2005; however, the difference may be cumulative, and a measure of previous achievements in operational efficiencies rather than current investment in SLM. SHOW LESS READ MORE >
Extent of SLA Penetration (Acceptance)
Benefits for SLM
Documentation and Standardization of IT Processes
Choosing to Build or Buy Best Practices
Perceptions, Challenges and Priorities for Service Management
User Perceptions of SLM and BSM
Comparing Challenges and Priorities
Fresh Perspectives for 2007
Changing Requirements for SLM
Outsourcing is on the Rise—Are Users Governing those Services?
The CMDB—Enhancement or Distraction for SLM?
Service Costs and Chargeback