• United States

Survey measures SLM evolution

May 17, 20043 mins
Data Center

* EMA’s survey tracks user perceptions and usage of SLM

Enterprise Management Associates makes it our business to keep tabs on the progression and nuances of delivering IT services according to the needs of business. Some time ago, we surveyed businesses to understand their perceptions and usage of service-level management practices and tools. Today, I’d like to share some of those results with you.

One key question we asked was whether SLM was more important in the context of the difficult economic conditions of last year. A majority of the respondents felt that yes, SLM was more important because of the volatile economy. This makes sense because SLM, while it is an investment in time and resources, helps on both sides of the financial equation by reducing costs and improving customer satisfaction that ultimately will improve overall revenue.

It is interesting to follow changes in SLM importance by industry segment. SLM is still in its infancy, and to date we have not seen a great deal of change in the industries most interested in it. Our research showed that service providers, finance, healthcare and to a lesser degree manufacturing were the most dominant. Outside of this research, we have also seen increasing interest by government entities seeking to improve quality.

SLM has been a difficult initiative to get rolling in many organizations. Impediments are often rooted in the culture of an organization. For one thing, SLM demands cooperation across many different departments. Communication and common goals are the only real way to create and manage meaningful service commitments. This represents a different working model for many enterprises.

The best way to work through some of these issues is to identify a champion or evangelist who would promote and educate the firm and build cross-functional bridges. This individual, we found, is most often a member of the IT management staff such as the CIO, IT director, or IT manager. However, respondents demonstrated that it is possible to have the CEO or CFO take a lead role.

Besides some of the organizational issues, we also wanted to know what was happening with respect to SLM tools and measurement criteria. We asked some general questions in these areas, asking which type of product is being used to manage service-level agreements (SLA). The response from more than half of the participants was that point products specifically designed for SLM were used to manage SLAs.

Metrics were another important area of consideration in our study. For most firms, the two most important metrics are user response time and application availability. It is no surprise that SLM vendors are busy implementing these capabilities, if they do not already exist in their products.

As part of our effort to continue to track the SLM market, we are seeking your input on these and other questions. This research will take another assessment of critical aspects of SLM to understand its continuing evolution. It is unique in that it will enable us to quantify the changes in market acceptance over time; next year at this time we’ll again assess SLM’s advancement. Has anything changed for you over the past year? Please take a few moments to respond to this year’s SLM Acceptance survey by going to