In an earlier blog post, I introduced the eight KPIs that are critical to every IT help desk. These KPIs help meet basic IT help desk objectives such as business continuity, organizational productivity, and delivery of services on time and within budget. The previous blog post discussed about one of the most important KPIs, first call resolution rate. This post discusses the sixth KPI – SLA compliance rate.

Definition: Percentage of incidents resolved within the agreed SLA  time.

Goal: Maintain maximum SLA compliance rate.

 Tracking SLA compliance levels helps IT help desks:

  • Ascertain that the service levels are real and obtainable.

  • Check the performance of the IT help desk against the service levels agreed  with the end user.

  • Identify areas of improvement, strengths, and weakness of the IT help desk.

Sometimes IT help desk technicians close tickets without proper resolutions, just to avoid SLA violations. When this happens, though the SLA compliance rates remains high and the end-user satisfaction levels are bound to decrease, as shown in the following graph.

sla1

SLA compliance levels may drop for other reasons, so it is important to keep the following possibilities in mind:

  • Your team may not understand the  business requirements, which can lead to service level agreements that don’t fulfill the business needs, or improper categorization and prioritization of tickets leading to SLA violations.

  • There is often a lack of proper communication on the risks of outages affecting mission-critical services and their business impacts.

During such scenarios, IT help desk teams must understand the requirements of the business, and redefine their SLAs as appropriate.

Another alarming trend to keep an eye out for is a constantly degrading SLA compliance rate.

sla2

This falling trend could be due to any of the following:

  • Unrealistic service level agreements.

  • Lack of awareness of  the SLAs and the risks of SLA violations.

  • Absence of proper monitoring and proactive escalations.

  • Lack of technician expertise.

  • Unassigned tickets and delayed and faulty ticket assignments.

 The SLA compliance rate can be kept at higher levels by:

  • Setting realistic SLAs based on the business requirements and IT capabilities.

  • Communicating the SLAs and risks of SLA violations to the business and

  • technicians.

  • Setting necessary escalation rules.

  • Automating the process of routing and assigning tickets.

  • Designing training programs for your technicians.

 Case study: When meeting SLAs doesn’t help

 SLAs and SLA compliance are critical to ensuring business continuity. This case from a cement manufacturing company, however, stresses that SLAs must also be set carefully. The IT help desk was unavailable for immediate response to an issue on a truck dispatch, but did resolve it within the SLA. Unfortunately, the cement manufactured had to be dispatched to the client location within one hour to avoid hardening. The IT help desk was unaware of this, and SLAs were set without considering these factors. As a result, though the ticket was resolved within the SLA, the cement had already hardened, which affected  the business. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the comments section below. In the next blog, we will discuss about the next KPI, cost per ticket. In the meanwhile, if you are looking for an end to end IT service management solution, we encourage you to check out ServiceDesk Plus, the IT help desk software trusted by over 100,000 help desks worldwide.

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