The Dance Between Service Levels & Service Level Targets

ITIL training identifies service level targets for the business and the service levels that can be offered by the IT Service Provider. The service level targets for the business and the service levels that can be provided by the IT department need to be compared in order to reach a consensus about what can be achieved. The service level agreements (SLA) are signed by the IT Service provider and the business. This is part of the ITIL Service Design Phase of the ITIL Lifecycle.

The Role of the Four P’s of ITIL Service Design: Service Levels
ITIL foundation training also defines ITIL 4P Service Design. These are:
People
Processes
Products and Technology
Partners and Suppliers

When negotiating service level targets and service levels, the 4 Ps of service design are crucial. All the resources required to design a service are defined in the 4Ps of an IT service provider company. These 4 Ps are the foundation of IT services.
These IT service providers will determine the limits of what the organization can deliver in terms service levels. The service levels will be determined by the capabilities and constraints of suppliers and partners, as well as the maturity and number of administrators.
If the business needs exceed the service level limits, negotiations must be held to either acquire more resources or reduce them.
What are the limitations in service levels?
Let’s say that a telecom operator provides financial news to its subscribers. This service will only be available if there is one server that can handle the request of more than 100 thousand users.
Similar to the above, if you use a service from a partner to provide this service, and your partner can only serve up to fifty million users maximum, regardless how many servers you will configure, you won’t be able serve more than fifty thousands users because of the limitation on the partner’s side.
These P’s of Service Design are what determine the boundaries of service levels. It is important to note that service levels are measured and reported in a service provider’s IT department. On the other hand, the business has the requirements for the services to be provided.
One hundred thousand users should have access to the service and at least 98% should be achieved. These are just two examples of business requirements for a service. There may be many more. These are service level targets that the IT Service Provider must meet.
Balance between Service Levels and Service Level Goals
The business describes its service level goals for a service, and the IT Service Provider evaluates these requirements against the service standards it can deliver. An SLA is signed between the business owner and the IT service provider if the IT provider can meet these requirements using its current resources.
If the IT service provider is unable to meet the service level targets, the business should reduce its service level expectations. Alternatively, the IT service provider should increase its capabilities and resources in order to meet the service level targets. This will result in additional costs for the IT service provider as well as the organization. The business and the IT service provider negotiate and agree on a service level goal that can be achieved with the current or future resources.