Service Level Management for cloud computing

To continue on the subject of and , I started thinking about Level Management. What effect does Cloud computing (potentially) have on the process of Level Management? Do you still need SLM when you utilize services from the cloud? How important is SLM when you have external storage or processing services??

Assume you have Service Level Management implemented in your organisation – you probably have the following:

  • You have a Service Requirement Document (created by the customer) as input into your Service Pipeline
  • You have a Service Catalogue which covers ALL current services in life operational use (including some services in transition)
  • You have Service Level Agreements for each Service in the Service Catalogue
  • You have a Service Level Manager who manages and organises the Service Level management Process
  • You have a Service Catalogue Manager who is accountable for the creation and maintenance of the Service Catalogue (can be the same person who does the SLM manager role…)
  • you have a system to monitor and measure the achievements of the IT organisation in relation to the guarantees that were given in the SLAs
  • you have a regular review meeting with the clients to update them on the Service Level achievements and to listen to what is happening at the side (input into demand management and Continual Service Improvement processes)
(Yes, I know there is a lot more to Service Level Management, but these are the main components. )
So the question is: will this change when you utilize Cloud Computing as part of your IT Service Offerings? And to be honest, I don’t think so…
The IT Group really should be managed as a business within a business, and as such needs to come up with solutions that are right for the customer (they add value – at least enough value that the customers want to exchange this service for money). Deep down inside the customer probably doesn’t care –  or isn’t concerned with –  the way you get to the solution as long as it is within the corporate core values and business boundaries.
When this is the paradigm you work in, I really don’t think Service Level Management changes that much when cloud computing services are used.
What changes are probably the following:
  1. Service Catalogue (especially the technical catalogue)
  2. The Security Chapter in the Service Level Agreement (as security issues become a lot more visible as part of the delivery is outside of the organisation)
I know I am focusing on the IT to business alignment and I do this on purpose to stay out of the technical discussion. At a technical level there will be many changes (e.g. how to do proper performance measurement -capacity management – as input into Service Level Reporting) but that is an internal thing and shouldn’t impact the business at all!
When you think of it…. Service Level Management is probably MORE important in a scenario where cloud computing is utilized! there are so many new maturity levels and service improvement opportunities with cloud computing!
Back to my thinking corner….  how can help you to leverage of this knowledge?!