How to Make SLA Metrics Reporting Easy
Two clear components of successful relationships are clear expectations and great communication. If we really think about it, this is true of every relationship we hope to foster in our lives and it’s no different in business. In fact, those two principles are the reason for the existence of SLAs and SLA reporting. We can, quite easily, reduce documents like SLAs to contractual documents, but they’re really more than that. The goal of a solidly written SLA and regular timely SLA reports is to help foster and build a relationship between provider and client. For that reason, it’s important to understand how to best use them to further that relationship building goal.
- What does SLA stand for?
- How is an SLA measured?
- What are the 3 types of SLA?
- What is an SLA report?
- How to choose SLA metrics to report on
- Make SLA metrics reporting easy with dashboards
What does SLA stand for?
SLA stands for service level agreement. The SLA outlines the type and level of services one business technology provider will deliver for another business. Not only does it lay out the services as well as the expectations, but it also covers the remediations and consequences should service levels not be achieved.
How is an SLA measured?
SLAs are typically measured via specific and detailed metrics determined by the type of services being delivered. In other words, in a data center SLA one might expect to see uptime reliability as a reportable SLA metric. If you’re an MSP, one metric you might include is Resolved Tickets. Again, the SLA metrics included in an SLA will depend on the type of service being provided.
What are the 3 types of SLA?
As noted above, the SLA you provide will depend largely on the client. That said, there are, traditionally, 3 different types of SLA.
A customer-based SLA is tailored to a specific client. Typically, this would be used when the client is only using very specific services that may differ from other clients and enables the vendor to keep things simple by utilizing just one SLA. In contrast, a service-based SLA groups customers together based on the one service they contact for. In this case, all customers are using the same service with no deviations.
Finally, a multi-level SLA allows a larger organization to define different levels of services, such as across different departments, even if services provided are similar. For example, both a finance and human resource department may need the same umbrella service, but when drilling down into the details, they may need a different level of service based on their organizational and departmental needs. The multi-level SLA allows a vendor to tailor an SLA to meet varying needs within one complex organization.
What is an SLA report?
Essentially, the SLA report allows a provider to communicate with the client and maintain transparency on the deliverables outlined in the SLA. For example, if the SLA requires that trouble tickets are resolved within 72 hours, the SLA report would include data on whether that metric was met and, if not, how that issue is being addressed. Further, if the SLA includes device management, the report would include data and information on each device, its status, and where the management falls in relation to the metrics outlined in the SLA.
While reporting SLAs does have some overlap with reporting performance metrics, there is a key difference between the two types of reporting: key performance indicators (KPIs) focus on business priorities for the service provider, while SLA metrics prioritize the client’s needs. Additionally, SLAs can be notoriously difficult to accurately track—especially when some SLA metrics are dependent on customer responses.
How to choose SLA metrics to report
Odds are that, as a service provider, you already have a list of SLA metrics to report. However, it's important to ask how relevant those metrics are to your customers. Why are you tracking some metrics and not others? When was the last time you reviewed your service level agreements?
Before you start reporting SLAs, it’s important to start addressing these questions. After all, if you’re tracking irrelevant metrics, what good does that do you? Picking SLAs based on adherence to your service contract is a good start because it helps you find metrics that make sense to your clients. However, there is more to tracking SLA metrics than that.
When setting new service level agreement metrics to track and report, it can help to look at your current SLAs and how well they:
- Align with your business’ services;
- Match with the details of your service contract;
- Support your customer’s needs/wants;
- Can be measured; and
- Can be controlled by you or your team.
Taking the time to converse with your customers about what they want, or at least surveying them about their perception of your performance, can further help you refine your list of SLAs to report. Basing SLA metrics on the details of the service contract can help to ensure that you’re satisfying each client’s specific goals.
For example, your SLA with one client may specify that you'll respond to support tickets within a day of receiving them. In that case, time to response would be a great SLA metric for your business to track.
When creating SLA metrics, it’s also important to consider how factors outside of your control can influence them. For example, time to resolution is a commonly-tracked metric. However, when resolutions are dependent on customer response times, your results can easily become skewed. So, it may be necessary to either modify the metrics you choose for your SLA reports, or to find ways to minimize the impact of outside factors on the SLAs you report—such as “pausing the clock” on time-to-resolution tracking whenever your team has to wait on customer input or tracking total labor time spent on tasks instead.
Having well-chosen SLA metrics helps make reporting tasks somewhat easier and more valuable to your customers.
How to make SLA metrics reporting easy
After finalizing the list of service level agreement metrics you want to track and share with your clients, how can you make reporting SLAs as easy as possible?
One method is to use an automated reporting system that can pull the data you want to share from a preset source at the time the report is sent. Take, for example, BrightGauge’s own automated client reporting system. In the BrightGauge client reporting feature, you can select SLAs to share with your clients along with other KPI data.
In the reporting feature, simply click on the drag-and-drop interface to choose which KPIs and SLA metrics you want to include, rearrange their order to choose which ones to highlight, and drag-click the box edges to resize them however you want. Once created, these data boxes will automatically populate with the latest information from whichever datasource they’re using.
Alternatively, all available data sources in BrightGauge come with default report templates to help you get going right away. Choose a pre-built template, feel free to customize it, and you’re ready to send it off.
From there, you can use the client mappings feature to select who you want to receive each report and then select a frequency for how often you want those clients to get a report (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.). Once set up, these reports will be automatically generated and sent for each of the clients in your client map whenever you set them to send; all without you having to lift a finger ever again (unless you want to alter the report or change the recipient list).
For some BrightGauge users, this automated reporting feature can save between eight and ten hours a week on client reporting. The ability to report SLAs metrics consistently helps to build transparency between your organization and its clients—which helps to earn client trust in the long run.
SLAs formalize the relationship between provider and client and enable alignment on expectations in a way that , when SLA metrics are met, helps build trust and long lasting business partnerships. If you’re ready to take your SLA metrics reporting to the next level? Reach out to our team at any time to get started!