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Aligning IT with business objectives and showing the value of IT to the business is often seen as the Holy Grail by many CIOs. Among the potential ways of demonstrating IT value, reporting and constantly improving the quality of IT services is an effective first step. But service-level management (SLM) is often the most misunderstood aspect of infrastructure management: IT operations often see SLM as another name for infrastructure performance management. This confusion comes from the difficulty of defining both IT services and the metrics used to measure them. Many service-level agreements (SLAs) are crafted from whatever IT can measure rather than from what is really meaningful to the service user. SLM for IT services should take the role that quality management plays in other industries. SLM provides the verification that what is delivered conforms to user expectations and identifies the areas to be improved for a better service. SLM should be more than a reporting tool; it must also be used to identify and remedy process problems in service delivery.
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