SLA Review for Service Providers

Service providers are keenly aware of the need to maintain customer satisfaction. One aspect of a successful hosting business is to ensure a high level of availability: the importance of consistently performing at or above the levels defined in the hoster's Service Level Agreements (SLAs) cannot be understated.

If adhering to SLAs is a business-critical issue, how can service providers confirm that the SLA's criteria are appropriate, or whether additional resources are required in order to support new services and/or service levels? Service level managers need to have a detailed process in place to review their SLAs, determine why any service level breaches occurred, and then provide recommendations to reduce the possibility of failing to maintain SLAs in the future.

This section discusses the SLA Review, which is a set of guidelines and templates that your service level managers can use to review performance against SLA objectives and, more importantly, to gather perceptions and opinions from business representatives on any perceived changes in service during the period of the SLA implementation phase. By following the recommendations in the SLA Review, service level managers can design an SLA review process that engages their business representatives to effectively identify and resolve SLA issues.

The SLA Review is one of the four operations management reviews (OMRs) defined and described in the Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) Process Model. See the Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) for more detailed information about the concepts and principles of MOF and its companion, Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF).

The following table shows the four OMRs, summarizes the mission of service associated with each quadrant in the MOF Process Model, and lists items to evaluate.

Table: OMR According to Quadrant

Quadrant Mission of service Operations management review Items to evaluate


Introduce new service solutions, technologies, systems, applications, hardware, and processes.

Release Readiness Review

Performed prior to new release

  • The release (the changes)
  • The release package (all of the tools, processes, and documentation)
  • The target (production) environment and infrastructure
  • Rollout and rollback plans
  • Risk management plan
  • Training plans
  • Support plans
  • Contingency plans


Perform day-to-day tasks effectively and efficiently.

Operations Review

Performed on a scheduled basis

  • IT staff performance
  • Operational efficiency
  • Personnel skills and competencies
  • Operating level agreements (OLAs)


Resolve incidents, problems, and inquiries quickly.

Service Level Agreement

Performed on a scheduled basis

  • SLA-defined targets and metrics
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Costs


Drive changes to optimize cost, performance, capacity, and availability in the delivery of IT services.

Change Initiation Review

Performed when change is identified

  • Cost/benefit of proposed changes
  • Impact to other systems and existing infrastructure

Unlike the Change Initiation Review and the Release Readiness Review (which are release-based), the SLA Review is time-based. It is intended to be scheduled on a regular basis to help determine the ways in which IT services that are supplied to the business can be improved.